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, June 22, 2017

Yoshimi Iwasaki -- Anata Iro no Manon (あなた色のマノン)

I had been thinking about doing Yoshimi Iwasaki's(岩崎良美)"Koi Hodo Suteki na Show wa Nai"(恋ほど素敵なショーはない), forgetting that nikala had beaten me to the punch a couple of years ago, and her description pretty much nailed my impressions of the song. Plus, I gave my response to it underneath. It's a wonderful, short and sweet tune that had me thinking Carpenters and was quite the revelation considering that my entire world view of Hiromi's(岩崎宏美)younger sister was tied with her most recognized song "Touch"(タッチ). Therefore up until I started the blog, I only knew Yoshimi for a 1950s rock n' roll sound.

Gonna have to listen more to that lone Yoshimi BEST compilation that I got last Xmas. To paraphrase from my own article on her debut single "Aka to Kuro"(赤と黒), I think she covered a larger area musically than earlier thought. There was that 1970s West Coast breeziness of "Koi Hodo Suteki na Show wa Nai", and then I believe I had read earlier through another one of nikala's other articles on Yoshimi that despite her status as an aidoru, she had actually ventured more into City Pop and J-AOR in her early years.

Despite that rock-like blast to introduce "Aka to Kuro" and intermittent interjections of brass, her debut quickly ventured into some of the usual sweeping aidoru tunes of that age. For tonight, I want to show her 3rd single "Anata Iro no Manon" (Manon of Your Colour) which embraces even more of the City Pop aesthetic while still hewing to those aidoru roots. Released in August 1980 and created by the same duo behind "Aka to Kuro", Rei Nakanishi and Fujimal Yoshino(なかにし礼・芳野藤丸), the arrangement brings nothing less than life in the big city, thanks to that brass and bass plus the relentless guitar.

The one thing that had me scratching my head initially was the title. Was this about a French artist? For years, artists' names ranging from Chopin to C. Claudel have been used in kayo titles. However in this case, the title of this aidoru tune refers to the title of an early 18th-century novel by Abbe Prevost titled "Manon Lescaut". I'm just going by the Wikipedia article here but apparently the novel was about the title character, a young woman with a taste for the high life who forces her lover to scrounge about for the money and luxury to keep her happy.

In Yoshimi's song, the protagonist declares boldly "I am Manon Lescaut" although there is not much of a hint that she's stringing her boyfriend along aside from pretending to have sprained her ankle so that he would carry her home on his back. Mind you, I think most fans were just wondering at the time about who the heck Manon Lescaut was.

Still, it was pretty interesting to hear this mesh of French literature (very loosely, I know) and Japanese City Pop sung by an aidoru. Furthermore, I think I have mentioned it before but Yoshimi tried to follow in her older sister's larynx with that delicate yet fairly rich delivery in her early years. And to add more to my knowledge, the younger Iwasaki actually made it onto the Kohaku Utagassen for the first and only time to perform "Anata Iro no Manon" at the end of 1980 with the elder Iwasaki lending moral support, of course. There were three ladies in slinky green dresses behind her also providing backup chorus: singers Sayuri Ishikawa(石川さゆり), Ikue Sakakibara(榊原郁恵)and Mako Ishino(石野真子).

"Anata Iro no Manon" reached as high as No. 22 on Oricon and won Iwasaki a Newcomer's Prize at the Japan Record Awards that year.


  1. A compilation clip of this song.

    Also, this might as well go here as anywhere else. 3x1980 debutantes.

    1. Nice to see that first video of Yoshimi getting that Newcomer's prize.


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