Saturday, February 24, 2024

Makoto Shinkai Reveals Which Pop Song Didn’t Make It Into Suzume

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The director had wanted to include the 1980s Japanese hit, “Don’t Make Me Take Off My Sailor Uniform”

©’Suzume no Tojimari’ Production Committee

Makoto Shinkai participated in a live Q&A at London’s BFI Southbank following a screening of his new film Suzume on Wednesday. During the Q&A session, Shinkai revealed that he had wanted to include one particular vintage Japanese pop song whose title might raise eyebrows – “Don’t Make Me Take Off My Sailor Uniform” (“Sailor-fuku wo Nugasanaide”), performed by the girl group Onyanko Club (“Kitty Club”) in 1985.


Shinkai revealed this while answering a question from the audience about whether he’d ever removed elements from his films because they wouldn’t work with an audience outside Japan. The director said that when he made a film, he aimed for something a Japanese audience would enjoy. “If Japanese people can enjoy it, then I think other people will also get it.”

However, he added that sometimes producers told him, “No one outside Japan is going to understand this at all.”

(Minor spoiler for Suzume.) One part of the film involves a journey in a car, and several vintage pop tracks are heard on the car radio. “There was one song that I wanted to use,” Shinkai recalled, “and the producer said no. It was a famous Japanese pop song from the ’80s called ‘Don’t Make Me Take Off My Sailor Uniform.’ I like the song, Japanese people are all familiar with it, but they didn’t think that title would go down very well.”

The song was Onyanko Club‘s debut single in July 1985. Yasushi Akimoto wrote the lyrics, and he would go on to found AKB48 twenty years later.

Disclosure: Kadokawa World Entertainment (KWE), a wholly owned subsidiary of Kadokawa Corporation, is the majority owner of Anime News Network, LLC. One or more of the companies mentioned in this article are part of the Kadokawa Group of Companies.

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