I've been meaning to write about Jun Togawa (戸川純) for a while, but often dropped the idea since there is a lot written on her on the web in both Japanese and English thanks to the cult following she has acquired on both sides of the globe. But she is just so intriguing that I had to post something. Just listening to her songs from the 80's and early 90's you will get an idea that she's no ordinary singer. Yes, she was also one of my go-to artists when I was getting addicted to Japanese technopop and new wave in 2004, although I had no idea back then what she actually sang about (she is often associated with eroguro subculture). I was just so fascinated by how she could switch between parodic aidoru squeals and aggressive operatics within a single song. Plus, her PVs are a riot to watch. Some people compare her to Shiina Ringo, but I say her style belongs in a bizarre world of its own. And her life hasn't strayed too far from her ideas. I will bring you over to generasia to explain the rest.
Meanwhile, I chose to profile one of her more "normal" songs, "Yumemiru Yakusoku" (夢見る約束...Promised Dream), and by normal I mean there aren't any vocal acrobatics or disturbing lyrics she is usually known for. Instead, we have a haunting folksy melody accompanied by jittery techno synths as she sings about an innocent picnic with someone on a hillside. I could see Miharu Koshi (コシミハル) tackling this kind of song in the mid 80's, though Togawa's vocals give it a different vibe. Just my opinion, but there's something subtly sinister in her delivery. Perhaps the lyrics are ironic. The song appears on her album "Kyokuto Ian Shoka" (極東慰安唱歌...Far Eastern Comfort Songs) from March 1985, which she released under the collaborative project name Jun Togawa Unit (which also included Yoichiro Yoshikawa and Iio Yoshifumi). It peaked at 15th spot on Oricon weeklies.
Not surprisingly, "Yumemiru Yakusoku" is a cover of an obscure song by Haruomi Hosono (細野晴臣) (who has frequently collaborated with Miharu) which appeared as a bonus track on the limited edition of his 1982 album "Philharmony" (フィルハーモニー). His version is more chunky techno and while it's good technically, Togawa's is still the definitive one. You know, Hosono may be a musical genius but he's not exactly a singer per se...