Ai Otsuka – Momo no Hanabira

by Rinoa on August 27, 2006 · 13 comments · AddThis

Ai Otsuka's early photoshoots
An early photoshoot of Ai Otsuka during her debut era.
Artist: Ai Otsuka
Product Code: AVCD-30525/8
Release date: 2003.09.10
Debut Ranking: #24
First Press: Picturebook
Label: avex trax

Ai Otsuka had always been into the music since childhood. She started playing the piano when she was merely four years old. At the age of fifteen she began composing music and lyrics with the help of her piano teacher. By the time she was seventeen Ai-chin had already composed and written the lyrics for the songs “Always Together” and “Momo no Hanabira”, which were dedicated to a friend of hers. Too shy to perform by herself, Otsuka enlisted the help of several other friends and sang it as a chorus.

It was at this time that Ai-chin started considering to launch her musical career. Along with Mami Nishita, she formed an indies group called ‘HimawaRi’ which means ‘Sunflower’. Their first and only release was the single ‘Sakuranbo’. However a short while after this release Mami Nishita found a job, and consequently the group disbanded. Ai Otsuka continued studying and got her kindergarten teacher license. Nonetheless she never gave up her dream to become a singer and in February 2003, she sent a number of demo tapes to several major record labels. Avex trax happened to listen to her demo tape and they immediately picked her up and Ai signed a contract with avex. Seven months later Ai-chin released her debut single.

Ai Otsuka’s debut single was released early in September 2003. This single contained a CD version and also a first pressing extra, which happened to be a picturebook drawn by Ai Otsuka herself. On the following month, October 1st, the CD and DVD combination was released with a different cover. This version comes with a DVD containing the promotional video of “Momo no Hanabira” and a making-of featurette. ‘Momo no Hanabira’ sold relatively well for a debut single and charted at #24 on the first week, selling 6,848 copies. Overall this single has sold 44,822 copies and stayed in the charts for 17 weeks. With a simplistic image and self-composed melodies Ai made her debut to the Japanese music industry to become the icon she is now…


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Momo no Hanabira

Her debut song was probably a very special song for Ai-chin especially since she had penned it for a friend of hers when she was younger. The arrangement and melody of this song is extremely soothing and slow, making it an extremely enjoyable mid-tempo pop ballad.

‘Momo no Hanabira’ literally means ‘Peach Petals’. As the title suggests it has a rather sweet and girlish tone and a soothing atmosphere. This song starts off really slowly with soft instrumentals, along with a traditional Japanese guitar. Ai’s vocals are quite soft and soothing within this song, blending quite well with the background music. The chorus is also extremely mellow and sweet, making it so relaxing to listen to. The lyrics are simple and sweet, making you feel amused while listening to them. This song was used as the opening theme for Nihon TV Network’s drama “Suika”.

The promotional video is slow to fit the tone of the song. The setting takes part in a forest. With the use of three-dimensional graphics, we also get to see “Peach Petals” interacting with each other. Ai Otsuka is seen singing throughout the clip while the peach petals fall on the ground, creating a very aesthetically pleasing image.

Rating: ★★★★☆


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‘Himawari’ carries on a similar mood and tone to the title song. It starts off at an extremely low volume, suggesting a magical touch. This song progresses on with soothing instrumentals and Ai’s soft vocals. This song is a bit faster, with an amusing melody and the use of a harmonica. The pattern of this song is quite similar, making it a bit bland to listen to at times. Personally I’m not too fond of this song, but I still enjoy listening to it from time to time. ‘Himawari’ also happens to be a tribute to her old indie group, ‘HimawaRi’.

Rating: ★★★☆☆



For a debut single, I must say it’s certainly an interesting one. Ai Otsuka’s talent was still blossoming at this stage and yet she still managed to compose, write and sing two songs which are quite excellent. The simplistic and fresh image and the innocent tone which hung around this single made it extremely attractive for young teens to purchase this single. Despite the fact that the promotion was quite lacking and Ai did not make a huge hit from this single, ‘Momo no Hanabira’ still managed to sell quite well. I personally find this single quite fitting for autumn, giving that season a mellow and sweet taste while listening to them. It is definately something one should look into.

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆


CD Version
CD version
CD+DVD Version
CD+DVD version
  1. Momo no Hanabira
  2. Himawari
  3. Momo no Hanabira (Instrumental)
  4. Himawari (Instrumental)

Purchase this item: YesAsia US | YesAsia Global


This article was done as a tribute to the excellent blog, Channel-Ai Blog. This blog has certainly helped me to grow up as a writer and as a person. Thus I decided to review Ai’s debut single to celebrate this blog’s anniversary. Thank you all McBloggers for everything!

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About the author

Rinoa enjoys spending her free time writing articles, most particularly reviews, biographies and news articles. Her favourite artist is Ayumi Hamasaki but she enjoys listening to a wide range of musical talents from all over the world.

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

zer0 August 12, 2008 at 7:51 am

i just love all of her songs
all of her mellow genre
is soooo relaxing and
i love listen to it a plenty
of times

i love you ai otsuka
you’re the best!!!!! mwuuuahhh!!


mizuki CANADA July 2, 2008 at 9:21 am

ai otsukas song are great and sooo cute!!!!! she is a very good singer!!!! i really love her!!! i like her songs so much!!!! i like himawari, momo no hanabira, friends, birthday song, sakuranbo, planetarium, and many many more!!!!


kate AUSTRALIA April 12, 2008 at 4:03 am

she’s a very good singer…I really admire her and her songs…I love the sakuranbo and planetarium alot..even though I can’t understant the lyrics


ming July 13, 2007 at 1:46 pm

Himawari remains one of my favourite song of ai otsuka. Loves watchin her live. Yup will she come to a small country like singapore. Well we shall see.


XX May 27, 2007 at 9:37 am

i like all her songs.. ok, maybe not all.. but most of her songs.. they are very unique, and not all of them are about love, i think, coz i don’t really know japanese (eg. Ishikawa Oosaka Yuukou Jouyaku, PON PON).. also, some of her love songs are expressed in a vry unique way (SUUPAAMAN).. and she composes all her songs and plays some of them herself!!! that’s what i like about her.. 1 song i particularly like: Love Music.. this song, based on the video, i think it’s about universal love.. i seldom hear these kind of songs nowadays.. all i hear is BGR love.. i find this very respectable.. and of course, the song that made her famous: Sakuranbo.. cute.. and i also like Planetarium alot.. and.. omg, i think i’ll be listing down all her songs

and she’s cute herself too.. and also, watching her making her videos make me smile all the time.. i can’t really describe why, maybe coz she always look so happy enjoying herself.. haha

when will she come to a small country like Singapore?


Charee May 14, 2007 at 12:50 am

I really like her song ” PLanetarium” ’cause everytime I hear that song I feel like Floating in space, no problems and it makes my heart smiling all the time… all in all She ROCKS…!


Chihiro FINLAND May 10, 2007 at 1:45 pm

Sugoi wa kawaii!! (^^;


Sherilyn May 1, 2007 at 8:23 am

I really like Ai Otsuka. Her new song Planetarium makes Hana Yori Dango more beautiful. You’re my favorite japanese singer. Hope you’ll make more beautiful songs.


akina camille PHILIPPINES April 19, 2007 at 6:48 am

ai otsuka had a great voices and i love her song that she sang.i wish she can go to the philippines.


Nekomeme UNITED STATES April 17, 2007 at 12:13 pm

Momo no Hanabira has been my favorite Japanese song for over a year now, mostly because of the beautiful melody and lyrics, which are amazing in both Japanese and English. Ai-chin is certainly a true musical artist, and I hope she continues to come out with works as beautiful as this song.
I like your reviews, although I would have rated the songs higher. ^^


Ana February 23, 2007 at 6:15 am

Momo no Hanabira is a cute song because Ai Otsuka sang it! i wish she will visit the Philippines!


Kikaru UNITED STATES August 27, 2006 at 3:17 pm

Momo no Hanabira’s always been my definition of cuteness. Not too loud, not too childish. Tis a shame that this single didn’t sell so well. Ah, well, I’m just bitter because I’m not that fond of Sakuranbo and for some reason Momo no Hanabira and Amaenbo didn’t sell so well…

Good debut single, but still one of those songs that can only be taken in small doses.


LOVE&LOVE-Revolution NORWAY August 27, 2006 at 2:32 pm

I think this is her best single. Both songs are very soothing and calm, but still a lot of fun. HIMAWARI is still one of my favourie Ai Otsuka songs, even though it’s a B-side. I fell in love even more with the song even more after hearing the piano live version from one of her tours. I must admit that the original version can get a bit annoying when it’s being overplayed, but it doesen’t keep me from still replaying it from time to time.

Momo no Hanabira har always been one of my favourite ai songs, it stood out even from the first time I heard it. I really like the use of traditional instruments, the use of fun sounds like drops and cats and the addicting lyrics (yurayurayura.. parts and the like).

All in all I think these songs are quite different from the rest of her discography, which may be the reason why I pay less and less attention to her works.

Nice review, allthough I don’t really agree with your opinions. ;)


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