Wow! Hideki Saijo's（西城秀樹）66th single...the man's had a career and he would continue to do so, releasing a total of 86 singles up to 2006.
If I asked anyone in Japan about a song from the anime "Chibi Maruko-chan"（ちびまる子ちゃん）, the answer would naturally be "Odoru Ponpokorin"（おどるポンポコリン）by B.B. Queens which just happened to become Song No. 1 for 1990. However, I have also covered some of the other lesser-known opening and ending themes for the long-running show such as Yumiko Seki's（関ゆみ子）bright and breezy "Yume Ippai"（ゆめいっぱい）and Kahimi Karie's（カヒミカリィ）jazzy "Humming ga Kikoeru"（ハミングが聞こえる）.
Well, I completely forgot about Hideki's contribution. In fact, it was the 2nd ending theme song after the aforementioned "Odoru Ponpokorin". "Hashire Shoujiki Mono" (Run, Honest Guy) came out in April 1991, and once again, as with the super-hit from last year, the collaborators here were composer Tetsuro Oda（織田哲郎）and lyricist/creator of the original "Chibi Maruko-chan" manga, Momoko Sakura（さくらももこ）.
But instead of the comical pop of "Odoru", Oda and Sakura decided to give "Hashire Shoujiki Mono" a peppy ska beat. And that is, of course, Saijo's distinctive nasal vocals behind Sakura's loopy lyrics. I'm not sure how the veteran singer was approached to do the song but the inspiration must have been pretty easy since Saijo has had a presence in "Chibi Maruko-chan" since the show is set in the 1970s and Maruko-chan's big sister, Sakiko, is the biggest fan of Mr. YMCA. I found the title a tad ironic as well since the lead character, who happens to be the alter ego of the author, has the penchant for "embellishing" the truth from time to time (I can only imagine Maruko doing a home stay with The Simpsons in Springfield).
I was surprised to find out from the J-Wiki article that "Hashire Shoujiki Mono" is supposedly the first J-ska song to become a hit in Japan, although the genre was starting to get its feet wet in the late 80s. Still, when I think of bands like LA-PPISCH and Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra, the information was an eye-opener for me. The song peaked at No. 17 and was also on Saijo's 1991 album, "Mad Dog". Perhaps it wasn't the monster hit that "Odoru" was, but it was still good to hear a 90s Hideki hit for the first time in a long while.