The Fantabulous Dumplings from Japan!
I was recently leafing through a book I was given by a friend titled “Million Selling Records from the 1900’s to the 1980’s” and out fell a newspaper clipping from the Los Angeles Times in 1999 titled “Dumpling Song a Hit In Japan”.
The article: “In this land of fashion and fast-moving trends, there’s a wacky new hit in town: dumplings. Yes, dumplings. A children’s song featuring three animated dumplings has rocketed to the top of the pop charts, selling 3.3 million compact discs in just 12 days. It now looks likely that “The Three Dumplings” will become the best-selling single ever released in Japan, breaking the previous record of 4.5 million copies for a tune back in 1976.”
Well, the fever peaked out rather prematurely. Turns out the single, after spending a mere three weeks at number one, and selling a total of 2.9 million compact discs. While disappointing, the song stands today as the number 5 all-time “best selling single” in Japan since 1968. Not sure why the tallying begins with 1968.
In another category of Japanese record sales, from 1968 to-present, the best selling “international single” was “Beautiful Sunday” by Daniel Boone which sold nearly 2 million copies. In the U.S. the song managed a number 15 showing in 1972. Oddly, in the Japanese listings “Beautiful Sunday” is listed as a chart topper in 1976. But there is an explanation, the song was re-released in Japan in ’76 due to being used as a theme song for an early morning TV show. That is all it took. “Beautiful Sunday” skyrocketed to the top of the Japanese charts, residing at number 1 for 16 weeks.
The Japanese couldn’t get enough of the little diddy, and soon there were 10 additional cover versions of the song, all charting with a few entering the Top 10.
But back to the Dumplings: The actual title of the records was “Dango 3 Koydai” and the artists were not “The Three Dumplings” but a conglomerate comprised of Kentarou Hayami, Ayumi Shigemori, The “Himawari” Kids and Dango Gasshoudan.
Sadly, this assemblage of talent would never again combine to dazzle the Japanese music charts.
The song itself is, well, I don’t want to pass judgement – but probably best to let each one judge – Here it is:
The Astronauts in the Orient
So as far as the “Battle of the Bands” – It probably will never happen. The Astronauts hey-day in Japan, where they were very popular, pre-dated the Japanese “best selling” listings as presented today on Wikipedia. But Wiki does report: “In 1964, their record company discovered that they had a growing fan base in Japan, where they outsold The Beach Boys and toured with The Ventures. Five albums and three singles made the top 10 there, with “Movin'” – retitled as “Over The Sun” – reaching number one in the country.”
The group was so popular in Japan that RCA deemed it appropriate to actually record special tracks just for the Japanese following which included “Che, Che, Che”, “Goldfinger” and “Thunderball”(source – Doc Krieger’s Blog Site).
(The Astronauts in Japan: “Movin'” – “Che, Che, Che”, “Goldfinger” and “Thunderball” – Exclusives to Japan)
P.S. The Beatles
And the Beatles in Japan from 1968 on (including solo performances)? “Let it Be” ranked at number 14 all-time international with just over a half million in sales in that country. Ranking above them were an assortment of “stars” including Jig Saw “Sky High” #13, The Nolans with “I’m in the Mood for Dancing” #8, and my personal favorite “Ani Holem Al Naomi” by Hedva and David!