笹川美和 (Sasagawa Miwa)
Although compared to the likes of Laura Nyro and Carol King, Japanese singer-songwriter Sasagawa Miwa produces a distinctive blend of international styles.
Mixed in with her piano-driven pop are shades of traditional Japanese and traditional Celtic music. Her singing style is reminiscent of fellow countryfolk Hajime Chitose and Onitsuka Chihiro.
As a child, Sasagawa attended Christian schools, where she took an active role in musical ensembles. She fell in love with gospel music and hymnals, and when she began writing her own songs, those influences made its way into her music.
Sasagawa made her debut with a Christmas single, "Thanks to be here", in 2001. Over the next two years, she sparingly released singles and EPs on the independent label Paint Box. In 2003, she signed with Avex Trax and released her full-length debut, Jijitsu.