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Archive for the ‘Onyanko Club’ Category

Christmas Eve: Koi suru fortune cookie – AKB48

Christmas Day: Merry X’mas for you – Onyanko Club

Finally, an actual Christmas song falls on Christmas Day. It’s probably not that worth celebrating. We listened to it while opening presents because i’m a huge bully and it’s the only Christmas record i own apart from the Phil Spector one. Credibility lies with that over this, but i’m too far below credibility to be any other way.

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Tuesday, October 15th:Hishou no mori no tenshitachi – Onyanko Club

Wednesday, October 16th: Mass hypnosis – Sepultura

Thursday, October 17th: Understand – Youth of Today

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Jaa Ne

Jaa ne – Onyanko Club

The ultimate flying in the face of sadness song. Or better perhaps flying directly into the face of sadness. They’re really dragged through this, every time, every graduation. Japanese words i have learned from their pop music: Kanashimi. This was the first Onyanko Club song (as a group) to reach number one. Nakajima Miharu on main vocals.

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Koi wa kuesu-chan – Onyanko Club

Koo-koo-koo-koo-koo-estion. Question.

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Selafuku o nugasanaide – Onyanko Club

Hmmm… There are a million things i could say about this song: defense, implication, the critical ground it opens up, cold facts, ardour, etc. But i’d just like to focus on what it meant for everyone in this moment below. The first and last song they ever sang.

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Katatsumuri samba – Onyanko Club

Their ninth single, and while it still made number one, it was their at that time lowest selling record; and again at that time, the lowest selling single to ever debut at number one. They would only release one more and then fold. I’ve never been sure why it ended. I’m sure there is a reason, and not one giving in to the pressures of money making and staying on top. I like to think of it happening akin to Sarah Records’ folding. Something really idealist and admirable, done entirely for the music and their belief and life stake in it. 100 7″ records and that’s enough. 10 Onyanko singles and that’s enough.

And it’s their first single to break from the pop rock formula. Samba. I don’t know if it’s real Samba. My beginner level drum lessons and life lived very conservatively musically (i.e. not the music you can dance to) haven’t really left me much of an idea of what Samba is. Maybe that ignorance followed with the song writers. Whistle, agogo, cowbell – those are the hallmarks, therefore this is Samba, right? I wonder how much the music choice was informed by and a reach to the Japanese diaspora in Brazil. I’m guessing none at all. The b-side of this single is the better song.

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Hishou no mori no tenshitachi – Onyanko Club

The Onyanko sub group that never was. Tomikawa Harumi, Watanabe Minayo and Watanabe Marina, while performing under the Onyanko banner, are the only club members who sing on this song. And it was performed live just like that: the three of them alone, with choreography and all, and no Onyanko chorus behind them. Yet the three of them were never named under a subgroup nor ever performed together again. I think the rising popularity of the Watanabes may have had something to do with it, as very soon after this song they would debut as solists, one after the other. That leaves Harumi out and i kind of feel bad for her. She was one of the members i’ve thought should have had a higher profile than she did. The perils of being in the biggest girl group in the world.

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Otto Chikan!

Otto chikan! – Onyanko Club

I figured out what song the intro to this is a reference to. It is the Peanuts’ Koi no Fuga! I should have been looking at Japan’s pop history, not their film history. It was perhaps to much of a wish for a perfect world that the Onyanko Club was in some small way a continuation of the Art Theatre Guild. Here is that Peanuts song:

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Otto Chikan!

Otto chikan! – Onyanko Club

As maybe one of the leading authorities on this song in the English speaking world (i.e. on the first page of google search results), it pleases me greatly that i can bring something new to the breadth of knowledge out there on it. That is: The beginning of this song – the one then two note “hora! hora hora!” part with the timpani – is actually a direct lift/interpolation of a song i don’t know the name of by an artist i’ve an equally less idea who that appears in the incredible Nanami, The Inferno of First Love.

A pop song from 1986 references an art film from 1968. Or at least a song from it. The world is a wonderful place. My seemingly disparate interests coming together. I downloaded what i’m told is the soundtrack for Nanami to find out exactly who it is by and what it is called, but this song is not among any of the untagged, mostly dialogue tracks collected. That’s a pity. I would have liked to have shown you and brought the full story, but again i have a lot to learn. Someone uploaded the film clandestinely to youtube, so i can at least show you where it appears. Here. (A work-safe warning: there is nudity.) If anyone can identify this song please let me know. In the meantime, watch it all:

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Osaki ni shitsurei – Onyanko Club

Another movie song. Yes, the Onyanko Club had their own movie. As if they wouldn’t. You have the music, you have the TV show, you have the clothing line, the photobooks, the every piece of merchandise that anyone has ever found a way to print on – of course there’s going to be a movie. This song was written for and released with it.

But it is an odd thing. A key, assumed ingredient to it, one would think, would be for the members of the Onyanko Club to have starring roles. They are in it, but none of them have speaking parts and their inclusion is near entirely made up of documentary footage of rehearsals, radio and TV interviews, seaside frolicking and the second graduation concert at Yokohama Stadium. Instead, we get for a plot a marathon runner, a bootlegging ring, an assassination attempt, all bunch of nonsense that exists completely discrete to the girls.

It doesn’t make sense. Instead of their A Hard Day’s Night we were given a Can’t Buy Me Love, except one made not with nostalgia but contemporaneously and with complete input from Onyanko Corp. Were people happy with that? I wasn’t. It’s not like they couldn’t act or didn’t harbour desires to act. They were in all manner of dramas and commercials and always did fine jobs. Maybe it was an image thing – that they here would be playing themselves and not characters, and that had to be controlled. But they were nothing but their goofy selves every week on Yuyake Nyan Nyan! I don’t know. Most likely another, completely unrelated project had the Onyanko brand tacked on to it so it would sell. You can probably go on living very happily with yourself never making the effort to see it.

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