Minako Honda, born Minako Kudo (Kudo Minako, 1967 ¨C 2005) was a Japanese "idol" pop-star and musical singer. She became famous and popular as "Japan's Madonna" because of her sexy fashion and live performances in the mid to late 1980s. She was also one of the singers to sing Japanese and English languages.
She was diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia on January 5, 2005. At 4:38 A.M. on November 6, 2005, Honda died at the Juntendo University Hospital in Bunky, officially from acute myelogenous leukemia.
Kudo was born in Shibamata, Katsushika, Tokyo (a district made famous by the Otoko Wa Tsurai Yo movie series), and was raised in Asaka, Saitama Prefecture.
As with most teenaged "idol" singers, her J-Pop career was spectacular but short. In 1989, at the advanced age of 22, she made an attempt to revive her flagging career and attain "street cred" by forming the edgy all-girl band "Minako with Wild Cats". This effort was unsuccessful, and it seemed that she would fade into obscurity.
By 1992, however, she had reinvented herself. She took formal acting and singing lessons, and became a notable theatrical singer and actress. In auditions for the Tokyo production of Miss Saigon, she won out over 12,000 other candidates for the part of Kim, earning the nickname "Tokyo's Miss Saigon". She also appeared in numerous other theatrical performances.
Towards the end of her life, she released several classical albums demonstrating her soprano singing voice, including religious works such as Amazing Grace and Ave Maria. She also sang the theme songs for several anime programs.
She did not abandon pop music in her adult career; indeed, she became recognized for her vocal improvement in the adult pop genre. Her song "Tsubasa" (Wings) is famous for the "long note" that she holds for 30 seconds.
Her career was cut short by leukemia. Since her death, numerous posthumous albums and videos have been released, including some previously-unreleased songs.