is a Japanese musician and entrepreneur. He composes and writes almost all of the songs for his band Mr. Children, in addition to writing lyrics and singing for his solo project group Bank Band. In 2006, Sakurai ranked #8 in HMV's "Top 30 Best Japanese Singers of All Time and in 2007 was voted #4 as the "ideal father image" by Oricon. As an entrepreneur, he co-founded 'AP Bank', short for Artists Power, where he personally provided $1 million dollars of seed money to launch and fund the nonprofit lending group which finances environmentally friendly projects.
For most of Sakurai's musical career, he has been part of Mr. Children, but has done other work including in 1995 where he sang and produced the charity single with Keisuke Kuwata (from Southern All Stars) for the Act Against AIDS campaign, in addition to being a disc jockey for Music Gambo on FM802. Sakurai has two side project bands: Acid Test (a John Lennon tribute band which is no longer active) and Bank Band. Along with fellow band member Kenichi Tahara from Mr. Children, they created the short live group, Acid Test, for the concert ‘'Dream Power John Lennon Super live broadcasting'’ on October 9, 2001. The live was part of Yoko Ono’s Dream Power and educational platform where artists came together to hold a charity concert to raise money for school construction funds for children in Africa and Asia. The John Lennon song covered by Acid Test, "Mother", was later recorded and released on a tribute album ‘Happy Birthday, John’, which was released on September 30, 2005.
Sakurai was temporarily hospitalized on July 21, 2002, after a blockage in his cerebellum was detected and spent 4 months recovering from the surgery, which required all his music activities, including Mr. Children's 'The Wonderful World tour' to be canceled, but returned to the stage on December 21, 2002 for a one night live, later released on DVD, titled Wonederful World on Dec. 21. In June 2003 Sakurai help co-found AP Bank, a nonprofit bank, with a goal of tackling environmental problems. Along with music producer Kobayashi Takeshi, and world-renowned composer Sakamoto Ryuichi, the bank invests only in environmentally friendly projects as renewable energy. Together the 3 men invested 100 million yen each. In addition to the bank, Sakurai also co-started AP Bank fes., a yearly festival that raises awareness about environmental issues such as recycling and global warming, with all profits from the festival going to fund more projects at AP Bank.
As a solo act, Sakurai has co-wrote and sang the single with Gaku-MC on May 31, 2006, and as Bank Band teamed up with Salyu to release the song 'to U' on July 19, 2006. In 2007, he was a guest vocal on Kai Yoshihiro's '10 Stories' album which did a cover song of and appeared as a secret guest at Golden Circle Vol.10 on April 8 and April 9. Sakurai along with Yumi Matsutoya, Yohito Teraoka, and Yuzu performed 'Dandelion', 'Mamotte agetai', 'Destiny', 'Natsu iro', and 'Music'. From the songs performed, Sakurai co-wrote the lyrics to 'Music' which was later released on July 11, 2007 but did not join in the recording of the single. With Bank Band, Sakurai announced in July 2007 he had written a new theme song for ap bank fes. '07 titled .. On September 1, 2007 Bank Band released their first iTunes only song titled . The song was used as the theme song for the Japanese movie 'Midnight eagle', with the lyrics written by Kazutoshi Sakurai. Part of the profits from the song were donated to people affected by the Nigata earthquake, with the rest of the profits going to fund more projects at Ap bank. He released his second album with Bank Band,