Forbidden Colours

"Forbidden Colours" is a 1983 song by David Sylvian and Ryuichi Sakamoto. The song is the vocal version of the theme from the Nagisa Oshima film Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence (in certain territories retitled Furyo). It appears on the film's soundtrack album and was released as a single on Virgin Records in 1983 (the second collaborative single release by Sylvian and Sakamoto, following 1982's "Bamboo Houses").

"Forbidden Colours"
Sylvian & Sakamoto - Forbidden Colours.jpg
Single by David Sylvian and Ryuichi Sakamoto
from the album Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence O.S.T
GenreSynthpop, new-age, world
LabelVirgin Records
Songwriter(s)Ryuichi Sakamoto (music)
David Sylvian (lyrics)
Producer(s)Ryuichi Sakamoto
Ryuichi Sakamoto singles chronology
"Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence"
"Forbidden Colours"
"Field Work"
David Sylvian singles chronology
"Bamboo Houses"
"Forbidden Colours"
"Red Guitar"

The title of the song is taken from Japanese writer Yukio Mishima's 1953 novel Forbidden Colors; although not directly related to the film, both works include exploration of homosexual themes, specifically resistance to desires through faith in God.

In 1984 the track was re-recorded and released as the B-side to "Red Guitar", the lead single to Sylvian's first solo album Brilliant Trees and was later also included as a bonus track on certain editions of his 1987 album Secrets of the Beehive. Both Sakamoto and Sylvian have since recorded several interpretations of the song, both instrumental (under the title "Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence") and vocal. An orchestral version featuring vocals by Sylvian was included on Sakamoto's 1999 album Cinemage.

Track listingEdit

All music by Ryuichi Sakamoto; lyrics by David Sylvian on "Forbidden Colours", "Bamboo Houses" and "Bamboo Music".

7": Virgin / VS601 (UK)Edit

Side one
  1. "Forbidden Colours" – 4:42
Side two
  1. "The Seed and the Sower" – 5:00

7" Picture Disc: Virgin / VSY601 (UK)Edit

Side one
  1. "Forbidden Colours" – 4:42
Side two
  1. "The Seed and the Sower" – 5:00

12": Virgin / VS601-12 (UK)Edit

Side one
  1. "Forbidden Colours" – 4:42
Side two
  1. "The Seed and the Sower" – 5:00
  2. "Last Regrets" – 2:40

1988 3" CD: Virgin / CDT18 (UK)Edit

  1. "Forbidden Colours" – 4.42
  2. "Bamboo Houses" – 5.26
  3. "Bamboo Music" – 5.38

Chart positionsEdit

Chart (1983) Peak
Irish Singles Chart[1] 15
UK Singles Chart[2] 16




  1. ^ "Forbidden Colours". Archived from the original on June 3, 2009. Retrieved October 3, 2012.
  2. ^ "David Sylvian And Riuichi Sakamoto – Forbidden Colours". Retrieved October 3, 2012.

External linksEdit