Although I'm not a big fan of Kiyoshi Hikawa (氷川きよし) - I appreciate his singing ability and I admit that he is indeed good-looking - but holey moley, that is some photo of him on the C-type single cover for "Itoshi no Tequila" and "Otoko Bana" (what you see up there)! He's really rocking that rogue-ish look. Yup, it even makes the eyes of yours truly, who much prefers the older, refined gentlemen of the genre, pop wide open. Not enough to make my jaw drop though. But I had read that the pictures on the 3 versions of the single were banned for a while due them exuding too much sex appeal. I'm pretty sure the fans were miffed to put it mildly, so eventually the powers that be lifted the ban not too long after. People can now enjoy Hikawa either showing off some skin or staring seductively into the camera on their single covers.
He kinda looks like an off-duty bellhop in this performance. Anyway, Akira Umehara (梅原晃) was responsible for both writing and composing "Otoko Bana", and from the lyrics, I think "Otoko Bana" may be a metaphor for striving to make it/achieve something in life... or something like that. Y'know, with the Kohaku coming up in just a few weeks (wow, already!) and with Hikawa being one of the guests on the annual year-end competition, I wonder if he'll sing this raucous tune since it's such a fan favourite.
"Otoko Bana" wasn't released as a single until 29th September when it was paired with "Itoshi no Te quiero" (I'm honestly not sure if that's the way it's romanized, but I'll just go with this for now), forming Hikawa's first single with 2 A-sides. I have not a clue how that works.
Anyway, with "Itoshi no Te quiero" being a love song, its a lot more subdued than "Otoko Bana" and the image of Spanish streets aglow at night comes to mind rather than the raging sea. That bright red casual suit and low-cut V-neck shirt is really a contrast to the blue outfit with trailing scarves, but it fits the Latin and romance theme better. Seeing Hikawa dance flamboyantly to the strumming of the Spanish guitar and shed his enka-ness in this clip, I kept wondering what this guy is doing in the world of enka when he seems more at home as a regular J-pop singer or aidoru. Well, but I suppose he has his reasons for that. "Itoshi no Te quiero" was written by Ryoko Hashizume (橋詰亮子) and composed by YORI.
Not surprisingly, "Itoshi no Te quiero" and "Otoko Bana" did well on the Oricon charts; peaking at 2nd on the regular charts and 1st on the enka-yo one.
|A-type picture... Nah, I prefer the |
C-type, he looks cooler in that one.