Aki Yashiro, 73, Enka Singer, Dies
Japan’s renowned enka vocalist,
passing was officially announced by The Million Plan agency this Tuesday, she left this world on December 30 following battles with a form of collagen disease at the age of 73. Keeping in line with Yashiro’s directives for modesty, a private funeral service took place on Monday, with only staff members present. Information regarding a planned commemorative gathering organized by her agency will be released soon.
Yashiro’s health began to deteriorate following her diagnosis in September. She was found to have anti-MDA5 antibody-positive dermatomyositis, a subtype of dermatomyositis. This particular type is infamous for its discouraging outlook, exhibiting skin conditions and rapidly serious interstitial lung disease. She sought medical intervention for her sickness but it advanced swiftly nonetheless.
The well-known enka singer was a key contributor to the soundtracks of several anime series. She lend her melodic vocals to the beginning and ending theme of the 1994’s Tottemo! Luckyman and the concluding theme of the 2004’s The Gokusen, with a song titled “Onoremichi (My Road)”.
Yashiro’s enka journey commenced in 1971 and since then, she’s graced the stages of the Kōhaku Uta Gassen (Red and White Song Battle) 23 times, along with regularly appearing in the Oricon Top 10 music charts. One of her more unconventional ventures in 2014 was an enka rendition of the Neon Genesis Evangelion theme song, “Cruel Angel’s Thesis.” This cover song was included in the Enka no Chikara Premium album.
Yashiro celebrated her golden jubilee in the entertainment world in 2021 and was honored with the 42nd Matsu Entertainment Award in recognition of her contribution to music and to celebrate her career achievements.