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, November 24, 2014

Akina Nakamori -- Jikai (1984) (十戒 (1984))

Now this is a real palate cleanser for yours truly! Listening to the various hits of the much-loved 80's aidoru Akina Nakamori (中森明菜) on an episode of 'NHK SONGS' last Saturday night, I came across a few that have been introduced to me via monomane talent Korokke's (コロッケ) crazy shenanigans. The first ever being 'Desire', then subsequently 'Jikai (1984)' when he was a guest on The Drifters' 'Dorifu daibakusho' (ドリフ大爆笑).

The hilarity of seeing Ken Shimura (志村けん) and Korokke in dresses at a cabaret club aside, I had eventually succumbed to the catchy-ness of 'Jikai (1984)'. Like most aidoru songs I know, it's got the synthesizers loud and clear at throughout - something I miss from 80's pop - as well as the electric guitar in the background that makes it all the more cool. Then we have a bouncy Nakamori dancing and twirling away as she sings with that low and powerful (for an aidoru) voice of hers. That really breaks my stereotype of female pop idols singing at a pitch that drives me up the wall, by the way.

Anyway, just like in the title the song was released in July 1984 as Nakamori's 9th single. Written by Masao Urino (売野雅勇) and composed by Masayoshi Takanaka (高中正義), 'Jikai (1984)' recieved half a dozen accolades... literally. Some examples include 'Best broadcasting music award' (I have no idea what kind of award that is, but okay) at the 15th Nihon Kayo taisho and 'Best song Award' at the 13th FNS Music Festival. It did really well on the Oricon charts as well, peaking at 1st place and settling at 6th by the end of the year. And she sang it once at the 35th Kohaku. As expected from a song during her time at the top.

Ah yes, if you want you can check out the silly Drifters clip that I mentioned above in the link.

Huh, I'd always thought my first article on aidoru would be on the new Gosanke's Hideki Saijo (西城秀樹). I guess not.



  1. Hi, Noelle.

    When I started reading the article I though it was written by J-Canuck, mainly bacause he's an avid Akina Nakamori fan. After a while, though, I realized it was an article written by you (it's funny how we learn to distinguish each writing style here).

    About this NHK special you talked about, I'm sad that I couldn't watch. I was aware of its exhibition, but unfortunately NHK is not part of my TV package nowadays (I'll kindly wait someone post this special in the internet, but I doubt it will happen). Anyway, "Jikkai" is a very energetic and powerful song by Akina, also one of my favourite aidoru singers from the 80s. Like you said, I also miss the 80s synths as well, and "Jikkai" surely had some interesting ones (even though her Yoru no Hit Studio performances were practically all with real horns instead of synths). Also, like I always talk to J-Canuck when we kindly babble about Akina Nakamori, she started maturing around 1984, maybe still in the "Jikkai" phase, but probably more towards "Kazari Janai No Yo Namida Wa" later in the year.

    I wonder if Akina is singing her old hits properly. I noticed she has been losing her vocal power through the years, and it's been almost five years since I last saw her singing live on TV.

    1. Hi Marcos,

      If you're wondering, that NHK show on Nakamori featured many clips of her hits during the course of the decade, then ending it off with the somewhat current day (5 years ago) Akina doing a cover of Yutaka Uzaki's "I love you". I'm sure you'd like it and I hope someone uploads it on the net!

      I don't know much on aidoru stuff - the only one I'm most familiar with is Hideki Saijo - but now that you mention it, Nakamori did look more mature from that point in time (1984).

    2. Hey, Noelle.

      I'd love to see this special, but I thought she recorded a new program with live performances as I know she came back a few months ago with two new songs, a ballad and a cover. About her Yutata Uzaki's cover, I have her performance somewhere in my HD, and it's indeed from five years ago.

      As for Hideki Saijo, I've seen him sometimes, but I don't really know a lot of male aidoru artists (especially the oldest ones) besides some Johnny's groups like Arashi or SMAP.

  2. Hello, Noelle.

    I bid you welcome to the Akina world! :) I was pleasantly surprised to see your article covering "Jikkai" but then again, I think Nakamori has demonstrated that she can also show some of those enka/Mood Kayo chops.

    "Jikkai" has that arrangement which hearkens back to some of her first "bad girl" songs such as "Shojo A", but those synths which launch the song are remarkable. I've heard them used in other Japanese pop songs of the time with varying results but they worked well with "Jikkai".

    As for the hilarious hostess club skit by Ken, Ikariya and Korokke, that was pretty early in Korokke's career so I can imagine his impressions of Hiromi Iwasaki, Mayumi Itsuwa and Akina Nakamori probably had viewers laughing out of their chairs. Iwasaki is a staple of his act but that's the first time I've seen him do Akina...oh my golly.

    Speaking about our mutual topic today, we're coming to the end of the year...might be time for another Author's Picks. How about our own individual Top 5 Akina songs?

    1. Hi J-Canuck,

      Haha, I didn't know you're a big fan of Nakamori... and then again the 'Akina Nakamori' label has got more than a dozen entries in it. And yes, she is capable of singing Enka and Mood Kayo since she's got a loud and relatively low voice.

      That skit by the 3 fellows is actually one of my favourites with Ikariya being constantly harassed by the other 2 (Seemed like that always happens on most of their skits). And one of my favourite lines from this would be Shimura just saying a simple, "Irashaii!" at the start. It's that sleazy tone in which he says it that makes it so hilarious. Korokke's staple includes Nakamori too, so I see it quite often... but not as often as Iwasaki's 'Cinderella Honeymoon'!

      Oh yeah, it is the end of the year already... so I take it that you guys usually do Author's Picks articles during this period? You can go ahead with your Top 5 Akina songs article... that'd be interesting to see actually! I'd probably do something on the line of Top 5 Easy-listening or Most bizzare Enka/Mood Kayo songs... ...Or Top 5 Kiyoshi Maekawa/Cool Five songs! :)

    2. Oh yeah, I'm a big fan of hers. I've got a picture of hers on my desk. One time, my little niece asked me if that was my girlfriend and I answered rather forlornly, "Ahh...if that were only true..."

      As for the Drifters skits, having Ikariya as the furious straightperson to the eternally clueless Shimura was the basic backbone. I have heard that bossman Ikariya was often a truly terrifyingly demanding presence during rehearsals so I guess the skits came rather naturally for him.

      Once on the late "Hey Hey Hey Music Champ", Yoshimi Iwasaki came on as a guest when Korokke was there at the same time. Although things are good between them now, she admitted that at one point in the past, she had confronted the impressionist about making fun of her sister one too many times.

      Although they are not limited to the year-end, it seems like that period is a good one for the Author's Picks. Feel free to come up with your Top list in any field. I'm also considering my Top 10 for the 90s.

    3. Ah, also forgot to mention that if you like, you can also check out one of my own favourite sketches from "Hachi-ji da yo!", the Hige Dance.


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