Numerous buzzwords appeared in Japan between 1956 and 1961.

Here are some examples: "Taiyo-zoku," which derived from "Taiyo no Kisetsu" (Season of the Sun), a highly controversial novel by Shintaro Ishihara; "Kamikaze taxi," which denoted taxi drivers who drove with the reckless abandon of wartime kamikaze pilots on suicide missions; and "ichioku sohakuchi-ka," which implied that the advent of the television age caused the dumbing down of the entire nation of 100 million.

Some expressions from that era have become too outdated today and are no longer relevant.

But "Que Sera Sera" was in a league of its own. A song of this title swept the entire world, and the lyrics still serve as a timeless maxim.

Spanish for "whatever will be, will be," the song contributed to promoting a cheerful, optimistic philosophy of life. On the flip side, it comes across as somewhat frivolous in that it seems to discourage making firm plans for the future.

However, when brooding over a personal or work-related problem at night, just mouthing these words can definitely improve one's mood.

In Japan, the song was popularized by Peggy Hayama (1933-2017).

The original version was introduced in the 1956 U.S. film "The Man Who Knew Too Much." Doris Day, the film's co-star who immortalized it, died on May 13. She was 97.

According to obituaries, her private life was quite checkered.

Her parents divorced when she was a child. A traffic accident ended her dream of pursuing her career as a dancer. She was married four times, and divorced as many times. And she even experienced the tragedy of losing her beloved son. It appears that she endured rough patches for many years.

After retiring from her A-list Hollywood life, she committed herself to animal welfare activism. She settled on the West Coast to live with her beloved animals.

She was quoted as saying, “The more I study human beings, the more I love animals.”

On her last birthday on April 3, about 300 fans came to a celebratory event.

When she was first shown the lyrics of "Que Sera Sera," she reportedly expressed distaste, saying she didn't want to sing it because she found it "childish."

But this ultimately became the song that defined her life, and it is still being sung in many languages.

"Que sera sera," indeed.

--The Asahi Shimbun, May 18

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Vox Populi, Vox Dei is a popular daily column that takes up a wide range of topics, including culture, arts and social trends and developments. Written by veteran Asahi Shimbun writers, the column provides useful perspectives on and insights into contemporary Japan and its culture.