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.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Akira Terao -- Reflections

Akira Terao(寺尾聡) has had a long and varied career since he started as a bassist with the Group Sounds band, The Savage, in 1965. He's now known mostly as a dramatic actor and commercial pitchman. Somewhere in between the two endpoints, he starred for a few years as a detective in the police drama "Seibu Keisatsu"(西部警察....West Division Police) between 1979 and 1982. And in 1981, he became something that I'm fairly sure even he hadn't bargained for: a music superstar.

On April 5 1981, his second of his solo original albums was launched called "Reflections". The cover had him in zipped-up jacket and jeans, smoking a ciggie whose end somehow traced out "Love". Aside from the "Love", it was a pretty shibui (渋い....ruggedly cool) image. Terao composed all of the songs which he sang in a low crooning rumble with a nighttime City Pop arrangement; reminiscent of the neighbourhood in which his detective character Takeshi Matsuda patrolled.

"Reflections" became the No. 1 album of the year and sold 1.6 million discs. And it occupied the No. 1 weekly position from April 13 to June 29. In a year where aidoru were popping up like rabbits, this was no mean feat. And three of the songs ranked in the Top 100.

The most famous track on the album is "Ruby no Yubiwa"(ルビーの指輪.....A Ruby Ring), a song of lost love. The opening notes with the guitar are famous, and the entire song dares to be played in a hotel-top bar over a whiskey-on-the-rocks. This song itself also covered itself in glory as it became the No. 1 single of the year, won 3 prizes at the year-end Japan Record Awards, and got Terao his first appearance at the Kohaku Utagassen; he would appear a second time in 2007 to play an updated version of "Ruby no Yubiwa".

Another track is "Shadow City" which ranked as the 19th song of the year on Oricon while the third to rank in the Top 100 was "Sasurai" which came in 47th. "Shadow City" is represented above.

Thanks to J-Wiki.


  1. Bless you. I have been looking for the title of this song for a long time. Really. It was played one night in end of 1990's in broadcast of FM-YY in Kobe. Picture this: with my first internet connection (44 kbs modem) I recorded those extremely lo-fi realmedia broadcasts to C-cassette and then burned them onto CD...

    Can we say this is Japanese country music? In Ruby no yubiwa Akira Terao sounds to me like a classical protagonist of country song in saloon. Takao Horiuchi's Kimi no hitomi wa 10000 volt would be prime example, of course. While listening to 10000 volt I always imagine in my mind that Horiuchi is a trucker driving from Hiroshima to Sapporo all night long...

    1. Hey, Jari. You sound like me when I've come across a long-lost song I've been searching for. And I've found a few since I started this blog. Believe me, one of the reasons I'm here is that I'd like other kayo kyoku fans like myself to do the same and/or come across some new stuff they like.

      I was ravenously taping straight from those "Sounds of Japan"radio broadcasts in the early 80s since it was so difficult otherwise to get the latest in Japanese popular music.

      I've heard "Kimi no Hitomi wa 10000 volt", and yeah, I could see it as being arranged in an American country style. If I remember correctly, Horiuchi was wearing a Western stetson on his head in one performance. He and his singing partner, Shinji Tanimura, did like good ol'boys from the countryside.

      "Ruby no Yubiwa" has always sounded to me like the quintessential City Pop song. City Pop is similar to American AOR but the stress with Japanese City Pop is more on the urban side of things...namely Tokyo. By all means, track the song and its album down. It's worth getting.


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