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.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Naoko Kawai -- Smile For Me(スマイル・フォー・ミー)

When I was watching my very first Kohaku Utagassen (紅白歌合戦)on TV here in Toronto in early 1982 (the original broadcast was on December 31, 1981), the top batter for the Women's (Red) Team was this cute-as-all-get-out 18-year-old girl from Osaka who sang "Smile For Me". She had the typical aidoru looks for the 1980s: short hair, fluffy dress and a snaggle-toothed smile (known as yaeba in Japanese, it was seen as a sign of cuteness) that an orthodontist would love.

Naoko Kawai's (河合奈保子)5th single came out on June 1 1981, exactly one year after her debut single had been released. It peaked at No. 4 on the charts and ended up as the 59th-ranking single of the year. It also earned Kawai a Golden Idol Award at the Japan Record Awards.

I kinda wished that there had been a YouTube video of her performing at that 1981 Kohaku, since there was a story attached to it, according to a book that the singer had written in 1983 titled "Wataboushi Tonda ~ Naoko no Toubyou Sketch"(わたぼうし翔んだ―奈保子の闘病スケッチ...The Cotton Hat Flew Off ~ Naoko's Convalescence Sketch) via the J-Wiki article on Kawai herself. A few months before in October of that year, Kawai had suffered a broken bone from a 4-metre fall during taping of a program at NHK Hall in Tokyo. It necessitated wearing a corset until April 1982, but trouper that she was, Kawai still bopped around for her very first Kohaku appearance. Even the fact that she'd had the accident at the same place where she would be performing on the final night of the year didn't faze her one bit. She smiled for everyone!

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