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, May 18, 2017

Cosmic Invention -- YAKIMOKI

Although I played the recorder and the clarinet and tried to play the French horn (my failures on that instrument were the source of much merriment among my classmates in band class), I knew I really didn't have any aptitude for making my own music. Yet, one day, my father was kind enough to get my brother and me a Casio keyboard. The novelty was there with all of the different features and music patterns, but like all novelties, this gradually wore off and poor Casio got stuffed into the closet, and I'm assuming that sometime during my days in Japan, the instrument finally got thrown out.

Fortunately, though, for folks like me who like to listen to music, a few folks on this planet not only actually had the aptitude but had the interest and raw talent to make music such as Tetsuya Komuro(小室哲哉)and Ryuichi Sakamoto(坂本龍一)among many others.

I wrote briefly through the "Computer Obaachan"(コンピューターおばあちゃん)article on this kiddie technopop band that was around from 1979-1982 called Cosmic Invention(コスミック・インベンション). Although I'm a big Yellow Magic Orchestra fan, I had never heard about these kids on synths until a couple of years ago thanks to the blog.

The idea to come up with this junior version of YMO coalesced when Kazuo Morioka(森岡一夫), the founder of Hillwood, a company which made synthesizers, decided to put together a band centering around his own teenage daughter, Mima Morioka(森岡みま), with members her own age. With Mima on drums and vocals, there were Yoshimasa Inoue(井上能征), Katsumi Sato(佐藤克巳), Kanna Hashimoto(橋本かんな) and Kiyomi Ando(安藤聖己)on the various synths. Just to inform you, I'm not totally sure on the reading of Ms. Ando's first name since according to, there are a few readings and I couldn't find either a romaji or furigana depiction elsewhere online; also she left the band in 1981.

Cosmic Invention's debut record came out in March 1981, "YAKIMOKI" (Anxiety), and listening to it, I think it does sound like Haruomi, Ryuichi and Yukihiro if they had started up YMO as children. There's something very sing-song and cute about it but to be honest, I enjoy the band's 2nd single, "Computer Obaachan" better. But there's no doubt about the pleasant clarity of Morioka there when she's singing.

That connection between Cosmic Invention and YMO was solidified as the former actually warmed up for the latter at the Budokan in December 1980. Just imagine these kids warming up for one of the biggest bands in Japan at the time at one of the most prestigious venues in the country. I wouldn't blame any of them if they felt supremely yakimoki.

After Cosmic Invention broke up in 1982, some of the members kept on going in the music industry with the notable person being Yoshimasa Inoue who decided to parlay his skills into those of a singer-songwriter. His name has already popped in the Labels section under that capacity with him providing songs for folks like Miho Morikawa(森川美穂)and AKB48. Professionally, his name is now written in Japanese as 井上ヨシマサ.

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