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, March 17, 2014

Kenichi Mikawa -- Sasori-za no Onna (さそり座の女)

Ah, yes....the flamboyant Kenichi Mikawa(美川憲一) with the song that has made him the target of tons of impressionists, professional or amateur. "Sasori-za no Onna" (Scorpio Woman) is therefore not surprisingly his trademark tune when it comes to his appearances on TV. It's how I know him best....aside from the affected speech, the tart tongue and the over-the-top fashion.

And "Sasori-za no Onna" goes all the way back to December 1972 when it was released as his 25th single. Composed by Hiroyuki Nakagawa(中川博之) and written by Ritsuko Saito(斎藤律子), the lyrics talk of the titular woman, nonchalantly boasting of her Black Widow nature and ability to wrap her male victims around her little finger....elegantly manicured, I'm sure. Considering the Mood Kayo melody, I can only imagine her inhabiting the most exclusive hostess clubs in Ginza as perhaps the No. 1 woman.

It only got as high as No. 23 on Oricon, but in the years and decades hence, the song and singer have become permanently intertwined. Mikawa has sung "Sasori-za no Onna" 7 times amongst his appearances at the Kohaku Utagassen which is second only to Sayuri Ishikawa's(石川さゆり) 8 renditions of her classic "Amagi Goe" (天城越え)at the NHK year-end event.

Another case in I pointed out at the top, Mikawa and this particular song have been a bountiful harvest for monomane tarento known in English as the professional impressionist. In North America, folks like Rich Little had their heyday in the 60s and 70s copying the popular celebs of the day such as Dean Martin, President Richard Nixon and Bing Crosby. Now, you might see that just on episodes of "Saturday Night Live" on NBC in the US or if Robin Williams or Jim Carrey are in the mood.

However, the monomane tarento in Japan are still popping up in routines all over TV, and there are even seasonal 2-hour monomane specials in which not only the professional impressionists, but even other types of tarento and TV announcers, mimic their favourite celeb targets through song. The most famous impressionist is Corocket (コロッケ)who's been entertaining folks since 1980. Amongst his impressions is the one for Mikawa and "Sasori-za no Onna"; in fact, he should be paying copyright fees to his buddy in gratitude. Fortunately for him, the singer has been quite generous. Woe betide Corocket if Mikawa hadn't.

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