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.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Hiroko Yakushimaru -- Tantei Monogatari (探偵物語)

Hiroko Yakushimaru(薬師丸ひろ子) has always had that angelic, bordering on operatic, aidoru voice handling somewhat more meatier in point being her debut single of "Sailor Fuku to Kikanjuu"(セーラー服と機関銃...Sailor Suit and Machine Gun)by the Kisugi siblings for the titular movie. Her second single, released in May 1983, was "Tantei Monogatari"(Detective Story), also a theme for a major Japanese release of the same name. And she also starred in the movie, albeit as a character under more normal circumstances than was the case in "Sailor Fuku"; she played a university student ready to head over to America when her suspicious father hires a detective played by the late Yusaku Matsuda (松田優作)(of "Black Rain"fame) to keep an eye on her.

The theme song was written and composed by Takashi Matsumoto and Eiichi Ohtaki(松本隆・大瀧詠一). It's a wistful and slightly foreboding ballad which would probably describe the life of a down-at-luck private eye. Yakushimaru's singing gives it a bit more of an innocence, and the tinkly piano of Ohtaki's arrangements can be heard in the back there, although it's a little more reserved. In addition, the piano intro reminds me of one of Neil Sedaka's old hits, "Laughter in the Rain"(1974).

"Tantei Monogatari", like her previous song, also hit No. 1 on Oricon and became the 4th-ranked song of 1983. Yakushimaru was only the second singer in Oricon history to follow up a top-ranking debut single with a second No. 1 (the first one being Kentaro Shimizu with his debut of "Shitsuren Restaurant"失恋レストラン』; already profiled). As of 2012, she is also the only female artist to have had a single at No. 1 for 7 straight weeks ("Tantei Monogatari"being that single), although Akina Nakamori (1/2 Shinwa), Aming (Matsu wa) and Shizuka Kudo (Kousa ni Fukarete) came close with their individual hits at 6 weeks.

This is the trailer for the movie which was released in July 1983.


  1. This blog is FANTASTIC. I've been following j-music since 2000 and since about 2002 I've been trying to get into its history more. I'm SO glad I stumbled onto this site, because I'm finding so much here that I'm absolutely loving. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for doing this blog! I'll be coming back frequently!

  2. Thanks very much, Deli, for the compliment. It's been very much a labour of love for me over the past year, and I'm always glad when someone also enjoys taking a look. Again, it's just been an opportunity to go over some of the wonderful songs I've heard over the decades, share them, and also learn some things about them.

    By all means, keep coming back and comment away!


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