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, August 29, 2016

Mariko Fuji -- Gemini Vs. Capricorn

I think I may have heard the name Mariko Fuji(藤真利子)before but it doesn't quite coalesce in the sieve that is my mind. According to her J-Wiki bio, she is an actress, singer and songwriter from Tokyo whose biggest claim to fame is that she has played the largest number of villain roles on the Tuesday night suspense dramas on NTV.

Her father was writer Shinji Fujiwara(藤原審爾)and as such, her childhood was filled with memories of movie directors and famous actresses coming to the house with the effect being that she once told her Dad that she wanted to become an actress too. Fujiwara put his foot down and forbade his daughter to follow the thespian route only for her to walk the path anyways. Teenage rebellion in action, folks.

Music was also another path for Fuji, and a couple of years after her debut as an actress, she released her first single, "S-C-E-N-A-R-I-O"(シ・ナ・リ・オ)in June 1979. However, it is the B-side for her 4th single from March 1981 that I discovered this singer. "Gemini Vs. Capricorn" may sound like an epic battle between the constellations but it's actually a cute little City Pop tune that I've taken a liking to like a puppy because of Fuji's just-as-cute voice (reminds me of Kyoko Endo) and the way she pronounces "Capricorn" (ka-puri-kon). I've also gotta say that I like the harmonica at the beginning and therefore give my tribute and condolences to the legendary Toots Thielemans who left this mortal coil a little over a week ago.

The song was also a track on her 2nd album which also came out in March 1981, "Romantic Game"(浪漫幻夢). It was actually written by Fuji under her pen name of Anri Bibi(微美杏里)and composed by one of the great City Pop princes, Yoshitaka Minami(南佳孝). As for that unusual pseudonym, the singer-songwriter was absolutely enamored by Yumi Matsutoya(松任谷由実), and she may have gone into paroxysms of joy when her first single was composed by Yuming(ユーミン)herself under her own pen name of Karuho Kureta(呉田軽穂)which when read in the Japanese way sounds similar to Greta Garbo. Fuji, inspired by the idea, came up with the name Anri Bibi which when also read in the Japanese way amounts to Vivian Leigh. As Bibi, she has written songs for singers such as Kenji Sawada(沢田研二)and Yu Hayami(早見優).

If the description for this video is correct, then Fuji will appear in the 2nd commercial at 30 seconds. In any case, her music career wasn't too long ranging between 1979 and 1984 with 8 singles and 5 albums under her belt. But the meeting with her idol, Yuming, has developed into a close friendship and Fuji can also boast being good buddies with singer Ann Lewis(アン・ルイス).

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