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.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Satomi Tezuka -- Bobby ni Kataomoi(ボビーに片想い)

"I think the amateurishness fits this song perfectly."

This comment that I saw under the video for "Bobby ni Kataomoi" (Having a Crush on Bobby) by actress/aidoru Satomi Tezuka(手塚理美)is a good one, and most likely fits many an aidoru tune. Teenage love expressed by Japanese teenagers in a giddy way? Yup, a prime example is here. Nope, the singing isn't on Hiromi Iwasaki's(岩崎宏美)level at all but that's fine here since it's the story of a callow young girl's expression of one-way love in her own voice, something that a lot of listeners can relate to.

Moreover, the theory of not-so-great singers being elevated by some great songwriters can come into play here. "Bobby ni Kataomoi" was written by Takashi Matsumoto(松本隆)and composed by Yumi Matsutoya(松任谷由実), and as soon as I heard the melody through the arrangement by Ichizo Seo(瀬尾一三), I could peg it as a Yuming-penned number. There is that New Music flavour of the 1950s/1960s teenage idol pop with images of young Satomi surrounded by pink hearts while she savors a photo of this fellow Bobby in her bedroom.

"Bobby ni Kataomoi" was the second of two singles by Tezuka, released in April 1979. Only one album was released by her in 1976, "Juu-go-sai no Shouzou"(15才の肖像...Portrait of a 15-Year-Old). Although her aidoru career fizzled away quickly, she has had a much longer career as an actress, including a role in one of the more famous trendy dramas of the 1980s, "Danjo Shichi-nin Aki Monogatari"(男女7人秋物語...The Autumn Story of 7 Men and Women)


  1. Hi! I've been reading for a little while but never thought to comment until now.

    I think it's interesting that you said you were able to pin this as a Yuming composition based on the 50s-esque style, whereas I've come to associate that sonic aesthetic pretty inextricably with Mariya Takeuchi, I just know it wouldn't be her here since she'd only just gotten her start in the late 70s and probably wouldn't have been writing songs for others quite yet.

    Since it's been just under a year that I've been into kayo kyoku and Japanese pop music in general, I'm a lot more familiar with Mariya's style than Yuming's (although bizarrely enough, I'm not actually part of the "Plastic Love" wave — I came to it in my own weird little way). In your opinion, what do you see as the principal differences in their signature styles? I'm curious about your particular insights here. And on another note, do you know if Yuming and Mariya ever collaborated?

    1. Hello, Cat.

      Thanks for commenting and I'm happy that you've been reading through the blog. As for how I pegged "Bobby ni Kataomoi" as a Yuming-penned song, it was pretty much how you put it. Around that time, I could only think of two female singers who liked and used the 50s pop stylings, and you are right about the fact that Takeuchi had just started on her career. So I went with Yuming since some of her more famous tunes took on that 50s style right when she was still Yumi Arai (e.g.

      What I've been curious about is that I remember reading that Yuming had once stated that she wouldn't write songs for any aidoru until Seiko Matsuda came around, but I'm not sure whether that is accurate now since I think Tezuka was considered to be an aidoru in the late 1970s.

      Your question on the fundamental difference between Yuming and Mariya in terms of signature style is a good one. I've never been asked that before and it actually threw me for a loop for a few hours. At this point, I can come up with at least the beginnings of an answer and state that I think Mariya fell deeper for the charms of American popular music (50s, West Coast AOR, country, etc.). Not to say that Yuming hadn't been inspired by the music from the USA either but I believe that there was more of a mixture between that style and her own arrangements.

      Yumi Arai and Mariya's to-be husband, Tatsuro Yamashita, did collaborate early in the former's career. I think for her second album "Cobalt Hour" at least, his old band, Sugar Babe, was helping out as a backup chorus. However, I don't know off hand whether Yuming and Mariya ever worked together or ever wrote for one another. If that had been the case, it probably would have been on Mariya's albums before she took that time off in 1981 to start a family. I will have to check that out.

      That whole "Plastic Love" has been amazing. I never thought that it would get this much international attention. It's one of my favourites to be sure, but didn't think it would get this big. I'm sure Mariya didn't, either.:)

      You mentioned that you've been into kayo kyoku and J-Pop for about a year. Have you garnered some favourite singers so far?


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