Credits

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, May 20, 2017

Finger Five/Momoe Yamaguchi/Caocao/misono -- Kojin Jugyō(個人授業)


Lovely cool day....airing out my room by having the windows open. I'm sure a lot of other folks are out there on the beginning of this long Victoria Day weekend. May be catching "Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2" on Monday with a couple of friends. The reviews have been good although it doesn't seem to be as well-regarded as the first one but not too surprised on that assessment. Nope, the big shocker is hearing all of the pre-release raves for "Wonder Woman". The DC Expanded Universe has been praying that one of its movies would finally get a break, and it looks like it has arrived.


There's been a fellow who's been putting up hour-long videos with a whole ton of notable kayo kyoku excerpts from certain years squeezed in. I decided to listen to one of them...1974, to be exact. The first few songs are tunes that I've already written about so I was hoping that there would be one that I had yet to hear. At about 1:40, I found one.


But it was by a group that I have written about before. Finger Five(フィンガー5)had always struck me as being the Japanese analogy of The Jackson Five, and for some reason this new song that hit upon my ears and brain thrust that point home especially. "Kojin Jugyō" (Private Lessons), mind you, is more cute pop than R&B but otherwise the sentiment was there.

Released in August 1973 as Finger Five's 2nd single  (there were 3 singles in 1970 under their old name of Baby Brothers), "Kojin Jugyō" was created by the same duo behind all those later Pink Lady hits, Yu Aku and Shunichi Tokura(阿久悠・都倉俊一). The story behind the song is very simple: a kid's puppy love for his tutor. The song hit No. 1 on Oricon and became a long-lasting single, becoming the 18th-ranked song for the year and hanging on at No. 27 in the annual rankings for 1974.


Quite the interesting development here. Near the end of 1973, a very young Momoe Yamaguchi(山口百恵)saw her 2nd album, "Aoi Kajitsu/Kinjirareta Asobi"(青い果実/禁じられた遊び)released with one of the tracks being a cover of "Kojin Jugyō". Considering all of the deep-voiced hits that she provided in the latter half of the decade, it was fascinating to hear her sound just like Finger Five lead vocalist Kazuo Tamamoto(玉元一夫). The album itself managed to reach as high as No. 26.


Let's jump ahead by a few decades into the 21st century. Once again, I was given a bit of a jolt in finding out that comely Kaori Mochida(持田香織)of 90s pop/rock unit Every Little Thing and Takao Tajima(田島貴男)of Original Love got together in 2009 to make the duo Caocao to do their own cover of "Kojin Jugyō". The music video has them going all 70s groovy in front of a rapturous high school crowd. One of my students who was a huge fan of all things hippie and Haight-Ashbury could appreciate this. The cover also got some appreciation from other folks as well since it ranked in at No. 22 on the singles charts.


I knew that misono that, along with the fact that she is Kumi Koda's(倖田來未)younger sister, she also sang herself. However, I mostly saw her as a tarento popping up on TV game shows and other variety programs. In 2006, though, she sang her own version of "Kojin Jugyō" as her 2nd single. It's got an even more rock treatment and the video is pretty clever as she poses as a Cinderella in a high school. It ranked in at No. 15.

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