Late last night I got some very saddening news as I checked my e-mail. I got a news article reporting that Sakai Izumi singer/songwriter (lyrics) of the J-Pop group Zard had passed away. She had not released a new single since May of last year and a 2 disc best of collection along with a shashinshuu and music video compilation in late October. While this inactivity was a little strange I had no idea what was happening in her life. According to the article I read she was hospitalized in June 2006 after discovering that she had cervical cancer and had the tumor removed. She returned to the hospital in April of this year after the cancer was found to have spread to her lungs. Sakai Izumi died of a brain contusion which she suffered after falling about 3 meters down an emergency stairway in the hospital hitting the back of her head. She had been on one of her daily walks when this occurred. I can only imagine that the medication she was under and the overall weakness of her body caused this to happen.
Zard is one of my early J-Pop loves. I first heard their music when I purchased her album "Forever You" which was released in March of 1995. The music was so great and her voice so beautiful. I became a fan instantly. I then started buying all of their albums and singles and I have their entire discography. A special thing about Zard were the wonderful lyrics. Sakai Izumi wrote about subjects and situations that people could really relate to. I have translations for a lot of her songs which amount to about the size of a medium sized phone book. She was poetic and her voice: Unique, elegant, sweet, powerful. I was planning on one day writing a post about Zard and Sakai Izumi and I still can't believe that I'm writing this in this context. I'm very depressed right now and the disbelief hasn't passed yet. She was only 40.
Zard debuted in 1991 with the single "Good-bye My loneliness" and soon became one of the most successful female singers in the 1990's. Her record sales being #1 for female singers and #3 for overall totals which sits behind the groups B'z and Mr.Children. 9 albums and 11 singles all hit the #1 spot on the Oricon charts.
Here's my Zard collection which includes all 17 albums, all 42 singles, 3 VHS releases, and both DVD releases. I have 3 copies of her "Zard Best The Singles collection" as one came with the bonus vhs "Showreel ver.0.1.", another the bonus vhs "Zard Best~Memorial Video~", and the 3rd came with a large picture booklet (the booklet is in the top picture along with the DVDs. It's sounds crazy but I bought 3 copies of the same album just to get the extras. I also bought 3 copies of Zard's last album release "Golden Best 15th Anniversary" because each of the 3 came with a different bonus DVD containing CMs. At the bottom of the 2nd photo is Zard's "Cruising & Live" CD release which includes as extras a CD-ROM and a 36 page shashinshuu which are beautifully packaged in this oversized booklet casing. Next to this release is the bonus VHS "Zard making of Cruising & Live The Day of 1999.8.31." The top photo also includes Zard's 2 DVD releases: "Zard What a beautiful moment" (the long awaited live DVD release from Zard) and "Zard Le Portfolio 1991-2006" (a PV compilation DVD).
I still can't believe that this has happened. It shows us how fragile life is and how we should be kind to one another as we don't know what each new day will bring. Cherish life.
I'm destroyed right now.
p.s. Paul if you're reading this check out "J-Pop Collection Volume 6" which I sent as it has 23 of my favorite Zard songs on it.