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.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Hikaru Genji -- Paradise Ginga (パラダイス銀河)

Let's see....when I first started this odyssey into kayo kyoku, my first representative of Johnny & Associates(ジャニーズ事務所) came in the form of Masahiko 'Matchy' Kondo(近藤真彦) prancing about. Then came the trio of Shibugaki-tai(シブがき隊) with Fukkun, Mokkun and Yakkun. But then in the late 80s, maestro Johnny Kitagawa threw 7 of these guys at us which made up the new group known as Hikaru Genji(光GENJI), named after the primary character of the legendary "Tale of Genji"源氏物語).

When I think of this Johnny's group, there are three things: 1) the headband, 2) roller skates....lots of them and 3) toplessness. Leader Kazumi Moroboshi(諸星和己) was the smiley headband-sporting kid and heartthrob, the septet had a squad of roller-skating kids just swarming about as if they were trying to illustrate the Pauli Exclusion Principle of quantum mechanics, and for the first little while, at least, the boys seemed to have acquired a shirts-phobic attitude when performing.

At the beginning, there were two groups. One was a duo called Hikaru which consisted of Koji Uchiumi(内海光司) and Mikio Osawa(大沢三樹生), while the quintet known as Genji had Moroboshi, Hiroyuki Sato(佐藤寛之), Jun'ichi Yamamoto(山本淳一), Akira Akasaka(赤坂晃) and Atsuhiro Sato(佐藤晃啓). But then they were merged into one in June 1987, and never looked back. Except for one single, their first 11 releases all went to No. 1 on the charts.

For me, it is their 3rd single that reminds me most of them. "Paradise Ginga"(Paradise Galaxy) was released in March 1988, and was created by Ryo Aska(飛鳥涼), one-half of the singing duo, Chage & Aska. When I was renting music program videos during those late 80s, Hikaru Genji virtually had a lock on the charts as they skated and sang all over the stage. Not only did "Paradise Ginga"Paradise Galaxy) make it to No. 1, it became the No. 1 song of 1988. And to add further cherries to the top of their sundae, the No. 2 and No. 3 slots for Top Singles of the Year also went to Hikaru Genji, something that hadn't been accomplished since Pink Lady a decade previously. The group also won the Grand Prize at the Japan Record Awards, and would become the youngest male group to top the Oricon charts...this record was finally toppled nearly 20 years later by another Johnny's unit, Hey!Say!7.

The single was also part of Hikaru Genji's 2nd album, "Hi!"which also hit the top of the charts, and ended up as the 9th-ranked album of 1988.


  1. Ha! Back in '05 or something I downloaded this mp3 compilation thing that was made by a japanese radio dj and it had Paradise Ginga on it and I recall listened to it countless times during that year. Later on I lost the compilation and forgot the song title and the group's name. Thanks for this piece J-Canuck! I recognized the song immediately when I hit the play button of that youtube link.

    1. My pleasure, Nekromantis. I was hoping that fans would browse through the various songs and find or re-find something of interest here.

      But boy, was this song a steamroller in 1988.


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