AKB48 has dominated the Japanese music charts for numerous years and while many may recognize the main core members of the group, there is one former AKB48 member who has shined thanks to her talent of singing enka songs.
Her name is Misaki Iwasa, known by her fans as “Wasamin” and was a 7th Generation AKB48 member who passed the audition for AKB48 back in 2008. Iwasa was also a member of the side group Watarirouka Hashiritai 7 and while performing a lot of pop songs as a member of AKB48, she is known for her love of enka music and for performing enka music, especially exposing the music to a younger generation.
In 2011, she won first place in the AKB48 YuruYuru Karaoke competition by singing an Sayuri Ishikawa’s enka song “Tsugari Kaikyo – Fuyugeshiki”. And her participation in the competition sealed the deal for AKB48 creator and producer Yasushi Akimoto, who gave the unranked AKB48 member her start to shine with a debut CD single titled “Mujin Eki” (which translates to “Empty Train Station” or “Ghost Train Station”).
While Wasamin has graduated from AKB48, she has released numerous singles, a photobook and has performed all over the world, most recently at J-Pop Summit 2017 in San Francisco, California.
I recently had the opportunity to interview Misaki Iwasa (Wasamin) before her performance at J-Pop Summit 2017.
I also had the opportunity to interview her biggest fan from the United States, Chris Kunody.