Sayuri Kokushō (国生さゆり or 國生さゆり Kokusho Sayuri?, born December 22, 1966 in Kanoya, Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan) is a Japanese actor, singer, and tarento. She was an original member of Onyanko Club. She works for the talent management firm Sony Music Artists. Her debut single, Valentine Kiss, is the most popular Valentine's Day song in Japan.
Kokushō was named after Sayuri Yoshinaga, of whom her father was a fan. After spending time living in Sasebo, Nagasaki when she was young, she attended Nishihara Elementary School and First Kanoya Junior High School, both Kanoya Municipal schools. She then attended Shimizugaoka High School in Kure, Hiroshima due to her father's transferring from JMSDF Kanoya Air Base to JMSDF Kure Naval Base while in the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force.
While in high school, she represented the Chūgoku region in the 3rd Miss Seventeen Contest in 1984. While she didn't win the contest, she was scouted by a representative from CBS Sony (two others scouted at the same contest were Misato Watanabe and Shizuka Kudō. Kokushō later appeared on a radio show with Misato Watanabe in 1986.) She moved to Tokyo after becoming a beauty model for Shiseido and the CBS Sony representative suggested she enter the "Female High School Student Special" contest on Fuji TV's All Night Fuji, where she made her television debut.
After winning the in-show beauty contest, she made her debut on Yūyake Nyan Nyan as a founding member of Onyanko Club. Because she was attending a high school in Hiroshima Prefecture at the time, she was described as being from Hiroshima. She was the captain of the track and field club during high school.
Onyanko Club era
On April 25, 1985, Kokushō made her professional debut as a founding member of Onyanko Club (member #8). Because she had already graduated from high school and was attending college, she was senior to most of the other members of Onyanko Club and became the de facto leader of the group. However, the "public image" leaders of the group were promoted as being Eri Nitta, Miharu Nakajima, Satomi Fukunaga, and Kazuko Utsumi. Kokushō continued to stand out as a leader of the group, however, even with publicity surrounding the solo debut of fellow member Sonoko Kawai.
Kokushō then had to determine whether she wanted to continue as a member of Onyanko Club or begin a solo career and leave the group. She received some support from Nitta and Kawai, both of whom had started successful solo careers of their own. She made her solo debut on February 1, 1986 with the single Valentine Kiss, which was backed by Onyanko Club. The single reached #2 on the Oricon charts, #1 on the Music Lab and Music Research charts, and #4 on the The Best Ten music program on TBS. The single also won the Japan Gold Disc Award for Best Single of the Year. In a 2006 survey in Japan, Oricon Style found Valentine Kiss to be the most popular Valentine's Day song. She was not, however, able to match the Oricon #1 position reached by Nitta and Kawai with their respective solo debut releases.
- (Japanese) Kokushō's official blog