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.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Shrieks -- Watashi wa Koukishin no Tsuyoi Onna (私は好奇心の強い女)

Early in the life of the blog, I wrote about the veteran singer-songwriter Iruka (イルカ...nee Toshie Hosaka/保坂としえ) since she provided me with one of the wonderful reasons that I got into Japanese pop music of the Showa Era in the first place, "Ame no Monogatari"(雨の物語). And since then, I've discovered that she has delved into other heartrending pop ballads and even some of that modern City Pop stuff.

Although I had vaguely heard about this Japanese group called Shrieks(シュリークス), I had no idea that Ms. Hosaka was even a member of this folk band. It had undergone a number of lineup changes since its inception in 1969 as a folk club at Waseda University, starting with three members starring Kazuo Kanbe(神部和夫). Hosaka joined the group with the recording of their 4th single in April 1971 but two of the members left Shrieks, leaving just her and Kanbe.

There would be 5 more singles from the duo of Kanbe and Hosaka with their 2nd-last one being "Watashi wa Koukishin no Tsuyoi Onna" (I am a Very Curious Woman) which was released in December 1972. If it hadn't been for the writeup below the YouTube video, I wouldn't have initially recognized that it was indeed Iruka on vocals here. It's not often that I have heard the singer do something comical and even her voice sounded quite a bit less crinkly than I have been used to.

Written and composed by Kanbe, Hosaka sings about how much she enjoys her "exploration" of various men although she just cannot find that perfect match (it must have been really difficult in the pre-Internet days, eh?). It might have been a figment of my imagination, but listening to the first video higher up the article, I may have heard a few gasps from the audience when she sang the line of how she loved SEX. About a year or so ago, I was having a talk with one commenter on the blog about whether there were any message songs by Japanese songwriters, and I replied that the industry was most likely far more conservative in Japan than in the West, so not too many. Therefore, for Hosaka to frankly admit in song that she enjoyed the making the beast with two backs probably had more than a few fans popping their eyebrows at the time.

Shrieks broke up in 1973 after a total of 9 singles and 5 albums. A year later, Iruka would make her debut. Meanwhile, she and Kanbe would get married and have one son, Touma Kanbe(神部冬馬), a singer-songwriter in his own right. Kazuo Kanbe passed away in 2007 at the age of 59 due to Parkinson's Disease.


  1. Hi! Love your blog!

    Recently while in Japan, I managed to pick up the Shrieks album - Iruka No Uta (from 1973 I believe?). Soo amazing! I am now totally obsessed and am trying to find more of her music or anything related, but finding it very difficult!

    I'm particularly interested in the debut Shrieks album, Furusato(1971). It looks like there was a reissue on cd in 2007 but sold out long ago. Here's a track from the album -

    Any idea where I could find this album? I'd buy any format.

    It's looking like i'll have to go back to Japan just to pick one up!

    1. Hi there!

      Thanks for the compliment. Yeah, it's difficult to find a number of these albums. I actually looked up Tower Records in Tokyo and apparently there is a copy of "Furusato" on CD at the Shibuya shop but it isn't available for purchase online. I think if you are going to Japan soon, it would be far more easier to get it directly. You can cut and paste the link below.

      Also, it may be a longshot but you can also try one of my old haunts, Tacto, in Jimbocho. It specializes in the old stuff.

      There is apparently a copy of the album as well on but it's going for something like 14,000 yen!

      Best of luck to you! BTW, what other groups or singers are you into when it comes to Japanese stuff?


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