As I've mentioned in past articles, there was that period between 1991 and 1994 when I was back here in Toronto to go back to school. I joined up with my old university club at U of T but despite that and all those connections to Japanese pop music through my fellow club mates and the magazine "Eye-Ai" (through money order), I felt that I had lost that strong link with access to J-Pop. Part of it was because I was so ravenous about my CD purchases during my 1989-1991 stay in Gunma.
So in a way, I kinda missed out on who was hot in the Japanese music industry during those early 1990s. When I left Japan in July 1991, acts like Wink, Kazumasa Oda（小田和正）and Princess Princess were some of the big guns. When I arrived back there in late 1994, it was TRF, Namie Amuro（安室奈美恵）and Mr. Children. Going over the history of those middle years, I realized that I was missing out on folks such as Dreams Come True (although they continued to put out mega-hits until late into the 1990s), ZARD and some of those other guitar bands such as WANDS and ZYYG. I'm still rather exploring that so-called lost age.
Of course, ZARD aka Izumi Sakai（坂井泉水）still continued to put out hits even after I started my second stint in Japan but I felt that she really came into her own during that patch between 1991 and 1994. And to be honest, I hadn't felt all that much of a fan of hers since I kinda thought that a lot of her output sounded all the same. Even now, I'm not sure about collecting a compilation of her hits.
Still, I've been coming across a few of her songs on YouTube in small doses, and I've enjoyed this one titled "Kimi ga Inai" (You Are Not Here) which was written by her and composed by ZYYG member Seiichiro Kuribayashi（栗林誠一郎）. This was her 7th single from April 1993.
The thing I like about "Kimi ga Inai" is that loopy guitar rhythm which rolls in right from the start. There is almost something Beatles about it and then there is Sakai providing some nice harmony. It's a pretty jaunty song about a young lady remembering a former relationship and perhaps still showing some regret about the breakup although one of the lines states that the guy lied to her. However, that upbeat melody hints that she's not particularly dwelling on the situation full-time. There are many other fish in the sea.
"Kimi ga Inai" was another success for ZARD. It hit No. 2 on Oricon and sold over 800,000 copies, becoming the 30th-ranked single of the year. The song was also placed on her 4th original album "Yureru Omoi"（揺れる想い...Shifting Memories）from July 1993 which not only struck No. 1 on the weekly charts but ended up as the No. 1 album of the year, selling 2 million copies.
Composer Kuribayashi covered his own creation about a decade later in his album of covers "complete of Seiichiro Kuribayashi & Barbier at the BEING studio" in 2003. It is a bit more rumbly although I think that same synthesizer is in there.