Born in 1980 at Yamanashi, Japan, Akiko Hirai started piano at 4. She obtained her Master of Liberal arts and Humanities from Ochanomizu University in 2004 majoring in Vocal performance and Japanese ritual music research.
Upon graduation, Akiko left to France in 2008 to further her music study with the hungarian opera singer, Sylvia Sass.
Besides the vocal lessons, in 2010, she entered the Paris-Sorbonne University (Paris IV University) to study ethnomusicology and later obtained her second Master of Music and Musicology in 2013. She got a Ph. D in Musicology at the same school by thesis "Reconnaissance sonore de la divinité à travers la danse kagura (Japonàunder the supervision of Prof. François Picard.
She is member of the Society of Folkloric Performing Arts of Japan, the Musicological Society of Japan, and also the French Society of Ethnomusicology.