MINMI started to play the piano in her early childhood, and started performing at reggae and hip-hop club scenes in 1996.
This is when she started to write her own lyrics and composing her music. Her debut single, “The Perfect Vision,” sold over 500,000 copies and her album sales have always been within the Top 5 ever since then. Not only does she produce her own albums, but has also produced songs for numerous artists including the number one Japanese Reggae group SHONAN NO KAZE’s “Suirenka”（The Lily Song）which has sold over 180,000 copies (No.1)/2 million downloads and for a Japanese female number one R&B artist, Miliyah Kato’s “LaLaLa” which has sold over 1 mill Downloads. She has also produced songs for Jamaican artists’ tracks and has released 7-inch records in Jamaica. Her single, “Summer Time!!”, released in 2006 widely influenced people in Trinidad Tobago and became the first female artist to be invited to their local Music Festival. She was the first Asian artist to be nominated as a Breakthrough Artist at the The Soca Award 2006 held in New York. She earned the 3rd place at the International Soca Monarch 2007, and became the first Asian artist to achieve. Her Best Album, “MINIM BEST 2002-2008” released in June of 2008 ranked No.1 on the Oricon Chart.
MINMI started her musical career in 1996, performing at rub-a-dub showcases and hip hop events in the clubs of Osaka. She also began to develop her own sound by making her own original tracks around this period. Soon after she began performing lives, words began to spread around about MINMI. She made many guest appearances on the albums of established artist such as Red Spider and other artists from the Japanese Big Sound label. Both CDs featuring MINMI as a guest artist become big hits both in the Reggae, and Hip Hop music scenes of Japan.
With great anticipation, MINMI signed her first recording deal with JVC records, releasing "The Perfect Vision" as her first Maxi Single in August 2002. MINMI's first single became extremely popular, and was widely accepted and heavily rotated by as many as 20 FM radio stations. “The Perfect Vision”, after gradually increasing in popularity, would eventually reach over 400,000 sales, which is an extraordinary figure for a debut single.
With her 2nd Maxi Single, titled "T.T.T.", scheduled to release in December 2002, MINMI began to show her artistic talents, and revealed her diverse approach in her music. With a different sound from her Reggae based 1st single "The Perfect Vision", MINMI's 2nd single would be based more from Hip Hop. This unique arraignment of Hip Hop and Reggae flavors, mixed as only MINMI could, became an instant hit with many of her teenage fans.
In March 2003, the long-awaited debut of MINMI's 1st Album "Miracle" was finally released. Even with the limited exposure prior to its release, hefty record sales would land "Miracle" in the Top 5 of the Album Sales Chart for 2 months in a row, and would eventually go on to exceeded 600,000 total unit sales. This would only help to solidify MINMI's position in the Japanese music scene, and also prove that MINMI's flavor and taste for music was what the market has desired all along.
To coincide with her album's release, MINMI began her first nationwide tour [LIVE TOUR 2003 "Miracle"] on June 20, 2003. The concert tickets for all of MINMI's summer shows were sold out instantly and were packed with excited fans at every venue. By performing in her own and also in other major concerts, mixed with her experience from the underground scene, MINMI was able to successfully entertain her fans.
Her release continued along as her 3rd Single, "Another World" released in September 2003, and her 4th single "Ai No Mi" being released on March 2004. By blending the latest world music trends with the Japanese popular music trends, and not belonging to any specific musical genre, MINMI has become a major artist in the Japanese music industry and has created a style all her own.
MINMI is rare artists in that she does all the songwriting (including lyrics), arrangements, production works, and making tracks. Her production has become so highly regarded in the industry that she is now being sought by numerous artists and has been offered for many Production works. And also, many of the leading musicians and engineers from Jamaica, home of Reggae music, and the United States, home of Hip Hop and R&B music, has participated in her production. This is one the reasons why she is able to blend the latest music trend and make high quality music.
In 2004, she contributed the song "四季ノ唄 Shiki no Uta" to the anime Samurai Champloo, where it appears as the end credits theme.
On June 30, 2004, her long anticipated 2nd album “imagine” was released. Her nationwide live tour “MINMI LIVE TOUR 2004 imagine”, started on September 10, 2004 and in December, she released her 5th single “Are yu ready”. The song originated from MINMI’s original riddim “SAKURA” contains a sample of the Shamisen, which a Japanese traditional guitar, and became popular in Jamaica as well. From this point, the production team ZA-REC for TSURU-KAME Recording, consisting of MINMI and JUNIOR (RED SPIDER), who produced the riddim “SAKURA”, started their production works in Jamaica. They have produced various Jamaican artists, and released their original 7 inch vinyls in Jamaica in the start of 2005.
In the summer of 2005, MINMI released her 6th single “Summertime!!”. The song is based on Soca rhythm, the music of Trinidad Tobago. And she was very active in live performances in 2005, from organizing a monthly regular reggae club event in Tokyo, a nationwide club tour, to appearing in the major summer rock festival “Summer Sonic” in August. In September, MINMI released the album “FRIENDS”, the best selection compilation album of her featured works.
In 2006, MINMI’s single “Summertime!!”, which is based on a Soca rhythm, had a big reaction in Trinidad Tobago, the home of Soca. In February, she was invited to the famous Trinidad Tobago Festival, which is known as one of the Top 3 major festivals, including the festival in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Venice, Italy. At the Trinidad Tobago Festival, MINMI performed in front of 30,000 fans, and fascinated the audience who saw her performance, including Wyclef Jean of the Fugees.
In March 2006, MINMI released her long-awaited 3rd album “Natural”. The album included hit singles “Summertime!!”, “Are you ready”, and also the fancy disco tune “Nishi-Azabu Legend” which holds the same title as the club event in which MINMI produces. The album proved that MINMI is not just another Reggae Diva, but an established artist within many music genres.
MINMI’s nationwide tour entitled “Natural Mystic” & “Natural Showcase” coincided with the release of the album “Natural”, and ended successfully, selling out all tour dates. In the summer of 2006, MINMI appeared in the major rock festival “SUMMER SONIC’06” as the headliner, first and only Japanese artist to headline at this Festival. In Sept. 2006, MINMI was the center of the attention for the worldwide media when she was nominated as the Best New Artist of SOCA AWARDS, which took place in New York, as the only Japanese artist ever to be nominated in the Awards.
In 2007, MINMI participated in the Trinidad Tobago Festival for the second straight year. MINMI recorded the new Soca tune “Sha na na 〜 Japanese Wine 〜”, a collaboration with Machel Montano HD, known as the “King Of Soca”, to go along with this particular year’s Festival. Machel was the person responsible for bringing MINMI over to the Festival the previous year. “Sha na na 〜 Japanese Wine〜” is included in Machel’s new album “Book Of The Angels”, which was just released in Trinidad Tobago.
At the same time, MINMI also participated in “Soca Monarc”, a competition for local major artists, held at the festival. She became the first Japanese artist ever to win in the preliminary round and advance into the final round of the competition. She performed at the National Stage, in front of an audience of over 30,000 people, and MINMI became the first Japanese artist to make it into the Best 8 of the Competition. She was one of the Top 3 artists among the female artists who participated in the Competition.
During her month long stay at the festival, MINMI was the center of attention for the local media, including TV programs, newspapers, and magazines, and performed in front of a total of over 100,000 audiences in Trinidad Tobago. Her Best Album, “MINIM BEST 2002-2008” released in June of 2008, ranked No.1 in the Oricon Chart.
MINMI signed a deal with Universal Music Japan in Novermber 2008. MINIMI released her single, “AVE MARIA” after giving birth to her child, However, even though it had been 2 years since her previous release, she made a statement by reaching the No.2 spot at the Download Chart even before the release.
Her first ever ballad single, “Ashita Moshimo Kimi Ga Inai…”(If you’re not there tomorrow…) was released in November 2009.
An outdoor music festival called, “FREEDOM”, which is produced by MINMI, brought over 17,000 crowds and has been one of the most recognized music festivals in Japan. Her ageless charm continues to evolve not only in the music industry but also in the fashion industry as well. She is also involved in social activities and has been supported by many women as a mom who opened up a new era and also as a fashion leader.
“AVE MARIA” was the first single released from Universal Music Japan, which was 2 years after her last single “Sha Na Na” had been released from JVC Records. The song reached No.2 on a weekly chart by having 600,000 downloads. After getting married with her husband and giving birth to their first child, she wanted her own son to see her go through a new challenge as a mother. The reason behind this song being 7 min is that she wanted to declare her new challenge to the next step as an artist and as a person.
This messages full of hope and future coincides with the Soca beat and makes people feel strongly positive. Shinichi Osawa has backed her up in the sound mix. The song became a “MINMI sound” with a combination of a wedding song and Soca rhythm. She vigorously performs in various reggae and rock festivals. She established a festival called “FREEDOM “ along with her sworn friend in 2008. The festival has expanded each year and currently is capable to gather 17,000 people and has become one of the most recognized festivals in Japan. Her strong impact on stage continues to emotionally move the crowd’s heart.
Her first ever ballad single, “Ashita Moshimo Kimi Ga Inai…”(If you’re not there tomorrow…) was released in November 2009. The lyrics, which are about appreciating every moment with pure heart and appreciating the real meaning of “life,” deeply moved the listeners. It is evident that MINMI’s vocal expression has matured and you can also feel her infinite possibility by listening to this song.
On July 24,2013, MINMI released her 5th album “I LOVE”.
On September 24,2014, MINMI released her 6th album “BAD”.
On August 24,2015, MINMI released her 7th album “EGO”.
On July 27,2016, MINMI released her 8th album “Life is Beautiful”.
On May 23,2018, MINMI released her 9th album “identity”.
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