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.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Rina Chinen -- DO-DO FOR ME

If someone new to the J-Pop world, but aware of Namie Amuro (安室奈美恵) during the mid-90s, came across this video of Rina Chinen (知念 里奈) performing her debut single, "DO-DO FOR ME", in 1996, he/she would probably mistake one for another and believe that Namie Amuro was releasing another dance-pop hit. It was not the case! Rina Chinen, a former student from the same Okinawa Actors School that Amuro once attended, was kind of a Namie Amuro wannabe. As we can see in this performance, Rina Chinen, besides dressing like Amuro, was backed on stage by four dances, just like MAX did for Namie when she went solo one year earlier, in 1995.

Aside from this copycat marketing plan, Rina Chinen also relied heavily on this mix of dance-pop and eurobeat that dominated the Japanese charts at the time, thanks again for Ms. Amuro (and her famous producer Tetsuya “TK” Komuro [小室哲哉]). “DO-DO FOR ME” is a song full of atitude with very catchy lyrics, as, for example, the “What'cha gonna do for me? Nee, do do for me” phrase in the chorus. In the end, I’m satisfied with this new discovery, even though I came across it in a strange way: watching “Japanarama”, a compilation of mid-90s and early 00s weird Japanese television shows (mostly from Super Jockey and its overtly sexual games) mixed with commercials and some music performances from the same period. Just like MAX’s eurobeat hit “TORA TORA TORA”, which was also included on "Japanarama", was apparently strange by American standards, “DO-DO FOR ME” was considered something from another world to them, as the inclusion of it in the compilation was not based on a supposed American-friendy sound (I'm assuming here that "Japanarama" was put together by an American person. An European would probably not see eurodance inspired songs as something strange).

"DO-DO FOR ME" was released in October 1996 and reached #37 on the Oricon charts. Lyrics were written by Takahiro Maeda (前田たかひろ), while music and arrangement were done by Kouji Kubo (久保こーじ).


  1. Hi, Marcos.

    Thanks for putting up the Rina Chinen single. Looking at that video on YouTube, I can see how people may have mistaken her for Namie...the dance moves were also quite similar.

    My first Chinen song was "Precious Delicious" that I saw on a commercial that featured the singer. I don't think she ever hit the big time that Namie did but I saw her recently on a charity concert TV special. Apparently, she's now making a name for herself on the stage.

    1. Hi, J-Canuck.

      As you said, Rina Chinen never hit the big time. I appretiate her for what she was, but the truth is she was really an Amuro wannabe. Besides that, it's nice to see she's still around, somehow. I probably won't see her performing on an FNS Special or something related, unfortuntely. Even Amuro doesn't appear on TV anymore.

    2. Yeah, I think the pattern of strafing the public with a whole bunch of wannabes following the launch of a breakthrough star has been repeated over the decades but I think some of those folks were able to gain their own cadres of fans which is fine. I think Chinen has found her comfortable niche in life as a performer and parent now.

  2. It's nice to see someone else who knows this song! I personally fell a little bit in love with Rina after stumbling across her at the foot of the morning musume wikipedia page (she won the new artist award at the Japan Record Awards the year before morning musume).
    My favourite Rina song is probably 'Break Out Emotion' just for the fact that it is pure 90s jpop in a nutshell!


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