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, September 19, 2021

Modern Choki Chokies -- Hakata no Hito(博多の女)


The first time that I had ever seen or heard of the Modern Choki Chokies(モダンチョキチョキズ)was through the above commercial where vocalist Mari Hamada(濱田マリ), and she's not to be confused with pop-rock singer Mari Hamada(浜田麻理), tasted some potato chips called Jungle and did a cute little spin. I later found out that the impish little Hamada belonged to this group called the Modern Choki Chokies which had the size and energy of the epic Kome Kome Club(米米CLUB)but perhaps were even more bohemian in approach.

According to J-Wiki, their initial run spanned between 1989 and 1997, although they've apparently gotten together again in the last couple of years. I'd actually written about them briefly back in 2013 when I found out that their debut single in 1992 was a cover of the theme song for the anime "Obake no Q-Taro"(オバケのQ太郎).

When I was writing up about the Saburo Kitajima(北島三郎)kayo "Hakata no Hito" (Woman of Hakata) earlier this afternoon, I discovered that the Modern Choki Chokies had their own "Hakata no Hito" but instead of it being a cover of the 1967 enka/Mood Kayo tune, it was totally the band's own creation with the same title. That title is the only common denominator since ModaChoki (their nickname) came up with a snazzy, jazzy and funky ditty that not only sounds like something out of the K2C playbook but also has that feel of a "Lupin III"(ルパン三世)soundtrack, thanks to the work of Masamichi Ohmachi(大町昌路)and the band's bassist, Hiroshi Uchikado(内門洋).

The lyrics were created by band member Tomoki Yoshimura(吉村智樹)who's been listed as one of ModaChoki's "brains" on J-Wiki, so take that however you will. His "Hakata no Hito" doesn't refer to an old flame in Fukuoka as is the case in Kitajima's song but it actually refers to a brand of manjuu (饅頭...sweet bean buns) with that name. Apparently, the protagonist had received a box of Hakata no Hito as a souvenir from a friend who went to that area, and frankly found it no different from any other manjuu. It lacks imagination, originality and identity. Well, if he doesn't want the stuff, I'd be happy to take it off his hands.

Hamada is definitely helping out in the vocals but I'm not sure who the male vocalist is since there were at least a couple of guys who are listed as singers in ModaChoki. The main takeaway here is that for a song about a disappointed manjuu eater (even Egypt isn't safe), "Hakata no Hito" really whips up the musical entertainment index and I couldn't help but feel that there is also a Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra element with that funky brass and even something of the old kayo.

"Hakata no Hito" was a track on the Modern Choki Chokies' 2nd album "Bongengan Bangara Bingen no Densetsu"(ボンゲンガンバンガラビンゲンの伝説...The Legend of Bongengan Bangara Bingen) from June 1993.

Hamada has since become a tarento, actress and narrator so she became quite familiar to me on the telly. In fact, her distinctive kittenish voice was often heard through the five-minute program on TV Asahi, "Ashita Mañana"(あしたまにあ〜な)in which she gave a summary on the next day's programming. The title basically brings together the Japanese and Spanish words for "tomorrow" and is a slight pun on the Spanish "hasta mañana". Hamada was the narrator for the show for around 7 years between 1998 and 2005.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, you are right the Modern Choki Chokies' version of"Hakata no Hito" does sounds like some BGM I might hear on an episode of Lupin the III.


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