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, February 6, 2016

Mieko Nishijima -- Jealousy

Completely forgot that I heard this old chestnut by Mieko Nishijima(西島三重子)on "Sounds of Japan" long ago. Nishijima has often done a number of lilting countryside folk ballads although one of her most famous songs was "Gin Lime"(ジンライム), a 70s City Pop/Mood Kayo standard with Mancini-level aspirations which definitely fits the atmosphere of a hotel top bar.

But then, she has also crafted these other types of ballads which take things closer to the city but have a much more old-fashioned bent to them thanks to some lush strings. "Jealousy" is one of those examples that I've often equated with Nishijima who composed it. Kenji Kadoya(門谷憲二)wrote the lyrics about an old flame or didn't-quite-reach-romantic-potential friend who comes to see the protagonist to tell him the good news that she's found a new guy. Meanwhile the sad hero is mightily biting his tongue at realizing that he may have lost the love of his life since he wants to keep her happy. I guess this would be the ultimate in bittersweet balladry.

"Jealousy" was a track on Nishijima's 7th album from 1982, "Image".


  1. Wow…I just stumbled across this blog searching for Taeko Ohnuki, what an amazing collection. I never thought I'd find a place like this written in English. I think this blog is going to be responsible for my doubling my iTunes Library size pretty quickly. Thanks for all this!

    1. Hi, Josh and thanks for your comments. Yup, it's been 4 years with fellow collaborators almost every day. I didn't think I'd get anywhere this far! I myself have bought a few discs just from some of the songs I've discovered because of the blog.

      By the way, I like your website with samples of your work. For some of your work, I got the impression that anime or some aspect of Japanese pop culture informed it. What other Japanese singers are you into besides Taeko Ohnuki?

    2. Hey, thanks! I knew it was worth linking to my site in random places. :) I’ve never considered myself *particularly* obsessed with Japanese culture, but damn, they have such a surreal amount of good stuff. My illustration stuff definitely owes a lot to Japanese video games, especially Nintendo, various RPGs, Katamari Damacy…

      My first exposure to Japanese music was with underground stuff, like Boredoms’ Super Æ, which I found when I was 12 somehow. I’m exploring Japan’s 80’s music now—it seems like where the West’s 80’s music was getting more homogenous (IMO) Japan’s was getting more eclectic. Some 80’s albums (Aragon - self-titled, Mariah - Utakata no Hibi, most of Miharu Koshi’s stuff) sound like they’re out-of-time, almost. As far as more modern music, I’ve also enjoyed a lot of Japanese jazz and jam bands (from Hiromi, Eiko Ishibashi, Special Others, to ROVO) and shibuya-kei (Towa Tei, Takako Minekawa, Buffalo Daughter, etc.), which is all just as stellar as their pop. Right now I’m hoarding every album that Taeko Ohnuki, Tatsuro Yamashita, and Yuming have made, along with every album Ryuichi Sakamoto and Haruomi Hosono have touched, which is already a pretty giant web right there. This blog should help with that!

      Also, random question: do you have any idea what Taeko Ohnuki and Suzanne Vega were doing together for this picture to be taken? I came across it in Google Images randomly, it’s been an enigma for me ever since:

    3. Hi again.

      I'm not sure if you have visited the country but if you have a chance to get to Tokyo, you should take a look at the household goods shop Tokyu Hands or even the local 100-yen shops for some of the weird and wonderful.

      There is quite a lot of Ohnuki, Yamashita and Yuming on the blog as perhaps you may have already seen along with YMO. Not so much of the individual Hosono and Sakamoto entries although one of my friends, nikala, wrote about a couple of songs by Tin Pan Alley which was Hosono's old band in the 1970s (

      Plus, there is the former Mrs. Ryuichi Sakamoto, Akiko Yano with her album "Gohan ga Dekita yo" (

      I took a look at that photo of Ohnuki and Vega, and I've got no idea how those two got together. They don't seem to look too happy for some reason; kinda too bad since Ohnuki has got a pretty nice smile.


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