Lyricist Toshio Oka dies at 92

Toshio Oka, an accomplished lyricist known for writing hits such as Kazuo Funaki’s “Koukou Sannensei,” died of renal failure at a Tokyo hospital early on Tuesday. He was 92.

Born as Yasukichi Nishiyama in the Fukushima prefecture in 1917, he began studying under the poet Yaso Saijo at the age of 18. In 1942, he became a reporter for the Mainichi Shimbun, and seven years later he started working as a lyricist for Nippon Columbia (which later became Columbia Music Entertainment).

“Koukou Sannensei” and other songs earned Oka the Lyricist Award in the 1963 Japan Record Awards. His works include “Akogare no Yubin Basha” and “Kougen Ressha wa Iku” for Yuji Koseki, “Tokyo no Bus Girl” for Gento Uehara, and theme songs for anime series such as “Gatchaman Fighter.”

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