ai love music

Do You Have a Song That Keeps a Promise?

It’s Sunday! I hope that all is well with everyone despite the chaos that is going on around the world at the moment. For today, let’s forget those fears and the panic and listen to a couple of my favorite 90s Japanese songs: Kohmi Hirose‘s “Promise” and Maaya Sakamoto’s “Yakusoku wa Iranai” (約束はいらない: I Don’t Need Promises).

Yes, you are getting two songs because it was hard to choose only ONE song for this week’s prompt of “Promise/Vow/Oath” (約束 or 誓い in Japanese). By the way, this is part of a #SongLyricsSunday challenge, which is hosted by Jim at An Unique Title For Me. Anyone can join! Details on how to participate are found at the end of this post!

“Promise” by Kohmi Hirose

Kohmi Hirose

Kohmi Hirose was called the “Queen of (Japanese) Winter Romance Songs” in the 90s. And “Promise” was on the reasons why. The tune was used for a winter commercial campaign for the sports store Alpen here in Japan. It was the sixth song of Hirose’s to be featured in the yearly winter campaign. My other favorite Kohmi Hirose songs, “Romance no Kamisama” (God of Romance) and “Strobe”, were also used in the campaign.

Written by Hirose herself, this 1997 Japanese pop song is about romance in a picturesque winter wonderland. Hirose has had a string of songs in the 90s that were romantic ventures situated in winter scenes. But the difference with “Promise” is in the narrative. The song’s narrative is told in a female one as “Promise” is full of a woman’s feelings of certainty, worry, love, and simplicity. Although the feelings that are inside of me are confusing and causing chaos, I just want to enjoy this beautiful winter night with you.

I love Kohmi Hirose. She is a phenomenal singer with her vocal strength, using emotions to power the song, and the way she hits the notes. If you are going to skip this song because it is in a language that you don’t understand, I advise not to do it for this one because Hirose is an incredible singer. You don’t need to understand what she is saying (that is why I provide translated lyrics down below) to understand the song, it’s all in her voice! Can’t you feel the emotions in them?

Lyrics for Kohmi Hirose’s “Promise”

Here are the lyrics for “Promise” translated into English by AnimeLyrics.com:

“Promise” single cover

The beginning of love and the continuation of dreams
Surely, with you…

The cold north wind, the season draws us closer together
Feelings of love spillover from our joined hands
When I press the “warm” button on the coffee vending machine
A light is lit in my heart

Get down
It’s a trembling, spinning, shaking, painful feeling
We’re asleep together in a winter land
I’m looking just at you, you’re looking just at me
Making a pledge for tomorrow

Holding tightly to a heart burning with love
While enveloped in the snow that’s falling hard
I’ll love you forever, love you more than today
For always, eternal love

I’ll hold it dear, this silver ring that joins me to my future
I’ll always keep this proof of love safe
Your gentle smile is like a “warm” blanket
That sends my sadness to sleep

Get down
I don’t care if it’s a lie or a dream or the present
This winter night we’re spending together
Kiss me gently and make a wish on a star
And forget about the past

Softly stroke my hair, my love
The words you whisper well up in my heart
I’ll love you forever, love you more than today
For always, eternal love

Get down
It’s a trembling, spinning, shaking, painful feeling
We’re asleep together in a winter land
I’m looking just at you, you’re looking just at me
Making a pledge for tomorrow

Holding tightly to a heart burning with love
While enveloped in the snow that’s falling hard
I’ll love you forever, love you more than today
For always, eternal love

Softly stroke my hair, my love
The words you whisper well up in my heart
I’ll love you forever, love you more than today
For always, eternal love


Bonus: “Yakusoku wa Iranai” by Maaya Sakamoto

Maaya Sakamoto

“Yakusoku wa Iranai” was used as the theme song for the 1996 Japanese TV anime The Vision of Escaflowne (or Tenkuu no Escaflowne). The plot revolves around a young girl named Hitomi Kanzaki who is transported to another Earth, named Gaea, to save it with the assistance of a king named Van, a knight named Allen, and others. It is an anime about robots and divine powers (Hitomi can see into the future and even questions if fate is natural or not). It can be a confusing anime, but I love it.

Yuuho Iwasato wrote the lyrics to the song. She wrote songs for any major female artist in the 80s and 90s. But, Iwasato also wrote songs at the beginning of Sakamoto’s career. You may know Yuuho Iwasato as she wrote the Japanese lyrics for the Momoiro Clover Z and KISS collaboration song “Yume no Ukiyo ni Saite Mi na”. And yes, THE rock ‘n’ roll KISS.

The composer for “Yakusoku wa Iranai” is the legendary Yoko Kanno. Kanno is a legend in the Japanese entertainment industry as she wrote music for various soundtracks. If you haven’t listened to her music, I highly recommend it as she is versatile in many genres: jazz, big band, pop, rock, ballads, and etc. She also writes music in different languages like Japanese, French, and English. She is as legendary as Sting or Billy Joel.

“Yakusoku wa Iranai” is one of my favorite anime songs and I hope to play at my wedding (if I ever have one). As the song title says: When I am in love with you, I don’t need any promises. Because of your love for me, I have the strength to live life to the fullest and kept smiling even if you aren’t with me. Kind of sweet, isn’t it?

Here is a video with Yoko Kano and Maaya Sakamoto performing the song live. Kanno is very cute as she conducts the audience to sing along:

Lyrics for “Yakusoku wa Iranai”

Here are the lyrics translated in English, provided by AnimeLyrics.com:

Say, when they’re in love,
does everyone get this lonely?
Say, do they embrace the pain
that’s even deeper than the darkness?

It’s all been so that we
can shine,
I just know it!

I… I love you.
I’m gazing at you with my heart.
I… I believe in you.
even on the coldest night.

Say, even if they’re in love,
could the end someday come for them, too?
Say, could a feeling that’s even
clearer than the blue sky end up being abandoned?

The season-changing winds
Running along the streets
Forever

I… I love you.
I’m gazing at you with my heart.
I… I believe in you.
even on the coldest night.

Even if I lost tomorrow,
and even if I lost you, too,
I want to shine,
smiling as best as I can.

I call out to you now with my tears. I don’t need promises or such things,
because of the precious strength that you’ve given me.

I call out to you now with my eyes.
I don’t need promises or such things.
I reach out to you now with my eyes,
even on the coldest night.

“Yakusoku wa Iranai” single cover

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