"Sukiyaki" is the English title for the song "Ue o Muite Arukō" (I Look Up as I Walk) by Kyu Sakamoto. The song was released in Japan in 1961 and later in the United States in 1963.
Despite its title, the song has no connection to sukiyaki, a Japanese hot pot dish. The song was retitled "Sukiyaki" for its release in English-speaking countries because it was thought to be easier for English-speaking people to pronounce, and it was a recognizably Japanese term.
The song is a sentimental ballad whose lyrics tell the story of a man who looks up and whistles while he is walking so that his tears won't fall. The verses of the song describe his memories and feelings. Despite the somewhat melancholy lyrics, the tune is quite upbeat.
In the United States, the song reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in June 1963, making Sakamoto the first Asian artist to achieve number one on the chart. The song remains the only Japanese-language song to reach number one on the chart in the United States.
"Sukiyaki" has been covered by many artists and in many languages around the world. The most famous English-language version is probably the cover by A Taste of Honey, an American band, in 1980. Their version includes English-language lyrics that are not a translation of the original Japanese lyrics but a completely different set of lyrics. This version also reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100, making it one of the few songs in history to reach that position in the US in two different versions.