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, October 10, 2015

Akina Nakamori -- Yokohama A-KU-MA (ヨコハマA・KU・MA)

(cover version)

About a couple of years ago, I came across a gem in the vast Akina Nakamori(中森明菜)discography with the title of "Lonely Journey" which was the B-side to her super hit song "Meu Amor e"(ミ・アモーレ)from 1985. I just fell in love with the swift and soaring song created by EPO as it seemed to whip Akina and her listeners all over Tokyo at night.

It looks like I may have found another gem by accident when I discovered a much earlier song by Nakamori way back in her truly aidoru days. I saw this wonderful combination of Yokohama travelogue and Akina backed up by "Yokohama A-KU-MA" (Yokohama Devil) on YouTube. Back in those days, my image of the fresh new aidoru was that of a teenage malcontent singing not synth-sweet songs of cutesy adventures with her beau but tunes of high school-age rebellion backed up by wailing electric guitars.

The title of this new discovery suggested the same sort of deal but when I heard it for the first time a few nights ago, it was Akina singing a fairly epic disco-tinged City Pop tune that reminded me of "Monroe Walk" by Yoshitaka Minami(南佳孝). And I should have been reminded of that song since "Yokohama A-KU-MA" was indeed composed by Minami with lyrics provided by the late lyricist/singer Tsuzuru Nakasato(中里綴). The heroine here is riding sidesaddle with her beau in what is probably a vehicle a little more expensive than a Toyota Corolla as the two take that ride on the highway through Yokohama. The hint is that she is still a teen most likely skipping school but still wants even more thrills as the titular she-devil. Musically, it's definitely different from the rock-tinged hits such as "Shojo A"(少女A)which incidentally is on the same album as this tune, "Variation"(バリエーション), her 2nd album from October 1982.

Since it was early days for the singer, her voice didn't have that familiar depth yet but the song is interesting for a just-beginning aidoru tackling something that sounded more mature and more like something that Hiromi Go(郷ひろみ)would have tried at the same time. Perhaps "Yokohama A-KU-MA" was a hint of what Akina was destined to become. "Variation" itself did quite well, hitting the top spot on Oricon.


  1. Please, post your review about Akina's recent cover album 'Utahime 4 -My Eggs Benedict-' and her new single 'Unfixable'!

    1. Hi, Bruno. Thanks very much for your request and I have just posted an article on "unfixable" that you might want to take a look at. Unfortunately, it's not the most glowing article but as I mention in the article, I've been more into her older songs from the 80s and early 90s. As for "Utahime", I have used some of her covers in articles but really haven't come around to listening to the entire series of her cover albums.

      So allow me to ask you, what are your feelings about "unfixable" and the "Utahime" series?


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