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.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Ryoko Shinohara -- Ryoko from Tokyo Performance Doll

Before Ryoko Shinohara (篠原涼子) hit the big stage in 1994 with “Itoshisa to Setsunasa to Kokorozuyosa to” (恋しさと せつなさと 心強さと), she was a member of the big dance-oriented aidoru group “Tokyo Performance Doll” (東京パフォーマンスドール). And like many other members of the group, Shinohara had the opportunity to release a solo album, which happened to be my chosen album for today, “Ryoko from Tokyo Performance Doll”. The album, released in January 1993, consists of ten solid songs, but I ended up highlighting six of them in this article.

Ima no Mama no Futari de” (今のままのふたりで) is an upbeat and disco-ish pop song featuring lots of horns, synths, and a prominent bassline. It’s very classy, which, like some other songs from this album, contributes to a "night" feeling. The following song, “Ikoku ~TOKYO IN THE NIGHT” (異国 ~Tokyo in the Night), is also a song that combines well with the night. I can totally sense a jazz vibe in it, which makes me imagine a luxurious party in some fancy place wit well dressed high society people enjoying an enormous variety of different drinks. Well, Shinohara’s performance induces the viewer to imagine these things. Check it below.

"Ikoku~TOKYO IN THE NIGHT" starts at the 4:50 mark.

Contrasting with the aforementioned songs, “Kono Akumame!!” (この悪魔め!!) is a sexy and full of attitude dance song featuring a catchy chorus. It’s surely one of the album main highlights. As for the video, it’s a sexy performance from Shinohara’s 95’ Lady Generation Summer Tour.

Our next song, "Hohoemi ni good-bye" (微笑みにgood-bye), starts right after the 4:10 mark.

“Hohoemi ni good-bye” is your typical aidoru pop song with a happy vibe. I like it a lot too. In the video, Shinohara is performing in one of her last "Tokyo Performance Doll" concerts as a member of the group. The clothes are also very different from the sexy and modern looks of her solo career.

(Unfortunately, the video has been taken down.)

And we have come to my favorite songs of this album, the R&B-ish “Watashi no Kokoro ni KISS wo Shite” (私の心にKISSをして) and the synthpop Latin song “Bara ga Nemureru Made” (薔薇が眠れるまで). The first, which is featured above, is a mid-tempo song with some nice violins-wannabe synthesizers. It has a very melancholic melody that combines well with the overall sound of the song. I like it a lot, especially between the 3:33 and 3:52 marks, where she sings "itsumademo kono omoi itsumademo dakishimete futari ni ha dekiru koto sekaijuu afureteru", or something like that (even though I don't know what it means). As for “Bara ga Nemureru Made” (which has already been covered by J-Canuck here), its exotique synthpop arrangement introduces a very mysterious feel that closes the album with a golden key. Also, the guitar solo that fades with the Latin arrangement always remembers me of some classic Santana songs. Listen to "Bara ga Nemureru Made" below.

(Unfortunately, the video has been taken down.)

Maybe that’s just a personal feeling, but I really enjoy this album at night. It’s probably because I listened to the CD for the first time at night, which made me feel comfortable at the time. But the overall nostalgic vibe coupled with a good portion of mid-tempo songs also contributes to this feeling as well. All in all, “Ryoko from Tokyo Performance Doll” is my favorite Shinohara album. It means a lot to me because I received this CD at the most difficult time of my life, just four days before my dear grandmother passed away, which also happened to be last Christmas. Even though the memories aren’t good at all, I never let this fact ruin my overall listening experience of this album, although I always remember fondly of my grandmother when I listen to it, especially during “Watashi no Kokoro ni KISS wo Shite” and “Bara ga Nemureru Made”. In the end, I also find it a much underestimated album, which is a pity.

“Ryoko from Tokyo Performance Doll” reached #63 on the Oricon charts.

“Ima no Mama no Futari de” and “Hohoemi ni good-bye” were composed and arranged by Hideya Nakazaki (中崎英也). The lyrics for both songs were written by Yoshiko Miura (三浦徳子). As for “Ikoku ~TOKYO IN THE NIGHT”, "Kono Akumame!!", “Watashi no Kokoro ni KISS wo Shite” and “Bara ga Nemureru Made”, they were composed and arranged by Ichiro Haneda (羽田一郎). The lyrics were written by Goro Matsui (松井五郎).

To finish, here are some photos of the album.


  1. Considering that she has been in a number of roles portraying tough-as-nails characters in the past number of years, it's kinda nice seeing Ryoko singing these songs and then being adorably goofy in that concert (although I can understand her mixing up the boots there).

    As I mentioned, the first time I had heard of her as a singer was with that famous "Street Fighter" theme song and then a little bit of "Lady Generation" when she got her Komuro conversion. I didn't know anything about her work with TPD, but I actually enjoy some of her older stuff here such as "Kono Akuma me!" and "Watashi no Kokoro wo Kiss Shite".

    As for that lyric you didn't know the meaning to, I think it roughly means, "Embrace these thoughts forever, the things that you can do together are overflowing all over the world."

    1. Thanks for the comment, J-Canuck.

      Yeah, it's a different Shinohara that has been almost forgotten. But I like her aidoru days a lot. I even learned to like it more than her Komuro days, and I thank "Ryoko from Tokyo Performance Doll" for this. I wish she didn't retire from music, though.

      "Watashi no Kokoro wo KISS Shite" is probably my favorite. It has such a beautiful melody, and thanks for translating this specific line. It's incredible how a little sentence can means something so beautiful. I'll have that in mind everytime I listen to this song.


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