Aki Yashiro Enka Artist
Aki Yashiro (八代亜紀, Yashiro Aki), real name Akiko Masuda (増田明子 Masuda Akiko) (born as Akiko Hashimoto (橋本明子 Hashimoto Akiko)) on August 29, 1950 in Yatsushiro, Kumamoto Prefecture, Japan), is a Japanese enka singer and painter. Her stage name "Yashiro" is adopted from her hometown, "Yatsushiro" (八代). Yashiro originally sang jazz standards in hostess clubs, but made her debut as an enka singer in 1971, with the single "Ai wa Shindemo (愛は死んでも)", under the label of Teichiku Records. Seeing the single's unsuccess, she appeared on the YTV's Zen Nihon Kayō Senshuken (全日本歌謡選手権) audition, winning it for 10 consecutive weeks. In 1973, her single and album "Namida Koi" (なみだ恋) sold up up to 1.20 million copies, which was a great hit. Since then, her songs like "Shinobigoi" (しのび恋), "Ai Hitosuji" (愛ひとすじ), "Onna no Yume" (おんなの夢), "Mō Ichidō Aitai" (もう一度逢いたい), "Onna Minatomachi" (おんな港町), and "Ai no Shūchakueki" (愛の終着駅) also became great hits at the time, in which the songs portrayed a woman's emotion. In 1979, her single "Funauta" (舟唄) also made a great hit, followed by "Ame no Bojō (雨の慕情)" in 1980. "Ame no Bojō" won the 22nd Japan Record Award of the year.