Greetings, Citizens of the Universe!
As part of Hello! Project’s 20th anniversary celebration, I will take a look at various releases from the collective’s history. This one technically is also one of five meant to make up for the six weeks I went without a proper post in the first quarter, due to being busy with the Production Red Diary (among other factors).
In this post, we will take a look at the representative for 2013: Peaberry’s Cabbage Hakusho ~Haru Hen~.
Like with Seishun no Serenade, I technically gave this a mini-review on a previous post (namely Frou-Frou Sato, which talked about the Satoyama-Satoumi Movement).
Before we do anything, we must give time to the “original” version of this piece:
Starting with a classically-minded music box and a shot out our Peaberries standing on a country field, we go into the woodsy wonderland as the song officially begins. May I just go out on the whim at how the main hook of the song hits me? The voices of the ⑨th Gen Ace and the leader of S/mileage blend amazingly well (to the surprise of haters of one and/or both girls). The mellowness of the song is an odd, but refreshing surprise. After all, it’s an introspective, pensive piece:
When you sow seeds and pour in your love
They‘ll take in the rain
And if you love them again, they’ll definitely bear fruit
You have to be grateful for every life
Now, let’s wash our hands and eat dinner
Source: Project Hello
On another note, can someone tell me what piece the song is referencing?
And now for the bit about the song we’re actually talking about:
We’ve come now to the major debut of Peaberry. Instead of a music box, we begin with a piano.
Instead of two girls on a road, we see flowers and a satoyama home.
The music is far more subdued during the verses, giving more emphasis on the vocals (which has more harmonization in certain parts).
We also see the oft-mentioned grandmother (played here by Hosokawa Kayoko¹), who sings a verse of her own.
The song is essentially the “theme song” of the SATOYAMA SATOUMI Movement, performed during every major event’s opening ceremony until the Spring 2017 event. As you might’ve guessed, after Sayashi Riho left the Morning Nest and took a break from showbiz in 2015, Tsubaki Factory took up the mantle for the song, resulting in this:
(If you want to know my thoughts on the Camellia version (which isn’t that different from the Peaberry one), check out the post Reporting on Having Camellia Blooms to Yourself.)
The grandmother is played by Hosokawa Kayoko, wife of former prime minister Hosokawa Morihiro and the chairwoman of a non-profit organization the Movement often collaborated with.
With that in mind… let’s dig into Cabbage Hakusho ~Haru Hen~.
Cabbage Hakusho ~Haru Hen~ (The Cabbage Statement ~ Spring Version)
The song is a sweet, soft ballad that is light in instrumentation. Its piano is delicately used, strings being primarily used to bring a touch of nostalgia and coziness. Where the original was closer to pop, featuring a light drum sequence to carry the beat and some electric guitar, the “Spring Version” keeps this to a minimum. As a result, the vocals are emphasized and the listener is brought in. You immediately feel the love and conviction the song is portraying.
No wonder this song often hit me in the feels.
The piece includes a reference to the first movement of Mozart’s Piano Sonata No. 16 (also known as Sonata facile or Sonata semplice), which adds a touch of nostalgia and homeyness to the piece. It’s not exactly centered around it, but it’s prominently featured and gives the piece a sense of connection. The song is about reminiscence and a desire to protect the legacy of those who came before it.
To further add the nostalgic feeling, the grandmother (played both in the song and the MV by the aforementione Hosokawa Kayoko) sings the children’s song “Furusato.” The lyrics express a fondness for one’s childhood place, a place full of mountains and rivers (perfect for the Satoyama Satoumi Movement).
All in all, it’s a sweet piece that is full of emotion.
Befitting its theme, the MV is a cozy scene set in a country home. Wada and Sayashi are dressed in white when they are shown singing. The exceptions that exist are their childhood selves seen during Hosokawa’s verse and the “storyline” shots when they’re with Grandma Kayoko.
All this talk about a providing grandma and our desire to be strong, loving, gentle, and protecting like her is reminding me of a recent installment of the NHK World interview show Direct Talk. At the end of each segment, the interview subject writes/draws something on a little board with a marker, their “words to live by.” This particular person (Maritza Morales Casanova) chose “Grandmother Earth” (featuring a cute drawing of the Earth with eyes, glasses, and gray hair tied in a bun). This came from the children she worked with and their belief that as much as we compare the Earth to a mother (with good reason), given that the Earth has nurtured life for many years, providing love, wisdom, and experience to its inhabitants, and how it is important to honor this storied planet, our Earth is more like a grandmother than a simple mother.
…With that in mind, the song takes on a new meaning, especially since the “lives”/”family” refer to plants and the “them” refer to fields (though you can be forgiven for taking the lyrics more literally, which was probaby the point). Great, now I’m thinking of my mom, who keeps a lot of plants and is the reason the house has a prominent garden with many flowers (most of them roses).
Back to this MV, it’s a sweet MV that is sure to bring back memories. The solo shots have minimal action, showing Wada Ayaka and Sayashi Riho simply singing. The storyline shots showcase Grandma Kayoko, prominently preparing a cabbage meal (having help at some point from her “granddaughters”) and doing other things around her household.
Such a touching scene. It’s simple, yes, but the point is to express an emotion and call you into action… by touching something deep in your heart. RIGHT in the FEEEEEEELS!
(As this single was released in 2013, it is not subject to the changes in sales reporting as implemented by Oricon in Fall 2016.
All figures reported in this section are from the Hello! Project Wikia with the percentage and average mathematics done by moi.
Of course, if a piece of idol music really touches you, does it matter that much how well it sells? It does to some people, which is one reason I do this…)
The single ultimately achieved a Total Reported Sales figure of 13,919 with a peak Oricon weekly position of #8. 93.50% (13,014) of these sales are from the first week.
For comparison sake:
- The previous single (the splite indie single Cabbage Hakusho / Forest Time) had a Total Reported Sales figure of 2,171 with 71.76% (1,558) from the first week.
- This means that Cabbage Hakusho ~Haru Hen~‘s sales have a difference of 541.13% compared to its previous single.
It’s… fitting we end the month on a sweet note. Throughout May, we’ve celebrated youth, attended a Happy Summer Wedding, had a Chance of LOVE, and then a Summer Night on the Town before getting to this point. (That’s not counting the time we talked about memes—involving a fashion blogger-turned-singer, an owarai boy band, a comedian-singer-songwriter who likes putting pens and fruits together, and an obscure rap quintet—and a lot of questionnaires.) As the temperature rises, we approach a time where silliness (to put it mildly) can run wild. After all of that wildness, it’d be nice to take some quiet time to recharge our batteries. Having some old-fashioned cooking would certainly help in that regard.
Next time, we catch up on some tidbits of news around H!P over the course of the quarter…. Well, that was the original idea. You see, the Anniversary Review Vote for Q2 ended in a tie between Morning Musume’s Resonant Blue and Buono!’s Kiss! Kiss! Kiss!. (The Second Round of the M3 Grand Prix is also in gridlock.)
I’m surprised yet not surprised, given the awkward way I was promoting the events this quarter (the least because of how the tweets seem to do rather fine without much help and (more importantly) it seems to be getting more and more awkward to do more idol-related stuff when there’s something heart-rending happening everyday… or maybe it’s fatigue setting in and I really need to take a break. I think we can all agree that this has been an emotionally exhausting month. Year, even.)
We’ll see. For now, wash your hands. It’s time to eat.
Until the Next One!
Last Time: Smile for a Summer Night
- Hello! Project Wiki – Cabbage Hakusho ~Haru Hen~
- Japanese Wikipedia – Cabbage Hakusho ~Haru Hen~
- English Wikipedia – Furusato (children’s song)