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.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Kohmi Hirose -- Promise (Get Down!)

During the first few fall/winters I spent in Japan between 1994 and 2011, there would always be two series of commercials that would come to represent the coming of the snow season. One would be for the Naeba Prince Hotel tied up with a Yumi Matsutoya song, and the other was for the Alpen line of sporting goods. And of course, in an almost Pavlovian manner, when one thinks Alpen, one will always remember the high note-hitting singer-songwriter Kohmi Hirose(広瀬香美).

"Promise" was Hirose's 1997 contribution to the Alpen CM with it being released in November 1997. The Alpen-Hirose connection wasn't as prominent with this song to me as it had been with some of her earlier hits such as "Shiawase wo Tsukamitai"(幸せをつかみたい), but it still became a memorable Hirose hit since I heard it sung a ton of times on the old celeb karaoke show, "Yoru mo Hippare"(夜もヒッパレ). Of course, the highlight was the viewing audience and the viewing celebs wondering whether the female tarento tackling "Promise" would be able to hit the Hirose high notes.

The two things that I've loved about "Promise": the Latin-sounding intro and the refrain which flies out like a luge onto the winding track. It must have been quite a challenge for those brave karaoke hearts who first tried it.  Hirose's 11th single went Double Platinum (selling almost 500,000 copies) and went as high as No. 4 on Oricon. It eventually became the 45th-ranked song for 1998. It was also included in her 7th album, "rhapsody" which came out in January 1998. My copy of the song is on her first BEST compilation, "Love Winters".

The above is my story. However, in preparing this article, I discovered that there was an even more interesting story behind this song. My intro to this story came about when I read on the Wikipedia article for "Promise" that it " definitely Kohmi Hirose's most popular song in the west." Well, any statement that purports a J-Pop song reaching some sort of standing in the Western Hemisphere will get my attention so I read further.

Apparently, there was a phenomenon in the video game world in which players fiddled around with the game cartridges so that the characters in the games would end up dancing a whirling dervish due to a glitch. Thus the "Get Down" meme was born. Then one guy tried it out on a Nintendo 64 James Bond game "Goldeneye" and set it to "Promise" (which also contains the lyric "Get Down"), and even more hilarity ensued.

Of course, it wasn't enough for video game characters to get down and boogie. The humans just had to get in on the act, get up and get down!


  1. I remember this phenomenon very well. Still makes me smile looking at all these videos.

    1. Hi, Ryan.

      Only found about "Geddan" when I was researching the info on the song, so I had a pretty good and fresh time milling through the various "Geddan" videos!


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