Hello everyone! Long time, no see!

MAY 01, 2017

This is the first time in over a year that I am able update my official website. Somehow my blog was left behind as I shifted to recording thoughts and communicating via Facebook, Ameblo, Twitter and Istagram more often! I am here to say both “I am sorry,” and “hello again,”. Please check out my news on:

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Let me quickly cover 2016 milestones. First (and best of all) is the volunteer Iku-ON live shows that I started in May 2016. I must thank Zeni Bank for giving us the opportunity to organize the shows in exchange for donating proceeds from the sales of the audio book “AFRICA ZOU NO NAMIDA.” Thanks to Zeni Bank, we were able to offer 20 volunteer Iku-ON shows at facilities that specialized in care for the handicapped around the Tokyo metro area. Please check out the videos below to see our activities.

Shusui’s Iku-ON shows - 2016 1st Semester -

Shusui’s Iku-ON shows - 2016 2nd Semester -

In preparing to speak at these events about my visual disabilities, passion for music, and perception of parenting, I am able to look back upon my experiences and discover a new understanding of life’s fundamentals. Wherever I go to deliver my messages to children and parents, I am filled with joy by their excitement and smiles. By interacting with them through language and music, I get to learn about how these facilities operate, what the teaching methodologies are, and how bonds are built among teachers, children, and parents. Being immersed in these real environments, I start to see how I can enhance my project Iku-ON to do even more good.
I especially would like to say that visiting the Special Needs Education School for the Visually Impaired, at the University of Tsukuba, was a life-changing experience. I was initially invited to speak at the first and second grade classes, then to a kindergarten group as well as a sixth grade class, where I met a 6th grade girl who I remembered very well because she spoke to me in English.
July was the busiest season for the Iku-ON project. At “BLIND WORLD LIVE,” performed by my dear friend Koshi Kishita, a genius blind singer-songwriter, we turned off all the lights and had of the entire audience wear eye masks so they could fully enjoy our acoustic music within a “blind world”. Familiar faces from the past Iku-ON participants were at that show as well, including the same 6th grade girl from the Tsukuba class. She requested Imagine by John Lennon, which we all sang together, creating a bond that I will never forget.
October brought us lots of rain that postponed my daughters’ school events a few times. One day during the holiday weekend, my staff called me to tell me that the 6th grade girl from Tsukuba, Chihiro Watanabe, was appearing at a music contest called Gold Concert at Tokyo International Forum, so I rushed over to the venue. As if she were a family member of my own, I was nervous and excited to see her performance. However, my anxiety was replaced by a sense of wonder as she started playing “Imagine” on piano. Her voice was strong, as was her piano playing; the whole scene brought tears to my eyes. The experience was so profound that I could still feel it on my skin 6 months later. After seeing the performance, I signed a management contract with her; she is the same age as my oldest daughter.
Chihiro Watanabe made her debut at Para-Fes 2016 by performing “Imagine” with her idol Koshi Kishita in November. After making a remarkable debut, she joined my radio show “ASHITA NO ONGAKU” on bayfm that I started back in September 2015. Then she performed at Shusui Presents Christmas Concert 2016 and “Iku-ON Presents BLIND WORLD CHRISTMAS LIVE” with Koshi Kishita and me. On Christmas day, she was invited to Yuki Saito’s radio show “RADIO CHARITY MUSICTHON” on Nippon Hoso Station to perform “Imagine” at the legendary studio named after the song by John Lennon and Yoko Ono. She then sang two Christmas songs with children from Tsukuba along with my piano. Her talent touches me and shows me how much the Iku-ON project has grown and nurtured so quickly thank to all the people I have met since its launch.
Chihiro Watanabe has still been active throughout 2017 thus far. She opened up “Para-Ekiden” at Komazawa Olympic Park Stadium, Friendly International Succor Match for Japan vs Brazil, and another BLIND WORLD LIVE in April 2017. With Yuki Saito’s great support, Chihiro Watanabe was also introduced in the “Music Portrait” show on NHK E Television, where the song writer Takashi Matsumoto also made appearance.

Chihiro Watanabe has just turned 13 years. Please come feel her infinite energy at her upcoming shows:
May 7th: “Hanno Green Carnival” feat. Shusui/ Saitama
June: Details TBD /Sendai
June 24th: Iku-ON Presents BLIND WORLD LIVE at Nezu Church/ Tokyo (first performance of original song)

“Imagine” covered by Chihiro Watanabe:

Chihiro Watanabe Channel:

I believe with all my heart that we all “have purpose to live in this world” and “live hard”, regardless of having handicap, through this project. I am so lucky to have made this realization.

Now I’d like to talk about my visual condition, which has not been going as well as the Iku-ON project. For the last several years my vision has been deteriorating. I am no longer able to see what I used to see in my teens and twenties, and it has become almost impossible to walk around new places at night without anyone’s visual navigation. My eye sight was whited out under sunny bright lights. It wasn’t the only time that I walked into bush on the side of the road or almost got hit by a car during my routine walk with my daughter to her kindergarten. My daily life has been greatly affected. Recently, I have walked into door or guardrail, steped off stairways, or lost my drinks or food although they were sitting on the table in front of me. So, I finally went back to the doctor to discover that cataract was the cause of all the trouble; and even worse, I was not able to get surgery right away due to its possible adverse effect on the retina problem that I also had.
I then decided to go back to the doctor at UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles who my parents took me to 32 years ago when I was 8. Yet, I learned that I would not be able to stay in the US for as long as is required after the surgery, so I flew back to Japan and continued visiting the doctor until I finally met my current doctor in Tokyo. The date of the surgery on my right eye was scheduled for Halloween. With the doctor’s support, and the support of all my family and friends, the surgery went very well, as did the second surgery on my left eye a week later. Although, the second surgery gave me more fear and pain for some reason, however it technically went smoothly. That said, the hardest aspect to the surgeries was the fact that I was instructed to not wash my hair for a month; however, this rule gave me an excuse to visit a nice neighborhood salon to get a luxurious hair wash every other day. Lucky me.

In the end, I am grateful for the surgery as it has given me a whole new life. I feel as if I am reborn and feel like I used to when I could see. Ultimately, the fear I had during my near-blindness and subsequent surgeries was defeated by the positive energy given to me by the children and families I met through the Iku-ON shows. With the believe in everyone’s support and music, I made it run through 2016.

2017 marks the 20th anniversary for canna, the unit I formed with Takashi Taninaka who is from Sasebo, Nagasaki. 20 years ago, he responded to my ad I posted at a music shop in Ochanomizu. He and I clicked right away and started a weekend writing camp at my house to produce and record songs, and during one of those days our debut single “KAMIHIKOUKI”, a TV drama featured song “KAZE NO MUKUMAMA”, and our signature song “AZE MICHI” were born. “AZE MICHI” was our selection for the final performance at a musical audition held at Tokyo International Forum where Chihiro Watanabe performed her first concert years later. To celebrate the 20 years that we spent singing, working, laughing, and sometimes fighting, we are hosting a full band show as below:
May 28th: canna’s 20th Anniversary show at Ebisu Tenmado SWITCH/ Ebisu, Tokyo

Also, canna's upcoming show in July will feature Yusuke Tominaga, who is the most loyal fan of canna since 1999. This show is already sold out and we look forward to seeing you all.
July 28th: canna featuring Yusuke Tominaga at Gate’s 7 /Fukuoka

canna will release a two-set “best of” album called “ALL TIME BEST SONGS – Shinkirou-“ from OMF (Order Made Factory) on Sony’s Online Shop. This album is a collection of songs from our Sony Records era through the new album “HYORYUKI”. So please check it out and preorder from the link below to support our first release of our best of album!

canna ALL TIME BEST SONGS –Shinkirou-

Along with the Iku-ON project and canna project, I have been very active with my song writing and producing other works (listed on my Works page).

I am also excited to teach a Songwriting Course on Movie and Broadcast Music at the Tokyo College of Music.

Tokyo College of Music Official Website:

The regular radio show “ASHITA NO ONGAKU” with co-host Sone Yukie has become my life’s work. We sometimes write songs during the show by revealing tips for successful song writing, and we invite phenomenal guests every week. One of the most thrilling moments was when I played “Christmas Eve” with Tatsuro Yamashita on my show and heard a heartwarming message from Mariya Takeuchi. Furthermore, I’d also like to thank MISIA, Takashi Taninaka of canna, Tomohisa Yamashita of Shuji & Akira, Takahisa Masuda of NEWS/TEGOMASU, Tsuyoshi Domoto of Kinki-Kids, Masahiko Kondo, Hideaki Takizawa, members of Johnny’s West, Koshi Kishita, Yasunori Tsunakawa, Taro Masuda, Ryo Yoshimata, Takeyoshi Sato of Sing Like Talking, Keiko Utsumi, Eiko Matsumoto, Masachika Ichimura, Masatoshi Mashima, Yota Miyazato, Sho Wada of Triceratops, and other international songwriters, musicians and producers, for visiting my show.

Shusui & Yukie Sone with All our Friends and Families 「LOVE OUR FUTURE!」 Shusui Presents Christmas Concert 2016 LIVE

Shusui & Yukie Sone “BOKURA NO HANA” Shusui Presents Christmas Concert 2016 LIVE

Sunday 8:30pm on bayfm 78 “ASHITA NO ONGAKU” is also available on radiko.jp!


Please check out Gallery page for the exciting guest photos.

Thank you for all your support. I will continue updating news on my facebook and Twitter.
Stay in touch!

May 1st, 2017
Best Wishes from Shusui (SHU)