J Pop Exchange Logo Sakura Heading Photo Courtesy of Sawa

J-Pop Exchange Exclusive Interview with Sakura Koshio

Sakura Koshio J-Pop Exchange Radio Show Exclusive Interview Transcript


SeanBird (J-Pop Exchange): Hi Ms. Koshio, thank you for taking time to speak with us

Sakura Koshio: Thank you for having me.

SeanBird: Would you mind sharing with us what it was like growing up in Japan?  Tell us what it was like growing up in Fukushima.

Sakura Koshio: I lived in Fukushima until I was 18 and since then have resided in Tokyo. As of late I have been making many appearances at concerts and events in Fukushima and so have been visiting there frequently. Often every week.

In Fukushima, I can spend my time in an unhurried, relaxed manner while surrounded by majestic nature. On the other hand, living in Tokyo there is a sense of speed in day to day life, and Tokyo itself has a stimulating environment in which I can feel the latest fashion and music.

From my time in Fukushima and Tokyo, there are images and songs which have been born through the goodness of life in these places as well as new discoveries, etc.

I believe that experiencing these two lifestyles has allowed me to lead my musical life in a very happy environment.

SeanBird: I understand you have been actively involved in promoting restoration efforts in Fukushima after the devastating affects of the earthquake and tsunami there. Please tell us more about your experiences with this.

Sakura Koshio: I was in Tokyo at the time of the earthquake.

I had relatives who were victims in Fukushima, and my sister was a victim in Miyagi. Even though I wanted to get back there straight away, transportation links were completely severed and so I was unable to.

The increasing destruction in Fukushima was broadcast on television, and seeing this caused me to feel great pain in my heart. I wanted to help, but there was nothing that I could do. There were times when I felt helpless.

Eventually transportation links were restored and so I started by doing the things that I could do.

First, I started off by singing at evacuation shelters where victims of the tsunami and nuclear incident were taking refuge.

I created a charity CD, held charity events and helped collect donations. I mainly focused on providing support for the daily life and education of the 162 children in Fukushima who lost their families, becoming orphans and forced to live alone. I am continuing with this even now.

I also recently participated in an event where 311 cherry blossom tree seeds were planted at Kawauchi Village, situated 20km from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

The planting of 311 seeds was in honor of the date of the earthquake, 3/11.

The seeds were planted one by one with the idea that someday these cherry blossom trees would grow and bloom beautifully, and many people would be able to come back and see the cherry blossoms.

SeanBird: Please tell us about your early musical experiences and training.mWhat instruments do you play and do you have any favorites?

Sakura Koshio: I have loved music since I was young, singing in particular. I joined the chorus section at elementary school and in high school competed in the chorus at a national tournament.

As I had wanted to work as a singer since I was young, I went to Tokyo. As I can play the piano a little, I sometimes use one when creating melodies.

I would need a little more practice before playing in front of an audience.

SeanBird: Who are your musical influences and what music do you like to listen to?

Sakura Koshio: In terms of artists that have influenced me, in Japan Namie Amuro and Miwa Yoshida particularly come to mind.

As for singers from overseas, I have learned by listening to the singing of the likes of Alicia Keys, Mariah Carey and Christina Aguilera.

I normally choose music to listen to that matches my mood at that time. Rock, jazz, R&B, classical, etc...

I receive inspiration by listening to music from various genres.


Sakura Koshio: Can you give us some insight into your creative process?  How do you go about writing a song?


I create my music by singing the melody that pops into my head. I then work on simple chords on a piano.

In addition, if a melody comes to mind while out and about or taking a bath, I record it on a voice recorder.

Once the melody has a degree of shape, I pass it on to the producers for their opinions and continue to make modifications and changes.


SeanBird: Please tell us about your latest CD.


Sakura Koshio: It is a song called "Aizu no Sora ni" released on July 31, 2013. I think it is called "The Sky of Aizu" in English?? Aizu is the name of the place where I was born and raised in Fukushima Prefecture.


Although the place name "Aizu" is not mentioned at all in the lyrics, Aizu has a long, sad history, not least of all the Boshin War.

Since the song was written with the image of the strength and honesty of the people who lived through such a sad history, I named the song "Aizu".

It also is about the "partings" that both people in the past and we in the modern day continue to experience.

Whether it is parting from loved ones, parting from the hometown where one was born and raised, parting from a familiar "voice", we always keep bumping into "partings".

The song depicts the hope that even knowing that we cannot stop fate, maybe we could just push it away a little..., as well as the feeling of fleeting pain.


I think it is especially because we experienced the Great East Japan Earthquake that we approach these partings more frankly than before.

The piano melody gives the song a very beautiful finish.


SeanBird: Would you ever consider touring in the U.S.A.?


Sakura Koshio: Four years ago I went to Los Angeles to shoot a promotional video. Although my time there was short, it left a deep impression.

As I haven't been there since, next time I hope I can do some sightseeing while performing my singing work.


SeanBird: How can fans contact you to learn more about your music?

Information about me is available online at my official site, blog, Facebook, Twitter, etc., so be sure to check it out!


SeanBird: Do you have any current or upcoming projects that you'd like to talk about?


Sakura Koshio: Currently, I am hoping to release an album sometime in 2014 with the wonderful production staff who assist with my music.

As there are going to be lots of on-going events and live performances, please be sure to check my website, etc!


I would also like to continue supporting the children in the future.


I am very grateful for opportunities such as this.


I am going to carry on doing my best to bring songs to all of you in the future.


Please be sure to come to one of my live shows when I’m in America!


This is Sakura Koshio. Thank you very much.


SeanBird: Thank you again Ms. Koshio for taking time out of your busy schedule to speak with us, good luck with everything.