Noriko Kamachi (蒲池 法子)
10 March 1962
Kurume, Fukuoka, Japan
(m. 1985; div. 1997)
(m. 1998; div. 2000)
Noriko Kamachi (蒲池 法子, Kamachi Noriko, born 10 March 1962), professionally known as Seiko Matsuda (松田 聖子, Matsuda Seiko), is a Japanese pop singer, songwriter, known for being one of the most popular Japanese idols of the 1980s. Due to her popularity in the 1980s and her long career, she has been dubbed the "Eternal Idol" by the Japanese media. In 2016, however, Ian Martin of The Japan Times compared her output unfavorably with that of Utada Hikaru, describing Matsuda as "first and foremost an idol rather than an artist. Her legacy is best expressed in singles rather than albums." Seiko once held the record for number-one hits from 1983 to 2000 (broken by B'z) and for solo artist (broken by Ayumi Hamasaki in 2006). Seiko was the overall finale performer of Kouhaku (Red White Music Battle) in 2014 and 2015, the prestigious NHK New Year's Eve Music show on which she has performed 21 times (until 2017). She is still actively releasing new singles and albums, doing annual summer concert tours, winter dinner shows, high-profile TV commercials and movies, and makes frequent TV appearances and radio broadcasts.
In January 2011, the Japanese music television program Music Station listed her as the 2nd best-selling idol of all time in Japan, with 29,510,000 records sold. She placed right behind pop group SMAP and ahead of Akina Nakamori, her biggest rival from the 1980s, who was listed in third place.
After winning the 'Miss Seventeen' contest held by a popular magazine in 1978, a sixteen-year-old girl named Noriko Kamachi from Fukuoka adopted the stage name "Seiko Matsuda" and rose to fame in 1980 as a teen idol, making her debut with the song "Hadashi no Kisetsu" (lit. "Season of Bare Feet"). Later in the same year, her 3rd single "Kaze wa Aki-iro" (lit. "Wind Is Autumn Color") became the first of her 24 consecutive number 1 hits in Japan. She shattered the former Japanese record of nine consecutive number-ones by popular 1970s music duo Pink Lady. Her run of number-one records ended in 1989 when her 27th single "Precious Heart" ranked at number two, behind Tetsuya Komuro's "Gravity of Love". Matsuda had another number-one single "Anata ni Aitakute ~Missing You~" (lit. "I want to meet you ~Missing you~") in 1996, which would become her last number-one single to date. It was certified a million-seller by RIAJ.
Matsuda held the record for the most number-one singles (25) and most consecutive number-one singles (24) on Japan's Oricon charts for 12 years, from 1988 to 2000. Both were surpassed by B'z in late 2000. She held the record for the most number-one singles (25) by a female singer for 18 years, from 1988 till 2006, when Ayumi Hamasaki's "Startin'/Born to Be..." became her 26th single to top the charts. Matsuda's held the record for the most consecutive number-one singles (24) by a female singer and any soloist for 22 years, from 1988 to 2010. It was broken by Hamasaki's "L" in September/October 2010. Matsuda also held records for the most top-ten albums (50) and most number-one albums. Both records have since been broken by Hamasaki. Matsuda was the first artist to have a single and an album debut at No. 1 on the Oricon Chart in the same week. So far, this has only happened three times.
Her long staying power is mainly due to her continuous re-invention of herself. She was labeled a 'Mamadol' (idol who remains popular even after having children). Her hair styles, fashion sense and makeup have all been copied by millions of girls and women in Japan and in certain parts of Asia.
Matsuda's voice and singing technique have won her two best performance awards from Nippon Record Awards, first in 1983 for ガラスの林檎 (lit. Glass Apple) and again in 1993 for 'きっと、また逢える・・・' (lit. Surely, will meet again).
Matsuda began to write her songs by herself. She wrote lyrics for the first time when she produced her song "Chiisana Love Song" (lit. "Small Love Song") in 1983. This was followed by her first composed song "Canary". All lyrics of her 2007 album Baby's Breath were written by herself. It became her first completely self-produced album.
Matsuda attempted to break into the North American market with an English-language, self-titled album in 1990. She managed to score a hit – "The Right Combination", a duet with boy band New Kids on the Block singer Donnie Wahlberg. The album sales were mediocre, and her follow-up Was it the Future failed to generate significant sales. In 2002, however, Matsuda's English dance hits "All to You" and "Just for Tonight" managed to reached the Billboard dance chart at No. 8 and No. 2, respectively.
In July 2006, Matsuda's compilation album Seiko Matsuda, which consisted of 74 CDs, debuted at number 96, becoming the highest-priced album in the Oricon history at the price of 100,000 yen (about 850 dollars). Hibari Misora, a well-known enka singer from the 1950s held the previous record with her 1989 album Kyō no Ware ni Asu wa Katsu (60,000 yen).
Although some up-and-coming female singers like Namie Amuro and Hamasaki became successful after the end of the 1980s, most "typical" pop idols from Matsuda's era disappeared as the golden age of idols began to fade away, except Matsuda, who was still going strong, releasing single after single. She has been a secret idol for subsequent female celebrities such as Shoko Nakagawa who called Matsuda "God" and "My Universe". Japanese voice actress Nana Mizuki released her cover version of Matsuda's "Akai Sweet Pea" (lit. "Red Sweet Pea") as the B-side of an image song single under the character name Moka Akashiya of the anime Rosario + Vampire on 14 February 2008. There are endless cover version of Matsuda songs and tribute albums being released every year. Among those 'Diamond Eyes', 'Missing You' and 'Akai Sweet Pea' (lit. Red Sweet Pea) and Sweet Memories have been reinterpreted by other artists countless times, including a cover performance by Akina Nakamori.
On 5 August 2009, Sony re-released 16 of Matsuda's early albums under the Blu-spec CD format. Thirteen of these entered the Oricon Top 100 Album Chart at the same time, surpassing the record set by Hibari Misora (12 albums) and making her the first female artist to do so.
Matsuda is also on the Top 3 list of Most No.1 albums, Most Top 10 singles and Most Top 10 albums for a solo artist. HMV Japan ranked her No. 10 Top Japanese Artist of All Time, and No. 7 Top Singer of All Time.
Matsuda still holds annual concerts, Christmas dinner shows and New Year's Eve Countdown shows. Despite the high ticket prices (her dinner show tickets are the most expensive among female artists) for many years and to this day, she always performs to a sold-out crowd. Matsuda is also listed as second only behind Eikichi Yazawa as an artist to have performed many concerts at the Nippon Budokan.
Matsuda made a guest appearance on one of Fox Broadcasting Company's popular TV dramas "Bones" in 2010. In 2011, she was invited to perform in American music producer Quincy Jones's concert at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles. She also performed as a guest vocalist on the album "Esprit De Four" by the contemporary Jazz super-group Fourplay, released worldwide on 18 September 2012
In 2015, Matsuda won the Japanese equivalent of a Grammy Award when she received Best Vocal Performance at the Japan Record Awards, the most prestigious award in the Japan music industry. In 2020, she became one of five recipients of the Special Achievement Award at the 62nd Japan Record Awards.
In 1983, Matsuda was romantically linked with singer, Hiromi Go. Although there were rumours of an impending engagement, Go's traditional values would have required Matsuda to give up her singing career and focus on raising a family instead. Momoe Yamaguchi, Japan's top female idol of the 1970s, had followed such a course, but Seiko ended her relationship with Go instead. Her break from tradition set a precedent for Japanese women in the 1980s and 1990s to continue their careers even after marriage.
Matsuda has been married three times. She married actor Masaki Kanda in 1985 and later divorced in 1997. Their only child and daughter, Sayaka Kanda, is also a singer. Her second husband, Hiroyuki Hatano, was a dentist to whom she remarried in 1998 and divorced in 2000. On 13 June 2012, she announced her third marriage to university associate professor, Hiromasa Kawana, on her official website.
In addition to music, Matsuda's career include appearances in film, radio, and television. Along with other books about Matsuda and several books of her photos including Five Seasons, No Comments, Akai Sweet Pea, have been published. Matsuda has appeared in numerous commercials, such as numerous Ezaki Glico products, Minolta, Sony, Diosa Hair Color, Suntory, DirecTV, NTT DoCoMo, Astalift, Kanebo, Doctor Drive, Takano Yuri, Alba, and Shiseido. In 2015, Matsuda caused a stir in the Japanese entertainment industry when she modelled for lingerie company, Triumph International.
- Squall (1980)
- North Wind (1980)
- Silhouette (1981)
- Kazetachinu (1981)
- Pineapple (1982)
- Candy (1982)
- Utopia (1983)
- Canary (1983)
- Tinker Bell (1984)
- Windy Shadow (1984)
- The 9th Wave (1985)
- Sound of My Heart (1985)
- Supreme (1986)
- Strawberry Time (1987)
- Citron (1988)
- Precious Moment (1989)
- Seiko (1990)
- We Are Love (1990)
- Eternal (1991)
- 1992 Nouvelle Vague (1992)
- Sweet Memories '93 (1992)
- Diamond Expression (1993)
- A Time for Love (1993)
- Glorious Revolution (1994)
- It's Style '95 (1995)
- Vanity Fair (1996)
- Was It The Future (1996)
- My Story (1997)
- Forever (1998)
- Eien no Shoujo (1999)
- 20th Party (2000)
- Love & Motion Vol.1 (2001)
- Love & Motion Vol.2 (2001)
- Area62 (2002)
- Sunshine (2004)
- Fairy (2005)
- I'll Fall in Love (2005)
- Under the beautiful stars (2005)
- Bless You (2006)
- Baby's Breath (2007)
- My Pure Melody (2008)
- My Prelude (2010)
- Cherish (2011)
- Very Very (2012)
- A Girl in the Wonder Land (2013)
- Dream & Fantasy (2014)
- Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo (2015)
- Shining Star (2016)
- Seiko Jazz (2017)
- Daisy (2017)
- Merry-go-round (2018)
- Seiko Jazz 2 (2019)
- Seiko Matsuda 2020 (2020)
- Nogiku no Haka (1981) (Tamiko)
- Purumeria no Densetsu Tengoku no Kiss (1983)
- Natsufuku no Eve (1984)
- Karibu Ai no Symphony (1985)
- Penguin's Memory (1985) (Voice)
- Docchimo Docchi (1990)
- Final Vendetta (1996)
- Armageddon (1998) (Cameo)
- Drop Dead Gorgeous (1999)
- GEDO The Final Blade (2000)
- Sennen no Koi Story of Genji (2001)
- Shanghai Baby (2007)
- Grave of the Fireflies (2008)
- Yazima Beauty Salon The Movie (2010)
- Ramen Teh (2018)
- The Big Easy (1997) as Yuki (Episodes Shrimp Stew and The Black Bag)
- Partners (2000) as Lin
- King of the Hill (2002) – Season 6, Episodes 21 & 22 (Rhythm game playing girl) and her song "Kimono Beat" is used.)
- Tatta Hitotsuno Takaramono (2004)
- Doraemon (2007) - Appearance cameo in Season 2, Episode 190 "We're Gonna Steal Mom's Diamond"
- Hanazakari no Kimitachi e (2007)
- Bones (2010) – Season 5, Episode 15 (Riku Iwanaga)
- Taira no kiyomori (2012), Gion no nyōgo
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