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, September 24, 2012

Masahiro Kuwana -- Sexual Violet No. 1

One of the more interesting titles I've ever come across in kayo kyoku, seeing the singer's mane and hearing the opening notes remind me of Rod Stewart in his disco age. Just wanna put on those roller skates again. Kuwana's voice even reminds me of Stewart's in a way.Not sure if he ever owned a pair of leopard-skin leggings, though.

Masahiro Kuwana(桑名正博)was born and raised in Osaka. After a year in San Francisco, he returned to Japan and started up his own band, Funny Company, in 1971. The following year, the band debuted with "Sweet Home Osaka". But after leaving a couple of albums to posterity, Funny Company broke up, and in 1975, Kuwana launched a solo career. About 4 years later, he would get his big hit in the form of "Sexual Violet No. 1", his 4th single released in July 1979. I first heard it on "The Sounds of Japan", and my first reaction to it was, "Funkalicious!". It hit No. 1 in October of that year and stayed at the top for 3 weeks. Lyrics were provided by Takashi Matsumoto(松本隆), and the music was by Kyohei Tsutsumi(筒美京平). And in total, the single sold 600,000 copies.

My only question is how many glasses of sake were they imbibing when they came up with the title.

"Roses are red, violets are...sexual?"
NOTE: On October 26 2012 JST, Masahiro Kuwana passed away after being in a coma for some months due to a brain stem hemorrhage on July 15. He was 59 years old.


  1. Check out his album called Roppongi Noise (1985) on Air Records. Some classic jams. I found a vinyl copy in Los Angeles 10 years ago, haven't been able to find it on discogs or anywhere else since.

    1. Hi, Austin.

      Thanks for the tip. I looked around and indeed "Roppongi Noise" is one of the rare ones. I recognize the cover, though and see that Fumiko Okada is one of the lyricists. How would you describe it: City Pop or more on the West Coast AOR side?

      I just bought his sister's debut album "Million Kisses" over the Holidays. Pretty good.


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