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.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Hiroko Yakushimaru -- Woman "W no Higeki" yori (Woman "Wの悲劇"より)

That's one striking record cover for Hiroko Yakushimaru's(薬師丸ひろ子) "Woman 'W no Higeki' yori" (Woman - From "W's Tragedy"), with a bit of symbolism via that jagged red 'W'. The young singer/actress sang the theme and starred in the 1984 mystery which utilized the trope of a movie within a movie in which an heiress (Yakushimaru) stands accused of murder of the family patriarch.

I had always thought that Karuho Kureta (呉田軽穂...i.e. Yumi Matsutoya) had only created songs for one aidoru, Seiko Matsuda(松田聖子), in the early 80s. But it turned out that she was also able to squeeze one in for Yakushimaru with Takashi Matsumoto(松本隆) providing the lyrics. Yuming did a fine job as well; the sad pensive melody fits Yakushimaru's soft but resonant vocals, and the arrangements add that touch of class, especially in the refrain. Matsumoto's lyrics, which has the singer begging that special someone not to leave but to stay at her side for a while, seem to have that tragic edge as if it would be the last time the pair would be together before the woman has to face her final fate. Overall, it just has that vulnerability that fits the singer to a T.

When I first heard this song on "Sounds of Japan" years ago, I hadn't known anything about the movie but I kinda figured out that it was a theme. It has that level of epicness. For a lot of the 80s fans, that uncertain melody at the beginning makes the song instantly recognizable. "Woman", Yakushimaru's 4th single which came out in October 1984, went all the way to No. 1, and stayed a good long time on the charts. It ranked at No. 58 for 1984 and then remained long enough the next year to rank at No. 77.

And here is the original trailer for the movie.

Hiroko Yakushimaru

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