Watanabe Hamako – Shina No Yoru (China night / She Ain’t Got No Yoyo) on 78 rpm record

Watanabe Hamako (渡辺はま子) - Shina No Yoru (支那の夜)

Watanabe Hamako (渡辺はま子) – Shina No Yoru (支那の夜)

I listen to this record quite often, but I only discovered recently that this song called Shina No Yoru (支那の夜, which means “China night”) had a special and controversial story. It was actually not so easy to find out who was its original performer, so that I had to make several researches to make this clear.

According to the information I found, this song was first performed in 1938 by Japanese singer Watanabe Hamako  (渡辺はま子, 1910-1999) and was used during the Japanese occupation of China as the main theme of 1940 propaganda movie Shina No Yoru.

Watanabe Hamako (支那の夜)

Watanabe Hamako (支那の夜)

There is also a cover version performed in 1941 by Japanese singer and actress Yoshiko Ōtaka (山口淑子, also known as Li Xianglan 李香兰 and Shirley Yamaguchi), who actually played the main role in the same film (I told you it’s a bit complicated). According to this post and the comments I read on Youtube, it seems that there is still a controversy concerning the identity of the original performer.

Later on, the song became popular among American GI’s based in Japan and Korea after World War II, and its hard to pronounce title became “She Ain’t Got No Yoyo”. You can easily find anecdotes about it in Korean War veterans forums on the web.

The record was published by Columbia Japan (コロムビア・レコード). Lyrics written by Yaso Saijo (西條八十), music composed by Nobuyuki Takeoka (竹岡信幸).

You can read more information about this song and both singers in this post. Read also this article written by Michael K. Bourdaghs from the University of Chicago.

29 thoughts on “Watanabe Hamako – Shina No Yoru (China night / She Ain’t Got No Yoyo) on 78 rpm record

  1. Pingback: 78 rpm recording of Shina No Yoru (支那の夜) - JapanForum.com

  2. Pingback: The Rare Vintage Japan Music Record | Iwansuwandy's Blog

  3. This one took me back 50 years and half a world! (Okinawa 1962 as a young Marine)
    And I thought time travel was impossible…

  4. Here is a comment about this song posted on my Youtube Channel:
    “My Dad was in the Navy from 1932-52, he spent most of that time in the Pacific Rim. He brought back this record, among others, from his time overseas. This was his favorite. I cracked up when I saw the title. My mother and I, and I am sure countless others, came up independently with the “She Ain’t Got No Yo-Yo” moniker. I still remember laughing about it with her. Great memories, thanks!”

  5. Tnx for the post!
    I came across this exact record in a shop i Oslo, Norway. Had to buy it to find out what it was. Do you know what year it is from?

      • Hi! Tnx for answering!
        The shop is called “Råkk og Rålls brukthandel” adress: Akersgata 39 Oslo.
        It has mostly 33rpm’s and dvd’s and such, but also some boxes of old 78rpm’s ;)

        I came across, and bought, some old 80rpm records as well- i know nothing about them, except that they look very old, two french ones and one Chinese(i think)- they are also bigger that the 78s- do you know what type of player i would need? (my gramophone certainly can’t play them)- they are not as thick as the Edison records(i’ve googled a bit)

        Ulrik Lie

  6. Thanks for your comment! I will add this store to my list.
    I guess the 80rpm you mention are Pathé records, aren’t they? They are probably “vertical cut” records, you can’t indeed play them on a standard gramophone. Chinese 80rpm Pathé records are really scarce, you’re lucky!!! Could you send me a scan of this record?

    • Do you mean like, send you a photo of the records?(I will do it when i am back home) because, i have no way of playing them, unfortunately. I am only in possession of my gramophone, which cant do more than 78rpm, and a normal vinyl-record player(33/45rpm)- do you have any idea where i can get a player who can play it?

      I am new to this hobby btw, so I am no professional- but i couldn’t resist buying the 80rpm’s when i only had to pay 30NOK for them :)

    • I would be very happy indeed if you could tell what you know about these records, because the info on the internet is scarce, and misleading from time to time :) I will send you photos of the discs later on

  7. I actually have the same problem… I recently found these North-African “vertical-cut” Pathé records (including a center-start etched one!), but I cannot play them: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=438660622902533&set=a.342776692490927.58610.130354473733151&type=1 and https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=430802767021652&id=130354473733151
    There are several stores in Paris selling gramophones for vertical cut records, but these machines are expensive… Try eBay?
    I’d be glad seeing a photo of the record, thanks!

  8. Hello. I was a young GI in Japan 1948/1950 and enjoyed the China Night on armed forces hit parade. its been 60Years + but truly enjoyed Hearing the Music again. thank you

  9. love the song so much. i heard this song when i was 5 six years old. my late father and mother was at the indonesian special force. both of them use to song this song in Indonesian. they translate it to indonesia the title is SI Cantik Jelita wihich mean The Beautiful One.. i enjoy read the story and listen to the original music. thanks


  11. Thanks for the information. My dad, who was stationed in Korea and Japan in the 60’s, often sang the phrase “She aint got no yo-yo”. I never heard the original or knew of its origin until now.

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