Well, this news about the abdication of Emperor Akihito has gotten about as much time and pomp as the anticipated abdication itself, by my estimation. But yes, the bell has rung and the countdown has begun toward the end of the Heisei Era....April 30th 2019, to be exact.
That did get me thinking a bit today. When Emperor Akihito's father, Emperor Hirohito (the Showa Emperor) passed away in 1989, there were all sorts of remembrances about the Showa Era through many aspects. And this blog began almost 6 years ago initially as a platform to talk about Showa Era music. For me, music from 1925-1989 would arguably be best characterized by the advent of the Golden Age of Enka and Mood Kayo, but there were also three decades of aidoru-dom plus the smaller waves of New Music, City Pop and technopop.
It's all but guaranteed that there will be tons of news reports and documentaries on NHK and the commercial networks about the 30-odd years of Heisei for the next several months. And I'm sure that music will be part of the equation. So what was Heisei music like between 1989-2019?
Well, for me, I could probably talk best about the early Heisei period in the 1990s. There was the transition from kayo kyoku to J-Pop through the diversification of mainstream Japanese music, the emergence of the Komuro boom, the overall lack of female aidoru for most of that decade until Morning Musume came onto the scene in 1997, and then the rise of J-R&B among other things.
If someone asked me about a prime Heisei Era singer, I could say that ZARD would fit in there. She had that long string of hits through the 90s although her appearances on TV were few. The late Izumi Sakai（坂井泉水）struck me as being somewhat of a J-Pop Greta Garbo. Nonetheless, she was well heard if not seen.
"Yureru Omoi" (Wavering Thoughts) was one of her big hits as her 8th single. It was another summery song of optimism that first came out in May 1993 as ZARD sang about making that leap of faith to commit to that special someone. While Tetsuro Oda（織田哲郎）was behind the melody, ZARD took care of the lyrics.
The song was the first one in ZARD's career to enter Oricon at the No. 1 position which it held for 2 weeks and ended up as the 9th-ranked single for the year. It was her second hit following her earlier "Makenaide"（負けないで）. Her 4th album also ended up with the same title; it came out a couple of months after the single and also hit No. 1 for a total of 5 weeks, becoming the No. 1 album for the year.
Being the 1990s, "Yureru Omoi" just had to be attached to Pocari Sweat. Because of its Oricon success, the song also became the most successful contribution to the isotonic drink's campaign history.