The protagonist in the lyrics was a young girl whom Murashita described as fully baptized by the joy and sorrow of love, someone who just wholeheartedly devoted to her dreams, a gypsy (love wanderer) as a result of begin shaken by the brittleness of love. "Sing for us!" Murashita called on her. "Please blossom! Please show us your cute little smile of yesterday!" he yelled.
It was a song meant to comfort, a cheer up song for a girl who was lost in love.
Although the title of the song, "Akina", represents a generic girl's name, Murashita wanted to dedicate this song to Akina Nakamori, and wrote the lyrics with her and her story in mind. It was indeed a cheer up song dedicated to Akina.
Here's a paragraph of the lyrics which I found moving:
Sing for us! With your sunny cheerful voice.
You're one wounded swan
オレの胸で 深く 泣きな
I'll lend you my shoulder for your deep sorrows
My hands will be holding your tear drops for you
On July 11, 1989, Akina was found unconscious in Masahiko Kondo's (近藤真彦, nicknamed Matchy) apartment. She appeared to have committed suicide, but was rescued eventually. The reason was rumored (technically I think it was a rumor but in fact it is the truth) to be the culmination of her drawn-out and difficult relationship with Matchy. Her attempted suicide resulted in a year long rest and rehabilitation. Even though she came back with her new single in summer 1990, she was never the same again, both career-wise and personality-wise.
It was under this backdrop that Kozo Murashita dedicated this song to her. In Murashita's CD album, Tanabata Yasoukyoku (七夕夜想曲), producer Sudoh Akira (須藤晃) wrote in the accompanying booklet:
We (he and Murashita) both are Akina fans. So we decided to create a song to encourage her and cheer her up. We wanted to contact Akina in person and send our warmest wishes, but to no avail. In any case, we're glad that we could return this song, singer to singer, out of respect to all the songs that she sang for us.Here is a live performance of Kozo Murashita singing "Akina":
And here's an album version:
It was this behind the scene story that prompted Akina to cover Kozo Murashita's Odoriko (踊り子) in her cover album, Utahime 3 (歌姫３), in the year 2003. It was her way to pay respect to this singer songwriter, who dedicated a song to her in her darkest days, despite the fact that she was unaware of it at that time.
Here's Akina's version of Murashita's Odoriko:
Odoriko was a song about 2 lovers in a difficult struggling relationship. Murashita used odoriko, which means dancing girl, as an analogy to describe how fragile and unstable that relationship was. It's as perilous as a ballet dancer dancing on her tiptoe. Both wanted to escape but they couldn't, so they stayed together. There's also an alternative interpretation that says that the love relationship in the song was actually an affair, due to the reference 裏の路地, which means back-alley. Anyway, it's a sad song to me.
I actually listened to Akina's version first before I listened to Murashita's original. Maybe it's first impression but through her seeming sobbing voice, I've accepted Akina's interpretation. So when I listened to the original version, it felt strange because (1) Murashita's tempo is much faster and it dilutes the sadness (2) Murashita's voice was not sad but indifferent. It was like an old couple who hung on to their unhappy marriage and eventually accepted it as fate.
To this date, I still feel strange listening to Murashita's version of Odoriko.