In 1963 a hit Japanese song, ‘Ue o Muite Aruko’ by crooner extraordinaire Kyu Sakamoto made its way across the ocean to American shores. Seeing as the title was basically unpronounceable by English tongues, it took on the name ‘Sukiyaki’.
Now, hot pot soup is TOTALLY unrelated to the title. Except it said “Japan” to the Americans so it worked. For the record, the Japanese name of the song roughly translates to, “I look up when I’m walking”. It’s a broken heart love song about a man who looks up and whistles while he’s walking so the tears won’t fall.
‘Sukiyaki’ became a worldwide hit, in both its original, and in local language versions (often with the same melody but very different lyrics). The video below is a real mind bender. The two crooning brothers are Dutch-Indonesians, singing a German version of the Japanese song.
P.S. – The head bob of the the more expressive brother adds a nice bit of swanky flair to the performance. It’s a move that should be revived.
Here’s the Japanese original: