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, October 22, 2012

Akina Nakamori -- Kinku (禁区)

Akina Nakamori's(中森明菜) 6th single released in September 1983, "Kinku"(Forbidden Zone), was the very first of her songs that I'd listened to. And what better venue to hear it that first time than on that year's Kohaku Utagassen. I remember when representatives of the Red and White teams (usually the young singers) would make a joint declaration of vigourous but fair competition before the contest started. For the 1983 edition, the pair turned out to be Masahiko Kondo(近藤真彦)and Akina-chan.

"Kinku"was an aidoru song with a difference. It had that combination of strings-and-synths but the overall melody was one of some suspense rather than the usual cheerful stuff. And in the backdrop was a bass synth rhythm that sounded like something from the Yellow Magic Orchestra.  Indeed, it was Haruomi Hosono(細野晴臣)who composed the song with Masao Urino(売野雅勇)behind the vaguely ominous lyrics of the protagonist who seems in over her head in some sort of love affair. Akina's voice was going through some transition....not as high as in her first few singles such as "Slow Motion" but not quite yet mellowing out into the lower registers of her 1985 hit album, "Bitter & Sweet"(already profiled).

The single won a number of awards that year including The Japan Record Awards' Golden Aidoru Award, and it stayed at the No. 1 spot on Oricon for 6 weeks in a row. It eventually became the 17th-ranking single for 1983. It didn't make it onto an original album but was the opening track of Nakamori's first BEST album, "BEST AKINA Memoir" released in December of that year which also hit No. 1 for 5 consecutive weeks, and became the 6th-ranking album in 1984.

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