Category Archives: My Favorite Records

My Favorite Record #1

Mieko Hirota: Ningyou No Ie (Ballade of Doll’s House) (Columbia, 1969) With the release of the Nippon Girls LP this week, I thought I’d pick a sixties Japanese girl-pop track as my first record of the week. Ballads dominated the girl-pop scene in ’60s Japan, but few come close to the intensity and melodrama of Mieko Hirota’s “Ningyou No Ie” (Ballade of Doll’s House), released on Columbia in 1969. Lyricist Ray Nakanishi remembers that the label was adamant that the record was much too dark for Mieko Hirota’s image. Up until the single’s release, Hirota was marketed as a cute n’ chubby-cheeked youngster whose immense voice was kept at bay by the label’s very pop song choices. Despite the lack of confidence in the song, “Ningyou No Ie” was released in July of 1969, with a much more sultry and grown-up Hirota pouting on the sleeve. By October of that year it had reached #1. “Miko-chan” was back in the spotlight.