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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.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Seiko Matsuda -- Himitsu no Hanazono (秘密の花園)


I had a commenter ask me about this song by Seiko Matsuda(松田聖子), and I have to admit that I certainly took my sweet little time putting this one up considering it's one of the standout songs I first heard on the album, "Train" which I got down at Wah Yueh in the form of an old-fashioned LP back in the late 80s. I knew about "Rock N' Rouge" and "Akai Sweet Pea"(赤いスイートピー)of course but "Himitsu no Hanazono" (The Secret Flower Garden) was something new for me.

Now, at the time I purchased "Train", I was still only about 5 years into my blooming interest in Japanese popular music, so I didn't know about the fact that the album featured the best of Seiko's hits created by lyricist Takashi Matsumoto(松本隆)and composer Karuho Kureta(呉田軽穂), and it would literally be decades before I found out that Kureta was the pseudonym of one Yumi Matsutoya(松任谷由実). But I did know that the music on this BEST album was indeed some of Seiko-chan's finest.

The same goes for "Himitsu no Hanazono" which stood out to me for its seeming combination of a wonderland-like environment and a down-to-earth summer resort. The individual verses contain that melody of a princess' life in a castle in some unnamed European country while the refrain (Moonlight magic...) suddenly gets that beat and mellow trumpet which struck me as being Resort Pop. Then there is the instrumental bridge which just soars into this sophisticated dance party, complete with ballroom gowns. Whichever environment it is, though, there is that feeling of flying into that much-desired land away from gray office buildings and crowded subways.

Lyrically, Matsumoto's words could also belong in either real or fantastical universe. Is the protagonist a bored and spunky princess doing something sneaky with her chosen Prince Charming or is she a university student rebelling against Mom and taking off to Hakone with her secret boyfriend? Again, it was all good for me. "Himitsu no Hanazono" struck me as being a cut above the usual aidoru tune and maybe even a cut above a Matsumoto/Kureta collaboration.


The song originally came out on her 7th album, "Utopia" from June 1983, but had been released earlier as her 12th single in February. Considering the early 1980s were the heyday for the singer, it's not a surprise that it hit No. 1 on the charts but more significantly, it was her 10th consecutive No. 1 which set off a new record in that category, taking over for Pink Lady who had previously scored 9 consecutive No. 1s during their heyday. Her long record started all the way back in 1980 with her 3rd single, "Kaze wa Aki Iro"(風は秋色), and spanned all the way forward to her 26th single in 1988 with "Tabitachi wa Freesia"(旅立ちはフリージア). Maybe Pink Lady became Green (with envy) Lady. Going back to 1983, "Himitsu no Hanazono" was the 22nd-ranked song of the year.

Many years later, I also ended up purchasing "Train" the CD but found out that "Himitsu no Hanazono" wasn't included. Kinda sad since that song was one of the reasons that I had to get another version of the album. But fortunately, it has popped up on other releases.



3 comments:

  1. This is quite a lovely song! I **think** I've heard another artist's rendition of this before (not sure who the artist was), but I'm really loving this version a lot more.

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    Replies
    1. Hi again.

      Yes, I think Yuming's tunes are quite coverable. As for "Himitsu no Hanazono", a couple of singers have given their own renditions, one being YUKI from Judy & Mary, and a fellow by the name of Yuuya Matsushita.

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  2. Hello! I'm really glad that you're posting a lot of Seiko-chan articles recently. So, I was wondering if you'd be willing to do one on the song "Only My Love." Thank you!

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