|Hibari Misora Live in Tokyo Dome 1988|
39 Songs Performed
Hibari Misora was born Kazue Katō (加藤和枝, Katō Kazue?) in Isogo-ku, Yokohama, Japan. Her father was Masukichi Katō (加藤増吉, Katō Masukichi?), a fishmonger, and her mother Kimie Katō (加藤喜美枝, Katō Kimie?), a housewife. Misora displayed musical talent from an early age after singing for her father at a World War II send-off party in 1943. He invested a small fortune taken from the family's savings to begin a musical career for his daughter, and in 1945 she debuted at a concert hall in Yokohama, at the age of eight, as Kazue Misora (美空和枝, Misora Kazue?), a name proposed by her mother. A year later she appeared on a NHK broadcast, and impressed the Japanese composer Masao Koga with her singing ability. He considered her to be a prodigy with the courage, understanding, and emotional maturity of an adult. In the following two years, she became an accomplished singer and was touring notable concert halls to sold-out crowds.
Her recording career began in 1949 at the age of twelve, when she changed her stage-name to Hibari Misora; which means "beautiful skylark" and starred in the film Nodojiman-ky� jidai (のど自慢狂時代?). The film gained her nationwide recognition. She recorded her first single Kappa Boogie-Woogie (河童ブギウギ, Kappa bugiugi?) for Columbia Records later that year. It became a commercial hit, selling more than 450,000 copies. She subsequently recorded "Kanashiki kuchibue", which was featured on a radio program and was a national hit. As an actress, she starred in around 160 movies from 1949 to 1971, and won numerous awards. Her performance in Tokyo Kid (1950), in which she played a street orphan, made her symbolic of both the hardship and the national optimism of post-World War II Japan.
In January 13, 1957, Misora was attacked with hydrochloric acid, and injured in Asakusa International Theater. The criminal was an overly enthusiastic fan of hers. Fortunately, the wound did not remain in her face.
In 1973 Tetsuya Katō, Misora's brother, was prosecuted for gang-related activity. Although NHK did not acknowledge any connection, Misora was excluded from Kouhaku uta gassen for the first time in eighteen years. Offended, she refused to appear on NHK for years afterwards.
In April of 1987, on the way to a performance in Fukuoka, Misora suddenly collapsed. Rushed to hospital, she was diagnosed with avascular necrosis brought on by chronic hepatitis. She was confined to a hospital in Fukuoka, and eventually showed signs of recovery in August. She commenced recording a new song in October, and in April of 1988 performed at a concert at the Tokyo Dome. Despite overwhelming pain in her legs, she performed a total of 39 songs.
Her triumph was to be short lived. On 24 June 1989, after being confined to a hospital in Tokyo, she died from pneumonia at the age of 52. Her death was widely mourned throughout Japan.
1988 Color Fullscreen
Japanese Language Without English Subtitles