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bless4

bless4The Japanese musical and dance group, bless4, consists of four siblings (two brothers and two sisters) of the Kawamitsu family. They are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The oldest sibling, Akashi (born 29 January 1982), is the only one born in Okinawa, Japan. He moved with his parents, Haru and Yoshiko (Yoshi), to Utah when he was nine months old. Kanasa, the older sister, was born on 2 May 1984, in Provo, Utah. Akino (born 29 October 1991, in Provo, Utah), the younger sister, also performs as a solo artist under the name AKINO from bless4 and is best known for singing the theme songs to the Sousei no Aquarion anime series. The younger brother, Douglas Aiki (Aiki) was born on 29 October 1991, also in Provo, Utah. Like his sister, Akino, he also performs as a solo artist and has written a comic book as well as a novel in February 2010 titled “Heart Prints〜命の花〜” (Inochi no Hana, the flower of life), written about a friend who died from a drug overdose. He released a solo single with Akashi as the arranger to accompany his book.

Their family moved to Arizona for a time, and it was there that Akashi and Kanasa were Arizona State Taekwondo Champions at ages 14 and 12 respectively. In fact, the entire family was part of a Taekwondo exhibition troupe called the “Flying Dragons,”  a martial arts group they formed with friends of various nationalities they met through Taekwondo. The Flying Dragons performed at schools and community events, and occasionally their performances were televised.

In 1997, their father, Haru, took his family back to Okinawa after feeling a spiritual longing for his heritage as an Okinawan. In 1998, being inspired by performers such as the Backstreet Boys, N’Sync and Britney Spears who were popular in Okinawa at the time, the four siblings picked up singing and dancing. They started performing as the “Flying Dragons” when playing together as a group and were also known as the “Kawamitsu Family” when performing with their parents.

After a few years, they were scouted and moved to Tokyo, where they debuted from BMG in May 2003 with the song “Good Morning! Mr. Sunshine”. In December 2006, they formed Kawamitsu Arttainment, an independent company, with Akashi as the president.

In 2009, they contributed two songs – “Stitch Is Coming” (スティッチ・イズ・カミング Sutitchi Izu Kami ng?) and “Hitori Ja Nai” (ひとりじゃない?, “You Are Not Alone” for the Disney Animation Studios anime Stitch! ((aired on Tokyo TV and the Disney Channel Japan). The song “Stitch Is Coming” served as an ending theme for its first season. They also took first place in the Celebrity A Cappella Championship and third place in the seventh Celebrity Kaeuta Ou Finals.

bless4In May 2010, they held their first Korean tour performing at three different places in Korea, including Seoul, which proved to be a success. In September of that same year, the group released the single “Dandelion” in Europe on the German record label Marabu Records. The song placed #1 on the Radio Berlin International Charts. On 2 February 2005, bless4 released their album “All 4 One.” On 12 January 2011, they released their album “Yumetsumugi” (“Dream Weaving”). The album was self-produced with each member working as staff to bring their music video and album to life. In March 2011, their company became a limited company, and they started their record label Kawamitsu Records.

The Kawamitsu Family have recorded two albums – His Love released 25 May 2006 and On the Wings of Love released December 2009. The members of bless4 now reside in Kawasaki, Kanagawa Prefecture, and remain followers of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Akino makes all the stage costumes for the group; Kanasa writes lyrics; Akashi writes the songs, and their youngest brother, Aiki, is currently serving a two-year full-time mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He will be returning on 4 November 2016. The group appears in the new “Meet the Mormons” film which will show exclusively in Salt Lake City, Utah, and LDS Visitors Centers starting on 17 July 2016.

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