Monday, May 31, 2010

Idol Flashback : Okada Yukiko Part 1[Updated]

[Talking about idol history and not including this idol would be wrong of me .After this topic, we will return to brighter history]

Okada Yukiko
[August 22, 1967-April 8, 1986]

How could someone so happy on the outside, have so much pain inside? That question will forever go unanswered.

Okada was born in Nagoya, she loved to read books, paint and like many girls in the 80`s she dreamed of becoming an idol. Okada went to every audition large and small, only to see rejection after rejection, until her little heart and big dreams took her to Nippon TV and a show called Star Tanjo! Okada was able to capture first place and her dreams of becoming an idol became real .Okada Yukiko was Japan’s newest idol.

A year of training and planning ended on April 21, 1984 when Okada debuted with her first single, "First Date" a nervous Yukiko misspoke and Japan suddenly saw this smiling, yet scared girl introduce herself as Yukko. This would be one of the few mistakes that Okada would make as she raced up the charts. Okada would end up winning rookie of the year, best new artist and have three hit singles all in her first year.

In her second year, Okada landed the leading role on her first television drama Kinjirareta Mariko, and in her third year, her new single “Lip Network” reached #1 on the Oricon weekly charts on February 10, 1986.

Japan and the idol world seem to be hers for the taking, for this always smiling, always happy young idol nothing seemed impossible, which made the events to come even more confusing to understand.

On April 8, 1986 with the idol world in the palm of her hands, members of her agency Sun Music went to her apartment and immediately the smell of gas was through the apartment and a search for Okada started.

Okada was discovered at 10 o’clock in her closet, her wrist slashed and crying. Japan’s smiling sweetheart was in pain . Okada was taken to her agencies office and after two hours in the building at 12:15, Okada Yukiko jumped to her death . Her young idol career was over at 18 . News of the event broke across Japan with the announcement of the passing of the always-happy Yukko, as she was known, for her misstep on TV . Okada`s fans reacted in horror and over the space of the next two weeks 31 of Okada`s fans joined her. Instead of getting ready to buy her new single a nation was preparing to bury many of it`s young .

How could a girl who’s smile became so famous , be so sad ? . We often forget that in order for idols to entertain their fans ,they have to hide their true feelings at times ,for not wanting to let everyone down ,if we see that they are in pain. Was she worried that her fans might not understand ,if she said, “I need to rest” ?

For what ever her reasons, the smiling face of Okada Yukiko kept secret that her heart was in pain. Okada Yukiko in her short career released 10 singles ,two after her death and the last in 2002 . She released eight albums again two after her death and to this day remains an important part of idol history and was ranked by Nippon TV as the 17th most important and historical woman in Japanese history.

Yukko as her fans called her to this day is remembered every April 8 ,as she will never be forgotten .

My memory of Yukko is not of April 8 , my memory of Yukko will always be smiling .

When looking back at Okada Yukiko our memories should not focus on how she left us, but the wonderful treasures that she gave the idol world.

[In the 80`s the music industry was over flowing with idols and you would have several on one show . Here is Okada in Idol Sumo]

Okada Yukiko ,Thank you for the smile that you gave.

It was always said that Okada Yukiko had the most beautiful smile of the 80`s era idols .She really did have a magical smile and innocence about her much like Michishige Sayumi ,minus her cute gimmick as Okada was very humble as was most idols back then. Okada was always so happy and smiling in public, that she earned the name “smiling princess” As her popularity grew; she scored a number of product ads and even made a video in Switzerland titled “Yukiko in Swiss”. It was this public image that has always made her passing so difficult to believe, she was never a victim of tabloid scandals .She was truly an idol that everyone wanted to support.

Here are the commercials that Okada made before passing away.

Okada Yukiko CM`s Part 1

Okada Yukiko CM`s Part 2

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations on your award! Well deserved!

    As an English speaking person who is fascinated with the Idol world and it's history, it is very hard to find any informative stuff.

    Please do more, Would love an entry on Momoe Yamaguchi!

    There is a book that needs to be written here. Starting post WW II up to now. I have missing gaps in my limited knowledge and you are helping to fill them, thank you!


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