Feel Good

Japanese Singer Relaxes Passengers on Grounded Flight by Singing Hit Song

Air travel can be a frustrating experience, especially when your flight is delayed and you have no idea when you might take off. Over the weekend, passengers in Hokkaido, Japan were in that exact position, only to have their frustration eased by the sound of Japanese folk singer Chiharu Matsuyama.

For those who don’t know, Matsuyama, 61, is a Japanese folk singer who’s been around since the 1970’s and had a couple big hits along the way. On Sunday, the singer found himself on a plane in the midst of a delay that lasted more than an hour because of security checks.

Naturally, all the passengers on board began to grow restless. So after getting permission from the plane’s captain and crew, Matsuyama took hold of the PA system usually reserved for in-flight announcements and sang a few lines from his song Ozora to “Daichi no Naka de,” which means in-between a giant sky and the earth.

“I know you are annoyed, but let’s just all wait together and get through this,” Matsuyama told the passengers. “They say that ‘good company makes the road shorter,’ so, let’s finish this together.”

If you’re unfamiliar with Matsuyama’s music, here’s a taste:

“What I did was meddling, but thinking about their feeling, I thought I had to do something,” Matsuyama explained later that night during a radio interview. “I appreciate the permission from the captain. I was bowled over by that.”

When Matsuyama finished singing, the passengers erupted in applause, as the stress of the situation melted away.

“I was really moved by his consideration and good voice,” said one of the plane’s passengers.

The flight eventually made it to its destination in Osaka, Japan. Afterward, the airline, All Nippon Airways Co., released a statement expressing its gratitude for Mastuyama in helping in calming everyone down.

If only every delayed flight had an accomplished pop star on board to ease the frustration of air travel.