I’ve been obsessed with Chiemi Eri 江利チエミ ever since I saw her in the  1962 film, Ginza Love Story 銀座の恋の物語 “Ginza no Koi no Monogatari”. So I was excited to learn that Chiemi starred as Eliza Doolittle in the 1963 Tokyo production of ‘My Fair Lady’  『マイ・フェア・レディ』, Japan’s first Broadway musical. Although performed in Japanese, the 1963 production is set in early 20th-century England.

Here’s the program/theater pamphlet 演劇パンフ, album cover (source), and still from an NHK broadcast, labelled “踊りあかそう” for the song “I Could Have Danced All Night” 「踊り明かそう」:

And the following biography of Chiemi Eri has a short segment from “My Fair Lady” (starting at 22:05):

Here are some contemporary news articles:

(1) Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (August 16,1963): “My Fair Chiemi”

my-fair-chiemi-1963-chiemi-eri

(2) The Evening Independent, St. Petersburg Times (September 23, 1963): “Nipponese ‘Fair Lady’ – ‘Rain in Spain in Plain’ Even to Japanese”

A few items of note:

  • The article starts with the Japanese version of the famous ‘Rain in Spain’ lyric: “Spain de wa ame wa omo ni horono ni furu…
  • The show was performed at the famous Takarazuka Theater 東京宝塚劇場
  • Professor Higgins was played by Tadao Takashima 高島 忠夫 (he appeared in some Godzilla movies!)

(3) LIFE Magazine (October 4, 1963): “Japan’s First Broadway Musical: ‘My Fair Lady’ – Enry Shiggins Meets Eriza”

“Eliza, played with enormous zest by popular jazz singer Chiemi Eri, shocks the snooty Ascot aristocrats by roaring a Japanese vulgarity at her horse.”

Other:

The musical impressed the president of Datsun/Nissan, leading to the development of the Fairlady Z / Nissan Z-car 日産・フェアレディZ (source):

Japanese Links:

See also:

 

 

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