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, September 21, 2015

Shonentai -- Kamen Butokai (仮面舞踏会)

It's been a couple of years since I first wrote about the 80s aidoru trio, Shonentai(少年隊), and I have yet to put down anything about their most successful hit...which happened to be their debut single, "Kamen Butokai" (Masquerade Ball), written by Tetsuya Chiaki(ちあき哲也)and composed by Kyohei Tsutsumi(筒美京平). And yet, the beginning of the song was instantly recognizable to me as soon as I heard it...those chaotic first few seconds of music before Nishikori, Higashiyama and Uekusa go into their dynamic song-and-dance...something kinda "West Side Story".

The kanji certainly wasn't too familiar with me at the time. I had no idea how it read or what it meant, but I could have figured it out from the choreography above as the ladies came out in their gowns and masks. Pretty darn spiffy for an aidoru single. And pretty darn successful for a debut single by the boys. Within a couple of weeks of its release in early December 1985, it hit No. 1 and about a year later, it would become the 3rd-ranked single of 1986 behind No. 1 "CHA-CHA-CHA" by Akemi Ishii(石井明美)and No. 2 Akina Nakamori's(中森明菜)"Desire". It also earned a Japan Record Award in the category of Best Newcomer along with a couple of other prizes.

Quite the sweet start for Shonentai. And to top it all off, the unit was invited onto the 1986 Kohaku Utagassen. However, there was a bit of humble pie when, according to the J-Wiki article on the song, kayo legend Yuzo Kayama(加山雄三)mistakenly introduced the song by saying "Their first time on the Kohaku Utagassen, Shonentai with....KAMEN RIDER!" Nope, I don't think "Kamen Butokai" was ever the theme song for the tokusatsu insectoid superhero, and I only hope that the boys were disciplined enough not to giggle through their performance. Mind you, with all of the bouncing about on the stage, I guess some comparisons could be made with the usual action on the "Kamen Rider" franchise.


  1. I love this song! Had to chase that performance on kohaku, so here it is:

    1. Hi, Too-Tsie. Good to meet you and many thanks for putting up that Kohaku performance by the guys. I did want to see Kayama flub up the title.:)


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