Hoshi no Nagare Ni 星の流れに “In the Flow of the Stars” first recorded and made popular by Kikuchi Achiko 菊池章子 and
subsequently recorded by many popular and traditional artists in Japan including the mega star Chiaki Naomi ちあき∙ なおみ, shown here, is the quintessential memorial to postwar women’s experience in Japan.
My mother used to sing this song working around the house when I was a child.
This popular song was written in response/empathy with a sensational essay written and published on September 29, 1946 in the Mainichi newspaper by a 21 year-old prostitute, writing of her experiences giving her body to US soldiers. The song was released in 1947 but with little acclaim at that time.
John Dower, in his magnificent work entitled Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II, writes about this song on page 123:
“Almost a year later, the song belatedly became a great hit, and its refrain of konna onna ni dare ga shita–essentially, “Who made me such a woman?”–was taken up as a serious social question. The proper answer was usually understood not to be the sleazy procurers and pimps who took advantage of such destitute young women, but an incompetent government and bureaucracy.”
The video plays the cover version sung by diva Chiaki Naomi, with beautiful postwar occupation footage, posted by toyoHKO.
Lyrics to the first verse follow below.
I sold the fortunes of my body to the flow of the stars
Wherever, then, will my inn for today be
Although I’m not running down my heart to waste
I’ve been able to cry so much that my tears have run dry
Who has made me into such a woman?
Posted in: Anti-Miscegenation, documentary, Memory, militarism, Music, Occupation of Japan 日本占領, Occupation of Okinawa 沖縄占領, Patriarchy, Postwar Japan, Quote, SCAP, sex work, Sexism, Shōwa era, Supreme Command of Allied Powers, transpacific racism, transpacific sexism, U.S. military bases, Video, women, World War II, WWII, 占領, 星の流れに, 昭和時代