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.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Hiromi Ohta/Hitomi Ishikawa -- Ku-gatsu no Ame (九月の雨)

We haven't gotten too much rain this month but today was the day for a goodly amount of precipitation in the Toronto area. Not a bad thing at all considering how dry it was during the summer months, and it's always nice to see the lawn pop up in a brilliant green the day after.

So for my daily contribution to "Kayo Kyoku Plus", let's go with the appropriate "Ku-gatsu no Ame" (September Rain) by 70s aidoru Hiromi Ohta(太田裕美). According to J-Wiki, her 9th single from September 1977 (good golly, 39 years ago!) was her 3rd big hit following the very sunny "Momen no Handkerchief"(木綿のハンカチーフ)in 1975 and "Akai High Heel"(赤いハイヒール)a year later.

As with those previous two hits, "Ku-gatsu no Ame" was created for Ohta by the prolific Takashi Matsumoto and Kyohei Tsutsumi(松本隆・筒美京平). With Tsutsumi's mix of kayo and a dash of disco in there along with the singer's vocals, the overall effect reminded me of the early sounds of another Hiromi....Hiromi Iwasaki(岩崎宏美), and not surprisingly, Tsutsumi was also creating hits for Ms. Iwasaki at the time. As for Matsumoto, his lyrics relate the tale of a young woman in the back of one of Tokyo's reliable taxis driving through the rain as she wonders about her boyfriend probably canoodling with another woman. Not sure if the cabbie should inquire about this one.

Considering the urban milieu covered in "Ku-gatsu no Ame" and that nice fat bass thrumming away there, I could probably say that the song can belong in the City Pop genre. Although the video above is of a much older Ohta revisiting her 1977 hit, I read in the J-Wiki article that the song was her ticket to a 2nd appearance on the Kohaku Utagassen and during her performance, the Candies, Momoe Yamaguchi(山口百恵), Hatsumi Shibata (しばたはつみ) and Junko Sakurada(桜田淳子)acted as her back dancers twirling the umbrellas. I wouldn't mind seeing that scene someday on YouTube (and actually Anonymous did track it down below!).

As I said, the song was Ohta's 3rd big hit and it would turn out to be her final Top 10 song, peaking at No. 7. It was also the 40th-ranked single for 1977 and was a track on her 6th album from July 1977, "Coquettish"(こけてぃっしゅ).

Those big 3 hits for Ohta, especially her first one "Momen no Handkerchief", may be the songs that she will always be remembered for. However for me, that part of my heart reserved for the singer contains the really summery "Minami Kaze"(南風), the first song that I had ever heard from her on "Sounds of Japan". It may only have gone as high as No. 22 on Oricon but it is my sentimental favourite.

In 1978, aidoru Hitomi Ishikawa(石川ひとみ)made her debut and during that first year, she did a peppier cover of "Ku-gatsu no Ame" that until the 21st century had only been available on an audiotape titled "Kurumiwari Ningyo/Migimuke Migi=Watashi wa Hi-to-mi="(くるみ割り人形・右向け右 =わたしはひ・と・み=...The Nutcracker/Right-Turning Right=My Hi-to-mi=)released in that year in September. Then in 2002, it was included on a BEST compilation CD of her music, "78-86 Bokura no Best, Ishikawa Hitomi CD-BOX"(78-86ぼくらのベスト 石川ひとみCD-BOX...78-86 Our Best, Hitomi Ishikawa CD-BOX).

Now for a very City Pop song that is called "September Rain", check out Makoto Matsushita(松下誠).


  1. Red and White video is here:

    There are 6 back dancers, are all 3 members of The Candies there as well?

    (Sorry if this is a duplicate post, Safari browser ate my previous comment)

    1. Thanks for tracking down the Kohaku video and you are correct, the Candies are helping out in the dancing as well. And no worries...there was no duplication of your comment.

  2. I'd like to point you to the ending song to a 1999 PS game called Chocobo Racing. The song is called "Kokoro no Takarabako".

    Here's the English language version, by a singer named Vicki Bell, which I can't find anything else about. This version is called "Diamonds in my Heart". Note the soft vocals at the start, presumably in the style of the Japanese singer.

  3. Replies
    1. Hello, Ferreavox.

      Yup, it's one of my old favourites as well.


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