Michiko Namiki (1921-2001) was a fresh face in the Japanese entertainment industry when World War II came to an end. She had lost her father and brother during the fighting, her mother in the Tokyo bombings and her first love was killed on the front lines. Her story wasn't dissimilar to that of many other Tokyoites at the time, but following the war it was her voice that provided hope for a broken nation.

Namiki's "Ringo no Uta" ("Apple's Song") was the first pop-music hit following the end of World War II. A standard pop song in 3-4 time, it was composed by Tadashi Manjome who reportedly had to coax Namiki into singing with a sense of joy even though she was still in mourning.

As a musician myself, I confess that I don't spend too much time focusing on the lyrics of a song. In the case of "Ringo no Uta," however, it was the words that struck me. Think about it, as a singer, what do you say to a population that has suffered so much loss? Apparently, the simple experience of enjoying a piece of fruit is comforting enough: