Seiko Miki/Yumi Arai — Machibuse (まちぶせ)

You might consider this a sequel to one of my very earliest entries in this blog. All the way back on January 31 of this year, I wrote about Hitomi Ishikawa’s(石川ひとみ) “Machibuse”(Ambush) and how it was one of the first aidoru tunes that I’d ever heard back in 1981. Only recently did I hear that there had been the very first version, some five years earlier.

Seiko Miki (三木聖子)was born in Kurume City, Fukuoka Prefecture in 1956 (ironically, it is also the birthplace of another more famous Seiko). Debuting in a TV drama in 1975 with former Tigers vocalist, Kenji Sawada(沢田研二), she would record and release “Machibuse” in June 1976 as her first single. Written and composed by Yumi Arai(荒井由実), and arranged by Masataka Matsutoya(松任谷正隆), Miki’s version has a bit of the Ronnie Spector feel to it. It would get as high as No. 47 on the Oricon charts. The song was also included as one of the tracks on Miki’s first and only original album, “Seiko”, released in December of that year. Less than 6 months later, she would leave show business.

Currently, Miki has a family and lives in Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture where she also runs her own shop called MuMu.

20 years after Miki’s recording of “Machibuse”, the songwriter herself decided to put her own spin on the song. In 1996, Yuming had long had the last name of Matsutoya but unearthed her maiden name of Arai one more time for this tune. Her approach was much more tongue-in-cheek, having the instrumental backup being all synthesized strings. In addition, in the music video, Matsutoya…sorry, I mean Arai…gussies herself up into a doll-like aidoru, complete with the weirdo body movements and finger gestures. She’d said that she would never write a song for an aidoru (although that is what she did for Seiko Matsuda in the form of “Akai Sweet Pea”, albeit under the pseudonym of Karuho Kureta); I guess the video summed up her feelings for the genre…whether they were affectionately satirical or not, I’ll leave it to you to decide. In fact, I’ll leave it up to you which one of the 3 versions you like. Unfortunately, the original music video has been taken down from YouTube, but I managed to find one of Yuming performing it at one of her glossy concerts.
Yuming’s version also one-upped Ishikawa’s 1981 “Machibuse” by peaking at No. 5 on Oricon, one rank higher than Ishikawa. It was included in her 28th album, “Cowgirl Dreamin” released in 1997.
courtesy of Paul Stuart Iddon
of Flickr

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