I'll be looking forward to another NHK kayo special in about 25 minutes so I'm gonna be fairly racing although I intend to put out a decent written product in that time.
My feelings are that Junko Hirotani（広谷順子）is one of those unsung heroines in the music industry. She's provided her own singles and albums along with songs for other singers and yet I never heard anything about her until I started perusing that book, "Nihon no Josei Singer-Songwriters"（日本の女性シンガー・ソングライター...Japan's Female Singer-Songwriters）and building "Kayo Kyoku Plus".
However, she's got a lovely voice and has impressed me with the songs that I have heard and listed on the blog so far. It's solidly pop, tending toward the Taeko Ohnuki（大貫妙子）side of things. One example of this is the subject of this article, "Mizuiro no Machi" (Water-Coloured Town) which is a track on her 2nd album "Blendy" (I also feel like having a cup of coffee whenever I hear of this album....sorry that's a small joke about a brand of Japanese coffee with the same name) from 1980.
As soon as it starts, I get that Ohnuki feeling of a trip through Europe. There is that sense of innocent traipsing through some of the older architecture of the various capital cities as I listen to "Mizuiro no Machi". Unfortunately, I couldn't confirm whether Hirotani actually composed or wrote this but she seems to have stepped into an area which would include singers such as Takako Okamura（岡村孝子）later on in the decade. And she does remind me of a contemporary of hers who would debut at around this time, Ruiko Kurahashi（倉橋ルイ子）, one of my all-time favourites.
There was an article on a Japanese site that I've often referred to in the pages of this blog, "Music Avenue" in which "Blendy" was featured. And in it, I found that the author stated that "Mizuiro no Machi" is so exquisitely arranged that even an aidoru could sing it well (that could be praise or condemnation). I could imagine an aidoru singing this song but I don't think it would be the case until later in the 1980s when some of those teenyboppers were tackling a more fancier aesthetic in the arrangement. Perhaps Hirotani was someone ahead of her time when it came to aidoru music? However, I would still place her solidly in the pop genre.
Not being able to find out about the information behind the making of the song gives me further incentive to see if I can purchase "Blendy" soon. Plus, I've already written one other tune from the album "Blue Rainy Station". Besides, I really like that cover.