Happy Thursday everyone! It’s finally starting to (slightly) feel like spring in LA; I can’t wait until the actual summer weather comes along.

Today’s #ThrowbackThursday song is the 1975 classic “木綿のハンカチーフ (Momen no Handkerchief, Cotton Handkerchief)” by Ota Hiromi.

“Momen no Handkerchief” is Ota Hiromi’s 4th single and her greatest hit of all times, selling over 1.5 million copies according to Music Research. It was considered a single-cut from her 3rd album “心が風邪をひいた日 (Kokomo ga Kaze wo Hiita Hi, The Day My Heart Caught a Cold,” but a new version was re-recorded when the cut was made. This is due to small lyric changes and an additional arrangement by Tsutsumi Kyohei.

This song had a long path until its completion: the composer Tsutsumi found Matsumoto’s lyrics to be too long. At the end, Tsutsumi could not contact Matsumoto in time, and the song was recorded as is. The end product greatly satisfied Tsutsumi, though; he was very happy with what the song had become.

This song expresses a couple’s bittersweet path as they part and eventually end the relationship. Lyricist Matsumoto Takashi describes the gradual process through the verses; the song begins with the man leaving for the urban city, telling his girlfriend that he will send her beautiful gifts of the city. The girlfriend says that she doesn’t need any gifts, and that she just wants him to come back without becoming tinged in the color of city life. As the song proceeds the couple continues to send letters to each other. The man becomes more and more adapted to life in the great city, while the woman keeps waiting for him to come back as his old self. At the end, the man sends his girlfriend a breakup letter saying that he has become too accustomed to this new life. The woman asks for a final gift: a cotton handkerchief to wipe away her tears.

This song is one of my all-time favorites, especially when it comes to songs of long-distance relationships. It may be a scenario impossible in modern days where technology is at the tip of our hands, but the sad, yet gentle atmosphere of the song grasps my heart.

“Momen no Handkerchief” remains a Japanese favorite to this day, and has been covered by over 50 artists. Kinmokusei’s cover features Ota Hiromi herself in the chorus:

Other artists that have covered the song include Spitz’s Kusano Masamune, The Magokoro Brothers, Shina Ringo, and actress Ayase Haruka. I’ve found videos of The Magokoro Brothers’ cover, and also Shina’s as well.

That’s about it for today’s #TBT post! Let me know if you have any requests or comments in the section below! See you next time, and have a great weekend!

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