Pink Return

Pink Lady’s history on Japan’s legendary New Year’s Eve song contest show, Kohaku Uta Gassen has been checkered at best. As fans know, Mie and Kei passed up appearing on the 1978 edition of Kohaku in favor of their own special on a competing network. Not only was their show trounced, it fell into controversy, what with a busload of kids trucked in from a school for the blind to be in the audience, leading the press to suspect the kids were part of a publicity stunt. What may have been worse was that Mie and Kei weren’t invited back the next year, despite their enormous popularity. From what I’ve read about Kohaku, the producers go out of their way to avoid having performers on the show who may have been touched by any sort of scandal, and Pink Lady’s ill-fated involvement with those blind kids definitely qualified. Of course, one could speculate that the producers hated being snubbed by Mie and Kei, so they made the Ladies pay by returning the favor.

 But I digress. I’ve always been of the belief that the “Kohaku Debacle” began Pink Lady’s slide from prominence as a top recording act, leading to their eventual break-up in 1981. It would be a full ten years later before Mie and Kei returned to Kohaku’s stage. Remarkably, from what I’ve read from Mark Schaefer’s book, The Encyclopedia of Japanese Pop Culture, there hadn’t been any hurt feelings regarding the affair of 1978, but, I’ve never seen any footage of their appearance. However, as luck would have it, I do have video from a much later performance. On New Year’s Eve 2000, Mie and Kei sang on Kohaku and, thanks to PL fan Alan Newman who was kind enough to have provided me with the video, Mie and Kei wowed the crowd with a medley of their biggest hits, “Pepper Keibu”, “UFO” and “Southpaw”. It was five minutes of sheer magic as the Ladies were in top form for what may have been a precursor for their reunion tour three years later. Here's some screen captures of Mie and Kei’s brief, but sterling performance. Enjoy!

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