Born in Toyama in Japan, Shoko Sakai began playing piano and flute early on. At the age of 13 she focused her musical direction on percussion instruments. Shoko Sakai graduated in 2003 from Tokyo National Fine Arts and Music University. And for her outstanding performance on the graduate exam, the university gave her the Doseikai award which supports the most promising new graduates. During her studies in Japan, she was greatly inspired by the percussion performance of great professors such Makoto Aruga, Michiko Takahashi, Midori Takada, Toshiyuki Matsukura, Mitsuyo Wada and Tagako Otani. Shoko received her mental and physical training by Midori Takada who is known not only as a prominent percussionist but a great pedagogue of the performing arts.
Her interests on marimba led her attend to many marimba festivals in Europe, the USA and Asia. After performing as a percussionist in orchestras and theaters in Japan, Shoko relocated to Europe to pursue her studies with world famous marimbist Katarzyna Mycka at Paderewski Academy of Music in Poznan, as the first student of marimba soloist class in Poland. In 2010, Shoko completed her Masters degree on percussion with Distinction at Karol Lipinski Academy of Music with professor Jacek Wota.
Shoko Sakai has been the recipient of numerous awards and prizes, including a scholarship from Imizu City, Japan from 2001 to 2004, a Marimba One™ Award at the International Marimba Competition in Linz in July 2006, the 3rd prize and the special prize - Brightest Stage Presence at the International Competition for Percussion Instruments in Bulgaria in March 2007, and 2nd prize and Malletech award at the PAS International Competition for Percussion Instruments and Drumset in Fermo/Italy in 2007.
As marimba instructor Shoko teaches regularly at international clinics in Switzerland, Germany, Poland and Japan such as International Katarzyna Mycka Marimba Academy (Poland, Germany), International Percussion Forum in Zagan (Poland), Kulturkreis Arosa (Switzerland). In November 2008 she appeared as a jury member in the Third Open All-Russian Competition-Festival for young performers of wind and percussion instruments.
Since 2006 she has been actively performing as a marimba soloist with orchestras in Germany, Poland, Bulgaria and Spain, as well as playing in marimba duo with Katarzyna Mycka in Europe and Asia. Shoko is a co-founder of 'Chain Marimba Trio' a marimba trio with Conrado Moya Sanchez (Spain) and Arkadiusz Katny (Poland). Chain Marimba Trio is working with composers between different countries and exploring new possibilities for the marimba.
Since 2010, Shoko teaches marimba at Karol Lipinski Music Academy in Wroclaw, Poland.