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, October 14, 2017

Hideki Saijo -- Gypsy(ジプシー)

December 20th 1981!

That was the release date of Hideki Saijo's(西城秀樹)40th single "Gypsy". Now as readers of "Kayo Kyoku Plus" may have figured out, I don't usually put down the full release dates (no particular reason, I just don't) of singles and albums. However, I made an exception for this one since I distinctly remember seeing Mr. Young Man on the 32nd edition of NHK's Kohaku Utagassen which was televised on December 31st 1981.

Can you see the notable thing about the above dates?

Usually the selection process for the singers and songs to get onto the New Year's Eve special is completed some weeks before it happens. So how did Saijo manage to appear on the Kohaku when "Gypsy" was officially released a mere 11 days before showtime? Well, therein lies a tale apparently. According to the J-Wiki article for the song, a few months previously in October 1981, there was an accident in which he and aidoru Naoko Kawai(河合奈保子)were involved in a fall at NHK during a rehearsal of the music program "Let's Go Young"(レッツゴーヤング).

Now, when I first read the statement on the accident in the article, I had thought I read that NHK allowed Saijo on as a form of apology to him for the incident. But the sentence actually read " an apology to NHK..." which struck me as totally weird. So does that mean NHK blamed Saijo for "screwing up" the taping because he accidentally fell? That would indicate his "punishment" was getting onto the Kohaku. I think there is some mistake in writing there.

In any case, what may have been the fastest invitation to get onto the Kohaku from a single did occur and Saijo was in. Perhaps there may have been other male acts that were more deserving to get invited but as it is, "Gypsy" is a pretty dynamic tune that sounds like something that should have gotten onto the soundtrack for a 1970s American detective show like "Starsky & Hutch" or "Baretta". And as a number to get the masses all hot and bothered at the beginning of the special, it did the trick. He was always quite the showman, that Hideki.

"Gypsy" peaked at No. 15 and ended up as the 55th-ranked song for 1982. It was written by Yukinojo Mori(森雪之丞)and composed by Kisaburo Suzuki(鈴木キサブロー), and was also a track on Saijo's 10th anniversary BEST album "Seishun 3650/Saijo Hideki"(青春3650/西城秀樹...Youth 3650/Hideki Saijo)from November 1982.


  1. Hi, J-Canuck.

    This is quite the intriguing story of Hideki and the 1981 Kohaku. If it were meant to be a punishment to attend that year's blue riband event, surely there were many who would have been too glad to go through it :D

    Incidentally, I watched that particular Kohaku just a few days ago. I really like Hideki's performance with his slick dance moves and punchy delivery of the song. Of the three guys from the Shin Gosanke, I like him the best.

    Speaking of falls, wonder what was with 1981 and singers falling down on set. My favorite Hosokawa fell during filming of some program earlier that year and landed in the hospital for two months. Wonder if these guys and girls worked themselves too hard which resulted in these accidents. Anyway, it was great that all three of them appeared on that year's Kohaku despite the mishaps.

    1. Hi, Francium.

      Yeah, I have to admit that I'm sorry that the statement is unsourced although I have that link above to Naoko Kawai's part in the mishap. In any case, I think the Kohaku still had a good level of cachet back in those days so I could hardly believe that NHK would "force" Saijo to perform on the show as penance.

      As for your final paragraph, I can only speculate but I think being in Japanese show business is generally even more demanding than being in Hollywood, especially if a person is plying his/her trade on TV.

      Yeah, Hideki was on there along with Hiromi Go. I actually both Hideki's and Go's performances on the Kohaku that night.


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