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Old School J-Pop!


Pink Lady's Number #1 Fan
28 Dec 2003
Greetings! I'm new to the board (and, at almost 45, somewhat ancient) and I'm curious to find out if there's any old school J-Pop fans out there, I'm talking about fans of acts from the 70's and 80's.

I was in the U.S. Navy and was lucky enough to have been stationed in Japan in the late 70's during the height of Pink Lady mania when Mie and Kei were insanely popular. Just as Hikaru Utada and Ayami Hamasaki are beloved by today's J-Pop fans, Mie and Kei equally were (and still are) to people of my generation. They quickly became favorites of mine along with the likes of Candies and Momoe Yamaguchi. As for the 80's, I'd gotten hooked on Wink who pretty much ruled the latter half of the decade with their cool sounds and stylish looks.

Back in August of this year, I got to live a dream when I returned to Japan after an absence of 25 years to see Pink Lady live in concert for the very first time, and it was quite an unforgettable experience for me. So, if there's any old school J-Pop fans here, chime in with your memories! I'd love to hear from you!
Where were you stationed ????

Sasabo or Yokohama ?? I spent 2 yrs in Fukuoka(Hakata Base) in Kyushu 1971&72. Funny, I lived off base with Japanese friends who were totally into American bands. I don't recall anyone interested in J-pop or hearing any that I paid attention to.The Japanese bar where I worked part time had a jukebox with over 100 45 records and all were non-Japanese. My Japanese girlfriend and I had "Our Song" which was Japanese called "Yuki Wa Furo"; a love song.



Though I'm not as old (still ancient for the board at 32) nor have I ever lived in Japan, I'm still very interested in talking about older J-Pop artists... I originally started listening to anime themes and then the most recent and trendy J-Pop. I even got a radio show going on a small college station in my town...

Then I started asking myself, "I know what music is considered 'classic rock' from an American or British point of view... I wonder what the Japanese people consider 'classics'." So I've been striving hard to collect music from the early post-war era through the present...

I've really enjoyed the work of Kazumasa Oda and the group Off Course in the '70s and early '80s... and recently I've been enjoying a popular song from the same era as Pink Lady, Chiharu Matsuyama's "Kisetsu no naka de". As far as later '80s goes, Wink is definitely good stuff but I've recently discovered the group Rebecca... "Friends" is an awsome song!

Any other favorites you have?

Nice to meet you, by the way...

Greetings! Way cool! Didn't think I'd hear from anyone! This is great!

To Frank: I was stationed at Yokosuka from August 1977 to December 1978. I still have fond memories of my experience there, the sights I had seen, I people I had met, and of course, Pink Lady who I was hooked on almost immediately. To this day, 25 years later, I still can't explain why, nor do I bother trying anymore, I just enjoy it.

To Stevie: It's been said that the mid 70's to mid 80's were considered as being the "golden age" of J-Pop, dominated by the likes of Pink Lady, Candies, Momoe Yamaguchi, Junko Sakurada and male stars like Hiromi Go, Goro Naguchi and Kenji Sawada, but, in my opinion, the ladies ruled the scene back then. All those stars, male and female, were fixtures on TV, performing their hit songs long before the concept of the music video.

A friend had turned me onto Wink, and they were sensational, my favorite song of theirs was "One Night In Heaven". I must say it was fun to hear from people who enjoy the old stuff. Oh, and before I go, it might interest you to know that I have an all-English Pink Lady website, my Internet shrine to Mie and Kei. Here's the address:


Check it out when you can and let me know what you think!
Acha, I was in the Navy too, but they never stationed me anywhere outside of the friggen San Francisco bay area...
I know some J-music bands from the 70's and 80's. :) YMO (Yellow Magic Orchestra) was pretty big back then, I've heard. They started the whole 'electronical' (is that the right word?) music in Japan. As with 窶「テ??「テ?誰ニ停?ーニ置 (Kome Kome Club) and another popular band, Boowy. The well-known website SONGJAPAN.COM has Boowy's song B.Blue on their site. It's my favorite by them, out of what I heard. Here's the link if you want to hear it: http://www.songjapan.com/listen.php?id=1870. And of course the legendary X Japan started in the late 80's :) The 80's J-music I've heard sounds very much alike to American 80's music.
Excellent! I'm very interested in seeing where this thread goes, as I'd love to get some perspectives on these groups we're discussing...

zombiepanda: YMO and BOOWY were both great groups, and really interesting in that the member of each group went on to become major solo artists as well. BOOWY featured two of Japan's most well-known guitarists, Kyosuke Himuro and Tomoyasu Hotei... Hotei especially has great international clout, as I know he was in one of the later incarnations of the supergroup Asia and most recently he was involved in the soundtrack to the movie "Kill Bill Vol. 1".

YMO, of course, was the combination of three of the most innovative artists in Japan. Both Haruomi Hosono and Yukihiro Takahashi have been very active in the world of music composition and production, and are currently together in the project Sketch Show. Ryuichi Sakamoto, obviously, is a major force in international music and an Oscar winner for movie soundttrack work, such as "The Last Emperor".

As far as Japanese '80s music sounding a lot like American '80s music, that could really be said for most eras of J-Pop... for me, there are definite similarities but also definite differences. It's hard to define, but there's always something unique about J-Pop to my ear which is why I've been following it as much as I have...

For everyone, you might want to check out the latest album by Tak Matsumoto called "The Hit Parade". Tak is the guitarist from the hugely popular rock group B'z, but recently he's been collaborating with the big stars of J-Pop currently to do some remakes of classic songs of the '70s and '80s. The big singles were a remake of Saki Kubota's hit "Ihoujin" featuring the voice of Zard, and a remake of Momoe Yamaguchi's classic "Imitation Gold" with Mai Kuraki... very neat stuff!

Hey Jeff!

Guess who this is? I was just emailing you about Pink Lady, Candies and Wink. Yeah, that guy.

When I lived in Japan (a civilian), I used to watch all the music TV shows (Lotte Music Cafe, Uta no Top Ten, The Best Ten, etc.) and once in a while, they'd have the special guests like members of Candies or Pink Lady (Kei appeared a lot). Even the heavy hitters of the time - Seiko and Akina - would pay their tributes to people like Momoe Yamaguchi. Then they'd have the "Idol History" clips and show idols like Judy Ong, Warabe, Amin and Teresa Teng. For some reason, my brain would tune out the guys. =)

Now I wanna go home and put some classic idol stuff on the turntable (yeah, you kids heard me! Vinyl!)
@ MHtrStevie: Yes, Hotei is one of my favorite artists. He's the only reason I watched Kill Bill really (I already had the song on my computer, but knowing a Hotei song was in the movie made me want to see it :p ) He has good English too IMO. Wasn't his first solo CD Guitarhythm in either all or mostly English? The only Himuro solo song I've heard though was "Kiss Me."

I agree with the statement about Japanese and American sounding alike, but different. It's like, the 80's music sounds almost identical to certain American music but today's J-pop... well, it's like some of the songs are played in a way that you COULD hear by an American group, but it's never been done by an American group. Mai Kuraki's music, for example, is pretty American sounding but it still doesn't sound similar to any American music I've heard on the radio.

B'z is a great band as well. Hmm, and wasn't Buck-Tick around in the 80's? They're still making music too.
My, my! This is delightful! I had no idea this thread would garner so much attention! Proof positive that old school J-Pop does indeed have its place here, and in my mind, its a place of reverence.

After all, without trailblazers like Pink Lady and Momoe in the 70's, and Wink and Onyanko Club in the 80's, today's pop stars like Utada, Hamasaki and Morning Masume would have no template on which to base their success.

If anything, it feels really good to go back in time and relive my memories of my experiences in Japan from 25 years ago when J-Pop was in its golden age, an age I think will never be repeated!

Have to make a few responses here... nice to see everyone!

Frank: I might have a somewhat logical explanation for why there was so much interest in American music at the time you were stationed in Fukuoka. I'm no expert, but from my research into music movements in Japan, 1971-72 was a period right in between two primary movements at which time the Japanese were most definitely looking toward the American artists... it was the waning moments of the "Group Sounds" movement of the late '60s which involved the Beatles/Ventures influenced groups like The Tigers and The Spiders, and still a couple of years before the amazing band Happy End brought the '70s rock sound into the Japanese language idiom. My understanding is that at that time there was a perception that English was the true language of rock music, and that the American and British artists were the "true" rock artists... many of the Japanese artists at that time were doing a lot of cover work (I have an interesting album from The Mops with their covers of Doors and Jefferson Airplane songs). So I guess that period was pretty low for Japanese artists... but again, I'm only saying this based on third-party accounts I've read.

Old School: Vinyl! Yes! I know where you're at there... I was lucky enough to spot a rack of low-priced 45 RPM aingles at a used manga/book store near my home, and picked up many great records of artists like Onyanko Club, Kyoko Koizumi, Warabe and Minayo Watanabe as well as Checkers, Rebecca and Masashi Sada.

zombiepanda: I'll have to check out more of Hotei's solo work... Himuro's solo stuff mostly sounds like BOOWY, so "Kiss Me" is a pretty good example of how his work sounds. And I think you're right... I believe Buck-Tick was around in the '80s, so they've had an amazing career so far.


Speaking of vinyl, thanks to eBay auctions, I have all but two of Pink Lady's albums and all 22 singles from their heyday (1976-1981) which I've since burned onto CD. I even have Mie and Kei's post PL solo singles to boot which I've also burned.

When I was in Japan in August to see Pink Lady in concert, one of my goals was to find PL memorabilia such as vinyl, cassettes, CD's or videos, and, much to my surprise, the pickings were practically non-existent. I found that to have been a surprise. Still, I had a damn good time over there!!!
flashjeff: One place you might want to keep an eye on is www.otokichi.com, as they seem to have some Pink Lady vinyl in stock. They're a cool used music store in Japan which also offers an English language website for international ordering. I've ordered from them before with no problems... so check them out from time to time, as I know their stock changes with new acquisitions.

Good luck!

Greetings, Stevie! Thanks for the tip! I'll check them out as I'm dying to complete my collection of Pink Lady vinyl!
Yeah, I've sent quite a few people over to Otokichi. They should give a me a discount by now!

Also, have you tried Yahoo Japan Auctions? I gotten so much from that. The downside is that you're dealing with regular people and not companies for the most part and you must communicate in Japanese - but that's no problem, right? Also, about 99% of them don't want to deal with or send outside of Japan. So, I've found out that the best way is to have a friend in Japan bid and handle the transactions for you. Yeah, I know, I owe my buddies tons of favors now - I've gone so far as to drive them as far as Los Angeles whenever they come to the US. I think it's worth it, I've filled a lot of holes in my collection.
Yahoo Japan auctions, eh? Hmm! Sounds most interesting! Perhaps I'll investigate that as well! There's still lots of Pink Lady stuff out there that I wanna get my greedy paws on!
Originally posted by flashjeff
Speaking of vinyl, thanks to eBay auctions, I have all but two of Pink Lady's albums and all 22 singles from their heyday (1976-1981) which I've since burned onto CD. I even have Mie and Kei's post PL solo singles to boot which I've also burned.

When I was in Japan in August to see Pink Lady in concert, one of my goals was to find PL memorabilia such as vinyl, cassettes, CD's or videos, and, much to my surprise, the pickings were practically non-existent. I found that to have been a surprise. Still, I had a damn good time over there!!!

Where did you shop? I always come back from Japan with 2 suitcases full of treasures. If in Tokyo you should check out... oops, almost gave out the secret places. I'll email you man.
Well, for music, I haunted Tower Records and HMV, and for books, I went to Jimbocho but couldn't find anything. Man, I was all over the place, Yokohama (where I saw PL at Kanagawa Kenmin Hall), Yokosuka, Shibuya, Shinjuku, Akihabara, Tokyo, Ginza, I did a lot of traveling! if you know of some spots, I'd be plenty interested!
All you vinyl fans, howdy!!

One of my hobbies is taking records and burning them onto CD's. All you need is a record player, a patch cord, a computer with a CD burner, and good sound editing software (to get out as many pops as you can).

Please help all of us to preserve the great songs of yesteryear by burning those LP's and 45's onto CD's.

30 years ago, they used to sell used LP's in the basement of the Sony building in Ginza. Do they still do that...?
Y'know, Buntaro, I meant to visit the Sony building while I was in Tokyo but forgot. URGH! And yeah, thanks to Toast, I have burned my Pink Lady LP's onto CD! It's lots of fun to do and I've gotten great results, especially with the live stuff!

When you get back to the Sony building, try the spaghetti restaurant on the sixth floor (if it is still there). Best (and most reasonable) spaghetti in Tokyo! The restaurant name was Al Dente.
Ahhh! Spaghetti! One of my weaknesses! Many thanks! I'll definitely remember that restaurant if I make it back to Tokyo!
Yeah, I've been there! I was actually shocked at the pasta there since it's been my experience that the Japanese just don't know how to prepare it. Ever had a slice of spagetti & corn pizza? I kid you not! It exists in Tokyo! Actual spagetti noodles and whole kernels of corn! They even have squid pizza - WITH SQUID INK!!! :mad:

Wow, this thread really went off on a tangent... ;)
I guess that because a majority of the folks on this board are in their late teens to early 20's, they probably have no concept of what we old folks are yakking about. Despite how popular the likes of Utada, Hamasaki and Morning Masume are today, they couldn't come close to the mania of 25 years ago when Pink Lady ruled the scene.

I was there and saw it all. I mean, you literally couldn't turn around without seeing Mie and Kei on TV, billboards, magazines, you name it. They filled arenas and baseball stadiums like The Rolling Stones (whom I've seen a time or two), the level of their popularity was unheard of. This might well be an exaggeration, but it was PL fandom was practically like Beatlemania! In fact, I've joked with a few penpals, saying that Mie and Kei were so popular back in the day, they could've run for political office in Japan----and won!!!

Ahh! Those were the days! But then, who's to say that 25 years from now, people might well consider Utada as being "old school"! HA!
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