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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

R. I. P. Izumi Sakai (Zard)

Updated (September 2, 2012): Zard is a pop group. And Izumi Sakai was its lead vocalist and leader. I always referred to her as Zard because to me, she WAS Zard. But I decide to revise this blog post so that I can try to separate the Sakai the person, from the group.

I was pretty shocked when I read about singer-songwriter Izumi Sakai's death on today's newspapers.

Known more popularly as the face of Zard, she was the biggest female solo singer of the 90s. Zard was one of the earliest Japanese artists I learnt about when I first got into J-music back then, so her passing does make me feel that a small fragment of my past is gone, it's a feeling rather similar to how I felt when Leslie Cheung and Anita Mui died.
I liked Zard's songs a lot, but I can't really call myself a fan. Having always been very low-profile and mysterious, rarely appearing on TV programs like Hey! Hey! Hey! Music Champ! or Pop Jam, Zard had always been just a voice to me, not a gimmick nor a mere product, all I could do was like their songs, and Sakai's voice. There weren't any outlandish outfits nor tabloid-baiting controversy, it was all about the songs, not the image, not about being crazy or cartoonish. So I guess a Zard fan could only afford to like them for their songs and nothing more.

Sakai discovered that she had cervical cancer in 2006 and had her tumour removed. However, she returned to hospital in April 2007 when the cancer had spread to her lungs, and had taken daily walks since then. During one of the walks in May 26, she accidentally fell from the stairs and was discovered later by a passer-by. She was sent to an emergency room, but unfortunately it was too late. She died from a brain contusion. She was only 40.

Which song of hers do I remember most? Some of her songs were used for anime series like SLAM DUNK, DETECTIVE CONAN and DRAGON BALL GT. Strangely, the one I remember most would be her 2000 single, PROMISED YOU. I think that might actually be my all-time favourite Zard song. the following's a video of her performance, she looked absolutely ethereal. [UPDATED: June 19th, 2015] The video had sadly been taken down. I'm replacing it with other videos. She will live on forever.

Rest in peace and thanks for the memories. Read other reactions to the Zard Tragedy on International Wota.


  1. T.T May she rest in peace. Sad that she has gone at such young age.

  2. Only 40. And I was here today lamenting I'd just turned 42 and was feeling so old.

    Sad when any person passes away.


    Here are some remarks concerning the incident that caused the death of Ms. Izumi Sakai at Keio University Hospital (Shinjuku, Tokyo). If there is anything wrong or unclear please share your opinions to make them better and complete. If we believe this is a good suggestion should we inform Tokyo police (and other Zard fans) and request a review of the case and a continuation of the investigation? ( -IMPORTANT: only Japanese fans/citizens have the legal/proper right to make such a request).
    Since the incident happened for quite a long time in order to make the police to consider our request/suggestion we (Japanese fans) need to respond with numerous voices.

    William A.
    Email: kion_2005@yahoo.com


    There are three possibilities that the incident could happen:
    1) Falling over the rail by jumping (suicide).
    2) Falling over the rail by slipping.
    3) Falling over the rail by an external force acting on her body.


    - If Ms. Sakai’s doctor said the outcome of the medical treatment for her sickness was OPTIMISTIC (It can be verified easily) then ONLY this factor is ENOUGH to rule out this possibility (NO MOTIVE to commit suicide).
    - The act such as exercising REGULARLY every morning AT A CERTAIN TIME during her hospitalization is NOT a manifestation of a person in a despair mood (suicide intention).
    - The act such as doing exercise (on the day the incident happened) AT THE SAME TIME AS EVERY DAY is NOT a manifestation of a person in a despair mood.
    - The act such as taking medicine REGULARLY every day is NOT a manifestation of a person in a despair mood.
    - The activity, behavior, reaction of the patient (victim) in those days was normal as every day during her hospitalization (told by other patients & nurses having contact with her in those days). This fact is NOT a manifestation of a person in a despair mood.
    - If she jumped from the slope (or from the landing) there must have been her fingerprints of BOTH HANDS on the railing AND her footprints on the railing border at the position where she fell. One question is that why jumping (or dropping herself) at that height (3 meters). It might cause an injury instead of death and that is not what a suicide wants.
    - The supposition that the victim sat on the handrail is inappropriate because it is hard to sit on an inclined railing. And if she fell backwards her head or front would land first because her legs were still being caught on the railing when she let herself dropping.
    - From psychological aspect those who have (malignant) cancers usually fear to lose their lives in a short period of time rather than fear to suffer pains (anodyne drug, painkiller, morphine can help to relieve pain) or fear for other reasons. Why do they have to find a quicker, more painful way to finish their lives by suicide ? (jumping, in this situation).


    - IN ALL CASES WHEN NO EXTERNAL FORCE APPLYING TO THE BODY, whether the victim slipped and fell forwards (or backwards) on the slope or on the landing, the center of forces [see Note (*) at the end of the message] acting on her body was below the height of the banister and the net force acting on her when she slipped had direction pointing to the ground which pulled her down immediately instead of throwing her up aside. Therefore there is no way to fall over the railing (furthermore the banister is 1.2m in height). In case that she stumbled while walking or running [see Note (**)] down the slope she still fell forwards down in the direction that she was moving along, not the direction across the banister.
    - The force caused by slipping was applied at her foot. It produced torsion and rotation about an axis (the axis going through the center of gravity of her body and parallel to the surface of the ground, in this case). THIS FORCE DID NOT THROW HER UP.


    - There might have been NO footprints of the culprit and the victim RIGHT AT THE SPOT from where she was supposed to fall.
    - A person walking UP on the slope cannot slip his/her step forwards unless he/she takes a large step. He/she can only slip backwards and might fall forwards. Therefore if he/she falls backwards there must be an external force (a push, a bump, ...) acting on him/her from the front.
    - Footprint: Was there any change in the moving step PATTERN of the victim and the moving step patterns around the scene ? [see Note (#)]

    - The weight of a person standing on a slope produces a force pulling him/her down along the slope; hence it is easy to lose balance when he/she is on an inclined surface and is suddenly pushed or bumped by someone. The victim could be walking on the way down to the yard or on the way up to the room when the incident happened. She was hit with a force. That external force had a direction pointing outwards & crossing the rail line which was the cause of the incident. Perhaps somebody was running out from the passageway within the building and bumped against (or pushed -did with intention) her that threw her backwards some distance before she fell over the rail. The center of gravity of her body & the center of forces AT THE POSITION JUST BEFORE BEING HIT were HIGHER than the height of the banister AT THE POSITION WHERE SHE FELL OVER. The NET FORCE acting upon her was strong enough to throw her backwards and over the railing. This hypothesis is possible if there are some supportive evidences and it does not contradict any basic facts/factual information/evidences collected.
    - For instance: A slope is 5.0 meters long, and 2.0 meters high (at the landing); the banister is 1.2 meters high. A person is at the edge of the landing. The position P at a distance of 1.0 meter (from the edge of the landing down the slope) is 0.4m lower than any position at the landing. Therefore the height of the banister at position P is 0.8m relative to the person at the landing. With a force (strong enough) acting on the person towards the slope & across the banister, the person could possibly be thrown downwards a distance and fall over the railing at position P (because the height of the banister at P is RELATIVELY LOWER than the center of gravity of the person [and the center of forces] when the external force acting on him at the landing).
    - Let call M the point at the location where the victim's footprints [see Note (##)] along her moving direction ended abruptly (HER LAST FOOTPRINT just before the incident happened). Let call the plane Pn a plane (containing M) perpendicular to the surface of the ground and perpendicular to the line L [see Note (###)]. Let call F the point at the spot where her body was found on the ground (where she fell?). If the distance from F to the plane Pn is a long distance (a distance longer than 1.2m ... or else, that depends on the real scene) then this is a FACT that proves an external force was acting upon her (somebody bumped or pushed her hard).
    - If there were spots of her BACKWARD steps (they can be distinguished by comparing with her normal moving step pattern [see Note (#)]) this is a supportive FACT for the hypothesis.

    - It is hard to imagine that a person of about 1.65m high could be falling down over the banister of 1.2m high simply by someone pushing, bumping against, ... even with an intensive force (that would cause injury traces on the body). THERE MUST HAVE BEEN SOMEONE WHO HARMED HER INTENTIONALLY.


    (*) Center of forces: is a point where the net
    force of a system is supposed to apply.
    (**) She wore boots ===> not for running.
    (#) The pattern of footprints along the moving
    direction. The moving step pattern would
    change when there was an obstacle (bumping
    to something, for example) in the direction
    of moving.
    (##) There might have been her fingerprints at
    that point, if she kept the hand on the rail
    bar when climbing the slope.
    (###) The line L is the intersection of the
    surface of the ground and the plane Pr which
    contains the rail line and perpendicular to
    the surface of the ground.



    Please refer to the following sources for related information: