Sasagawa Miwa (笹川美和) is a Japanese folk artist under the avex label, though she was originally an indies artist under the PAINT BOX label. In 2000 she won sponsorship from Japanese burger giant MOS Burger for winning a contest for writing the best original Christmas song. After about two years as an indies artist, she debuted under Avex in 2003. Her most successful single is Kinmokusei / Warai (with Kinmokusei used as the drama Atarashii Kaze's theme song). Sasagawa is no longer a part of Avex.
In 1983, Sasagawa was born in the small town of Shiunji in Niigata, Japan. Starting in 2nd grade Sasagawa started to go to piano classes. By 6th grade she had started to compose original melodies. When it came time to enter a senior high school Sasagawa went to a strictly Protestant school. As she started to sing more, she fell in love Gospel and hymnal songs. In 2000, Sasagawa entered a song contest set up by burger giant MOS Burger (モスバーガー) to find the best original Christmas song. Sasagawa wrote Thanks to be Here and the song won the first place award. From here she started a formal music career. Sasagawa would then release this song on an indies single, X'mos with Smile. The song would be a MOS Burger commercial theme song.
Four months later, Sasagawa would release her first indies single with PAINT BOX, called Himawari. This single would be followed with a mini-album in six months' time (called ou_koku) and yet another single eight months after that (a double A-side called Kinmokusei / Warai). In this time, Sasagawa would tour extensively.
In April 2003, her last indies single would be released. The CD+DVD Taiyou single (featuring an entire live DVD on it) would finish her indies career before she got signed onto the major label avex. After recording songs abroad in England, Sasagawa would debut with a re-arranged re-release of her song Warai. This single would break the top 50, reaching in at #49 on Oricon single charts. A month later, this single would be followed with another indies hit, Kinmokusei (which was not as successful, reaching in at #82). Furthermore, a month after this her debut full length album Jijitsu was released. The album became a hit, reaching in at #27 and becoming a long, steady seller (charting in the top 300 albums for a total of 23 weeks).
In May 2004, Sasagawa would release her first two major label singles as a double a-side single called Kinmokusei / Warai, as Kinmokusei was chosen as the drama Atarashii Kaze's theme song. The single would be popular (much like her debut album) and debuted at #37 on Oricon charts.
Late August saw a new single by Sasagawa, called Anata Atashi. In October, Sasagawa would become the early Saturday morning night-time DJ on the radio station All Night Nippon. In fact, Sasagawa was on air when the 2004 Chuetsu Earthquake hit her native Niigata. Reputedly, despite herself she broke down on the radio show. Listeners sent in encouraging emails and postcards to her. She would later leave this post in late March 2005.
One more single would follow Anata Atashi (Tomenaide / Utsukushii Kage), which would similarly hover around the #100 position on Oricon charts. Following these singles, her second album Amata would be released. While not as successful as her first, it would chart at a higher position of #21.
Three more singles would follow after this album (with two in October 2005). Himawari, the first, was a remake of the same titled song from her indies period The second, Shiunji, was released three days after the one year anniversary of the earthquakes, and was released exclusively in the Niigata province. It was an ode to her birthplace, which no longer officially existed due to town mergers. Despite its severely limited release, the single would still chart on the lower ends of the charts (showing a massive support for Sasagawa in her native province). Sasagawa would release her third album Yoake (with only one single, Izanai, preceding it by a month). However, the album would only peak at #82 (unlike her first two album which reached within the top 30).
Late 2006 saw a return for Sasagawa. She released the single Oborodzukiyo / Kako in August, to be followed by Mayoi Naku in November.
In 2007, Sasagawa's contract with Avex came to an end and she is working as an indie artist again.