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, August 11, 2018

Hiromi Iwasaki -- Mikan no Shouzou(未完の肖像)

I remember getting those audiotapes of Hiromi Iwasaki(岩崎宏美)as a teenager and getting all giddy about them since she could see all those uptempo songs and love ballads beautifully.

One of those tapes was one of her BEST compilations, and if I'm not mistaken, this particular song "Mikan no Shouzou" (Unfinished Portrait) was the track that led Side B on the tape. This was Iwasaki's 34th single from May 1984 and a special song in that it commemorated her 10th anniversary since she debuted as a 1970s aidoru (according to J-Wiki), although her debut, "Duet" had actually been released in April 1975.

In going along with the auspiciousness of the occasion, the golden combination of lyricist Yu Aku(阿久悠)and composer Kyohei Tsutsumi(筒美京平), the same duo who had come up with "Duet" for the teenage Iwasaki, were once again recruited to come up with "Mikan no Shouzou". And despite its release in 1984, there was something about the song that hinted at the singer's early days with the urgent beat and strings plus the backing chorus performing forth. To be honest, if I hadn't known of the release year, I would have sworn that this was an Iwasaki song from the late 1970s.

However, what really oomphs up "Mikan no Shouzou" is that it now has the richer 1980s Iwasaki delivery. I've never attempted an Iwasaki song at karaoke but I could imagine that even the most seasoned karaoke singers would have had a challenge with this one, and yet Iwasaki performs this with her usual amazing talent and silky grace.

The amazing thing about "Mikan no Shouzou" is how it starts off like one of those epic ballads that she was becoming known for in the early 1980s before things blast off into her disco-esque tunes of yesteryear. It makes for quite an exciting story about a woman who is imparting her wisdom earned from her life of romance. "Mikan no Shouzou" peaked at No. 54 on Oricon.


  1. I've been watching clips of her old concerts, as well as those of Momoe, and it struck me that they had streamers flying over them all the time, even after they get rid of the last bunch to land on them. I'm used to western concerts where you don't see things like this, so I'm wondering, where do these streamers come from, and why do people still throw them on when it's clear the singer finds them bothersome?

    Oh, and the 80s was the absolute peak of her singing ability, allied to some damn good material (Soba ni Oite came out in 1984). However, despite her voice being more attractive in this period than before, I find her 70s vocals to be a bit more nimble, able to do better interpretations of other singers' songs.

    1. Hello there. I have no idea about the origins of those streamers aside from the fact that the Japanese love their traditions. I remember that Saburo Kitajima was always rained upon by that paper snow whenever he appeared on the Kohaku Utagassen. Not sure what he thought about those things but my speculation is that he probably endured more than enjoyed the snow.


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