I'm surprised that none of us had yet covered this particular song by the 80s techno aidoru Chisato Moritaka（森高千里）but here it is now. Seeing that music video made me realize that if there were any Japanese music video that would belong on my old favourite bizarre music video program "City Limits" on Canada's MuchMusic, Moritaka's "Mi~Ha~" would be the one. I simply cannot decide whether it is exquisitely tacky or tackily exquisite. In any case, it could be the first single that she released that rather cemented her image as a synth-driven high-toned teenybopper singer in the short skirt.
"Mi~Ha~" started life as the title track for her 2nd album which came out in March 1988. As for the video above, due to the length and all of the dance music effects, I think the version there may be of her 4th single "The Mi~Ha~ (Special Mi~Ha~ Mix)" from April of that year.
This was the first song that Moritaka had provided lyrics for, with Hideo Saito（斉藤英夫）providing the music and arrangement. I was surprised from reading the J-Wiki article for the album that despite her contribution to "Mi~Ha~", she really didn't enjoy singing it and supposedly the recording of the song was painful according to an interview she gave to "Gekkan Kadokawa"（月刊カドカワ...Monthly Kadokawa）, although I don't know whether that was physically or emotionally so or both. Yet, though Moritaka did refer to it as pretty lame, she also admitted that it did come to grow on her.
Hearing the album version above during her appearance on "Music Station", it did sound like she was singing in a lower key so perhaps that was a bit less taxing on her vocal cords.
It may be 30 years since Chisato fans first heard "Mi~Ha~" but it looks like the singer-songwriter hasn't lost her touch on the song according to this 2015 self-cover.
Looking through Moritaka's lyrics, I think the whole story behind "Mi~Ha~" is perhaps one of self-indictment. The protagonist seems to be a young lady who's bitterly warning anyone within earshot to stay away from her since she has had a penchant for chasing and romancing the latest young Lothario, only to get repeatedly and unceremoniously dumped.
Now, I have to say that the first time I heard the term "mi-ha-" was back in my JET days in Gunma Prefecture. When I inquired about it, a few of my fellow teachers tried to explain it and so I countered that perhaps the English translation would be "starstruck". However, they then proceeded to demonstrate the Japanese gesture for "not really" by sucking in air through the side of the mouth like a really avid Dyson vacuum cleaner and tipping their heads to one side. Apparently "mi-ha-" doesn't just describe a person who is celeb-crazed but a rather shallow entity who also chases after the smallest pop cultural fad like a fawning puppy. Not surprisingly, according to jisho.org, the word has been designated as derogatory. The amazing thing that I found out about it was that the slang expression has been in existence for nearly a century!
At first, I was afraid that I would be labeled as the Mi-Ha- teacher of Tsukiyono since I did have a thing for Japanese music and television at the time (of course, one of those two things has stayed with me to the current day). However, my main English teacher reassured me that in my case, I was looking at those things in a purely culturally interested light and not spending every last yen on all sorts of trinkets (although he never found out that I was purchasing 8 CDs a month for my 2 years on the programme 😅) and not harassing the students with any stories on all sorts of fads and celeb talk.
To be frank, though, if there were a mi-ha- time for me, it would have been during my high school years after getting back from that 1981 trip to Japan. I was so obsessed with my ancestral country that I was actually cutting out newspaper clippings on anything having to do with it and I ended up deciding to major in Japanese Studies at the University of Toronto. Still, all that obsession has led me to my life in Gunma and Tokyo (obviously no regrets there) and now to this blog (absolutely no regrets).