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.
On March 14, 2007, Koda released her thirty-fifth single ("But/Aishō"), another greatest hits album (Best: Bounce & Lovers), and a DVD of her second tour Live Tour 2006–2007: Second Session. Her second single of 2007, "Freaky", reached the top spot on the Oricon, giving Koda her fourth number-one single. Koda performed at the Japanese leg of Live Earth in Tokyo on July 7, 2007, and attended Ap Bank Fes '07, an conservationist-themed concert, hosted by Kazutoshi Sakurai of Mr. Children on July 15, 2007. At the end of 2007, Koda released two singles, "Ai no Uta" and "Last Angel", a collaboration with Korean boy band TVXQ better known as Tohoshinki in Japan. "Last Angel" was used as the theme song for the Japanese release for Resident Evil: Extinction. On December 1, she held her first performance at Tokyo Dome for her third nationwide and first arena tour. Koda became the seventh solo female singer to perform at Tokyo Dome with an estimated audience of 45,000 people. Having sold more than 7.3 billion yen worth of CDs and DVDs, Koda was again the best-selling artist of the year in Oricon's 2007 year-end rankings.
Koda released her thirty-ninth single "Anytime" on January 23, 2008; it was followed by her sixth studio album Kingdom, which was released in the same format as her previous album. With a little over 420,000 copies sold, Kingdom debuted atop the Oricon. On January 31, Koda hosted All Night Nippon; discussing her manager's recent marriage and plans on having children, Koda remarked that "When women turn 35, their amniotic fluid goes rotten, so I'd like them to have a child by 35". Because of the controversy instigated by the comment, Avex released an apology stating that as a consolation, all promotion of Kingdom would cease. Additionally, several of Koda's commercial endorsements were placed on hiatus. Koda herself made a public apology on Fuji TV. Despite the controversy, Kingdom remained on top for a second consecutive week. Two months after her controversial statement, Koda released Live Tour 2007: Black Cherry Tour Special Final in Tokyo Dome, her fourth live DVD. Her fourth nationwide tour Koda Kumi Live Tour 2008: Kingdom commenced on April 12, 2008.
Koda's fortieth single "Moon" was released on June 11, 2008. Like "Freaky", "Moon" contained four tracks. The single contained "Moon Crying", used as the theme for Asahi Television drama Puzzle, and a collaboration track with Black Eyed Peas' Fergie Koda again attended Avex's annual summer concert A-Nation '08. She appeared at all eight shows in Japan and performed with other Avex artists such as Every Little Thing, Ai Otsuka, Namie Amuro, Ayumi Hamasaki, TVXQ, and Maki Goto. In October, Koda released her forty-first single, "Taboo". With around 66,000 copies sold in its first week, "Taboo" debuted at the number-one position and became Koda's fifth single to reach the top. Koda released her forty-second single "Stay with Me" on Christmas Eve, which debuted atop of the chart selling 58,000 copies. Koda's seventh studio album, Trick, was another number-one album for the singer, selling 253,000 in its first week. The album stayed at the number-one spot for a second week selling 56,000 copies. Although the album debuted at the number-one position, this was her lowest selling album since her third studio album, Secret.
Koda's forty-third single, "It's All Love!", was released on March 31, 2009. The single is an collaboration with her younger sister, Misono. The second song from the single, "Faraway", was used for the theme song for the manga-based movie Subaru. It's All Love! debuted atop the Oricon and made the sisters the first siblings to top the chart in its initial week. In addition, two albums were released on March 25, Out Works & Collaboration Best and Koda Kumi Driving Hit's [sic]. The former is a compilation of the tracks that are collaborations with other artists and the latter is a remix album. Out Works & Collaboration Best and Koda Kumi Driving Hit's debuted at #7 and #6 respectively. On July 8, 2009, Koda released her forty-fourth single, "3 Splash".
Since the start of her career Koda has been writing the lyrics to her songs. On her second studio album, Grow into One, Koda wasn't as much involved with the writing of the lyrics, as only four songs were written by her. Koda's control over the writing of the lyrics grew with her thirty-third single "Yume no Uta/Futari de... ". The single was originally intended to be a single song about "happy love", however Koda felt the melody had represented both the elements of happiness and sadness. She wrote the lyrics for both songs to represent the sadness and the happiness. In doing so Koda ended up creating two songs with the same melody. She remarked, "It was a first time experiment for me, but I was able to convey how happiness and sadness are two sides of the same coin." Koda lists Janet Jackson, Christina Aguilera, and Beyoncé Knowles as her inspirations; she has also stated that when she produces, she "is like a different person"; thus, she refers to herself in the third person and "looks at [herself] objectively".
Koda was not as involved concerning the composition of her songs. "Milk Tea" (ミルクティー, Miruku Tii), from Black Cherry, marked the first time she composed a song. Her involvement in the composition stage grew during the production of her seventh studio album Trick.QKKQ9R7J3BXR