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.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

J-Canuck's Favourite Six Seiko Songs

Around the end of the year in 2014, I wrote about my favourite six Akina Nakamori(中森明菜)tunes, so I figured it was time to give the same sort of due to that other big aidoru, Seiko Matsuda(松田聖子). As with the Nakamori list, the Seiko list was something that I didn't wrack my brains for days or hours over simply to keep myself relatively sane. Instead, I just went with which songs immediately came to mind when it has come to her career. She may have been active for 35 years but my most memorable Matsuda is within the first half of the 80s.

6. Tengoku no Kiss (天国のキッス)1983

Yep, couldn't get enough of this Haruomi Hosono(細野晴臣)-penned song which kept the technopop to a bare minimum, if there were any at all. To me, this was about as girlish as Seiko could get. From her plaintive vocals to the summery oh-so-pleasant arrangement, this song could provide enough heat and light to melt the ice off a Toronto winter sidewalk. I never mentioned this in the original article, but I first saw and heard Seiko performing "Tengoku no Kiss" on an episode of Fuji-TV's "Yoru no Hit Studio" in which the cameraman was apparently in quite the ambitious mood that night as he swooped down on the aidoru from all angles. Seiko-chan was more than up for the challenge, although the control booth was most likely gripped in fear, lest the camera smash into her face.

5. Sweet Memories (1983)

I didn't quite see an anime penguin in the same way again after hearing this song and seeing the famous Suntory commercial. This mix between an old 50s ballad and an 80s aidoru tune just got so much attention in our household because of those rentals of "Top 10" tapes and that Wah Yueh compilation tape containing the song. From the sax solo to Seiko's heartaching vocals, it would almost classify as a Mood Kayo.

4. Aoi Sangosho (青い珊瑚礁)1980

A bit surprising that I didn't mention this in the original article, but I first heard "Aoi Sangosho" on "Sounds of Japan", despite all those tapes of "Best 10" I went through. The first time I heard this, I was swept off my feet with that soaring arrangement. I couldn't ask for a better musical way to start off the summer with this one, and its timing of having it released in July 1980 was just perfect. My only memory of this song would be a teenaged Seiko-chan running happily along the beach in Okinawa.

3. Natsu no Tobira (夏の扉)1981

From here on end, the songs all fulfill a series of firsts when it comes to the Queen Aidoru of the early 80s. "Natsu no Tobira" was the very first Seiko song that I heard, thanks to those commercials I saw in Japan of her playing tennis. "Fresh, fresh, fresh" were the first words coming into my ears as I was introduced to the world of Seiko. And for the first time, I realized that Seiko didn't only have to be the name of a wristwatch. The song made for the ideal introduction to Japanese pop music so I was pretty darn happy when I saw that this was the song that she sang on the very first Kohaku Utagassen that I got to see here in Canada.

2. Komugi Iro no Mermaid (小麦色のマーメイド)1982

"Natsu no Tobira" may have been the very first Seiko song that I got to know, but the Yuming(ユーミン)-penned "Komugi Iro no Mermaid" was the very first single record that came into my possession later in 1982. Less bouncy than "Natsu no Tobira", "Komugi Iro no Mermaid" gradually grew onto me as that laid-back summery Seiko ballad, and I fondly remember putting the single onto the old stereo with that 45 rpm attachment.

1. Akai Sweet Pea (赤いスイートピー)1981

When it comes to my favourite Seiko-chan song, though, it would have to be this one. Another ballad by the one-and-only Yumi Matsutoya(松任谷由実), there were plenty of hits provided for Seiko from Yuming under her pseudonym of Karuho Kureta(呉田軽穂)and lyricist Takashi Matsumoto(松本隆), but for me, the pairing reached their peak with "Akai Sweet Pea". Seiko will be around for a good long time and if there were a retrospective on her long career, I think all directions would point to this romantic and nostalgic ballad. There is just something about it which would paint a picture of looking out a train and enjoying some wonderful scenery.

My favourites may be restricted to one half-decade, but I guess it goes to show that my image and musical recollection of Seiko Matsuda will always be more of her as the quintessential aidoru than as the later pop singer.


  1. Great list! I also love 80s era Seiko the best <3

    1. Hello again, Otakitty!

      Thanks very much for the compliment. I've enjoyed a few songs after her return from maternity leave past the mid-80s, but really, it's the early 80s for me when it comes to Seiko-chan. By the way, what are your favourites by her?

      Also, I went to FanExpo in downtown Toronto last Friday. As usual, I did see a number of Sailor Moon but I did also catch a couple of Ryuko Matoi from "Kill La Kill".

  2. Hi, J-Canuck.

    First, I have to thank you for making me like early Seiko's material. I remember that, even though already an 80s aidoru fan, I had a hard time enjoying "eternal aidoru's" songs, which is really strange. However, after your "Shiroi Parasol" article from two years ago, I listened to her hits with more love, and I can say now that I really like her material, or, at least, her early material.

    From your list, three songs would also be in mine, although probably in a different order. They are the exciting summer songs "Aoi Sangoshou" and "Natsu no Tobira", and the beautiful "Akai Sweet Pea". "Tengoku no Kiss" is also a great song with a cotton cady chorus, and, coincidentally, was the only early Seiko single I liked before the aforementioned "Shiroi Parasol" episode.

    Talking a bit about "Sweet Memories", it's a song I never really liked. And, to be honest, I really, really tried. In the end, "Akai Sweet Pea" and "Only My Love" are my ideal Seiko ballads.

    For me, the only odd in your list is "Komugi Iro no Mermaid", which is a song I listened sometimes, but almost vanished from my memory till now. It was nice to see the performance from Yoru no Hit Studio, my all-time favorite music show. Also, hearing it again, it's not a bad song at all. I dare to say its laidback arrangement is quite charming, especially with the flutes and that "sunset in the beach" guitar.

    1. Hi Marcos.

      Glad that I could make a new convert to the early Seiko years. :) As for "Sweet Memories", I guess I've got a weakness for some of the sappy love songs. I think you hit it right on the head about the description for the laidback arrangement of "Komugi Iro no Mermaid". It doesn't sound like a Yuming song but it's also a ballad that stands out for Seiko in comparison to some of her earlier stuff.

      You mentioned that three of my songs would be on your list. What would your other 3 favourite Seiko songs be?

    2. About my other three favourite, "Shiroi Parasol" is one of them, for sure. The chorus is lovely and even my mother loves to sing it (well, she actually hums the melody). The others are "Kaze wa Aki Iro" with the catchy milky smile lines, and "Cherry Blossom", which is an exciting song with amazing strings. In fact, arrangement-wise, Seiko's early songs were just top-notch.

      Outside of the "early Seiko" tag, I also like the Komuro-penned "Kimono Beat", a cute song originally from the "Strawberry Time" album (1987) and the kitschy "Shanghai Love Song", from 2000.

    3. Yeah, "Cherry Blossom" has that fine intro with the strings, doesn't it?

      After Seiko came back from her leave, I remember her singing "Marrakech" which I do like. Of course, there is "Strawberry Time" which reminds me of her early days.


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