Credits

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, August 27, 2016

Princess Tenko -- The Magic (ザ・マジック)


I can't do any sort of magic aside from the rather sad ability to seemingly detach my thumb that I had learned from an old Laurel & Hardy movie decades ago. However, my mother has often "marveled" at how I can make 2 hot dogs disappear within a minute at lunch.

Bad segue aside, I'm not sure if there are too many folks out there who remember or even know about the Japanese magician known as Princess Tenko. I had just started my life in Ichikawa when the lady known as Mariko Itakura(板倉満里子)burst out onto the American stage and became this hugely successful performer of the magical arts from the 1990s. My impression was that she gained her fame mostly Stateside and Canada and although that fame even reached the Japanese shores, she didn't exactly become a household name in Japan like Ichiro or some of the other athletes making it big in the United States. Still, she became a darling in America to the extent that she even got her own cartoon.


One night though, I was watching the Fuji-TV variety program "Trivia no Izumi"(トリビアの泉...Fountain of Trivia)which challenged guest panelists to show how impressive a certain piece of surprising trivia could be when this certain morsel got featured. Apparently, the Princess had also been for a very brief time an aidoru! Yup, a magical aidoru. That got quite the reaction from the "Trivia" folks.

Before she took on the title of Tenko Hikita(引田天功)from her predecessor in 1980, she had been apprenticing under him from 1976 as a teenager when she took on the name of Mari Asakaze(朝風まり)and released a couple of singles in 1978 and 1979.


The first of those singles was "The Magic" (naturally) from June 21st 1978 which had somewhat of a Pink Lady-sort of uptempo melody. Not too surprising, considering it was Shunichi Tokura(都倉俊一)who composed it, and he was the one behind a lot of Mie and Kei's hits in the 70s. Akira Ito(伊藤アキラ)was the lyricist. Basically the future Princess Tenko sang about having those mesmerizing abilities to pull that special someone under her power...which she indeed did many years later, only it was more like millions of people. To continue with the Pink Lady comparison, Asakaze didn't have the spangly outfit or the high-kicking choreography but she did have her bag of magic tricks to charm the audience. 

It was quite the thing to see Princess Tenko as this aidoru of the late 70s since I never heard her talk, and so to hear her sing like a typical teenybopper was quite the revelation. "The Magic" wasn't particularly magic but its singer wasn't too shabby interpreting the words and music. However, we were all to find out where her real abilities lay. Incidentally, her 2nd single was released exactly a year later in 1979, "Kuse ni Naru kara"(くせになるから...It Will Become a Habit).




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