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The sympathy of Michiko Namiki’s “Ringo no Uta,” the first pop music hit after World War II finished, endeared it to a battered nation. Four months later in May of 1946, however, a very different tune became a No. 1 hit. Noboru Kirishima’s “Reijin no Uta” (“Song of a Beautiful Woman”) played up lament where “Ringo” tried to foster hope.

“Reijin no Uta” was written by Masao Koga (1904-78), a successful composer who shaped Japanese pop music melodies through many decades. It was made for the 1946 version of the film “Reijin,” based on the life of the poet and artist Byakuren Yanagiwara.

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