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, December 21, 2019

Beauty Pair -- Makkana Seishun(真赤な青春)

Happy weekend! As a kid, I remember that my childhood on Saturday afternoons often consisted of playing with the neighbourhood children outside in the snow and then watching wrestling on City-TV or CHCH Channel 11 in Hamilton. Some of the colorful figures bashing and smashing each other on the screen and in the ring included Rowdy Roddy Piper, Arriba Martinez and The Sheik.

Japan has had its own long history of wrestling but I never really got to know that scene very well. However, one duo that actually permeated my veil of ignorance when it came to Japanese wrestling was Beauty Pair(ビューティ・ペア). Female wrestlers Jackie Sato(ジャッキー佐藤)and Maki Ueda(マキ上田)became quite the heroines during the latter half of the 1970s not just in the ring but also through pop culture as well. And of course, when celebrities of any stripe hit the big time, that also means cutting a record or two.

Releasing 6 singles between 1976 and 1978, the one song that I've heard by the Pair is "Makkana Seishun" (Beauty Sunshine, although the exact translation is Bright Red Youth), their 2nd single from June 1977. In fact, Jackie and Maki have even performed it in the ring.

Obviously wrestling being their stock-in-trade, their singing is not classic but I think the two acquit themselves pretty well in "Makkana Seishun" which was written by Shinichi Ishihara(石原信一)and composed by Tachio Akano(あかのたちお). With the cute kids in the chorus, it sounds like an especially cheerful tokusatsu theme song. And strangely enough, a movie was made around them with the same title "Beauty Pair: Makkana Seishun" that same year.

Reading some information from an October 2012 feature on a TBS afternoon show via J-Wiki, their time together as Beauty Pair lasted until 1979 when Maki decided to break up the duo in a direct talk with the president of their management company without telling Jackie. Apparently, the relationship between Maki, who was more sociable, and Jackie, who was more of the lone wolf, had never been all that good to begin with. The president allowed it under one condition: the two would have to fight each other with the loser retiring from professional wrestling. Maki lost and retired but Jackie would do the same just a couple of years later.

Gradually, though, Jackie and Maki made amends, culminating in an onsen trip together, according to their bio. Unfortunately, this new friendship didn't last too long since Jackie would succumb to stomach cancer in 1999 at the age of 41.

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