Credits

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.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Seiko Matsuda -- Hadashi no Kisetsu (裸足の季節)


(about 1:41)

It was all down to the dimples....

More on that later. When it came to my listening of Seiko Matsuda's(松田聖子)discography, I've always treated "Aoi Sangousho"(青い珊瑚礁), which was her 2nd single, as the beginning. It was after all the breakthrough song for her when it came out in July 1980, and it was also one of the first songs that I ever heard by her via "Sounds of Japan" on the radio.

However, as I just said, "Aoi Sangousho" was the second single. Therefore, there was the debut single, "Hadashi no Kisetsu" (Barefoot Season) that had come out about three months before in April. It is a song that I have heard before by Seiko but hadn't realized until just a few years ago that it was Single No. 1 for The Eternal Aidoru.

Yoshiko Miura and Yuuichiro Oda(三浦徳子・小田裕一郎)were responsible for creating both singles. "Aoi Sangousho" always struck me as that summery soaring (thanks to the violins and the release date) song, and "Hadashi no Kisetsu" also had a similar freshness to it, but it also seemed more girl-next-door with the flute giving the strings even more softness. Just listening to the full song again gave me that nostalgic aidoru giddiness from my high school days.

"Hadashi no Kisetsu" went all the way up to No. 11 on Oricon and would end up as the 50th-ranked single for 1980.  It was also a track on Matsuda's debut album, "Squall" which came out in August of that year, hitting the No. 2 spot.


Ah, I did mention "dimples" at the top, didn't I? Well, there's a story to that. Seiko-chan had auditioned to appear in a commercial for a Shiseido product known as Ekubo Face-Cleansing Foam. "Ekubo" is defined as dimples and during the audition, the teenaged future superstar tried to smile and couldn't show any....dimples, that is. The staff just said "NEXT...." and perhaps Seiko left dejected. However, though she couldn't be the face of the commercial, it was decided that she would be the singing voice, and was told to be able to sing the jingle that would represent the product. Recording was to take place at the end of February 1980 which didn't leave a lot of time, so things apparently went at flank speed with the clothes that Seiko was to wear on the jacket cover found in nearby Shinjuku and the photography for the jacket itself taking all of 10 minutes. When the recording was being done, Seiko found herself surrounded by a number of folks including representatives from Shiseido which got so overwhelming for the lass that she started crying up a storm. Ahhh....the pressures of potential fame.

In any case, a young high school graduate (and future actress and tarento) who had just come up to Tokyo at the time by the name of Yukiko Yamada(山田由紀子)was scouted and became the face of that face-cleansing foam commercial....I did check the above video, and yep, she had the dimples. But it was Seiko's song playing there, although at the time, a lot of people mistook Yamada for the singer. In addition, at a campaign event for Ekubo, both Yamada and Matsuda appeared for an autograph session with the former getting the lion's share of the signature seekers. 

Well, as they say, from such humble beginnings...

Still, it would've been interesting what would have happened if Matsuda had actually been able to show those dimples.


Much obliged, J-Wiki.

6 comments:

  1. Hi J-Canuck,

    I am also fond of listening to some Japanese pop music even if I can't read or understand Japanese language. When I came across to this post it reminded me how I first discovered this song not so long ago. I also like Hana Hitoiro, Cherbourg ha Kirisame, Hinagiku no chiheisen to name a few of Seiko's songs.

    By reading your profile above, I think you can help me with some song titles I've been trying to know for quite a while. The links are:

    1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0vGNy0aaAYQ
    2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yy6t66jdHRE
    3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L6BMXdzN7HA

    The first link is a track I recorded from a tape I got from a local Japanese thrift store. The second track has English lyrics that's very hard to discern. The third link's audio track is distorted and doesn't contain any vocals.

    I would be grateful if you can identify all tracks above. Thanks in advance!

    Al

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    Replies
    1. Hello, Al. Good to meet you and thanks for commenting. Yup, I'm a longtime Seiko fan although most of my faves are pretty much in the first few years of her career.

      I have to thank you very much for the request. It provided me with some good ol' detective work...quite stimulating, actually. Plus, I have a lot of those ancient audiotapes myself. Now, to address your 3 links:

      I managed to be the most successful with No. 1. That's Anri's (杏里)"Hitomi wa Eien no Kaori" (瞳は永遠の香)from her 1985 "Wave" album. From the arrangement, it just sounded like her mid-80s era.

      As for Link 2, I couldn't track it down to the specific song title but according to the Japanese comments underneath the video, it looks like the voice belongs to jazz singer Yasuko Ogawa circa 1981. The City Pop sound also reinforces that opinion. So, I'm thinking the song could potentially belong to either "Journey" (1980) or "Sunglow" albums.

      Unfortunately, although I could hear the song on Link 3, despite the noise, I couldn't identify it. However, the uploader mentioned that the song is probably titled "Big Gun".

      I hope I was of some help to you.

      Delete
    2. Hello again, Al.

      I have to make a correction for the 2nd link. The name of the singer is actually Yasuko Agawa (阿川泰子). Sorry about that.

      Delete
    3. Hi J-Canuck,

      Great! #1 was notoriously elusive. You see, I'm rediscovering retro J-pop songs little by little mostly from analog sources that's why titles are hard to come by especially when sources are from recorded tapes or LP titles with no English translation. Having said that, mind if I request again for more detective work in the near future? :)

      I also listen to other ANRI's songs but I can only name a few like Love Song ga Kikoeru, Cat's Eye and of course Hitomi wa Eien no Kaori.

      Yasuo Agawa is also a familiar artist but I have only listened to her cover songs.

      I understand number 3 posted a big challenge as I'm guessing that track sounded somewhere around 60s-70s era.

      Again, thanks for the help!

      Al

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    4. Hi Al!

      I saw some of those YouTube videos of analog tape recordings yesterday. It was pretty interesting to find out what some of those tapes had on them. Sure, if you need some more detective work, let me know.

      I've been an Anri fan for years and years, but though I have heard the name of Yasuko Agawa, I haven't had a chance to listen to any of her music. After listening to that excerpt yesterday, I'm now quite intrigued to hear some of her late 70s and early 80s material.

      Delete
  2. Hi J-Canuck,

    Judging from #2 duration I listened to the song samples from Journey and Sunglow albums but resulted no matches. Might as well listen to Agawa's other albums.

    I finally discovered number 3 and it is entitled Un giorno in più (L'ultima volta) by Gianni Ferrio from Tony Arzenta - Big Guns (No Way Out) movie. It's not J-pop but the Mafia-themed song is very good though.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ewu4Wr9f7T4

    Al

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Feel free to provide any comments (pro or con). Just be civil about it.