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The ties that bind Japan and Netflix’s ‘Stranger Things’

Originally titled Deal with God, the 1985 song features Bush and dancer Michael Hervieu wearing grey Japanese Hakamas, the traditional style of floor-length pants. (Screengrab)
Originally titled Deal with God, the 1985 song features Bush and dancer Michael Hervieu wearing grey Japanese Hakamas, the traditional style of floor-length pants. (Screengrab)
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09 Jun 2022 05:06:53 GMT9
09 Jun 2022 05:06:53 GMT9

Diana Farah

DUBAI: As fans cause a social media frenzy due to the recent release of Netflix’s Stranger Things’ fourth season, there is a slight connection between Japan and the show that viewers may have missed.

The new episodes helped Kate Bush’s 1985 hit song Running Up That Hill break into the Billboard Top 10 for the first time in 2022, as well as hitting number one on the iTunes charts.

The British singer’s song plays a significant role in the story arc of one of the show’s main characters Max Mayfield, played by American actress Sadie Sink.

Originally titled Deal with God, the 1985 song features Bush and dancer Michael Hervieu wearing grey Japanese Hakamas, the traditional style of floor-length pants. Hakamas, in modern day Japan, are typically worn by schoolteachers, samurais, martial artists or for special occasions such as graduations and marriage.

In a book titled ‘Kate: In the Rainbow,’ written by her brother John Carder Bush, he mentions that the singer was trained Shotokan-style Karate for two years in the 70s by top Japanese instructors, including Keinosuke Enoeda.

The Hakamas in the video clip could be a nod to the time she spent training the martial art.

On her website, Bush commented saying she was very excited about the use of her song in the popular show. 

She said: “You might’ve heard that the first part of the fantastic, gripping new series of  ‘Stranger Things’ has recently been released on Netflix. It features the song, ‘Running Up That Hill,’ which is being given a whole new lease of life by the young fans who love the show – I love it too! Because of this, Running Up That Hill is charting around the world and has entered the UK chart at No. 8. It’s all really exciting! Thanks very much to everyone who has supported the song. I wait with bated breath for the rest of the series in July.”

Screengrab from Kate Bush’s official website.

The dance in the music video resembles the action of drawing a bow and arrow, an action which also appeared on the song’s cover artwork. The pair dance and search through crowds of masked strangers and ends with them being pulled away from each other.

In a 1985 interview, Bush said the song was about “a relationship between a man and a woman. They love each other very much, and the power of the relationship is something that gets in the way. It creates insecurities”

She adds that it is saying that if the two could make a deal with God and change place, they would understand what it is like to be the other person and clear misunderstandings.

Since the release of the new season of Stranger Things, fans have become obsessed with the song. The show’s music supervisor Nora Felder said in an interview that producers The Duffer Brothers asked her to find a song that resonated with the character’s “complex feelings.”

Felder added that the song was exactly what the show needed. The music supervisor received three Emmy nominations for Outstanding Music Supervision for her work on Stranger Things.

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