real Emotion / 1000 no Kotoba

by Rinoa on March 5, 2007 · 17 comments · AddThis

Kumi posing as Lenne
Kumi posing as Lenne in her second album 'grow into one'
Artist: Koda Kumi
Product Code: RZCD-45080
Release Date: 2003.03.05
Debut Ranking: #6
First Press: Limited Sleeves
Label: avex trax

Up till 2003, Koda Kumi was a “nobody” in the music scene. Most of her singles struggled to chart and she had only released one unpopular album. Koda Kumi was poorly promoted, didn’t bother about the creative aspect of music and was considered as overweight by Japanese strandards. Consequently Kumi resigned herself to remaining an underground singer and barely cared about what avex told her to release. Her record label had no confidence in her and Kumi knew that her career was doomed. However, Square Enix, noticed Kumi’s vocal potential and collaborated with avex to release a single for Final Fantasy X-2.

For those who are not into the gaming scene, the Final Fantasy series are extremely popular throughout the whole world. The very first game released from this franchise was actually planned to be the last, but it ended up saving the company from bankrupcy. The Final Fantasy franchise led to Square-Enix to become one of the biggest gaming company worldwide and garnered a gigantic fanbase. With each release, the budget grew bigger, the graphics were more techonologically-advanced, the music more elaborate and dramatic, and the plotlines grew more complicated and mysterious. Square-Enix decided that the orchestral compositions were not enough and started searching for musical talents to sing a few songs in their soundtrack collections, which the fans were so keen on getting their hands on. This meant that whoever was lucky enough to be selected was also destined to sell quite well and gather international attention and massive promotion.

After 14 years, the gaming community shows no indication of getting tired of the continual releases of Final Fantasy. Final Fantasy X was another massive success, which ended up the second best-selling Final Fantasy game. Square Enix recognized that releasing a sequel would be extremely profitable and so two years later Final Fantasy X-2 was released. This game was another success worldwide, placing it as the fifth best-selling Final Fantasy title.

“real Emotion / 1000 no Kotoba” was a success in Japan. This single peaked at #3 on the Oricon charts and charted for 28 weeks. Overall it sold 282,374 copies and charted as the #24 single of the year. It also became her second highest selling single to date. This was the first commercial success for Koda Kumi, but this was enough to trigger her determination and change her attitude. Apart from singing these two songs for the game, she also performed motion capture for the “real Emotion” opening full motion video in the game and provided the voice of Lenne.

Since Final Fantasy is also extremely popular in the west, an English version was recorded for the western audience. However Square-Enix decided to re-record these songs with an American artist, Jade of Sweetbox because they were not satisfied with Koda’s English pronunciation. However this did not stop Kumi from releasing her English versions in the following single “Come with Me”.


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1. real Emotion

Back then when I was completely ignorant of the world of J-Pop and immersed into the world of gaming, I only noticed artists who got tie-ins with games. I found “real Emotion” was extremely catchy and attractive and started researching on Kumi’s career. Koda’s vocals are smoky, aggresive and fit just perfectly for the urban-pop atmosphere.

“real Emotion” was the theme song for this game and is also one of Kumi’s trademark songs. This song was again re-arranged by Square-Enix and called the (FFX-2 mix) to fit the game’s theme. It was only released in “Final Fantasy X-2 Original Soundtrack”. avex also released a remix of this song by DJ MSK. This song was composed by Kazuhiro Hara and the lyrics were written by Ken Kato.

Square-Enix has a knack of discovering artists who have the perfect vocals and genre for their games’ theme. Koda’s vocals are unique compared to the typical squeaky vocals of many artists. Also Koda was one of the few artists who experimented on urban music. I suppose these factors led to Square-Enix to pick up Kumi. When comparing Kumi’s vocals with Jade’s, I must say they are by far superior. Kumi has powerful vocals while Jade sounds extremely uncomfortable and out-of-place in the fast-paced urban atmosphere of this, especially since Jade has mellow vocals.

The promotional video released by avex, featured screens from the game and of Koda Kumi. This promotional video was the beginning of Kumi’s sexy image which would become a major factor for her success. A “behind the scenes” atmosphere is created while Kumi is seen recording and dancing as the motion actress. For this reason the screens flow perfectly with each other where Yuna and Kumi have an identical choreography.

Rating: ★★★★☆


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2. 1000 no Kotoba

“1000 no Kotoba” was used in a cut scene and was a much slower ballad song. It means “A thousand words” and depicts the tragic love story of Lenne and Shuyin. In the game, it was sung by Lenne and Yuna combined in the Songstress Dressphere. The lyrics speak about Lenne’s love which keeps on living through time because of this song she wrote.

The same identical version was released by Square-Enix in the “Final Fantasy X-2 Original Soundtrack”. An orchestral version and a piano version were included in this soundtrack. avex also released a remix version, DJ 19 Remix in the single “Come with Me”. An Alternate Orchestra Version was also released by avex as a bonus track in her album “grow into one”. It was composed and arranged by Noriko Matsueda and Takahito Eguchi, who were the script writers of the game. The lyrics were written by Kazushige Nojima.

In comparison to Jade’s version, I must say that Kumi’s version is inferior. Jade’s vocals are delicate and heartfelt, while Kumi’s vocals are more rough and are not so emotional. This is the reason why I’m not so fond of this song, because at that stage of her career, mellow ballads were not Kumi’s strong point.

Rating: ★★★☆☆



“real Emotion / 1000 no Kotoba” was a definite turning point in Koda’s career. She rediscovered her passion for music and started taking her career more seriously. Her image changed radically and Kumi started being careful about her appearance, especially her weight. She also started getting more involved in the musical aspect of her career and this was the start of gathering a stable fanbase.

Overall this single was clearly a success for Koda Kumi, which led her to take a more personal approach in her music and create a fresh image of herself. Her second album which contained both songs, became a modest success. Despite the fact that this single did not make her an instant star, I feel this single is one of her best displays of her talents. With the professional staff Square-Enix collaborating with avex, this single was a well rounded single with a decent budget invested within it.

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆


CD Cover

CD Tracklist

  1. real Emotion (Original Mix)
  2. 1000 no Kotoba (Original Mix)
  3. real Emotion (Instrumental)
  4. 1000 no Kotoba (Instrumental)

Purchase this item: YesAsia US | YesAsia Global

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About the author

Rinoa enjoys spending her free time writing articles, most particularly reviews, biographies and news articles. Her favourite artist is Ayumi Hamasaki but she enjoys listening to a wide range of musical talents from all over the world.

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Imani Rine UNITED STATES March 29, 2009 at 8:47 pm

I’m a fan of Kumiko and I really didn’t like her music before her Kingdom ablum so I’m new to this but I agree, ballads aren’t her style but ‘anytime’ was very good. Her old stuff was just promoting sex and more sex then she got all cute and soft. It isn’t that bad plus she over did with her newest ablum TRICK. I think all artists so get up on a better or wide range of sounds and styles an its good to be versatile. So this was a good article to mean even you said she was a nobody I learned something new because I am a fan Square Enix, so I look to more Kumi News.


Dartan UNITED STATES January 22, 2008 at 5:08 am

Surprised this page and the wiki entry for koda kumi don’t list that she won 2nd place in the Avex Dream contest.


safira January 1, 2008 at 12:55 pm

Do you know if Koda was the official model for Lenne?


Kida UNITED STATES June 9, 2007 at 11:47 am

Ah, personally, I found out about Kuu thanks to her m•a•z•e album, and, true then, she was a lot more modest. But as far as her singing not being as important as her image, I have to disagree. True, she’s not modest even in the slightest (though here in American she’s probably seen as a saint, whereas girls in and out of music videos wear clothing so skimpy you can practically see their private areas) but her voice still measures farther than her appearence. Where some of you say that’s how people know her, that’s not necessarily true. For instance, my friends and myself know her as one of the greatest singers of the era who always has really cool nails in her videos. XD But anywho.
This CD is a great CD, and since it did begin her sucess, I say: Yay. ^^


Martin NORWAY May 27, 2007 at 4:51 pm

Nice article :P and same here thanks to the ffx-2 opening song i discovered the J-pop at already age of 10 and untill now i still listen to j-pop and other song ^^


chaosakita UNITED STATES May 21, 2007 at 9:32 am


What about the many other female artists that manage to get good sales without selling themselves out? Sure, they don’t get as high sales as her, but since they’re concentrating on their singing rather than their image, they can create higher quality music. Besides, I don’t think it’s worth having high record sales at the expense of my dignity.

Anyways, I’m really disappinted that Kumi is the way now. She was just about my first favorite major J-pop singer when I heard her song “1000 no Kobata” back a year ago.


Sheldon CANADA May 19, 2007 at 4:18 pm

I really like Real Emotion! One of those cool-sounding songs indeed. Can you please post up the instrumental version? I like to have it! been trying to search for it…Thanks for the post on this song!


Clementine CANADA May 16, 2007 at 6:45 pm

Kumi has great talent though. I’m happy for her success and it seems she really deserved it.
Even if her image isn’t so great, she’s got to do what she’s got to do to keep up her career and get noticed. She has a gift. It would’ve been a shame if she couldn’t continue to sing.


jenny MALAYSIA April 7, 2007 at 6:16 am

well i like this songs real Emotion / 1000 no Kotoba especelly 1000 no Kotoba because i like F FX-2

your blog is really really cool!!!


PandaQueen April 2, 2007 at 9:42 pm

I agree with Real Emotion being a turning point for her, not so agree with the remarks that her vocal quality is remarkable though >_> I find her ’smoky, aggresive’ voice irritating >_____>


guanyuzhu UNITED KINGDOM March 29, 2007 at 6:10 am

it’s very nice.


Rinoa March 25, 2007 at 3:27 pm

Well “Rhythm Zone” is a sub-label of avex so technically she’s under avex too. But you’re right in a way.


tejung UNITED STATES March 24, 2007 at 11:00 pm

Just wondering, isn’t her label “Rhythm Zone” not “avex trax”? How come you put her label as “avex trax”?


Tenoh Haruka March 19, 2007 at 10:54 am

yea, i love this blog too, omg. Its true. Like Juicy, Cutie Honey, Cherry Girl (I think is the name of it, ;) ) she is just waaay too provocative. and I think sometimes “hold up, this is supposed to be in japan, arent they timid people?” and yes. So Iv noticed that too. I saw the live concert version of Cutie Honey, and all she is doing is dancing half-naked with these other hot chicks up there, and i noticed that her vocals were slipping on the s trongest points of the song. So, what they should do, is cover her up a little bit, and give her some more practice on her singing. Have you SEEN KISEKI!?!?! the PV for Kiseki? Its a very mellow and nice song, even for her vocals (rinoa…) and she ends up messing it up with the music video by doing provocative positions ON A ROCK! if you notice, omg, its hilarious! she is wearing these far-out clothes, and really just, i dont know. Im a guy, i love the way she looks. But i also belive women should respect themselves more thou. She should be more classy, atleast a little bit more with how she dresses. That is why i love hitomi, there is a distinct beauty in her. But back to kumiko, her vocals have potential. but Avex seems to be squandering it. And you were also right rinoa, the first time i heard of her, WAS in FFX-2. I remember seeing the music video, i was like “OMG! KUMI IS YUNA!!!” lol. And yes, that was also back in the day when i did the transition from a gamer to jpop lover! i love this blog! keep up da good work!


Rinoa March 7, 2007 at 12:06 pm

I’m sorry too, seeing what Kumi’s career has become. Three best albums in such a short time span and those 12 singles personally led avex to promote Kumi on her image rather than her talent. She has the vocals but people just know her because she’s always posing these provocative photographs. A pretty sad direction for Koda Kumi indeed.


teachan JAPAN March 6, 2007 at 5:26 am

Your weblog is awesome!
I like it.


mystique March 5, 2007 at 7:56 pm

This is why I’m a bit sorry to see Koda Kumi’s career now. The way she is marketed now makes a lot of people think that she has no talent and is nothing more than gimmick, although the strength of the single really makes one wonder about the singer she might’ve become, had she not pushed the ero-kakkoi image too far.


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