© Horipro International - image used with permission

Words that changed my life: Singer and cosplayer Liyuu on “K-On!” [Interview]

Interview Series: "Words that changed my life"

In this series, we interview leading figures in the fields of manga, anime, music, acting, voice acting, cosplay, wrestling, entertainment, and more, focusing on words or scenes from manga, anime, or video games that had a profound impact on their lives.

We kicked off the series last month with legendary anime singer Hironobu Kageyama, who chose a powerful line from Hayao Miyazaki's post-apocalyptic science-fiction manga Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind.

For our second installment, we're pleased to bring you an interview with the Shanghai-born singer and cosplayer Liyuu!

Please see the bottom of the article for a list of past interviews in this series.

Interview with Liyuu

Liyuu chose a line from a climactic scene in the second season of the 2010 anime K-On! (stylized as 「けいおん‼」 K-On!! with two exclamation points in Japanese) produced by Kyoto Animation and based on the slice-of-life musical comedy manga K-On! written and illustrated by Kakifly and serialized in Houbunsha's Manga Time Kirara and Manga Time Kirara Carat between 2007 and 2012. In our interview, we learned about Liyuu's experience with the anime and the different ways in which the words she chose influenced her life.


A slice-of-life musical comedy, K-On! follows four Japanese high school girls who join their school's light music club to try to save it from being abolished. However, they are the only four members of the club, one of which, Yui Hirasawa, has little experience with guitar playing, although she later becomes proficient. They eventually name their band Houkago Tea Time 放課後ティータイム (After-School Tea Time) and spend their school days practicing, performing, and hanging out together. Although the manga follows their story through to university, the anime basically ends with their high school graduation.

Getting into anime

grape Japan (gJ): What kind of anime and manga did you enjoy as a child?

Liyuu: When I was a kid, I used to watch almost all the anime that were aired on Chinese TV! Cardcaptor Sakura, Saint Tail, Pokémon, Digimon Adventure, Chibi Maruko-chan, Chūka Ichiban!, there are so many I can't even mention all of them!

I was particular fond of Cardcaptor Sakura. I fell in love with it when I was only three years old, and I still love it to this day! And then there's Shugo Chara! After that, I started watching more and more Japanese anime.

Words that changed Liyuu's life

gJ: So, let's talk about K-On! When did you first encounter this work and what was that time of your life like?

Liyuu: My first encounter with K-On! was in my first year of junior high school. I was so wrapped up in my studies, it was all I had on my mind back then. I didn't think about my future or my life, and all that mattered was my studies.

gJ: What attracted you to it?

Liyuu: Before, my life was full of routines, without any changes. All I did was study all the time. But after watching K-On!, I was inspired! I began earnestly looking for something I really enjoyed doing, not just what I had to do for school.

「けいおん!」K-On! Vol. 4, p. 32 left | ©かきふらい/芳文社

The line Liyuu chose is spoken by the kind and friendly lead guitarist and split vocalist Yui Hirasawa. Although sometimes clumsy and forgetful, Yui shows remarkable focus when she has a clear goal in sight. In the scene shown in the manga panels above, she's on stage at the beginning of a live concert in their senior year of high school, moved to tears by seeing the number of students who showed up, all of them wearing original band T-shirts. The anime, however, expands on this with the other band members being introduced, Yui giving tearful thanks to everyone who helped them get this far, then exclaiming this line:

After-School Tea Time will always and forever be after school!


Yui Hirasawa in Episode 20 of the anime 「けいおん!!」K-On!!, English translation by grape Japan

gj: Why did you choose this line?

Liyuu: To tell the truth, before watching K-On!, I was someone who wasn't really able to feel any joy in life. I had been watching anime from a very early age, but they were mostly about magic and fantasy worlds.

K-On! is so full of realism, so I could relate to it. In China, there are no houka-go 放課後 (after-school) activities like the ones depicted in K-On! where everyone gets together and does what they want to. I was so attracted to this! Yui-chan's line really made me feel the close bonds between the members of the Light Music Club.

gJ: So then, how did those words change your life and how have they impacted your work?

Liyuu: After watching K-On!, for the first time I looked for things that I liked and mustered the courage to try them. I started singing, cosplaying, doing it all! I have the feeling it was the beginning of the path that lead me to my current career. Thanks to the inspiration I got from Yui-chan's words, maybe I was able to find my own dreams.

Yui-chan's words always help me to remember my passion for what I love. Whether it's cosplaying, singing, or voice acting, they give me the courage to take on new challenges!

Liyuu cosplaying as Yui Hirasawa from K-On! in her student days

First solo concert

gJ: Many of your fans are looking forward to your first solo concert, "Liyuu First Concert 2022「Fo(u)r YuU」" coming up in February. How do you feel as the date approaches?

Liyuu: This album is filled with things I've always wanted to challenge myself to realize, and the concert is filled with exciting new challenges as well! As it's my first concert, I'm not sure how I'll end up singing, or what kind of concert experience I'll be able to create with everyone, but I'm really excited about it!

Message from Liyuu to grape Japan readers:

Nice to meet you all, I'm Liyuu! From my first album since making my solo debut to my first concert, there are so many things I'm doing for the first time, but I'm going to do my best! Thanks for your support!


Liyuu is a singer and cosplayer from Shanghai, China. Her photogenic looks have earned her more than 1.9 million followers on social media, and she is overwhelmingly popular with cosplay fans in China and around the world. On January 22nd, 2020, under the Lantis label, she made her debut as a musical artist with the opening theme song "Magic Words" from the TV anime Hatena Illusion. On November 25th of the same year, she released her second single, "Carpe Diem," the ending theme song of the TV anime I'm Standing on a Million Lives. On February 11th, 2022, she will hold her first solo concert at PACIFICO Yokohama.

In addition to her solo activities, she plays the role of Tang Keke 唐可可, a member of the school idol group Liella! in the mixed-media project Love Live! Superstar!!


Liyuu's first album "Fo(u)r YuU" will be released on February 9th (Wed), 2022.

The singles 「ルルカワイマ」 ("Lulukawaima"), "Endless Vacation" and "Ambition" are now available to download as pre-releases, and you can also enjoy the music videos.

「ルルカワイマ」 ("Lulukawaima") - included in Liyuu's first album "Fo(u)r YuU"

Endless Vacation - included in Liyuu's first album "Fo(u)r YuU"

Ambition - included in Liyuu's first album "Fo(u)r YuU"

Liyuu's First Concert 2022 "Fo(u)r YuU" on February 11th, 2022, at PACIFICO Yokohama's National Convention Hall of Yokohama.
Tickets on sale now!

Liyuu's First Concert 2022 "Fo(u)r YuU"

Used with permission from © Horipro International


"Words that changed my life": Past interviews

By - Ben K.