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, February 26, 2014

Kaoru Sudo -- Mayonaka no Shujinko (真夜中の主人公)

As nikala mentioned in this blog's very first article on Kaoru Sudo(須藤薫) via her song "Kokoro no Haikei"(心の背景), I was also very surprised and saddened at her sudden passing almost a year ago at the age of 58. "Japanese City Pop" had opened my eyes to a good chunk of those seven-eighths of Japanese popular music that had been underwater to me, and Sudo's albums were well-represented there.

Also like my fellow contributor, I was able to get my own copy of Sudo's 5th album, "Drops" while I was still in Japan, thanks to a visit to my oldies shop, Tacto in Jimbocho, Tokyo. I'd already bought her BEST album and liked what she had on that disc so I'd wanted to purchase an original album, and I have to admit that I chose "Drops" simply because I liked the classy design of the cover. I was wondering if the singer had gone into jazz mode for this album, but one fellow in the J-Pop 80s community on Mixi set me straight by saying that the songs were solidly crafted works in the City Pop/J-AOR vein.

"Mayonaka no Shujinko" (Midnight Heroine) is the first track on "Drops", and in my own way, seems to serve as the happy and contented sequel to EPO's "Downtown" in that the woman in Sudo's song is just finishing off a wonderful Friday night in the big city. And coincidentally enough, there is a melodic tribute throughout "Mayonaka no Shujinko" to Petula Clark's "Downtown". With lyrics by Shun Taguchi(田口俊) and music by Yoichi Takigawa(滝川洋一), the song seems to illustrate what is shown on that distinctive cover....a luxurious night on the town by the bay under a crescent moon. And words like "champagne" and "perfume" come to mind when I listen to it. Considering that "Drops" was released in November 1983, I wouldn't be surprised if some of those working ladies in the big corporations could have a fine old urban time once in a while, and December is the time for those Christmas party cruises.

For a bit of comparison, have a listen to Clark's "Downtown".


  1. Time sure passes quickly, doesn't it? March 2013 feels so distant. I did acquire a number of Sudo's albums over the course of April and May and they're a comfortable listen. I agree with your overview of "Mayonaka no Shujinko". It's a relaxing and sparkly little tune that sets a nice tone for the rest of the album. Must've brought some fond memories of Bubble Era lifestyle to some older folk listening to it. :)

    1. Yup, the Bubble Era definitely came to mind as I was listening to "Mayonaka no Shujinko". All those discos, bright lights and big city.


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