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.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Tomoyo Harada -- Toki wo Kakeru Shojo (時をかける少女)

My image of actress/singer Tomoyo Harada(原田知世) in the last several years has been of the young mother representing Blendy Instant Coffee.

But way back when in the 80s, one of my old friends gave me a homemade mix audio tape which included several of Harada's songs when she was a fresh-faced aidoru. I've still got it somewhere in the house, but I believe one of those songs is her most famous and most successful hit.

In 1983, Harada was just starting out on her career when she landed the starring role in the sci-fi flick, "Toki wo Kakeru Shojo"時をかける少女....The Girl Who Leapt Through Time). Nope, there were no British police boxes or American DeLoreans involved in this movie....just some chemicals, apparently (have yet to see the movie myself).

But Harada did double duty here since she also sang the theme song, only her 3rd single released in July 1983. And the fact that it was written and composed by Yumi Matsutoya(松任谷由美) must have brought its own share of pride and pressure to the aidoru. However, she did well with the breezy single as it peaked at No. 2 on Oricon and became the 11th-ranked song of the year. The above is the original music video for the song.

Almost a quarter of a century later, Harada came out with a gentler bossa nova cover of her old song on the album "music & me" in November 2007. That album peaked at No. 27. It was her 3rd cover of the song. Other artists have also done their own version of "Toki", including Yuming herself for the early 80s album, "Voyager".

Hearing the original version, though, almost can make one believe that time travel is possible.


  1. 新年おめでとうございます J-Canuck さん! Thanks for this great post on 原田知世. I absolutely love the story of 時をかける少女 and have seen pretty much every adaptation/version of it including the anime by 細田守 and the most recent live action movie version by 谷口正晃 with 仲里依紗. The original Kadokawa film version is still my favorite however. When she first debuted Tomoyo wasn't all that great of a singer but thankfully she improved over time with songs like 太陽になりたい, 早春物語 and my favorite Tomoyo song 雨のプラネタリウム.

  2. こちらこそ、新年明けましておめでとうございます、JTMさん。今年もよろしくお願いします。

    Yeah, I think Tomoyo kinda fit the usual slot for aidoru-dom at that time: not a particularly talented voice but lots of cuteness. Several years ago, I picked up a CD single by her called "Romance" in which she was going for a more European lounge sound...a bit like The Cardigans.

  3. Happy New Year!

    I've never been overly fond of Tomoyo's early songs, though I do like this one, "Soushun Monogatari", and "Kare to Kanojo no Sonnet" (a cover of "T'en va Pas"). Something interesting happened to her in 1990 when she went for a more mature approach to her music, even performing quirky experimental stuff here and there. She eventually teamed up with Tore Johansson, who produced her mid-90's material, including "Romance". So The Cardigans comparison is very appropriate. :)

  4. Hello, nikala and Happy New Year to you, too.

    I also recall Harada teaming with a number of other artists; one of them, I think, is Yukihiro Takahashi from YMO fame, and the unit did some electro or New Age music, I believe.


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