"Saisakizaka" (幸先坂, "Fortune Hill Road"[1]) is the debut single by Japanese actress Yōko Maki, released on May 27, 2013. The Ringo Sheena-produced song was used as the theme song to the film The Ravine of Goodbye (2013), Maki's first leading film role since Veronika Decides to Die in 2005.[2]

"Saisakizaka"
The face of a woman with short hair in greyscale. She is looking to her left towards sunlight.
Single by Yōko Maki
ReleasedMay 27, 2013 (2013-05-27)
Recorded2013
GenreEasy listening
Length3:44
LabelEMI Records Japan
Songwriter(s)Ringo Sheena
Producer(s)Ringo Sheena

Background and developmentEdit

Maki, a fan of Ringo Sheena's, first met her in 2007 or 2008, after which the pair became frequent penpals, and Maki often attending Sheena's concerts.[3][4] She first worked as a vocalist in 2011, when Maki covered Minoru Obata's 1950 kayōkyoku song "Hoshikage no Komichi" on Tokyo No. 1 Soul Set's album Subete Hikari.[5] Director Tatsushi Ōmori heard the song, and thought Maki's voice would fit well with the atmosphere of the film.[6] Maki hesitated in agreeing to sing the theme song as she did not consider herself a singer.[3] Maki felt she needed somebody to rely on for the project, and asked Sheena if she could help.[4]

Writing and productionEdit

Sheena wrote the song after watching the uncompleted film, after receiving the impression of "the smell of midsummer soil" during the ending credits.[4] She felt that she should give the song a very unadulterated feel.[4] When Maki asked for Sheena's input into the project, she thought that Sheena would have written something similar to Tokyo Jihen's "Rakujitsu" (2005). However, after hearing "Saisakizaka," she was surprised at how well it fit with the film.[4] Sheena was present at the recording studio the entire time while Maki was recording the song.[4] Maki felt the song was difficult to sing, and was not used to her voice even when watched the final cut of The Ravine of Goodbye.[7]

Promotion and releaseEdit

A music video was created to promote the single. It was also directed by the director of the film, Tatsushi Ōmori.[8] A short version of this was uploaded to YouTube on May 15, 2013.[9]

The physical single was released in Japan exclusively at Tower Records on May 27, 2013, in a CD/DVD format. A digital download version was released for purchase at stores such as iTunes and Amazon.co.jp.[10][11] The single was released on the same day as Sheena's "Irohanihoheto/Kodoku no Akatsuki" single. The release date marks the 15th anniversary of Ringo Sheena, who debuted with the single "Kōfukuron" on May 27, 1998.

The song was performed by Sheena as the final song of her Tōtaikai concerts in November 2013, which was later released to DVD in March 2014.[12] A studio self-cover version appears on her 2014 album Gyakuyunyū: Kōwankyoku.[13]

Track listingEdit

All tracks are written by Ringo Sheena.

No.TitleLength
1."Saisakizaka"3:44
2."Saisakizaka (Shinryokuhen)" (新緑篇, "Spring Green Mix")3:42
Total length:7:26
DVD
No.TitleLength
1."Saisakizaka (music video)"3:44

Chart rankingsEdit

Charts (2013) Peak
position
Japan Oricon weekly singles[14] 47

Sales and certificationsEdit

Chart Amount
Oricon physical sales[15] 2,000

Release historyEdit

Region Date Format Distributing Label Catalogue codes
Japan May 27, 2013 (2013-05-27)[16] CD/DVD, digital download EMI Records Japan QIAG‐70074

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Song Written by Sheena Ringo for Yoko Maki Appearing on CD". Kronekodow. Archived from the original on April 10, 2014. Retrieved April 10, 2014.
  2. ^ Fumi Komatsu (October 20, 2012). "真木よう子、7年ぶり単独主演で"最も困難な役"『さよなら渓谷』映画化!" [Yoko Maki's first leading role in seven years is a film adaptation of Sayonara Keikoku, featuring her "most troubling role."]. Cinema Today. Retrieved April 10, 2014.
  3. ^ a b 真木よう子、主演映画エンディング曲歌う メル友・椎名林檎が楽曲提供 [Yoko Maki sings her film's ending song: Penpal Ringo Sheena wrote the song for her] (in Japanese). Oricon. March 12, 2013. Retrieved April 10, 2014.
  4. ^ a b c d e f "さよなら渓谷 Themesong" (in Japanese). Phantom Film. Archived from the original on April 14, 2014. Retrieved April 14, 2014.
  5. ^ "全て光 [Double CD, Limited Edition]". Amazon.co.jp. Retrieved April 10, 2014.
  6. ^ さよなら渓谷 : 真木よう子と原作・吉田修一に聞く 「あえて自分に戻らないと崩れてしまう」難役 (in Japanese). The Ravine of Goodbye: Interviewing Yoko Maki about her difficult role and original novel author Shūichi Yoshida: "If I didn't forcibly go back to myself, I would break down completely". June 22, 2013. Archived from the original on April 11, 2014. Retrieved April 14, 2014.
  7. ^ 真木よう子、歌手デビューに葛藤「まだ慣れません」 [Yoko Maki conflicted with her musical debut. "I'm still not used to it."] (in Japanese). Oricon. June 10, 2013. Retrieved April 14, 2014.
  8. ^ 真木よう子 幸先坂 (in Japanese). Space Shower. Retrieved April 14, 2014.
  9. ^ "「幸先坂」ミュージックビデオWEB視聴開始!" ["Saisakizaka" music video online!] (in Japanese). Universal Music Japan. May 15, 2013. Retrieved April 14, 2014.
  10. ^ "幸先坂 - Single" (in Japanese). iTunes. Retrieved April 11, 2014.
  11. ^ 幸先坂 (in Japanese). Amazon. Retrieved April 11, 2014.
  12. ^ 党大会 平成二十五年神山町大会 (in Japanese). Oricon. Retrieved April 10, 2014.
  13. ^ "椎名林檎、初のセルフカバー集『逆輸入 ~港湾局~』リリース&レコ発ライブ開催発表" [Ringo Sheena, first self-cover album collection Gyakuyunyū: Kōwankyoku release and release party live]. Barks. March 25, 2014. Retrieved April 5, 2014.
  14. ^ "2013年05月27日~2013年06月02日のCDシングル週間ランキング" [May 27, 2013 to June 2, 2013 CD Single Weekly Ranking] (in Japanese). Oricon. June 10, 2013. Archived from the original on April 10, 2014. Retrieved April 10, 2014.
  15. ^ "オリコンランキング情報サービス「you大樹」" [Oricon Ranking Information Service 'You Big Tree']. Oricon. Retrieved April 10, 2014.
  16. ^ "真木よう子、椎名林檎作詞・作曲「幸先坂」でCDデビュー" [Yoko Maki to make her CD debut with the Ringo Sheena written "Saisakizaka."]. Natalie. April 12, 2013. Retrieved April 14, 2014.