Hatoyama dance oldie takes flight on Internet auctions

Kyodo News

The Democratic Party of Japan’s election victory has revealed a hidden talent possessed by the country’s presumptive prime minister, Yukio Hatoyama, whose song recorded two decades ago is drawing attention after a copy appeared on an Internet auction site.

Hatoyama recorded the song, “Take HEART — Tobitate Heiwa-no-Tri-yo” (Fly, Dove of Peace), in 1988 when he was a first-term lower house lawmaker elected from the Liberal Democratic Party and around 100 copies were made and distributed to members of his supporters group.

“I never imagined that there would be a day when this tune would come into the spotlight,” said Teruaki Asanuma, a 65-year-old dentist in the Hokkaido city of Muroran who wrote the song at Hatoyama’s request.

Hatoyama had wanted Asanuma to write a tune featuring a Japanese-dance rhythm, but Asanuma said he recommended a more pop-oriented record reflective of the “urban atmosphere” Hatoyama had created.

Only a short recording session was required, Asanuma recalled, adding that he thought Hatoyama was “quite accustomed to singing.”

The title of the song plays on the similarity in sound between the pronunciation “hato” (dove), the first character of Hatoyama’s surname, and “heart,” according to Asanuma.

“Now I hope he will help to guide everyone to happiness as suggested in the lyrics of the song,” he said.

Hatoyama, who has been based in a Hokkaido constituency ever since his political debut, is expected to be elected Japan’s prime minister at a special parliamentary session on Sept. 16 after leading his opposition party to a landslide victory in the Aug. 30 election for the powerful House of Representatives.

Hatoyama left the rival LDP, which has run the country for most of the last half century, in the early 1990s and co-founded the DPJ in 1998.