UPRISERS | Eden Kai
by Kari Okubo·
I want to touch people’s hearts and music is something that has made me a more positive person overall. Hopefully, I can do the same for others through my music.
We recently spoke with Upriser Yusuke, a very talented musician who was one of the original cast members on Netflix’s Terrace House: Aloha State. We talked about his experience on the show, hobbies, and his aspiration to positively impact the others through music.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is Eden Kai also known as Yusuke Aizawa. You might recognize me from the Netflix Japanese reality show Terrace House: Aloha State as well as Terrace House Tokyo 2019-2020. I was originally born and raised in Tokyo, Japan and moved to Hawaii around six years ago. I do music for a living and am a singer-songwriter, acoustic guitarist, ukulele player, and actor.
How did you get into music?
My parents loved music. My dad used to be a performer and my mom played music to me when I was in the womb. My dad played the acoustic guitar and piano, he also learned Japanese instruments like koto and shakuhachi. After I was born, I listened to classical music but what really got me into music was Michael Jackson. I watched all of his live performances and music videos. I was blown away by how his music and performance inspired people and changed people's lives. That was kind of my start and I was around five years old at the time.
When I was 14 I started watching a lot of YouTube videos and followed fingerstyle acoustic guitarists like Andy McKee and Antoine Dufour. I then started to play the acoustic guitar a year before I moved to Hawaii. Shortly after I started playing the ukulele during my freshman year of high school. In addition to that, I have been writing songs, lyrics, and melodies ever since I was five years old. Music started off as a hobby but has easily become my passion and something that I want to do for my entire life.
What was your experience like on Terrace House?
I was only a senior in high school during my time on Terrace House so everything was all new. I never experienced living in a shared house with people that I had never met before and on top of that, I was the youngest member. I definitely experienced a whole lot. I was able to become really close to the other housemates and got to receive a lot of advice about life from them. The main issue that I was faced with at the time was whether I would attend college or not. Being in Terrace House and being around those people gave me a lot of clarity and direction. It is something that I am never going to forget for sure.
Over the past couple of years, how have you grown as a person?
After Terrace House, I became more open-minded after learning about how society works and getting attention from lots of different people. Aside from the success that came from putting my music out in the world, I also had to face haters. I realized that at the end of the day, I had to be true to myself and had to get stronger mentally. As I mentioned before, at Terrace House, I made a lot of close friends that I could rely on and trust. In the past when I faced problems I used to keep it to myself but having such supportive people around made me feel better and really allowed me to overcome challenges. I realized that it is always best to open up to others because someone might have a simple solution to what you are struggling with.
Aside from music, what do you like to do in your spare time?
I love watching movies and watching my favorite TV shows on Netflix. I also really love acting. Not many people know this about me but I actually used to be a child actor when I was six and I was on some commercials and dramas. It became something that I was really passionate about early on. I liked acting because you get to become a character and make viewers really think about your scene and the overall storyline. I really enjoy being outdoors and love hiking especially in Hawaii my favorite hikes are Koko Head and Diamond Head. My all-time favorite spot in Hawaii is China Walls which is another beautiful place during sunset. I like staying active and healthy by hitting the gym and also enjoy hanging out with friends.
What impact do you hope to make in the world?
I used to do a lot of charity work before Terrace House because one of my close friend's dad does a lot of projects. In 2011 when a devastating earthquake hit Japan, I was actually invited to a place in Miyagi to play a couple of songs to comfort those affected. A lot of people told me how my music touched them which in turn motivated me to continue playing and sharing my music with the world.
Even to this day, I receive many messages from people and hear about how my music helped them during a hard time in their lives and moved them, comforted them and even built their confidence. Listening to those stories and comments makes me feel very grateful and very glad that I decided to pursue music. I want to touch people’s hearts and music is something that has made me a more positive person overall. Hopefully, I can do the same for others through my music.
What can we expect to see from you during the rest of 2019?
This year is going to be crazy but it’s going to be hella fun for sure. I’m very excited because, on September 10th, the new season of Terrace House will premiere on Netflix and I will be making a couple of guest appearances throughout part one. On October 12th I will be performing at the 1st Annual Waikiki Ukulele Trade Show, which will be a huge event. They are actually going to close down the busy main strip of Waikiki, Oahu for the show. Another event that I am excited to perform at is the OC Japan Fair which will be on October 18-20. I am especially excited for that event since I will be performing alongside Japanese celebrities like Yuna Ito, Ai Haruna, and Misono.
Aside from performances, I have been enjoying engaging with my fans through Cameo which is an app that lets people book personalized video shoutouts from me and other celebrities for their loved ones and friends. I'm having so much fun connecting with my fans in this amazing new app giving personalized shoutouts and singing happy birthday and songs on the ukulele and guitar for them. I may also be releasing a new single in the near future which I will announce on my socials (linked below) I also will start teaching ukulele classes online by the end of this year.