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, January 15, 2013

Miyuki Nakajima -- Akujo (悪女)

(karaoke version)

"Akujo" by Miyuki Nakajima(中島みゆき) was another song that I'd first heard as a karaoke number at Kuri all those years ago. As someone who didn't pay too much attention to lyrics back then, I found the melody familiar to that of a mid-tempo country tune, and the accompanying karaoke video was a bit racy in terms of the illustrations....woman's tongue going into a guy's ear (nice wholesome stuff like that). But then again, the title translated as "Bad Girl" after all, I thought.

The song talks of a woman who finds out that her boyfriend is cheating on her and yet can't or won't do anything about it, and the self-loathing that follows. I haven't followed every one of Nakajima's songs but from what I've read and heard up to now, it seems that a number of her tunes from that time especially had that dark twist in the lyrics....if someone can further elucidate on this, I'd appreciate it.

"Akujo" was released in October 1981, and hit the top spot on the Oricon weeklies, and after its few months of release before the end of the year, it ended up at the modest No. 68 spot in the annual rankings. However, at the end of 1982, it finished at a much more muscular No. 6. The song was the first No. 1 song for Nakajima since "Wakare Uta"わかれうた...Song of Separation) in 1977.

(cover by Miki Hirayama)

The album version of "Akujo"was a lot more rock n' roll. Arranged by Tsugutoshi Goto(後藤次利), who would later help out on songs by a number of individual members in the giant aidoru group Onyanko Club, notably Shizuka Kudo(工藤静香), Nakajima sounds like she's channeling folk/rock singer Tsuyoshi Nagabuchi(長渕剛).

This track was part of Nakajima's most successful album to date, "Kansuigyo"寒水魚...Coldwater Fish), which is a playful little neologism (according to Wiki) created by the singer to be a direct opposite to the word "nettaigyo"熱帯魚....tropical fish). The album became the No. 1 album for 1982 (released in March) and sold about 770,000 copies. It also earned the Best Album Prize at the Japan Record Awards. However, the Kohaku Utagassen was not one of her landing points, since at the time, Nakajima would never make any TV appearances.

There is the mention of the "bad" girl's name: Mariko. When asked about the significance of the name, Nakajima merely mentioned that she enjoyed naming her protagonists. True to her whimsy.


  1. Great job! thanks for the information :3 its really hard find information about this songs now a days!

    1. Hello Phelps and thanks very much for your comments. Hopefully, some of the other entries will be good for you as well.


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