Japan: Kumiko Yokoi

Sing the love, love the song I want to fight with dreams in my soul, with you Sing the love, love the song, I want to fight with dreams in my soul."

— Kumiko Yokoi

Kumiko Yokoi uses the power of music to spread messages of peace, dignity, and hope. Millions of people of all ages in Ireland, Sri Lanka, Nicaragua, Vietnam, and the United States have been inspired by the singer's performances; profits from her concerts and CDs have benefited children, particularly those with disabilities. She is also known as a fighter for worker's rights in her home country, Japan.

When Kumiko Yokoi saw the pain and suffering of children-second- and third-generation victims of Agent Orange (a herbicide developed for military use)-at a rehabilitation center in Vietnam, her heart broke. "The village is a holy place," she said. "It has experienced peace and the cruelty of war." As she has been doing since 1973, she dedicated her 2004 concert to help the children. The concert was her fourth in Vietnam. She first performed there in 1973 when she sang "Stop! Tank" for northern soldiers during the Vietnam War. She is especially moved by children and families whose health has been devastated by environmental catastrophes. In 1985 she sang in Nicaragua, and in 2001 she donated the income from sales of a CD to children in Afghanistan. Inspired by Irish songs that arose from the civil rights movement, she has translated Irish ballads into Japanese. Her own songs, such as "Sing the Love, Long the Song" and "Same Sky, Same Children", send the universal message that all children should live in peace in a future that is bright. Kumiko received a singing degree from the National Music University, sang in a chorus, and became a soloist in 1969. Her popularity in Japan comes without the commercialization that normally accompanies success.