Yuki Saito – Japanese pop gem from the 80s

When I hear the term ‘Japanese idol pop‘, two names that first come to mind are Momoe Yamaguchi and Akina Nakamori. That’s my opinion though, as both were quite different artistically than most of their peers –  Yamaguchi and Nakamori stood as sort of femme-fatale figures, capable of powerful delivery, whose music was often dark and/or provocative. They were certainly huge back in the day, but even then, the bubbly sugar pop dominated the scene, and it continues to do so to this day. I’m definitely not trying to make it sound as if it was a bad thing – the 80s produced a great deal of amazing idol-singers, and there are some newer artists I’m also fond of.

Music-wise I particularly love the 80s, and my previous great discovery from that time was Yukiko Okada – her catchy music and the tragic story gripped my heart. My most recent unearthed 80s gem is Yuki Saito. I did hear about her before, but only in the context of the timeless 80s anime Maison Ikkoku and the superb song used for that show –  悲しみよこんにちは (Kanashimi yo Konnichi wa – ‘Hello Sadness’). It was composed by Tamaki Koji of 安全地帯 (Anzen Chitai) fame.

However, I soon found out, that there’s much more to her career than an anime opening theme. Continue reading →

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Golden Idol Momoe Yamaguchi

featuremomoeMomoe Yamaguchi was arguably the greatest artist of Japanese pop music. Her short-lived career produced countless hit songs, movies and TV series. Following the marriage to Tomokazu Miura in 1980, Yamaguchi retired, pretty much at the top of her game. Retired at the age of 21! I just find this decision absolutely amazing, and the fact that she remains true to it is even more badass. Unlike zillions of starlets and celebrities out there, she chose family life over the spotlight and it’s nothing but admirable. Continue reading →

Yukiko Okada and the bygone golden age of idols

Yukikofeature70s/80s idol pop had this crazy-addictive (and adorable) quality which I miss in the modern day Japanese popular music. Production is a bit different, and the sub-genre itself has evolved to fit the standards of today. I believe that at some point I mentioned here how this sort of music is not particularly challenging and repetitive.
Sure, but damn did it sound delightful back in the day. The period when lots of good stuff came out lasted up to mid 80s or so, and is referred to as the golden age. The singer I discovered only recently is Yukiko Okada, but she’s quickly becoming one of my favorite idol pop performers. Continue reading →