Dali — Moonlight Densetsu (ムーンライト伝説)/Chieko Baisho — Sayonara wa Dance no Ato ni (さよならはダンスの後に)

Well, first off, let me state that I am very well aware that “Sailor Moon”was originally marketed toward kindergarten and elementary school girls in Japan when TV Asahi broadcast its successful 5-year run in the 1990s. However, I think its popularity went way beyond its parameters and attracted not only the older girls but also anime-loving university dudes as well. I remember at one anime showing organized by my good friend 20 years ago at the University of Toronto; the main attraction wasn’t due to be shown for another half-hour but the lecture hall had already become a full house, so he decided to slide in an episode of “Sailor Moon”as a pre-feature treat. The entire first row promptly stood up and started singing the famous theme song by Dali. Massively freaked out a couple of my Japanese friends who had been here in Toronto as working-holiday visa students.

In the annals of anime, “Sailor Moon” was a fun show, and that friend and I (we still get together once every couple of weeks for lunch/anime/dinner) often touch upon the series nostalgically. But I always thought that the theme song was a notch above the usual happy-happy-joy-joy theme for a Japanese cartoon. It was something about the lusher arrangements with the tinge of a South American tango.

As I’ve been filling this blog for about half a year now, I’ve started to think of myself as a bit of an explorer for my motley cyber-museum of Japanese pop music. And “Moonlight Densetsu”(Moonlight Legend) has been one of the more interesting digs I’ve come across. Composed by Daria Kawashima(川嶋だりあ) (under the pseudonym of Tetsuya Osho) and written by Kanako Oda(小田佳奈子), it was sung by a four-person aidoru unit known as Dali. The unit broke up soon after the song’s release and two of the women continued on as the 1990s pop/rock duo Manish.

Although the link isn’t mentioned at all in the J-Wiki writeup on “Sailor Moon” or “Moonlight Densetsu”, there are a couple of lines in the English writeup that state that the song may have been inspired by this 1965 single by actress Chieko Baisho(倍賞千恵子). Baisho is famous for her role as the kind-hearted but ever-worrying sister of Tora-san, Sakura Suwa, in the long-running movie series “Otoko wa Tsurai yo”男はつらいよ). Since there was no mention of the connection on the Japanese side of things, I can’t really be sure if Daria Kawashima really did base “Moonlight Densetsu”on an old cha-cha kayo kyoku, but after listening to it a couple of times, I can say that there is a resemblance. You can judge for yourselves. The title is translated as “Let’s Save The Goodbyes For After The Dance”.

Then, my research got even more curiouser and curioser. Some months after the first release of “Moonlight Densetsu”, a duo known as Key Club West performed “Yume wa Majorica Senorita”(夢はマジョリカ・セニョリータ….My Dream is Majorica Senorita) which was basically the same song with different lyrics. The song was indeed by the same composer for “Moonlight Densetsu”but this time she went under her real name of Daria Kawashima. Key Club West consisted of Keiko Azuma(東恵子) and Miki Nakatani(中谷美紀). Nakatani is now well-regarded as a major TV and movie actress in Japan although she’s also had a solo singing career in the past.

All this information about a cute and catchy anime tune….Wow!

courtesy of gardengirlpa
from Flickr

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