05. The Cultural Hybridization of Taiyu Pop Songs: The Case of Taiyu Covers of Japanese Tunes



1. 純純, “河畔宵曲”

1. Sûn-Sûn, “Hô-phuān Siau-khik” (River Midnight Song)

From: “河畔宵雨” (River Midnight Song). Regal–T1165 (1939) 78 rpm. Columbia Records.

“Hô-puān Siau-khik” was written and adapted by Taiwanese lyricist, Chiu Thiam-ōng. Regal Western Orchestra provided orchestral accompaniment. This was Columbia’s last Taiyu pop song record release. The original melody is from the American tune “By The Waters Of The Minnetonka,” released in 1912. The lyrics depict the lonely mood of a woman. It describes the scenery and Jasmine flowers at the Tamsui riverside.

2. 白櫻, “生活苦”

2. Pe̍h Ing, “Sing-ua̍h Khóo” (Life Is So Difficult)

From: “生活苦” (Life Is So Difficult). 中美唱片CS6019 (1973) 33rpm. Chung Mei Records.

This song’s original name was “Sū-ìn Seng” (The Prostitute). The original melody came from the Japanese movie theme song “Botan no Kyoku” (Peony Song). The Japanese lyrics told the love story between a Japanese officer in Shanghai and a Chinese woman. After World War II, the song’s Taiyu lyrics changed to reflect the social conditions of post-war life. The lyrics are about a woman who was driven to prostitution because of the war and poverty. She raised her son while waiting for her husband, who was sent to join the army in Nanyang, to return home. However, after returning to Taiwan he could not find a job and she was driven to prostitution.

3. 陳芬蘭, “孤女的願望”

3. Tân Hun-lân, “Koo- lú ê Guān-Bōng” (Orphan Girl’s Wish)

From: ”孤女的願望” (Orphan Girl’s Desire). 亞洲AL-271 (1959) 33rpm. Asia Records.

Tân Hun-lân is one of the most famous Taiwanese singers in the 1960s, and she shot to fame with this song. The original came from a movie theme song, “Hanagasa Touchuu,” sung by Misora Hibari. The lyricist is Ia̍p Tsùn-lîn. The lyrics are about an orphaned girl who goes to the city to find work, looking forward to her bright future. In the first recorded version, the song was sung with Japanese instrumental music.

4. 文夏, “黃昏的故鄉”

4. Bûn Hā, “Hông-hun ê Kòo-hiong” (The Hometown at Dusk)

From: “黃昏的故鄉” (The Hometown at Dusk). 亞洲AL-237 (1959) 33rpm. Asia Records

The original was sung by Mihashi Michiya, and had lyrics that described the mood of a young man working in the city who missed the countryside. The song is warm and sorrowful, and became very popular after becoming a Taiyu song. In the 1980s many dissidents lived overseas due to the political situation in Taiwan. They identified strongly with this song, which became one of the representative songs of the anti-KMT movement.

5. 黃三元, “無錢的兄弟”

5. N̂g Sàm-guân, “Bô-tsînn ê Hiann-tī” (Buddy Being Short Of Money)

From: “無錢的兄弟” (Buddy Being Short Of Money). 亞洲AL-744 (1965) 33rpm. Asia Records

The original is a Japanese nursery rhyme, with lyrics by Ia̍p, Tsùn-Lîn and arranged by Tsng, Khé-Sìng. The lyrics are about two brothers living in poverty who take care of each other. This song was a hit with the public, winning the top vote in a radio contest.