Kumiko was born in Ibaraki Prefecture in 1954. She got her professional start in 1982 at the venerable chansonnier club in Tokyo's Ginza district.
Her rendition of “Ma Plus Belle Histoire D'Amour” in 2002 was a hit, being described as “a song that utterly brings you to tears,” and it thrust her into the limelight. Then, in 2010, she made her first appearance on the 61st NHK Kohaku Utagassen singing contest where she sang “INORI.”
Her 2014 rendition of “The Water Is Wide” has been an enduring hit, and in 2017 she received the Excellence Album Award at the 59th Japan Record Awards for her album, Déraciné (Kumiko with the Kaze-machi Revue). And with the release in June 2019 of her new single, “Tsuma ga Negatta Saigo no Nanokakan,” which was produced by Masatoshi Sakai and inspired by the popular book of the same name, Kumiko shows no signs of slowing down. In 2018, she performed at the World Heritage Concert at Oyunohara, the original site of Kumano Hongu Taisha Grand Shrine.