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, October 22, 2013

Miho Nakayama -- Rosa

I think one of the very last CD singles I picked up before I officially finished my Gunma stint of 1989-1991 was for this song by Miho Nakayama(中山美穂)titled "Rosa". It was released in July 1991, and I think I left for home at the very end of that month, so I may have very well picked it up somewhere during my travels in southern Japan.

Miporin was a singer that I became more interested in during my teaching gig in the mountains of the Japanese Alps when she started graduating from being an aidoru into a full-fledged pop singer. I was struck by her Anri-esque "Virgin Eyes" and then her sophisti-pop ballad, "Taxi". Then came this spicy Latin dance number, "Rosa". Around those years, there was a big fad concerning the Latin beat, spiked by the whole Lambada dance craze around 1990, so I wonder if the singer and the composer, Yoshimasa Inoue(井上ヨシマサ), wanted to get a slice of that pie.

One of the last memories I had of the music ranking shows before they started disappearing into the ether was the performance of "Rosa" by Nakayama. I'm not sure if it had been on "The Best 10" or "The Top 10", but it was the first time I'd seen her shaking her booty with a choreographed entourage. As for the song itself, I'm not quite sure if Eurobeat is quite the right label despite my categorizing it as such; it seems to have a bit of Italo-disco in there. In any case, it was pretty darn infectious.

The original title was supposed to have been "Chotto Doushita no"(ちょっとどうしたの....Hey, What's The Problem?), which is the line that appears most often in the song, but I think "Rosa" was the right choice. Perhaps the change was made by the lyricist, Saki Ninomae(一咲), who probably didn't get much in the way of disagreement since it was just the pen name for Miho Nakayama herself.

"Rosa" peaked at No. 3 and became the 41st-ranked song of 1991. The song also got her another invitation onto the Kohaku Utagassen.

Miho Nakayama - Rosa


  1. Hi J-Canuck.

    I don't like "Rosa" that much as a whole, but I particularly enjoy Miho's vocals in this one. To be honest, I just enjoy Miho's 80s discography.

    About Lambada, as far as I know, it's a Brazilian genre from the north and the northeast of the country. But it was exported to Europe and, eventually, landed in Japan. I remember watching a 1990 retrospective on Music Station where Ishii Akemi appears covering the one Lambada song that is probably the most famous one. And I agree that "Rosa" is probably a song released to catch up with the fad as Miho herself had only released a Latin song as a single back in 1987 with the Komuro-penned aidoru tune "50/50".

    I also can hear some Italo-disco influences with the synths used. But I'm afraid "Rosa" can be better categorized as a house song. In reality, house music kind of buried Italo-disco and Hi-NRG music during the late 80s in Europe. Based on that, house became the "norm" for dance music in the early 90s. As for "Rosa", it's a fine japanese example of its usage.

    In conclusion, I see "Rosa" as a mix of two types of sounds that were floating around during the late 80s/ealr 90s: the Lambada fad and the emergence of mainstream house music. But that's just my interpretation, of course.

    Finally, Miho was a very sexy young woman back in the early 90s. And "Rosa" just contributes to this image. I wish I liked the song more, though.

  2. Hi, Marcos.

    Miho had a pretty interesting delivery in "Rosa", didn't she? It sounded rather affected. I'm still OK with the song after over 20 years, although admittedly it doesn't get a lot of heavy rotation on my stereo. Probably the Miho tune that does is either "Midnight Taxi" or that Xmas tune she released right after "Rosa".

  3. It's more 'house' than italo disco I think

    1. Hi, Bryan.

      As I've mentioned to Marcos and on some of the other articles, when it comes to dance music, I have problems identifying the various sub-genres. Along with your guess of it being House, do you pick up any other genres in there?


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