2. Go Kitagawa and Russian Music in Japan

After he came back to Japan in 1950, Go Kitagawa established the first “Russian Choral Group” in Japan, and changed its name to “Choral Group, Shirakaba” in 1952. He spent time translating Russian lyrics to Japanese, and he taught how to sing Russian songs.  He taught at fourteen different places.

Until he passed away in 1985, he conducted choral groups for thirty years. He was known for his respect towards members for their willingness and responsibilities when he assisted the establishment of choral groups. Members truly loved his sincere and warm personality. His activities included support for teaching Russian folk songs to schools in Japan. In order to enhance that, he spent time researching Russian folk songs, Soviet classical songs, and translation of lyrics and performance. He also extended his support to assist the visit of Russian choral groups to Japan, writing the descriptions of their programs, and also as a writer for the Russian records and musical pieces. His works were very well-known. 

His love of Russian music gradually spread in Japan. During the time after WWII, “singing movement” and coffee shops where people could sing became very popular. It led to the establishment of many choral groups in workplaces and schools all over Japan. Songs like labor song, anti-war songs, and songs for revolutions were commonly sang, but Russian folk song and Russian popular music became a big boom. Songs such as Troika, Kalinka, Boat song in Volga, Katusha, Light and Sten’ka Razin are still popular in Japan.