Mariya Takeuchi

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Mariya Takeuchi
竹内 まりや
Takeuchi's yearbook photo, 1973
Takeuchi's yearbook photo, 1973
Background information
Birth nameTakeuchi Mariya
Also known asMiyabi, MAKO (as a lyricist)
Born (1955-03-20) 20 March 1955 (age 67)[1]
Kizukiminami, Taisha-machi, Hikawa-gun (Current: Izumo-shi), Shimane Prefecture, Japan[1]
record producer
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)
(m. 1982)
Mariya Takeuchi autograph.svg

Mariya Takeuchi (竹内 まりや, Takeuchi Mariya, born 20 March 1955) is a Japanese singer and songwriter. Regarded as an influential figure in the city pop genre, she is one of the best-selling music artists in Japan, having sold over 16 million records, and has received several accolades. Her husband is Tatsuro Yamashita, a singer-songwriter and record producer.

Takeuchi was born in Taisha, Hikawa district, now the city of Izumo, Shimane, and attended Keio University. She made her singing debut after signing with the RCA record label in 1978, with whom she released her debut album Beginning [ja], which peaked at No. 17 on Oricon Charts. She then released four albums between 1979 and 1981, all of which obtained commercial success, including the 1980 album Love Songs [ja], which became her first work to peak at No. 1 on Oricon Charts. Takeuchi then announced she would go on a temporary hiatus in 1981, terminating her contract with RCA records. Three years later, Takeuchi and her husband Tatsuro Yamashita signed with Moon Records, and she made her comeback with her sixth studio album Variety in 1984, which was released internationally and shot her to mainstream success, and peaked at No. 1 on Oricon Charts. The track "Plastic Love" was released in 1985 as a single, and became a surprise hit outside of Japan in 2017 after a YouTube upload of the song went viral. The song has since attained a cult following and is seen as the staple in a revival of interest in city pop in the late 2010s.[2]

Following the success of her ventures throughout the late 1970s and 1980s, Takeuchi began releasing albums less frequently, her latest release being in 2014 as she shifted her focus to work and release standalone singles. Since 1981, every single she has released has charted on the Oricon Charts. She has stayed with the Moon record label, working with the different branches since signing in 1984 and since 1998 has been signed with Warner Music Japan, with whom she released the single "Inochi no Uta" (いのちの歌, Song of Life) in 2012, for which she re-recorded in 2020; the latter of which charted at No. 1 on Oricon Charts, making her the oldest Japanese singer to achieve a No. 1 single.[citation needed]

Early life[edit]

Takeuchi was born in Taisha in the Hikawa district of Shimane Prefecture in Japan. She grew up in the family Shinise Ryokan (Japanese long-established inn) business by the name of Takenoya, that her paternal great grandfather Shigezo Takeuchi (竹内繁蔵) 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, as one of the AFS yearbooks has a caption that reads Mariya "Mako" Takeuchi.[1][2][3] She entered the Japanese Keio University in 1974 majoring in English literature and won a nationwide English recitation contest by The Japan Times in the spring of that year.[2] She married fellow musician Tatsuro Yamashita in April 1982.[1] They have one daughter.[4]


Takeuchi joined the music club of the university and there she was invited to participate in Masamichi Sugi (杉真理)'s recordings and in March 1978 so-called the omnibus album Loft Sessions (ロフト・セッションズ) 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" (戻っておいで・私の時間, Please come back, my time), and the debut album Beginning [ja] were released.[1][5] The 1979 singles "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〜, Dream of You: Blue Breeze of Lemon Lime), "September" [ja] were hits, and she won the 1979 Japan Record Awards, Tokyo Music Festival, Japan Music Awards, Shinjuku Music Festival and Ginza Music Festival best new artist awards as a singer.[1][5] The 1980 single "Fushigi na Peach Pie" (不思議なピーチパイ, Mysterious Peach Pie) was also a hit.[6][7][5] Takeuchi has had one song "Apple Papple Princess" (アップル・パップル・プリンセス) (1981) 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 Kazuhiko Katō, Tetsuji Hayashi, Shigeru Suzuki, Masamichi Sugi, Shigeru Suzuki, Takashi Matsumoto, Al Capps, Peter Allen, David Lasley, Alan O'Day, David Foster, Jim Keltner, Jay Graydon, Steve Lukather, Jeff Porcaro, David Hungate, and a fellow RCA artist and her future partner and husband, Tatsuro Yamashita.[8] One of her songs from the 1980 album Miss M (Miss M), "Heart to Heart" (music 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 Karen Carpenter before her death. At the end of 1981 after the release of her fifth album Portrait (PORTRAIT), she announced she was going to take a break for a while and paused doing concerts and releases, and got married six months later.[1] While taking a break she continued composing for numerous different idols and singers such as Naoko Kawai, Hiroko Yakushimaru, Yukiko Okada, Akina Nakamori, Miho Nakayama, Hiromi Iwasaki, Masahiko Kondo, among many others.[1][9]

Several of these songs scored top-ten on the Oricon, such as "Kenka wo Yamete" (けんかをやめて, Stop the Fighting) and "Invitation" [ja] performed by Naoko Kawai, "Dreaming Girl: Koi, Hajimemashite" (-Dreaming Girl- 恋、はじめまして, Dreaming Girl: Love, Nice to Meet You) performed by Yukiko Okada, "Iro: White Blend" (色・ホワイトブレンド, Color: White Blend) performed by Miho Nakayama. Takeuchi has often re-recorded those songs for her own album. "Eki" (, Station), a song originally written for the album by Akina Nakamori, became known by the composer's recorded version, and had been covered by many artists. "Genki wo Dashite", a song first recorded by Hiroko Yakushimaru, is recognized as one of Takeuchi's notable compositions. The song was later covered by Hitomi Shimatani in 2003, and became a moderate hit.

Since her return to the Japanese music industry in 1984, 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.[10] As a singer-songwriter, she has produced eight top-ten hit singles on the Oricon chart, including "Single Again" (シングル・アゲイン), "Kokuhaku" (告白, Confession), "Junai Rhapsody" (純愛ラプソディ, Pure Love Rhapsody), "Kon'ya wa Hearty Party" (今夜はHearty Party, Hearty Party Tonight) and her only No. 1 hit "Camouflage" (カムフラージュ).[11] In addition to her work as a performer, she has continued writing songs and lyrics for other singers, including Ryōko Hirosue, Takako Matsu, Riho Makise, Seiko Matsuda, Masayuki Suzuki and Tackey & Tsubasa.[9]

Several of these songs scored top-ten on the Oricon, such as "Maji de Koi suru 5 byō mae" (MajiでKoiする5秒前, 5 Seconds Before I Fall in Love Seriously) performed by Ryōko Hirosue, "Miracle Love" performed by Riho Makise, "Minna Hitori" (みんなひとり, Everybody is Alone) performed by Takako Matsu, and "Minna no Happy Birthday" (みんなのハッピーバースデイ, Everyone's Happy Birthday) performed by Mana Ashida.

Takeuchi in 2019

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.[10] In addition to her musical career, she has also managed her family's Ryokan Takenoya since May 2018 "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). At the time of the song's release, Takeuchi had not considered attempting to release her music in the Western world, stating in a 2018 interview, "Considering that [the song] 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.[12][13] Popularized overseas via the vaporwave and future funk scenes, the song has received more than 67 million views on YouTube as of June 2021.[2] It has received critical acclaim, with Noisey calling it "the best pop song in the world"[14] and Gorillaz calling it "a wonder woman slab of Japanese funk".[15] K-pop singer Yubin's "City Love" is based on the song.[16] The Blessed Madonna closed a Resident Advisor November 2017 mix with a rendition of the song. Chai released a cover of the song in 2020.[17] "Plastic Love" has also inspired numerous fan art and videos.[2] On 17 May 2019, Warner Music Japan released on YouTube a short version of a music video for the song, 35 years after its initial release.[18] A longer, five minute version was subsequently released on 11 November 2021.


Studio albums[edit]

Year Title Label Chart positions (JP)[19] Certifications Sales[citation needed]
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
1992 Quiet Life 1 1,155,000
2000 Souvenir: Mariya Takeuchi Live (live album) 3
  • RIAJ: Platinum (old threshold)[21]
2001 Bon Appetit! 1
  • RIAJ: 3× Platinum (old threshold)[22]
2004 Longtime Favorites (cover album) 1 348,000
2007 Denim 1
  • RIAJ: 2× Platinum[24]
2014 Trad 1 262,000


Year Title Label Certifications Sales[citation needed]
1982 Viva Mariya!! RCA 32,000
1990 Morning Glory Moon Records 21,000
1994 Impressions
  • RIAJ: 3× Million[26]
2008 Expressions 947,000
Sincerely... The Mariya Takeuchi Songbook Complete Edition
(English covers of her songs by various artists)
Universal Music
2013 Mariya's Songbook
(Songs written for various singers)
Moon Records
2019 Turntable[28]
(Other best songs that did not collected in Expressions, and Mariya's rarities, Premium covers)
Yukiko Okada, Mariya's Songbook [30]
(Songs written for Yukiko Okada)
Pony Canyon


Year Title Chart positions (JP)[19] Album
1978 "Modotte oide, Watashi no Jikan" (戻っておいで・私の時間, Please Come Back, My Time) 84 BEGINNING
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~, Dream of You: Blue Breeze of Lemon Lime) 30 UNIVERSITY STREET
1980 "Fushigi na Peach Pie" (不思議なピーチパイ, Mysterious Peach Pie) 3
"Futari no Vacance" (二人のバカンス, Vacation for Two) 42 Miss M
"Sweetest Music" (SWEETEST MUSIC) did not chart
1981 "Ichigo no Yūwaku" (イチゴの誘惑, Temptation of Strawberry) 80 PORTRAIT
"Special Delivery: Tokubetsu Kokubin" (SPECIAL DELIVERY〜特別航空便, Special Delivery: Special Airmail) did not chart
"Natalie" (NATALIE) / "Apple Papple Princess" (アップル・パップル・プリンセス) 70 PORTRAIT (#1)
Turntable (#2)
1984 "Mou Ichido" (もう一度, Once Again) / "Honki de Only You (Let's Get Married)" (本気でオンリーユー (Let's Get Married), Seriously, Only You (Let's Get Married)) 20 VARIETY
"Mersey Beat de Utawasete" (マージービートで唄わせて, Sing with Mersey Beat) 78
1985 "Plastic Love" (プラスティック・ラヴ) 5
1986 "Koi no Arashi" (恋の嵐, Love Storm) 20 REQUEST
"Toki no Tabibito" (時空の旅人, Time Traveller) 46
1987 "Yume no Tsuzuki" (夢の続き, Continuation of the Dream) 43
"Eki" (, Station) / "After Years" (AFTER YEARS) 55 REQUEST (#1)
Quiet Life (#2)
1988 "Genki o Dashite" (元気を出して, Cheer Up) 70 REQUEST
1989 "Single Again" (シングル・アゲイン) 2 Quiet Life
1990 "Kokuhaku" (告白, Confession) 3
1992 "Manhattan Kiss" (マンハッタン・キス) 11
"Uchi ni Kaerō (My Sweet Home)" (家に帰ろう (マイ・スイート・ホーム), Let's Go Home (My Sweet Home)) 18
1993 "Shiawase no Sagashikata" (幸せの探し方, How to Find Happiness) 42
1994 "Ashita no Watashi" (明日の私, I in Tomorrow) 19 Impressions
"Junai Rhapsody" (純愛ラプソディ, Pure Love Rhapsody) 5
"Honki de Only You (Let's Get Married)" (本気でオンリーユー (Let's Get Married), Seriously, Only You (Let's Get Married)') / "Forever Friends" (Forever friends)(Re-issue) 48 VARIETY (#1)
Quiet Life (#2)
1995 "Kon'ya wa Hearty Party" (今夜はHearty Party, Hearty Party Tonight) 3 Bon Appetit!
1996 "Lonely Woman" (ロンリー・ウーマン) / "Tell me, tell me" (Tell me, tell me) 13
1998 "Camouflage" (カムフラージュ) / "Winter Lovers" (WINTER LOVERS) 1
1999 "Tenshi no Tameiki" (天使のため息, Sigh of an Angel) / "Soulmate wo Sagasite" (ソウルメイトを探して, Looking for My Soulmate) 6
2001 "Mayonaka no Nightingale" (真夜中のナイチンゲール, Midnight Nightingale) 7
"Mainichi ga Special" (毎日がスペシャル, Every Day is a Special Day) 40
"Nostalgia" (ノスタルジア) 30
2006 "Henshin" (返信, Reply) / ""Synchronicity (Suteki na Guzen)" (シンクロニシティ (素敵な偶然), Synchronicity (Wonderful Coincidence)) 8 Denim
"Slow Love" (スロー・ラヴ) 30
"Ashita no Nai Koi" (明日のない恋, Love Without Tomorrow) 19
2007 "Chance no Maegami" (チャンスの前髪, The Fortune by the Forelock) (duet with Yuko Hara) / "Jinsei no Tobira" (人生の扉, Doors of Life) 23 Expressions (#1)
Denim (#2)
2008 "Shiawase no Monosashi" (幸せのものさし, Measure of Happiness) / "Ureshikute Samishii Hi (Your Wedding Day)" (うれしくてさみしい日 (Your Wedding Day), Happy and Lonely Day (Your Wedding Day)) 6 Expressions
"Enishi no Ito" (縁の糸, Thread of Fate) 12 TRAD
2010 "Whisky ga Osuki desho" (ウイスキーが、お好きでしょ, You Like Whiskey) 18
2012 "Inochi no Uta" (いのちの歌, Song of Life) 10
2013 "Tasogare Diary" (たそがれダイアリー, Twilight Diary) 15
"Dear Angie: Anata wa Makenai" (Dear Angie〜あなたは負けない, Dear Angie: You Won't Lose) / "Sorezore no Yoru" (それぞれの夜, Respective Night) 7
"Your Eyes" (Your Eyes) (download limited)
2014 ""Aloha Shiki Renai Sinan" (アロハ式恋愛指南, Aloha Style Love Instruction) (download limited)
"Shizukana Densetsu (legend)" (静かな伝説 (レジェンド), Quiet Legend (legend)) 10
2016 "Let It Be Me" (レット・イット・ビー・ミー) (duet with Tatsuro Yamashita) (download limited) Expressions
"Kyo no Omoi" (今日の想い, Today's Feelings) (download limited)
2018 "Chiisana Negai" (小さな願い, Little Wish) / "Ima wo Ikiyou (Seize the Day)" (今を生きよう (Seize the Day), Let's Live Today (Seize the Day)) 6
2019 "Tabi no Tsuzuki" (旅のつづき, Continuation of the Journey) 3
2020 "Inochi no Uta (Special Edition)" (いのちの歌 (スペシャル・エディション), Song of Life (Special Edition)) 1

Songs written for other singers[edit]

Year Singer Title Chart positions (JP) Album
(Mariya's self-cover)
1980 Ann Lewis "LINDA" (リンダ) PORTRAIT
1982 Naoko Kawai "Kenka wo Yamete" (けんかをやめて, Stop the Fighting) 5 REQUEST
"Invitation" (Invitation) 8
Chiemi Hori "Machi Bouke" (待ちぼうけ, Waiting For) 26
Hiromi Iwasaki "My Darling" (My Darling)*Music only 14
Keiko Masuda "55 page no Kanashimi" (55ページの悲しみ, Sadness on Page 55)
"Rasen Kaidan" (らせん階段, Spiral Staircase)
KINYA "Namida no Date" (涙のデイト, Tears of Date)
1983 Masahiro Kuwana "Sweet Rain" (Sweet Rain)
1984 Hiroko Yakushimaru "Genki wo Dashite" (元気を出して, Cheer Up) 1
*Album chart
"Triangle" (トライアングル) Turntable
Yukiko Okada "First Date" (ファースト・デイト) 20 Turntable
"Akogare" (憧れ, Yearning)
"Dreaming Girl: Koi, Hajimemashite" (-Dreaming Girl- 恋、はじめまして, Dreaming Girl: Love, Nice to Meet You) 7
"Little Princess" (リトル プリンセス) 14
"Sayonara: Natsuyasumi" (さよなら・夏休み, Goodbye: Summer Vacation)
1985 Hiroko Yakushimaru "Kako karano Tegami" (過去からの手紙, The Letter from the Past)*Lyrics only 2
*Album chart
Yukiko Okada "Kanashii Yokan" (哀しい予感, Sad Premonition) 7
"Koibitotachi no Calendar" (恋人たちのカレンダー, Lovers' Calendar)
"Lonesome Season" (ロンサム・シーズン) Quiet Life
1986 Akina Nakamori "Eki" (, Station) 1
*Album chart
"Yakusoku" (約束, Promise) Turntable
"Aka no Enamel" (赤のエナメル, Enamel of Red) VARIETY
30th Anniversary Edition
"Mick Jagger ni Hohoemi wo" (ミック・ジャガーに微笑みを, Smile for Mick Jagger) Mariya's Songbook
(First Limited Edition)
Demo source
Miho Nakayama "Iro White Blend" (色・ホワイトブレンド, Colored White Blend) 5 REQUEST
"Tokimeki no Season" (ときめきの季節, Season of Excitement) Mariya's Songbook
(First Limited Edition)
Demo source
Eri Morishita "Hey! Baby" (Hey! Baby) Turntable
"Manatsu no Date" (真冬のデイト, Midwinter Date)
Masahiko Kondō "Eve no Kokuhaku" (イヴの告白, Eve's Confession)*Lyrics only
1987 Hiroko Yakushimaru "Afternoon Tea" (アフタヌーン・ティー) 3
*Album chart
Satomi Fukunaga "Natsu no Intro" (夏のイントロ, Intro of Summer) 14 Mariya's Songbook
(First Limited Edition)
Demo source
1988 Hiroko Yakushimaru "Shugakusho" (終楽章, Final Movement) 8
*Album chart
Masayuki Suzuki "Guilty" (Guilty)*Lyrics only 12
*Album chart
"Misty Mauve" (Misty Mauve)*Lyrics only
1991 Riho Makise "Miracle Love" (Miracle Love) 4 Turntable
1997 Ryōko Hirosue "Maji de Koi suru 5 byō mae" (MajiでKoiする5秒前, 5 Seconds Before I Fall in Love Seriously) 2 Turntable
"Tomadoi" (とまどい, Bewildered) Bon Appetit!
"Koi no Counsel" (恋のカウンセル, Love Counsel) 3
*Album chart
"Iidase nakute" (言い出せなくて, It's Hard to Say)
2004 Tackey & Tsubasa "You & I" (You & I)*Lyrics only 2
*Album chart
2006 Takako Matsu "Minna Hitori" (みんなひとり, Everybody is Alone) 10 Denim
2007 "Reunion" (リユニオン) 10
*Album chart
2008 Mitsuki Takahata "Natsu no Montage" (夏のモンタージュ, Summer Montage) 30 TRAD
2009 ManaKana "Inochi no Uta" (いのちの歌, Song of Life)*Lyrics only 18 TRAD
2011 Seiko Matsuda "Tokubetsu na Koibito" (特別な恋人, Special Lover) 14 TRAD
"Koe dake Kikasete" (声だけ聞かせて, Let Me Hear Just Your Voice) Turntable
Mana Ashida "Minna no Happy Birthday" (みんなのハッピーバースデイ, Everyone's Happy Birthday) 8
*Album chart
Aya Matsuura "Subject: Sayonara" (Subject:さようなら, Subject: Goodbye)
2017 Saori Hayami "Yume no Hate made" (夢の果てまで, To the End of the Dream) 21


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  12. ^ Redacción EC (25 August 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 29 October 2018. Retrieved 29 October 2018.
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  15. ^ "Gorillaz to premiere new album at Tokyo show". Japan Times. 14 June 2018. Archived from the original on 29 October 2018. Retrieved 29 October 2018.
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  21. ^ "Japanese album certifications – Takeuchi Mariya – Souvenir" (in Japanese). Recording Industry Association of Japan. Select 2000年11月 on the drop-down menu
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  25. ^ "Japanese album certifications – Takeuchi Mariya – Trad" (in Japanese). Recording Industry Association of Japan. Select 2014年09月 on the drop-down menu
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  27. ^ "Japanese album certifications – Takeuchi Mariya – Expressions" (in Japanese). Recording Industry Association of Japan. Select 2013年05月 on the drop-down menu
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  30. ^ 岡田有希子さん×竹内まりやコンピ盤10・16発売「心から嬉しく思います」

External links[edit]