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.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

CHEMISTRY -- Pieces of a Dream

On Sunday nights back in Japan, I occasionally watched the TV Tokyo program called "Asayan"(あさやん). I thought it was basically just another one of the number of shows that Osakan comedy duo Ninety-Nine hosted, but it actually specialized in talent searches much like some of those old 70s programs that introduced some of the most famous aidoru such as Hiromi Iwasaki(岩崎宏美)and Akina Nakamori(中森明菜). Morning Musume(モーニング娘。)was born on that program as the show followed the five young ladies who had actually lost a contest to come back from the ashes by trying to sell 50,000 copies of their demo single. Of course, the rest is history.

But then a few years later, the folks on "Asayan" started getting interested in getting a male vocal duo launched. And once the dust settled, Tokyo-born Kaname Kawabata(川畑要)and Yoshikuni Dochin(堂珍嘉邦)from Hiroshima were the winners to form CHEMISTRY in 2001. When I looked at the duo for the first time, I thought that the producers were trying to create the Japanese version of Hall & Oates; although according to J-Wiki, Kawabata and Dochin are virtually the same height (173 cm and 174 cm respectively), Kawabata seemed to look quite a bit shorter and scruffier than Dochin.

Well, in any case, with the new duo set, their first single was released. "Pieces of a Dream" came out in March 2001, and along with the cool groove of the tune, I also remembered the music video which had CHEMISTRY and the rest of the setting all filmed in appropriately cool tones with the female character speaking in sign language.

Written by Tetsuro Anjo(麻生哲朗)and composed by Kazunori Fujimoto(藤本和則), "Pieces of a Dream" launched CHEMISTRY's career like a rocket. It debuted at No. 2 and hung around the Top 5 for several weeks before it finally hit No. 1 late in April of that year. It became a million-seller and won Song of the Year honours at the Japan Gold Disc Awards. On top of that, it became the No. 3 song for 2001. For some reason, the duo didn't make it onto the Kohaku Utagassen. However, I would see them quite often on the telly for the next number of years.

In April 2012, after the end of their tour in Okinawa, the duo stopped their work together and are now working at solo careers. One interesting thing I've always wondered about CHEMISTRY's roots via "Asayan", though, is that the pair could be considered to be the "brother" to the "sister" act of Morning Musume. And I'm not sure whether the two groups had ever met on some show but did Kawabata & Dochin ever reverentially treat the ladies of MM as senpai?

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