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The Peanuts

The Peanuts

They're mostly remembered these days as the tiny twin Japanese wonders who begged for the return of their god- monster in the original Mothra. But in Japan they were superstars - they were the Peanuts.

The twin sisters Hideyo & Tsukiko Ito rank in Japan among the most popular and most successful of showbiz acts; during their heyday they sold nearly 40 million records. Their own television show flickered week after week on the TV screen. They could be seen - and more importantly, heard - in films and live musical revues, not only in Japan, but also in the USA and Europe. They reached their greatest height of fame at the age of 19 years. They were born on April 1, 1946, in Nagoya. Their father, a food wholesale dealer, sent them to an expensive private school, where their musical talents could be nurtured. At the age of 14 years they were headlining in a local theater with piano accompaniment. Talent manager Misa Watanabe saw the two and brought them under contract. She saw to it that they continued their training in the performing arts - singing instruction and dance training of the two girls, into which they poured every spare bit of energy. Before long their hard work would pay off. When German vocalist Caterina Valente undertook a 1963 Japan tour, she became acquainted with the Peanuts' and was so taken with them that she brought back to Germany for an appearance on the program Bonsoir Catrin. The two Japanese girls sang on their German TV debut in their national language.

With the "German hit festivals" in June 1965 the Peanuts helped fill the master program; soon they would gain international renown for their ability to sing in both English and Japanese. Naturally they took advantage of this opportunity, and released a record "Happy Yokohama.". The girls would find various success, primarily in the German market, but in other European nations as well. Another single, "A White Pony," soon followed. There were slight difficulties: the two girls, being Japanese, had problems with the German language - so their producer in that country had songs written whose lyrics downplayed the (to them) difficult 'R' sound. With "sugar-sweetly like pineapple" afterwards the last German-language production of the two is published, because the disk company does not renew the contract. Thus it comes that they disappear with us from the scene, while they celebrate further large successes in their eastern homeland.

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