I also have the English Version !
Kyu Sakamoto (Sakamoto Kyu?, born Hisashi Oshima (Oshima Hisashi?), December 10, 1941 - August 12, 1985) was a Japanese singer and actor. He is ranked at number 18 in a list of Japan's top 100 influential musicians by HMV.
Sakamoto was born in Kawasaki, Kanagawa prefecture as the youngest among nine siblings—his nickname Kyu, meaning 'nine', is an alternate reading of the kanji for his given name (Hisashi). His parents, Hiroshi Sakamoto and Iku Sakamoto, both worked at a restaurant. Sakamoto is cousin to the free-jazz saxophonist Kaoru Abe. In high school Sakamoto began to sing and became very popular. In 1958 he joined the Japanese pop-band "The Drifters" as a singer.
One of his best known and most beloved songs was "Ashita ga Aru Sa" ("There's Always Tomorrow"). It was covered by the Japanese band Ulfuls in 2001.
Sakamoto worked very hard for old, young and handicapped people in Japan. "Ashita Ga Aru Sa" was the leading theme of the 1964 Handicap Olympics in Tokyo.
On August 12, 1985, Kyu Sakamoto died in the crash of Japan Airlines Flight 123. Before the doomed aircraft hit the ground, he managed to write a farewell note to his wife, Yukiko Kashiwagi. Married in 1971, they had two daughters, Hanako and Maiko.
His most popular song, Ue o muite aruko ("I look up when I walk") was popular in Japan and the United States. Released by Capitol Records in the US as Sukiyaki (Capitol 4945), it topped the Billboard pop charts in the United States for three weeks in 1963 -- to date the only song sung entirely in Japanese to do so. The lyrics were written by Rokusuke Ei and the melody was composed by Hachidai Nakamura. The lyrics tell the story of a man who looks up and whistles while he is walking so that his tears won't fall. The verses of the song describe him doing this through each season of the year.
The original Japanese title was considered too difficult for American audiences to remember and pronounce, therefore a well-known word that people would associate with Japan was used - Sukiyaki, even though the word has nothing to do with the song. A Newsweek columnist noted that the re-titling was like issuing "Moon River" in Japan under the title "Beef Stew."
In 1989 the later slain singer Selena recorded "Sukiyaki" in her eponymous EMI album "Selena".
In the UK, it was the first ever Japanese language song to enter the charts, under the American assumed title "Sukiyaki". However it only went to number 6 with no further chart entries.
The actual word "Sukiyaki" refers to a popular Japanese dish usually containing beef and vegetables simmered in a pot containing water and sauce; despite this, it was still successful with non-Japanese speaking audiences.
The song was performed in English by the female R&B duo A Taste of Honey in 1981; the English version, which also told the story of a love gone wrong, was almost as big a hit as the original, reaching #3 on the Hot 100 and remaining on the Hot 100 chart for 24 weeks. "Sukiyaki" was brought back into the U.S. Top 10 once more by the R&B vocal group 4 P.M. (4 Positive Music) in 1994.
In 2000, solo violinist Diana Yukawa recorded Sukiyaki song on her bestselling debut album (known as Elegy in the UK and La Campanella in Japan). Diana also performed Sukiyaki various times on the mountainside where her father, Akihisa Yukawa, died in the Japan Airlines Flight 123 crash together with Sakamoto.
The English lyrics of the version recorded by A Taste of Honey are not a translation of the original Japanese lyrics but a completely different set of lyrics set to the same basic melody. Probably the nearest translation, at least in feel, was recorded by US soul singer Jewel Akens, on ERA records, as "My First Lonely Night" which, although not a literal translation, tells a similar story. A lonely man walks through the night, after losing his love.
Sakamoto had only one other song reach the U.S. charts, "China Nights (Shina no Yoru)" (Capitol 5016), which peaked at #58 in 1963. His only American album, "Sukiyaki and Other Japanese Hits" (Capitol 10349), peaked at #14 on the Billboard Pop Albums chart (now known as the Billboard 200) in 1963 and remained on the Pop Albums chart for 17 weeks.
In the summer of 1963 Kyu went out on a world tour that lasted to the beginning of 1964. A few of the countries that he visited included the United States (including Hawaii), Germany, and Sweden. When Sakamoto visited the United States he was a guest on The Tonight Show with Steve Allen. He was also supposed to be on The Ed Sullivan Show but it was cancelled due to the recording of his upcoming movie "Kyu chan no katana wo nuite".