Name: 小湊美和 (Kominato Miwa)
Date of birth: Februar 15th, 1977
Place of birth: Fukushima, Japan
Date of debut: February 21st, 1999 (Member #13)
Graduated: October 9th, 2000
Miwa Kominato is a Japanese singer.
She started her career as a child, performing in folk music festivals. She became a member of the group Taiyo to Ciscomoon in 1999, from which she graduated in 2000.
Kominato was the youngest member for “Taiyo To Ciscomoon”, and she disliked being called by her full first name. She liked being called by her last name, such as “Kominato” or “Komi”.
Kominato Miwa was born into a family who have been singing minyo and folk music for two generations. Kominato, being the third generation, has been performing in Folk Music festivals since she was three years old.
In 1984, she won the Japanese Native Folk Song Conference at age seven. She participated in the same event in 1988 and won again (and again in 1998).
At this time she started her education learning folk songs; training to be a professional singer.
After junior high, she didn’t enter a school of a higher grade, but started traveling on the road singing folk songs.
In 1995, she won the Nationwide Japanese Native Folk Song Conference, and she had now made a name for herself in this industry. All though singing folk, it was rock and roll that she mostly listened to.
This year, she also got married (at the age of 17).
In 1996 she originally took part in the auditions by ASAYAN, which produced Morning Musume, but had to drop out when she found out she was pregnant. In the years to come, she became the mother of two children.
In 1998, she applied for ASAYAN’s audition for the new idol unit that was going to be produced by Tsunku. The finalists were sent to San Francisco for an intensive training which lasted for 48 days. Then, along with Inaba, Shinoda and RuRu, she made a debut as a member of “Taiyo To Ciscomoon” in April 1999.
Originally, the unit was formed under a contract of releasing only one song. (and the agency had said that if their debut song placed lower than Morning Musume’s debut song, there was no point in continuing producing this group. But to their great surprise, the debut song, “Tsuki To Taiyou” landed 6th place for the Oricon charts during its first release week, later moving up to 4th place. After it’s success, singles were released on a monthly basis and they kept holding live performances across the nation.
During ASAYAN, members were given various challenges to overcome, and they were expected to perform as television entertainers. The biggest obstacle for Kominato was probably being let go from the unit without any solid reason. During ASAYAN, she was criticized for not being a great dancer. The rumor has it that it was the record label’s pre-planned action to let Kominato go. But she came back to the unit soon and the unit’s name was changed to “T&C Bomber”. They tried to recreate the similar popularity as they used to have, but in reality it was never quite the same.
When T&C Bomber split up, in 2000, she was asked to debut as a solo enka/minyo singer, but she declined.
The song “Itoshii Hito e” was not planned to be released originally; it was created for a theme song for the movie, “Lady Plastic”. But a petition was created by fans and enough signatures were collected. As a result, the song was featured as a b-side for her first single, “Ai no Chikara” which was released in April 2002.
Her first solo live performance took place in July 2001 in Mikasa, Hokkaido. It was an outdoor concert, and in April 2001, she appeared on NHK’s minyo TV program called “Dontokoi Minyo” on a monthly basis as a host/reporter.
In 2003, after releasing only one single, she left her agency and became an independent artist. Kominato and her brother started a minyo/pop/folk inspired band as a duo, calling themselves «Priest». Rumor has it, the unit was named after the combination of their names Miwa 美和 + Akihisa 昭尚 = Oshou 和尚 (Buddhist monk). Their latest release was an album in 2006.
In 2008, Taiyo to Ciscomoon was resurrected for their 10 year anniversary, releasing a best-of album and holding a reunion concert. They also re-united for a special H!P show in 2013, and for a live talk event in 2014. In 2015, she was a special guest at Momoiro Clover's Ecopa Stadium Tour, performing the song "Chakkiri-bushi"as well as singing back-up vocals for several of Tatuya Ishii's releases.
Kominato is still performing live events randomly, participates in special projects from time to time, as well as taking care of her family and a bunch of cats (check out her instagram).