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, December 18, 2012

Yumi Matsutoya/Seiko Matsuda -- Koibito ga Santa Claus (恋人がサンタクロース)


Whereas Yuming's "Lodge de Matsu Christmas"(ロッヂで待つクリスマス...Christmas Waiting in the Lodge) in 1978 had that evening heartwarming down-home Xmas feeling of somewhere in Colorado, her 1980 "Koibito ga Santa Claus" (My Lover is Santa Claus) was definitely on the other end of the spectrum in tone.  The feeling is more December daytime fun in the sun on the slopes of Nagano.

I'm not a skier by any means. I had my one and only try at downhill skiing with my junior high school students way back in 1990....was on the slopes for the entirety of an hour before I slunk back to the lodge for several more hours of cocoa and reflection by the frost-tinged windows. Anyways, my thoughts whenever I hear "Koibito ga Santa Claus" usually bring forth images of a Santa Claus manning not a sleigh but a starship driven by eight warp engines named Donner, Dancer, etc. The arrangement has that pop/rock feeling of good times at Christmas, which is basically what the Yuletide is all about in Japan: pop those firecrackers, clink that Beaujolais Nouveau, lunge into that Kentucky Fried Chicken!

"Koibito ga Santa Claus" was never released as an official single but was part of Yumi Matsutoya's 10th album, "Surf & Snow" released in December 1980. The album got as high as No. 7 on Oricon. In Yuming's huge repertoire, this song is probably up in the Top 10 in popularity.

I'd heard that the song has been covered by a number of singers over the years such as the lead singer of Princess Princess, Kaori Okui(奥井香). But I was still a bit surprised when I bought this compilation album titled "Fantastic Christmas" and saw Seiko Matsuda's(松田聖子) name beside the famed song. At first, I assumed that Yuming had originally written "Koibito ga Santa Claus" for Seiko specifically since in the early 80s, she was doing so under her alias of Karuho Kureta. But it turned out that Seiko was doing a cover of the song for her first semi-Xmas album "Kin Iro no Ribbon"(金色のリボン....A Gold Ribbon) in 1982. The arrangement is slightly different but Seiko's bounciness and the overall fun of the song made a good match.


  1. Thanks J-Canuck for posting this entry on "Koibito Wa Santa Claus", one of my favorite songs from Yuming. I'm also pleasantly surprised that Matsuda Seiko covered this song. Her version isn't that bad but Yuming's original is still the best. Girl J-Rock band Scandal and most recently Exile produced girl dance-pop unit Flower also covered this song.

  2. Yeah, I think the Yuming original will always be the one for me. Her voice still retained that portion of mellowness from her early years.

    "Koibito wa Santa Claus" is just one of those happy-go-lucky songs that I like to listen to during the season.


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