The first time I saw actress Ryoko Hirosue（広末涼子）was early in my Ichikawa days when I caught her in this ad for NTT Docomo's pokeberu, aka "pocket bell", double aka "beeper"...in the days before cellphones and then smartphones really took charge. I think she was all of 15 at the time but soon after this commercial, her star just rose higher and higher until I pegged her as the It Girl for that year and perhaps for a few more. Her popularity rather reminded me of Rie Miyazawa（宮沢りえ）from about half a decade earlier, although Hirosue was more about the girl-next-door than the sassiness.
Well, with all of the commercials, TV dramas and movies that were being thrown into her lap, I think it was pretty much inevitable at the time that the Kochi-born Hirosue would be asked to go into the recording studio. And so it was that she would release 7 singles and 2 original albums between 1997 and 2000 with her debut being "Maji de Koi suru Go-byo Mae" (5 Seconds Before Love) in April 1997.
The music video got plenty of airtime and I will always remember the teenaged Hirosue washing the dog while her vocals warbled cheerfully about heading down to Shibuya for that inaugural date with the boy of her dreams while leaving her rival in the dust. As Marcos V. mentioned in his contribution to the Hirosue discography, "summer sunset", she was never the greatest singer but it was all about the It Girl at the time singing a cute and happy and relatable love song which would have plenty of high school girls hitting the karaoke boxes in turn and boosting Hirosue's profile even more. I could even imagine her wearing the 90s high school fashion item of loose socks.
|One of the world's busiest intersections in Shibuya.|