Seiko Matsuda, Akina Nakamori, Kyoko Koizumi… Legends in abundance! The golden age of idols has arrived! | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Seiko Matsuda, Akina Nakamori, Kyoko Koizumi… Legends in abundance! The golden age of idols has arrived!

50 Years of Japanese Idols #2 - The Emperor, then Crown Prince, also attended the concert!

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The year ’80 that produced Seiko Matsuda…an epoch in idol history

April 1, 1980. One of the most important figures in the history of Japanese idols makes her debut.

Everyone probably thinks of Seiko Matsuda.

She debuted with “Barefoot Season,” a commercial song for Shiseido’s face cleansing foam “Ekubo.” Her second single, “Blue Coral Reef,” released in July, became a hit, reaching No. 2 on the Oricon chart and No. 1 on “The Best Ten” and catapulted her into the top idol category.

From their third single, “Kaze ha Autumn Color/Eighteen” to “Tabidachi wa Freesia” in 1988, 24 consecutive songs reached No. 1 on the Oricon Chart. Seiko’s early hairstyle, which combined curls with a layered cut, was called the “Seiko-chan cut” and became popular among young women. Despite the explosion of her popularity, her gestures and character, as well as the fact that she cried and called out ” Mommy~san~an” when she won first place on “Top Ten,” were sometimes ridiculed as “burikko,” and were used as material by female comedians and antagonized by the general female public.

The year 1980, which produced Seiko Matsuda, is an epoch in the history of idols.

Seiko Matsuda, starring in the TBS drama “Hajimete no amorous affair,” at a press conference on September 8, 1983 (PHOTO: Kyodo News).

Female idols who debuted in the same year included Naoko Kawai, who passed an audition as Hideki Saishiro’s younger sister and sang “Smile for Me” and “Kenka wo Keshitate”; Yoshie Kashiwabara (“Hello Goodbye”), who had hit songs “Hello Goodbye” and “Haru ni Nanashi” and attracted attention when the present Emperor of Japan was a fan and visited her concerts. Yoshie Kashiwabara (now Yoshie Kashiwabara Yoshie), who had hit songs with “Hello Goodbye” and “Haru no Nitai,” and Yoshimi Iwasaki, the younger sister of Hiromi Iwasaki, who later became known for her hit “Touch.

On the other hand, Toshihiko Tahara, Yoshio Nomura, and Masahiko Kondo, who belonged to Johnny’s (now SMILE-UP.) and played students in the TV drama “3 years B class Kinpachi sensei” (TBS), became known as the “Tanokin trio” and exploded in popularity. Tahara and Seiko were especially popular as members of the group “Sundaes,” which was formed during the NHK music program “Let’s Go Young,” and their joint commercial for Glico chocolate was also a hit. Junko Mihara (now Junko Mihara), who attracted attention for her role as a delinquent female student in “Kinpachi,” also made her debut in the same year with “Sexy Night.

The explosive popularity of Seiko and Tanokin, female and male idols at the same time, brought the idol world, which had been in the doldrums for some time, back to full momentum, and they were featured on popular singing programs such as “The Best Ten,” “Night Hit Studio,” “The Top Ten,” “Let’s Go Young,” and “Yan Yan Sing Studio. The golden age of idols was dawning, with singing and ranking programs featuring many popular idols such as “The Best Ten,” “Night Hit Studio,” “The Top Ten,” “Let’s Go Young,” and “Yang Yang Singing Studio.

Seiko Matsuda and Momoe Yamaguchi… their first and last performance together was

The year 1980 was also the year in which Momoe Yamaguchi, who had made her way through the ’70s, got married and retired. Momoe’s breakup concert was held in October 1980, when Seiko’s third single “Kaze wa Akihiro/Eighteen” was released in the afterglow of the hit “Blue Coral Reef. Pink Lady also announced their breakup in September of the same year (their breakup concert was held in March 1981), and the timing of the baton exchange between female idols representing the 70s and 80s, respectively, was like a strange coincidence, like fate. I can’t help but feel a sense of fate.

In September of the same year, Seiko ranked No. 1 in “The Best Ten” with “Blue Coral Reef,” and Momoe Yamaguchi ranked No. 10 in the same week, making this their first and last collaboration.

The following year, 1981, Ito Tsukasa made her debut with “Shoujo Ningyo (Girl Doll). She played the role of Toshihiko Tahara’s younger sister in the Tanokin trio’s variety show “Tanokin Zenryaku Throw! Iyo Matsumoto made her debut as Toshihiko Tahara’s younger sister in “Tanokin Zenryaku Tekketsu”, and made her debut as a singer with “Sentimental Journey” the same year.

Debut of “Hana no ’82 Group

Then came the year 1982. Like the Cambrian Explosion, which suddenly caused an explosive diversification of life on the earth, many popular idols appeared on the scene that rivaled or surpassed those of 1980, and later came to be known as the “Hana no ’82 group.

Akina Nakamori and Kyoko Koizumi were representative of this group. Other major female idols who debuted in 1982 included Hori Chiemi, Hayami Yu, Ishikawa Hidemi, Mita Hiroko, and among male idols, Shibukitai (Matsumoto Iyo, who debuted in October 1981, is also sometimes treated as a “1982 group”). ) In addition to these girls, most of the other female idols from this period had “Seiko chan cut” hairstyles at the time of their debut, which shows how influential the influence of Seiko Matsuda was.

Seiko had a “Seiko-chan cut” at the time of her debut, but in the following year, October ’83, she changed it to a short cut (October ’82) (PHOTO: Kyodo News).

Akina and Kyoko were both former members of the “Chusan Trio,” which led the female idol world in the 1970s, and the “Star Birth! which produced the “Chuzo Trio” that led the female idol world in the 1970s and Pink Lady. The following year, the program that had contributed so much to the history of Showa idols came to an end, as if it had fulfilled its role in the history of Showa idols.

The popularity of the group from 1980 showed no sign of waning even after the arrival of the group from 1982, and perhaps because of their strong light, the following debutantes from 1983, including Itumi Osawa, Maiko Ito (now Maiko Ito), Sayuri Iwai, Yasuko Kuwata, Akiko Matsumoto, and Yumi Morio, all gained a certain level of popularity, but they were not as popular as the group from 1983. Yumi Morio, and others all achieved a certain level of popularity, but as a result, they were regarded unfavorably as “poor performers.

It is interesting to note that in many cases, these popular idols did not become popular immediately after their debut. When we look at the debut songs of idols in 1980 and 1982, two of the most prolific years in idol history, we can see that they did not all suddenly break out with their debut songs.

  • Seiko Matsuda “Barefoot Season
  • Naoko Kawai’s “Little House in the Big Forest
  • Yoshie Kashiwabara “No.1
  • Junko Mihara “Sexy Night
  • Hori Chiemi “The Girl of the Sea Breeze
  • Hiroko Mita “The Virgin Who Came Running
  • Kyoko Koizumi “My 16th birthday
  • Hidemi Ishikawa “The Fairy Age
  • Yu Hayami “Hurry Up! First Love
  • Akina Nakamori “Slow Motion

Male idols, such as SMAP and Arashi from the former Johnny’s, also took a long time to make their breakthrough. It may be that taking time to gain popularity little by little is more likely to lead to greater and longer-lasting popularity than suddenly selling out after one’s debut.

Hiroko Yakushimaru, Tomoyo Harada, Noriko Watanabe… The “Three Kadokawa Girls

Another trend of popular female idols in the early 1980s was the world of Kadokawa movies.

The lineage began with Hiroko Yakushimaru, who made her debut as an actress in the film “Proof of the Wild” and then made her debut as a singer with the theme song of the same title for the film “Sailor Suit and Machine Gun,” followed by Tomoyo Harada and Noriko Watanabe, who went on to star in Kadokawa films and gain popularity, and the three were also known as the “Three Kadokawa Girls. The Kadokawa films, theme songs, and novels, which were developed as part of the media mix, were seen as an evolution of the film star development system that had once been the mainstay of entertainment.

As the ’80s approached the middle of the decade, the popularity of the ’80s and ’82 groups as idols had indeed passed its peak. In the world of male idols, the Checkers group appeared on the scene, and Koji Kikkawa also gained popularity as an idol.

Kyoko Koizumi, who debuted with a Seiko cut and whose debut song “My 16-Sai” and second song “Suteki na Lovely Boy” were both covers of idols from the 1970s, was forced to follow the conventional image of idols, but she abandoned the Seiko cut and focused on her individuality to become a star among the crowd. In “Nantetto Idol” released in 1985, Akimoto Yasushi’s “Nantetto Idol” was a meta-idealistic song that cut out the fictional idol itself. In 1985, the group released “What an Idol,” a meta-photograph by Yasushi Akimoto that depicted the idol as a fictional idol.

In 1985, Seiko Matsuda got married. The marriage of an idol of an idol who greatly led the early 80s. Unlike Momoe Yamaguchi, however, Seiko returned to work after the birth of her first daughter without losing her idol status, and even coined the term “mama-doll,” meaning “idol even if you are a mother,” and pioneered a new image of idols that continues to this day.

The transition to idols with artist-like qualities and Seiko’s marriage…… led to the birth of a group that would shake the Golden Age of Idols from its very foundations, which had begun to become chaotic.

  • Text by Satoru Ota

    Writer, editor, interviewer. Started writing when he was a student, and currently writes mainly entertainment articles and interviews for websites and magazines.

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