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.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Tetsuya Takeda & Yoshimi Ashikawa -- Otoko to Onna no Hashigozake (男と女のはしご酒)

Y'know...I should've figured that actor/singer Takeda Tetsuya(武田鉄矢)probably did his fair share of Mood Kayo way back when. I mean, if you look at the fellow, he is perfect as the mid-level kacho of a company who would croon all sorts of enka or Mood Kayo favourites during those nighttime sessions at karaoke. However, I have always seen him as the guy behind one of the most famous graduation songs in Japanese kayo history which may have blinded me.

I came across this duet that he did with singer Yoshimi Ashikawa(芦川よしみ)back in the late 1980s called "Otoko to Onna no Hashigozake" (A Man and a Woman's Barhopping). This was actually a song that was made to promote stomach medicine, and there is no bigger product in demand during the Holidays when the enkai season of eating and drinking is in full force.

Tsutomu Uozumi and Koji Makaino(魚住勉・馬飼野康二)came up with the breezy Mood Kayo number about the couples who abound in the bar districts of Tokyo as they enjoy each other's company while getting tipsy in those pricey watering holes and then perhaps ending up in some hotel nearby. One observation I got from listening to "Otoko to Onna no Hashigozake" is how lighter and breezier these drinking songs became in the 1980s when compared to the older, Latin-infused and bluesier Mood Kayo from the 1960s. It's almost as if this particular genre was slightly cross-pollinated with City Pop.

(karaoke version)

The duet single came out in November 1987 and did very well on the charts, getting as high as No. 4 on Oricon. And as you can see from the commercial featuring Takeda and Ashikawa at the top, probably a lot of folks sang it in the same atmosphere at the karaoke bars well into the next few years at least.

You may have noticed at the bottom that I put down "Follow-Up". Well, I also discovered that Ashikawa had also recorded another duet with actor Shigeru Yazaki(矢崎滋)some months earlier in 1987, the more famous "Otoko to Onna no Love Game"(男と女のラブ・ゲーム), although I think the version with Mika Hino and Shiro Aoi(日野美歌・葵司朗)is the one that karaoke fans refer to. Incidentally, that song was also used to promote stomach medicine.

Sapporo Beer Station in Ebisu, Tokyo

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