Forbidden Colours


Forbidden Colours

Infobox Single
Name = Forbidden Colours


Cover size =
Artist = Ryuichi Sakamoto, David Sylvian
from Album = "Soundtrack: Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence"
Released = 1983
Recorded = 1983
Genre = Pop, Rock, Electronic
Length = 4:13
Label = Virgin Records
Producer = Ryuichi Sakamoto
Chart position =
Last single = "Bamboo Houses"
(1982)
This single = "Forbidden Colours"
(1983)
Next single = "Red Guitar"
(1984)

"Forbidden Colours" is a song composed by Japanese musician Ryuichi Sakamoto with lyrics by English musician, composer and singer David Sylvian. The song is the vocal version of the theme from the Nagisa Oshima film "Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence" (in certain territories retitled "Furyo") and was first released on the soundtrack album. "Forbidden Colours", also issued as a duet single on Virgin Records in 1983, was the second collaborative single release by Sylvian and Sakamoto, following 1982's "Bamboo Houses".

The title of the song and its lyrics reflect the main themes of the movie; the clashes between not only two countries at war but also two vastly different cultures, difficulties on both sides in accepting or even trying to understand the differences in mentality, the contrasting definitions of honour and shame, as well as the underlying homoerotic tension between the two main characters, Japanese Captain Yonoi (played by Sakamoto himself) and British war prisoner Jack Celliers (David Bowie), and the fine line between love and hate and consequently life and death - hence "my love wears forbidden colours".

In 1984 the track was re-recorded and released as the B-side to "Red Guitar", the lead single to Sylvian's first solo album "Brilliant Trees" and was later also included as a bonus track on certain editions of his 1987 album "Secrets of the Beehive". Both Sakamoto and Sylvian have since recorded several interpretations of the song, both instrumental (under the title "Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence") and vocal. An orchestral version featuring vocals by Sylvian was included on Sakamoto's 1999 album "Cinemage".

Formats and track listings

"Music by Ryuichi Sakamoto, lyrics by David Sylvian unless otherwise noted"

* UK 7" Virgin Records VS 601 & 7" pic disc VSY 601
# "Forbidden Colours" – 4:42
# "The Seed and the Sower" (instrumental) (Sakamoto) – 5:00

* UK 12" Virgin Records VS 601-12
# "Forbidden Colours" – 4:42
# "The Seed and the Sower" (instrumental) (Sakamoto) – 5:00
# "Last Regrets" (instrumental) (Sakamoto) – 2:40

* UK 3" CD Virgin Records CDT 18 (released 1988)
# "Forbidden Colours" - 4.42
# "Bamboo Houses" - 5.26
# "Bamboo Music" - 5.38

Personnel

* Ryuichi Sakamoto - keyboards, programming
* David Sylvian - vocals

Production

* Ryuichi Sakamoto - producer
* Recorded and mixed by - Ryuichi Sakamoto, Seigen Ono, Shinichi Tanaka
* Recording assistant - Michio Nakakoshi
* David Sylvian - artwork, cover design
* Yuka Fujii - photography

Cover versions and appearances in other media

* In March 2000, German trance band Watergate scored a UK #3 hit with their song "Heart of Asia", which was based on the main melody to the instrumental version of the song.
* Maksim Mrvica made a piano version included in his album Variations Part I&II (2004)
* The song was used as the main theme for a Singapore film - The Leap Years, released in December 2005.


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