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.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Bakumatsujuku/TM Network -- Come on Let's Dance

Back on Christmas Eve last year, I wrote about the song "Yodel Tabehodai"(ヨーデル食べ放題), a musical ode to the love of yakiniku dining since it was featured on the end-of-year NHK special, "Osaka Melody". And during the performance of that song by Sachiko Kobayashi(小林幸子), a rather dapper if immense tarento popped up to ham (no pun intended) it up. This would be Hikomaro(彦摩呂), the ultimate foodie TV personality in Japan.

During my years in Japan, I would see the fellow appear on many a segment noshing happily on the grand variety of dishes served all throughout the nation while giving his thoughts. As the template for all tarento sampling the fare in the myriad restaurants, Hikomaro would be extremely loud and ingratiating...and that was even before he took a single bite. When he did, though, he would look like as if he were having an orgasm (man, I hope his pants were sturdy) and declare a whole ton of analogies as compliments such as "Aji no IT no kakumei ya!"(味のIT革命や〜)which translates as "This is the IT revolution of taste!" The above video has him explaining very much tongue-in-cheek about how to behave as a properly appreciative foodie tarento with the dish of choice being gyoza.

Hikomaro is about the same as me at about half a century. It's time for the shocker. Back in the late 1980s, the above video is what he looked like back then. Yep, he was a lot slimmer back then instead of his appearance now. So that you readers don't end up hurting your necks pulling multiple double takes between the two above videos, let me reassure everyone that both folks are indeed the same man...just in different times and weight classes. I've heard that whenever a retrospective is done about Hikomaro, the hosts always show the before/after photos of the fellow just to screw around with everyone's heads.

Back then, Hikomaro was Yoshihiko Hara(原吉彦)who was a member of a street performance team-turned-aidoru group called Bakumatsujuku(幕末塾...Bakumatsu Cram School)which had nothing to do with Johnny's Entertainment. The street performers based in Harajuku was scouted out one day and 11 of them decided to become a bona fide boys' aidoru group in 1988. Hikomaro became the 2nd leader of the group.

In April 1989, Bakumatsujuku debuted with "Come on Let's Dance", a high-energy and synth-heavy tune written by Norie Kanzawa(神沢礼江)and composed by Tetsuya Komuro(小室哲哉). As an aidoru tune, it's actually not too bad in execution. However, only three more singles were released with the last one coming out in late 1990 and 2 albums. Apparently, although there was no official declaration of the group breaking up, Hikomaro and any other members who have still remained in the geinokai have referred to themselves as former members of Bakumatsujuku.

"Come on Let's Dance" by Bakumatsujuku is actually a cover of the original 6th single by TM Network (there is that Komuro connection). This version is one that I actually like better since there is even more guitar-driven oomph along with Takashi Utsunomiya's(宇都宮隆)percussive voice. The single came out in April 1986 (peaked at No. 19) and was also laid down as a track on the band's 3rd studio album, "GORILLA" from later in June. The album got as high as No. 12 with a little under 420,000 in sales.

Let's finish things off with another orgasmic performance by the legendary Hikomaro!

Curry Tonkatsu at Haneda Airport


  1. Hi! I like the way this blog portrays songs from the past, but I think this post is a bit rude towards this man (Hikomaro). If it is mainly to joke about his weight and how bad do you think he has aged, why bother talking about him at all? Do you look the same as you did back in the 80s?

    1. No, I actually look the same...pretty bad. :) Haha.

    2. Sorry, Henrique. The above was a pretty snarky remark at you for which I apologize. Unfortunately, I have a tendency to smart off first, think later. I also apologize for offending you with my opinions on Hikomaro. But am I going to change what I've written? No way. The above is my own opinion, good or bad, and it's going to stay up there.

      When I started this blog, I told myself that whatever I wrote up and decided to finally publish (including any personal comments on the singer himself or herself) would stay that way permanently and if commenters want to like or dislike my own comments, then they are free to let me know. I simply cannot and will not censor myself even if my comments are harsh from time to time. However, feel free to criticize me on this matter since I've taken myself to task on some of the comments I've made in other articles.

      Still, I thank you for complimenting the blog and I'm happy that you are visiting "Kayo Kyoku Plus". And you can come and comment on any of the other articles anytime.:)

    3. Hi! Apology accepted. I agree with you. You should never censor yourself here. The opinions and stories attached to the song reviews give to this blog a lot of life.

      I tried to deliver a sincere opinion about what I have felt while reading the post, and I wouldn't stay true to myself if I didn't. My opinion on it won't change either.

      I've been reading the blog for over 3 years now. I really appreciate the effort to put together all this amazing music information here. Thank you!

    4. Hi, Henrique.

      Thanks very much for your graciousness in this matter. From experience, I've been in other situations where people haven't been nearly as forgiving.

      Since you have been reading the blog for a few years now, the only other apology I can offer is that probably a number of articles have had their videos taken down by the powers-that-be at YouTube.:)

      The blog has been very much a labour of love for me all these years and I think that's been the case with Noelle and Marcos as well. By the way, what sort of Japanese music are you into?

    5. Hi, J-Canuck!

      When I started reading the blog, I was a huge idol fan (Nakamori Akina, Matsuda Seiko, Minamino Yoko, Honda Minako, Okada Yukiko, Kitaoka Yumeko, Moritaka Chisato, Oginome Yoko...and many others). I loved to come here and discover new idols from the 80s.

      I still like idols, but I'd say city pop is my favorite Japanese music genre nowadays. I actually discovered it here on this blog. I enjoy those 'summer vibes' that some city pop songs can give.

      Don't worry about the videos that were taken down by youtube. Most of the time, when I stumble upon a post that the video is not working, it is easy to google the song and watch it from a different source.

      You probably already noticed (by the way I write) that English is not my first language. I am from Brazil. I also try to use the posts here to gather new vocabulary and sentence structures. Thanks for that too :)

    6. Hi, Henrique.

      Yeah, my path through Japanese popular music also started from the old anison and idols before some of the other genres started entering my soul such as City Pop. Enka was always there since I was born due to my parents' record collection.

      Actually, I didn't notice that you were not a native English speaker. We've had quite a few Brazilians commenting in over the years. One of them has even become a regular contributor. :)

      By the way, from your list of idols, I noticed the name Yumeko Kitaoka. To be honest, I have never heard of her before. What would be your recommendations for her?

    7. Hi. I would recommend 'Kokuhaku', 'Akogare' and 'Yume wo Ageyou' by her.
      She had a short career in the late 80s and early 90s, with only one album at the time.
      I might say she's not the strongest vocals while singing live, but the 'girl-next-door' looks and the fact that the chorus of her songs have a strong 'Bubblegum pop effect' give to her a totally special charm.



      Yume wo Ageyou

    8. Hi, Henrique.

      Thanks for the recommendations. I've heard each of the three songs and I think for me, "Yume wo Ageyou" is my favourite because of the arrangement. No, perhaps Yumeko never had the greatest vocals but for this song in particular, she had some pretty nice music backing her up.

  2. Hello J-Canuck.

    OH. MY. LORD. That gyoza looks aMAzing. Also, Hikomaro was an AIDORU?!

    Dang, that's some transformation - wouldn't have seen the connection between the two stages. Well, but I prefer the fellow now as a hyper food enthusiast than a bouncy member of a group that looks like Hikaru Genji sans the roller skates. I find his overreacting to foods amusing.

    Personally, I thought your description of him hilarious, especially the "hunk of Jabba du Hutt" bit - pardon me Henrique.

    Y'know, reading what you've said about stating one's opinion on an article was... reassuring. To be frank, there were times where I had doubts about whether I should have included certain things in my articles (or even in my own comments on other articles) as I worry that people may not like it. But then it's as you said, it's the writer's opinion on the singer/song. Whether readers agree or disagree with it, well, it's their opinion too, and I shouldn't have to bend over backwards to change my own thoughts all the time if someone disagrees with it. This reply of yours, while not directed at me per se, gives me a bit more confidence in my works. So, I'd like to thank you for that, J-Canuck. :)

    1. Hello, Noelle.

      Thanks for the support. :) As you can see from the above, I think all of us have come to a nice understanding of the situation and I had a premonition that something like this would come to pass someday knowing my own brain and mouth. :)

      Yup, doubts are natural and welcome when writing publicly. I think as long as what you have written down is what you are truly feeling, then that's fine. There may be dissenting opinions and you may get taken to task for some of them but they are indeed your own creations to embrace.

      As for the gyoza, yep, it's pretty huge. By chance, have you ever visited the Gyoza Museum in Ikebukuro during your trips to Tokyo? All kinds of goodies there. :)

    2. Hi there.

      ... Perhaps I should've done a bit more research on Ikebukuro before heading there last June because no, I didn't know about this gyoza museum. Definitely would be good eating there, alright! I've only had gyoza at a few ramen joints when in Japan, but they were all tasty, so I can only imagine what they have at this museum. Would try to keep it in mind the next time we go there. Thanks for the tip. :)

    3. Oh, if you are a gyoza fan, then you should definitely head up there. It's in the Sunshine City complex about 10 minutes walk from east exit of JR Ikebukuro Station. I used to go there quite a few times.

    4. Hey, wait a minute... The gyoza museum is in Namja town - I was there! Mom and I went there for the Neko Atsume event. That place didn't feel like a museum and was more like a theme park. When you said museum, I thought of something like that cup noodle museum in Yokohama. Ah well, time to pay that place another visit, and this time more gyoza would be on the agenda - I don't think we had gyoza there, if at all it was just 1 plate.


Feel free to provide any comments (pro or con). Just be civil about it.