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.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Akina Nakamori -- MILONGUITA

Coming to the end of the year, I think that I need to put in one more Akina Nakamori(中森明菜)article before 2018 makes its entrance.

And so I will bring in "MILONGUITA", the B-side to her 17th single, "Tango Noir" from February 1987. Both songs I found out about through her special album "CD '87".

When I was going through that disc, I got that impression that Akina had a thing going for Latin music at the time. There was "La Boheme", "Saigo no Carmen"最後のカルメン...The Last Carmen [I'll have to cover that one next year]), and "Tango Noir". I'm sure I would have been excused if I had thought the lass was going to be eternally sashaying across the dance floor in a long black gown.

As for "MILONGUITA", I'd had no idea what the title meant aside from the fact that it read as a word from Spain, Portugal or Latin America. Well, I finally decided to dig around online and found this tango blog which basically defined milonguita as a variant term on milonga which itself referred to a rather large tango party where the participants didn't really know each other. Milonguita, on the other hand, is a smaller and friendlier affair where it's just you and your tango buddies dancing the night away. I can certainly relate to that. Nowadays, I always prefer the get-togethers with longtime buddies over those huge ballroom affairs (not that I have been invited to one of those parties in a very long time).

In any case, I now understand why the B-side song sounds the way it does. It is just continuing on the tango party from "Tango Noir" starting from an introduction with some punchy percussion and accordion to lead into Akina's vocals fairly swimming over the hardwood like an intense dance pairing. Veterans Akira Ohtsu and Tetsuji Hayashi(大津あきら・林哲司)were responsible for words and music while Satoshi Nakamura(中村哲)arranged the entire thing. As I mentioned in the article for "CD '87", "Tango Noir/MILONGUITA" was another No. 1 single which ended up becoming the 2nd-ranked song for 1987.

Composer Hayashi also came up with an earlier hit for Akina-chan back in 1984.


  1. Hi J-Canuck. I've been going down memory lane with Nakamori Akina songs on the Internet and stumbled upon your blog. I really enjoy the Japanese music of the 70's and 80's. This blog is a gold-mine. Thanks for all the work you have put into it.
    Nakamori Akina is one of my favorites. In my opinion she has one of the best voices of all of the singers of the Showa era. Deep and steady, she sang with a professionalism beyond her years from a very young age. My only criticism is her too frequent fall into vibrato which can sometimes overpower her songs given the power of her voice. It was readily apparent that she went through a Spanish/Latin inspired phase early on in her career. She took chances that kind of went beyond her idol roots. Thanks for the nice write up on Akina Nakamori. Looking forward to reading through your entries on Akina and some of my other favorites artists from back then.

    1. Hello, Wolf.

      Thanks for dropping by. Yep, the 70s and 80s have been my main touchstone when it comes to Japanese pop music. It's been a genuine pleasure writing about it for nearly 6 years.

      Akina has been one of my favourite voices and I can say that she is also one of my go-to singers that I like to write about. She's had quite the career but to be honest, my favourite time with her was the 80s right from her aidoru beginnings to the beginning of her more melancholy material approaching the 90s.

      BTW, what are your favourite Akina songs?

  2. Yes Akina Nakamori has had an amazing career. She didn't seem to crossover as well to movies and drama's as well as some others but her singing career is unmatched by any other in Japan - in my opinion. Many compare her to Yamaguchi Momoe because of the deep and powerful voice. I hear a little Karen Carpenter in the strength, range, and intonation. She has definitely benefited from great song writing and music composition.

    I don't think I have one favorite song but I like Shoujyo A, Mi Amore, and Nanpasen quite a bit. Nearly all of her singles from the 1980's were very good. Given her large footprint on Japanese popular and contemporary music for several decades it would be interesting to know how her career has impacted others over the years.

    I've been reading over past entries and am enjoying the seemingly endless information you and your compatriots have accumulated. Thanks to you all for sharing your interest in Japanese music with everyone.

    1. Hello, Wolf.

      Yes, generally I will always see her as the chanteuse than as an actress although I do remember her from that 1992 drama "Sugao no Mama de" and her unhinged role in the Japanese adaptation of "The Hand That Rocks The Cradle".

      Marcos and I have spoken about how a lot of singers have been helped by the songwriters. I think with Akina there was something special about her when it came to her evolving vocals. The comparison with Momoe has always been there.

      I've also got my own cadre of favourites when it comes to her: "Shojo A", "Tattoo", "Lonely Journey", "Solitude" among others.

      Glad that you have been enjoying the various articles that we've put up over the past 5 years and hope to hear some more from you in the future as well.

  3. I have been trying to come up with the best description for where Nakamori is musically now. 'Chanteuse' fits her well. The music industry is brutal to even the greatest - youth must be served. Hopefully she can continue to have at least modest success and can make regular appearances on television for as long as possible. There are still many eager to hear her in Japan and she does have fans overseas.

    1. I would also peg her as a chanteuse, especially after all those "Utahime" albums. From my impressions of the music industry in Japan, it is brutal especially on the aidoru. Even if one is successful, the pressures just seem to build even further on maintaining that image even though it continues to evolve.

      My main concern for her is her health. The last time I saw her on TV was on the Kohaku and she looked quite frail. Hopefully wherever she is, she is doing well.


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