Credits

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, May 28, 2012

Yukiko Okada/Mariya Takeuchi -- Lonesome Season (ロンサム・シーズン)



This entry was sparked by a comment from a viewer asking about Yukiko Okada(岡田有希子), an aidoru who hailed from Nagoya, and was born as Kayo Sato(佐藤佳代). Winning the championship sponsored by the talent program "Star Tanjo"(スター誕生....A Star Is Born) in 1983 (she had sung Akina Nakamori's "Slow Motion"), she was soon scouted by Sun Productions and her first single, "First Date" was released in April 1984.

She had been seen as the second Seiko Matsuda(松田聖子): all of her singles had peaked at no less than No. 20 on the Oricon weeklies, and a number of her songs had been composed and/or written by popular artists such as Mariya Takeuchi, Ryuichi Sakamoto, and EPO. And her most successful song, "Kuchibiru Network", was written by Seiko herself. Outside of music, she starred in a TV drama and several commercials. Professionally, it seemed that the world was her oyster.

However, as many fans of 80s aidoru know, it all ended very sadly when for reasons that remain unknown, Okada committed suicide in April 1986. The news of her death reached huge proportions in Japan, and even reached as far as my city. I'm not sure how I found out...no Internet back in those days, so I can only conclude that it was either a news report on TV or in the papers. Even more horrifically, copycat suicides occurred in the days after Okada's death to such an extent that one of her family (her mother, I believe) appeared on TV to implore a stop to any more tragedy.

"Kuchibiru Network" was her most successful song but I wanted to feature this one, "Lonesome Season" since I hadn't ever heard the original version before tonight. I actually have listened to the cover by Mariya Takeuchi(竹内まりや), who had written and composed the song. Although "Kuchibiru Network" has that feeling of aidoru, I found Okada's "Lonesome Season" to have a more mature delivery to it, following the way that Takeuchi sings her ballads in that dramatic, lilting fashion.

"Lonesome Season" was a track on Okada's 3rd album, "Juu-gatsu no Ningyo"(十月の人魚...October Mermaid) released in September 1985.



This is Mariya's version (or at least some of it), included on her 1992 album "Quiet Life", as a tribute to Okada's memory. Backed up by her husband, Tatsuro Yamashita(山下達郎), the arrangements have that 50s ballad style that characterized Mariya's early hits.

Considering how she has remained loved on sites like YouTube and Flickr, she does seem to have  posthumously earned the label "The Eternal Aidoru".

10 comments:

  1. Hi J-Canuck..

    thanks for Yukiko..
    it is also nice to see that many non Japanese enjoy Idols music..its was somehow great pleasure to listen Idol music in 80 then today..today you simply buy few cd online..20-25 years ago i was eagerly awaited my neighbour from work in Japan with some dozen albums to share with me..
    I do have all Yukiko recording..and some others off course(well well is that name of a famous group?)
    Without doubt in my 25 years of listening music from Japan i can tell that they are masters of
    nostalgia,melancholy and sorrow..how is it said in Japanese? Furusato?(oh my..again name of song from Hiroshi and Ikuzo..)

    Thanks for Flickr..

    I see that you are a teacher of English..oh my..
    nee don't judge a book by its cover..English is not my native language..oops.

    Thank you and keep promoting music from Japan

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Always a pleasure. I guess I'm showing my age but I also tend to look back more to music from the 70s and 80s than the current songs, although I have enjoyed Perfume, Misia and Mika Nakashima. Yeah, I think CDs have become a dying breed of late; I remember hitting Tokyo from Gunma back 20 years ago and buying 8 discs every trip there.

      Indeed, Off Course is the name of a legendary group, and you can check out some of their entries in the tag area. "Furusato"actually refers to "home"or the "hometown". For sorrow, perhaps words like "samishii" or "kanashii" may be more appropriate.

      Yup, English teaching is my main thing although I consider myself semi-retired now. Busy doing some writing and taking care of this blog every night.

      Delete
    2. Always a pleasure. I guess I'm showing my age but I also tend to look back more to music from the 70s and 80s than the current songs, although I have enjoyed Perfume, Misia and Mika Nakashima. Yeah, I think CDs have become a dying breed of late; I remember hitting Tokyo from Gunma back 20 years ago and buying 8 discs every trip there.

      Indeed, Off Course is the name of a legendary group, and you can check out some of their entries in the tag area. "Furusato"actually refers to "home"or the "hometown". For sorrow, perhaps words like "samishii" or "kanashii" may be more appropriate.

      Yup, English teaching is my main thing although I consider myself semi-retired now. Busy doing some writing and taking care of this blog every night.

      Delete
  2. No problem with that..i have also nostalgia from 70-80 era songs..cant jump out from that era..he he..
    I still loved my friends face expression when i intoduce to them music from 70-80s.
    Off Course..well yes..unforgettable and dramatic singing!
    Have some Misia and Mika song..i was attracted by their voice.
    As for word Furusato..i was thinking at some general term about nostalgia..

    I have looked all your archive..some names i see for the first time..thats great!
    Also i like your ''little stories'' how you discover them..
    As for Enka i was ''intoduced'' by Aki Yashiro,Meiko Kaji,Sayuri Ishikawa,Misora Hibari and Saburo Kitajima..
    As for 90s(and some 70s) and to present day my personal fav are
    Godai Natsuko(i like her manners on stage,very charming) and Yoshi Ikuzo(weep and tears many times!!!)
    but I also like Hosokawa Takashi,Kaori Kozai,Yoko Nagayama,Fuyumi Sakamoto,Mori Masako,Saori Yuki..and some more but mostly 1-2 songs..
    Just recently i ''discovered'' Umezawa Tomio..great voice!

    In most new Idols or groups iam missing ''something''..i dont know what..if you do remember Kawai Naoko have tooth on right side of her mouth sticking out..maybe iam missing that ''cuteness'' from new idols..

    Did you visit some Enka concert?

    See ya!

    makoto-gawa

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello there, Makoto-gawa.

      I guess "natsumero"(natsukashii melodies) would be the best translation for the "oldies".

      Thanks very much for the compliments. I gather that I can't just give stats and trivia about the entries...something personal from my side makes things a bit more unique for the blog. You know, NHK just had a tribute last night to Misora Hibari via its music show, "Kayo Hall". I really gotta get an entry on her up there pretty soon. I was also thinking about Shinichi Mori as well.

      As for Naoko Kawai, she put "yaeba"(snaggle tooth) on the proverbial map. I think the later aidoru, Miyoko Yoshimoto, was also famous for that part of her bridgework.

      Sadly, I've never been to an enka concert, but I can say that I did go to a Misato Watanabe concert back in 1995 at Yokohama Arena. And of course, there is the Ruiko Kurahashi performance a few years back.

      BTW, just out of curiosity, where are you calling from?

      Talk to you later.

      Delete
  3. Hi there J-Canuck

    Yessss..please do include Shinichi Mori!
    great voice btw!
    As for Miyoko Yoshimoto..but off course!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N3v86ZOlztc

    Oh you never been to enka concert?hmmm..
    but again you can surely compensate that with hundreds of cds..
    Iam calling just across the ocean..Croatia.

    See ya

    makoto-gawa

    ReplyDelete
  4. Mori and Yoshimoto...that should be an interesting combination :)

    Never got to go to an enka concert, I'm afraid. My parents got to see Masao Sen and Sachiko Kobayashi years ago when they both came to Toronto on separate occasions, though.

    Wow! Croatia? On my stats page, I'd been wondering who would be interested in Japanese music all the way over there. I guess I know now.:) One of my old English classes visited Croatia a few years ago. The Japanese travel agency actually asked my students to pick up any information about your country since it was such a new area.

    Take care, Makoto-gawa.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi J-Canuck

    Yes..from Croatia..can you see who visit you site? I think i was making around 100 hits..
    As for tourist from Japan..we have a steady grow..mostly older who almost all visit our National Parks..
    Our tourist web pages all full of info about places to visit..
    Just about 10 days ago a TV crew from Osaka,Kansai was making documentary about and around my place..

    Keep writing you articles..
    See ya

    makoto-gawa

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Makoto-gawa.

      Yup, I checked my Analytics and see that you are in the Rijeka area. Thanks for providing so many hits! By the way, it seems that this entry on Yukiko Okada has garnered 64 hits in just one week...could be one of my most popular ones after The Candies and Hi-Fi Set.

      I think Croatia may already be the next big thing for Japanese tourists. Should mention about you to my former students.

      Take care!

      Delete
  6. Very interesting entry. Thank you for the Mariya's version of "Lonesome Season". Well, in my honest opinion the Mariya's version is nice and fine but Yukko's version of this beautiful song is just absolutely perfect for my ears on its own touchy mood. Well... I really like Yukko's voice so much I mean. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete

Feel free to provide any comments (pro or con). Just be civil about it.