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, March 1, 2012

Shibugakitai -- NAI NAI 16

In 1962, a Japanese-American by the name of Johnny Hiromu Kitagawa started up a talent agency for boy bands and individual male singers called Johnny & Associates, although in Japan, it's far better known as Johnny's Jimusho(ジャニーズ事務所). Anyone who has lived in Japan for any length of time will eventually have heard of this agency via its clients such as SMAP whose members are well represented on TV and movies. Right now, the Johnny's group on top of the mountain is Arashi, a group of five very amiable fellows who sing, dance, act and emcee.

But the current crop of Johnny's groups such as SMAP, Arashi, TOKIO, V6, etc. have some pretty big senpai. In 1981, three teenage actors by the name of Masahiro Motoki(本木雅弘), Toshikazu Fukawa(布川敏和) and Hirohide Yakumaru(薬丸裕英) appeared on a high school drama called "2-Nen B-Gumi Senpachi Sensei"(2年B組仙八先生--Mr. Senpachi of Class 2B). From this show, the boy band Shibugakitai (シブがき隊)was born. The name can have a double meaning: either "Sullen Brats" or "Bitter Persimmons".

And this was their first single released on May 5th 1982...the date is significant, as it was once known as Boys' Day during the Golden Week holidays (now known as Children's Day). It got as high as No. 3 on weekly Oricon and became the 49th  song of the year in 1982. " NAI NAI 16" has got that 50s rock sound that was popular with a lot of the pop tunes during the early 80s, and the lyrics portray the hero as this hard-as-nails young tough who'll scoff at any interested least initially. The title words of "nai, nai" are suffixes that refer to the Japanese grammar point of the day.

Of course, as with a lot of the Johnny's aidoru before and after, the three lads got their nicknames. Masahiro 'Mokkun' Motoki had his own solo career before becoming more successful as an actor; he was the lead in "Departures" (おくりびと), the movie which won the Best Foreign Movie Oscar a few years ago (his English wasn't too bad at the podium...yep, I level checked him). Hirohide 'Yakkun' Yakumaru is now known for appearances in commercials and TV variety shows, and Toshikazu 'Fukkun' Fukawa pops up here and there, now and then on TV and in musicals.

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