Knowing about soulful singer Keizo Nakanishi（中西圭三）all these years, I also heard about this other artist by the name of Yasushi Nakanishi（中西保志）, but for some reason, I never really got to hear a whole lot about this fellow aside from the fact that he was quite the balladeer. He was born in the ancient capital of Nara in 1961 and joined a glee club during his university years and even became a vocalist for a band while he was in second year. Apparently from what I could gather from his J-Wiki bio, he is a big Billy Joel and Steve Wonder fan.
Nakanishi made his debut in April 1992 with "Ai Shikanai yo"（愛しかないよ...Nothing But Love）, but it was with his second single, "Saigo no Ame" (The Final Rain) that he made his big splash. Released in August of that year, this was the song that got him pegged as the balladeer, and several weeks ago on NHK's "Uta Kon"（うたコン）, either it was Nakanishi himself or one of the guests that night who performed what is probably his most famous tune.
Written by Jun Natsume（夏目純）and composed by Takashi Tsushimi（都志見隆）, what I liked about this song is that it reminded me of some the older pop ballads from the US back in the 1980s such as Laura Branigan's "How Am I Supposed to Live Without You" and some of the love songs by Chicago during that decade. And lyrically speaking, there is a resemblance between "Saigo no Ame" and "How Am I Supposed to Live Without You" in that both talk about a romantic breakup that perhaps only one imminent ex-partner is willing to accept. Also with all that rain in the song, I couldn't help but remember some of those climactic scenes in Japanese dramas which took place in a torrential downpour just before the commercial.
"Saigo no Ame" managed to get as high as No. 16 and became the 52nd-ranked single of the year. And by the time 1998 rolled around,the single managed to sell around 900,000 copies. The single is also included in Nakanishi's debut album "Voice Peaks" which came out in September 1992.
The ballad has been covered quite a lot over the years. Atsushi of EXILE sang it during one of his concerts which is included in the band's DVD "Premium Live ~The Roots~" from 2011. Just judging from this performance above, I think he sings it even better.
Kumi Koda（倖田來未）gives a slightly more R&B version in her 2003 maxi-single, "Gentle Words".