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Born March 26, 1987 (1987-03-26) (age 37)
Fukuoka, Japan
Genres J-pop, Pop rock
Occupations Singer-songwriter, Actress
Instruments Vocals, Acoustic guitar, Electric guitar, Bass, Piano, Drums
Years active 2004–Present
Labels Gr8! Records
Website http://www.yui-net.com
Notable instruments
Martin D-28
Fender GA-45SCE
Fender GDC200 SCE
Fender Stratocaster
Squier Bronco Bass
Fender Telecaster

YUI (born March 26, 1987 in Fukuoka, Japan) is a Japanese singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and actress. She is currently signed to Gr8! Records and attached to the talent agency Stardust Promotion.


Early life

YUI grew up in a single parent family and so does not have any memory of her father. She does remember always being close to music, be it from her mother's car stereo or the radio; she would remember the tunes and sing along. By the time she was in elementary school she thought she would like to become a singer.[1]

During her third year in middle school, following the influence of her mother, YUI began keeping a journal of everyday feelings and poetry. Because of this, by the time she was in high school, she began writing songs.[2] While in high school she worked part-time to help pay for tuition. Always busy, she thought there was no longer a road to music. Eventually she became ill.[1] While in hospital, with time to think, she was overwhelmed with the desire to make music. She decided that school and music could not coexist. Upon leaving the hospital she encountered a live street performance and expressed her desire to pursue a musical career to the band, Bianco Nero, at the end of the concert. Bianco Nero recommended to YUI that she should join a private music school and soon, she dropped out of high school and seriously began studying songwriting and guitar at a juku in her hometown of Fukuoka.[1] Aspiring to become a professional, she carried her guitar around and sang at the entrance of Tenjin Station in Fukuoka. Doing these street performances helped YUI to eventually overcome her shyness.

Initial career

Her professional career began in March 2004 when at the recommendation of her juku instructors she applied for an audition hosted by Sony Music Japan.[3] Despite the audition rule that a participant could only sing two songs, YUI sang three, with all of the judges giving her the highest score possible and causing a fierce scramble among record labels to sign her.[citation needed] She first sang "Why me" (a song later included in her major label debut single), followed by "It's happy line" and "I know". Because "I know" was incomplete at the time, the judges were able to get a glimpse of what would later be dubbed "YUI-go", or YUI -speak (YUI in Japanese), nonsensical English hummed to a tune during her songwriting process — an example of YUI-go can be found in the film Taiyō no Uta when YUI is working on the song "Good-bye days".

On December 24, 2004, she released her debut single "It's happy line" under the indie label Leaflet Records, coupled with the track "I know". The pressing was limited to only 2,000 copies in her home area.

FROM ME TO YOU (2005–2006)

Upon leaving her hometown in Fukuoka for Tokyo, YUI wrote the song "feel my soul". She was planning its release on an indie label as a tribute to her hometown. However, when the song caught the ears of Fuji TV producer Mr. Yamaguchi, who just happened to see the demo video clip, he claimed that YUI's voice haunted him so much that he went out of his way to visit the recording studio all by himself.[citation needed] He even made his channel's prime time drama Fukigen na Gene use YUI's debut track.

On February 23, YUI released her first major debut single, "feel my soul". The music in Fukigen na Gene was mainly based on her songs such as "feel my soul" and "It's happy line". With the drama tie-in, "feel my soul" managed to sell over 100,000 copies and her single managed to chart at number 8 on Oricon Weekly Charts in its first week. Her next three singles, "Tomorrow's way" (theme song for the Japanese movie, "Hinokio"), "LIFE" (fifth ending song for a popular anime, Bleach), and "TOKYO" did not chart as high as "feel my soul" did and were only moderately successful in comparison. After the release of four singles, YUI released her debut album "FROM ME TO YOU", which was another moderate success with sales of more than 200,000 copies.

CAN'T BUY MY LOVE (2006–2007)

YUI made her acting debut in the full-length Japanese feature film Taiyō no Uta ( タイヨウのうた, Midnight Sun),[4] released on June 17, 2006. The film was screened at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival.[5] YUI attended Japan Academy Prize and received Best Newcomer Award for Taiyō no Uta. Prior to the release of the movie, however, YUI had released her fifth single "Good-bye days" which is by far her highest selling single at 200,000 copies sold. "Good-bye days" was written specifically for the film as are all three tracks featured on this single are featured in the movie. The single also has the track "It's happy line" as the third track, which was originally released on her debut single of the same title.

Her next single, "I remember you", did fairly well in terms of sales boosted by "Good-bye days"' popularity. Soon after, YUI 's seventh single "Rolling star" was chosen as the 5th opening theme song for the anime series Bleach and "CHE.R.RY", her eighth single, was used as a song for the KDDI au Listen Mobile Service commercial. She released her second album "CAN’T BUY MY LOVE" on April 4, 2007, which fared well on the Oricon charts, staying for two weeks at number 1 and shattering her entire previous album's record sales in one week. So far, "CAN'T BUY MY LOVE" has managed to sell over 680,000 copies. Due to the success of "CAN’T BUY MY LOVE", YUI's previous album, "FROM ME TO YOU" charted once again to add another 9,000 copies to the Oricon counting.


YUI released her 9th single "My Generation/Understand" on June 13, 2007. It was her first double A-side single. "My Generation" was used as the theme song for the drama Seito Shokun!, and "Understand" was chosen as the theme song for the movie Dog in a Sidecar (サイドカーに犬),[6] which starred her senpai at Stardust Promotion, Yūko Takeuchi. It charted at number 1 on the Oricon Weekly Charts for the first week of its release. Her tenth single, "LOVE & TRUTH" was released on September 26 and the title track is the theme song to the Japanese film, Closed Note (クローズド・ノート), starring Erika Sawajiri (also of Stardust) who played the lead role in the film who also played the same role as YUI in Taiyō no Uta, in television-drama version.

During this time, her first two albums were re-released as Winter Sleeve Edition in alternate covers presumably from her "LOVE & TRUTH" photoshoot. Her first live DVD "Thank you My teens" was released on November 14, 2007, which contained footage of one of YUI's concert during her second live tour. On November 19, 2007, YUI opened her first Live show at Nippon Budokan. The tickets for the concert sold out.[7]

Her first single of 2008, "Namidairo", was released for sale on February 27, 2008.[8] It is the theme song for the Japanese drama 4 Shimai Tantei Dan. YUI was asked to make a "mysterious and sad sounding" song for the drama tie-in, and she composed the song "Namidairo" as such. Incidentally, the chorus of the song was created by YUI during the time she made her singing debut. A week following the release of her 11th single, the promotional video of a new song "Laugh away", was released. The song was used as the theme song for the Glico "Watering KissMint" commercial. "Laugh away" was released as a digital single on March 10, 2008 and also included on her third album which would later be released.

Her third studio album was released on April 9, 2008 titled "I LOVED YESTERDAY". It charted at number 1 on the Oricon Weekly Charts, with more than 400,000 copies sold, selling only a little behind her sophomore album. The 10th track on the album, titled "OH YEAH" was used as the opening theme song to the morning Japanese show Mezamashi TV. The limited edition version of the album came with a DVD which included music videos of her previous singles and live footage of her Nippon Budokan show. YUI's third tour, named '"Oui": I LOVED YESTERDAY' started in May and ended in July.[9]

YUI released a single, entitled "SUMMER SONG" on July 2, 2008.[10] This single charted at number 1 on Oricon Weekly Chart. "SUMMER SONG" is YUI's first number 1 hit single since "I remember you" that was not tied to a drama ("My Generation/Understand", "Namidairo"), commercial ("Laugh away"), or anime ("Rolling star"). "SUMMER SONG" sold 83,440 copies in a week, making "SUMMER SONG" second highest in first week sales after "LOVE & TRUTH" single.


YUI's latest compilation album, "MY SHORT STORIES",[11] released 12 November 2008, again charted at number 1 on Oricon, featuring the B-Sides from all her past singles ("feel my soul" to "SUMMER SONG"), along with new song "I'll be".[12]

YUI is only the second female artist whose B-side compilation album topped the charts, after Seiko Matsuda's "Touch Me" in 1984. The last compilation album that reached number 1 was Mr. Children's B-Side, on 21 May 2007. Due to the success of "MY SHORT STORIES", sales of her first album FROM ME TO YOU rose again. In her 29 August 2008 "YUI Diary" blog entry, YUI mentioned that she would take a break for a while from all public appearances after this new album to re-energize herself. With this break, she would be able to fully concentrate on next year's song production. During this break, she contributed a song, "I Do It" to an Okinawan girl band Stereopony. It was released as their third single on April 22, 2009 and as ringtone (chaku uta) on March 18, 2009.[13]


YUI has announced her return from her 5-month hiatus with a new single just one day before her 22nd birthday, on March 25 on her diary entry in her official website. YUI's new song is an up-tempo tune titled "again". It was chosen as the opening theme song of the new Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood anime series, which started on April 5. The single was released on June 3, 2009.[14] "again" debuted atop the Oricon chart selling over 110,000 copies in its first week and currently has the highest opening week sales for a female act in 2009.[15]

On July 27, 2009, YUI's official website, YUI-net, announced that YUI released her second double-A side single named, "It's all too much/Never say die". These two songs were chosen for a movie version of an anime, Kaiji as a theme song and an insert song.[16] The single was released on October 7, 2009 and the movie was released on October 10, 2009. The single debuted at number one with the first week sales of 75,047 copies on Oricon. This is her fifth overall number 1 single.

YUI released her new single "GLORIA" on January 20, 2010 and reached number one with over 80,000 copies sold in the first week. Her next single, "To Mother," was released on June 2, 2010. After two years and three months since I Loved Yesterday, YUI released her new album Holidays in the Sun on July 14, 2010, which includes her latest five singles, from "Summer Song" to "To Mother". It also included "Please Stay With Me", which was used as an insert song for the drama Natsu no Koi wa Nijiiro ni Kagayaku. On November 24 2010, her seventeenth single "Rain" was released. The song was tied-up to FujiTV's new drama, "PERFECT REPORT".

OVERSEA ACTIVITIES & 5TH TOUR (2010–2011/Present)

To be updated... Sweden - It's My Life/Your Heaven Sony Play You & U-Can Campaign Budokan DVD Release HELLO ~Paradise Kiss~ Theme Song Hong Kong HOTEL HOLIDAYS IN THE SUN Concert: 1st Concert outside of Japan Green a.live Shanghai


Studio albums

Compilation albums




  • Taiyō no Uta (タイヨーのうた, Midnight Sun) (Japan, June 17, 2006)


Year Nominated work Award Result
2007 Herself 20th Japan Gold Disc Awards: Artist of the Year[17] Nominated
Herself 30th Japan Academy Prize: Rookie of Year[18] Won
2008 Herself MTV Student Voice Award 2008: Best Artist[19] Won
Herself Space Shower Music Video Awards 08 : Best Pop Video[20] Won


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Interview of YUI (page 5)". http://news.livedoor.com/article/detail/1732876/?p=5. 
  2. "Interview of YUI (page 3)". http://news.livedoor.com/article/detail/1732876/?p=3. 
  3. "Interview". http://ent2.excite.co.jp/music/special/yui/int_02.html. 
  4. "Midnight Sun". Shochiku. http://www.shochikufilms.com/film/detail.php?product_code=509. Retrieved 2007-03-11. 
  5. "Complete Cannes 2006 Line-up". Shochiku. http://www.shochikufilms.com/festival/cannes2006.html. Retrieved 2007-03-11. 
  6. "Yui-net Discography". Yui-net. http://www.sonymusic.co.jp/Music/Info/yui-net/discography/index.html. Retrieved 2007-05-21. 
  7. "Nippon Budokan News Cover". http://youtube.com/watch?v=YAnaFR0RHMo. 
  8. World of YUI| YUI News, Community, Fansite, Gallery: New YUI Single!
  9. "Official YUI 3rd Tour Information". Yui-net. http://www.yui-net.cc/yuitour2008/index.html. Retrieved 2008-03-10. 
  10. "Confirmation of a new single release by Sony Music Japan". http://www.mimu-net.net/news.php?newsid=1744. 
  11. "Confirmation of new album title "MY SHORT STORIES"". Yui-net. http://www.sonymusic.co.jp/Music/Info/yui-net/diary/index.html. Retrieved 2008-09-17. 
  12. "Confirmation of new song title "I'll be"". Yui-net. http://www.sonymusic.co.jp/Music/Info/yui-net/diary/index.html. Retrieved 2008-09-08. 
  13. "News about YUI x Stereopony Collaboration of "I Do It"". Oricon News. http://contents.oricon.co.jp/news/confidence/63699/. Retrieved 2009-03-03. 
  14. "Confirmation of YUI's new single, "again"". Livedoor. http://news.livedoor.com/article/detail/4078905/. Retrieved 2009-03-26. 
  15. "Yui自己最高記録更新で完全復活! 09年女性最高初動でシングル首位". Oricon. June 9, 2009. http://www.oricon.co.jp/news/confidence/66772/full/. Retrieved June 9, 2009.  (Japanese)
  16. "Confirmation of new single "It's all too much/Never say die"". Yui-net. http://www.yui-net.com/index.html. Retrieved 2009-07-29. 
  17. "第20回日本ゴールドディスク大賞・受賞作品/アーティスト. RIAJ. Retrieved on 2007-6-21. (Japanese)
  18. "第30回日本アカデミー賞. NIPPON ACADEMY-SHO ASSOCIATION. Retrieved on 2007-11-15. (Japanese)
  19. "最優秀"STUDENT VOICE"アーティスト賞. Retrieved on 2009-9-29 (Japanese)
  20. "SPACE SHOWER MUSIC VIDEO AWARDS 08. Retrieved on 2009-9-29 (Japanese)

External links