Singer Emine SARI, who went to Japan a few years ago to receive treatment for blood cancer and decided to stay in the country, is introducing Japanese culture and melodies to the Turkish as a cultural ambassador.

Sarı’s passion for music began at childhood. Impressed with the melody of classical Japanese music, Sarı was interested in singing enka-style songs. “I was working on enka songs I found on the Internet, and Japan became the country of my dreams. I tried hard to find a way to go to Japan and found myself here after some time,” Sarı explains.

“The first enka songs I was exposed to were those of Aki Yashiro,” Emine SARI says. “I think she is a really fabulous singer. Anything she sing, she sing really great with power and emotion.”

“Enka-style songs are full of emotions and the way you sing them enables you to convey your sincerity. I think in this respect they resemble Turkish folksongs. Unlike Japanese social structure and culture, enka involves a great deal of romanticism. The themes are generally centered on love, loneliness, loss of loved ones, difficult situations and death,” she says, adding that although the younger generations are not very interested in this music, there are still a great deal of people who listen to enka songs. “Enka songs are also very hard to sing since there are difficult transitions. It requires a long time and discipline to learn how to sing,” Sarı explains, adding that she has been working on singing in this style for 10 years. Nowadays she is practicing 8 hours every day to release her new album.

Emine SARI composed some of the songs on the album. “I am working as an honorary cultural ambassador between Turkey and Japan,” she said. “I want to establish a culture bridge between Turkey and Japan. I want to perform Turkish songs in Japanese and Japanese songs in Turkish in order to make both cultures closer.”

Here are a few videos of Emine SARI, starting with her latest performance during the ‘sekainande sono uta shitteru no?’show, singing “Funa Uta”. Then there’s an interview on JOQR radio show. There’s a lot of stuff available on YouTube.

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