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, March 6, 2012

Agnes Chan -- Hinageshi no Hana (ひなげしの花)

I first came across Agnes Chan(アグネス・チャン)in one of those Japanese elementary school comic books that were sold at the Furuya Store in Toronto's downtown Chinatown in the early 70s. Of course, I couldn't read even a simple hiragana character at the time but just noticed this very pretty girl being featured in there. I barely remembered the name that my mother told me at the time. But then a few years later, she was on CBC being featured for some reason as a student attending the University of Toronto.

It wouldn't be until many years had passed that I realized how popular Agnes Chan was in Japan. She'd debuted with her sister, Irene, in 1971 in her native Hong Kong, and had already earned herself her own show. The next year, singer-songwriter Masaaki Hirao(平尾昌晃) (who later on would write for Chan, Seiko Matsuda and several other singers, and write the theme song for the anime "Galaxy Express 999") became acquainted with her and introduced her to Japan. She debuted with this song, which is translated as "Poppy Flower", in November 1972 and got as high as No. 5 on the Oricon weeklies. Her looks, high voice and her broken Japanese at the time endeared her to the public.

During the next few years, Chan attended Sophia University in Tokyo, but decided to break away from show business in 1976 to study child psychology. At her father's recommendation, she chose the University of Toronto and graduated in 1978. Since then, she has become a visiting professor at Japanese universities, and a UNICEF goodwill ambassador.

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