Hitomi Yaida (矢井田 瞳, also known affectionately as Yaiko (ヤイコ)) is an alternative Japanese singer-songwriter whose unique style, amazing music, and engaging persona has earned her immense popularity both in and out of Japan.
Hitomi first premiered on the indies scene in May 2000 with the single Howling, released under Aozora Records. Although the single only saw a limited release in the Kansai region, it sold quite well and drew a lot of attention to Yaiko's abilities. Toshiba EMI, one of the leading record companies in Japan, quickly signed Yaiko, and two months later she released her first major single, B'Coz I Love You. The single featured three songs, all of which Yaiko penned and arranged herself.
By the end of 2000, Yaiko had established a name for herself on the mainstream music scene in Japan, having released two hit singles and a record breaking first album. She presently remains one of Japan's best-selling artists, and is respected by both fans and industry associates for composing her own music along with her band, Daimond Head.
did you know?
• Yaiko graduated from Kansai University with a degree in literature and French language. She wrote about composing her graduate thesis, as well as her graduation, in her online diary, Saikin no Yaiko. The entries were later included in a book adaptation of the diary.
• Her second major single, my sweet darlin', is considered to have been Yaiko's true breakthrough release. Portions of the lyrics became popular phrases across Japan for some time after the song's release.
• Yaiko toured in England in 2001 and released several indies singles there -- most of which were basically remixes of her Japanese songs with some new english lyrics added -- under the name YAIKO. She later released a special album in Japan called YAIKO: U.K Completion that collected everything she released in England, along with a few live tracks recorded during her tour there.
• Yaiko's best-of album, Yaiko's Selection, was originally a bonus gift for those who pre-ordered her Single Collection compilation album. However, there was such a high demand from fans who had missed out on it that Toshiba EMI decided to give it a regular release five months later.
• She often incorporates her love of wordplay, palindromes, and anagrams into the titles of many of her releases. Her first album, daiya-monde, features an anagram of her family name yaida, and the French word monde, meaning "world". The title is meant to mean "World of Yaida", or "Yaida's World", while playing on its similiar look and sound of "diamond". Her third album, i/flancy, is an anagram of "i can fly", which is the image theme for the release as well as an actual song on the album. Her fourth album, Air/Cook/Sky, is an anagram as well; rearrange the letters and you'll get "Yaiko Rocks".