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Kotoko (ことこ, born January 19) (stylized as KOTOKO) is a Japanese J-pop singer from Sapporo, Hokkaidō. Kotoko began her singing career as a member of I've Sound in 2000, and was later signed to Rondorobe under Geneon from 2004 to 2010. Kokoto left I've Sound and Geneon in 2010, and signed to Warner Home Video in 2011. She composes and writes lyrics (for herself as well as other singers in I've Sound) for numerous other song collections. She has contributed songs to numerous anime and video games including Onegai Teacher, Maria-sama ga Miteru, Hourglass of Summer, Hayate the Combat Butler, Kannazuki no Miko, Shakugan no Shana and BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger, among others.
Kotoko was born in Sapporo, Japan on January 19. From elementary school, she believed her career would be influenced by her voice and tried to involve herself in as many auditions as possible. In addition to regular education Kotoko attended courses at the music school Haura where she polished her musical talents.
She became a professional singer in 1999. Her first successful audition was with I've Sound, a team of producers using the talents of various female vocalists for their productions—best recognized for their many dating sim and eroge game soundtracks. Since then, Kotoko has performed opening and ending themes for a few anime and has gained significant recognition from her two I've Sound-related album releases. Her second album, Garasu no Kaze, released in June 2005 has been praised within multiple online communities. On October 13, 2005, she released her fourth maxi single, which featured a song from her Garasu no Kaze album, "421: A Will" and its B-side song called "Shuusou" (秋爽, The Refreshing Autumn Breeze), which is featured in her third album, Uzu-Maki.
Although not listed on her official Geneon website, Kotoko has actually released five albums. Her very first album was called, Sora o Tobetara, which was released in 2000. Many of the tracks on this album were later re-recorded for her first I've Sound album, Hane (羽 -hane-, lit. "Feather"), and was attributed as her first album. Her first I've Sound CD appearance was on the CD "Dear Feeling" (only released at "Comic Market 59".) with previous singer Aki. She then appeared on I've Girls Compilation Album Vol.3 "Disintegration", a series of albums with various songs from the I've Sound singers.
Kotoko's first official performance in North America was her highly successful American concert debut at Anime Expo 2005, followed soon after by the Kotoko Lax Tour. Now that her self-composed hybrid of pop and techno beats—sometimes pop—have crossed the Pacific, Kotoko's lyrics have elevated her presence among thousands of North American J-pop/anime fans. In 2009, she wrote the song "Screw", for the Mamoru Oshii live-action movie Assault Girls. The song "Ao (Iconoclast)" (蒼-Iconoclast) has also been featured as the opening theme song to the console version of video game Blazblue:Calamity Trigger. Kotoko 17th single "Light My Fire" is written by Ryo of Supercell, and the song is used as the first opening theme to the 2011 anime series Shakugan no Shana Final.
- Main article: Kotoko discography
- 2000: Sora o Tobetara (空を飛べたら)
- 2004: Hane
- 2005: Garasu no Kaze (硝子の靡風)
- 2006: Uzu-Maki
- 2009: Epsilon no Fune (イプシロンの方舟)
- 2011: Hiraku Uchū Poketto (ヒラク宇宙ポケット)
- 2013: Kūchū Puzzle (空中パズル)
North American appearances
- Anime Expo 2005: Anaheim, CA (July 1–4, 2005)
- Anaheim Convention Center
- Anime North 2006: Toronto, Ontario, Canada (May 26–28, 2006)
- Toronto Congress Centre, Doubletree International Plaza Hotel
- YTV 2006: Toronto, Ontario, Canada (May 26, 2006)
- YTV Studios
- A-Kon 2006: Dallas, TX (June 9–11, 2006)
- Adam's Mark Hotel
- Animazement 2012: Raleigh, NC (May 25–27, 2012)
- Raleigh Convention Center
- (Japanese) Official website
- (Japanese) Official website at Geneon
- (Japanese) I've Sound official website
- (English) Kotoko (singer) on Wikipedia.
- Anime North 2006: Kotoko Q&A
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