Noriko Awaya (淡谷 のり子, Awaya Noriko, August 12, 1907 - September 22, 1999) was a Japanese female Soprano chanson and popular music (ryūkōka) singer. She was dubbed the "Queen of Blues" in Japan.
1 Life and career,
Life and career:
Awaya was born as Nori Awaya (淡谷のり, Awaya Nori) in Aomori, Aomori Prefecture. She was the oldest daughter of a wealthy merchant. In 1910, her family's home was destroyed in the Aomori City fire. Ten years later they were bankrupt, and in 1923 she, along with her mother and younger sister, went to Tokyo. There, she was admitted to the piano department of a music school. Later, her disposition towards singing was discovered and she was admitted to the vocal department. With the aim of becoming an opera singer, she made an extensive study of classical music.
However, due to her family's poverty, she was forced to leave school for a year and worked as a nude model. Eventually, she returned to the music academy, and graduated top of her class in 1929.
She became a classical singer. However, she soon began to sing popular songs because the salary of a classical music performer was very low. Her 1937 song "Farewell Blues" (別れのブルース, Wakare no Burūsu) became a hit. In 1938, she also released "Rainy Blues" (雨のブルース, Ame no Burūsu). In Taiwan, the song was later given the alternative title "Han Yu Qu" (寒雨曲). In 1939, she recorded the song "Yoru no Platform" (夜のプラットホーム, Night Platform) as an insert song of the movie "Tokyo no Josei", in which Setsuko Hara played the main role. However, the song was banned by Japanese authorities.
Awaya had a daughter outside marriage. In her old age, she criticized Enka. She also criticized Hideki Saijo and Seiko Matsuda because Saijo enjoyed dancing and Matsuda sang songs without feeling. She said that songs without pain, distress and effort were frauds.Kenichi Mikawa respected her. In 1996, Awaya gave Mikawa her song "Rainy Blues" at her final live performance. She was elected an honorary citizen by her hometown Aomori City in 1998 and died in 1999.
In 2007, Hideaki Tokunaga covered Awaya's song "Farewell Blues" at a concert.