Karaoke Kotoba – いとし

Back in the ‘90s and the early ‘00s when I first played through (parts of) FFVI, I had no idea how much the opera scene owed to karaoke culture, but now it’s totally clear. I mean, there’s a syllable for syllable midi voice of the Japanese lyrics.



Now I’m seriously surprised that I didn’t hear someone sing this at a karaoke box. Maybe I just didn’t karaoke with the right people.

At any rate, the first word of the song, いとし, is one of those classic karaoke words that you hear in countless songs. I’m never sure sure how reliable Chiebukuro is, but this post seems to suggest an evolution of the word.

Currently it means “beloved,” or something of that ilk, and it often gets attached to people’s names or pronouns. The Southern All-Stars have the best translation in their song いとしのエリー, which doesn’t even use the word いとし in the lyrics: Instead, the chorus is “Eri, my love, so sweet.” “X, my love” is a pretty nice rendering.

On a side note, after watching this video of サザン lead singer Keisuke Kuwata belt out the song, I can’t help but think he’s had a huge influence on Japanese rock vocals (even though I know next to nothing about Japanese rock).

His weird growl sounds similar to some imitations of “foreigner Japanese.” It also seems extremely ripe for parody…which I may have to attempt at karaoke soon.

1 thought on “Karaoke Kotoba – いとし

  1. Ha! I agree with everything you said about Kuwata and his “foreigner Japanese”. A big part of it seems to be importing hard initial L sounds, since those don’t exist in the native language. Oddly enough, they don’t really exist in the Japanese spoken by people from Anglo countries – as many problems as we have with the language, we don’t tend to do that. It’s more of a Chinese-accented Japanese thing, which is fascinating because China is probably one of the last places people think of when they think of rock n’ roll.

    I’m not the accent is capable of parody though, it’s so over the top that the more you ham it up, the more you will nail your Kuwata impersonation.

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