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.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Akina Nakamori -- Futari Shizuka: "Tengawa Densetsu Satsujin Jiken" yori (二人静 -「天河伝説殺人事件」より)

As I mentioned in the article for Akina Nakamori's(中森明菜)comeback single in 1990, "Dear Friend", I thought that the surprising cheeriness in the summery song was somewhat forced. It didn't quite sound like the usual Akina, so when her next two singles came out, "Mizu ni Sashita Hana"(水に挿した花...Flowers in the Water)and the subject of this article, I felt that the singer was back to her darker sound, albeit with a more mature ring to the arrangements.

"Futari Shizuka: Tengawa Densetsu Satsujin Jiken yori" (Two Quiet: From The Case of the Tengawa Legend Murders) came out in March 1991, just a few months before I was to leave the JET Programme, and dang, boy, did I think that was one LONG title for a song. At the time, I had no idea about the background story for Akina's 26th single but felt that she was definitely taking a different tack from the female rock bands and uptempo synthpop that solo female singers were trying out at the time.

First thing was the Asian atmosphere in the intro before it gave way to the more undulating contemporary moodiness. It was almost as if Akina was trying out a potential James Bond theme to lure the franchise back to Japan (although at the time, 007 was not in a good state), but many years later, I found out that she was indeed singing a song that was the theme to a mystery/suspense movie actually titled "Tengawa Densetsu Satsujin Jiken".

With the official English title of "Noh Mask Murders" according to the Internet Movie Database (very little English-language information), the movie was released in March 1991. However, Akina's version wasn't used as the actual theme although it was used in the commercials.

The person who sang the theme was Makoto Sekiguchi(関口誠人)who had composed it under the title of "Tengawa Densetsu Satsujin Jiken" which was released a month before Akina's version. Listening to the video above, I thought I had heard that voice somewhere before; as it turns out, Sekiguchi was the guitarist and a vocalist for the cute 80s band CCB that my friend had been so gaga for. What was also a bit surprising was that this the first time for the prolific Takashi Matsumoto(松本隆)to have his lyrics attached to an Akina song, according to the liner notes in a later BEST compilation titled "Complete Singles Collections - First Ten Years: Rhino Premium Edition" from 2010. From what I could gather from his lyrics, it seems as if the singer was taking on the role of one of the characters from the movie itself.

"Futari Shizuka" peaked at No. 3 on Oricon and later became the 21st-ranked song of 1991. As for Sekiguchi's original version, it was his 6th single and was also on his 4th album from the same year, "Itazura"(悪戯...Mischief).


  1. I always think that Futari Shizuka was a bad omen. It reached no.3 on the Oricon chart and Akina never has a song that reached top 5 again. I enjoyed Futari Shizuka though. I especially like her monologue at the beginning of the song. It adds a mysterious atmosphere.

    1. Hi, Larry.

      Good point about the ranking...I forgot to mention that in the article. It's kinda too bad that Akina couldn't score any more No. 1s but she had a good run in the 80s.


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