The “longing for Akina’s return” that bubbles up after 31 years of watching “Bare Faces,” starring Akina Nakamori and Narumi Yasuda in W… | FRIDAY DIGITAL

The “longing for Akina’s return” that bubbles up after 31 years of watching “Bare Faces,” starring Akina Nakamori and Narumi Yasuda in W…

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Beyond That Incident

This is a series of articles that (after all this time) follows the last episode of so-called “trendy dramas” from the late Showa to early Heisei periods. This time, we will be looking at “Bare Faces,” which was aired 31 years ago on Fuji Television during the April 1992 season.

The casting of Akina Nakamori and Narumi Yasuda in the lead roles made this drama series, which aired on Mondays from 9:00 p.m., the so-called “Tsuki 9” series, very popular. The average rating was 26.4%, and the highest rating for the final episode was 31.9% (Video Research, Kanto region), so it was quite a success.

The story is about Kanna (Akina Nakamori), who is a yankee and has a rough upbringing, and Yumiko (Narumi Yasuda), who is elegant and neat, but they somehow hit it off and move in together and move on with their lives.

The fact that “that” Akina Nakamori appears in the film must have been a major reason for the huge buzz it generated. She won the Japan Record Award two years in a row for “Mi Amore” (1985) and “Desire” (1986). In addition, from “Southern Wind” (1984) to “Tattoo” (1988), she had 15 consecutive No. 1 singles on the Oricon Chart, and she became a “diva” who dominated the music scene in the 80s!

Akina Nakamori in 1998 (Jiji Press)

In addition, we must mention Akina Nakamori’s “suicide attempt” on July 11, 1989. We also have to mention the press conference between Masahiko Kondo and Akina Nakamori that hit right behind the NHK Kohaku Uta Gassen at 10 p.m. on New Year’s Eve that year.

The following is an excerpt from “Seiko Matsuda and Akina Nakamori [enlarged edition]: Revolution in the 1980’s” by Usuke Nakagawa (Asahi Bunko).

–The press conference was to show that Akina Nakamori’s wounds had healed and that she and Masahiko Kondo are still good friends. It was reported that Kondo’s side led the press conference. There were rumors that Akina Nakamori was tricked into coming to the press conference because she was going to announce her engagement. He and his office needed to get rid of the “bad guy who drove his girlfriend to attempt suicide” image that had been attached to Kondo.

The amazing thing about Akina Nakamori, however, is that even beyond these incidents, her musical activities did not stagnate. The following year, in 1990, she released “Mizu ni Sashita Hana,” a beautiful piece of glasswork that sold 380,000 copies and reached the Oricon No. 1 position.

<–Come on, I’ll take you back to when you were a little girl, and you can have the days when you were loved once again.

This lyric, which appears in the middle part of “Mizu ni Sashita Hana” (released in 1990), seems to express her girlfriend’s feeling at the time, that she wanted to go back to those days when she only thought about singing.

Feeling a strong sense of confidence.

Furthermore, in the following year, 1991, he released a hit song, “Futari Shizuka – From the Tengawa Legend Murder Case,” which sold 484,000 copies. Incidentally, the recording episode recorded by the song’s producer, Shinji Kawahara, in his book “George Martin ni naritakatta – Producer Shinji Kawahara, moho no shigoto no shigotoroku” (Shinko Music Entertainment, Inc.) is quite remarkable.

–When I asked Akina-san to sing the song in the studio, he said, “I’m going to sing it three different ways now, so please decide which way you like best.

In response, the lyricist Takashi Matsumoto, not to be outdone, said, “Everything you just sang is good, but I want you to sing one more take with a fantastic image of being in a cherry blossom snowstorm,” and Akina Nakamori left an even better take.

This episode shows the strong confidence she has as a singer.

But first of all, the theme song of this drama is KOME KOME CLUB’s “Kimi ga irudemo de ita” (Just because you are here). The song sold 2,895,000 copies (it also won the 1992 Japan Record Award in the pop/rock category).

The song was an extraordinarily big hit, surpassing the theme songs of CHAGE&ASKA’s “SAY YES” and Kazumasa Oda’s “Love Story Suddenly” (both from 1991), and the title backdrop of Akina Nakamori and Narumi Yasuda staring at the sea on the Izu Kyuko train is unforgettable.

So what happened to the final episode of “Bare Faces”? What kind of performance did Akina Nakamori give?

Unexpected relationship with Kenji Sawada

(Spoilers here and in the next paragraph.) Yumiko (Yasuda Narumi), who has become a writer of children’s stories, is pregnant. The father is Kazuya (Mikihisa Higashi), an ex-boyfriend of Kanna (Akina Nakamori), who is an aspiring musical actress (the complicated relationships in this area are like a trendy drama) and has come to the U.S. to study musicals. However, it is discovered that Yumiko has a heart condition. Because of the danger to the mother, Kanna demands that Yumiko have an abortion, but Yumiko gives birth. Nevertheless, her heart disease worsens and she dies.

Kanna later becomes a successful musical actress and takes the place of the mother of the daughter “Yuna” (Yuna = Yumiko + Kanna) left behind by Yumiko. In the last scene, Kanna reads a picture book drawn by Yumiko to Yuna on the beach. The title of the book is – “As Bare-Faced”.

Watching the last episode again, I am more impressed by Akina Nakamori dancing, screaming, and sobbing as she physically plays the yankee and garrulous Kanna than by the story.

According to Nobuhiko Nishizaki’s “Missing diva Akina Nakamori” (Bungei Shunju), Akina Nakamori’s management system was very unstable during this period, and she was on the edge of her seat when she recorded this drama. In the same book, Katsuhiko Tochinouchi, who worked with her as a staff member in the early 1990s, comments

–He says, “Akina did not come out of the dressing room at all, and her co-star, Narumi Yasuda, was also puzzled. When I rushed to the studio upon receiving the news, this time she hid herself in the bathroom and did not come out. When she finally came out, her eyes were bright red, she was vomiting repeatedly, and she was in a dizzy state.

While gazing at Akina Nakamori, who was on the edge of her seat, playing the role of Kanna, I was reminded of an old TV drama – TBS’s “Akina Nakamori: The Devil’s Advocate” (1975), starring Kenji Sawada as Kanna. It starred Kenji Sawada.

It was a drama starring a singer who had taken the music scene by storm. The singer played a rather sinister character (by the way, Kenji Sawada played a criminal in the 300 million yen case), and the similarities between the two dramas were that the singer gave a physical performance with a realistic intensity. Furthermore, Akina Nakamori in “Bare Faces” and Kenji Sawada in “The Devil’s Advocate” (at the time of the first broadcast) were both 26 years old!

To begin with, Akina Nakamori and Kenji Sawada have a shallow relationship. To begin with, Akina Nakamori and Kenji Sawada have a close relationship: Akina has listed Kenji Sawada as her “target singer,” the lyrics to her hit song “Shojo A” (1982) were originally intended for Kenji Sawada, she was the second guest on the TBS program “The Sawada Kenji Show” (1983), and they performed a comedy together, and so on. –And, above all, they have one thing in common: they are both solitary.

Above all, they share one thing in common: they are both “the vocalists” who are independent and unassuming, who are not afraid of being alone, which is extremely rare in the Japanese music scene.

The “longing for Akina Nakamori” theory has been boiling over. It shows no sign of abating. In contrast, Kenji Sawada is finally in good spirits. On June 25, his 75th birthday, he is scheduled to perform at the Saitama Super Arena.

The day of Akina Nakamori’s resurrection is eagerly awaited. I want her to sing “Mizu ni Sashita Hana (Flower in the Water)” one more time. I don’t need any more pretense. I want her to sing it with her heart and true colors, just like Kenji Sawada does now. Yes, with his real face.

  • Text by Susie Suzuki

    Music critic, born in Higashiosaka City, Osaka in 1966, currently appearing on bayfm's "9 no Oto Iki" Mondays. His books include "80's Ongaku Kaitai Shinsho" (80's Music Kaitai Shinsho) (Sairyusha), "Checkers' Music and Its Era" (Bookman-sha), "Intro's Law 80's" (Bungeishunju), "Southern All Stars 1978-1985" (Shincho Shinsho), and "Koisuru Radio" (Bookman-sha). He is a regular contributor to Toyo Keizai Online, Tokyo Sports, Weekly Baseball, and other publications. His new books include "EPIC Sony and the Era" (Shueisha Shinsho) and "Keisuke Kuwata Theory" (Shincho Shinsho).

  • Photo Jiji Press

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