This year marks the 20th anniversary of the debut of the beloved pop group ZARD, so naturally several projects are in the works to honor the occasion. One of those is another set of memorial concerts for vocalist Izumi Sakai, who passed away in 2007 at the age of 40.
Although ZARD began as a five-member group in 1991, ZARD was essentially Sakai's solo project. During her career, she released 11 original albums and dozens of singles, with several of those releases becoming million sellers. After being diagnosed with cancer in 2006, she had been hospitalized for nearly a year before her accidental death in May 2007.
Several memorial concerts for ZARD were held in 2007 after her death, with so many fans attending that the concerts went on tour. Additional memorial concerts were held in 2008 and 2009. This year, a concert will be held on May 27 (Sakai's death anniversary) at Nippon Budokan in Tokyo, followed by another on May 29 at the Osaka International Convention Center.
Like the previous shows, these will incorporate large screens displaying footage of Sakai singing (some of it previously unreleased), accompanied live by a group of guest musicians. One representative from ZARD's agency says that they are thinking of making this 20th anniversary concert the last one.
There will also be a few ZARD releases in the upcoming months: a 6-CD box set containing 99 songs (February 10), four separate photobooks (also on February 10), and three separate DVDs of the past memorial concerts (April).
A special exhibit about Sakai's 20-year career featuring photos, videos, and possessions will be doing a 4-city tour, starting in February. The Tokyo exhibit will take place on May 25-30 at the Takashimaya building in Shinjuku.
It has also been announced that a special 20th anniversary website will be launched on January 15.