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.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Mami Yamase -- Go!(ゴォ)

I can probably say that tarento Mami Yamase(山瀬まみ)may be the Queen of Variety Shows considering the lineup of programs that she's been on in Japanese TV. She used to be the regular panelist on the currently running NHK information variety program "Tameshite Gatten"(ためしてガッテン), and at the time I wrote my first article on her, she had still been on the show but a couple of years ago, she decided to call it a day and "graduated". And unfortunately, none of the other programs that she appears on are provided by TV Japan, so she's been missing on my family's screen since 2017. Incidentally, she may still be the Icon of Insect Repellent since she's been the spokesperson for Kincho for the longest time as you can see above.

When I was still in my first stint at university in the 1980s, I had heard about Yamase as that squeaky-voiced aidoru but never heard her songs. However, when I was in Gunma at the turn of the decade, I was watching the late-night show "MTV Japan" early on Saturday morning and finally caught this bizarre video featuring her. At the time, I would have said that this belonged to any of those music channel programs which specialized in the weird and wonderful music videos.

This was indeed my first encounter with Yamase singing a song, and it happened to be "Go!", a tour-de-force tune that may have been inspired by a demented circus. I really couldn't say that it was an aidoru least, not a run-of-the-mill one, anyways. Bringing in pop, rock and ska into a whirling dervish of an arrangement, I also had the opportunity to see the music video in my darkened room. Whatever you do, don't watch this in a darkened room.

Discovering her earliest tunes much later on, I realized that Yamase had a pretty nice and light voice, and I've realized that the squeaky delivery she's shown all these years whenever she's been on TV is a stage thing and not really how she sounds in "civilian" life. Therefore, I would say that "Go!" is more of her tarento voice gone haywire in a mad opera.

"Go!" was the first track on Yamase's 3rd album "Oyayubi Hime"(親指姫...Thumbelina)which was released back in November 1989. It was written by Kenzo Saeki(サエキけんぞう)or Yukinojo Mori(森雪之丞)depending on whether you look at J-Wiki or YouTube, but it was definitely composed by Tamio Okuda(奥田民生)of the band Unicorn. The album peaked at No. 39.

Speaking of "MTV Japan", seeing this video of Kenta Hagiwara and Dionne Mitsuoka simply brought back all those memories of watching late-night Japanese telly again. It was a rather odd experience in that I had known about MTV in America as the premier music video channel (yes, believe it or not, kids, it used to show only music videos), but in Japan, it was represented as an overnight show on TBS televised for a few hours going into the weekend.


  1. Hello J-Canuck,

    I am getting Jun Togawa vibes from this song. With a little dash of Nina Hagen to boot.


    1. Hi, Chasing Showa!

      I can definitely imagine Nina Hagen here, too. I remember watching "Smack Jack" and being slightly traumatized by the experience.:)


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