「Featured Post」~Ichikawa♥Yui defines “J-Pop.” ^-^

Ichikawa♥Yui

Ichikawa Yui

In a musical era where AkiP has brought attention and overwhelming success back to purely~styled J~pop compositions and an approach as well as a product which resonates all that reflects upon Japan’s uniqueness…a purity which over the years has been blurred by outside influences of hip~hop…r&b…euro~pop..and Ameri~pop to name just a few~. Ichikawa Yui in hindsight may have been just a few years too early as she ventured from model/actress into music, too early for the old~school resurgence which is topping the Japanese music charts of today~ and in a lot of ways I think she’s been one of J~pop’s much more underappreciated artists of the millenium~.

Primarily known as an actress, Ichikawa Yui, formerly popular as a gravure idol did what many idol/actresses do…venture into the music arena. Her debut came back on November 12th, 2003 with the release of her debut single “Ame.” I easily would have probably passed up on this release had it not been for the Moritaka Chisato direct connection. Ichikawa’s debut single “Ame” was co-written by Moritakasan and remains as one of her best known single releases in her vast catalog and just the premise of hearing a popular idol give her rendition of such a beloved classic peaked my interest…puttting it mildly. ^-^ Ichikawa Yui would go on to release a total of four singles, a mini album, and a pv DVD collection from late 2003 to March of 2005 and I’ve been able to complete her discography with the one exception of her single “Ai wa katsu” which had temporarily gone out of print…strange it’s back and available now. One of the main attractions to collecting her singles are the inclusion of a few exclusive b-sides which didn’t appear on her album which was released in December of 2004.

Ichikawa Yui’s CD releases can be ordered here @ Cdjapan. (note: some editions are out of print)

Ichikawa Yui’s music video collection “I clips” is sadly also out of print but most likely may be found on auctions or the Amazon Japan marketplace.

Here to begin with is “Peace” until you reach her pvs♥ below….

~Ichikawa Yui “Peace☆” mp3~

…such a cute and catchy song deshou =).

Ichikawa Yui

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When I say “defines” J-Pop what I mean is that everything that ever attracted me to the genre to begin with is all right here in terms of song writing, production, and vocals. And while “Ame” was no doubt a nice effort what really reeled me in were the following releases and I think it would be best to begin with the pv for “Ai wa katsu.” My initial J-Pop loves included groups/artists in that early 90’s period such as CoCo and Ribbon and for anyone familar with either of these groups I think you’d agree that there was a extra effort put forth into the songwriting in particular…not to say that J-Pop today isn’t of a high quality but rather that there was just so much in the melodies, hooks, and instrumentation back then that really defined what I to this day consider to be “true” J-Pop. There is just a different and unique sound to it and I hope I’m describing this okay. 😛 The landscape today is filled with crossover genres such as J-R&B, J-Rock, J-Trance and J-Techno just to name a few but the music of Ichikawa Yui although released after the millenium is 100% rooted in the pure form of J-Pop. Japan’s version of the word “pop” personified by only Japan’s influences with nothing from the outside altering the style or sound. Pure. Songwriters and music in general always go through a metamorphosis in change as outer influences and changes in style also done through time itself almost inevitably connect other genres until the original influence or style is nearly unrecognizable. Change is healthy and creativeness expands through this but for tonight I’d like to focus on pure J-Pop…unaltered in its true state. This form which is all too scarce in today’s J-Pop landscape of releases makes for something rather remarkable as Ichikawa Yui’s entire catalog is “purely” rooted in J-Pop.

My Ichikawa Yui collection♥

Ichikawa Yui Ai wa katsu (lyrics)

Even after so many years of listening to Japanese music “Ai wa katsu” is simply one of the most adorable songs that I’ve ever heard.I can’t emphasize enough how much I ♥ these songs!!! They’re really some of the absolute best J-Pop songs that I’ve ever heard! I bet you’ll fall in love with “Ai no katsu” it’s just so cute! ^-^

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~Ichikawa Yui “Ai wa katsu” (pv)~

From its initial notes and melody this song is immediately catchy and add in a late choir of school children, one of the best choruses ever, very very cute vocals and a pv shot in nostalgic form and you have a song that is pure ♥! As I mentioned previously “Ai wa katsu” had gone out of print but happily this song is included on her mini 8 track album titled “i-pop mini.’ I can’t stress just how perfect Yuichan’s vocals are for this style of songwriting!! There’s a simple beauty to her vocals which breath innocence and the aura of adorableness. Oh and on a side note Yuichan’s little niece in the drama “Hotman” was a part of the childrens’ ensemble vocals heard later in the track. 🙂 Now how cute is that!

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LOL! that little girl has the Aiiiiiiiiiiinnnnnnn! thing going on! =D

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The next track I’d like to share is “Kira Kira” which was also released as a single.

Ichikawa Yui

~Ichikawa Yui “Kira Kira” (pv)~

Ichikawa Yui’s pvs are so much fun and “Kira Kira” is one her best! Yuichan’s got the itch for larger than life art and watch as the cuteness unfolds! ^-^ Chimes and bells were a big part of compostitions back then too and here “Kira Kira” uses it to perfection. You just simply can’t get any closer to true J-Pop than what this song entails. Oh and the song……kampeki! ♥

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And when it comes to the perfect hook, “Love Letter” has a wonderful touch midway through its pre-chorus…anyone knowing the classic J-Pop hook will hear it immediately. 🙂

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Ichikawa Yui

~Ichikawa Yui “Love Letter” (pv)~

Also released as a single “Love Letter” is a beautiful mid tempo J-Pop ballad. The melancoly piano notes laid over a emotionally charged melody create a touching ambience here and once again Yuichan’s vocals are so sweet here.

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Although “Orange” wasn’t released as a single it did receive well shot pv which is also included on Yuichan’s pv DVD collection.

~Ichikawa Yui “Orange” (pv)~

A slightly grainy film effect was used here giving the pv a “home video” look through parts of it. Simplisticly shot but effective, “Orange” may be one the albums more laid back tracks but still memorable in its own right. The emotions portrayed though the verses and chorus are bitter sweet and likewise the pv carries it well as do Yuichan’s vocals.

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And now “Ame”…

Ichikawa Yui Ame LE cover scan

Several of Yuichan’s singles were released as both LE and RE singles with the LE versions including the title track’s pv and here I was able to get the LE version for her single “Ame.” Luckily though all pvs were included on her pv DVD collection making these LE’s possibly not essential although I’d still like to acquire them one day. 🙂 For comparison sake I’ve included both the original Moritaka Chisato version along with Yuichan’s cover version.

Ichikawa Yui Ame

Boy it’s really raining in this pv!!! Whether it be fake rain or real Yuichan is beyond drenched here!!! I hope it wasn’t cold out the day of shooting! Such an amazing J-Pop classic, “Ame” I think would definitely be included in the top 50 most important J-Pop songs of all time. Moritakasan always performs it live on the piano…always mesmerizing to watch!

~Ichikawa Yui “Ame” (pv)~

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And here for comparison is the original Moritaka Chisato live on keyboards….!!

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~Moritaka Chisato “Ame” (live from “Lucky 7 Live Tour)~

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The breakdown of songs found on her singles and album are just below but first on a final note, these songs are just so amazing for me! I’m really taken back to the earlier days of J-Pop with each track here and beyond as her entire catalog really resonates the genre so well I think. I’ve long thought that careers in J-Pop had become too altered to embrace the truest of forms but Yuichan’s is a celebration in reminiscence with the new milleniums’ touch to go along with it. Her stay in the music business was far too brief though but with the return of Akiyama Nana too who knows…maybe we haven’t heard the last of Yuichan in the pop world. 🙂 A few years have passed though so a return doesn’t seem likely but one can always hope! Yuichan’s career is so much associated with acting and modeling that this J-Pop venture seems so overshadowed and hidden in a sense but I hope with this post a few more fandoms will grow to love and become endeared to her music for it’s really something special and far too rare in today’s ever evolving music scene. So much of J-music has become “Americanized”, “Europeanized” (is that a word or did I just make that up? 😛 ) etc…so it’s just refreshing to hear and see the original artform brought to light a most well written and well produced way. Please leave any thoughts. ^-^

It just can’t be helped but Ichikawa Yui’s entire catalog receives the Maochan “seal of approval” for song greatness….

~Inoue♥Mao music seal of approval~

….unprecedented but unavoidable! ^o^

~The singles~

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~Ichikawa Yui “Ame” mp3~

~Ichikawa Yui “Shiny Day” mp3~

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~Ichikawa Yui “Love Letter” mp3~

~Ichikawa Yui “Soba ni ite kureta” mp3~

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~Ichikawa Yui “Kira Kira” mp3~

~Ichikawa Yui “Fu fu fuBoyfriend” mp3~

~Album release~*~

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~Ichikawa Yui “ Kira Kira” mp3~

~Ichikawa Yui “Peace☆” mp3~

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~Ichikawa Yui “Pure” mp3~

~Ichikawa Yui “Ame” mp3~

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~Ichikawa Yui “Fu Fu FuBoyfriend” mp3~

~Ichikawa Yui “Orange” mp3~

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~Ichikawa Yui “Love Letter” mp3~

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~Ichikawa Yui “Ai wa katsu” mp3~

Ichikawa Yui

Ichikawa Yui

Originally posted on October 16th, 2008 (note: post updated with additional text and media.)

About MorningBerryz

Lover and free spirit who's interests in Japanese culture and the like are insatiable. I am of pure Japanese/Okinawan descent, love my cats, sleep and am a bit naughty at times :).
This entry was posted in Featured, J~Pop and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

27 Responses to 「Featured Post」~Ichikawa♥Yui defines “J-Pop.” ^-^

  1. An absolutely fantastic post, MB. Love it! I remember seeing Yui for the first time in Ju-on and liking her ever since. BTW: I’m just wondering, have you been receiving any of my emails? I need to discuss some things with you which I hope you maybe able to help me with. You can contact me through my email address which you may still have, or alternatively you can reach me through my blog http://www.diversejapan.wordpress.com. Thanks!

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    • Oh the horror movie!!..that was creepy! Happy you like Yui~chan too =)…I think she’s much more known for her acting in the past but I absolutely adore her music releases maybe even more. Her version was the first time I heard “Ai wa katsu” so that’ll always stick with me~♥. Oh no I haven’t….I think the last e~mail I got from you was a few months ago shortly after you visited the maid cafe event~♥. I hope everything’s well with you and I’d be happy to help in any way that I can =).

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  2. Oh dear! Sounds like my emails aren’t getting through 😦 I have so much to tell you since that last email you did get regarding maid cafes, J-Pop interviews etc. I’ll update you tomorrow – just off to bed now, feeling a little tired 🙂 BTW: Sorry to ask again, but did you get the discs I sent you?

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    • Oh no I didn’t =(…and I’ve had some issues with mail not being delivered properly here. Oh wait it wasn’t mailed directly here so I’m not sure what happened to them =(. I’m wondering if your messages went into the e~mail spam folder??? I’ve found some messages that I’ve wanted in there before but not recently so I’m not sure.

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  3. Hi MB,
    Yes, Yui is very cute with those dimbles, and her music is great too – definitely one of my personal favourite J-Idols.

    We here in London will be having our fourth Maid Cafe event taking place in London in a couple of weeks – they’ve proven to be very popular with all kinds of people, men, women and children. We’ve also got an AKB48 dance tribute act called LND48 who perform at many anime cons. there’s about six members at the moment and counting. One of the members is a friend of mine and she will be accompanying me tomorrow to a special screening of Karate Girl starring Rina Takeda and we hope to get an interview with her – I’ll let you know how it goes. Also a couple of months ago, singer/songwriter and J-MELO presenter, May J, hosted the second J-MELO Fan Meeting in London and I was fortunate enough to interview her http://diversejapan.wordpress.com/2011/04/27/interview-may-j-singersongwriter-and-j-melo-presenter/#more-306

    So there’s lots going on at the moment, especially with charity events for the Japan earthquake and tsunami victims. BTW: I hope none of your family and friends were affected by that awful incident.

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    • So lucky~* and there must be a wonderful turnout there =)!! I’m just guessing that a maid cafe and even a permanent one here would attract a lot of attention just with Japan ties being so close to us….maybe one day we’ll get one too. I hope the movie was fun =). So much of AKB’s dance choreography would be so challenging to learn and sounds really fun to have a group like that so dedicated to have present at so many events. There are lots and lots of anime/manga conventions worldwide I’m noticing more and more and with music playing such a vital role in their adaptations it’s wonderful too to see so many diverse groups making their debut and mark globally just as anime/manga are loved. You’re so lucky to have the opportunities to interview so many popular artists!!!!

      Thank you~♥. It’s so devastating what’s happening in Japan and we have local features covering their ongoing road to recovery weekly here in broadcasts….it makes you cry every time =(. Happily no one in my family was affected as all of our family that I know have moved from Japan.

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  4. OK, MB, I have a request:
    Recently I have started a blog called Diverse Japan which features interviews, articles, reviews,recipes etc. I am currently hand-picking people to contribute and was wondering if you would like to come on board as our main J-Pop reviewer. I love your writing style and passion for J-Pop culture, and so it would be a great honour for me if you decide to join us. For now, the music reviews would have to come from your own personal collection – I know it’s an excellent one! Each review should be around 500-800 words, but this is just a guide, and there are no deadlines as such. I know you will be a valuable member if you decide to join us. If you prefer to discuss this with me by email please use diversejapan@yahoo.com
    http://www.diversejapan.wordpress.com will be in no way in competition with your excellent blog, in fact the idea is to draw more traffic to us both. What do you think?

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    • Ehhh? I’m such an amateur at writing :P!!! I’m also the champion of typos xD!!….not sure you’d want such writing at your site as it’s most well presented. I just like to have fun with having a blog….plus there’s my odd sense of humor to go with it o(*´∀`)o。

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  5. I can understand your concerns, MB, but believe me, I wouldn’t ask you if I didn’t think you’d be a valuable contributor. Typo’s can be fixed! I appreciate that it might be too much to run your own blog and supply reviews for mine at the same time. But there really isn’t any deadline as such – no pressure. And of course, you are right, it has to be fun for you! Why don’t you try it as a one-off, and see what you think after that – your choice of album, of course 🙂
    Moving on to other things: I met and interviewed action star Rina Takeda yesterday in London. She come for a special screening of Karate Girl. She was very sweet and charming – quite adorable. Her karate demonstration were amazing! She flies back to Japan today (Tuesday, 10 May). The interview will appear on the blog shortly. Are you still using the gmail address as before? Doesn’t seem as though you recieved my last few emails. Anyway, if you are I’ll send you some photos – I hope you receive them this time.
    Glad to hear all your family and friends are safe after that terrible disaster in Japan. It was such a shock – unbelievable!

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    • Please let me think about it for a little bit as I’m thinking I’ll need to make a conscious effort to write a little differently as I try to mostly just have fun with things here and not be too serious at times =). Honestly I don’t think I’ve been a very good writer here or elsewhere but I did write a short story back in my school days which actually was chosen and published in our school newspaper lol but that was a looooooong time ago :P!!

      I was watching the trailer just now and was thinking she looked so familiar but at first i couldn’t place her xD!!…and then it came to me…she was the star in “High Kick Girl” and a friend was trying to get me to watch one day just for how realistically violent it was :O!!!!……they had a lot of repetitive slow~mo going on in the film and I don’t know how they could have filmed many of those fight scenes without anyone getting injured…just looked so real! =O Oh you’re so lucky to have met her!!! She must be amazing doing karate in person and to have a demonstration must’ve been just wow~!!!! Mmm…I don’t know why I haven’t received them?? If I create a folder in my e~mail maybe they’ll appear there I wonder like a filter? Maybe they went mistakenly into my spam filter =(……I’m going to check there just to be safe. Thank you~♥!

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  6. Yes, the fight sequences in Rina’s films are very full-on. I find her to be nothing like the characters she plays, she’s rather sweet and smiles alot. I sent you the photos of Rina at the film festival in London a few days ago, did you receive them? I’ve written a review of the film here http://diversejapan.wordpress.com/2011/05/15/film-review-kg-karate-girl-starring-rina-takeda/#more-511 and my interview with her will hopefully be posted by the weekend. Going back to our discussion of contributing: I really want it to be fun for you; I know only too wellwhat a chore it can be if your heart is not in it. A school newspaper? I knew you had talent and know the blog will benefit from your input – no matter how small.

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    • A~h I so love that!!….it’s so endearing to actually meet an actress aside of her characterization on screen and she is so cute~♥!,….there’s just no way she’d not be absolutely sweet ne~ =). No I haven’t received any e~mail….?? I hope someone~=(..isn’t playing with my phone again (> <);!! I'm so going to watch this film!!!!….and thank you so much for all of your insight!!! Again so lucky~* you met her in person! Please give me some time to think ^ ^.

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  7. I can see why Japanese idols are so appealing – they’re so endearing! Strange about the emails – I’ve sent the photos again using another email address. If you don’t get these then I don’t really know what to suggest – it would be a shame if you can’t receive any of my photos! Problems with people playing with your phone? Is that affecting your email? I’m sure you will enjoy Karate Girl, it’s just a taste of what’s to come from her in the near future. Yes, please take some time, I don’t wish to pressure you – I want the experience to be fun for you! 🙂

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    • I have to apologize so much!!!! I’ve been watching my niece this week and she likes to wreak havoc upon my phone at times =(!!….she’s been deleting some of my messages directly out of my inbox because I think it’s only stored as a separate local file on phones? Anyway someone was in a lot of trouble this morning =/. I’m so sorry to ask but could you please send your e~mail to me again? I feel really bad…I’m really sorry =(. I’ll be checking for “Karate Girl” to be released on DVD….wait or is it already….(goes to check…). And just today a friend suggested I should or rather his exact words were something along the lines of…..’you haven’t watched IP MAN before????????????!!!!!!!!!!! :O’….and I was like what’s an ‘IMP MAN?’ and then the teasing began (;゜□゜)!!I’ve just never heard of such a movie or person before…..I’ve promised to watch over the weekend so I’m thinking it’s going to be awesome??…you know just by everyone’s reactions. I’m so curious now!

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  8. Yip Man is legendary for his association with Bruce Lee – don’t worry, I’ve not actually seen the film yet myself! Which Karate Girl version are you going for, double disc set perhaps? , I’ve re-sent you the images of Rina Takeda, did you get them? I’ve now posted her interview on my blog Diverse Japan:

    http://diversejapan.wordpress.com/2011/05/20/exclusive-interview-rina-takeda-actress-idol-and-karate-girl/#more-622

    Also, this tribute to High Kick Girl is pretty cool, if you haven’t seen it already.

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    • Is it Yip or Ip?…I’m sadly confused :P!! U~n I got your e~mail…thank you~♥!!! Those are amazing photos and I really loved reading both your review and interview especially~*! One most interesting detail I’m wanting to share here and I hope it’s okay to link too? If not let me know and I’ll take it down right away =).

      I’d want all of the extra content so it’s a two disc edition for sure for me!!

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      • Yes it can be confusing, his name can be spelled either way – Yip or Ip. Most Bruce Lee books spell it Yip, but the film has chosen to spell it Ip.

        That’s really kind of you, MB, to mention the interview here – wasn’t expecting that! Thank you!

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        • =)! I was so worried about including your photo with Takeda~san here….I hope it’s okay but if it’s not I’ll remove it right away ^ ^. You’re so lucky to have met her and to have the opportunity to speak with her one~on~one just soooo amazing!!! She’s so cute!! I love tiny!! Tiny rules!! ~♥~

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          • I’m happy for you to use any of my photos – it’s only those sent to me with copyright, such as publicity shots, which I have to be careful about others using. But my own photos you can use anytime. It’s nice to share them with someone who appreciates her cuteness 🙂 I’ll send you another actually – it’s not a good photo of me but very sweet how she put up both fists as I bent down a little 🙂 Yes tiny rules!!!

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    • A~h forgot to say that “IP MAN” was soooooooooooooooo awesome!!!!!!!!!!

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  9. Martha says:

    FJDSAIOFMDSKALFNSDIOAFNDSKLFHSDL OHMYGAAAAAAAAAAAD!

    I REMEMBER READING THIS POST WHEN IT WAS ORIGINALLY POSTED!

    I loved everything about Ichikawa Yui, wrote about this entry on my desk calendar and then I never really looked into her music any further…but I still saw her name on my desk calendar (the same one is still there, how sad is that?) It’s funny that I find the exact same blog entry again. But I’m glad I did. ^–^

    This is why I love you and your blog. You introduce (and reintroduce) me to things that I love.

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    • Thank you~♥ so much!!…i really adore her songs and they’re so much like what AkiP is doing for AKB48 like they’re so much like classic J~pop in their melodies and lyrics. So much Japanese pop today has taken to the likings of American and European music but it’s still the wonderful sound of Japan’s own breed of pop which i love the most. I’m happy you like her music too..she’s also a pretty accomplished actress although i’ve only seen her in a few shows. Thank you again…you make me smile so much ^ ^。

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  10. Pingback: ~Fukakyon♥, Weekly Playboy Covergirl! | モーニングBerryz48…the morning after….. "Always wear protection before reading…(^q^)."

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