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.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Hiroyuki Okita -- E-Kimochi (E気持ち)

I remember when I was really getting into music (actually following music videos and buying vinyl) from the early 80s with the dawn of MTV (and later MuchMusic in Canada), and there was Toni Basil's catchy "Mickey" in 1982 with those cheerleaders punching their pom-poms and all.

(from about 1:15)

Well, whenever I hear Hiroyuki Okita's(沖田浩之)"E-Kimochi", I just get this connection going between it and "Mickey". "E-Kimochi" also has a happy cheerleading corps backing up the singer who is trilling about that special someone he covets much in the same way that Basil pined for Mickey. Released in March 1981, this was Okita's debut as a singer; the former member of a takenoko-zoku dance group began his show business career in 1980 as an actor starring in the 2nd series of the school drama "3-Nen B-Gumi Kinpachi Sensei"(3年B組金八先生...Kinpachi-sensei of 3B)as the student Matsuura. The 1st series the previous year starred three young men who would also get their fame and fortune as the Tanokin Trio (Toshihiko Tahara, Yoshio Nomura and Masahiko Kondo).

I had initially thought that Okita (who was born Hiroyuki Okiai [置鮎 広之] in 1963 in Kawasaki City) was another member from Johnny's Entertainment just like The Trio, but he never was; he was actually with Stardust Promotion at the beginning. Looking at the above performance, I wondered if he was the second coming of Hideki Saijo(西城秀樹)and "E-Kimochi" was his "YMCA". Speaking of alphabet-themed song titles, "E-Kimochi" is a pun on "Ii Komichi"(いい気持ち...I Feel Good), although in the Yoko Aki(阿木燿子)-penned lyrics, Okita sings about that blossoming young girl having attained Levels A to C...not exactly sure what the criteria is for achieving these levels but I can only wonder how the guys in college would react if she attained Level E.

Okita's debut single peaked at No. 8 on Oricon selling around 178,000 copies. Kyohei Tsutsumi(筒美京平)whipped up the bouncy-as-heck music which had me waxing nostalgic on how guys like Matchy and Toshi sounded back then.

Compared to his time in acting, Okita's singing career was pretty brief. In all, he released 13 singles and 4 original studio albums up to 1984. Sadly in March 1999, he committed suicide at the age of 36 for reasons that are still not completely clear (according to J-Wiki) although there had been rumours that the actor had become depressed over his work slowly decreasing.

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