Noriko Kamachi ( )
March 10, 1962
|Years active||from 1980|
Seiko Matsuda ( Matsuda Seiko, born March 10, 1962) 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. Seiko used to hold all Number 1 records in charts 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, a prestigious NHK New Year's Eve Music show on which she has performed 21 times (up till 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 80's, 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 Japanese former record of nine consecutive number-ones by popular 70's music duo Pink Lady. Her consecutive number 1 record ended in 1989 when her 27th single "Precious Heart" was ranked at number-two, behind Tetsuya Komuro's "Gravity of Love". Matsuda gained another number 1 single "Anata ni Aitakute ~Missing You~" (lit. "I want to meet you ~Missing you~") in 1996, which would remained as her last number 1 single till date. The single was certified a million-seller by RIAJ.
Matsuda used to hold the records for the most number 1 singles (25) and most consecutive number 1 singles (24) on the 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 1 singles (25) by a female singer for 18 years from 1988 to 2006 when Ayumi Hamasaki's "Startin'/Born to Be..." reached number 1, making it her 26th single to top the charts. Matsuda's streak for the most consecutive number 1 singles (24) by a female singer and any soloist was held from 1988-2010 for 22 years. It was then broken by Hamasaki's "L" in September/October 2010. Matsuda also hold records for the most top 10 albums (50) and most number 1 albums. The former is tied by Hamasaki and the latter was broken again by Ayumi Hamasaki. Matsuda was the first artist in the Oricon history to have a single and an album debut at No. 1 on 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, and was labeled as 'Mamadols' (idols who remain popular even after having children). Her hair styles, fashion senses 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 (lit.Glass Apple) and again in 1993 for '' (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 music and 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 any 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 50's held the previous record with her 1989 album Ky? no Ware ni Asu wa Katsu (60,000 yen).
Although some up and coming female singers like Namie Amuro and Ayumi Hamasaki became successful after the end of the 1980s, most "typical" pop idols during Matsuda's era disappeared in Japan as the idol golden age 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 February 14, 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 cover performance by Akina Nakamori.
On 5 August 2009, Sony re-released 16 of Matsuda's early albums under the Blu-spec CD format. 13 of them entered Oricon Top 100 Album Chart at the same time, surpassing the record of 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 performed 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 September 18, 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 1983, Seiko was romantically linked with singer, Hiromi Go. Although there were rumours of an impending engagement, Go's traditional values would have required Seiko to give up her singing career and focus on raising a family instead.Momoe Yamaguchi, Japan's top female idol of the 1970s, has 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 was married to actor, Masaki Kanda, from 1985 to 1997. Their only child and daughter, Sayaka Kanda, is also a singer.
Her second husband, Hiroyuki Hatano, was a dentist whom she married from 1998 to 2000.
On June 13, 2012, she announced her 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, and Shiseido. In 2015, Matsuda caused a stir in the Japanese entertainment industry when she modelled for lingerie company, Triumph International.