Credits

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.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Momoko Kikuchi -- Sotsugyo (卒業)



I listened to my fair share of aidoru over the years with the megastars like Seiko Matsuda(松田聖子)and Akina Nakamori(中森明菜) coming up to the top. Unfortunately, the others and their works have gotten muddled into my slowly deteriorating memory....which offers me the chance to re-discover them.

Momoko Kikuchi(菊池桃子) is now listed as an actress and TV personality on J-Wiki.. However during my years in Japan, I really just saw her as the pitchwoman for products like soup and Mitsubishi refrigerators, although I knew that she had been on her fair share of trendy dramas in the 90s. But the 80s were her aidoru years. I listened to her trademark song "Sotsugyo"Graduation) for the first time in years and years, and all that nostalgia came bubbling back up. Composed by Tetsuji Hayashi(林哲司) (who was responsible for Mariya Takeuchi's "September" and Miki Matsubara's City Pop classic "Stay With Me") and written by Yasushi Akimoto(秋元康) (the Svengali behind Onyanko Club and AKB 48), "Sotsugyo"is an evergreen aidoru ballad with Momoko's sweet vocals and sway-friendly melody.

The song was Kikuchi's 4th single which hit the top of the charts soon after its release in February 1985. It is also included in her 2nd album, "Tropic of Capricorn" which was released in September of that year. The aidoru proved her popularity back in those days when she managed to beat even The Beatles in terms of audience numbers when she performed at Tokyo's Budokan.

For some reason, the title of "Sotsugyo" was rather popular as well during the mid-80s. Along with Kikuchi, Yutaka Ozaki(尾崎豊), and fellow aidoru Yuki Saito(斉藤由貴)also put out songs with that very title. A few years later, Misato Watanabe(渡辺美里)had her own "Sotsugyo" as well. But mind you, graduation has a special place in Japanese culture.


6 comments:

  1. I stumbled to your blog by coincidence when googling for pictures of Momoko-chan and as a huge fan of 80-nendai aidoru music of course I'll keep following! Nice post about Kikuchi Momoko and I couldn't agree more with this:

    " "Sotsugyo"is an evergreen aidoru ballad with Momoko's sweet vocals and sway-friendly melody."

    I think Sotsugyo and Boy no teemu are the two Momoko evergreens that perhaps best crystallize her "kawai idol era". Be sure to check out the instrumental piano version on "Kikuchi Momoko - Sotsugyou Kinen"-album if you haven't already. It's amazing as well!

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  2. Hi, Nekromantis, and thanks for your kind comments. So many 80s aidoru to re-discover: Momoko, Shizuka Kudo, Minako Honda, etc. It's possible that I may have heard that instrumental you are talking about; something in my memory sparked when I read that. Unfortunately, I don't have the easiest access to aidoru CDs that I used to, but there is always Amazon.jp...and my credit card...so hopefully I can find that anniversary album out there.

    BTW, since you are a big Momoko fan, I believe that she was also in a unit called Lamu in the late 80s? Maybe you can jog my memory on that one.

    Keep following!

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  3. Yeah Momoko was in La Mu. They existed a short period of 1988-1989 and released few singles and a full-length album. Here's some basic info about the band:

    RA・MU ラ・ムー

    * Kikuchi Momoko 菊池桃子 - Vocals

    * Matsu'ura Yoshikazu 松浦義和 - Keyboards

    * Nakanishi Nozomi 中西望 - Drums

    * Rosaiyu Renee Keel ロザリン・キール & Darelle Foster Holden ダレル・ホールデン - Chorus Vocals

    Singles:

    Ai wa Kokoro no Shigoto desu (1988-02-24)

    Shonen Wa Tenshi Wo Korosu (1988-06-08)

    TOKYO Yabanjin (1988-07-27)

    Aoyama KILLER Monogatari (1989-02-08)

    Album:

    RAMU - THANKS GIVING (1988-09-14)

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  4. Thanks for the info. Yeah, I recollect one appearance by La Mu on "The Best 10" music show. I believe their music was a bit more R&B-based; there was a certain groove sound to their songs.

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  5. God idk why i found this blog very very late i really fall in love with momoko after hearing hers night cruising. But omg she has had beat the beatles?😂😂

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    Replies
    1. Hello, Arya. Well, as they say, better late than never.:) As for Momoko's attendance, I'm pretty sure that some other acts (foreign or domestic) since her time have even eclipsed her attendance.

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