Name: 福田明日香 (Fukuda Asuka)
Stage name: ♀asuka (used in PEACE$TONE)
Date of birth: December 17th, 1984
Place of birth: Tokyo, Japan
Date of debut: September 11th, 1997 (Member #6)
Graduated: April 18th, 1999
Asuka Fukuda is a Japanese singer and author.
She started her career as a member of the group Morning Musume in 1997, from which she graduated in 1999. In 2011 she made a return to the music industry as part of the band PEACE$TONE.
In 1997, an audition program called «Sharan Q Rock Vocalist Audition» was held in association with ASAYAN. ASAYAN was a tv show aiming at producing new music artists, and the band Sharan Q, with their lead man Tsunku, were looking for a female vocalist to join their group.
The finale of the show was on September 7th, 1997. In the final episode the number of girls were down to 11. All girls were singing an original song, penned by Tsunku, called «GET.» Michiyo Heike would be the winner (all though she forgot the lyrics), making the other 10 the losers.
However, despite Nakazawa, Ishiguro, Abe, Iida and Fukuda failed to make the audition, they were promised to make a major debut if they could sell 50,000 copies of their original single, “Ai no Tane” («Seeds of Love») in just five days. They completed the task within four days, and debuted as Morning Musume.
Fukuda was in the group for a short time. She announced her wishes of returning to her normal life and finishing her education on an episode of ASAYAN in 1999. Her wish was granted, and Tsunku arranged a graduation concert for her and penned a solo song just for her, called «NEVER FORGET».
After graduating, she released an essay book. Here she talked about her time in Morning Musume not being a happy time. She also talks about not being a fan of the music industry, which she later commented in a 2006 interview, stating she would never go back to show business.
The years after leaving Morning Musume and the industry, she worked at her parents bar and as a vocal couch.
In 2011, it was announced that Fukuda was part of the band PEACE$TONE (with TERRA and Asuka on vocals, with Yaman Chang doing the programming) and that they would release their debut album «Double Fantasy» in November of 2011. They are a mixed male/female vocal group, going by the slogan "a circus of sounds". They operate mainly out of Tokyo, and are signed to the record company Osechi Records with STONE Project as their label. The band's image, stage production, and other details relating to the group are handled by their producer and president of STONE Project, Ai Minase. They formed on February 14th, 2011 with the belief that "the power of culture can make hearts wealthy", listing The Beatles and Jack Johnson as some of their favorites, they combine various genres matched by acoustic guitar in an "organic mixture" to produce their appealing sound. As part of their former band THETAθ (Harmony Production), Vocalist TERRA and Guitar/Prog. Yaman Chang participated in a project by the TV show "Utaban" wherein they travelled from the northernmost part of Honshu down to Aomori with no money in their pockets, pulling a cart with their sleeping bags and CDs.
Fukuda said, regarding her comeback, in an interview: «I didn’t intentionally think ‘I will make a comeback’. I had some long-standing friendly relations with the vocalist from TERRA, as well as the guitarist Yaman Chang, who talked about wanting to do a new band and I said ‘If that’s the case, I want to participate!’. When they started working on songs, it seemed things were taking shape, but I didn’t want to do anything if it was solo.»
The band had live events and a few radio shows in the year to come, and on November 3rd 2012, Fukuda started a 6-month radio project for Oricon called «Minna Tabibito».
Asuka is still touring with the band holding live shows, and in 2013 they covered Shoukan Tokyo «Shoujo A» for a tribute album for BAKUFU-SLUMP. PeaceStone have also played several demo songs at their live performances, and released a prequel-album in 2014 followed by it's successedor in 2015.
In 2015, they advertised for new members and currently perform as a five person vocal group. Three new girls were added to the band in 2015; ayumi, ecchan, and aya. They are credited as chorus/dancers. The same year Fukuda announced her pregnancy and gave birth to her first child on February 14th, 2016 and is currently on maternity leave from the group. PeaceStone released their first single, Que Sera Sera, as a sixtett (TERRA, Yaman Chang, Asuka, ayumi, ecchan and aya) in March of 2017.
They have performed in Shibuya and Shimokitazawa live houses, such as Shibuya O-EAST, Quatro, and eggman, and have recently begun doing cafe lives and other events. They are currently aggressively persuing lives and media appearances in other parts of the country as well.