Name in Japanese: 和田 アキ子, ワダ アキコ, わだ あきこ
Birth name: Bok Ja Kim
AKA: Akko, Ako, Akko-Chan
Years Active: 1968 - Present
Akiko Wada is a whole lotta woman. A unique character, she has been described alternately as a Japanese Aretha Franklin, Carol Burnett, and Foghorn Leghorn, and perhaps she is a bit of all three and then some. Wada was born in Osaka April 10, 1949 to Korean parents as Kim Bok Ja, which was Japanized into Kaneumi Fukuko. Her father was a heavy drinker, involved in various businesses (including black market trade), who kept three wives, of which Wada's mother was the third. Wada grew up fast, tough,...read more
Akiko Wada is a whole lotta woman. A unique character, she has been described alternately as a Japanese Aretha Franklin, Carol Burnett, and Foghorn Leghorn, and perhaps she is a bit of all three and then some. Wada was born in Osaka April 10, 1949 to Korean parents as Kim Bok Ja, which was Japanized into Kaneumi Fukuko. Her father was a heavy drinker, involved in various businesses (including black market trade), who kept three wives, of which Wada's mother was the third. Wada grew up fast, tough, and tall - 162 centimeters in the sixth grade. By junior high school she was already interested in the entertainment business, and hanging out in Osaka's Minami area. She began singing soon afterward, covering various popular pop songs. Given her husky voice she gravitated especially to R&B, with Ray Charles amongst her favorites. At the age of 15, during the year of the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, she ran away to Tokyo, where she was taken into police custody. Upon being returned to Osaka, her father more or less disowned her. However by the time she made her official move into showbiz at age 17, she was given her father's begrudging blessing, and his warning that it would likely be tough as a "zai-nichi chosenjin" (second generation Korean living in Japan). Wada adopted her stage name from her maternal uncle Tadahiro Wada. She was scouted and signed by Takeo Hori, the founder of the famed production/ management company Hori Pro, and made her debut as a singer in 1968 with "Hoshizora no Kodoku" (Alone Under the Starry Sky). Over the years she has had a number of big hits, including "Doushaburi no Ame de" (In the Pouring Rain), "Furui Nikki" (Old Diary), "Waratte Yurushite" (Forgive Me With a Laugh), and her signature song "Datte Shoganai Ja Nai" (Nothing You Can Do About It). "Akko", as she is nicknamed, is not a typical Japanese idol. With her height and solid build, some people find her appearance mannish, or at least tomboyish. In more recent years she has worn her hair in a standard short cut with bangs, which furthers her butch image. Her voice is also rugged rather than sweet, and she is often loud and outspoken. Both her singing and speaking voices could be described as booming. She is nonetheless charming, her toughness leavened by her big heart and quick wit. As anybody who lives in Japan knows, she is a one of the constants of Japanese TV, and performs variously as a singer, comedian and talk show hostess. She also has her own TV show, Akko ni Omakase (Leave It To Akko), and hosts a radio show called DJ Akko No Panic Studio. With the exception of "Beat" Takeshi, she is perhaps the most often seen face on Japanese TV. She is interested in and knowledgeable on many subjects. One of her interests is horse racing, and she in fact owns a race horse. Earlier in her career she also appeared in a number of movies, mostly in the early '70's, and those who have only seen her recently might be surprised at how cute and girlish she sometimes appeared. Now in her mid-50s, Akiko is much more an evergreen than an oldie. She sings in all sorts of situations, and in recent years her collaborations have included contemporary, younger artists like Skoobie Do and m-flo. In 1976 Wada married an executive from music promotion company, but the marriage lasted only eight months. In 1981 she wed photographer Koji Iizuka, to whom she remains married. In August 2005 a weekly magazine wrote a story about her Korean heritage, which caused a small media flurry, despite the fact that she had not attempted to conceal this point. While many Japanese entertainers have historically been of Korean blood, it is an oddly standard procedure in the Japanese "genokai" not to mention bloodlines of stars which are not "pure Japanese", as it is feared that they might face discrimination. It results in a sort of "don't ask, don't tell" situation, and while generally fans know who is or isn't part Korean, officially it is a subject usually circumvented. The matter certainly didn't cause Wada to lose her stride. When Japan's televisions go on each night, viewers will be fully expecting to see Wada come bursting on stage at any moment to yuck it up, give folks a piece of her mind, or belt out a song. And Japan will love it.collapse
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Akiko Wada In The Pouring Rain 和田 アキ子
Siz added self as a fan of Akiko Wada in February, 2010.
Deleted User added self as a fan of Akiko Wada in January, 2010.
Modcineaste added the video "Akiko Wada In The Pouring Rain 和田 アキ子" in October, 2009.
Modcineaste added the birth name "Bok Ja" in August, 2009.
Artist page created by: Keith Cahoon
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