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.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

CHA-CHA -- Yakusoku (約束)

CHA-CHA was a male aidoru group that I had known about but didn't really follow all that closely at the time. In fact, although many years later, I kept seeing this even more loudmouthed tarento by the name of Kunikazu Katsumata(勝俣州和)regularly on variety programs, I hadn't realized that he was actually the leader of this boy band.

The above is an example of how I've usually seen Mr. Katsumata on variety TV, and to be honest, he's slightly more subdued in voice here.

However, the start of his geino career was with his participation in the male street performance troupe Gekidan Issei Fuubi(劇男一世風靡)which begat the popular music act Issei Fuubi Sepia(一世風靡セピア)in the mid-1980s. One day, though, Japanese entertainment legend Kinichi Hagiwara(萩本欽一)was about to launch a new late-afternoon variety show on NTV and wanted to bring together a male singing group as a warm-up act for the show. Dubbed Cha-cha Tai(茶々隊...Tea Tribe)initially, a series of auditions finally solidified the lineup with Katsumata as the leader followed by Nobutoshi Nakamura(中村亘利), Momotaro Matsubara(松原桃太郎)and Takumi Nishio(西尾拓美). With the new name of CHA-CHA, though, the five made their recording debut in September 1988 with "Beginning".

Though the guys sounded and looked like a Johnny's Entertainment group, the members all came from different agencies. From the times that I did see CHA-CHA on TV, I had a rather irrational impression that these guys were a little bit higher on the intellectual chain, only because one of the fellows wore glasses.

In any case, CHA-CHA released their 5th single, "Yakusoku" (Promise) in August 1989. I've only heard it in the last few hours for the first time, and it's not too bad an aidoru tune with a bit of Latin spice added into the mix. I guess because of the dynamism in both the song and the choreography, I get this impression of several clones of Masahiko Kondo(近藤真彦)kicking it up a notch at the same time. Written by Mami Takubo(田久保真見)and composed by Yoshio Tatano(多々納好夫), "Yakusoku" peaked at No. 9 on Oricon.

The group would release a total of 10 singles and 3 original albums before they called it a day in 1992. Not sure what happened to the others but obviously Katsumata was able to move onto an even more lucrative career as a tarento and actor.

CHA-CHA may not have been a Johnny's group per se but a couple of Johnny's recruits did audition for the band although they didn't quite make the cut. They were Tsuyoshi Kusanagi(草彅剛)and Takuya Kimura(木村拓哉), later of SMAP. Kusanagi even made it as far as being a member of Cha-cha Tai before dropping out. Still, I don't think those two suffered too badly in their entertainment careers, either.

No comments:

Post a Comment

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