On that note, then, allow me to write about Momoe Yamaguchi's（山口百恵）"Sayonara no Mukou Gawa" (The Other Side of Goodbye). By the time I went fully in thrall to my kayo kyoku proclivities in the summer of 1981, Miss Yamaguchi had already become Mrs. Miura and left the stage. I had heard about her, though, in the past and even remembered some of her performances on videotape, especially for "Imitation Gold".
And some years after that, there was a spotlight episode of "Sounds of Japan" featuring Yamaguchi and some of her discography. Of course, at the very end of that tribute was this song, her 31st single from August 1980. Written by husband-&-wife songwriting duo Ryudo Uzaki and Yoko Aki（宇崎竜童・阿木燿子）, "Sayonara no Mukou Gawa" was not Momoe's official final single (her 32nd single, "Ichie"/一恵 would be for her active run), but considering the title, the melody and the lyrics, no one in Japan ever doubted that this was the swan song for this aidoru of the 1970s. I mean, the song practically demanded a montage of her career (and thanks to the wonderful video above, it got it).
"Sayonara no Mukou Gawa" starts off with some very soft slow guitar and piano as if it were reflecting the start of the morning of the last day of Momoe's career as an entertainer. And then with this montage-like melody and lyrics like "...last song for you...", you can just imagine her fans seeing all of her appearances passing in front of their eyes which are probably welling up with tears as the music starts rousing up to the climax represented by that electric guitar blast at sunset.
And finally, there is the refrain:
Thank you for your kindness
Thank you for your tenderness
Thank you for your smile
Thank you for your love
Thank you for your everything
Sayonara no kawari ni（さよならのかわりに...Instead of goodbye）
It's probably at that point when the lachrymal fluid dam breaks followed by an extended instrumental bridge for fans to reflect some more. Plus there is still one more verse before the refrain repeats. That is one epic goodbye from a Japanese singer at 6 minutes plus!
The ballad hit No. 4 on Oricon and became the 41st-ranked song for 1980. It also became a track on her 21st album, "Phoenix Densetsu"（不死鳥伝説...Legend of the Phoenix）which was released at about the same time as the single. It peaked at No. 6.
Even though there was still one more single to come out in October 1980 which actually peaked higher at No. 2, "Sayonara no Mukou Gawa" was the goodbye song to everyone. And she has basically kept good on her promise although I recall at least one YouTube video where some pesky journalist managed to track her down for an impromptu interview a few years afterwards. Still, professionally, she was happy to be done and pass the baton onto Seiko and Akina.