Mariya Takeuchi

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Mariya Takeuchi
Takeuchi Mariya (竹内 まりや)

(1955-03-20) 20 March 1955 (age 65)[1]
OccupationSinger, composer and lyricist
Musical career
InstrumentsVocals, piano, guitars
Years active1978–present
LabelsRCA (1978–1982)
Alfa Moon (1984–1987)
Moon / MMG (1987–1993)
Moon / East West Japan (1994–1997)
Moon / Warner Music Japan (1998–present)
Associated actsTatsuro Yamashita
Mariya Takeuchi autograph.svg

Mariya Takeuchi (竹内 まりや, Takeuchi Mariya, born 20 March 1955) is a Japanese singer and songwriter from Taisha, Shimane, now the city of Izumo. In a Japanese pop music career spanning decades, she has sold over 16 million records in Japan. Her early work during the late 1970s to 1980s is largely associated with the Japanese city pop genre, along with that of her husband and collaborator Tatsuro Yamashita.

Early life[edit]

Takeuchi was born in Taisha city in the Hikawa district of Shimane Prefecture. She grew up in the family ryokan business by the name of Takenoya, that her great-great-grandfather Shigezo Takeuchi founded in 1877.[2] Her family always played records from all over the world. She had already learned to play piano and guitar by third grade, but the Beatles left an impression that inspired her to travel.[2]

In 1972, for her third year of high school, she studied in Rock Falls, Illinois, United States, as an international exchange student through the AFS Intercultural Programs. Her nickname was Mako, since one of the AFS yearbooks has a caption that reads Mariya "Mako" Takeuchi.[1][2][3] She entered the Keio University in 1974 majoring in English literature and even won a nationwide English recitation contest by The Japan Times in the spring of that year.[2]


Takeuchi joined the music club of the university and there she was invited to participate in Masamichi Sugi's recordings and in March 1978 so-called "Loft Sessions" recordings.[1] In August that year she signed up with the RCA recording label, and in November her debut single "Modotte-Oide, Watashi no Jikan" (Please come back, my time) and the album Beginning were released.[1][4] She won the 1979 Japan Record Awards, Tokyo Music Festival, Japan Music Awards, Shinjuku Music Festival and Ginza Music Festival best new artist awards.[1][4] The 1979 single "September" and the 1980 single "Fushigi na Piichi Pai" (Mysterious Peach Pie) were both hits.[5][6][4] Takeuchi has had at least one song appear on the NHK program Minna no Uta.

From the late 1970s to the early 1980s, she recorded five albums and several singles. Those recordings featured dozens of prominent Japanese and North American songwriters, instrumentalists and producers, including David Foster, Jim Keltner, Jay Graydon, Steve Lukather, Jeff Porcaro, David Hungate, Kazuhiko Kato, Kunihiko Kase, Shigeru Suzuki, Takashi Matsumoto and a fellow RCA artist and her future partner and husband, Tatsuro Yamashita.[7] One of her songs from the 1980 album Miss M, "Heart to Heart" (co-written by Roger Nichols), was given English lyrics and a new title, "Now." It was recorded by the Carpenters, released in 1983, and was the last recording by the late Karen Carpenter.

At the end of 1981 after the release of her fifth album Portrait she announced she was going to take a break for a while, and paused doing concerts and releases.[1] While taking a break she continued composing for numerous differents artists such as Seiko Matsuda and Akina Nakamori among many others.[1]

Upon returning to the Japanese music industry in 1984, she continued achieving huge commercial success. Since her return, she has recorded seven successful studio albums that mainly consist of her self-written songs, and all of them have reached No. 1 on the Japanese Oricon chart.[8] As a singer-songwriter, she has produced eight top-ten hit singles on the Oricon chart, including "Single Again", "Kokuhaku", "Junai Rhapsody", "Konya wa Hearty Party" and her only No. 1 hit "Camouflage".[9]

In addition to her work as a performer, she has also written songs and lyrics for other singers, including Yukiko Okada, Hiroko Yakushimaru, Hiromi Iwasaki, Masahiko Kondo, Masayuki Suzuki and Tackey & Tsubasa.[10] Several of these songs scored top-ten on the Oricon, such as "Kenka o Yamete" and "Invitation" performed by Naoko Kawai, "Iro (White Blend)" performed by Miho Nakayama and "Maji de Koi Suru 5 Byoumae" by Ryōko Hirosue. Takeuchi has often re-recorded those songs for her own album. "Eki", a song originally written for the album by Akina Nakamori, became known by the composer's recorded version. "Genki o Dashite", a song first recorded by Hiroko Yakushimaru, is recognized as one of Takeuchi's notable compositions, despite not being released as a single. The song was later covered by Hitomi Shimatani in 2003, and became a moderate hit.

Up to September 2014, Takeuchi had released 12 studio albums, 42 singles, several compilations and a live album which was recorded in 2000. Her total sales have been estimated at more than 16 million units by 2009. Her 1994 compilation, Impressions, sold more than 3 million copies in Japan alone, and became her best-selling album.[8] In addition to being a musician she is also managing the Takenoya ryokan "until the next generation can take over".[2]

Outside of Japan, she is best known for the city pop song "Plastic Love" from her number-one album Variety (1984). It didn't even occur to her to try releasing her music in the West. She stated in a 2018 interview, "Considering that it was mostly performed in Japanese, we figured it would be impossible to go abroad."[2] The song went viral after it was uploaded to YouTube during the mid-late 2010s.[11][12] Popularized overseas via the vaporwave and future funk scenes, the song has received more than 35 million views on YouTube as of July 2020.[2] It has received critical acclaim, with Noisey calling it "the best pop song in the world"[13] and Gorillaz calling it "a wonder woman slab of Japanese funk".[14] K-pop singer Yubin's "City Love" is based on the song.[15] The Black Madonna closed a Resident Advisor November 2017 mix with a rendition of the song. "Plastic Love" has also inspired numerous fan art and videos.[2] On May 17, 2019, Warner Music Japan released on YouTube a short music video for the song, 35 years after its initial release.[16]

Personal life[edit]

She married fellow musician Tatsuro Yamashita in April 1982.[1] They have one daughter.[17]


Studio Albums[edit]

Year Title Label Chart positions (JP)[18] Certifications
(sales thresholds)
1978 Beginning RCA 17 113,000
1979 University Street 7 236,000
1980 Love Songs 1 358,000
Miss M 14 73,000
1981 Portrait 14 103,000
1984 Variety Moon Records (Warner Music Japan) 1 483,000
1987 Request 1 1,072,000
1989 Quiet Life 1 1,155,000
2000 Souvenir: Mariya Takeuchi Live (live album) 3 335,000
2001 Bon Appetit! 1 1,224,000
2004 Longtime Favorites (cover album) 1 348,000
2007 Denim 1 466,000
2014 Trad 1 262,000


Year Title Label Certifications
(sales thresholds)
1982 Viva Mariya!! RCA 32,000
1990 Morning Glory Moon Records 21,000
1994 Impressions 3,052,000
2008 Expressions 895,000
2013 Mariya's Songbook
2019 Turntable[19] 128,456


Year Title Chart positions (JP)[18]
1978 "Modotte Oide, Watashi no Jikan (戻っておいで・私の時間)" 84
1979 "Dream of You: Lemon Lime no Aoi Kaze (ドリーム・オブ・ユー~レモンライムの青い風~)" 30
"September" 39
1980 "Fushigi na Peach Pie (不思議なピーチパイ)" 3
"Futari no Vacance (二人のバカンス)" 42
1981 "Ichigo no Yūwaku (イチゴの誘惑)" 80
"Special Delivery: Tokubetsu Kokubin (特別航空便)" / "Crying All Night Long" did not chart
"Natalie" 70
1984 "Mou Ichido (もう一度)"/"Honki de Only You (本気でオンリーユー) (Let's Get Married)" 20
"Mersey Beat de Utawasete (マージービートで唄わせて)" 78
1985 "Plastic Love" 86
1986 "Koi no Arashi (恋の嵐)" 20
"Toki no Tabibito (時空の旅人)" 46
1987 "Yume no Tsuzuki (夢の続き)" 43
"Eki ()"/"After Years" 55
1988 "Genki o Dashite (元気を出して)" 70
1989 "Single Again" 2
1990 "Kokuhaku (告白)" 3
1991 "Eki ()" (Re-issue) 18
1992 "Manhattan Kiss" 11
"Uchi ni Kaerō (家に帰ろう) (My Sweet Home)" 18
"Shiawase no Sagashikata (幸せの探し方)" 42
1994 "Ashita no Watashi (明日の私)" 19
"Junai Rhapsody (純愛ラプソディ)" 5
"Honki de Only You (本気でオンリーユー) (Let's Get Married)" (Re-issue) 48
1995 "Kon'ya wa Hearty Party (今夜はHearty Party)" 3
1996 "Lonely Woman" 13
1998 "Camouflage" / "Winter Lovers" 1
1999 "Mou Ichido (もう一度)" (Re-issue) 35
"Tenshi no Tameiki (天使のため息)" 6
2001 "Mayonaka no Nightingale (真夜中のナイチンゲール)" 7
"Mainichi ga Special (毎日がスペシャル)" 40
"Nostalgia" 30
2006 "Henshin (返信)" / "Synchronicity" 8
"Slow Love" 30
"Ashita no Nai Koi (明日のない恋)" 19
2007 "Chance no Maegami (チャンスの前髪)" (duet with Yuko Hara) 23
2012 "Inochi no Uta (いのちの歌)" 10
2013 "Tasogare Diary (たそがれダイアリー)" 15
2018 "Chiisana Negai/Ima wo Ikiyou (Seize the Day)" (小さな願い/今を生きよう(Seize the Day)) 6
2019 "Tabi no Tsuzuki" (旅のつづき) 3
2020 "Inochi no Uta" (Special Edition) (いのちの歌(スペシャル・エディション)) 1


  • The song "Single Again" was used as a melody adaptation song as "Lumayo Ka Man Sa Akin" was composed by the late Filipino pop singer Rodel Naval and it became a popular hit in the Philippines in 1991, and following his death in 1995.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "竹内まりや Official Web Site : PROFILE". Smile Company Ltd. Retrieved December 1, 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h "Mariya Takeuchi: The pop genius behind 2018's surprise online smash hit from Japan". Japan Times. November 17, 2018. Archived from the original on December 10, 2018. Retrieved December 12, 2018.
  3. ^ "Takeuchi yearbook photos from 1973- via Imgur". Imgur. August 17, 2019. Retrieved March 15, 2020.
  4. ^ a b c "アーティスト詳細 - 竹内まりや". Tower. October 9, 2019. Retrieved December 1, 2019.
  5. ^ Hitoshi, Kurimoto (January 30, 2019). "A Guide to City Pop, the Soundtrack for Japan's Bubble-Era Generation". Retrieved March 20, 2019.
  6. ^ "竹内まりや、11年ぶりTV番組出演 音楽制作現場を初公開". ORICON NEWS (in Japanese). Retrieved March 20, 2019.
  7. ^ "Japanese West Coast Music Releases (List of the Japanese albums recorded by West Coast studio musicians in the 1980s)". Archived from the original on August 26, 2007. Retrieved August 6, 2007.
  8. ^ a b Yamachan Land | Album Chart Daijiten | Mariya Takeuchi (Archives of the chart positions and sales of the albums) Archived June 19, 2007, at
  9. ^ Yamachan Land | Single Chart Daijiten | Mariya Takeuchi (Archives of the chart positions and sales of the singles) Archived October 15, 2007, at
  10. ^ "List of Mariya Takeuchi compositions for other performers (1984–1995)". Archived from the original on September 28, 2007. Retrieved August 6, 2007.
  11. ^ EC, Redacción (August 25, 2018). "YouTube: 'Plastic Love', la canción japonesa que superó las 17 millones de reproducciones y está 'hechizando' a todos los usuarios que la escuchan". El Comercio (in Spanish). Archived from the original on October 29, 2018. Retrieved October 29, 2018.
  12. ^ Markowitz, Douglas (October 10, 2018). "5 Vaporwave and Future Funk Tracks to Get You Ready for YUNG BAE". Phoenix New Times. Archived from the original on October 29, 2018. Retrieved October 28, 2018.
  13. ^ "An 80s Japanese Track Is the Best Pop Song in the World". Noisey. June 13, 2018. Archived from the original on October 29, 2018. Retrieved October 28, 2018.
  14. ^ "Gorillaz to premiere new album at Tokyo show". Japan Times. June 14, 2018. Archived from the original on October 29, 2018. Retrieved October 29, 2018.
  15. ^ "Yubin cancels release of new song amid plagiarism dispute". Yonhap News Agency. June 7, 2018. Archived from the original on October 29, 2018. Retrieved October 29, 2018.
  16. ^ Dennison, Kara (May 18, 2019). "City Pop Hit 'Plastic Love' Gets a Music Video After 35 Years". Crunchyroll. Retrieved December 1, 2019.
  17. ^ "竹内まりや、『ダンボ』日本版エンドソング担当 山下達郎もコーラスで参加". Oricon. March 6, 2019. Retrieved December 1, 2019.
  18. ^ a b "竹内まりや". Oricon. Retrieved December 1, 2019.
  19. ^ 週間 CDアルバムランキング 2019年09月23日付 [Weekly CD Album Ranking on September 23, 2019] (in Japanese). Oricon. Retrieved September 18, 2019.

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