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, February 4, 2014

Toshihiko Tahara -- Dakishimete Tonight (抱きしめてTONIGHT)

I was never a huge Toshi-chan fan but during my Kuri nights, his songs often peppered the lounge. And "Dakishimete Tonight" (Hold Me Tonight) was one of the popular ones. One of my later students who worked at the Japan Bank for International Cooperation right across from the Imperial Palace in Tokyo told me that he and some of his fellows would mow through a whole ton of old Johnny's Entertainment songs which included Tahara's stuff, and I'm sure over there as well, "Dakishimete Tonight" was a must-sing choice.

After all, the intro pretty much kicks the karaoke singer into as high a gear as it gets Tahara and his backups dancing all over the floor. For Toshihiko Tahara(田原俊彦), "Dakishimete Tonight" was his 32nd single released in April 1988. Even though it had been almost a decade since his debut as that cute curly-haired teen, he was still singing and flying around the stage with all of that adolescent spunk. For me, not only was it a karaoke dynamic delight but the other interesting thing about it was the change in key during the song where it goes from aidoru funk to a short interlude of samba rhythm before coming back.

The song was also the theme for the Fuji-TV comedy-drama "Kyoushi Bin Bin Monogatari"(教師びんびん物語...The Tale of the Strong Teacher), the second of the "Bin Bin" series, starring Tahara himself.

"Dakishimete Tonight" was written by Hiromi Mori(森浩美), a lyricist who would write a ton of songs for a future Johnny's supergroup, SMAP, and also wrote another high-flying aidoru tune for Yoko Oginome(荻野目洋子), "Dance Beat wa Yoake Made"(ダンスビートは夜明けまで). Kyohei Tsutsumi(筒美京平) took care of the melodic excitement. The song went as high as No. 3 on Oricon, and became the 18th-ranked single of the year. He had been selected for a place on the 1988 Kohaku Utagassen, but after being dropped from the 1987 show, Tahara declared that he had "graduated" from the NHK New Year's Eve special and ended up not appearing, and hasn't appeared since. I'm pretty sure "Dakishimete Tonight" would have been the song he sang. Not sure if there were sour grapes behind his decision but he wouldn't have been the first to divorce himself from the Kohaku under bitter circumstances.


  1. Hi J-Canuck.

    I'm not well versed in 80s male aidoru singers, so i had to check this song out.

    Arrangement-wise, it's nice. Unfortunately the song is kinda cheesy, and Johnnys's artists vocals are never very exciting. Tahara's vocals made me remember of ARASHI's Aiba Masaki vocals, which, honestly, is not a great thing as he is the weakest vocalist of ARASHI. Bad things aside, the song is enjoyable with all the edginess and Latin elements and minor eurobeat influences.

    1. Yeah, I'd agree that the vast majority of Johnny's boys aren't the most expressive of singers, so they often have to depend on the hooks and overall songwriting quality of folks like Tatsuro Yamashita, Noriyuki Makihara, etc. to get those big hits.

      Admittedly, I'm not sure how beloved Toshi-chan is outside of his now-middle-aged fans. There may be some eye-rolling amongst some of the Arashi/SMAP fans when something like "Dakishimete Tonight" comes on out on TV, but for me, I think it's a lot of the nostalgia factor that has me enjoying the song to a certain extent. I mean, I won't ever buy a BEST album by Tahara but this song often reminds me of the overall music scene at that time.

    2. Although I bashed the song, it's not that bad. I'll even put it on the music player of my cell phone and listen to it while traveling to Rio de Janeiro tomorrow. Let's see if it will pass the test.


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