Back in Gunma Prefecture, I once saw this commercial for shochu, I believe, a fair bit on the telly. Going from the 80s into the 90s with this diversification of Japanese popular music into a number of directions such as ska, glam rock (visual kei) and the like, I was seeing and hearing a lot of new and different acts blossoming like April sakura. And the jingle that went with the above ad struck me as being one of those examples. It was gentle and amiable and unlike anything that I had heard when compared to the synth-driven sounds of Wink and Chisato, the mellow pop of Miki Imai and Midori Karashima, and the sunny, brassy feeling from Dreams Come True.
Then I finally found out what this song was and who originated it. I just saw the hiragana for Tama （たま）down in the corner of the screen during one commercial and then finally caught the band itself on some music show some time later. Man, you know the heavy metal band Motley Crue? Well, Tama was truly a motley crew. I can honestly say that I have never seen a band this weird-looking before or since. It was like seeing a mix of Japanese folklore characters and the membership of the least popular club in university, especially that one guy on guitar who looks like he was the servant to a 12th-century British monk. Definitely unforgettable.
"Sayonara Jinrui" (Goodbye Humanity) was Tama's debut single and their biggest hit from May 1990. Written and composed by Yoichiro Yanagihara（柳原陽一郎）, the band keyboardist, the song was a riff off of a number of movies such as "Planet of the Apes" and "2001: A Space Odyssey" as Yanagihara sang comically about the inevitable evolution into monkeys. The adorably odd appearances of the band members, the high-pitched harmonies and a melody that would sound just as appropriate for a walk with Momotaro and his posse as it would in a singalong in a karaoke box made "Sayonara Jinrui" a bona fide hit. It hit No. 1, went Double Platinum, got Tama onto the Kohaku Utagassen and finished the year as the No. 4 song, selling around 600,000 copies.