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, April 7, 2015

Yoko Minamino/Takao Kisugi -- Rakuen no Door (楽園のDoor)

Consider this a follow-up to JTM's epic article on the 80s teen heroine show, "Sukeban Deka"(スケバン刑事). My fellow collaborator from Hawaii mentioned this song in his article and I just wanted to talk a bit more about it.

First thing is that I want to congratulate Mitsuo Hagita(萩田光雄)who arranged "Rakuen no Door" (Door to Paradise) for aidoru Yoko Minamino(南野陽子)who not only sang the song but also starred in the movie version of "Sukeban Deka" as Yoko Godai, the titular juvenile delinquent-turned-crimefighter. Hagita managed to get the song to melodically describe the psyche of just about everyone who has gone through the Sukeban Deka programme: the low thrumming synths showing the uncertain rough-and-tough-and-unfair life while the sweeping strings which gradually come in represent the regular feminine life that the girls most likely yearn for.

Megumi Ogura(小倉めぐみ)was responsible for the lyrics which also related not only the girls' sad from-the-outside-looking-in situation but also the hope that slowly but surely the day is coming when they will be passing through that door to paradise. As for Nanno, she sings "Rakuen no Door" in a way that reminded me of another sailor-suit-sporting girl with a weapon, Hiroko Yakushimaru(薬師丸ひろ子).

Released in January 1987, this was the aidoru's 6th single. It became the first of her 8 straight No. 1s in the late 80s and the song eventually became the 14th-ranked entry of the year.

(at about 5:00)

The man who originally composed the song, Takao Kisugi(来生たかお), gave his own distinctive spin on "Rakuen no Door" when he covered it for his 13th album, "Étranger" which came out in November 1987. His version wasn't City Pop but the arrangement by Nobuyuki Shimizu(清水信之)transformed the saga of the bad girl-gone-good into a metropolitan sophisti-pop soother as if the heroine here were more of a countryside girl on the cusp of making it big in the even bigger city. The song sounded perfect for crooner Junichi Inagaki(稲垣潤一)but Kisugi did just as well. Rather difficult to decide which version I like better.


  1. J-Canuck, what a coincident. I mentioned that I bought some songs with my iTunes gift card from Japan and this is one of them. I bought Takao's version though. Takao's more jazzy, I feel. In any case, whenever Takao sings, the image of a druken middle-aged man singing in a izakaya is what's on my mind :)

    1. Hello, Larry.

      Ah, I see great minds DO think alike. :) I kinda wonder if Takao wrote this song when he was drunk in an izakaya...nah, most likely not.

      Strangely enough, I popped in a CD of Kisugi's best hits earlier this afternoon and heard his version which got me to write about it tonight.


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