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.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Wink -- Ai ga Tomaranai (愛が止まらない)

When I landed in Japan in 1989, the airwaves were often punctuated with Wink's big hit at that time, "Samishii Nettaigyo"淋しい熱帯魚)which had been released on July 5. That initial image as living dolls has always been my image of them. But if I had arrived some months earlier, I would've had a slightly different feeling about them.

"Ai ga Tomaranai"(Love Doesn't Stop) is the duo's most successful single to date. Their third single reached the top spot after its release in November 1988 and became the 5th-ranked single for 1989. But getting back to my statement in the last paragraph about a different feeling about them. I bought a VHS tape of Wink's music videos up to and including "One Night in Heaven", and so I got to see "Ai ga Tomaranai"for the first time. Sachiko and Shoko were definitely a lot looser in their choreography, although those scenes in the shop window kinda foreshadowed how they would be performing in the next year. And of course, their cute earnest looks were there. For all intents and purposes, Wink was the Japanese conduit to that dance genre of Eurobeat for me which brought a bit of nostalgia since my university dances and all those trips to the Toronto discos back in the mid-80s (it wasn't always Kuri on Friday nights) were filled with the sounds of Stock, Aitken and Waterman via Bananarama and Kylie Minogue and Rick Astley (yeah, like my group wasn't exactly too hardcore when it came to nightclubs).

Speaking of Kylie, Wink's "Ai ga Tomaranai"was the Japanese cover of Ms. Minogue's "Turn It Into Love", which was the B-side to "I Should Be So Lucky", released nearly a year before. Feel free to make a comparison.


  1. Ai ga Tomaranai ~Turn It Into Love~ is certainly one of my favourites songs of all times.

    I remember when I listened to the song for the first time. It was in a 2004 compilation of japanese disco songs from the 70s and 80s. I got the compilation because it included Moritaka's gem, 17sai. But Ai ga Tomaranai ~Turn It Into Love~ was also included, and it was love at first sight (or listen).

    I was in love with Wink at that time and after a quick research on youtube, I ended buying their concert DVD, and also got a copy of their music videos DVD as well.

    Althought most of the singles released by the girls were cover of western songs, something about them was very special. I don't know, maybe it was because of their image, so pure and innocent, even though they sang disco/eurobeat songs.

    About Eurobeat, I don't know exactly what hapenned, but the genre became something different in the mid 90s from what it was in the late 80s. I've read some opinions accusing Eurobeat of being the end of the Kayo kyoku and the rise of JPOP. I don't know exactly what to think about this, but it's a theory.

    As a side note, Kylie's original version also rocks, but Wink's vocals are, in my opinion, more beautiful than the original (sorry Kylie's fans).

  2. When I got to Japan in 1989, Wink was just about everywhere, especially with "Samishii Nettaigyo", as I've mentioned for that entry. Commercials, TV shows, radio, you name it, they were there in 1989. I remember when one of their songs, "Special To Me" became the official theme song for an international volleyball championship.

    Your comment on Eurobeat is VERY interesting. I'd never heard that theory before, and I'll probably be thinking about it off-and-on for the next couple of days. I wouldn't accuse the genre of ruining kayo kyoku since kayo kyoku is still very much with us through the long legacy of records, CDs and music retrospectives that the Japanese love to trot out every few months. Having said that, there were some very big changes every decade, especially from the 80s into the 90s.

    This is of course just my very personal observation, but I thought a major sea change occurred when I saw Dreams Come True on "Music Station"back in 1989. As soon as I saw Miwa Yoshida greet the audience cheerfully and the band launch into one of their early hits, I realized that popular music in Japan was undergoing a metamorphosis of sorts. And during the years of 1989-1990, I saw a whole bunch of subgenres pop out such as J-Ska, visual-kei, and Shibuya-kei. It was no longer just enka, aidoru and pop anymore.


Feel free to provide any comments (pro or con). Just be civil about it.