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GenresRock, pop rock
Years active1991–2007
LabelsB-Gram Records
Past membersIzumi Sakai (deceased)
Fumihito Machida
Hiroyasu Hoshi
Kōsuke Michikura
Kimitaka Ikezawa
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For the villages in Iran, see Zard, Isfahan, Zard, Kermanshah, and Zard, North Khorasan.
GenresRock, pop rock
Years active1991–2007
LabelsB-Gram Records
Past membersIzumi Sakai (deceased)
Fumihito Machida
Hiroyasu Hoshi
Kōsuke Michikura
Kimitaka Ikezawa
External video

Zard (ザード Zādo?) was a Japanese pop rock group. Originally a group of five members, with lead vocalist Izumi Sakai as group leader. However, Sakai was the only member who stayed on in the group while others joined and left regularly. As such, Zard and Sakai may be referred to interchangeably. Zard's work was sold under the record label B-Gram Records, Inc. Their most popular and successful songs are "Makenaide" (1993) (負けないで?), "Yureru Omoi" (1993) (揺れる想い?), and "My Friend" (1996). As of 2014, Zard has sold over 37 million copies of sales, ranking as the 8th best-selling music artists in Japan.


Zard began when Being Corporation former CEO Daikō Nagato (retired in 2007) recruited a 24-year old model named Sachiko Kamachi. Changing her name to Izumi Sakai in an attempt to cut off her past, she created a group called Zard. While whether the supporting members were firmly decided on is not clear, Zard made a breakthrough with the release of their debut single February 10, 1991 Good-bye My Loneliness, which was a theme song for the Fuji TV drama "Ideals and Reality of Marriage" featuring Misako Tanaka. The song was very successful, reaching No. 9 in the Oricon rankings.

Zard's next two singles did not sell as well. The fourth, "Nemurenai Yoru o Daite" (眠れない夜を抱いて?) took a slightly different approach. The group's rock style had morphed to popular while the seemingly dark music videos turned to a relatively brighter image. In fact, half of Zard's official appearances on TV were related to performing this song, which sold 440,000 copies. At that time, Music Station host Kazuyoshi Morita (aka Tamori) asked Sakai what took Zard so long to be on stage. Sakai's reply was that they wanted to make sure Zard would be an economically viable project and hence did not want to go public prematurely.

The major breakthrough for Zard came with the sixth single in 1993, "Makenaide", which became No. 1 in the Oricon charts and went on to sell over 1.8 million copies. She went on to release two more songs that reached No. 1, "Yureru Omoi" and "Kitto Wasurenai" in the same year. An album titled "Yureru Omoi" featuring both "Makenaide" and "Yureru Omoi" sold two million copies, the first million milestone for Zard in album sales. In fact, Being was so successful in the early 1990s that it was called Being Boom. No one sold more CDs than Zard in this year.

In 1995, Zard sold one more million hit, "My Friend". Although her sales fluctuated among six digits in sales for the remainder of the twentieth century, nine of twenty-one singles reached No. 1 and six reached No. 2. Only two could not break the top four mark. Since "Yureru Omoi" (揺れる想い?) she also sold three hits of one million and one other of two million copies. On August 31, 1999, Zard held their first concert aboard cruise ship Pacific Venus, where six hundred people were randomly selected out of a million applicants. The DVD for this concert, released on January 26, 2000, had a limited production of 300,000 copies.

Sakai was also a very prolific lyricist. She wrote 150 songs during her 17-year career (numerous songs for other artists as well as all of the Zard songs except for two, Koionna no Yūutsu (恋女の憂鬱?) and Onna de Itai (女でいたい?) from their first album, Good-bye My Loneliness, which was written by Dariya Kawashima,[1]) and released several books of poetry as well. An editorial in Asahi Shimbun writes that the secret to Zard's success was that while the trend in Japan showed a decrease in the number of music programs on television, Zard used late night commercials that aired her voice to advertise her works.

She also wrote songs for other artists, most notably for the J-pop groups that shared her management company: Field of View, Wands and Deen, and the late mainland Taiwanese singer Teresa Teng. She also wrote the lyrics for and participated in the collaboration for the single "Hateshinai Yume o" (果てしない夢を?) featuring J-pop groups Zard, Zyyg, Rev & Wands. The single also featured famed Japanese baseball hero Shigeo Nagashima. Some of her singles were used in anime, such as Slam Dunk, Dragon Ball GT and Detective Conan. The lyrics of Dan Dan Kokoro Hikareteku (Dan Dan 心魅かれてく?) by Field of View, the opening theme song of Dragon Ball GT, is by Izumi Sakai. Afterward, Zard covered this song in Today Is Another Day album.

Zard's most successful single, Makenaide (負けないで?) has been used as a theme song for Nippon Television program 24-hour TV, an annual Japanese television programming in which a celebrity host is on screen continually for a whole day. Sakai said that she was honored and looked forward to watching 24-hour TV. She also said that since Makenaide was widely appreciated by the public, she often felt as if that song was not hers to keep.

Zard was also known for being mysterious. This is partially because her record label did not release too much personal information on their artists, and also because she did not make that many personal appearances. She rarely appeared on any live TV music programs (e.g. TV Asahi's Music Station), which the main public relations tool for the record industry in Japan, since 1993 or do any public appearances. Her first concert was in 1999, this being held on a cruise ship for a mere 600 people in her fan club (300 entries x2 among 2 million concert ticket requests). Her first real concert tour, "What A Beautiful Moment Tour", was held in 2004, 13 years after her debut. Almost every single concert was sold out at the time. The tour ended up having 10 concerts spanning 4 months from March to July 2004, with a final concert held in the famed Nippon Budokan.

Although originally Zard is a group, Zard was frequently regarded as a solo female singer in Japan.[2] She used to hold a female record in Japan for most single sales until Ayumi Hamasaki released "No Way to Say".[3] According to Yomiuri Shimbun, as of August 2007, Zard was No. 8 for overall total in Japan.[4] She has had 11 singles reach the No. 1 spot on the Oricon Singles Charts, and 9 albums reach the No. 1 spot on the Oricon Album Charts. 40 of her singles reached top 10 in Oricon ranking. Zard has released a total of 42 singles and 17 albums.

Zard was also featured in Tak Matsumoto's Ihoujin (August 27, 2003).

On a trivial note, Zard's album "Oh My Love" released in 1994 reached No. 1 for the 500th edition of the Oricon Rankings since it began in 1970.[5] She has had 11 singles reach the No. 1 spot on the Oricon

Post-Izumi Sakai Zard[edit]

An album based on fan request was released on January 23, 2008, titled Zard Request Best: Beautiful Memory. NTV Morning News program, Zoom In Super's December 28, 2007 reports that over 500,000 entries were mailed to Being. Surprisingly, Makenaide and Yureru Omoi were not in the top 3, though they made the top 10. The three most voted songs were 1) Ano Hohoemi o Wasurenaide, 2) Shoujo no Koro ni Modotta Mitai ni, 3) Kakegae no Naimono.

When this album hit number one in the Oricon charts, it marked the eleventh time she had done so, matching the record held by Dreams Come True for the most number ones by female vocal groups.[6]

Sakai's death[edit]

Fans of Izumi Sakai writing messages for her to the signature notebooks in Zard's agency on May 31, 2007.

Izumi Sakai died on May 27, 2007 at age 40 in Keio University Hospital. She entered hospital in June 2006 after discovering she had cervical cancer and had the tumor removed. In April 2007, however, the cancer had spread to her lungs, resulting in her re-admittance to hospital. According to the hospital, she took daily walks every morning. During her walk on May 26, she accidentally fell from the stairs and was discovered at around 5:00 a.m. JST. She was sent to the emergency room, but unfortunately, it was too late.[7] an agency spokesman said:

She had planned to release a new album in the fall, as well as her first live tour in three years to show her fans that she was fighting strongly against her illnesses.

A memorial service for fans was held on June 27 in a funeral hall in Aoyama, Tokyo. On the previous day, a memorial service for the people concerned was held and Maki Ohguro and Tetsuro Oda etc. attended at this. At the same time, Tak Matsumoto and Koshi Inaba of B'z, Mai Kuraki and Shigeo Nagashima announced memorial comments for her.[9]

Two compilation albums are planned for release on August 15, one that includes a selection of Sakai's personal favorite songs, the other that includes favorites from her staff. A fan-selected compilation album is also planned for the fall. Two tribute concerts were held—one on September 7 at Osaka Festival Hall, and the other on September 14 at Tokyo Nippon Budokan. The two places were chosen because they were the first and last stops respectively of the What a beautiful moment Tour in 2004—the only tour that band has gone on. The tour was called "What a Beautiful Memory".

In September 2007, an audience of 13,000 participated in a memorial Budokan concert. There were nine screens set up where many showed previously unseen footage of Izumi Sakai. A first single after she died called Glorious Mind was played. This was a song which Sakai recorded before she was hospitalized owing to cervical cancer in June 2006. This song will be used for the opening theme song of anime Detective Conan.[10] It was not complete at the time of Sakai's death, but the chorus footage was complete. Extra minutes where she was singing in English were incorporated from a previously unrelated and unreleased song as well.



YearTitle (Romanized)Title (Japanese)PeakCopies SoldMisc. Info.
1991Good-Bye My LonelinessGood-Bye My Loneliness9209,460Rearranged c/w song Ai ha Kurayami no Naka de (愛は暗闇の中で) was the 22nd opening theme of Detective Conan, used 17 years after it was originally recorded.
Fushigi ne...不思議ね…3031,090Rearranged c/w "Sunao ni Ienakute" (素直に言えなくて) in 45th single Covered by Mai Kuraki
Mou Sagasanaiもう探さない3936,940
1992Nemurenai Yoru wo Daite眠れない夜を抱いて8458,480
In My Arms TonightIn My Arms Tonight9321,810
1993Makenaide負けないで11,645,010Highest-selling single. Covered by Aya Hirano, Emiri Katō, Kaori Fukuhara, and Aya Endo for an ending in the anime Lucky Star
Kimi ga Inai君がいない2801,690
Yureru Omoi揺れる想い11,396,420
Mou Sukoshi, Ato Sukoshi...もう少し あと少し・・・2843,880
Kitto Wasurenaiきっと忘れない1872,130
1994Kono Ai ni Oyogi Tsukarete mo / Boyこの愛に泳ぎ疲れても / Boy1887,190
Konna ni Soba ni Iru no niこんなにそばに居るのに1787,660
Anata wo Kanjite Itaiあなたを感じていたい2737,910
1995Just Believe in LoveJust Believe in Love2655,960
Ai ga Mienai愛が見えない2720,790
Sayonara ha Ima mo Kono Mune ni Imasuサヨナラは今もこの胸に居ます1551,260
1996My FriendMy Friend11,000,6204th Ending theme to Slam Dunk.
Kokoro wo Hiraite心を開いて1746,980Used in Pocari Sweat commercials and coupled with "Change my mind"
1997Don't You See!Don't You See!1602,7602nd Ending theme to Dragon Ball GT.
Kimi ni Aitaku Nattara...君に逢いたくなったら・・・2635,840Opening theme for Risou no Kekkon
Kaze ga Toori Nukeru Machi he風が通り抜ける街へ3281,130
My Baby Grand: Nukumori ga HoshikuteMy Baby Grand: ぬくもりが欲しくて3331,840
1998Iki mo Dekinai息もできない3240,7402nd opening theme to Cooking Master Boy
Unmei no Roulette Mawashite運命のルーレット廻して1247,5604th opening theme to Detective Conan & c/w "Shoujo no Koro ni Modotta Mitai ni" is theme song for Detective Conan: The Fourteenth Target
Atarashii Door: Fuyu no Himawari新しいドア: 冬のひまわり3205,170
Good DayGood Day2223,950
1999Mind GamesMind Games1147,130c/w "Hypnosis" is added to 45th single "Sunao ni Ienakute" (素直に言えなくて)
Sekai ha Kirro Mirai no Naka世界はきっと未来の中2201,410
Itai Kurai Kimi ga Afureteiru yo痛いくらい君があふれているよ5124,730
Kono Namida Hoshi ni Nareこの涙星になれ5129,700Ending song for "Kasouken no Onna 1" (科捜研の女 1, Investigator Mariko 1)
2000Get U're DreamGet U're Dream4241,220
Promised YouPromised You6115,360Theme song for TV Asahi's Saturday primetime show
2002Sawayakana Kimi no Kimochiさわやかな君の気持ち469,740
2003Ashita wo Yumemite明日を夢見て462,04917th ending theme for Detective Conan
Hitomi Tojite瞳閉じて444,208
Motto Chikakude Kimi no Yokogao Mitetaiもっと近くで君の横顔見ていたい850,489
2004Kakegae no Naimonoかけがえのないもの446,244
Kyou wa Yukkuri Hanaso今日はゆっくり話そう533,384
2005Hoshi no Kagayaki yo / Natsu wo Matsu Sail no You ni星のかがやきよ/夏を待つセイル(帆)のように279,81615th opening theme for Detective Conan / Theme song for Detective Conan: Strategy Above the Depths
2006Kanashii Hodo Anata ga Suki / Karatto Iko!悲しいほど貴方が好き/カラッといこう!633,95724th ending theme for Detective Conan
Heart ni Hi wo Tsuketeハートに火をつけて1026,944
2007Glorious Mindグロリアス マインド284,02721st opening theme to Detective Conan
2008Tsubasa wo Hirogete / Ai ha Kurayami no Naka de翼を広げて/愛は暗闇の中で383,694Theme song for Detective Conan: Full Score of Fear / 22nd opening theme to Detective Conan (Rearranged from original song in Good-bye My Loneliness Single/Album, used 17 years after it was originally recorded.) Covered by Aya Kamiki
2009Sunao ni Ienakute素直に言えなくて536,178Rearranged version of coupling song for 2nd single (Fushigi ne...), composed by Sakai Izumi herself Covered by Mai Kuraki and add c/w "Hypnosis" from 28th single "Mind Games"


#TitleReleasedCopies Sold
1Good-bye My Loneliness1991-03-27*,253,740
2Mō Sagasanai (もう探さない I Won't Search Anymore?)1991-12-25*,333,080
3Hold Me1992-09-021,065,190
4Yureru Omoi (揺れる想い Moving Emotion?)1993-07-102,239,354
5Oh My Love1994-06-042,002,070
6Forever You (フォーエヴァー・ユー)1995-03-101,773,930
7Today Is Another Day1996-07-081,655,430
8Eien (永遠 Eternity?)1999-02-171,149,931
9Toki no Tsubasa (時間(とき)の翼 Wings of Time?)2001-02-15*,371,350
10Tomatteita Tokei ga Ima Ugokidashita (止まっていた時計が今動き出した The Stopped Watch Moved Now?)2004-01-28*,212,494
11Kimi to no Distance (君とのThe Distance With You?)2005-09-07*,151,840


#TitleRelease dateSold copies
1Zard Blend: Sun & Stone1997-04-232,004,699
2Zard Best the Single Collection: Kiseki1999-05-283,034,054
3Zard Best: Requested Memorial1999-09-151,496,804
4Zard Blend II: Leaf & Snow2001-11-21*,231,386
5Golden Best: 15th Anniversary2006-10-25*,942,220
6Soffio di Vento: Best of Izumi Sakai Sellection2007-08-15*,129,793
7Brezza di Mare: Dedicated to Izumi Sakai2007-08-15*,134,826
8Zard Request Best: Beautiful Memory2008-01-23*,229,014
9ZARD Premium Box 1991-2008 Complete Single Collection2008-05-28N/A
10Zard Single Collection: 20th Anniversary2011-02-10N/A
11Zard Album Collection: 20th Anniversary2012-01-01N/A


#TitleRelease dateSold copies
1What A Beautiful Moment Zard2005-06-08*,159,354
2Le Portfolio 1991-2006 Zard2006-10-25*,180,027

Live albums[edit]

#TitleRelease dateSold copies
1Zard Cruising & Live2000-01-26*,305,550

What a Beautiful Moment Concert Tour 2004[edit]

What a Beautiful Memory Concert Tour 2007-2009[edit]

What a Beautiful Memory ~Forever You~[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Good-bye My Loneliness album notes
  2. ^ "Zard坂井泉水さん病院階段から転落死" (in Japanese). Nikkan Sports. 2007-05-27. Retrieved 2008-12-27. 
  3. ^ 浜崎あゆみシングルセールス女性歴代1位 (in Japanese). Nikkan Sports. 2003-11-10. Archived from the original on 2003-11-18. Retrieved 2008-12-29. 
  4. ^ "追悼アルバム1、2位「Zardと生きていく」" (in Japanese). Yomiuri Shimbun. 2007-08-17. Retrieved 2008-12-29. 
  5. ^ [1] (Japanese)
  6. ^ Japan Zone - Entertainment News from Japan: Meet the New Boss
  7. ^ Female pop star Zard dies after fall
  8. ^ Zard singer Izumi Sakai dies in accident at 40 MSN-Mainichi Daily News
  9. ^ 長嶋茂雄名誉監督、B'z、倉木らが、坂井さんに追悼コメント News -Oricon Style- (Japanese)
  10. ^ 13,000 fill Budokan for Zard memorial concert Tokyograph

External links[edit]