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.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Yuki Saito -- Jounetsu(情熱)

As someone who used to buy empty cassette tapes fairly regularly back in my time in Japan, I really liked the AXIA brand of the Fuji Film group. Thin and clear with those pastel-coloured decals, they just seemed to epitomize Japanese style.

Aidoru Yuki Saito(斉藤由貴)was the pitchperson for AXIA for some time in the 1980s, and this was one of the songs that was used as the campaign tune, "Jounetsu" (Passion), her 4th single released in November 1985.

"Jounetsu" was created by the dream tandem of Takashi Matsumoto and Kyohei Tsutsumi(松本隆・筒美京平), and the song is a good example of how some of those aidoru tunes were changing from sunny and summery to somewhat more elegant as time went into the latter half of the 1980s. Mind you, singer-composer Takao Kisugi(来生たかお)had been doing something similar for some of his clients earlier in the decade.

Couldn't help but feel that the setting of "Jounetsu" was taking place more in Europe than in Japan. I do like those strings and keyboards in this one. The song went as high as No. 3 on Oricon and it became the 87th-ranked single for 1986. It was also used as the theme song for a movie that starred Saito, "Yuki no Danjou ~ Jounetsu"(雪の断章 -情熱-...Literary Fragment of Snow ~ Passion).


  1. Hello Canuck,

    I remember my high school classmate Yamada and I going to a electronics store to ask for the AXIA poster they had up in the window. It was a bizarre poster that featured a black & white close-up photo of Jim Croce, and Yuki, in full color, is standing in front of it. Why Jim Croce? Maybe one of his songs were being used in the TV ads or something, I can't remember.

    Anyway, Yuki was unique among the female idol singers of her time in that... (how do I put this) she didn't look like she was 100% committed to being an idol singer. I suppose she was more along the lines of Hiroko Yakushimaru or Tomoyo Harada who were both actresses first, idols second. Unlike others, she would just stand there, clutching her microphone with both hands, looking at you with those eyes of hers that were very intense but somewhat unfocused at the same time, like she's in a daze or some kind of a trance. No choreography whatsoever. Well, maybe she did move a little bit during Koji Tamaki-penned Kanashimi Yo Konnichiwa but just how uncomfortable she looked! 

    She certainly was not the most skilled singer but she could sell the "drama" within the songs like no other. Takashi Matsumoto, who wrote most of the lyrics to her songs, later wrote in his book "Kazemachi Cafe" that hers was one of the most memorable of all the idol projects he was a part of, right up there with Seiko's. That's saying something.

    1. Hi, Kaz.

      I'm not quite sure either for the Jim Croce and Yuki Saito images in the same poster. I definitely remember Croce for "Time in a Bottle" and "Big Bad Leroy Brown", especially the latter since for a time, we had to do exercises to that song in junior high school (yeah, it was THAT weird).

      I didn't see enough of Saito on "The Best 10" or "The Top 10" to pick up on that unique state of hers, but I did read somewhere that she had said something inappropriate on one of the music shows regarding Momoko Kikuchi when the two of them were appearing and the interviewer had asked about the fact that they sang songs with the same title "Sotsugyo".

    2. I think it happened on The Best 10 when both Yuki's and Momo-chan's Sotsugyo were in the top 10 at the same time.

      They were asked if they were conscious of the fact their latest singles shared the same title/theme. It was just another way of asking if there was any rivalry between them. While Momo-chan answered "No" with a polite smile, Yuki answered "Yes" with a straight face without cracking a smile. I don't know if it was "inappropriate" per se, but it was certainly out of the norm to see an idol act that way.

    3. I kinda figured that it probably happened that way. I would be interested in reading or hearing any interviews by her as to what she thought of her aidoru career.


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