Early Japanese guitar records

Published by Robert Coldwell on

I recently acquired a few recordings by Morishige Takei, Shun Ogura and Yoshie Okawara I would like to share.

I have written some about Yoshie Okawara (1903-1935) before, and now I can present both of his only known recordings.

His first recording was Polydor Japan 606, where he performed Schneider’s “Polka op.92” and Henze’s “Nocturne.” I haven’t been able to precisely date this recording, but based on this listing I assume it was early 1931. In 2007 it was included in a CD set by the Rohm Music Foundation.

Polydor Japan 606-A: Polka (Schneider); 606-B: Nocturne (Carl Henze)

For his second recording, Polydor Japan 797, he recorded 4 pieces from his 5 song suite “Hanataba”, originally published in 1930. This recording can be dated to June 1931.

Polydor Japan 797-A: Matsumushi Flower, Dance of Oriental Poppy; 797-B: Magnolia in the Evening, Bolero Amaryllis

Morishige Takei (1890-1949) released many recordings but I don’t have a complete list. The one I am presenting here was recorded in early 1929 based on dating of Victor Talking Machine Co. recordings here and an article in the April 1929 issue of The Study of Mandolin and Guitar. This recording is of him directing his mandolin orchestra “Orchestra Sinfonica Takei.” Side A is “Sing to the Sea” from his suite “Scene d’Estate” Side B is “Children Watching Fireworks” also from “Scene d’Estate.”

The Japan National Diet Library has a copy of this record as well as some other recordings by the Orchestra Symphonica Takei that can be listened to on their website.

Victor Talking Machine Co. 50733-A: Sing to the Sea; 50733-B: Children Watching Fireworks

I have some recordings by Shun Ogura accompanying shakuhachi that I may post if there is interest, but the National Diet Library in Japan has some of his solo recordings:

Categories: Japan


Ed · December 27, 2020 at 10:34 pm

I like the Takei Orchestra recordings. As I play in the guitar section of the West Australian Mandolin Orchestra, I was wondering if the score for the Summer Suite is available in the Archive or elsewhere on the Web?

    Robert Coldwell · December 28, 2020 at 12:49 am

    Thank you for your comment. I don’t have very much mandolin music myself other than what are in 1930’s books containing both mandolin and guitar music. You can try reaching out to Circolo Mandolinistico Fiorentino in Kyoto. What I translated as “Summer Suite” apparently Takei called “Scene d’Estate” listed as MT4-1-12 on this site: http://vinaccia.jp/nj-collect/gakufu-kanren/NAKANO-fuko-collection/nakano-fuko-T.html You can request access here: http://vinaccia.jp/nj-collect/anketo/

    You can also check with the Ozaki Collection: http://www.eonet.ne.jp/~ozakihuko/sub4.html They have Scene d’Estate as item T001 013.

    I should really use Takei’s Italian titles instead of translating to English so I will update my article accordingly. I have also added a link to the Japan NDL website which has other recordings by Takei’s mandolin orchestra.

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