This remarkable song was composed by Akira Mitake, with lyrics by Yasushi Akimoto. Originally sung by Misora Hibari, it was released on Japan's Columbia Music label on January 11 1989. She died in June of the same year. Eight years after its release, it was voted number one in an NHK poll of the best Japanese songs of all time.
Misora Hibari 美空ひばりoriginal singer
A few interesting covers
Los Panchos (Mexico)
12 Girls Band (Shanghai) 女子十二楽坊
Angklung (West Javan instrument)
Gentra Seba (on Angklung, W. Java?)
KMS and MMS middle school orchestras (Japan)
Fuga Akira (electric jazz guitar, Japan)
Partial English translation (adapted from Taiwanensis on Youtube)
Unknowingly, I have walked here
This long and narrow road.
Looking back, far away
I can see my hometown
On the uneven and winding road
There is no map to follow.
And so life goes on.
Like a river flowing leisurely,
Time passes through the ages
Like a river flowing endlessly,
The sky is reddened by the setting sun....
See also the 'Enka' post