Name: 平家充代 (Heike Michiyo)
Stage names: 平家みちよ(Heike Michiyo), みちよ(Michiyo)
Date of birth: April 6th, 1979
Place of birth: Osaka, Japan

Date of debut: August 31st, 1997 (Member #1)
Graduated: November 7th, 2002

Official site | Official Diary | Fan site (in Japanese) | Fanblog covering her live shows as Michiyo

Michiyo is a Japanese singer and a former actress.
She started her career as a solo singer winning a singing contest on a show called ASAYAN in 1997.

History

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 (starting out as 9.900). All girls were singing an original song, penned by Tsunku, called «GET». Michiyo would eventually win the whole audition (despite forgetting the lyrics to the song in the final). Plans were, however, diverted. Michiyo didn’t end up being in the band, but was given a solo career instead.

She debuted in november 1997 with the single «GET» (the song she had sung winning the ASAYAN finals). It sold almost 80.000 copies, and is her best selling single to this date.

In addition to being a solo artist, she also hosted the tv-show «Idol wo Sagase», a reality / infotainment show, together with Yuko Nakazawa from 1998 to 2002. The same year, she also starred in the movie «Morning Cop» and contributed to the sound-track of the movie.

Michiyo continued releasing singles with a rock-ish pop-sound, until the relase of her 7th single. Tsunku, who was the head of the band Sharan Q, had now several artists under his wings and called his management Hello!Project. Michiyo Heike was a part of this ensemble, and in 2000 Tsunku decided to shuffle all the artists he managed, so Michiyo ended up being in a 5nin shuffle group called kiiro 5. With a renewed push, Tsunku produced her 7th single (her other singles were produced by Hatake, a fellow band-member of Tsunku) which sold better than her previous singles.
This also marked a change in her music’s sound, which from now on would be more pop-ish.

Heike was interviewed for Dreamcast Magazine in 2000, and the interviewers asked her a very direct question:

In 1997, Michiyo Heike was chosen as a winner of “SharamQ Produce Rock Vocalist Audition”, which was aired on ASAYAN (TV Tokyo Affiliate).  A little side note is that the runner-ups from the same audition were gathered together and the unit ‘Morning Musume’ was later created. Nowadays, Morning Musume has become a national idol. In contrast, Michiyo Heike’s career is a lower key. Does she feel a little bitter about that?  We asked the question directly to her.

“I’ve been observing the unit’s progress closely, and the members have been working so hard, so I’ve never felt bitter. But whenever we had the joint live concerts, most of the audience was obviously the fans of Morning Musume, and I couldn’t understand why at first. I mean, I never wondered why Morning Musume was appealing, but I wondered why I couldn’t get as much attention from those people. So I was performing, hoping to gain as much of their attention as I could in any way possible.  My intention and the effort seemed to be paid off, for I now have a lot of steady fans who have been supportive to me for 2 years.  I’m happy with the way it turned out.”

She released four more singles within Hello! Project before graduating in 2002. Her graduation concerts, «Heike Michiyo – Hello!Pro Sotsugyou LIVE», was held on November 1st to November 7th in 2002.

T-shirt from her graduation tour.

After her graduation she remained out of the spotlight for a few years, before releasing her first independent album as a solo artist in 2004. It is entitled «JECICA», and is released by the record label Sweet Hysteria Records. Heike Michiyo aslo changed her stage name to Michiyo (みちよ) to re-launch herself. The same year she held a concert called «JECICA Hatsubai Kinenbi Higashi Saka Tour ’05».

Six months later she released a dvd called «Sweets of JECICA» with three music videos and a documentary, only for sale through her web site.

In the beginning of 2005, Michiyo released a fan club only single entitled «ran RUN ran»,
and the following month she released her second solo album, «Koimizuki».

Following the album, she went on a tour called «Koimizuki Hatsubai Kinenbi Higashi Saka Tour ’05». She had another tour later the same year called «Michiyo Tour 2005 ‘unaffected'». Another single was released at the end of the year, and a tour with it called «Michiyo Tour 2005 ‘unaffected'».

Her third solo album was released the summer the following year. It is entitled «Fantasia», and is her last music release to this date.

In March of 2007, it was announced that Michiyo was pregnant, and in November she gave birth to a baby girl. The same year she had a commemoration concert to celebrate her 11th year in the music industry.

In 2008 she gave birth to her second child, a boy. The same year she got sick during a live performance and had to step down to take the rest she needed. She talks about this from time to time in her blog, and referst to it as when she was bedridden and got insomnia from the medecine she had to take. She started reading a lot of books and got interested in subjects like self-help and the spiritual. This led her to release three talk-CDs in late 2008 and early 2009 with Nami Yoshikawa. 

In early 2009, Michiyo was a guest at a Melon Kinenbi show, and in late 2009 she wished Taiyo to Ciscomoon good luck before their first concert in 8 years. The same year she got bedridden for two years, suffering from an eye-disease (probably due to a reaction to some medicine). During this period she got interested in spirituality after getting in touch with someone who helped her heal her body and mind.

In 2011, Michiyo’s blog was shut down, and there was no news of her in the music industry until 2013, when Hello! Project held a concert called "Hello! Project Countdown 2013 ~Hello & Good Bye~". Heike was one of the acts performing on stage along with several other graduated members.

In December of 2014, Heike announced that she would be a guest at TV Tokyo’s Imaichi Dakedo Happy Jinsei. She also announced she would hold a mini live called «Michiyo Acoustic Mini Live» or «Michiyo Nenmatsu Special Mini Live» at Miiya Cafe in Tokyo on the 20th. If you’d purchase a CD at the live venue, you’d get to attend a handshake event afterwards. This is her first live event in six years, if you’re not counting her appeareance at the H!P Countdown concerts in 2013.

According to fan reports Kaori Iida was in the audience, as well as Hitomi Saito, Megumi Murata and Masae Ohtani. Heike performed the songs "Jecica", "Love Line", "GET", "Promise", "RAINBOW", "Shiroi Suna", "Sakuseichuu no Uta (Sebinomi)" (作成中の曲 (サビのみ)) and "Kite". «Promise» seem to be a new song or a cover song.  

In January, a special segment with Heike was aired, talking about her debut 17 years ago and her work up until now. They also showed clips from her live show on the 20th. She continued appearing on different tv-shows as a talent, and in 2016 and 2017 she started uploading music snippets on her instagram account hinting towards new music releases. One of the songs had lyrics posted and has the title ヒカリ (hikari; Light).