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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, March 3, 2015

Naomi Chiaki -- Yotsu no Onegai (四つのお願い)



Just finished watching the latest "Kayo Concert" tonight, and considering it is March 3rd, the show's theme was "Adeyaka Hina Matsuri"(艶やかひな祭り...Bewitching Doll Festival). Yup, it is (or was, depending on where you live) Girls' Day in Japan, and so that multi-tiered display of Hina dolls went up to absorb all those bad spirits. Not surprisingly, the guests were all women including a couple of surprising first-timers on the show, former 80s aidoru Shizuka Kudo(工藤静香)and the Queen of Anison, Nana Mizuki(水樹奈々)...my label for her anyways.

I heard a few old-time songs of note, including this one by Naomi Chiaki(ちあきなおみ)titled "Yotsu no Onegai" (Four Requests). The song that I've always known Chiaki for has been the proud and elegiac "Kassai"(喝采)that she would introduce a couple of years later, so to hear her sing this cheerful tune as she skipped along in some of her performances was a bit of a revelation. This was her 4th single in April 1970 and the impression I got from the J-Wiki article on the song was that it was Chiaki's breakthrough hit.

Written by Cho'ei Shiratori(白鳥朝詠...I hope that's right)and composed by Jun Suzuki(鈴木淳), the song has Chiaki playfully giving her man four requests if they are going to remain a happy couple. For the record, according to the first verse, those requests are: 1. Love me tenderly, 2. Let me make a selfish request, 3. Don't make me sad and 4. Keep it a secret from everyone else. As for that last one, I'm not sure whether the couple in question is actually a pair having an affair.


"Yotsu no Onegai" has that comfortable style of melody that I remember from the 70s: strings and horns which is bouncy and strolling at the same time. I could probably envision Mari Amachi(天地真理)singing this one as well, and as it turns out, a lot of people have covered this one not just in Japan but also in Taiwan, Hong Kong and South Korea. As for the Japanese artists, they include The Peanuts, Yukari Ito(伊東ゆかり)and Aki Yashiro(八代亜紀). One of the surprising points about the song is that it was classified as an aidoru tune and that was how Chiaki was categorized as well at the time. In fact, she was labeled as following that "sexy aidoru route" although she was already around 23 years old at the time. But then again, I started my love for kayo kyoku with 80s aidoru so that particular image was imprinted upon me.

As I said, the song was a huge hit for Chiaki. It peaked at No. 4 on Oricon and finished the year as the 22nd-ranked song overall, selling a little under 400,000 records. It also won the singer the Broadcast Music Prize on the very first edition of the Japanese Music Awards (not to be confused with the Japanese Record Awards that I've often referred to), and it got her an invitation to her first appearance on NHK's Kohaku Utagassen. Strangely enough, Chiaki wasn't too keen on the song, thinking that it was going to be the end of her career since she thought she was no good on these cheerful tunes. Little did she know.

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