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.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Miwako Fujitani & Yoshiaki Ohuchi -- Ai ga Umareta Hi (愛が生まれた日)


Another one of those "Long time, no see" discs. I dug up "Ai ga Umareta Hi" (The Day that Love was Born) from among the few piles of those ancient tiny CD singles. It was released back in February 1994, several months before I left for my second stint in Japan, so I must have seen the song performed on those rental videos of "Music Station" or "Best 10" shows.

Miwako Fujitani's(藤谷美和子)main trade was acting but I used to see her more often as a guest on various variety shows to the extent that I think she probably should have been categorized as a tarento as well. I remember she had quite the bubbly personality to be a TV personality, but I think in those days her star was either rising or at its peak since she just seemed to be popping up everywhere on the videos I was renting and on the first several TV programs I caught after getting into Japan later that November.

Well, I guess either she and/or her staff must have realized that after becoming an actress and a tarento (perhaps), it was time to go for the Triple Crown of Japanese stardom...and wear that chanteuse's cap. So she recorded the theme song, "Ai ga Umareta Hi", for an NTV drama that she was also starring in, "Sono Uchi Kekkon Suru Kimi e"(そのうち結婚する君へ...To You Who Will Get Married Sooner or Later)as her debut single.


As I said, I saw the song being performed a number of times on the music shows but although I knew Fujitani, I had no idea who the fellow behind her was and frankly didn't have much of an interest in finding out. Well, it would be many, many years before I discovered that the name behind the guitar-strumming guy was Yoshiaki Ohuchi(大内義昭). Now, if you are a Kahoru Kohiruimaki(小比類巻かほる)fan like I am, you will know right off the bat who he is since he had been collaborating with Kohhy on so many of her songs like "Hold On Me" and "Dreamer". In fact, if you checked out his name in the Labels section, you would be getting all of her songs with him listed as the composer...at least until this article.

However, Ohuchi has been in the music business since 1980 as a singer-songwriter and as a musician helping out on other projects. I just didn't realize that he was in front of the mike for this one. And "Ai ga Umareta Hi" wasn't even composed by him this time. It was actually created by prolific composer Hitoshi Haba(羽場仁志)and written by the even more prolific Yasushi Akimoto(秋元康)as a song with contemporary arrangements but has that sound of a Mood Kayo that could have been easily performed by folks from that genre on an episode of "Enka no Hanamichi". The fact that it is a duet ballad strengthens that feeling along with the theme of love and the somewhat pensive melody.

I guess, therefore, "Ai ga Umareta Hi" appealed across generational and genre lines. It became a million-seller and broke the Top 10, peaking at No. 5 on Oricon and eventually becoming the 13th-ranked song of the year. It also won a number of prizes including one from The Japan Record Awards, and Fujitani and Ohuchi were able to get onto the Kohaku Utagassen. I'm pretty sure that neither of them imagined that they would ever appear on that special at the time.

The song also appeared on Fujitani's debut album "Singer" which came out in May 1994. Her singing career was brief...it lasted as far as 2001 with 6 singles and 4 albums. And the actress herself stopped her activities in 2005.


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