Farewell Ceremony Held for Late Enka Ballad Singer Aki Yashiro; 3,000 Attendees Include Singers Hiroshi Itsuki and Sachiko Kobayashi

Aki Yashiro’s farewell ceremony

A farewell ceremony for enka ballad singer Aki Yashiro, who passed away in December at 73, was held on Tuesday in Tokyo. About 3,000 fans and singers including Hiroshi Itsuki and Sachiko Kobayashi attended the ceremony.

Attendees listened to a message from the late Yashiro generated by voice synthesizing technology based on data of the singer’s voice that was left before her death.

The message said: “With great sorrow, the curtain was brought down on my long career as a singer late last year. I was heartened by your words of support in times of pain and in times of joy.”

To realize her wish to return to the stage, a live band performed more than 20 of Yashiro’s songs, including one of her more famous songs, “Funauta,” making the ceremony like a concert.

Singer Naoko Ken who made her debut in 1971, the same year of Yashiro, said, “I’ll miss her. I’d like to tell her, ‘Thank you for everything you did.’ I think she’s singing and enjoying painting up there.”