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Sukiyaki By Kyu Sakamoto

Updated on August 7, 2016

Kyu Sakamoto

Kyu Sakamoto (left)
Kyu Sakamoto (left) | Source

A Song From Japan By Kyu Sakamoto

Kyu Sakamoto has the distinction of being the only Japanese artist to have a Number 1 song on the US music charts with the track, Sukiyaki.

A worldwide hit in 1963, the original Japanese title is Ue O Muite Aruko, meaning I Shall Walk Looking Up (So My Tears Won't Fall), a tale of isolation, sadness and a missing love. In the wake of the recent earthquake disaster in Japan, this title translation resounds profoundly for those families currently suffering loss and anguish.

The song was re-recorded with English lyrics by female duo A Taste of Honey in 1981 and this too was a highly successful Top 10 hit in America.

Always a favourite foreign language track of mine, let's celebrate this popular song, while remembering the sadness of what has occurred in Japan.

Sukiyaki | The Original Version

This is a 1960s television recording of Kyu Sakamoto singing Sukiyaki. The title was chosen for release in English-speaking countries for its ease of pronunciation and because the word is a familiar reminder of Japanese culture.

Japan: Greatest Songs

Greatest Songs Ever: Japan
Greatest Songs Ever: Japan

This album, featuring some of Japan's finest songs, includes Sukiyaki by Kyu Sakamoto. Reviewers have given it five stars. This collection is described as beautiful, sad, bluesy and powerful. A must CD to add to your international music collection.


Sukiyaki: The Version By A Taste of Honey

This 1981 version of the song was recorded by A Taste of Honey, with English lyrics by vocalist Janice Marie Johnson.

Eighteen years later, the song had maintained its popularity and reached Number 3 on the American music charts.

Sukiyaki: The Version By 4 P.M.

Another version of Sukiyaki also reached the Top 10 of the US music charts.

This one is by RnB male group 4 P.M., who take A Taste of Honey's English lyrics and turn them into a soul/doo-wop combo. This track was also very successful in Australia and New Zealand.

The Sukiyaki Poll - Please Leave Your Vote!

Which version of Sukiyaki do you prefer?

See results

About Your Author

With each article, Richard invites you to step into his world of music, television and entertainment. He will introduce you to British Glam Rock, share The 20 Scariest Film Scores Ever? and even give you an up close look at some classic actors such as Christopher Lee as Dracula.

For a complete list of Richard's articles, please visit Richard's profile.

Do You Remember Sukiyaki by Kyu Sakamoto?

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    • Aladdins Cave profile image

      Aladdins Cave 3 years ago from Melbourne, Australia

      Thank you for making a Lens on this song. It is beautiful, but I only like the original.

      I remember it when it came out in the 60's. I think the song also inspired me to visit Japan

      some 20 years later.

      Also thank you for liking my Roadtrip Australia lens. Cheers from DOWNUNDER

    • Addy Bell profile image

      Addy Bell 6 years ago

      I'd never heard this song before now.

    • Dianne Loomos profile image

      Dianne Loomos 6 years ago

      I did not know the original translation of the song. It now sounds so appropriate for what happened in Japan.

    • DuaneJ profile image

      DuaneJ 6 years ago

      very interesting!!!

    • profile image

      oznews 6 years ago

      I love this song. Please also check out this site ......

    • TheLittleCardShop profile image

      Malu Couttolenc 6 years ago

      Wonderful memories with this song. very nice lens to help Raise funds for the Save the Children in Japan. Congrats for your purple star! :)

    • indigoj profile image

      Indigo Janson 6 years ago from UK

      I hadn't heard of him before but enjoyed discovering more here and it's a wonderful way to contribute to the Save the Children Japan relief work.

    • mythphile profile image

      Ellen Brundige 6 years ago from California

      Oh goodness, I had no idea that was Japanese! I don't think I've heard it in recent years, now that I've picked up enough from watching Miyazaki films with subtitles that i think I'd recognize it.

    • ronpass lm profile image

      ronpass lm 6 years ago

      Kyu Sakamoto's Sukiyaki song brings back lots of memories and emotions - I love his original version, though I enjoyed the other two as well. The song which I recall very well is a constant reminder of the years that my father spent away in Japan as an Australian soldier as part of the occupation forces. Sukiyaki brings back some of the sadness I experienced in his absence when I was very young. An Angel's Blessing, Rich, for the research, presentation and thoughtfulness behind the lens. For this, does Squidoo exist!

    • nestboxes profile image

      nestboxes 6 years ago

      Wow no I don't. But it's cool. Great depth of knowledge and worthy cause.

    • profile image

      GrowWear 6 years ago

      Beautiful. Great work, as usual, Rich.

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 6 years ago from Arkansas USA

      I remember Sukiyaki very well, the original version. Very nice presentation of all three versions, and a very nice tribute to the people of Japan today.

    • Paula Atwell profile image

      Paula Atwell 6 years ago from Cleveland, OH

      Leave it to you, Rich to find an appropriate song for this purpose. Love the idea and the lens. Wonderful.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Beautiful song Richa and a poignant lens.

    • justholidays profile image

      justholidays 6 years ago

      I've never heard about Sukiyaki song nor about Kyu Sakamoto, so it's an entirely new find to me. Facebooked and blessed, of course.

    • Stazjia profile image

      Carol Fisher 6 years ago from Warminster, Wiltshire, UK

      What memories this brings back of my early teens. It's good that you are using it in aid of the relief fund for Japan. Blessed.

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 6 years ago

      It's a great song and I'm glad you're helping earthquake victims.

    • HealthfulMD profile image

      Kirsti A. Dyer 6 years ago from Northern California

      I remember hearing it on something - perhaps MASH.

    • profile image

      MisTikkal 6 years ago

      Wonderful Rich and so timely. We're sitting and watching in Australia, esp the nuclear stuff. Japan is a close neighbour so we're hoping and praying that they will stay safe from that particular disaster for both our sakes.

    • KathyMcGraw2 profile image

      Kathy McGraw 6 years ago from California

      The minute I clicked the video I literally said "awwww" as this was one of my favorite songs, just didn't know the name :) Wow, thanks Rich, and on a more serious note, I am very happy to see you made this lens and any proceeds form it to go to Save the Children. Blessed...

    • nightbear lm profile image

      nightbear lm 6 years ago

      What a wonderful memory stirred up by this page. thank you. Wasn't this song also used on several "Mash" shows. Anyway, I loved it. thank you.

    • clouda9 lm profile image

      clouda9 lm 6 years ago

      Oh yes I do remember this song. Brings back memories of the lazy kid days in sunny Cal. Amazing what a song can do recall memories, still a rattled mind, give hope and inspiration...thank you for this Rich, very touching indeed!