By Takuya Ogasawara, BYU-Hawaii
Bless 4, a musical group comprised of Japanese siblings, is LDS and performs mainly in that country. Raised in Arizona, their father moved the family to Japan where the goal is “to bless” others by dedicating their talents to Heavenly Father. Such is the objective, but it’s an arduous journey when a group’s standards conflict with secular society.
Success does not come easy in the Japanese music business. It’s difficult making a living in Japan unless you’re famous. Usually, your agent books events and promotes you, but they needed management that didn’t arrange Sunday concerts and understood their religious mindset. It is tough finding this kind of company, and they couldn’t locate one. Then, they were offered a great contract, and went to the interview for signing. Although the deal seemed really good, it required Sunday performances. Pay was great, working environment was great, and support was also great. It seemed so hard to say “NO” to this offer, but they did say “NO” to keep the Sabbath day holy. The company miraculously accepted their “NO” response, and released them from Sunday commitments.
Bless 4, it is also translated to “bless for…”. Ever since they started, the focus of each performance is to “bless for” someone. They have a strong desire to do missionary work, and avoid deleterious lyrics. Their performances adhere to church standards so that they can be a light for everyone. WHY? Why are they so dedicated? Akashi, the oldest brother in the group, submitted his mission call, but received a letter from the First Presidency encouraged him to serve with his musical talents; that should be his mission.
Recently, they were featured on “Meet the Mormons new faces,” and Aiki, the youngest brother in the group, a missionary when movie was released, sung, “I am a child of God” with his brothers and sisters for the ending title song. Their faithful service is remarkable, teaching an important principle of the gospel.