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, October 9, 2013

AKB48 -- Koisuru Fortune Cookie (恋するフォーチュンクッキー)

I’ve been in love with “Koisuru Fortune Cookie” since it was performed for the first time on TV at “Ongaku no Hi” (音楽の日) back in late June. As for the performance featured above, it’s from Nakai’s Masahiro (中居 正広) "Kayou-Kyoku!" (火曜曲!), and it was aired in September 3rd. In this one, AKB48 is backed by a full orchestra, making the song even more interesting. The studio arrangement, though, is not far away from this live one, so, in my opinion, there’s no loss listening to this, just gains, as the song sounds even fresher.

The light disco vibe alongside a catchy melody and a terrific arrangement were responsible for making this one of AKB48’s finest songs in a while. Released in August 2013, “Koisuru Fortune Cookie” is the single following the 5th "general elections" that were held in June, which made Rino Sashihara (指原莉乃), the winner girl, a “center” for this song.

Although mellow and lighthearted, “Koisuru Fortune Cookie” is backed by horns and great disco strings, which gives the song some life and a clear direction. And a clear musical direction is something that a lot of AKB48’s songs seem to lack, as most of them are arranged in an awful way, with lots of synths, guitars and noises all working together in a not so great way. However, with “Koisuru Fortune Cookie” the group invites the listener to a time in J-Pop when aidoru songs were not just happy-go-luck songs full of noises, but happy-go-luck songs with nice melodies and arranged with some memorable orchestrations.

And before I forget, the strings progression right after the 1:33 mark is something very familiar to my ears. I guess they took some strong and "concrete" inspiration from 70s classic disco when creating this arrangement. Also, the small instrumental break right after the 1:44 mark is very nice. It gives me a warm feel, and I can't really explain why. Well, I'm a sucker for disco songs, and "Koisuru Fortune Cookie" took me totally off guard, that's for sure.

AKB48 might not be for everyone, but sometimes they can pull out some nice songs like “Koisuru Fortune Cookie”. And it’s great that the best-selling act of the last years is capable of offering a respectable retro aidoru pop song. I’m saying this because it’s easy to be critical about AKB48 (and I am a lot), as most of their songs are just pure sugary aidoru treats, but, at the same time, some of their works can sound nice and classy like “Koisuru Fortune Cookie”, which is great. In the end, I confess that I’m really addicted to this song, and even more addicted to the "Kayou-Kyoku!" performance featured at the beginning. It’s really nice to hear something like that in 2013.

The single reached #1 on the Oricon charts, and sold, until now, 1,447,214 copies (source: generasia). As for the song, the lyrics were written by AKB48's mastermind Yasushi Akimoto (秋元康), while the music was composed by Shintaro Ito (伊藤心太郎). The great arrangement was made by Seiji Muto (武藤星児).

Fortune Cookie
(provided by the editor)


  1. Thanks Marcos V for this awesome post on AKB48's "Koisuru Fortune Cookie". This is perhaps one of my favorite AKB48 songs (next to "River", "Uza" and "Gingham Check"). I''m a huge 70s Disco music fan so I absolutely love Ito Shintaro's 70s flavored dance hook arrangement. The various videos (including the Fan tribute, Staff Version and even JKT48's Indonesian version) were pretty fun to watch as well and the dance choreography by Papaya Suzuki is really cute. After watching the video I wonder how much of an influence (if any) Korean artist Psy's YouTube viral K-Pop video "Gangnam Style" had on the AKB48's video. I kind of get the feeling that AKB48 was trying to get global appeal for this song with the video.

  2. Hi JTM.

    I'd say that "Koisuru Fortune Cookie" is my favorite AKB48 song, but in my case there's also "Dear my teacher" fighting for the top spot. Both of them are disco inspired songs, which means that, like you, I'm a big fan og the genre (this made me remember that I need to search for my old disco music files). And I find the dance very cute too. I'll even try some steps when I wake up with enough courage.

    About the "viral" thing, as far as I know, one fan video was recorded and posted on YouTube. After that, the AKB48 staff might have seen the fact as a chance to get global appeal and posted the fan video on the AKB48 channel, and this encouraged other fans to make their own videos, or something like that. I don't know, but the Japanese are not very good with this global expansion thing. Some people say they're not interested because their inner market for music is big. Based on that, some artists don't even think of an international fanbase. Perfume, for example, became aware of this just in 2011 when they traveled to the United States. And then, in 2012, they started working on their global expansion.

    Sometimes I see some naivety as well. I'd never let Akina Nakamori record an entire album in English ("Cross My Palm", 1987) and try to market it in the West. Her accent was very strong, and it surely wouldn't succeed. But, strangely enough, they did this move. Pink Lady did it better with "Kiss in the Dark" (1979), but it was not enough, either.

  3. As another former resident in the disco era, I have to say that I love the version that was presented here...I'd like to hear the original, though. Listening to "Koisuru Fortune Cookie" reminded me of some of my favourite songs by Morning Musume back in the day.

    Up to now, I'd only known "Heavy Rotation" by the girls, but this one is now sticking in my brain. :)

  4. Ah, Marcos....did forget to mention....I always tweet every article through my Twitter account, and yours got re-tweeted by Fan AKB48 Indonesia.

  5. Hi J-Canuck.

    I'm glad you liked "Koisuru Fortune Cookie". It really is a nice AKB48 song that deserves some love. The original version, as I told in the article, is not so far away from the "full orchestra" live performance. Here's a performance from "Music Japan" where the original song is used.

    And it's very nice to hear that Indonesian fans got notice of the article. I hope they don't feel sad about some "acid" lines about AKB48. I may not be an avid fan, but I like the group a lot, especially when they offer a song as nice as "Koisuru Fortune Cookie".

  6. Marcos, great post here as usual.

    I'm a huge AKB fan, but I do feel that their earlier songs are way better, as you said in your post about Dear my Teacher.

    I'm curious about your opinion on "Nageki no Figure" and "Switch," both of which have a disco-esque vibe.


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