Naoko Ken

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Naoko Ken
Birth name Naoko Asada (浅田 なを子?) (maiden name)
Naoko Noguchi (野口 なを子?)
Born (1953-07-07) July 7, 1953 (age 63)
Origin Amagiyukashima, Shizuoka, Japan
Genres Folk, blues, novelty, enka
Occupation(s) Singer, actress
Instruments Vocals
Years active 1971–present
Labels Toho Records
Canyon Records
Pony Canyon
Gauss Entertainment
Unchanged Records
Associated acts Toshi and Naoko, Naoko and Lilacs, Ken♂♀Ken
Website Official

Naoko Ken (研 ナオコ?, Ken Naoko) (born July 7, 1953– ) is a Japanese singer and actress. She is well known for her comedy roles featuring idiosyncratic looks, and a string of successful torch songs that gained popularity in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Biography[edit]

In 1971, Ken debuted as an enka-oriented singer with a single "Daitokai no Yasagure On'na". In 1975, after the release of several charted singles, she gained the first outstanding commercial success with a song "Guzu", which was written by Ryudo Uzaki and his wife Yoko Aki. "Abayo", a song written by Miyuki Nakajima became the most successful single for Ken, selling more than 600,000 copies. In 1976, the prize-winning song reached number-one spot on the Oricon, Japan's most eminent chart. In addition to the success as a musician, she also obtained popularity as a tarento in the mid 1970s, through her comical acts on multiple TV shows including Kakkurakin Daihousou!!.

After a temporary hiatus in 1977 owing to her arrest on suspicion of possession of marijuana,[1] she returned to the Japanese entertainment industry with the hit tune "Kamome wa Kamome". The melancholic ballad written by Nakajima became known as one of her signature songs, finally sold in excess of 300,000 units. In 1982, she gained huge commercial success as a singer again with a cover version of the Southern All Stars' song "Natsu wo Akiramete", winning several Japanese music prizes. The song is her last top-ten hit solo single so far.

Through her long-term career as a comedic TV personality, she has released several novelty singles with other performers such as Ken Shimura. The song "Natsuzakari Ho no Ji Gumi" recorded with an idol singer Toshihiko Tahara is the last top-40 hit single for Ken on the Japanese record charts.

Discography[edit]

Solo singles[edit]

Year Single Chart positions Label
JP
[2]
1971 "Daitokai no Yasagure On'na (大都会のやさぐれ女?)" / "Gomen Asobase (御免遊ばせ?)" - Toho
1972 "Yane no Ue no Komoriuta (屋根の上の子守唄?)" / "B to Iu Snack (Bというスナック?)" -
"Futari de Miru Yume (二人で見る夢?)" / "Chiisana Negai (小さな願い?)" -
"Kyoto no On'na no Ko (京都の女の子?)" / "Boy Friend (ボーイフレンド?)" 52
"Kon'nichiwa Otoko no Ko (こんにちわ男の子?)" / "Nani wo Shiyoukana (何をしようかな?)" -
1973 "On'na Gokoro no Tango (女心のタンゴ?)" /"Tsuki ga Noboreba (月がのぼれば?)" 59
"Uwasa no Otoko (うわさの男?)" / "Nageki no Blue Lady (嘆きのブルーレディ?)" 60
1974 "Dai 3 no On'na (第三の女?)" / "Uchi e Oide (家へおいで?)" - Canyon
1975 "Guzu (愚図?)" / "Sayonara wa Kirai na Kotoba (サヨナラは嫌いな言葉?)" 9
1976 "Ichinensou (一年草?)" / "Bashamichi (馬車道?)" 28
"La La La" / "Ame ga Sora wo Suteru Hi wa (雨が空を捨てる日は?)" 28
"Abayo (あばよ?)" / "Tsuyogari wa Yose yo (強がりはよせよ?)" 1
1977 "Kaze wo Kuratte (風をくらって?)" / "Ijippari (意地っぱり?)" 14
"Oh Kamisama (オゝ神様?)" / "Blues" 43
"Furarete Yatusa (ふられてやるさ?)" / "Yakou Ressha (夜行列車?)" 35
1978 "Kamome wa Kamome (かもめはかもめ?)" / "Furareta Kibun de (ふられた気分で?)" 7
"Mado Glass (窓ガラス?)" / "Sayonara wo Tsutaete (さよならを伝えて?)" 8
"Minikui Ahiru no Ko (みにくいあひるの子?, The Ugly Duckling)" /"Konuka Ame (こぬか雨?)" 17
1979 "Kuchibeni wo Fukitore (口紅をふきとれ?)" /"Ai no Kassai (愛の喝采?)" 55
"Hi wa Nobori Hi wa Shizumi (陽は昇り 陽は沈み?)" /"Goodbye" 33
"Ai wo Mou Ichido (愛をもう一度?)" /"Natsukashii Asa (なつかしい朝?)" -
"Hitoripocchi de Odorasete (ひとりぽっちで踊らせて?)" /"Uminari (海鳴り?)" 39
1980 "Kuchiguse (くちぐせ?)" /"Irusu (居留守?)" 31
"Suna no Fune (砂の舟?)" /"Kuuchuu Buranko (空中ブランコ?)" -
"Yumemakura (夢枕?)" /"Bravo-Bravo" 91
1981 "Minaide (見ないで?)" /"Mou... Mou... (もう...もう...?)" -
"Wakare no Tasogare (別離の黄昏?)" /"Shigurete (時雨れて?)" -
"Bossa Nova (ボサノバ?)" /"Shushifu (秋止符?)" 69
1982 "Natsu wo Akiramete (夏をあきらめて?)" /"Ima wa Blues (今はブルース?)" 5
"Furareta Kibun (ふられた気分?)" /"Omoide Gawa (おもいで河?)" 53
1983 "Lonely Way" /"Koi no Senaka (恋の背中?)" -
"Ai, Douja Koi, Douja (愛、どうじゃ。恋、どうじゃ。?)" /"Lonely Star" 71
"Nakasete (泣かせて?)" / "Tabidatsu Otoko (旅立つ男?)" 41
1984 "Yoru ni Aozamete (夜に蒼ざめて?)" / "Don't Cry My Heart" -
"Meigaza (名画座?)" / "Tokyo Bijin (東京美人?)" -
"Roppongi Rain (六本木レイン?)" / "Give Me Blues" 78
1985 "Kishū (帰愁?)" / "On'na Tomodachi (女友達?)" -
1986 "Tokyo Mikaeri Bijin (Tokyo見返り美人?)" / "Hoshiyoubi ni Aitaine (星曜日に会いたいね?)" 73
1987 "Ame no Hi no Eigakan (雨の日の映画館?)" / "Etranger" -
"Uramado Twilight (裏窓トワイライト?)" / "Koyoi, Shibaura, Melancholy (今宵、芝浦、メランコリー?)" -
1989 "Fuyu no Cattleya Kaigan (冬のカトレア海岸?)" / "Gin no Hari (銀の針?)" - Pony Canyon
1992 "Kanashii On'na (悲しい女?)" / "Kirei ni Naritai (綺麗になりたい?)" -
1993 "Maigo (迷子?)" / "Off" -
"Mary Jane" / "Half Moon" -
1994 "Hanabi (花火?)" / "Doukeshi (道化師?)" -
1995 "Waltz (ワルツ?)" / "Silk no Umi (SILKの海?)" -

Other singles[edit]

Year Single Chart positions Additional information Label
JP
[2]
1985 "Natsuzakari Ho no Ji Gumi (夏ざかりほの字組?)" / "Vacance Game (バカンス・ゲーム?)" (with Toshihiko Tahara) 5 Credit to "Toshi and Naoko" Canyon
1992 "Hanashi ga Chigaujanai (話が違うじゃない?)" / "Kiyoku Tadashiku Utsukushiku (清く 正しく 美しく?)" (with the Lilacs) 91 Credited to "Naoko and Lilacs" Pony Canyon
2001 "Ginza Atari de Gin! Gin! Gin! (銀座あたりで ギン!ギン!ギン!?)" / "Love Tokyo Night" (with Ken Shimura) 41 Credited to "Ken♂♀Ken"
Produced by Tsunku
2004 "Koi Suredo Shanana (恋すれどシャナナ?)" (with Toshihiko Tahara) 123 Gauss Entertainment

Studio albums[edit]

  • On-na Gokoro (女ごころ?) (1973)
  • Dai-San no On-na (第三の女?) (1974)
  • Guzu (愚図?) (1975)
  • Nakiwarai (泣き笑い?) (1976)
  • Kamome no You ni (かもめのように?) (1977)
  • Naoko VS Miyuki (a.k.a. Ken Naoko, Nakajima Miyuki wo Utau (研ナオコ、中島みゆきを歌う?)) (1978)
  • Naoko VS Aku Yu (1979)
  • Akireta Otoko Tachi (あきれた男たち?) (1980)
  • Renairon (恋愛論?) (1981)
  • Naoko Mistone (1983)
  • Standard ni Kanashikute (スタンダードに悲しくて?) (1983)
  • Again (1984)
  • Meigaza (名画座?)
  • Deep (1985)
  • Bitter (1989)
  • Re-Naoko -Kanashii On-na- (悲しい女?) (1992)
  • Ago -Ano Koro e Love Letter- (あの頃へラブレター?) (1993)
  • Love Life Live Yayoi (弥生?) (2008)

Compilations[edit]

Filmography[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]