Opera singer’s tune sells more than 1 million CDs

Kyodo News

A Japanese song based on an English-language poem has sold more than 1 million CDs, making tenor Masafumi Akikawa the first opera singer to achieve such success in Japan, data from music information company Oricon Inc. showed Monday.

The single, called “Sen no kaze ni natte” (literally “become 1,000 winds”), is based on Japanese writer Man Arai’s translation of “Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep,” a poem whose author is unknown.

Arai also composed the melody for the song, which was released on CD in May 2006.

Sales of “Sen no kaze ni natte” skyrocketed last year after Akikawa performed it on NHK’s “Kohaku Utagassen,” a popular yearend music show.

Akikawa said in written comments released Monday that he would like to continue singing the tune for the next generation.

In January, the CD shot to the top of Oricon’s singles chart and inspired a TV drama, which boosted sales even more.