Double Suicide Lover and Jazz

If I have to single out a music genre I will be regaled to listen for the rest of my life, it will definitely be Jazz.

Death, love, disgust, sex, obsession and passion all tangled up in lewd whisper and heavy bass. Sarcasm, confidence and pride in foxtrot of piano and high note saxophone. So full of life, so full of creepy notes that crawls under your skin. This particular song, took the cake.

「薄ら氷心中」林原めぐみ
Utsura Kooi Shinjuu (Thin-Ice Lovers Suicide) by Megumi Hayashibara.
Performed for anime Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu

This song in particular made me re-track back on my obsession with Jazz in general. The heavy bass and saxophone pitches perfectly with Megumi’s breathy voice. It gave the song a very lewd and dark imagery that may only exist in Jazz music. You can easily imagine a lounge chock full of smoke, wearing a low crop dress and swirling wine in high glass, falling in love with the lead singer yet knowing that she’s out of reach. That’s the jazz I love, the kind that sinks it’s teeth under your skin, made you feel sarcastic and hating this world a little bit.

Regarding the title, 心中 [しんじゅう] (lit. double suicide lover, shinjuu), is theme often in popular Japanese novel. Two titles that came into my mind are Beauty and Sadness by Yasunari Kawabata, and Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami. It is basically a term given to the practice of suicide done by lovers.

In Beauty and Sadness, love, abandonment, jealousy and death played a pivotal point. The story climaxed with a suggestion that the death of one of the main character was an act of lovers suicide. Oki and Ueno were past lover with dark history, their platonic reunion spurred jealousy and doubt in Keiko’s heart, Ueno’s current lover. Spurred by jealousy, Keiko exacted revenge in the way she knew will hurt the most, that is, by committing suicide and pulling Oki’s son with her into the grasp of death. Though it might be ruled as murder, it was implied that Keiko might have fallen for Oki’s son, thus cementing the story into a tragic tale about jealousy, revenge and death.

In Norwegian Wood, Kizuki’s suicide cast a blanket of deep remorse to his lover Naoko and best friend Toru. The three were best friend, a couple and another boy who is also deeply in love with the girl. Kizuki’s death became their loss and started a journey of emotional turbulence between the two. Eventually they fell in love, yet the guilt persist and the relationship ended with empty promises. In the end, Naoko decided to follow her first love and committed suicide.

Another famous lovers suicide is Romeo and Juliet, yet comparing this drama to the two affront will make this story by Shakespeare seems cheap and phony. Spontaneous suicides by desperation and stupidity, hmmm nope.

This song in particular is about a woman spurred by her paramour’s constant rejection,

Hey, why is it you don’t even try to look me in the eyes?
Why?
You’ll probably just say, “I can’t even bear to look at you,” I’m sure. Alright then
But just who was it.
Who made me into this kind of woman?
You know, I’ve been waiting for you to chase me this entire time.
We’ve finally met after so long, but you’re not going to make love to me?
Come now.
Ahh, it’s time we start our loves anew;
everything you’ve caused is your own fault!
I don’t get it, what is happiness, really?
Which time was that supposed to have been?
What a pain; shall I scatter my brains and guts all about just to show you?
Take a nice, hard look.
At this woman who’s been tainted down to her core.
…..
credits to LN.

The song implied an one sided relationship between the singer and her paramour. She loved him deeply, the affection was returned, yet never truly evolving into a proper relationship. They parted ways, meeting again after a long time, and it started a mania in the woman’s head, that she was thoroughly rejected and came to disgust her own being. She wanted to show him, just how miserable she has become…

Once love is lost, what remain is void. And that is one of the premise for the anime Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu by Studio DEEN.

After watching the anime, it became clear that Megumi performed this song specifically for this. I haven’t found resources that confirmed my theory, but the lyrics and the climax of this anime is a haunting transliteration of words into motion.

Spurned love, jealousy, anger and subsequent death, all wrapped up in breathy whisper and low treble bass. I find it impossible to rid the song from my head.

Love lost, regret and remorse wrapped in painted lips, trailing kimono and lingering eyes. For those who love tragic story, it’s almost a sin not to watch this anime.

And as the title suggested, yes, this anime is a haunting tale about Double Suicide Lovers. I’m not going to talk much about this anime, some things are best experience by their self. Just go watch it, and let it ruin your life..

.

On a lighter note, I’m not always this depressingly unloved. Here’s another jazz song that is more preppy, still somber and dark, but with a sassier tone.

熱愛発覚中 (Netsu Ai Hakka Kuchu) – Discovering I’m Deeply in Love by Ringo Sheena

The nation’s in the middle of a renaissance
I’m being tsundere
I mean, I’ve got super bad luck when it comes to timing
Ugh, I don’t worship you
….
I resent it when my charm, all my appeal and charm
Backfires, backfires on me
A perfect shot to my vitals
All at once I’m head over heels for you
Hurry, hurry, my CRP’s rising

My frozen to the touch ‘absolute territory’
The ratio of frozen cold gold
I wish, I don’t wish, that they’d fuse together
I wanna, don’t wanna, thaw them
taken from: Renai Junkie

The lyrics might seem a bit silly, but I find it as a very innocent love, that turns into not that innocent after all (the video ending suggest so). And the translator has kindly provide a very helpful note on ‘absolute territory’ term, kindly remember how when cold, what is the best way to thaw them,

Absolute territory’ is the skin that’s visible between the hem of a skirt/shorts/etc. and the top of a girl’s socks.

Whoa.

Like whoa.

Like, jazz is supposed to be sexy, but this one is just… Whoa.

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7 thoughts on “Double Suicide Lover and Jazz

  1. Wahhh, aku juga suka banget Megumi Hayashibada & Shiina Ringo. Shiina Ringo banyak bikin lagu yang nyinggung lovers suicide, or just..dark things about love in general sih :”D ini lagu-lagu Shiina Ringo/Tokyo Jihen (band dia) kesukaanku:
    -Gips
    -Nagaku Mijikai Matsuri (PV nya bagus :””D)
    -Honnou
    -Marunouchi Sadistic
    -Konya wa Munasawagi
    -Shuraba
    -Sounan

    1. Aaah yes, dulu aku dapat Marunouchi Sadistic dari kamu loh. Tapi baru beneran suka dan paham sama lagu Reena/Tokyo Jihen baru-baru ini.
      Dark, sexy dan jazz. Kolaborasi dia sama Soil and Pimp keren banget, 007 spy-esque lah. Tapi aku lupa judulnya apa hehe
      Ada rekomen jazz musician lain kah? Aku mau coba Explore sebanyaaaak mungkin :3

  2. I don’t think shouwa genroku rakugo shinjuu is about double suicide between Sukeroku Yuurakutei and miyokichi. They just accidentally killed their-selves together. I think the double suicide happen on Yuurakutei Yakumo self, on his rakugo and on his life..

    1. In a way, Sukeroku died so Bon will survive. Miyokichi implied she wanted to kill her self since a very long time, she even suggest so to do it together with Bon.
      What Sukeroku and Miyokichi did, It might not be the traditional lovers suicide, but they both died because they love Bon too much. It’s all very tragic, egoistic, sacrificial, disgusting, yet full of love.

      It was an awful accident, but it didn’t dettered Bon from doing Rakugo, instead it became his sole reason to live on. Not because of guilt, mind you, but because of the promise he made with Sukeroku.

      1. And i need to re-watch that anime again and again after they announce the S2 somewhere in far future.
        talking about tragic double suicide the first story being told on aoi bungaku anime is good one since the story it narrates and the fate the writer walked on is similar.

        1. Can’t help but to notice your ambiguous sentence.
          I (will have to) re-watch that anime again, (especially) after they announced (the upcoming) S2. (It will be aired) somewhere far in the future.
          Not to be too nosy, but sentence structure is very important.

          Haven’t watched Aoi Bungou, maybe one day. Is it good?

          1. it’s Aoi Bungaku (青い文学) means blue literature, not Aoi Bungou (青い文豪) means blue great literary figure.
            Many people consider it as one of the best anime of lifetime and many people highly recommend it.
            I take it from MAL: The series consists of adaptations of six modern classics of Japanese literature: Osamu Dazai’s No Longer Human (Ningen Shikkaku) & Run, Melos! (Hashire, Melos!), Natsume Soseki’s Kokoro, Ryunosuke Akutagawa’s Hell Screen (Jigoku Hen) & The Spider’s Thread (Kumo no Ito), and Ango Sakaguchi’s In the Forest, Under Cherries in Full Bloom (Sakura no Mori no Mankai no Shita).

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