Australia hasn’t really had much of an impact on Japanese culture over the years, but there is one case that inspires sheer delight….or perhaps that should be “shear?”
For Japanese of a certain age, 調子をそろえて、クリック、クリック、クリック (Choshi wo soroete kurikku, kurikku, kurikku, is a highly familiar song picked up in an early season of Minna no Uta, a radio and TV program broadcast by NHK since 1961 to introduce new tunes to the Japanese public.
The song is known in English as Click Go the Shears and Peggy Hayama, who sang the Japanese version of the song with lyrics written by Takashi Otowa, would retain a lifelong connection with Australia because of it.
Ironically, her version of the song was originally a B-side to a 1962 release, but became a hit after NHK picked it up for Minna no Uta. It became a roaring success after being re-released as an A-side in 1963, and resurfaced in 2022 when broadcast to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the program being on air.
Hayama had a series of hits in the 1950s and 1960s, many being Japanese language covers of English songs, perhaps most notably being the Japanese version of Do-Re-Mi from The Sound of Music and Que, Sera, Sera, the lyrics in the latter also penned by Otowa.
Hayama made considerable contributions to the fine arts, receiving honors from the Ministry of Education and an Order of the Rising Sun medal. She died aged 83 in Tokyo in 2017. Her legacy lives on with a touch of Australia.