Yaida Hitomi

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Yaida Hitomi has been scoring on the Japanese scene since the start of the 2000s, winning the adoration of teenagers and romantically minded adults with her sweet folkish guitar pop that she dubs "heart…
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Yaida Hitomi has been scoring on the Japanese scene since the start of the 2000s, winning the adoration of teenagers and romantically minded adults with her sweet folkish guitar pop that she dubs "heart rock." She bought a cheap guitar at the age of 19, and by 22 she was handling the instrument well enough to have her first EP, Howling (2000), sell more than 10,000 copies, despite being released on a small independent label. After that Yaida was picked up by Toshiba-EMI (which had to battle other big companies to sign her), and, curiously, started her major-label career by going to England. A small club tour under the name Yaiko earned her a certain U.K. fan base, but it was in Japan where the real success waited for her. After two successful singles, her first album, Daiya-Monde (2000), written by Yaida herself (just like all her subsequent records), shot to number one on the Oricon charts.

Despite being hospitalized for exhaustion, in the next year she managed to graduate from Kansai University (with a degree in French literature, no less), play U.K. and Japanese tours, and record her second LP, Candlize (2001), which entered at the top of the charts and even went platinum. Two more successful albums -- I/Flancy in 2002 (which went platinum as well) and Air/Cook/Sky in 2003 -- followed, as well as some heavy touring that included gigs in Yokohama and Osaka domes. In 2005 she was also one of the first artists to play Japanese MTV Unplugged -- to such success that an acoustic tour followed. During the same year Yaida also played at the nation's most important venue, the Budokan in Tokyo, promoting her fifth album, Here Today -- Gone Tomorrow. She continued her hard-working streak in 2006, releasing another LP, It's a New Day, before taking a break from recording, ending it in 2008 with her seventh album, Colorhythm. Strangely enough, during all that time Yaida Hitomi never worked with the movie and anime industries like many other J-pop artists, although she provided a number of songs for TV commercials.