Who Is Misia? Singer of Japan's National Anthem at Olympics Opening Ceremony

Singer Misia proved to be a captivating force during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games opening ceremony on Friday, taking to the stage to perform Japan's national anthem.

Resplendent in a multi-colored bouffant gown reminiscent of cotton candy, the singer-songwriter, 43, belted out the lyrics to "Kimi Ga Yo" while holding court at the 68,000-capacity Olympic Stadium.

The Japanese flag was brought into the expansive stadium—which sat largely empty due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic—by members of the nation's defense forces, who solemnly raised it as Misia performed.

For those unfamiliar, Misia is a musician who has enjoyed quite the prolific career in her native Japan, rising to prominence with her debut album, "Mother Father Brother Sister," which was released shortly before her 20th birthday in 1998 and is one of the country's best-selling debuts.

Nagasaki-born Misia's career went from strength to strength following her debut, with her 2000 ballad "Everything" catapulting her to superstardom. She now boasts 13 studio albums, with sales of 20 million.

Widely embraced as Japan's first R&B superstar, Misia—born Misaki Itō—also boasts a five-octave vocal range.

Outside of her musical success, Misia has a long history of philanthropic work, particularly in Africa, where she has visited several countries since 2007.

"A musician in Africa once told me that 'music is language,'" Misia said in a 2019 interview. "In Africa, where different languages mix, music becomes a language in its own right that helps people to connect."

"There are more than 50 countries in Africa and each nation has its own culture," she said. "They have their own music and their own traditions. It's incredible."

Misia's work led to her being appointed honorary ambassador of the seventh Tokyo International Conference on African Development, hosted by the Foreign Ministry in Yokohama in August 2019. She also held the role in 2013, per the Japan Times.

In 2010, the star co-founded an organization called Mudef, which promotes promote biodiversity and universal education in Africa.

She also led causes closer to home the following year, when she launched Misia's Forest, a conservation effort in Ishikawa Prefecture.

"My interest in social issues probably stems from the extensive peace studies that were given at school in Nagasaki, as well as being brought up in a family of doctors," Misia told the Japan Times. "The 'message of life' was never far from me as a child."

She added: "My philanthropic activities are all possible because I'm a musician. I just want to bring a smile to the faces of children and young people through the power of music."

Japanese singer Misia
Japanese singer Misia sings Japan's national anthem "Kimi Ga Yo" during the opening ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, at the Olympic Stadium, in Tokyo, on July 23, 2021. JEWEL SAMAD/AFP via Getty Images

Mother Father Brother Sister