b. Michiya Kitazawa, 10 November 1930, Hakodate, Hokkaidô, Japan. After many years of training as a professional singer of Japanese folk songs, Mihashi was signed by King Records as a singer of kayôkyoku (formerly the most common and typically Japanese form of popular song) with a debut single, ‘Sake No Nigasa Yo’ (‘A Bitter Taste Of Sake’) in 1954. Beginning with ‘On ’Na Sendô Uta’ (‘A Song Of A Female Boatman’) in 1955, he succeeded with many ‘home-pining’ songs in the late 50s, including ‘Ringo-Mura Kara’ (‘From The Apple Village’), ‘Osaraba Tokyo’ (‘Goodbye Tokyo’) and ‘Akai Yûi No Kokyô (‘My Hometown With The Red Sunset’). These songs were particularly popular among the young workers who had streamed into large cities from rural areas. His nasal tenor, reminiscent of his background in folk singing, and the nostalgic nature of his songs were familiar to Japanese households at least until the late 70s.
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