"Manjuu Shaka" was actually first sung by 70s aidoru legend Momoe Yamaguchi（山口百恵）as a creation by the husband-wife duo of Ryudo Uzaki and Yoko Aki（宇崎竜童・阿木燿子）, and as anyone who has read a lot of the Momoe articles on the blog knows, they were responsible for a lot of the hard-driving songs in the singer's second half of her career such as "Playback Part II". The song was the title track for Yamaguchi's 16th album from December 1978, although it was released as a B-side to her later 25th single, "Bi - Silent"（美・サイレント...Beauty/Silent）in March 1979.
The title, I was intrigued to find out, refers to the Red Spider Lily (Lycoris radiata) which was originally from China, Korea and Nepal before it was introduced to Japan and later even to America (thank you Wikipedia). To make a direct quote from that Wiki article: "People believe that since the Red Spider Lily is mostly associated with death that one should never give a bouquet of these flowers." (thanks to Gerald Klingaman from "Plant of the Week: Red Spiderlily") Plus, the bulbs of the flower are very poisonous.
Well, with that sort of reputation, I could only imagine what Aki's lyrics are all about. Love is mentioned a fair bit and the title is repeated regularly. And when you consider that it is the triumvirate of Aki, Uzaki and Yamaguchi, the song probably wasn't a happy-go-lucky ditty. In fact, in keeping with the spider theme, I kept thinking about the Black Widow spider. It looks like Momoe was once again in full tough...and perhaps vengeful...mode.