I would like to give credit where credit is due. Videos are from YouTube and other sources such as NicoNico while Oricon rankings and other information are translated from the Japanese Wikipedia unless noted.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Etsuko Sai -- Reach Out

I'm not sure about the current J-Pop situation, but back in the kayo kyoku age, Japanese record companies released singles and albums like a proverbial rapid-fire Gatling Gun. Of course, the most popular songs that got to the top were more likely to be enka, aidoru or works by top superstars like Yuming, Off Course or Anzen Chitai.

But then there are some of the unsung heroes and heroines that were never quite able to tap into the mass media zeitgeist but still had something lovely to say. I've already highlighted a couple of them: Ruiko Kurahashi(倉橋ルイ子) and Makoto Matsushita(松下誠). I've been listening to kayo kyoku/J-Pop for decades, but I only came across Etsuko Sai(彩恵津子)within the last few years.

In 1984, she released her first album, "Reach Out", and by the cover that you see below, I could imagine that this would be music that didn't fit the usual categories of kayo kyoku. There was that very summery and foreign appearance to it. The first track has the same title, and I first found it when I bought my first disc in the "Good Times Diva" series, a turn-of-the-century collection of songs sung by various female Japanese singers during the last 30 years of the 20th century. At the same time, she's been mentioned in my "Japanese City Pop" guide.


"Reach Out"
the single is a ballad that has that breezy carefree feeling, reminiscent of Charlene's "I've Never Been to Me", the 1982 sleeper hit. The song was composed by Tetsuro Oda(,織田哲郎)who would also bring hits to bands like Tube & Zard, and rocker Nanase Aikawa(相川七瀬)in the 90s.

Here is the English version, also sung by Sai, below.

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