"Uta Kon"（うたコン）once again reminded me of some of the tunes not only from way back in my childhood but also some of the songs that became well known even during my days in Ichikawa. Unfortunately some of those chestnuts fall out of the tree that's my head from time to time.
Case in point: Kiroro's "Mirai e" (To The Future) from June 1998. Now, I've already got one Kiroro song on the blog from nearly a couple of years back, "Saigo no Kiss"（最後のKiss）, and to be honest, it is my favourite contribution by the Okinawan duo of vocalist Chiharu Tamashiro（玉城千春）and pianist Ayano Kinjo（金城綾乃）because of its really happy and cheerful nature. However, I think most fans will gravitate to "Mirai e" as the quintessential Kiroro song.
Written and composed by Tamashiro originally in 1997 during their indies days, "Mirai e" was released once more as Kiroro's 2nd major single. It's the perfect song for a graduation ceremony (and there are plenty of those kayo out there) as the lyrics of taking those brave steps into the future will attest to. The soft melody probably has had parents and graduates sobbing it up into their handkerchiefs. Furthermore, according to the J-Wiki article on the song, "Mirai e" even became a huge hit in the nations of Brunei and Malaysia.
"Mirai e" went Platinum as it hit No. 4 on Oricon and ended up as the 48th-ranked single for 1998. It also first appeared on Kiroro's 1st album "Nagai Aida ~ Kiroro no Mori ~"（長い間 〜キロロの森〜...A Long Time - Kiroro's Woods）from October that year which hit the top spot and quickly became the 29th-ranked album, breaking the million barrier in sales. The song also got the duo their first invitation onto NHK's Kohaku Utagassen at the end of 1998; they would make two more appearances in 1999 and 2001.