JEDDAH: Japanese singer-songwriter miwa summoned up the energy of anime with a visually stunning concert performance at Anime Village in the City Walk zone as part of Jeddah Season 2022.
The J-pop star, whose stage name is spelt with a lowercase “m,” performed several of her most popular songs, including anime themes “Update” from “My Hero Academy” and “Teenage Dream” from “Boruto,” during Friday’s concert — her debut show in the Kingdom.
After the opening song, miwa introduced herself in Arabic, expressing her delight at meeting Saudi fans and exchanging “I love you” phrases with several in the audience.
“This is the first time for me to have a show in Saudi Arabia, I’m so happy to be here,” the 31-year-old said.
“I really hope you enjoy tonight,” she added before picking up a guitar and singing.
Miwa also sang her first single, “Don’t Cry Anymore,” written 13 years ago for her debut album.
The performer has gone on to release six studio albums, one compilation album, seven video albums and 25 singles.
“I feel really great,” said 22-year-old Alanood, who traveled from Riyadh to see miwa perform. “But, sadly, I couldn’t stay until the end of the concert because I had to catch my flight.”
Miwa announced on Twitter on Tuesday that she planned to perform live in the Kingdom. Anime Village’s official Twitter account also posted a short video of the singer telling Saudi fans that she was looking forward to meeting them.
“I’m very excited because this is my first time to be in Saudi Arabia,” the artist said. “I think this is a first for you guys as well.”
A Japanese family living in the Kingdom attended the concert dressed in traditional summer festival-themed kimonos and carrying tiny banners bearing the word “miwa” in Japanese and English.
“I’m very surprised to see her here and hear her real voice,” said Kenta Hara, 41.
“This is my first time (to see miwa), so I’m really really impressed and excited.”
His wife Miki, 45, said that she was overwhelmed at seeing one of her favorite artists.
“This is fantastic,” she said. “I love miwa. Her voice is very beautiful, like a bird, and her songs are very good.”
Miwa sang the theme song of the anime movie “Child of Kamiari Month” and also performed her 2022 release “Sparkle,” saying the song was a personal favorite.
Before the final song, miwa told the audience: “I want to thank you for being part of my life and I hope to see you again.”
The singer has also appeared on the big screen, playing the supporting heroine Amane Tachibana in 2015’s “Maestro!” and lead heroine Aoi Hinata in the 2017 release “The 100th Love with You.”
Miwa’s first overseas concert took place in Paris, where she performed at Parc du Champ-de-Mars at the foot of the Eiffel Tower in 2014. The show was part of a global campaign to help victims of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake, one of Japan’s worst-ever natural disasters.