I came of age during the singer songwriter era in the early 70s. James Taylor, Joni Mitchell, Gordon Lightfoot, Carole King, Laura Nyro... You get the idea. Matsutoya Yumi (aka Yumin, nee´ Arai Yumi) is a Japanese singer songwriter from the same era. She wrote some incredibly beautiful songs, many of which have been used by Studio Ghibli as soundtracks for its animated moves.
In this video Yoshida Yuri covers Yumin's Sotsugyo Shashin ("Graduation Photo") beautifully. The tune sounds great on the uke and her vocals are spot on. Kind of like Dylan, Yumin isn't always the best singer of her own songs. But like Dylan what she writes is pure poetry. Read an English version here. You can hear the English version here. It's not a direct translation of the Japanese but it's close and maintains the spirit and feeling of the original. As with all translations, there's inevitably something that's lost.
It's a shame that Americans don't listen to foreign music because Yumin would have been a great hit in the US. Visit her YouTube channel and let me know if you agree.
Download words and chords for each version below.
I'm an amateur ukulele player who happens to be fluent in Japanese. I hope that I can inspire you to learn more about the ukulele, Japan, or better yet, BOTH!