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.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Marina Watanabe -- Marina no Natsu (マリーナの夏)

I was aware that veteran TV performer Marina Watanabe(渡辺満里奈)started her professional life as an aidoru and as a member of Onyanko Club(おニャン子クラブ)but basically my sightings of her over the past few decades have been through her appearances on television as an actress, host or guest panelist and overall tarento. And that includes the above video from "Tunnels no Minasan no Okage desu"(とんねるずのみなさんのおかげです...Tunnels' Thanks to Everyone)which was where I first got to know the Tokyo native. She was often the regularly featured player in The Tunnels' various skits or the overall straightperson to the duo's zaniness (could explain why she ended up getting married to a member from another crazy comedy team, Jun Nagura of Neptune) back in the late 80s. One of the reasons that I enjoyed watching "Minasan no Okage desu" was seeing whether the cute Marina was going to finally crack out laughing at Ishibashi and Kinashi's antics; this didn't happen as much as one might think....she kept a very good hold on her emotions.

But of course, Marina-chan did release singles when not having fun with The Tunnels. I was not very knowledgeable about Onyanko Club but about 7 months after debuting as the No. 36 member in March 1986, she released her first single, "Shinkokyu shite"(深呼吸して...Take a Deep Breath)under the banner of Marina Watanabe with Onyanko Club, and the song hit No. 1 with a bullet. In fact, she became the youngest female solo singer to hit the No. 1 spot at 15 years and 11 months old, breaking the nearly 12-year record established by Momoe Yamaguchi(山口百恵)when she was also 15 years and 11 months old (so Marina's record was achieved by just a smattering of days). No. 36 would hold onto that record for almost 14.5 years until then-Morning Musume member Maki Goto(後藤真希)displaced her with her hit single, "Ai no Bakayaro"(愛のバカやろう...Fool of Love).

It was quite the achievement to have had. However, one Thursday night at the end of another hilarious episode of The Tunnels, Marina actually picked up the mike to sing a tune, and it turned out to be her 3rd single, "Marina no Natsu" (Marina's Summer). I'm not sure what the special occasion was since she sang it while I was already in Japan between 1989-1991 and she had already released it back in April 1987. It could have been sung to mark her last episode since the song was accompanied by past footage of her time on the show.

I literally haven't heard "Marina no Natsu" in over 20 years so it was great to hear this very cheerful song once again. Listening to it once more, I'd had the sneaking impression that the music was provided by Tetsuji Hayashi(林哲司)because it just sounded so bouncy and summery, but actually it was singer-songwriter Masayuki Kishi's(岸正之)baby (although he and Hayashi had collaborated on one song, "Samurai Music" a few years previously). Svengali for both Onyanko Club and AKB48, Yasushi Akimoto(秋元康)provided the lyrics. It, like her first 2 singles, hit No. 1 on Oricon.

To finish things off, here are Marina and frequent guest Rie Miyazawa(宮沢りえ)on "Minasan no Okage desu" in one of the numerous skits that The Tunnels pulled off.



  1. Hi, J-Canuck.

    Lovely aidoru summer tune. I always pass by Marina Watanabe without listening to some of her songs, and, based on "Marina no Natsu", I was wrong. Not that her vocals are great (she was an Onyanku Club girl, after all), but the production is surely something to notice here. Although cheerful, I also felt a bit of melancholy in the song. Maybe is that old "summer end" feeling again.

    1. Yeah, when it came to Onyanko Club vocals, they were at the level where you want to pat the girls on the head and say "That's so cuuuuute."

      I've got one other Marina single on a compilation LP but the melody isn't nearly as catchy as the one for "Marina no Natsu". When the vocals aren't very strong, it's good to have that appealing music.


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