What I have here is an old booklet called "ABC of corresponding in English" which has turned a little brownish over time. It is stated on the cover that it is "Supplement to August edition of English Friend Magazine." August edition, that is, August 1968.
"English Friend," probably now long gone, was a magazine targeted at Japanese junior high school students just starting to take English lessons. Long before the arrival of the Internet or emails, it tells you "how to write to your pen pals around the world in English." It shows several sample passages to open your letter: "This is my first letter in English," and that sort of things.
Then follow four sample letters: Two "replies to a foreign pen pal" and two "letters to someone who lives abroad."
Quite interestingly, of the two sample letters of the latter kind, one is a fan letter to Maurice Gibb! Let's take a look.
Written in easy English by a "fake" teenager, this letter is dated July 27, 1968.
My dear Maurice,
This is my first letter to you. I am a fourteen-year-old Japanese girl and am an ardent Bee Gees fan.
I hear that you and Robin are twin brothers and Barry is your eldest brother. Both of your brothers are really wonderful singers. When I hear the Bee Gees singing, I'm always excited. I love "Massachusetts" among others.
You are the youngest in the Bee Gees, aren't you? Oh, how I love you! You look so cute and play the bass guitar so sweetly! Many of my girl friends also like you very much, and we talk about you and the Bee Gees almost every day.
Keiko, a friend of mine, likes Barry best because he is the leader of the group and is the tallest of the five. We were surprised to hear that he is six feet and one inch tall! Most girls say that he looks just like Kenji Sawada, one of the Japan's most famous "Group Sound" singers, but I think Barry is much nicer.
I hear the Bee Gees are going abroad to the United States next month. I do hope you'll come over to Japan, too.
I suppose you are always as busy as a bee, but please send me a reply if you could. I'll write to you again.
With all my love, Yumiko Kimura
P.S. I enclose a snapshot of my friends and myself. We are all ardent Maurice fans.
Well, is this genuine or "fake"? Our conclusion is that this could have been a part of the promotional campaign that Polydor Japan was doing at that time and is therefore a fake.
It covers basic Beegeeological facts like Maurice being a "twin brother of Robin" and "plays bass," and generally sounds "silly" enough to be a fan mail written by a fourteen-year old, but there is one revealing mistake. The name of Maurice is spelt "Mawrice" (LOL). Even a 14-year-old fan who's supposed to be "not fluent in English" would not have misspelt the name of the target of her young adoration.
It does tell us, however, that the Bee Gees back then were regarded as teen heartthrobs and the record company most likely targeted their campaign at junior high school girls.
If Maurice could read this now...he might be tickled pink? Oh, how we wish we could write to Maurice...
Incidentally, I once met a (then) young Barry fan. Taking the example from this magazine or not, she wrote to Barry three times in the late sixties and Barry wrote back each and every time! She showed me his letters, and one of them was quite long really, and it was very obvious he was trying very hard and sincerely to answer all her questions. It was very touching.
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