HANAKO OKU: “The Little Great One”
The song “Garnet” by Hanako Oku. End theme song from the anime movie “The Girl Who Leapt Through Time”
Is my heart breaking or is it filled with happiness?
Some background: Almost two years ago, I had stayed up late at night watching the anime film “Girl Who Leapt Through Time”. During the end credits of the film, I heard Hanako Oku for the first time …
I felt like a building had fallen on me. To be fair, I had just been on the emotional roller-coaster that is “TGWLTT”. I became very interested in Oku’s music, even though I speak/understand almost no Japanese. I started researching her on the Internet, although I did not have much luck with lyrical translations. Most of the information about Hanako Oku on the internet was (understandably) in Japanese. I watched a number of videos posted on YouTube, and I sent for most of her CDs from Japan. I enjoy her emotional piano ballads.
When I listen to Oku-san, I cannot understand the words. I can mainly listen to it as “instrumental” I guess. Even though I do not understand her singing in Japanese, when I listen to Hanako Oku it feels like my heart is breaking – and also filled with joy – at the same time. Weird. An outside observer may think this strange. My friends were befuddled – they would ask: “How can you understand her?” I know it sounds strange, but when I listen to this wonderful little Japanese singer it changes my attitude. A butterfly will fly past me while I’m mowing the lawn, and I will have a Zen moment. I began to like and appreciate Japanese art and culture.
Oku-san has become one of my favorite artists. If I could write a biographical book someday, I would call it “The Little Great One”. I plan to blog about her again!
Update: 09-20-2014. Record Industry W … I mean “bean counters” took the original theme from the credits down. However, PonyCanyon has posted “Garnet” on YouTube, so that you can at least have the song. This video is on the “extra features” of the DVD TGWLTT.