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.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Seiko Matsuda -- Akai Sweet Pea (赤いスイートピー)

Seiko Matsuda(松田聖子), Queen Aidoru of the 80s...not a title to be taken lightly. Especially when she was on a streak of 22 straight singles(3rd to 25th) which went to No. 1 from October 1980 to April 1988. "Akai Sweet Pea" was her 8th single, released in January 1982. The song has quite a pedigree. The lyrics were provided by Takashi Matsumoto(松本隆), former drummer for 1970s New Rock band Happy End, and the 2nd-most commercially successful lyricist after Yu Aku(阿久悠). But the composer for this adorably sweet tune of undying love (with an almost unhealthy interest in sweet pea) for a guy was Karuho Kureta(呉田軽穂). Who that, you say? None other than Yumi Matsutoya(松任谷由実) herself under an alias that she's often used.

That alias came about due to Queen of New Music Matsutoya's reluctance to the world of old-fashioned kayo kyoku. She initially had had no intention of helping out a rival in that world. But Matsumoto gradually broke down her resistance, and Yuming acquiesced under the condition that she use an alias. Of course, when reading a Japanese name, the last name comes first so she was known as Kureta Karuho...a bit of a pun on Greta Garbo. And thus Seiko-chan was the first singer to be given a Kureta hit tune (...or so I had thought).

And the collaboration hit it out of the park. "Akai Sweet Pea" is one of Seiko's most beloved songs. It was at the No. 1 spot for 2 weeks in February and became the 12th-ranking song of 1982. And even more notable, it hung around the top 20 for 17 straight months. I can only presume that Yuming was either supremely proud of her achievement or was smacking her head repeatedly for 17 straight months for contributing to an aidoru's success. I certainly hope it was the former since the song is also one of my favourites.

"Akai Sweet Pea" originally came out on the album, "Pineapple", but has always come out on every Best Hits package that Seiko has released.


  1. I did not know about this information and Yumi Matsutoya's involvement. Thanks for enhancing my experience with this lovely song.

  2. Always a pleasure. Didn't know about her involvement myself until a few years ago.


Feel free to provide any comments (pro or con). Just be civil about it.