The Story Of Miki Matsubara & Mayonaka No Doa – Stay With Me

Today we’re looking at Miki Matsubara and her debut 1979 Japanese City Pop song Mayonaka No Doa 真夜中のドア – Stay With Me. We have an English translation of the song and performance sung by Cake Sullivan, and then we’ll jump into the background. I track the history of the song from the 1979 original version, through to the Rainych Youtube cover, to Mayonaka blowing up on TikTok in 2020.

Approx Japanese level
Love, City Pop
Text Type
Japanese Lyrics,  Songs In Translation

Stay With Me Japanese Lyrics

To you, yes my love to you

私は私 貴方は貴方と

昨夜言ってた そんな気もするわ


見覚えがある コーヒーのしみ


ショーウィンドウに 二人映れば

Stay with me…



あの季節が 今 目の前

Stay with me…



まだ忘れず 大事にしていた

恋と愛とは 違うものだよと

昨夜言われた そんな気もするわ




そこに 貴方を感じていたの

Stay with me…



あの季節が 今 目の前

Stay with me…



同じメロディ 繰り返していた…

Stay with me…



あの季節が 今 目の前

Stay with me…



まだ忘れず 暖めてた

Stay with me…



あの季節が 今 目の前

Stay with me…



まだ忘れず 暖めてた

Stay with me…



あの季節が 今 目の前

Stay with me…

Stay With Me English Lyrics

My love, I send to you my love

Send to you my love

I am me and you are you

Last night I heard you talking

I swear it’s true

I saw on your grey jacket

A coffee stain that I’m sure I’d seen before

I thought, isn’t that just like you dear?

 reflecting in the shop window, right there I saw

Stay with me

Till the dark night turns into morning light

I was knocking on your door and crying with the seasons changing

Right before my eyes

Stay by my side

Stay with me

These words, how many times must I repeat?

I remember way back when how you would treat

Treat me so sweet

Love and affection

Are not the same thing

Last night I think

That’s what you said to me

And when the 2nd winter came

Seemed like our love just blew away

It’s only now I look back that I see

I always knew when you were right there with me

Stay with me

Till the dark night turns into morning light

I need something to help me fill this hole inside

And the seasons they change

Right before your eyes

Stay with me

Take my mind off how I get so damn lonely

Put the needle on that record

Play that melody

Over and over

And over on repeat

Why Did Miki Matsubara’s Stay With Me Blow Up In 2020?

The internet has a strange habit of regurgitating cultural artifacts up from the bubbling & voluminous ooze of human history. In this way, curios that have been previously looked over, passed on, loved in parallel worlds or inhabited worlds partially loved, somehow find new life. Matsubara Miki’s Mayonaka No Doa – Stay With Me, meaning “Midnight Door – Stay With Me”, is one such piece of shimmering flotsam to have surfaced on the digital tide.

The song started doing the rounds on Tic Toc in the dying months of the annus mirabilis of 2020. In an unprecedented year, it was an unexpected cover of the song by Indonesian-Muslim artist Rainych that set the spark of the viral fire that spread to social media, by uploading a cover of the song to Youtube on the 29th of October 2020. 

Flawlessly sung in Japanese by an Indonesian with almost no ability to speak a word of Japanese, the song perhaps represents a new watermark in the globalization of culture.

But who can really say why these things take off? I like to see it as an act of nature, or divinity, or divine nature, like a cyclone or an earth tremor, or a large wave. Perhaps it was the infamous hand of god, guided by the then only recently deceased maradona.

The internet is a surging ocean.

Whatever the providence, some of the appeal must have come from the cheesy, yet undeniably soaring, melody, performance and arrangement. Mayonaka occupies a late 70s, early 80s style jazz fusion, America-meets-rising-sun world, with a combo locking into a funky groove, in consummate session muso fashion. It’s got layers of muted horns, shimmering keys and extended harmony inflected strings. 

It also has a perfectly twinkling  Matsubara eye film clip if you watch one of the most prominent selections doing the rounds on Tik Tok. 

Hey, it was the year of the plague, so you can forgive the greater online diaspora for frothing for a little razzle dazzle.

Miki Matsubara & The Rise of Japanese City Pop

Of course, the song is placed in a larger wave of ironic nostalgia that has been rippling across the globe ever since Japanese and Western DJ’s started spinning the so called – Rare Grooves in the 90s. This was the music of the late economic bubble era 80’s Japan, one part of what had, rather uninspiringly been given the moniker of “New music”. Loosely tied up into an amorphous subgenre mirror ball called “City Pop”, people started seeking out this music deeply influenced by American AOR, Adult and Album Orientated Rock, depending on who you believe, which favored sophisticated, jazz and funk inflected grooves with a smooth, upbeat vibe. This music formed a soft rebellion against the more heart on your sleeve, socio-political movement-orientated folk and raucous rock that had taken hold in the mid 60s. The new music was all about personal fortune and misfortune, the world be damned. Musicians, such as Haromi Hosono and his band Happy End, who I looked at in my last Songs In Translation Video, and, even more characteristically, Sugar Babe, symbolised the start of the change in Japan.

By the time Miki Matsubara released the song in 1979, aged 19 and a year out of high school, the City Pop genre was just starting to launch into full flight.

Who Wrote Miki Matsubara’s Mayonaka 真夜中のドア No Doa Stay With Me?

The music and words to the Mayonaka No Doa Stay With Me were written by two jobbing hit makers Tokuko Miura and Tetsuji Hayashi, both of whom have enough song writing credits listed on their wikipedia pages to give you Carpal Tunnel just trying to scroll through them. Tokuko is perhaps best known as the behind the scenes wordsmith to pen many of Pop megastar Seiko Matsuda’s early hits. Mayonaka no Doa was the only song she worked with Matsubara on.

Many of the people Matsubara worked with describe her as being something special. Indeed,she was one of those people that was good at everything. At school, she was a top student, did well at sport, had a charismatic personality that everyone was drawn to. Everyone expected her to go on to a prestigious university. To her local community’s surprise at the age of 17, she courageously set out to the big smoke of Tokyo to pursue another of her many talents – singing. Within a year she was scouted after jumping on stage for an impromptu performance at a bar, and was promptly armed with some hit material and sent to the studio.

About Miki Matsubara

Miki Matsubara in Mid-Career

But she wasn’t just an object being acted on. She was serious about her music. From the start there was something mature, adult, about her. She didn’t fit the kawaii sugar puff idol mold. She was undeniably beautiful, but had something of the femme fatale about her. 

A guitarist from her band would later say in an interview that her attitude to music, that “you have to unflinchingly attack it head on”, had changed his life. In short, she was a pro.

At the age of 25, she started seeing many female singers around start to recede into the background, retire, as if being on the downhill side of one’s 20s was the time for a woman in music to quietly step down. Instead, Matsubara doubled down. She also began adding new strings to her bow. She started a band, Dr. Woo. She honed her skills as a songwriter and composer. She wrote theme songs, and anime soundtrack music. In this way, she spent the next decade and half not just as a singer, but as a productive music industry creator.

Then, shortly after the turn of the millennium, and entering her early forties, she sent an abrupt and startling email message to her friends. She told them she was cutting ties. Getting rid of her home phone, cancelling her mobile phone contract, closing her email account. Those that replied to the email got nothing in return. To many, it was like she just disappeared.

And she stopped making music.

In a message to her brother she said “I’ve got a favour. Please forget about the years of my life singing and making music.” 

To her close family only she confided the reason for the sudden change. Her message to her brother continued “I can’t help but feel that the way I have been living my life has brought about my sickness…I must find a way to reset myself.”

How Did Miki Matsubara Die?

Matsubara died of uterine cervix cancer on October 7 2004. In 2001, she had made a clean and complete break from music, and from her community to devote herself completely to battling her illness. She was an all-or-nothing person. A perfectionist. Her new life mission was life itself. Now she was a warrior fighting disease.

In the words of Tom Waits, it was a train that took her away, but a train couldn’t bring her home.

She was given 3 months to live.

Miki Matsubara Final Years and Legacy

In the end, she proved herself, as in all things, above average even as a patient. From the time of her withdrawal from the world, to the time of her ultimate passing, a span of 3 years passed.

In her last days she confided in her father “There are still so many things I want to do. I don’t want to die”.

He would later say, “she had always been independent, but in the last six months of her life, it was almost as if she became a baby, craving her parent’s love.”

On the 7th of October, she rapped one last time on midnight’s door and was admitted for the final time.

But her music has not so much lived on, as reincarnated. The music of the time has gone on to hold a strange fascination for many people throughout the world. Most notably, the sounds of City Pop have been championed, if not fetishised, by the proponents of Vaporwave (perhaps most characteristically in the Macintosh Plus album Floral Shoppe), that reference the stylised sounds of the early eighties, the more exotic the better, through filters, quotation and varying degrees of irony.

But before she was a meme, Matsubara was a human. Before she was a femme fatale, she was a talented daughter. Before she was a sparkling eye, she was an insightful mind.

And no matter whether she comes knocking on our door in the dead of night or not, she deserves to stay with me and you.

Stay With Me General And Buying Info

What Album did 真夜中のドア Stay With Me appear on?

Stay With Me first appeared as Miki’s debut single on the 5th of November 1979. It would go on to appear on her debut album “Pocket Park” on the 21st of January 1980, on vinyl and cassette. A CD version of the album in 1990 and was reissued in 2009.

The song has also appeared on several best of and compilation albums.

Differences Between Album and Single Versions of Stay With Me

The intro section of the single version of Stay With Me features Miki’s vocals, while the album version only has back up singers. The album version of Stay With Me is also around 15 seconds longer than the single version, due to the inclusion of an extra chorus.

How Many Times Has Stay With Me been covered?

There are 28 cover versions of the song listed on the the Japanese version of Wikipedia. There have been countless other renditions of the song since it became popular on social media.

Miki Matsubara Soundtracks

Miki Matsubara wrote theme songs and contributed to the sound tracks for animations including Dirty Pair and Gundam 0033.

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If you liked this translation & exploration of Mayonaka No Doa Stay With Me, check out our translations of songs by other iconic divas of Japanese music including LiSA’s Demon Slayer Opening Theme 鬼滅の刃主題歌 Gurenge 紅蓮華 with lyrics in english translation and the endlessly creative Jun Togawa’s Suki Suki Daisuki.

Who is behind this site?

I’m Peter Joseph Head. I lived in Japan for four years as a student at Kyoto City University of the Arts doing a Masters Degree, have toured the country six times playing music and speak Japanese (JLPT N1). I’ve written songs in Japanese and have released several albums through Tokyo label Majikick Records. You can hear my music at my bandcamp page:



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