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.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Hitomi Ishikawa -- Machibuse (まちぶせ)

Along with "Memory Glass", this was another one of my introductions to Kayo Kyoku back in 1981. One of my classmates from Japanese Language school had brought back a ton of VHS tapes with "The Best 10"and "The Top 10", and this tune was played pretty much non-stop. It reached a peak of No. 9 on the Oricon in August.

Hitomi Ishikawa (石川ひとみ)had been an aidoru (pop idol) for 3 years before she got "Machibuse", her biggest hit. The song was written by KK legend, Yumi Matsutoya (nee Arai), and it had actually been written originally for a singer by the name of Seiko Miki, who had a very brief career in the mid-70s.

The title "Machibuse"is translated as "ambush", a pretty aggressive name for an aidoru song, but going over the lyrics, it's much more of a wistful story of unrequited love.

My personal memory of Ishikawa and "Machibuse" was when I was watching my very first viewing of the Kohaku Utagassen when she was the 2nd woman singer to appear after Naoko Kawai. Halfway through the song, she crumpled into a bag of tears since she was so happy to appear on the programme. I guess her emotions "machibuse"ed her.

Oricon Rankings for August 1981

Since I launched the blog with "Memory Glass", I thought I might as well put up the Top 5 songs of that month from Oricon.

1. Seiko Matsuda    Shiroi Parasol
2. Yumi Matsutoya  Mamotte Agetai
3. Jun Horie          Memory Glass
4. Emmanuel         City Connection
5. Imo Kin Trio       High School Lullaby

It's interesting to note that No. 4's Emmanuel just happens to be Emmanuel Lewis of "Webster" fame which was a mid-80s sitcom on ABC.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Jun Horie -- Memory Glass(メモリーグラス)

Welcome to the first entry! 1981 was the pivotal year for me: got to go to Japan for a month on the graduation trip of Japanese Language School, did a homestay in Nara, saw so many vending machines that I thought they deserved voting rights...and music.

I finally got into music around that time with me diving into Billy Joel, Michael Jackson and the British New Wave, so my brain was attuned to hearing all sorts of stuff. When I went to Japan that year, then, I just got blown away by all this strangely appealing pop music that sounded Western but wasn't.

One of the very first songs I heard that year was Jun Horie's (堀江淳)"Memory Glass", which was really his only big hit for this Hokkaido native. The single was released on April 21, and stayed in the Oricon Top 10 from late July to early October of that year, reaching a peak of No. 3 in August.

At the time, I'd started getting into the Yellow Magic Orchestra, so hearing the synths in the introduction immediately tugged at my ears. Plus his high voice made me wonder if Jun had earlier encountered a tragic castration accident. No was a pop song done in a style that I'd never heard before, and it, along with several other hit songs that year, put me on the path of kayo kyoku.

Update: October 2 2012

Saw Jun Horie make an appearance on NHK's "Kayo Concert"tonight. Usually the program features enka and mood kayo singers, but the now-51-year-old Horie also appeared to do his best (and only) hit. Man, 31 years just fly by....even tonight's rendition sounded very mood kayo-like.