~ 「TGIF!」 Idol♡s unzipped on way back Fridays Presents Ichikawa Yui… The J-Pop Years「encore」~ (volume 118)

Idols unzipped...

Happy Aloha~♥ Friday!~! ヾ(^∇^)!!!And I have a most special~* Idols Unzipped for you tonight as some of my most beloved songs are just a few mouse scrolls from here!

On the heels of me finally getting around to scanning Ichikawa Yui’s shashinshuu “Yui” just yesterday, that coupled with her previous shashinshuu posting of “Origine” being the most viewed post here all-time @ 50,431 views (and did you know that if you visit your site stats page and click on posts you can select and see your all-time most viewed posts in order from top to bottom?) ….I thought why not revisit Ichikawa Yui’s J=pop career as it’s one of those “hidden” gems in music I believe with some of the very best of song writing to boot plus Yui~chan’s voice is so so idol~adorable!

~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 the likes of hip~hop, r&b, euro~pop and Ameri~pop =P 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. And it’s time to remedy just that!

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, Moritaka being an all-time favorite artist of mine! Ichikawa’s debut single “Ame” was co-written by Moritaka-san 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… Umm puttting it mildly that is. ^-^ 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, hmm 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, always a rewarding aspect of going after singles and therefore not just for the cover artwork =).

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

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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, definitely worth a look!

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..Ichikawa Yui....Ichikawa Yui......

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 familiar 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.

Ichikawa Yui........

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 and in its true state. This form which is all too scarce in today’s J-Pop landscape of releases aside from Family48, makes for something rather remarkable as Ichikawa Yui’s entire catalog is “purely” rooted in J-Pop.

My Ichikawa Yui music collection

~my Ichikawa Yui music 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 ♥ all of these songs you’ll be listening to tonght!!! 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 irresistibly cute! ^-^

Ichikawa Yui♥..

~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!

Ai wa katsuAi wa katsu2Ai wa katsu3Ai wa katsu4Ai wa katsu5Ai wa katsu6Ai wa katsu7Ai wa katsu8Ai wa katsu9Ai wa katsu10Ai wa katsu11Ai wa katsu12Ai wa katsu13Ai wa katsu14

Ai wa katsu15

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

Ichikawa Yui~♥

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

Ichikawa Yui in Kira Kira...

~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 the J-pop culture 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 in every way. Oh and the song itself, kampeki! ♥

Ichikawa Yui in Kira Kira.....

Kira KiraKira Kira2Kira Kira3Kira Kira4Kira Kira5Kira Kira6Kira Kira7Kira Kira8Kira Kira9Kira Kira10Kira Kira11Kira Kira12Kira Kira13

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.

Ichikawa Yui Love letter single jacket scan

Love Letter

~Ichikawa Yui “Love Letter” (pv)~

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

Love Letter2Love Letter3Love Letter4Love Letter5

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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. Simplistically 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.

Orange3Orange2Orange4Orange5

And now the aforementioned “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 all one day. For comparison sake, I’ve included both the original Moritaka Chisato version along with Yuichan’s cover version just below.

Ichikawa Yui in 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)~

Ichikawa Yui in Ame.....

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

Moritaka Chisato performs Ame live....

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

Tour)~

Moritaka Chisato performs Ame..Moritaka Chisato performs Ame.....

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 since though, so a return doesn’t seem likely but one can always hope right! 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 (aside from Family48 of course!!). 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 art-form 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 Mao♥chan “music seal of approval” for song greatness….

Maochan's Music Seal of Approval

….unprecedented for an entire catalog to receive it, however unavoidable! ^o^

~The singles~

~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~

~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 :).
Gallery | This entry was posted in Idols♥ unzipped, Japanese idols, J~Pop and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to ~ 「TGIF!」 Idol♡s unzipped on way back Fridays Presents Ichikawa Yui… The J-Pop Years「encore」~ (volume 118)

  1. Matthew says:

    Happy Aloha Friday!!!
    The pictures with the children are adorable. Ichikawa Yui’s song “Orange” is a very soothing song. For a moment, it almost reminded me “Yume Sekai” from Sword Art Online.

    Liked by 2 people

    • So happy you checked out Yui-chan’s singing Matthew! (hugs…) ! And to have a reminiscent moment~* of another beloved song is wonderful compliment ^^. I just love her voice, so adorable and yet most capable. The music video with the children “Ai wa katsu” is an often covered “cover” song in Japan, it’s worth a listen I promise!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Denny Sinnoh says:

    RE: “a purity which over the years has been blurred by outside influences the likes of hip~hop, r&b, euro~pop and Ameri~pop”

    Glad you said that.

    It is one of the hardest things for me to explain to friends. What is it that I am hearing in the structure Jpop, even though I do not understand the language. Akimoto songs, a lot of Anime themes and those older Jpop groups like Ribbon do have a special sound.

    It is NOT just American rock sung in Japanese. … I can’t explain … the vocal inflection … something something … well crafted pop structure … something something … nostalgic something something …sixties traditions … something something …

    I’m not good at expressing the reasons why. Maybe YOU will have to write that article for the “New Yorker”…

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are quite the articulate writer and thinker Denny! We could co-write that meaning of true J-pop article together =). Love that you totally get it!! The uniqueness of golden age J-pop, true J-pop happily has found a new awesome and powerful voice in AkiP! God bless~* him for that!~!

      Still so overjoyed that you ordered Ribbon’s all singles album CD after listening to Ribbon’s Idols♡ Unzipped post from a couple of weeks ago!! You make writing posts about timeless J-pop/ great music, a time well spent joy \(^o^)/! Denny thank you for that, I mean whenever someone reads and listens to a post and them goes out and pursues getting an artist’s or groups’ music it’s extra special~*. Much love and aloha♡ Denny ^^.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Oh forgot to mention xD, ex-Ribbon’s Nagasaku Hiromi had a bit of a solo career back then too. I did a post covering her solo works here just in case you’re interested and first you can watch this really fun and dare I say educational travel program where Hiromi~chan travels to Morocco. Really great fun and she’s so engaged and cute in it plus you get to see her personality outside of Ribbon which is a joy in itself, completely subtitled in English too. Hiromi~chan’s complete solo discography is there, her three singles and two albums, every song in mp3s so you can listen to your heart’s content~♡.

      https://morningberryz48.wordpress.com/2013/08/23/%e3%80%8ctgif%e3%80%8didols-unzipped-on-way-back-fridays-presents-encounters-nagasaku-hiromi-in-morocco-volume-59/

      Like

  3. djv124 says:

    What I listened to from this post definitely is pretty awesome, but honestly, AME is above everything else. Seriously, it’s unbelievably catchy, beautiful, and everything I want in an idol song. It’s too good, if you know what I mean. Like how can somebody on this planet every have come up with something like this? And Yui chan did Moritaka right with her version of the song. I like them both equally. They are both so heartfelt and sincere. And it honestly brings tears to the eyes listening to the lyrics.
    SO. SO. AWESOME!

    Liked by 1 person

    • “AME” is definitely one of J-pop’s most beloved songs of all time and you’re very right to fall in love with it! I’ve been meaning to do a proper Moritaka Chisato post here as she’s one of my most favorite artists and one of the earliest I got into when I fell in love with the genre. I do own all of her singles and albums which took several years to track down through second hand shops here and in Japan but it was well worth all of the patience without question. It’s on the to do list. ^^

      Check here for Moritaka Chisato’s arguably most beloved and emotionally “tragic” song for lack of a better word at the moment, I’ve always got this song translated there so you can delve deep into its meaning and emotions which are about as strong as they get in music I think. You can also compare a few live performances in this post as it’s no doubt one of those songs to cover:

      https://morningberryz48.wordpress.com/2010/10/02/matsuura-aya-x-moritaka-chisato-2/

      Like

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