The Music of Hayakawa Yoshio 1: “Love Generation”

by Michael Bourdaghs

“Love Generation” (「ラブ・ゼネレーション」) with lyrics and music by Hayakawa, was a stand-out track on Vacant World [Jakkusu no sekai, 1968], the celebrated debut album by The Jacks, Hayakawa’s 1960s folk-rock group. With Hayakawa’s searing vocals, Mizuhashi Haruo’s psychedelic guitar, Tanino Hitoshi’s fluid bass, and Kida Takasuke’s jazz-influenced drumming, the original recording is an excellent example of the dark, moody style of The Jacks that captivated audiences on the underground music scene of late 1960s Japan.

The Jacks: Vacant World album cover

The Jacks: Vacant World album cover

Okabayashi Nobuyasu, the “God of Japanese Folk Music,” recorded a cover version of “Love Generation” on his classic 1970 album, Leap Before You Look (Miru mae ni tobe). Hayakawa himself has also revisited this composition repeatedly during his solo career. In addition, the song provided the title for Hayakawa’s first book, a lively collection of essays first published in 1972 and still in print today.

More details about The Jacks’ career can be found at Julian Cope Presents Japrock Sampler and Garage Hangover

The original Jacks’ recording of “Love Generation”

Love Generation
(Lyrics and music by Hayakawa Yoshio)

English translation by Michael Bourdaghs

When we want to start something Bokura wa nani ka o shihajimeyō to
We don’t want to fake being alive Ikiteru furi o shitakunai tame ni
So sometimes we fake being dead Toki ni wa shinda furi o shite miseru
That’s right: we fake being dead. Toki ni wa shinda furi o shite miseru no da.
If you want to, you can fly through the sky Shiyō to omoeba sora datte toberu
The swelling of joy when you feel that way Sō omoeru toki ureshisa no amari
We cry as we exchange cups of a saké you can’t drink Nakinagara nomenai sake o kawasu
That’s right: we exchange cups of a sake you can’t drink Nakinagara nomenai sake o kawasu no da.
It’s those things everyone says are true because they want to believe Shinjitai tame ni tadashii to omowarete iru mono koso
It’s all those lofty things: those are the things you should question Subete arayuru ōkina mono o utagau no da
Adults are supposed to be better than this Otonnatte iu no wa motto suteki nan da
You’ll find the real adults among the children Kodomo no naka ni otona wa ikiten da
It’s because I want to be alone Jitsu wa hitori ni naritai yue ni
That I talk with so many people, like a fool Baka mitai ni takusan no hito to hanasu no da
But deep in our words, the love— Bokura no kotoba no oku ni wa ai ga
But deep in our words, the love— Bokura no kotoba no oku ni wa ai ga
Overflows Ippai aru.

Hayakawa’s cover of the song from his 1995 solo album “Sunflower” [Himawari no hana]