Yumi Arai （荒井由実）had tracks on her first two albums, "Hikoki Gumo"（ひこうき雲）and "Misslim" that are still sung today, but it was her third album, "Cobalt Hour" that has been treated as her breakthrough release. Mark Schilling, wrote in "The Encyclopedia of Japanese Pop Culture"that "critics praised it as fusing the essence of contemporary American and European pop music, with echoes of American sixties pop, into an integrated whole that was unmistakably Arai." And I think record buyers certainly agreed; the album became the 2nd-highest LP of the year in terms of sales.
The irony about having "Rouge no Dengon" placed into a movie as breezy and innocuous as "Kiki's Delivery Service" lies in the lyrics: a wife who knows her hubby is cheating on her is heading off on a train to tell all to her mother-in-law. The message in rouge refers to the lipstick message she gleefully left on the bathroom mirror for her husband to read about her intentions. Instead of the "woe is me" theme that such a plot could have in an enka song, Yuming plays it like a comedy of revenge....calling Sandra Bullock and Meg Ryan. Perhaps Meg could play the older and more embittered Kiki in the live-action version.
But when listening to this classic album, you'll know that this is neither enka nor aidoru. And it's not even folk...which was a prevailing musical trend in Japan at the time.
I've got a follow-up on the album.