Canadian singer gives Japanese anime a voice

Tue Sep 8, 2009 2:47am EDT
 
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By Junko Hirabayashi

TORONTO (Reuters) - Anime is quintessentially Japanese, but these days, a Canadian singer is giving it a voice.

Catherine St-Onge of Quebec, according to Sony Music Japan International, is the only Western singer of songs that feature in the animated TV series widely watched in Japan and abroad.

St-Onge, who goes by her stage name HIMEKA, made her debut in the Japanese-dominated industry of animated song, or "anison," earlier this year with her first single "Asueno-kizuna" or "Bonds for Tomorrow" which became the theme tune of an anime series.

A year ago, she won the Animax Anison Grand Prix, an annual competition that gathers aspiring singers from all over Japan for a chance to earn a professional singing contract.

"I really love art, so seeing beautiful animated characters is an extra," St-Onge told Reuters in an email interview.

"As for anime songs, the fact that they are attached to the animation, you feel a deeper meaning to the songs themselves. Most of the time, parts of the lyrics really become meaningful related to the story and they become really nostalgic."

St-Onge, who publishes a bilingual blog (6109.jp/himeka/) said she became fascinated by Japan as a teenager after watching Sailor Moon, a popular animated TV series.

Although she did not understand the words, she was enthralled by the characters and the imagery, which inspired her to learn more about Japanese culture.   Continued...