I was going through YouTube last night looking for a video for another article when I encountered Mariko Kurata's（倉田まり子）name. It's been a name that I've seen bandied about through various literature on Showa Era music over the years but I'd never come about to listening to any of her works until then. So I saw the video above for her September 1980 7th single, "Sayonara Rainy Station" which sounds like the type of title for a New Music ballad from that time.
With the soaring strings and gentle arrangement, "Sayonara Rainy Station" reminded me of the similar songs that a couple of my favourite songstresses were putting out in the late 70 and early 80s, Ruiko Kurahashi and Mariko Takahashi（倉橋ルイ子・高橋真梨子）. Chika Ueda（上田知華）, who would create a number of famous songs for Miki Imai（今井美樹）several years later, was behind the music here (and man, was she ever rockin' that Farrah Fawcett hairstyle back then) and is singing along with Kurata in the above video. The lyricist was Kenji Kadoya（門谷憲二）, who was also responsible for one of Mieko Nishijima's（西島三重子） trademark songs, "Chitose Bashi"（千登勢橋）a year earlier.
Mariko Kurata was the stage name for Mariko Tsubota（坪田真理子）from Nagasaki Prefecture. She was born in 1960 and came up to Tokyo in 1974 after being discovered by a talent scout on a TBS music variety show. Kurata made the leap to singer and later actress from 1979, and as for the last name of her stage name, she decided to take a kanji character from her mentor at the time, Shunichi Tokura（都倉俊一）who was creating hits for a number of singers, notably Pink Lady.
According to J-Wiki, it seems like the entertainment phase of her career ended sometime in 1984 and has been a career counselor ever since under her real name. I can only imagine what she would say to folks interested in entering show business.
|Maihama Station, the gateway to Tokyo Disneyland.|