Monday, December 19, 2011

Idol Flashback :Yamaguchi Momoe Reflections Of An Idol



When you look up the word idol legend in Japanese idol genre ,you will not see a definition meaning ,instead you will simply see names such as Yamaguchi Momoe.

Momoe`s name will forever be linked to idol genre just like Okada Yukiko for they are in my opinion the closest the genre has ever come to idol perfection .

Momoe announced her shocking retirement from the industry at age twenty ,tired of the industry that had ran her non-stop to the point of burn out . After her retirement  in 1980 Momoe  found happiness in marriage and family life ,and is looked upon  as the ideal housewife .Yet she found no  media peace  as a wife . She has made front page news for  bringing her sons home from the hospital ,attending first day of school. A 1994 false rumor of a return also made front page news.


Momoe`s rise to idol star began in 1972 when a photo of a 13 yr. old girl wearing white turned up on the desk of the director of the television show Star Tanjo! a talent show for idol hopefuls.
Momoe would become the tip of the spear in a new idol crusade by Star Tanjo! And Hori Production to counter industry leader Watanabe Productions.
In 1972 Yamaguchi, Mori Masako and Sakurada Junko were cast together to become a powerful junior high trio.

Of the three Momoe was projected to have the least success going into her 1973 debut single . Momoe`s debut “Toshigoro” resulted in sales of 70,000 a figure at the time that was seen as lacking of superstar abilities a statement of the times as today a sales total of 70,000 is seen as a successful release.



Momoe while gaining ground on her other two trio members with her early releases ,  decided that a change was needed and she pushed her agency to allow her to start performing songs written by Agi Yoko and Usaki Ryudo . The duo gave Momoe confident take charge themed songs such as her 13th single "Yokosuka Story" [sold 600,000 copies for #1 rank]



It was also around this time in 1976 that Momoe started to become a wonderful ballad singer as this later career song displays.


Even with these changes Momoe could not receive industry recognition ,who overlooked her efforts. Momoe would go on to release 32 singles ,22 albums , a rock opera in eight years.

However Momoe was not simply a singer as in 1974 she started her movie career .It was here that she would meet her future husband Miura Tomokazu who she made fourteen films with as the romantic film duo`s public demand was good for the box office figures.





While Momoe went on to make 17 films and 9 dramas ,she was desperately growing tired of an industry that kept taking and taking from her without any regard for rest . Momoe later wrote in a book that by this time it had become a job “without any regard for my own wishes. Forced to sing the same songs over and over everyday, I came to hate singing." Then suddenly in 1978 the out she was looking for came .




The popular female idol group The Candies had called it quits after career sales of 5,000,000 ,with that Momoe decided to put herself before contract and in 1980 she announced her marriage and retirement . Momoe would leave with the same style and grace as she entered. To this day her fans have always regarded her as simply one of them.

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