Shirley Temple sings two famous Japanese nursery rhymes, “Yuyake Koyake (夕焼け小焼け)”, and “Kutsu ga naru (靴が鳴る)”, in Japanese.
The YouTube poster says that this recording was made on March 11th, 1937, at Japan Polydor Studio in Tokyo, Japan. Shirley Temple was visiting Japan to promote her film “Dimples”. Despite the fact she learned the lyrics phonetically, there’s basically no pronunciation errors which is perhaps astonishing for a 9 year-old girl. But actually I think we all recognize that Shirley Temple Black was very smart and Japanese pronunciation is actually not that difficult, especially if you have studied any Spanish.
This record was only released in Japan and when WWII began the Japanese government prohibited listening to records made by any ‘American enemies’, so it is even rare in Japan.
This nameless YouTuber was fortunate to have this record in their collection, it had belonged to their grandfather. Sadly, when they tried to record from it on their HMV 102, the record literally exploded on the turntable. (There was a big crater caused by dropping the needle on the surface, and they hadn’t noticed it.) Fortunately, they had made a copy of the record using cassette tape several years ago so they decided to offer it to us on YouTube.
I saw this thanks to my friend Harold Archer, who works for Toyota in Nagoya. We met through the Keizai Doyukai, which I had the privilege of becoming a member of when I was CEO, Club Med Japan. There are very few non-Japanese members of the Keizai Doyukai, partially because it is conducted entirely in Japanese. I’m glad to see that in 2011, the earthquake/tsunami crisis spurred them to put up an English website and put up social media profiles.
Update: There is some question as to whether this is actually Shirley Temple or the woman who dubbed German versions of Shirley Temple films, Carmen Lahrmann. Lahrmann dubbed the following films and to some was known as “the German Shirley Temple”.
1936: Lockenköpfchen (Curley Top)
1936: Der kleinste Rebell (The Littlest Rebell)
1936: Shirley ahoi (Captain Johnny)
1937: Rekrut Willie Winkie (Wee Willie Winkie)
1937: Sonnenscheinchen (Stowaway) 1937
1938: Shirley auf Welle 303 (Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm)
1938: Heidi (Heidi)
1940: Fräulein Winnetou (Susannah of the Mounties)
On the comments of this YouTube video, there is just one comment (out of 58 currently) from http://www.youtube.com/user/GrammophonPlatten connected to http://grammophon-platten.de/ which focuses on historic recordings in an interchange with CMarkulis that throws some doubt on the possibility that this is Shirley Temple. They say:
which Google translates to:
‘Hello here sings Carmen Lahrmann! And not Shirley Temple. She sung 4 shots for the Japanese market (Phonetic) in 1936. The orchestra unfortunately I could not identify.’
A commenter on my GooglePlus post of this blog article told me to look at these comments and said further:
“If you read Shirley Temple Black’s autobiography “Child Star” you will find no mention of traveling to Japan in the 1930’s. As detailed as the book is, it would be if it happened. Also, Dimples was released in October 1936. On March 22, 1937, Shirley launched the first streetcar in Los Angeles which was highly publicized, surely a trip to Japan less than 2 weeks prior would be as well but I can’t find anything in newspaper archives about such a trip.
Perhaps you and your friends could help me in my quest to debunk this myth. My inability to read Japanese has severely hampered my research. Thank you, Cyndi (Shirley Temple Club @ yahoo Groups)”