Harman Patil (Editor)

Forbidden Colours

Updated on
Share on FacebookTweet on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Reddit
Released  1983
Length  4:13
Recorded  1983
Label  Virgin Records
Genre  Synthpop, new-age, world
Writer(s)  Ryuichi Sakamoto (music) David Sylvian (lyrics)

"Forbidden Colours" is a 1983 song by David Sylvian and Ryuichi Sakamoto. The song is the vocal version of the theme from the Nagisa Oshima film Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence (in certain territories retitled Furyo). It appears on the film's soundtrack album and was released as a single on Virgin Records in 1983 (the second collaborative single release by Sylvian and Sakamoto, following 1982's "Bamboo Houses").


The title of the song is taken from Japanese writer Yukio Mishima's 1953 novel Forbidden Colors; although not directly related to the film, both works include exploration of homosexual themes.

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

All music by Ryuichi Sakamoto; lyrics by David Sylvian on "Forbidden Colours", "Bamboo Houses" and "Bamboo Music".

  • UK 7" Virgin Records VS 601 & 7" pic disc VSY 601
    1. "Forbidden Colours" – 4:42
    2. "The Seed and the Sower" – 5:00
  • UK 12" Virgin Records VS 601-12
    1. "Forbidden Colours" – 4:42
    2. "The Seed and the Sower" – 5:00
    3. "Last Regrets" – 2:40
  • UK 3" CD Virgin Records CDT 18 (released 1988)
    1. "Forbidden Colours" - 4.42
    2. "Bamboo Houses" - 5.26
    3. "Bamboo Music" - 5.38


  • Ryuichi Sakamoto - keyboards, programming
  • David Sylvian - vocals, lyrics
  • 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
  • References

    Forbidden Colours Wikipedia

    Similar Topics
    10 Things I Hate About You
    Danika Bourne
    Sam Palatnik