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, September 24, 2018

Atsuko Nina -- Communication/Orange Basket(オレンジバスケット)

Happy Monday! Recently, I've come across some more of the works of singer Atsuko Nina(二名敦子)after hearing about her "Soldier Fish" song, and I found them eminently listenable and varied. As a result, I've decided to cover a couple of them in one article today.

The first song is "Communication" from her 1983 album "Play Room ~ Tawamure ~"(PLAY ROOM ~戯れ~...Fun). The album represented a re-birth of the singer's career under this new stage name (her real name is Atsuko Iwai/岩井敦子), following her first start under the name Eri Hayakawa(早川英梨)in 1979.

Now, if "Communication" sounds awfully familiar, it is because that it is a cover of the Latin standard "One-Note Samba". Apparently, a number of tracks in "Play Room" are covers of famous Western tunes but under different titles. Unfortunately, I couldn't find out who provided the Japanese lyrics but I have to give Nina and the arranger for "Communication" some kudos for a slick and assured version, especially with that slightly City Pop feel to the proceedings.

In 1986, Nina released a single which sounds as sweet and bright and refreshing as a glass of orange juice in the morning. And sure enough, her "Orange Basket" was used for TV ads plugging Kirin Orange Juice.

Written by Shun Taguchi(田口俊)and composed by Kenjiro Sakiya(崎谷健次郎), "Orange Basket" does come across as plucky and catchy (thanks to those synthesizers) as any commercial jingle should, but the full version couldn't help but include that cool soaring guitar solo. The single also got onto Nina's 5th album from September 1986, "him".


  1. Hello Canuck,

    Now, that was a name I hadn't heard in YEARS! I first heard Atsuko's singing in a TV ad back in 1984. The song was KALAPANA BLACK SAND BEACH from her second album, LOCO ISLAND. It was on the flip side of her single, NAGISA NO FAME (渚のフェイム). It was written by the famed guitarist, Masayoshi Takanaka. Takanaka was the original lead guitar player for Sadistic Mika Band and by this time, had become THE most popular guitar player around.

    KALAPANA BLACK SAND BEACH was so catchy I couldn't stop listening to it, so much so I can't even remember what the song on the A-side sounded like!

    I tried to find the song on Youtube but the only thing I could find was the audio of the live performance on a radio program.

    Although it's not very likely, if you ever come across the album, LOCO ISLAND, give it a listen. It's a collection of HAWAII-themed tunes that really showcases Atsuko's vocals. It's also a great introduction to the sub-genre of City Pop, "Resort Pop".

    1. Hello, Kaz.

      I'd seen her name in "Japanese City Pop" over the years but never got the chance to write about her until commenter Daemonskald recommended "Soldier Fish". Then, happily, I got hooked.

      Thanks for the YouTube link. I will give it a listen sometime later today. As for "LOCO ISLAND", I hope that it has been given the remastering treatment as have many other old City Pop albums. I will have to get at least one of her releases, so why not "LOCO ISLAND"? :)


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