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Idol Retrospective: Moritaka Chisato – Kono Machi Live November 9, 2010

Posted by Nights4Saturn in Idol Retrospective, Jpop.
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19 comments

Tonight I’m going to talk about something a little bit different than normal. Instead of discussing the latest Hello! Project release/scandal/picspam, or even AKB48, I’m going to talk about something that happened nearly twenty years ago.

That’s right twenty years ago.

Cruising around Youtube a while back I happened to stumble across a couple of vintage idol performances, one of which I want to share with you guys tonight: Moritaka Chisato’s live performance of “Kono Machi.”

You guys might find that name a bit familiar as she was the one to originally write and sing “Watarasebashi” back in 1993, which is now more often associated with Matsuura Aya and Goto Maki who each released covers much more recently.

Now, I admittedly don’t know exactly when this performance was filmed. The song “Kono Machi” was released on Moritaka’s fifth album Kokon Tozai on 10-17-1990, almost exactly twenty years before this post. Using highly advanced Guesstimation™ techniques I would say this performance probably occurred sometime between 1990 and 1993 (Major hints come from this performance that supposedly occurred in 1993, showing her in significantly shorter hair). UPDATE: Thanks to bode1967, we now know that this performance took place during the “KOKON TOZAI ONI-GA DERUKA JA-GA DERUKA” Tour. This means that this performance took place sometime between December 15,1990 and March 4,1991.

Without further ado, I present to you Moritaka Chisato – “Kono Machi”

I honestly find this performance to be really fascinating. On one hand, you can see how much idols have changed since the late 1980’s/early 1990’s and frankly how similar they are as well.

The first thing that stands out to me is her costume. There’s no doubt that it was inspired by “magical girl” sailor uniforms, and it personally gives me a very Sailor Mars-esque vibe (I think this is primarily from her similar hairstyle and the predominant red tones). There is one part of this costume though, that I don’t believe I’ve ever seen worn by a modern idol: sheer nylons. It’s odd, but I really can’t remember any costume from the more recent live performances I’ve seen where the girls wear nylons. It’s possible that there have been a few, but they certainly aren’t commonplace.

Another neat thing you can see is that she is accompanied by a live band. This too is a bit of a rarity for modern idols. Matsuura Aya has performed with a live band on multiple occasions, such as her Aya The Witch Tour, but she only started doing this quite recently, arguably after she stopped trying to be an idol.

Another aspect of this performance that one can still see in modern idols is her para para dance style. Para para dancing is characterized primarily by the usage of arm movements with basic to no lower body involvement. For a solo idol this style is obviously beneficial in that it induces significantly less physical strain compared to traditional dancing that one would see in more Western music. For a modern equivalent one need look no farther than Morning Musume’s “SEXY BOY ~Soyokaze ni Yorisotte~,” which while significantly more intricate a dance than what Moritaka performs, is still obviously an example of para para.

The greatest difference that I can tell between this nearly twenty year old performance and a more modern one has nothing to do with the idols on stage but with the crowd. The odd thing to me, is that Moritaka’s crowd is absolutely quiet. Now, we know it’s not due to them being edited out in post production, as you can here them roar slightly when she engages them at the 3:09 mark. As a H!P fan I’m thoroughly used to hearing loud, raging crowds screaming out their wotegei calls. For an example, take a look at Morning Musume’s performance of “Mikan” from Summer of 2008 Wonderful Hearts tour. Certainly a huge difference. This raises an interesting question though, when did wotegei start exactly? It’s certainly possible that other fans of other idols at the time practiced wotegei, but hers did not, but I would find this a little hard to fathom. Certainly something to look into. 😀

And what about the song itself? I think it’s rather enjoyable and quite cute. I really like the synth percussion beat they sprinkle here and there in the song, which is undoubtedly characteristic of it’s era and adds a bit to its overall charm. Another interesting fact was that this song, and the vast majority of her other songs as well, were all written by Moritaka herself. Now, I obviously cannot vouch for how insightful her lyrics are, but this is still quite the accomplishment, and something I would certainly like to see return again for many of today’s modern idols, even if just for a special fan club event or what have you.

As a final note, if you look closely at the 3:50 mark you can see her open her eyes very, very wide (I honestly tried to cap this, but I don’t think it can be done in an even remotely flattering way). This may seem like a really silly thing to point out, but I noticed that she displayed this very same quirk in several of her other performances and PV’s as well. Something neat to keep an eye out for if you plan to look into her other material at all.

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I hope you guys enjoyed this post, I certainly had fun writing it. I wouldn’t mind sprinkling a few more of these looks at past idols in between my future updates, so if that sounds like something you guys would like to see again let me know in the comments section!

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