• Kyodo News

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Award-winning lyricist Miyuki Ishimoto, who came up with the words to some of the nation’s most popular hits, died Wednesday, his family said. He was 85.

The place and cause of death were not immediately known.

Ishimoto debuted as a professional lyricist in 1948 and stepped into the limelight later that year with Haruo Oka’s hit “Akogare no Hawaii Koro” (“A Voyage To Hawaii”).

Penning lyrics that tugged at people’s heart strings, Ishimoto, who hailed from Hiroshima Prefecture, was immensely popular.

Many of his songs — including the 1966 hit “Kanashii Sake” (“Sad Sake”) — were made famous by the late great singer Hibari Misora.

Ishimoto managed to survive an often fractious music scene, winning the Japan Record Award for two consecutive years for “Yagiri No Watashi” (“Yagiri Ferry”) in 1983 and “Nagaragawa Enka” (“Nagaragawa Troubadour”) in 1984.

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