15 April 2011

Japanese songs in Cantopop

Album cover of Hacken Lee's 紅日

Feeling a little nostalgic recently.

While nowadays I don't listen to Cantopop (Cantonese pop), also known as HK-pop (Hong Kong pop), it has a period that I do enjoy listening to in the 80s and perhaps early 90s too, and what's interesting is that a lot of them are actually Japanese songs originally. Inspired by Z's post, this post picks a few examples of songs to compare with.

李香蘭 by Jacky Cheung

行かないで by Tamaki Koji


風繼續吹 by Leslie Cheung

さよならの向う側 by Momoe Yamaguchi


藍月亮 by Hacken Lee

月に濡れたふたり by Anzen Chitai (sung by Koji Tamaki)


紅日 by Hacken Lee

それが大事 by 大事MANブラザーズバンド


我只在乎你 by Teresa Teng, a mandarin song sung by a well known Taiwanese singer but is very popular not only in Taiwan and Hong Kong, but also in Japan too

時の流れに身をまかせ by Teresa Teng (both are sung by the same person, as Teresa is fluent in Mandarin, Cantonese, and Japanese)

A lot of these well known cover songs were released during the "golden era of Cantopop", which is mainly in the 1980s. While these liscensed songs were not the sole reason that made that period of Cantopop (or HK-pop) considered as the "golden age", a good lot of them have been very popular among us, and are still something we remember the period by.

There are people who criticise the existence of cover songs as lacking originality, or in a way even a "ripoff", or using other artists' content for their benefits of fame and success. I personally think it was quite a good link between Hong Kong and Japanese music entertainment, with Japanese artists being invited to Hong Kong to sing along with those who covered their songs in our localised language back then. Perhaps this is not something we'll get to see much nowadays due to various reasons, and looking back I do miss the good old days of music when the artists seem to put in a lot more effort and heart into the songs. It may very well be a biased feeling anyway, since I don't really know what to listen to nowadays.

I wonder whether similar things may be said about recent anime too, but I'll like to stay optimistic for the time being, at least for a bit longer. I do like to keep onto the hope.


  1. Bro I am a big canton pop fan in that era too. sadly HK movies and music isnt as good as it was then. Even if the music was japan cover, the lyrics and the melody is a good mix bring it to another meaning from the original japanese version.

    Now most cantonpop music just dont have that charm or beat. mostly very flat.

  2. @ LEon:
    Ah good to know that you too are into Cantopop in its so-called "golden era". It was at its peak during this period of time, and so were the movies. It's a pity to see this being a glory of the past now, and we can now only look back at them nostalgically.

    There are still some talented people out there I think, but they are quite overshadowed by the pop idolism these days, which seems to be the thing that is being more appreciated nowadays. No wonder those who have potential end up sprouting their successes elsewhere.

  3. Ah Hacken... I remember I used to really love that song.
    WoOOOH OHHHH OHOooOOooooooOOooooOOh!

    It seems to me that canton pop hasn't really changed much, or improved much compared to Japan or North America.

  4. @ radiant:
    Haha that Hacken got joked about that being "the most memorable line" for his songs by other respected singers in his concert once :P

    Cantopop hasn't changed much? Many said it has gone downhill since mid-90s, and those nowadays tend to lack substance or soul, or are severely overlooked (if they have potential). While I can't comment much about Western music, in my opinion seeing neighbouring mainland China and Taiwan booming well with lots of talented singers while Hong Kong slips backwards is not exactly a pleasant sight at what is to come ahead of Hong Kong's music industry.


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