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 15, 2020

Takeshi Kaga -- Act 1

Yes, Chairman Kaga of "The Iron Chefs": The Emcee of Ever-Eating, The Fop of Flamboyance and The Noble of Noshing. One could not have asked for a better over-the-top host of what first struck me as the incredibly crazy concept of two chefs going at it against each other in a Kitchen Stadium.

And yet, over a decade previously, actor/singer Takeshi Kaga(鹿賀丈史)couldn't have been more shibui as he tackled City Pop in his 1981 album "After Dark". I already spoke on one track, "Harbor Light"(ハーバーライト), last year, but here is another one from the album, "Act 1" which sounds like it takes place a few hours earlier from the setting of "Harbor Light". For that particular track, I fantasized that Kaga and fellow shibui City Pop singer Akira Terao(寺尾聰)were having a drink together at the Polestar as pictured on the cover of the album, but with "Act 1", Kaga had yet to meet up with his sunglasses-wearing buddy and was just exploring the streets of the city as the sun was starting to dip under the horizon via the peppier Latin-infused rhythms.

Arranger Akira Inoue(井上鑑)who took care of all of the tracks has kept that steady early 1980s City Pop beat intact although the songwriters for "Act 1" are completely for the ones behind "Harbor Light". This time, it's lyricist Keisuke Yamakawa(山川啓介)and composer Shinji Moriyama(森山進治). A bit of an aside, but according to J-Wiki, there is a lyricist Shinji Moriyama with the same kanji but his career began in 1986, so it would be quite the coincidence for there to be two Shinji Moriyamas in the music industry, each taking care of words and music separately.

The last thing is that despite my scene-building of Kaga's night cruising downtown and then meeting up with Terao at the Polestar, "Act 1" is actually the penultimate track on Side B while "Harbor Light" starts that side off, according to the track list shown at Hip Tank Records. Then again, why does a story have to go along linear time?


  1. That's a dead ringer for Akira Terao as it sounds almost exactly the same. Wouldn't be surprised to learn that most of the personnel were also on Terao's Reflections album. This particular song, 'Act1', borrows heavily from 'Habana Express' and perhaps from 'Ruby no Yubiwa' as well. That all being said, I'm curious to hear more of this gentleman's work.

    1. Yeah, that's why I rather like "After Dark". I like that sort of homegrown City Pop (i.e. no Steely Dan, Doobie Bros., Airplay influences) that Terao showed me.

  2. Do you hear the People sing, by 17 Valjeans (1995)

    Takeshi Kaga is at 2:15.

    1. Hello, Jim. I would think that if people outside Japan had widely known about "The Iron Chefs" back in 1995, they probably would have remarked "Hey, wait a minute...isn't that...?". Not sure if the Chairman had ever sung on the show, but if he had, his voice would have been appropriate in the setting.


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