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, December 1, 2016

Minako Honda -- 1986 no Marilyn (1986年のマリリン)

In all honesty, I was never all that big a fan of Minako Honda(本田美奈子)during her aidoru days although there was no denying her beautiful looks. I think it was that one performance on one of the 1980s music shows where she sang "1986 no Marilyn" (1986 Marilyn), and I thought it was just horrible! And that's perhaps saying something considering the numbers of aidoru I had seen on those music shows and other variety programs on VHS during that time. However in her defense, she had the headset on while pulling off some of those dance moves as an aidoru so I could imagine it may have been fairly difficult to keep steady vocally.

Listening to it again, I'm still not totally sold on her most successful song but at least with the above performance, she wasn't obliged to be so dynamic in terms of the choreography. "1986 no Marilyn" was released in February 1986. As with her later hit "Oneway Generation", it was the duo of Yasushi Akimoto and Kyohei Tsutsumi(秋元康・筒美京平)behind the creation of "1986 no Marilyn" which had Honda giving that sultry description of the legendary Marilyn Monroe.

According to J-Wiki, her previous single "Temptation" did very well, hitting No. 10 on Oricon. However, lyricist Akimoto felt very bad for Honda since it didn't do as well as they had hoped which led to having him, the aidoru and her staff working even harder to get that even bigger hit so that more of Honda's personality can shine through. He actually felt that Honda had some of that Marilyn Monroe in her which needed to get out, thus the development of "1986 no Marilyn", as perhaps something autobiographical (?). I think her original performances of the song on "The Best 10" and the other music shows channeled more Madonna but then again, Madonna was basically seen as the second coming of Marilyn, so perhaps it was mission accomplished. Also at the same time, I saw some rock-era Ann Lewis and maybe even a tad of Rebecca as well.

Certainly it was mission accomplished when it came to the Oricon charts. "1986 no Marilyn" made it all the way to No. 3 and ended up as the 32nd-ranked single of the year.


  1. Watching her early performances, one gets the feeling that she's a kid playing at being a grown up. She grows into her character more during the 1990s, but by then her chart successes were past. Her post-1990 performances are very watchable though, playing around with the song and persona rather than sticking rigidly to them. Here's one of my favourite performances of this song, from 1994.

    If you can watch nicovideo (create an account and log in), here's Nana Mizuki's 2010 version, channelling her power ballad mode.

    1. Hello there.

      Yes, I think there was some of that "let's play grown-up" attitude foisted upon her and I don't think it was a perfect fit. I remember that Honda was also trying out a number of genres after her first several singles such as hard rock and enka. Things finally clicked when she started her stage musical career.

      I've already got nicovideo so I'll have to take alook at Mizuki's version. I think she'd be perfect to do a cover. Thanks!


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