Rumiko Koyanagi（小柳ルミ子） was born in Fukuoka City in 1952 and attended the exclusive Takarazuka Music Academy、the school responsible for turning out all those actresses in the Takarazuka Acting Troupe. While a student there, Koyanagi, through a friend, had made a request to become a singer to the famed talent agency, Watanabe Productions. The response was a positive one, provided that the young girl graduated at the top of the class. That she did in 1970, but the Takarazuka Troupe asked her to at least try one production with them. She also did that under the name of Rumi Natsukawa（夏川るみ） but left the troupe after just 2 months.
But Watanabe Productions not only kept their promise to her...that first song of hers was a massive hit....as in Song-of-the-Year massive hit. The team of Kazumi Yasui and Masaaki Hirao（安井かずみ・平尾昌晃） came up with "Watashi no Joukamachi"(My Castle Town) in which the 18-year-old Koyanagi sings about the qualities of life in such a town: the gonging of the temple bell, the voice of someone singing a children's tune, the changing of the seasons. Not surprisingly, it was picked up as the campaign song for Japan Railways.
The song was released in April 1971, and reached the top position in late July where it stayed for several weeks until early October. Over 1.5 million records were sold, and it earned a Japan Records Award. An appearance for Koyanagi in that year's Kohaku was a foregone conclusion. Koyanagi, in the media's eyes, was teamed up with Saori Minami (南沙織） and Mari Amachi（天地真理）, who had also debuted in that year and labeled as the "Sannin Musume"or The Three Daughters of the 1970s. And the song continued to do well into 1972, ranking at No. 45 for the year after getting the No. 1 ranking for 1971.
I remember the song well. It got a lot of stereo play in my apartment during my early years.
|Rumiko Koyanagi -- Watashi no Joukamachi|
|courtesy of jpellgen|