Idols of the Past I: Onyanko Club (1985~1987)

May 21, 2013 by

This is the very first installment of a series of articles dedicated to idols from the past. I am not only writing this because it is interesting to know but it will also help you enjoy certain shows you watch even more! Many current shows involve idols of the past, segments like where an idol of today has to do something with an idol of yesterday are very popular! It’s pretty interesting to know from which corner of entertainment they came from. Ok, enough intro, this wont be there anymore in the future articles but I have to introduce this section somehow XD

For the very first edition of Idols of the Past, there’s no one better to start off with than Onyanko Club (おニャン子クラブ)! Onyanko Club translates into something like Cats Club/Kitten Club. It is is one of the first popular large idol groups and it’s from the 80’s. I think many of us probably know this but if you don’t know it yet; You think AKB48 is Aki-P’s first ever group? BUBBUUU! Onyanko Club was in fact the very first large idol group by Aki-P! Yes you read that right, it was not your imagination LOL! XD So yeah, nice! Let’s get to know this Onyanko Club better! 😀


On April 1st 1985 the group debuted with their own TV show right away. It was a variety show on Fuji TV called Yuuyake Nyan Nyan (夕やけニャンニャン) which means something like “Sunset Meow Meow”. The gimmick was that the members, also known as Nyan Nyans and they all did the “Nyan Nyan” pose and such (yes I know you’re thinking Kojiharu’s now). Not much has changed since then, the show was about members introducing themselves, showing their special skills, interview guests and more. I tried hard to find the first episode for you online but I couldn’t. I found a video of a random episode which is better than noting I guess XD I can’t embed it because I can’t figure out the embedding method of YOUKU so I’ll leave the link here:

Before you watch you need to know, 80’s Variety show’s are surely more epic than they are now!
Random Yuuyake Nyan Nyan Episode on Youku

Finding screencaps from the show in higher def is HARD! That’s why I’ll leave a random nice Onyanko Club image XD

Just a few weeks after the show was aired the famous tabloid magazine Shukan Bunshun (文學界) published pictures of six members (and yes they were also underaged) smoking outside the studio. Oh Aki-P just 2 weeks in your idol groups career and a little did he knew this wasn’t the last scandal in his life XD Shukan Bunshun is the same magazine that had the revealing of the scandals of many AKB girls like the recent Miichan’s and Yukirin’s latest “scandals”. After the scandal those six girls were replaced, the show was moved to a much worse time slot and the broadcast was switched from national to local. Those six girls were fired and have literally disappeared from the earth. Till the day of now, nearly nothing is known or heard of these girls. Now that was a hard time for idols with a scandal past, I mean look at Miichan for example, everyone supports her (like me LOL)!

Shukan Bunshun images are pretty hard to find, so yeah this one will do XD

Enough about scandals. Let’s talk about their first single. “Serafuku wo nugasanai de” (セーラー服を脱がさないで) which translate into “Don’t make me take off my Sailor Fuku” is the title of Onyanko Club’s famous first single, released on July 5th 1985. This single has the same impact as AKB48’s Aitakatta but even bigger. This single made the girls so popular that their popularity went trough the roof and they even decided to switch Yuuyake Nyan Nyan back to national broadcast.


I’m sure you’re pretty curious about the song now if you don’t know it yet, so here it is!

In this age of time we are used to it, but the lyrics were very very perverted for that time and people really had to get used to it. In the singles released after the first one like Oyoshininatte Teacher (およしになってねTEACHER) which means “Behave and be good, teacher!” and Otto Chikan (おっとCHIKAN!)which means “ZOMFG CHIKAN!11” had even more suggestive lyrics and subjects that were really really taboo back in the days. Think of students flirting with teachers to up their grades in trade for their virginity and such (yeah you read that correctly LOL). The thing was that the songs were sung from a young girls point of view and in a non-preachy way. With AKB songs these days this is quiet common but oh back then it was something new. Probably the same as the first time you looked up the translation for Tonari no Banana or something XD


Let’s have a talk about members. There were a total of 54 members at most. Unfortunately many of the members did not have a chance to get the spotlight. I must admit, it was a lot harder back in the days without social media like Ameblo, Twitter and G+ XD You really had to stand out if you wanted to be the popular kid. Anyways, this is how subgroups have developed! There was this subgroup Ushiroyubi Sasaregumi (うしろゆびさされ組) featuring Takai Mamiko and Iwai Yukiko. I know the names come out of nowhere but I have to mention them. XD Then there was also Ushirogami Hikaretai (うしろ髪ひかれ隊) which is the predecessor of Watarirouka Hashiritai (my favourite sub-group and thing in idol history btw :D)! Ushirogami Hikaretai’s members were Ikuina Akiko, Saito Makiko, and Kudo Shizuka (who became very famous in her solo career).


Here’s a PV of Ushirogami Hikaretai: Anata wo shiritai (あなたを知りたい) which means “I wanna know you”, which is an opening theme for an anime called Highschool! Kimengumi

I am not going in depth on members, you can probably find that on Wikipedia or something. There is one member though that I want to go in-depth with for a special reason. That member is Takai Mamiko (高井麻巳子), born on December 26, 1966. If you have a great memorization you should remember that she was in the subgroup Ushiroyubi Sasaregumi. What’s so important with this member? After quitting Onyanko Club and releasing 4 albums in her solo career she married Aki-P! She is Aki-P’s Waifu! That’s fun to know isn’t it? XD


Here is a famous live solo from Takai Mamiko during an Onyanko Club live in 1987. In that time live’s were actually live, with a live band and all! It’s pretty awesome 😀

In 1987 (yeah just 3 years) Onyanko club sadly came to an end. Japan was shocked when they heard their favorite idol group is going to break up. Many girls want into a solo path and most of those made a good career because of Onyanko Club. In September 1987 they preformed together for the last time and that was it! Imagine AKB doing this suddenly, I’m sure the sales of rotten eggs will increase drastically XD Main reason why they quit was simply because of many members aiming for a solo career and heavier music like J-Rock became more popular at the end of the 80’s. Oh little did they know the dislike was just temporarily XD In 2002 there was a reunion and they made one more single called Shoumikigen (ショーミキゲン) which means classmates. The single was in classic Onyanko style and it was great and all. Fun fact, this single debuted at #48 in the Oricon charts. Maybe that was the reason why it’s AKB48? Sounds like a possible legit reason to me 😀


I’m slowly gonna make an end. This article is already as long as it is and I could drag on and on and on about Onyanko Club like about more of their TV shows, the song “Nagisa no …”, the original Valentine Kiss song by Kokusho Sayuri feat. Onyanko Club, in depth on certain other members and probably much more. They were really THE thing of the 80’s, probably on the same level as AKB and the rest of the groups is a thing of now. Afaik as of today all the members are still alive and they still appear a lot in TV shows as guests. If you followed Naruhodo Highschool (which is a great show btw) you have seen them a lot, maybe without knowing it XD

As bonus here is live performance for you where Onyanko Club preforms a medley so you can hear different songs. You can see it’s Aki-P’s production I mean not much has really changed other than lip-syncing, video quality and 480000% more glowsticks XD The first song (Koi wa question) is my favourite Onyanko Club song btw!

Before I end this thing; If you were wondering this throughout the article, YES! Of course AKB48 preformed Onyanko Club’s debut song “Serafuku wo nugasanai de” before! I’ll end this article with a video of one of the performances “Serafuku wo nugasanai de” by AKB48. Hope you enjoyed this article and see you next time in Idols of the Past part II!

5 thoughts on “Idols of the Past I: Onyanko Club (1985~1987)

  1. MAIcrosoftMAIcrosoft Post author

    Thanks all! Really glad you like it because I worked really hard on this 🙂 Pictures from the 80’s in decent quality are especially a hassle to find and I spent a lot of time looking for those XD

  2. owaranai natsuyasumi

    Thank you. I’ve been their huge fan(I went to watch their last concert,Ushirogami’s last concert,Takai Mamiko’s 1st concert etc). Many people seems misunderstanding, actually Akimoto was not a producer of Onyanko Club. Fuji TV was their producer  and Akimoto was just a subcontractor. So Onyanko did not basically appear on a program but Fuji TV,and when Fuji TV decide to cancel Yuuyake nyan nyan due to low ratings,Onyanko had to break up. If Akimoto had authority to decide,Onyanko could last a few more years.

  3. Jim

    I found this after Onyanko Club randomly popped up in Amachan TV show.

    You wrote a great article here thanks for doing so!!


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