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.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Tomokazu Miura -- Hohoemi no Tobira (ほほえみの扉)

Well, I've covered a lot on Momoe Yamaguchi(山口百恵)of course as one of the biggest singers in the 1970s, and I just provided an article on her son, singer-songwriter-actor Yutaro Miura(三浦祐太朗), so why not the husband/father as well? Actually, I say this because I had encountered to my surprise that Tomokazu Miura(三浦友和)had also contributed to the music industry way back when.

I had never gotten into pure Japanese dramas on either the big screen or the small one but I did know on a rudimentary level about some of the actors and actresses who were in them. One of them was Tomokazu Miura and I've long known that he and Yamaguchi had gotten married which sparked the latter's retirement from show business in 1980. My impression of him is sourced basically on his appearances in recent years so it's that of the nice and slightly adorkable if quite capable middle-aged daddy. However, decades ago, I guess he was quite also capable of providing some of that beefcake according to the above video.

Strangely enough, he also provided some songs onto his resume. In fact, he recorded three singles and eight albums between 1978 and 1984. That debut single turned out to be a rather contemplative ballad titled "Hohoemi no Tobira" (Door of Smiles) from November 1978.

Marcos V. and I plus at least one commenter have spoken on how Japanese songwriters were able to amp up the quality of a song even if the singer wasn't exactly the most vocally talented person. Well, indeed the great sibling songwriters Etsuko and Takao Kisugi(来生えつこ・来生たかお)provided the words and music for "Hohoemi no Tobira", but the crazier thing is that Miura actually sounded surprisingly good (if a tad hammy) for a person who has only been tagged as a thespian.

Hearing the ballad for the first time, I wouldn't have automatically pegged the words and music as a Kisugi creation. The sophisticated and sweeping melody was something that I had heard from other songwriters such as Taeko Ohnuki(大貫妙子)and perhaps even Kozo Murashita(村下孝蔵), but as soon as I read the information on the creators, I did go naruhodo. The Kisugis were always very good at tenderizing love songs in the way that I tenderize my steaks. Plus, the way Miura sang the tune, I could easily see him on one knee in front of Momoe while spouting love poetry.

"Hohoemi no Tobira" almost broke through into the Top 10 by reaching No. 11. His next two singles didn't fare nearly as well but his albums were fairly competitive on the charts, so I'll have to further explore Miura's surprise discography. It's quite the revelation to find out that Momoe Yamaguchi's future family would be quite a musical one.

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