1950 Live Peformance

1950 Live Performance.

These videos are for everyone who wonders what it was like to hear Yoshiko Yamaguchi performing live on stage. Here are recordings of her singing, speaking (in English, Japanese, and Mandarin) laughing, and enjoying herself while entertaining in a live performance setting for a Japanese-American audience. Please feel free to make copies of these tracks. (Yamaguchi herself would have liked these to be public domain rather than private).

A word about Yoshiko's singing here: by 1950 she was thirty years old and near the peak of her singing career, having taken lessons continuously for over fifteen years. Some of the songs (like Suzhou Serenade) she had been singing and refining for ten years, and the result (as you can hear on these videos) is spectacular indeed. Add to this the input of western piano arrangements and rhythm and a song like Tokyo Serenade just swings so nicely! when Yoshiko 'holds' those notes, the angels also weep

Blogger Yanagi says:
[She has] a wonderful singing voice.
This video is what I and other Lee Koran fans in Japan really wanted to see!


and the below version of Soshu Yakyoku has received almost 695,000 views!:


  1. Just wonderful, John! Thanks for posting these. What an amazing voice.

  2. Thank you fo alerting us to this! I've been waiting to hear this concert.

  3. I watched House of Bamboo because it starred Shirley Yamaguchi (Li Xianglan) in color. I always wondered if she spoke her own English dialog or was dubbed. From your 1950 recording, Ms. Yamaguchi was quite lively and had a higher pitched voice consistent with her soprano abilities and spoke English with an accent. The film voice was lower pitched and had no accent, so I think she was dubbed. The DVD commentary described Ms. Yamaguchi as a New York socialite. Both Robert Stack and Robert Ryan threw our lady to the floor. Japan may have been occupied by the USA at the time, but I didn't think it was necessary to show American dominance over Japan. -Eddie

    1. Thank you Eddie: I watched the film again specifically to see if I could detect any dubbing - I don't think her voice was dubbed, she was a good actress who was capable of changing her voice to suit the emotions of the moment which the film called for.
      As to 'throwing our lady to the floor', you are quite right; these gangster scenes (and the slapping scenes of which there are a few also) are violent and she did them herself instead of using a 'stunt double'. One can readily see that she accepted this violence because it was part-and-parcel of the story she was acting and as a professional duty.
      I'm going to post a video of Yamaguchi, Stack, and Fuller, de-planing in Tokyo prior to filming there - it may give a different impression about the above subject since it shows how playful and lively a person she actually was.

  4. Thank you John for writing to my blog and informing me of your detailed study of this very special lady. My time at the computer will take much longer now.

    1. Very welcome Andy! I enjoyed your site.

  5. Truly wonderful.
    Just wondering if there is also any information on who the pianist is?
    (Sounds a great deal - if not exactly - like Art Tatum - not to many people were playing like that back in 1950 - if only Art Tatum!)

    Thank you so much for this blog, by the way. Your kindness is greatly appreciated.

  6. PS I apologize - upon listening to the dailymotion clip, I believe the pianist is confirmed to be Mr. Roger Edens https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roger_Edens of Metro-Goldwyn-Meyer, a piano accompanist and musical coach to singers like Ethel Merman, Judy Garland, Audrey Hepburn, Fred Astaire, etc. (among other things musically.) (So contrary to my previous comment, it was NOT Art Tatum.)