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.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Noriyuki Makihara -- Donna Toki mo (どんなときも)

After serving my 2 years on the JET Programme, I had one last hurrah in Japan by taking a trip around Western Japan during the summer of 1991. Yes, it was a rather insane idea traveling in subtropical Kyushu in 35+-degree weather while lugging a suitcase, although I was able to lose a good amount of weight....mostly in my left arm.

Throughout the trip, one of the top songs of 1991 often played in the department stores and restaurants. It was very happy-go-poppy, sung in a breathy high voice by someone who looked more like a rugby player than a singer-songwriter (with the bridgework to match). By the end of my trip, I knew I just had to make a purchase of the CD last one before leaving Japan.

"Donna Toki mo"(No Matter When) was Noriyuki Makihara's(槇原敬之)3rd single, released in June 1991. It was also his breakthrough song, reaching the No. 1 spot and ending up as the 4th-ranked song of the year. It's a song of encouragement and looking forward for young people...something that was probably needed as the economy started slowing down, and suddenly a job wasn't necessarily guaranteed after graduation.

Which is why it was chosen as the theme song for a movie titled "Shuushoku Sensen Ijou Nashi"(就職戦線異状なし.....No Worries on the Recruit Front), starring Yuji Oda(織田裕二)about the struggles to get that job just after graduating college. It was also used a few years later as the jingle for KFC (although I never needed encouragement to go there...all those 11 herbs and spices....yum!) All in all, the single sold approximately 1.9 million discs....a megahit.

The single also became part of Makihara's 2nd album, "Kimi wa Dare to Shiawasena Akubi wo Shimasuka"(君は誰と幸せなあくびをしますか.....Who Do You Yawn Happily With?) which was released in September 1991. It managed to reach the 3rd spot on the album charts.

On the trivia front, Makihara was a huge Yellow Magic Orchestra fan in his youth, and the band was a big influence on him and his desire to get into music. Greatly impressed by YMO's successful 2nd album, "Solid State Survivor"(already profiled), he once remarked on a TV show, "If I hadn't come across YMO, I wouldn't have gone into music." He was also influenced by The Carpenters who made him realize about the joy of singing.

Noriyuki Makihara -- Donna Toki mo
The original CD single

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