Midnight Diner is a Japanese drama that revolves around a small diner in Tokyo. Seeking refuge from their daily lives in a modern metropolis, customers visit during the midnight hours to find comfort in the form of food, prepared to order by the sole proprietor chef, and companionship in the somewhat folksy atmosphere of the diner and its clientele. Although it’s through food that the clientele, many of whom have come from other parts of Japan to Tokyo to earn a living, are transported back to their hometowns and childhood memories, the subtlety of the series’s music helps bring to life the diner’s nostalgic, hometown atmosphere.
The opening theme, Omoide (思ひで) by Tsunekichi Suzuki (鈴木常吉), sets the mood for each episode right from the start. Riding through Tokyo’s Shinjuku district, the flowing guitar progression and Suzuki’s soothing voice impart an unexpected depth to the superficial neon lit streets, perhaps reflecting the charm and character of the city’s inhabitants, rather than the city itself. Suzuki’s songs appear throughout the series, as do songs by singer-songwriter Kimie Fukuhara (福原希己江). Like Suzuki’s, her songs bring a similar depth and charm to each show. Some songs, like Karaage (唐揚げ) (Japanese-style fried chicken), even highlight and bring to life the main dish of certain episodes.
Also, please click the image below to try out these transcriptions of selected songs from the series!