Songwriter Hoshino Tetsuro died of heart failure at a Tokyo hospital yesterday. He was 85. His funeral will be held in the central Tokyo district of Minami Aoyama on November 19. One of the most prolific lyricists of the postwar era, credited with more than 4,000 songs, Hoshino received multiple cultural awards for his contributions to the arts. He was chairman of the Japanese Society for Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers and honorary chairman of the Japanese Lyricists Association. Among his many hits, he penned the theme song for the hugely popular “Otoko wa Tsurai Yo” movie series and such enka classics as “Hakodate no Onna” (Kitajima Saburo, 1965), “365-ho no March” (Suizenji Kiyoko, 1968, photo right), and “Midaregami” (Misora Hibari, 1987).
After graduating high school, Hoshino went to work on a deep-sea fishing trawler. In 1952, while recovering from illness, he entered a magazine lyric writing contest. His work was recognized and he made his professional debut as a writer the following year. In his lyrics he portrayed the subtleties of human nature and the joys and suffering of life in a way that resonated with fans of enka ballads.