Anna Sato, whose rich voice evokes the spirits of her native Amami Island, has won many shima uta contests. With her powerful voice, she has released seven recordings receiving international acclaim for her distinctive singing techniques.
Her home island Amami, today, officially they are part of Japan, but the archipelago still has its own dialects and cultural traditions that are distinctively different to those of mainland Japan.
Folk song (shima uta), sung in the distinctive dialects of Amami, is one of the main cultural resources of the islands. Island communities would originally compete with each other in song events known as uta ashibi and many of the songs have been preserved. However, this culture is now under threat as the number of native speakers of the local dialects has steadily declined in the post-war period due to Japan's standardized education system and powerful, centralized media.