Kumiko Koda (神田 來未子, Kōda Kumiko) (born November 13, 1982), better known by her stage name Kumi Koda (倖田 來未, Kōda Kumi?), is a Japanese singer and songwriter from Kyoto, known for her Urban and R&B songs. Having debuted in 2000 with the single "Take Back", Koda gained fame for her seventh single, "Real Emotion / 1000 no Kotoba", the songs of which were used as themes for the video game Final Fantasy X-2. Her popularity grew with the release of her fourth studio album Secret (2005), her sixteenth single "Butterfly" (2005), and her first greatest hits album Best: First Things (2005), reaching the number-three, number-two and number-one spot respectively.
Though her early releases presented a conservative, quiet image, since as early as 2003 Koda has adopted a sexier and more provocative style. Because of this image, she has become a fashion leader among young women, setting trends such as the ero-kakkoii style. She has also won many fashion awards such as, the "Best Jeanist Award" and the title of "Nail Queen" three times since 2006. Since the rise in her popularity, Koda has lent her face and songs to many advertisements. In 2006 and 2007, Oricon awarded with Koda the title of best-selling artist.
On January 31, 2008, a day after the release of her sixth studio album, Kingdom, Koda became the center of controversy when she made a comment on Japanese radio show, All Night Nippon.
Early life and music interest