LEFT TO RIGHT: Miki, Ran, Sue

A few weeks after becoming a fan of Pink Lady following my arrival in Japan in August of 1977, I next discovered Candies, a cute, charming and talented trio who enjoyed a great deal of fame in their day. The group, consisting of Miki Fujimura, Ran Itoh and Yoshiko Tanaka (her stage name was Sue, more on that below) burst onto the scene in 1973 and quickly became extremely popular, thanks to their peppy, cheery pop songs and their pleasing presentation as they were among the first J-Pop girl groups to wear matching outfits onstage (a homage to Motown groups of the 60’s like The Supremes perhaps?) while pumping out 18 chart topping hits that dazzled fans with their wonderful harmonies. For a time, Candies were the top girl group in Japan until Pink Lady came along, and in 1977, those two groups ruled the charts, but the girls enjoyed a friendly rivalry with Mie and Kei. Late that same year, the girls, only in their 20’s announced that they were breaking up, saying they wanted to go back to being “just ordinary girls” and disbanded after an emotional farewell concert in April of ‘78. However, the trio didn’t stay “ordinary” for very long, Ran and Sue became actresses (Sue, using her real name, is still acting to this day) while Miki enjoyed a brief fling as a solo artist in the early 80’s before getting married and apparently quitting show business for good. As far as I know, given my limited information (and it took quite some effort to dig up what you’re reading now), the girls, now in their early 50’s, never reformed the group or did reunion concerts like Pink Lady had over the years, so their time in the spotlight from the 1970’s was it for them. Still, as long as their music can be bought on CD’s and their timeless performances seen on DVD, not to mention YouTube (see below for a couple of my favorite videos), Candies will never die in the eyes of their loyal fans.

Addendum: In December 2007, I received an email from George Morris, a fellow Navy man and a huge fan of Candies who was kind enough to explain the story behind how Yoshiko became Sue. When the group first came together they were Ran Yotchi Miki (Yotchi is a common nickname for Yoshiko), but it was difficult to say all three names in a row. Taking a suggestion from a fan, the first kanji character of Yoshiko was read as Su when combined with the kana for ki. (Su-ki means "I like") That fan then suggested to just take the Su and elongate it for the one-syllable name Suu, which was Anglicized to Sue. Thanks loads, George!

Toshishita no Otokonoko

Yasashii Akuma

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