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, October 30, 2014

Chiharu Matsuyama -- Koi (恋)

Other than his distinctive voice, I currently know Chiharu Matsuyama (松山千春) as the poor guy who lost most of his hair... but I must say he's rocking the bald look with that untidy salt and pepper scruff on his chin - kinda makes him look a little like a walrus though, especially when it grows out.

But with that aside Matsuyama's 8th single from 1980 'Koi', which just means love, pretty much had me with the soft chords of the acoustic guitar and sharp yet gentle whine of the harmonica at the start, giving a sort of nostalgic feel to the song. Definitely a far cry from the rock and roll of 'Nagai yoru' (長い夜) that would come out a year later.

Now that I think of it, this song just gives me the image of the folk singer-songwriter in his early days sitting on a bench in a near empty train station platform at sunset, singing this ballad in a heartfelt way while strumming away at his guitar, probably yearning for that special one to arrive... if she is even coming in the first place! Ah hah hah, now that gives it some extra depth!

Moving on, being one of Matsuyama's self-written and composed hits, 'Koi' did well on the Oricon charts peaking at 6th on the weeklies and managed to stay on people's radars long enough throughout the year (released on 21st January) for it to rank 34th in 1980.

Here's a live performance of Matsuyama from back in the day singing an acoustic version of the song.

And another thing I found was a duet version of 'Koi', between Kiyoshi Maekawa and Sayuri Ishikawa (前川清 . 石川さゆり). From the looks of it (and from Maekawa's non-existent glaring perm), it was performed either during the very late 80's or the early 90's, and yes I coincidentally discovered this after approving the pair's recent duet 'Aiyo shizuka ni nemure'. It's interesting really to have a song originally sung by one to be split into the verbal give and take between man and woman, but it worked.

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