Ayumi Hamasaki: Wikis


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Ayumi Hamasaki

Ayumi Hamasaki in Taiwan, March 2007
Background information
Birth name 浜崎 あゆみ, 浜崎歩[1] (Hamasaki Ayumi)
Also known as Ayu, Crea
Born October 2, 1978 (1978-10-02) (age 31)
Fukuoka, Japan
Origin Tokyo, Japan
Genres Pop, electronic dance, rock, classical, R&B
Occupations Singer, songwriter, record producer, composer, actress, model, spokesperson
Years active 1994–1995, 1998–present
Labels Nippon Columbia
Avex Trax
Website www.avexnet.or.jp/ayu

Ayumi Hamasaki (浜崎 あゆみ Hamasaki Ayumi?, also 浜崎歩) (born October 2, 1978) is a Japanese singer-songwriter and former actress. Also called Ayu by her fans, Hamasaki has been dubbed the "Empress of Pop" due to her popularity and widespread influence in Japan.[2][3] Born and raised in Fukuoka, she moved to Tokyo at fourteen to pursue a career in entertainment. In 1998, under the tutelage of Avex CEO Max Matsuura, she released a string of modestly selling singles that concluded with her 1999 debut album A Song for ××. The album debuted atop the Oricon charts and stayed there for four weeks, establishing her popularity in Japan.[fn 1]

Because of her constantly changing image and tight control over her artistry, Hamasaki's popularity extends across Asia; music and fashion trends she has started have spread to countries such as China, Singapore, and Taiwan. She has appeared in or lent her songs to many advertisements and television commercials. Though she originally supported the exploitation of her popularity for commercial purposes, she later reconsidered and eventually opposed her status as an Avex "product".[4]

Since her 1998 debut with the single "Poker Face",[fn 1] Hamasaki has sold over 50 million records in Japan, ranking her among the best-selling singers in the country.[5] As a female singer, Hamasaki holds several domestic records for her singles, such as the most number-one hits, the highest sales, and the most million-sellers.[6][fn 2] From 1999 to 2009, Hamasaki had at least one single each year top the charts.[7] Hamasaki is the first female singer to have eight studio albums since her debut to top the Oricon and the first artist to have a number-one album for 11 consecutive years since her debut.[8][9] According to the Oricon, Hamasaki is the highest selling female and solo artist in Japan's history[10].


Life and music career

Childhood and early endeavors

Born in Fukuoka Prefecture, Hamasaki was raised as an only child by her mother and grandmother. Her father had left the family when she was three and never again came into contact with her.[11][12] Because her mother worked to support the family, Hamasaki was primarily taken care of by her grandmother.[11]

At age seven, Hamasaki began modeling for local institutions, such as banks, to supplement the family's income. She continued this career path by leaving her family at fourteen and moving to Tokyo as a model under SOS, a talent agency.[11] Her modeling career did not last long; SOS eventually deemed her too short for a model and transferred her to Sun Music, a musicians' agency. Under the name of "Ayumi", Hamasaki released a rap album, Nothing from Nothing, on the Nippon Columbia label. She was dismissed from the label when the album failed to chart on the Oricon.[13] After this failure, Hamasaki took up acting and starred in B-movies such as Ladys Ladys!! Soucho Saigo no Hi and television dramas such as Miseinen, which were poorly received by the public.[12][14] Growing dissatisfied with her job, Hamasaki quit acting and moved in with her mother, who had recently moved to Tokyo.[11]

Hamasaki was initially a good student, earning good grades in junior high school. Eventually, she lost faith in the curriculum, thinking that the subjects taught were of no use to her. Her grades worsened as she refused to put her mind to her studies. While living in Tokyo, she attempted to further her studies at Horikoshi Gakuen, a high school for the arts, but dropped out in the first year. Because Hamasaki did not attend school or have a job, she spent much of her time shopping at Shibuya boutiques and dancing at Velfarre, an Avex-owned disco club.[11][12]

At Velfarre, she was introduced to her future producer, Max Matsuura, through a friend. After hearing Hamasaki sing karaoke, Matsuura offered her a recording deal, but Hamasaki suspected ulterior motives and turned the offer down.[12] He persisted and succeeded in recruiting her for the Avex label in the following year.[12][15] Hamasaki started vocal training, but skipped most of her classes after finding her instructors to be too rigid and the classes dull.[12] When she confessed this to Matsuura, he sent her to New York to train her vocals under another method. During her foreign sojourn, Hamasaki frequently corresponded with Matsuura and impressed him with her style of writing. On her return to Japan, he suggested that she try writing her own lyrics.[12]

1998–1999: Rising popularity

Hamasaki made her debut under Avex on April 8, 1998 with the single "Poker Face". It—and the following four singles—were not major hits. Hamasaki's debut album, A Song for ×× (1999), was likewise "unassuming":[16] the tracks, composed by Yasuhiko Hoshino, Akio Togashi (of Da Pump), and Mitsuru Igarashi (of Every Little Thing), were "cautious" pop-rock songs.[12][16] However, Hamasaki's lyrics, introspective observations about her feelings and experiences that focused on loneliness and individualism, resonated with the Japanese public.[17] The songs gained Hamasaki a growing following, and the release of the album was a success: it topped the Oricon charts for five weeks and sold over a million copies.[13][18][19] For her achievements, she earned a Japan Gold Disc Award for "Best New Artist of the Year".[20]

With Ayu-mi-x (March 1999), the first of a series of remix albums, Hamasaki began moving beyond the pop-rock of A Song for ×× and began to incorporate different styles including trance, dance, and orchestra.[16] Hamasaki began to experiment with different musical styles in her singles as well, releasing dance tunes and ballads as well as remixes on the singles which spanned reggae and house. The singles were milestones: Hamasaki earned her first number-one single ("Love: Destiny") and first million-selling single ("A").[7][21] Her second studio album, Loveppears (November 1999), not only topped the Oricon charts, it sold nearly 3 million copies.[18] The album also showcased a change in Hamasaki's lyrics. Though the lyrics of Loveppears still dealt with loneliness, many of them were written from a third-person perspective.[17] In support of Loveppears, she held her first tour, Ayumi Hamasaki Concert Tour 2000 A.

2000–2002: Commercial peak

From April to June 2000, Hamasaki released the "Trilogy", a series of singles consisting of "Vogue", "Far Away", and "Seasons". The lyrics of these songs focused on hopelessness, a reflection of Hamasaki's disappointment that she had not expressed herself thoroughly in any of her previous lyrics and a sense of shame of her public image.[22] Likewise, many of the songs she wrote for her subsequent studio album, Duty (September 2000), involved feelings of loneliness, chaos, confusion, and the burden of her responsibilities. She described her feelings after the writing as "unnatural" and "nervous".[11][23] The musical style was darker as well; in contrast with Loveppears, Duty was a rock-influenced album with only one dance song, "Audience".[11][24] Duty resonated with fans: the "Trilogy" were "hit singles" ("Seasons" was a million-seller), and the album became Hamasaki's best-selling studio album.[25][26] At the end of 2000, Hamasaki held her first New Year countdown concert at the Yoyogi National Gymnasium.

In 2001, Avex forced Hamasaki to release her first compilation album, A Best, on March 28, putting the album in "competition" with Hikaru Utada's second studio album, Distance. The "competition" between the two singers (which both claimed was merely a creation of their record companies and the media) was supposedly the reason for the success of the albums; both sold over 5 million copies.[27] In support of Duty and A Best, Hamasaki held a tour of Japan's domes, making her one of few "top-drawer" Japanese artists to hold a concert at the Tokyo Dome.[28]

In light of the September 11 attacks, Hamasaki updated the cover of I Am...(2002) to represent peace. (Note the dove.)

I Am... (January 2002) marked several milestones for Hamasaki. Hamasaki increased her control over her music by composing all of the songs on the album under the pseudonym "Crea", of which the 2000 single "M" was the first. "Connected" (November 2002) and "A Song Is Born" (December 2001) were the exceptions.[29] I Am... also showed evolution in Hamasaki's lyrical style: it was a retreat from the themes of "loneliness and confusion" of some of her earlier songs.[30] Moved by the September 11 attacks, Hamasaki revised her vision of I Am..., focusing on issues such as faith and world peace. "A Song Is Born", in particular, was directly influenced by the events.[30][31] The single, a duet with Keiko Yamada, was released as part of Avex's non-profit Song+Nation project, which raised money for charity.[32][33][fn 3] She also dropped the planned cover and opted instead to be portrayed as a "peace muse", explaining,

I had a completely different idea for the cover at first. We'd already reserved the space, decided the hair and makeup and everything. But after the incident, as is typical of me, I suddenly changed my mind. I knew it wasn't the time for gaudiness, for elaborate sets and costumes. It sounds odd coming from me, but I realize what I say and how I look has a great impact.[31]

The outlook inspired by the September 11 attacks extended beyond I Am.... In 2002, Hamasaki held her first concert outside Japan, at the MTV Asia music awards ceremony in Singapore,[31][34] a move interpreted as the beginning of a campaign prompted by a sluggish Japanese market.[35][36] At the ceremony, she received the award for "Most Influential Japanese Singer in Asia".[34] In support of I Am..., Hamasaki held two tours, Ayumi Hamasaki Arena Tour 2002 A and Ayumi Hamasaki Stadium Tour 2002 A.[37][38] In November 2002, as "Ayu", she released her first European single, "Connected", a trance song from I Am... composed by DJ Ferry Corsten. It was released in Germany on the Drizzly label.[39] Hamasaki continued to release singles (all of them remixes of previously released songs) in Germany on Drizzly until 2004.[39]

In April 2002, Hamasaki released the single "Free & Easy". In collaboration with the magazine Free&Easy, Hamasaki also released Hamasaki Republic, a photobook that was actually a special issue of Free&Easy, in conjunction with the single. "H", Hamasaki's next single, became the best-selling single of 2002.[fn 4][40] Hamasaki released her last single of 2002, "Voyage", on September 26. In lieu of a regular-length music video, the short film Tsuki ni Shizumu, starring Hamasaki, was created for "Voyage" and was released at a select theater in Shibuya.[41] Hamasaki's next studio album, Rainbow (December 2002) was her first to use English lyrics. After performing at the 2002 MTV Asia music awards, Hamasaki felt that by writing only Japanese lyrics, she was not able to bring her "message" to other countries. Realizing that English was a "common global language", she included English lyrics in three songs.[42][fn 5][fn 6] The album was stylistically diverse; Hamasaki included rock- and trip-hop-influenced tracks as well as "summery", "up-tempo" and "grand gothic" songs and experimented with new techniques such as gospel choruses and the yells of an audience. The lyrics were also varied: themes in the album included freedom, the struggles of women, and "a summer that ends in sadness".[43]

2003–2006: Decline in sales

Hamasaki performing in her (Miss)understood tour

In 2003, Hamasaki released three singles, "&", "Forgiveness", and "No Way to Say". To celebrate the release of her thirtieth single ("Forgiveness"), Hamasaki held the A Museum concert at the Yoyogi National Gymnasium.[44] Her mini-album Memorial Address (December 2003) was her first album to be released in CD+DVD format in addition to the regular CD-only format, a decision that came from her increased interest in the direction of her music videos.[45] Like her previous albums, Memorial Address topped the Oricon chart and sold over a million copies.[46][47] Sales of Hamasaki's singles began to wane. Although all three of the album's singles topped the Oricon charts, "&" was Hamasaki's last single to sell over 500,000 copies.[48]

By the end of her Arena Tour 2003–2004, Hamasaki had grown dissatisfied with her position in Avex: she felt that the company was treating her as a product instead of a person.[49] Along with her dissatisfaction over her last two studio albums (which she thought had been rushed), this led her to begin work on My Story (December 2004) early. In contrast with her previous albums, My Story had no set theme, nor did Hamasaki attempt to write "something good" or even "something that would give people hope"; rather, she simply wrote freely and honestly.[49][fn 7] As a result, the album contained mostly autobiographical lyrics about her emotions and reminiscences of her career. She approached the composition of the music with the same freedom per the lyrics. Because she liked rock music, the album had notable rock overtones.[50] She was so pleased with the result that she declared My Story the first album she felt satisfied with.[50] My Story and its singles, "Moments", "Inspire", and "Carols", all topped the weekly Oricon charts; moreover, With sales of 1,131,776 units, My Story became Hamasaki's last million-selling studio album according to Oricon.[fn 8][51][52][53] From January to April 2005, Hamasaki held the nationwide My Story arena tour, her first album-based tour.[49] Also in January, she began working with Lamoureux Orchestra to create My Story Classical, a classical version of My Story; the album served as an "alter-ego" of the mostly aggressive My Story. The orchestra also created a classical version of "A Song Is Born", which was included on My Story Classical and which Hamasaki performed at the opening of the Expo 2005.[54]

Hamasaki performing the song "Part of Me" in her Tour of Secret

(Miss)understood (January 2006), Hamasaki's seventh studio album, showed new musical directions.[55] Wanting to sing a tune like those of the group Sweetbox, Hamasaki obtained the permission of Sweetbox composer Roberto "Geo" Rosan to use demo songs he had intended to use in Sweetbox's upcoming album. She edited the songs to fit her personal vision, rewriting the lyrics and rearranging some of the songs.[55] The result was more musically diverse than the previous album; (Miss)understood included ballads, funk, dance-pop, R&B, and rock songs.[56][57] All of (Miss)understood's singles reached the top of the Oricon; "Bold & Delicious" became Hamasaki's twenty-fifth number-one single, tying her with Seiko Matsuda for the record of most number-one singles by a solo female artist.[58] Though (Miss)understood also reached the top of the charts, Oricon stated that it sold fewer than a million copies—Hamasaki's first studio album to do so.[59][fn 9][fn 8] In support of the album, Hamasaki held the (Miss)understood arena tour, which spanned three months with thirty concerts, from Saitama on March 11, 2006 to Yoyogi on June 11, 2006.[61]

Hamasaki's first single of 2006, "Startin'", became Hamasaki's twenty-sixth number-one single, setting a new record for most number-one singles held by a solo female artist.[62] The subsequent studio album, Secret, was released in November 2006.[63] "Secrets" was, appropriately, the theme of the album; the album also explored strong female figures, love, and sadness; songs depicted the artist's struggles and were written to encourage females.[64][fn 10] Although Secret was originally intended to be a mini-album, Hamasaki "began brimming with things to say" while producing the album and wrote five more songs.[64][fn 11] The album consisted mostly of rock songs and ballads; to complement these, Hamasaki experimented with new vocal techniques.[63] The album also topped the Oricon weekly charts, making Hamasaki the only artist to have eight consecutive number-one studio albums.[65] Her sales, however, continued to decline: according to both Oricon and the RIAJ, Secret failed to sell a million copies.[59][66]

2007–present: Market beyond Japan

On February 28, 2007, Hamasaki released A Best 2, a pair of compilation albums containing songs from I Am... to (Miss)understood. The two versions, White and Black, debuted at the first and second positions on the Oricon weekly charts, making Hamasaki the first female artist in thirty-six years to hold the top two positions on any Oricon album chart.[67] At the end of 2007, the pair became Japan's fifth and seventh best-selling albums of the year respectively.[68] In support of A Best 2 and Secret, Hamasaki held the four-month-long Tour of Secret from March to the end of June. It was her first international tour, and aside from Japan, she performed in Taipei, Shanghai, and Hong Kong.[69] Her foreign fanbase highly anticipated the concerts, and tickets for the Taipei and Hong Kong performances sold out in less than three hours.[70][71]

Hamasaki in Paris for the filming of the music video for "Mirrorcle World"

In July 2007, Hamasaki released her first single in over a year, "Glitter/Fated". A short film, Distance Love, was used as the music video for "Glitter" and "Fated". The film, shot in Hong Kong, co-starred Hong Kong actor Shawn Yue as Hamasaki's romantic interest.[72] "Glitter/Fated" and the following single "Talkin' 2 Myself" reached the top of their respective charts, continuing Hamasaki's streak of number-one singles.[73] In December, Hamasaki released her first digital-only single, "Together When...", which topped the RIAJ's monthly download chart.[74][75] Unlike its predecessors, the writing of Hamasaki's ninth studio album, Guilty (January 2008), was not an emotional experience for her, nor did it have a set theme. However, she said later that the album's tracks appeared to tell a story.[23] Most of the songs were dark; the album had a notable rock tinge.[23][24] It contained some upbeat dance tracks and ballads, though the latter also had rock overtones.[76][77] Guilty peaked at the number-two position on the weekly Oricon charts, making it Hamasaki's first studio album not to reach the top.[fn 12][80] Guilty was later released as a digital album in twenty-six countries outside Japan, nineteen of them Western nations. That, along with Hamasaki's decision to employ western DJs such as Armand van Helden for her 2008 remix albums Ayu-mi-x 6: Gold and Ayu-mi-x 6: Silver, has been interpreted as her first step into the global market.[81]

Hamasaki (bottom center) in London with a group of European fans

In April 2008, to commemorate her tenth anniversary in Avex, Hamasaki released the single "Mirrorcle World"; it topped the Oricon, making Hamasaki the only female solo artist to have a number-one single every year for ten consecutive years.[7] Hamasaki also held her second tour of Asia, Asia Tour 2008: 10th Anniversary, to celebrate her tenth anniversary. From April until June, she toured Japan, holding seventeen concerts. Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Shanghai were again the foreign stops after the domestic performances.[82] On September 10, 2008, Hamasaki released A Complete: All Singles, a compilation album that includes the A-sides of all her singles along with previously unreleased footage from her A-nation concerts.[83]

Hamasaki's next two singles, "Days/Green" (December 2008) and "Rule/Sparkle" (February 2009), continued Hamasaki's streak of number-one singles. "Rule" is used as the international theme song for the film Dragonball Evolution.[84] The subsequent studio album, Next Level, was released on March 25, 2009 in several formats: CD, CD+DVD, 2CD+DVD and a two-gigabyte USB flash drive.[85][86] Next Level reached the top of the Oricon charts, making Hamasaki the only artist to have a number-one album every year for eleven years in a row since her debut.[9] However, the album was only certified double platinum, making it Hamasaki's lowest-selling studio album.[87] On August 12, 2009, Hamasaki released her forty-sixth single, "Sunrise/Sunset (Love Is All)". "Sunrise (Love Is All)", one of the A-sides, is being used as the opening theme song for the Japanese television drama Dandy Daddy?.[88] With over 75,000 copies sold, it ranked #1 on the first week of the sales charts, becoming her 21st consecutive (33rd total) number-one single. Overall, it is also her 44th single to enter the Top 10, putting her ahead of Southern All Stars, SMAP, ZARD, and B'z for the current record[89]. Hamasaki's third single of the year, "You Were... / Ballad", was released on December 29, 2009.[90] Hamasaki's eleventh studio album Rock 'n' Roll Circus is scheduled to be released on April 14, 2010.[91]

Image and artistry

Time magazine has noted that Hamasaki lacked talents such as the dance moves of Namie Amuro, the "supermodel allure" of Hitomi, and the "vocal pyrotechnics" of Hikaru Utada. Her own fans even considered her high-pitched voice screechy.[36][92] However, her music is sometimes considered one of the major forces in shaping Japan's current music trends; this has been attributed to her constantly changing image as well as her self-penned lyrics,[36] though critics credit clever marketing strategies;[14][36][92] because of the widespread influence of her music and her constantly-changing image Hamasaki has often been compared to Madonna.[93][94] Hamasaki's lyrics and image have gained a following predominantly among the Generation X of Asia, mainly because of the "conflicting or inharmonious beauty" of her fashion and lyrics; Hamasaki's fashions combine Eastern and Western elements, and her songs, unlike those of many of her contemporaries, all have English titles but contained no English lyrics (until Rainbow).[36] The popularity of her music extends beyond Japan;[95] she has a "sizable [following] across Asia" and is one of the few Japanese singers whose albums have sold over 10,000 copies in Singapore.[96][97] In 2002, however, Hamasaki's domestic sales began declining due to a sluggish Japanese market and increasing piracy in Japan.[98] As a result, she began moving toward the Asian market in 2002, performing at the 2002 MTV Asia awards in Singapore, at South Korea's "Asia Song Festival", and at a concert in Beijing to celebrate Sino-Japanese relations.[99][100] With her popularity declining (due in part to the rising popularity of other singers like Kumi Koda), she made a foray into the Asian market, starting with her first tour of Asia in 2007.[101]

Musical style

In the beginning, I was searching for myself in my music. My music was for me. I didn't have the mental room to be conscious of the listener; I wrote to save myself. I didn't understand what it was to write songs. But over time I began to see many things, my influence, the responsibilities that gave me.

— Hamasaki on the new lyrical directions in I Am....[31]

Hamasaki's lyrics, all her own,[fn 5] have resonated among her fans, who praise them as being honest and heartfelt and "expressing determination"; in two surveys conducted by Oricon, respondents voted Hamasaki's lyrics as their favorite aspect of her artistry.[102][103] Steve McClure of The Japan Times noted that Hamasaki has "developed a reputation as a thoughtful, introspective lyricist"; Barry Walters of The Village Voice comments that Hamasaki's lyrics "pack unlikely insights."[16][104] Because she has "trouble voicing her thoughts", Hamasaki uses her lyrics as an outlet; she draws inspiration from her own (and occasionally her friends') experiences and emotions and tries to put them "honestly into words".[105] She has stated that honesty is essential to her lyrics, saying, "If I write when I'm low, it will be a dark song, but I don't care. I want to be honest with myself at all times."[105] Because of this, she did not use English lyrics until her album Rainbow, as she had felt that she could best express herself in Japanese.[fn 5] As with her musical style, the themes of her lyrics have varied. Her debut album A Song for ×× dealt mostly with themes of "loneliness and confusion", as did her second album Loveppears. Duty likewise expressed feelings of disappointment and confusion. Hamasaki began to take on a more global outlook with her following albums I Am... and Rainbow, branching out to wider themes such as faith and peace.[30] As Hamasaki matured, her lyrics began to express more confidence; themes in her later albums included love and the struggles of women.[43][56][64] In addition to personal experiences and feelings, Hamasaki bases lyrics on sources such as historical events. The life of Joan of Arc was the inspiration for "Free & Easy", while a story told to her by her friend about a saint named Mary served as the basis for "M";[fn 13] the September 11 attacks inspired "A Song Is Born".[22][106]

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In addition to writing her own lyrics, Hamasaki has also involved herself in other aspects of production such as artistic direction. Though Max Matsuura is officially credited as the producer of her records, he said of Hamasaki, "Ayu is a very meticulous worker behind the scenes. A lot of the work she does by herself is more in the producer's arena. I think really we should say 'Produced by [A]yumi [H]amasaki'."[108] Until her single "M", however, Hamasaki left the task of composing to her staff; as she has explained, "I'm not a professional; I lack even basic knowledge about writing music."[29] However, she started to compose her own melodies after her staff had failed to compose a tune for "M" that appealed to her.[11] Wanting to produce works faithful to her visions, Hamasaki took control of most aspects of her artistry.[30][31] I Am... is representative of this stage in Hamasaki's career; she directed the production of its songs, videos, and artwork. She began to compose less after I Am...: whereas nearly all of I Am... was her work, only nine of Rainbow's fifteen tracks were composed by her. She was even less involved in the composition of subsequent albums, composing two tracks on Memorial Address, three on My Story, and one on (Miss)understood; since Secret, none of the songs on her studio albums have listed her as a composer. With later albums, Hamasaki also began to delegate to her staff tasks she had once handled herself.[109] Hamasaki cites Madonna, soul musicians Babyface and En Vogue, and rock bands Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple as her influences and states that she admires Michelle Branch, Kid Rock, Joan Osborne, Seiko Matsuda, Rie Miyazawa, and Keiko Yamada;[105][29] these diverse influences have led to the variety of her own music. Hamasaki began commissioning remixes of her songs early in her career, and this practice also influenced the diversity of her music.[16] Found on many of her records, these remixes span different genres of electronic dance music including Eurobeat, house, and trance, as well as acoustic genres such as classical and traditional Chinese music. She has employed Western as well as Japanese musicians; among those she has worked with are Above & Beyond, the Lamoureux Orchestra of France,[fn 14] and traditional Chinese music ensemble Princess China Music Orchestra.[110] Hamasaki has released more than a hundred original songs; through them, she has covered a wide range of musical styles, such as dance, metal, R&B, progressive rock, pop, and classical.[16] She uses different instruments and techniques including piano, orchestra, gospel choirs, guitars, traditional Japanese strings, music boxes, and effects such as yells, claps, and scratching.[16][43]

Hamasaki's live performances are often lavish productions that use "grand-scale props".[111] Performances of "Mirrorcle World" in her 2008 tour of Asia used a floating ship.

Hamasaki is often involved in the artistic direction of her music videos. They are often artistic productions through which Hamasaki tries to convey the meaning or feeling of their respective songs.[63] The themes of the videos are varied; she has made "sad and fragile" or "emotional" videos ("Momentum", "Endless Sorrow"), "refreshing" summer videos ("Blue Bird", "Fairyland"), surreal or "scary" videos ("1 Love", "Marionette"), and humorous videos ("Evolution", "Angel's Song", "Beautiful Fighters").[102][112] Additionally, many of the videos contain short storylines, some of which use symbolism to convey their respective messages.[102] The video of "Voyage" depicts Hamasaki as a woman in a mental hospital whose previous incarnation was a woman in feudal Japan who was sacrificed to the moon; the video of "Endless Sorrow" features a young boy living in a society where speaking is forbidden by law. In the video for "Free & Easy", Hamasaki portrayed a "twenty-first-century Joan of Arc" to convey her message "freedom cannot be easily obtained; there is a price to pay for it" and to express her opposition to her marrying at the time;[113] the video for "Ourselves" featured masked people destroying "effigies of [Hamasaki's] past" such as photographs and album covers to symbolize destruction and rebirth.[114][115] Additionally, the videos of "Fairyland", "My Name's Women", and "Jewel" are among the top twenty or so most expensive music videos, making Hamasaki the only non-American artist to hold such a distinction.[116][117][118] Hamasaki is also involved in the production and artistic direction of her live performances; they, like her videos, are often lavish productions and use a variety of props, extravagant costumes, and choreographed dances. She has used large video screens, fireworks, simulated rain drops, trick stage floors, and suspended devices.[111]

Public image

Hamasaki's influence goes beyond music; she is often considered a fashion icon and trend-setter,[109][119][120] a status attributed to her tight control over her image.[3][121][122][123] Besides her frequent appearances in fashion magazines, such as Vivi, Popteen, and Cawaii, Hamasaki has often been lauded for her trendy choices in apparels and accessories; Oricon has repeatedly named her the "Most Fashionable Female Artist".[1][92][124] Many aspects of Japan's fashions—including clothing, hair, nails, and accessories—have in some way been influenced by her.[92][125] As with her music, trends Hamasaki started have spread to Asian countries as Taiwan, China, and Singapore.[126][127][128] Among the trends Hamasaki has started are hime-kei (a look inspired by the fashions of 18th century French aristocracy) and chapatsu; she has also heavily influenced the kogal subculture.[129][130][131] Hamasaki's constantly changing image is apparent not only in her fashion photo shoots and commercial endorsements but also in her record covers, an element she considers essential in conveying her message.[30] She has portrayed herself as a vine-clad "peace muse" or "Greek goddess" (on her album I Am...), as a "twenty-first-century Joan of Arc" (for her single "Free & Easy"), and as a "funky Lolita".[106][132] Though Hamasaki has portrayed herself in earlier releases as a "girl next door", she has adopted a more sexualized image since the release of Loveppears. The covers for records including Loveppears, I Am..., and Rainbow feature Hamasaki in states of partial nudity, for which she has generated controversy.[133] Hamasaki also garnered criticism after she modeled bra for lingerie manufacturer Wacoal, though most of the criticism alleged that Hamasaki was only trying to "play catch-up" with Kumi Koda, who gained popularity for her overtly sexual image.[134]

Hamasaki has been sought by numerous brands to endorse their products. Throughout her career under Avex, she has promoted products that ranged from electronics (Tu-Ka cell phones and Panasonic)[14] to various snack foods.[92] Among the products she has advertised on television are the Honda Crea scooter,[135] Kosé cosmetics,[92] Mister Donut donuts,[136] and Boss coffee.[137] As well as serving as background music for television advertisements, some of Hamasaki's songs have been used as themes for video games, television shows and motion pictures,[fn 15] such as Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams, InuYasha, and Shinobi: Heart Under Blade.[138][139][140] Although Hamasaki initially supported the exploitation of her popularity for commercial purposes, saying that it was "necessary that [she is] viewed as a product",[29] she eventually opposed Avex's decision to market her as a "product rather than a person".[4]

Other activities

Hamasaki has been described as having a "merchandise empire". She launched her own fashion brand, MTRLG (Material Girl), in 2001; the clothes were sold at MTRLG boutiques and at Mise S*clusive stores.[141] In 2002, Hamasaki created Ayupan, a cartoon version of herself that appeared in a line of merchandise (mainly figurines) and in a 2003 cartoon. For her 2007 tour Tour of Secret, Hamasaki collaborated with Sanrio to create a line of merchandise, "Ayumi Hamasaki x Hello Kitty," that features Ayupan and Hello Kitty together.[142] The merchandise included cell phone straps and Lumix cameras decorated with a picture of Hello Kitty behind Hamasaki's "A" logo;[fn 16] the former product was a result of a collaboration with Sanrio and Japanese fashion brand Ash & Diamonds, the latter a collaboration with Sanrio and Panasonic.[143] She briefly hosted her own television show, Ayuready? (October 2002), on Fuji Television. The talk show, aired on Saturday nights from 11:30 to midnight, often featured her performing songs with guests, among whom were Goto Maki, Puffy, and Akina Nakamori. To promote the program (and her album Rainbow), Hamasaki opened a restaurant, Rainbow House, on Shōnan Beach; it was occasionally used in episodes of Ayuready?.[141] After less than two years, the last episode aired in March 2004.[144]

Personal life

Hamasaki dated singer-actor Tomoya Nagase since her brief acting career, and they publicly announced their relationship in 2001.[121] Six years later, the media circulated rumors that the couple were about to get married; however, on July 13, 2007 Hamasaki announced that they had broken up. Though Hamasaki did not explain the reason for the split, she stated that they had parted amicably and the two remained friends.[145]

In a January 8, 2008 entry on her TeamAyu blog, Hamasaki revealed that an inoperable condition, possibly tinnitus or Ménière's disease, had caused complete deafness in her left ear.[5][80] She disclosed that she had been diagnosed with the condition in 2006 and that the problem dated back to 2000.[146] Despite the setback, Hamasaki stated that she wished to continue singing, and that she would "not give up" on her fans and that "as a professional", she wanted to "deliver the best performance for everyone".[146][147]


Studio albums

Compilation albums


Concert tours

New Years countdown concerts


See also


  1. ^ a b Oricon does not count Nothing from Nothing, released by Nippon Columbia, among Hamasaki's albums.
  2. ^ This last record is shared with Pink Lady, Namie Amuro, and Hikaru Utada.
  3. ^ Original text: "このシングルは2001年9月11に米国で発生した同時多発テロを追悼するために企画され、リリースと同時に日本で話題を集めたチャリティーシングル『song+nation』の3枚だ。"
    "まず、浜崎あゆみとKEIKOがデュエットした『a song is born』が2001年12月12日にリリースされた。"
  4. ^ All sales and charting positions in this article apply only to Japan or Japan's Oricon charts unless otherwise stated.
  5. ^ a b c Two of Hamasaki's songs released prior to Rainbow, "Love: Since 1999" and "Audience" used English. However, the lyrics of "Love: Since 1999" were not written by Hamasaki, and the only English in "Audience" is the word "yes"; therefore these songs are usually not counted among her songs using English.[98]
  6. ^ Original text from Cawaii: "英語を解禁にしようと思ったのは、アルバムの「Rainbow」からなんだけど、あのころMTVなどで賞をいただいてアジアでパフォーマンスするっていうようをことか何回か続いたの。そのときに、日本語だとやっぱけ傳れってをいかもっていう気がしちゃって、単純な少女はやっぱけ世界共通語だよな~っで思ったんだよね。"
  7. ^ Original text from Oricon Style: "今回、正直にとか自由にっていうことはずっと頭の中にありましたね。だから、いいことを書 こうとか感動してもらおうとか、希望を持ってもらおうっていうようをことは一切意誠していなくて。単純に、ただ正直に書いていこうというだけでした。"
  8. ^ a b (Miss)understood is listed as a million-seller by the RIAJ, but the RIAJ's certification is based on the number of albums shipped to retailers; Oricon gathers its tallies from the retailers themselves.
  9. ^ I Am... sold over 2 million copies;[19] Rainbow sold a little over 1.8 million copies.[60]
  10. ^ Literally "cheer songs for girls". Original text from Vivi: "'Secret'。 その中には、女のコのチアソングとも言える"
  11. ^ Original text from Vivi: "今回のアルバムは、はじめはミニアルバムのはずだったのを急フルアルバムに變更 したもの。傳えたいにことか、ある日を境にふねーっと溢れてきて、これは歌にして傳えなきゃ思って、詞は1日に3曲、きた1日に2曲つてハイペスで書き上げたの。"
  12. ^ Hamasaki's first-week sales were the highest for that week (the first week of January). However, Oricon's year only has fifty-one "weeks"—the first two of the year are combined. Kobukuro's sales for the combined two weeks were slightly higher than Hamasaki's, giving them the number-one position.[78][79]
  13. ^ It is speculated that the Mary she was told about is Mary Magdalene.[16]
  14. ^ For a comprehensive list of Hamasaki's Avex-sanctioned remixes released in Japan, see Hamasaki's discography at mu-mo.net.
  15. ^ For a complete list of the commercial tie-ins of Hamasaki's songs, see her discography.
  16. ^ This is the symbol: Ayumi Hamasaki A Logo.png. It is used either as a substitute for the letter a or to represent Hamasaki's name. The titles of six albums, Rainbow, A Best, A Ballads, A Best 2 -White-, A Best 2 -Black-, and A Complete use this symbol; the titles of these albums appearing as RAyumi Hamasaki A Logo.pngINBOW, Ayumi Hamasaki A Logo.png Best, Ayumi Hamasaki A Logo.png Ballads, Ayumi Hamasaki A Logo.png Best 2 -White-, Ayumi Hamasaki A Logo.png Best 2 -Black-, and Ayumi Hamasaki A Logo.png Complete. (Dashes are commonly used in Japanese script to enclose subtitles.)


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  107. ^ Ayumi Hamasaki - Piano Solo - New Piano Sounds Top 25. Volume 7. ISBN 978-4-89638-944-9
  108. ^ Kazuki, Okabe. "Loveppears". Beat Freak Online. Avex. Archived from the original on February 17, 2001. http://web.archive.org/web/20010217174411/. Retrieved 2009-11-06. 
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  113. ^ (Chinese) "Hamasaki Ayumi's New MV Expresses Her Opposition to Marriage". 21cn.com (China Telecom). June 4, 2002. http://et.21cn.com/star/fengbao/2002-06-04/687367.html. Retrieved August 25, 2009. 
  114. ^ (Chinese) "Hamasaki Ayumi's New Album, With a Grueling Performance and a Crocodile". XinhuaNet (Xinhua News Agency). July 9, 2003. http://news.xinhuanet.com/audio/2003-07/09/content_963295.htm. Retrieved August 25, 2009. 
  115. ^ (Chinese) "J-pop Guru Hamasaki Ayumi's Subversive, Avant-Garde Sense of Variety". QQ.com (Tencent). December 26, 2003. http://ent.qq.com/a/20031226/000005.htm. Retrieved August 25, 2009. 
  116. ^ (German) "The Most Expensive Music Videos of All Time". Die Welt (Axel Springer AG). http://www.welt.de/vermischtes/article836335/Die_teuersten_Musikvideos_aller_Zeiten.html. Retrieved November 6, 2009. 
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  118. ^ Hurley, James. "The Most Expensive Music Videos Ever Made". MSN. http://entertainment.uk.msn.com/music/features/gallery.aspx?cp-documentid=3917826. Retrieved January 24, 2008. 
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  124. ^ (Japanese) "Readers Choose the Most Fashionable Artist!". Oricon. April 19, 2006. http://www.oricon.co.jp/music/special/060419_01.html. Retrieved January 26, 2008. 
  125. ^ Magnier, Mark (August 25, 2000). "Tokyo Robe". Los Angeles Times. 
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  137. ^ (Japanese) "Boss CM". Suntory Limited. http://www.suntory.co.jp/enjoy/cm/log/sd132.html. Retrieved February 23, 2008. 
  138. ^ Gantayat, Anoop. "Big Star Talent for Onimusha". IGN. http://ps2.ign.com/articles/665/665728p1.html. Retrieved February 12, 2008. 
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  140. ^ (Japanese) "Heaven". Oricon. http://www.oricon.co.jp/music/release/d/616617/1/. Retrieved November 17, 2008. 
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  145. ^ "Ayumi Hamasaki and Tokio's Tomoya Nagase break up". Japan News Review. July 14, 2007. http://www.japannewsreview.com/entertainment/celebrities/20070714page_id=676. Retrieved January 24, 2008. 
  146. ^ a b "Singer Ayumi Hamasaki says she has lost hearing in her left ear". Japan Today. January 8, 2008. http://webcitation.org/5YqztWqHX. Retrieved January 8, 2008.  (Archived version)
  147. ^ "Japan's pop princess 'Ayu' goes half deaf". AFP. January 6, 2008. http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5hNw4Md-JdCu6y2e8xsEGld1O41xg. Retrieved February 2, 2008. 
  148. ^ "[CD] Rock'n'Roll Circus [CD+DVD/ジャケットA] / 浜崎あゆみ" (in Japanese). Neowing. http://www.neowing.co.jp/detailview.html?KEY=AVCD-38102. Retrieved 2010-03-05. 
  149. ^ (Japanese) [http://avexnet.or.jp/ayu/jp /schedule/index.html "Ayumi Hamasaki Schedule"]. Avex. http://avexnet.or.jp/ayu/jp /schedule/index.html. Retrieved March 6, 2009. 

Further reading

  • Ayu Press Crew (あゆ報道班) (2005). Secrets of Ayumi Hamasaki (浜崎あゆみの秘密). Data House (データハウス). ISBN 978-4887188518. 
  • 富坂 剛 (2005). Ayumi Hamasaki Pure Stories (浜崎あゆみPure Stories). R's Publishing (アールズ出版). ISBN 978-4901226998. 
  • 本郷陽二 (2003). Ayumi Hamasaki Stories (今輝く歌姫たち 浜崎あゆみ物語). Chobun (汐文社). ISBN 978-4811376233. 

External links




Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Ayumi Hamasaki (born October 2, 1978) is a Japanese pop singer.



A Song for XX

  • By your faith in people, you will someday be betrayed.
    I thought it was the same as being rejected.
    At the time I didn't have that kind of strength.
    Certainly, I knew too much.
    It was said that I was a strong child.
    I was praised, saying "you must have strength not to cry"
    The more things like that were said,
    the more even laughing was painful.
    • A Song for XX


  • The lovers, appearing happy,
    walk, holding hands.
    Though it appears everything is perfect,
    only they know the truth.
  • Who taught me true strength?
    Who taught me kindness?
    Whom do I walk for?
    Who did I want to stroke my hair?
    Who didn't give up for me?
    I'll never forget.
    • Who...
  • When I lost my way, and
    When the road was too long,
    I was muttering to myself.
    Life is just that way...
    • Who...
  • Today's happy face, today's sad face.
    Yesterday, a weak self, tomorrow, a strong self.
    If it's you, who are you showing it to?
    If it's I, whom should I show it to?


  • Everyone, including I, is certain
    that "that thing" they're searching for
    is in the future.
    But how many people have realized
    that "that" is actually in the past?
    I can't even guess.
    • Duty
  • I saw the end of an age
    with these, my eyes.
    But I didn't want to know
    that it's my turn next.
    • Duty
  • Choosing only the things you like
    isn't irresponsible.
    If you can't find anything you like
    then why take the responsibility?
    I take only the possibilities that I'm ready to accept.
  • If you don't need it, then
    it is useless to be compassionate.
    If it's important then
    it will probably be followed with pain.
    Loneliness that you feel with someone is worse
    than one you feel
    • Surreal
  • This year, once again, the seasons have passed.
    Memories have faded.
    The border between my blurry dream and
    reality has become blurred.
    Even so, the dream I once told you of
    did not have a single lie.
  • Today was very sad,
    and even if tomorrow, I cry,
    someday I will be able to laugh
    and remember our time together.
    How many seasons must pass,
    in this, our finite existence?
    If we live in the "now",
    what will we find?
    • Seasons
  • You once said long ago
    while stroking my hair,
    "When you wake up, there'll be
    a nice present
    by your pillow."
    • Teddy Bear
  • Your back always
    looked small and weak
    but we could laugh together
    at funny stories.
    But if people keep making
    the same mistakes over and over
    can they really regret them?
    • Teddy Bear
  • When I woke up, I found
    by my pillow a teddy bear
    instead of you.
    • Teddy Bear

I am...

  • Isn't it? It's as if we have just entered a new age
    It's a miracle;
    we will never experience it again
    Let's remember it once more
  • No matter how far apart we are,
    don't forget that we're
    still under the same sky,
    both traveling to the place
    we once dreamed of.
  • Today, in this city
    two people will meet and lock eyes;
    the curtains are then turbulently thrown open.
    [...] Today, in this city
    two people will separate their paths;
    the curtains are then silently lowered.
  • But, for everything,
    there is an end, someday, inevitably.
    • M
  • "Maria" There is someone I should love.
    At times I sustain deep, deep wounds.
    But, by the person I should love,
    they are all healed.
    "Maria" Everyone is crying.
    "Maria" But I want to believe.
    "Maria" So I'm praying now
    that this is my final love.
    Beginnings come at random,
    but endings always have a reason.
    • M
  • But in such a place as this, I can only tell you
    by singing this song.
  • If you'd listen, even for a little while
    I'd be pleased

    Remember, once more
    we were born into this world crying.
    Your dreams and hopes for tomorrow
    are all in this world.
    • A Song Is Born
  • Remember, once more
    how our world should be.
    And please, don't forget,
    please, please don't forget.
    • A Song Is Born
  • Surely, no one hoped for so many things.
    Hold the flowers close to your heart;
    they may someday bloom.
    • A Song Is Born
  • If you were alone
    and suddenly became blind,
    and even so
    you keep walking forward.


  • A woman could be having fun
    A woman could be like a nun
    In order to survive
    We cannot be kind
    Until we are hurt
    • Real Me
  • In a city [world] as dirty as this,
    You gather up, save, and show me
    Purely beautiful things.
  • I don't want a weak heart that can't cry
    or the strength not to cry.
    I'll search for a shooting
    Star to cast my wishes on, but
    Daybreak will come too soon
    And I won't be able to find one.
  • In times when I encounter sad things
    I have a habit of saying "I'm all right".
    On that day, something had stopped for me
    And no matter
    how much I pray,
    I can't find a single star.
    • Hanabi
  • How many times have I lost my way?
    Every time, the one who gave me a hand
    Was you.
  • We go on this voyage to find happiness.
    You see? A smile really suits you.
    • Voyage
  • If time is a fading dream
    Then it would be like a flower
    Even if destined to fall
    It would be all the more valuable in its transience.
    • Dolls

Memorial Address

  • Really, we are
    Not only dots
    But are the whole
  • If one day
    They are connected
    And form lines
    • Forgiveness
  • Certainly everyone, in order to protect love,
    Certainly wishes to believe in something
    • Forgiveness
  • Even in my age now, I'm the same as before
    and just as fearful
    I only learn how to pretend to be strong
  • Though my heart is filled with feelings I want to convey
    You see, I can't express them in words
    If I had not met you
    I wouldn't even have such an embarrassing pain
    • No Way To Say
  • Slowly, I've come to realize
    That I cannot heal my past
    And that fearing the unavoidable future
    Is pointless
    • No Way To Say
  • Goodbye. You have gone to the place where we can never meet again
    I can't accept the coldness of an eternal parting
    I wish I could have heard you say
    That surely, you had loved me
    Only once, even if it were a lie
    • Memorial Address ~Take 2 Version~

My Story

  • You see? The times have changed
    But why do I still hear people say
    "Tears are woman's weapons"?
    We don't cry easily
    We are not always flirty
    We are not dolls
    Who are only dressed to the nines.
    • My Name's Women
  • An interested stranger asked me
    How do I see the scenery from here?
    I reply
    It's how you think it would be.
    It's useless to explain
    Everybody GO! Everybody JUMP!
    • Humming 7/4
  • My lips told a lie
    For a trivial reason
    It wasn't for anyone else
    But only to protect myself
    And I didn't think about anyone else
    • Walking Proud
  • But I escaped from reality
    Escaped from the pain
    I said to myself
    "Some day, I'll be as I should be
    Though I'm far from there now"
    After such excuses, my eyes were opened
    All I could do was to live in the present time.
    • Walking Proud


  • Yayayaya Gagagaga Dadadada Wowowowo
    Yayayaya Gagagaga Dadadada Wowowowo
    Even if you think you are too bold
    It's all fine
    In all honesty, I'm hesitant
    To be prudent and reserved
    OK, together now, "Bold & Delicious!"
    Don't watch me quietly, stand up please, "Bold & Delicious!"
  • I feel most miserable
    When I can't step "step up to the plate"
    You know? People often say
    Regret from doing it is better than regret for not doing it
    • Bold & Delicious
  • This is a common case,
    It looks like a fight with him
    But she's really fighting with herself.
    • Ladies Night
  • If you are afraid of changes
    Watch from a distance
    Whether or not I might do something
    If you're going to talk about me behind my back
    It is what it is.
  • It is sad
    To lose sight of myself for the sake of myself
    I believe in scenery no one has ever seen,
    And next to you, I wish to stay in that place that doesn't exist
  • Daybreak comes quickly nowadays
    The scent of wind has changed
    It seems familiar yet unfamiliar
    It makes my heartbeat quicker
    It's sweet and sad
    We ran along the road to the sea
    Screaming with laughter innocently
    In the far-away summer days
  • It was not coincidental that we chose what's left
    If the universe has a will
    I think we are part of it
    Tender and precious
    How many times have I searched for something
    Found and lost it
    Since then?
    • Fairyland


  • Why are you ashamed of yourself?
    What happens after that?
    But I really like your way of walking
    In which you head straight and always hit a wall.
  • I feel that
    these glass shoes are too fragile
    for running through this era.


  • Just because this age is full of information and temptations
    We should decide on our own
    You know
    That creation comes after destruction
  • Reality will always deceive us
    But in that, you see, only your answer is hidden
    If you feel you have not seen it
    It is something you brought about with your own hands.
  • This summer, our new journey begins
    I sense a slight discomfort in the distance
    We saw that place in our dreams
    Today, let's find the road there again.
  • Where does this road lead?
    And where does it go from there?
    Even if I imagine [the possibilities]
    Of course, I have no clue.
    I feel the more I wish to be strong
    The weaker my heart becomes
    In inverse proportion
  • We notice it the moment our eyes meet someone else's
    We feel it when coming into contact with him [or her]
    But then once
    We feel weak in the knees
    The wind strokes my cheeks and makes it feel real
    And whispering quietly
    That this is not an illusion at all
    • Fated
  • On that day, you decided
    That you would walk by yourself
    On the endless road
    that crosses the clouds [and leads] to the sky
    Leaving so much here
    I want to tell you and talk about.
    • Untitled ~For Her~
  • What if everyone goes on the endless road
    Sooner or later
    Over the clouds to the sky
    Be sure to wait for me.
    And then, we will talk away
    About our countless memories.
    • Untitled ~For Her


  • I was forgiven by forgiving many things
    Including my long-ago childhood
    I was healed, but I intended [to] heal
    I've just noticed, the way
    I was saved by love
    Though I tried to keep love away.
  • Because we want the same happiness
    We keep carving the same wounds onto our hearts.
    Forever, forever
    So I won't forget you
    I call you over and over again
    Please don't cry any more
    I won't leave you alone.


  • It is necessary that I am viewed as a product. I am a product.
  • I don't have dreams. How can I say it? I myself am a dream.
  • I don't set goals. Like, that's what I want to be doing however many years from now. I do what I love to do at the moment.
  • I thought Mommy's life was strange, not mine.
  • My job is simply to be myself, to be Ayumi Hamasaki.
  • [...]Everyone has a secret. Right? Of course I have a secret. I think maybe you too?
  • I don't want to become adult!
  • If people will listen, I will go anywhere in the world!
  • Music is my life, if I am without music or if I can't sing any more, I die, I'm nothing...because music is everything.
  • [...] I don't know my future. I don't know about tomorrow. I can just control for today or present, right now. [...] I don't want to think about future too much, because present is most important for me.
    • Interview with TalkAsia, November 2007

External links

Wikipedia has an article about:

Simple English

Ayumi Hamasaki
Ayumi Hamasaki in Taiwan on March 2007
Background information
Birth name 浜崎 あゆみ, 浜崎歩[1] (Hamasaki Ayumi)
Also known as Ayu, Crea
Born October 2, 1978 (1978-10-02) (age 32)[2]
Origin Fukuoka, Japan
Genres Pop, electronic dance, rock, classical, R&B
Occupations Singer, songwriter, record producer, composer, actress, model, spokesperson
Years active 1994–1995, 1998–present
Labels Nippon Columbia (1995)
Avex Trax (1998–present)
Drizzly (2002–2004)
Website www.avexnet.or.jp/ayu

Ayumi Hamasaki (Japanese: 浜崎あゆみ Hamasaki Ayumi) born October 2, 1978 is a Japanese singer, song-writer, and former actress. She is also called Ayu by her fans, and called the "Empress of Pop" because her music is very popular in Japan. She was born and raised in Fukuoka. When she was fourteen, she moved to Tokyo. In 1998, she was signed to the label Avex Trax and released a number of singles that were successful. In 1999, she released her first studio album A Song for XX which was very successful and made her popular in Japan.

Because she changes her appearance and artistry very often, she is popular in other parts of Asia like China, Singapore, and Taiwan. Many of her songs are used in commercials and advertisements. She often appears in some of these.

Before she joined Avex Trax, she released a single and an album both called Nothing From Nothing. But these did not become popular. Since she debuted in 1998 with "Poker Face," Hamasaki sold more than 50 records in Japan. This puts her as one of the highest ranking singers in the country.[3] She holds many records as a female singers. These include the most number-one hits and highest sales.[4]


Personal life

Hamasaki dated Tomoya Nagase (a singer and actor) since her short acting career. They announced they were dating in 2001.[5] Six years later, there were rumors that Hamasaki and Nagase were going to get married. But on July 13, 2007 Hamasaki said that they had broken up. She did not say why, but she said that they will stay as friends.[6]

In 2008, Hamasaki revealed that she had become deaf in her left ear. This was because of tinnitus or Ménière's disease.[3][7] She said that she had the condition in 2006 and that problems with her ear started in 2000.[8] Hamasaki stated that she wants to continue singing. She said that she would "not give up" on her fans and that "as a professional", she wanted to "deliver the best performance for everyone".[8][9]


Studio albums

  • 1999: A Song for XX
  • 1999: LOVEppears
  • 2000: Duty
  • 2002: I Am...
  • 2002: Rainbow
  • 2003: Memorial Address
  • 2004: My Story
  • 2006: (miss)understood
  • 2006: Secret
  • 2008: Guilty
  • 2009: Next Level
  • 2010: Rock 'n' Roll Circus
  • 2010: Love Songs


  • Nothing from Nothing


  • 2001: A Best
  • 2003: A Ballads
  • 2007: A Best 2 (White/Black)
  • 2008: A Complete ~All Singles~


  • Nothing from Nothing
  • Poker Face
  • You
  • Trust
  • For My Dear...
  • Depend on You
  • LOVE ~Destiny~
  • TO BE
  • Boys & Girls
  • A
  • Appears
  • Kanariya
  • Fly High
  • vogue
  • Far away
  • M
  • evolution
  • Endless sorrow
  • UNITE!
  • Dearest
  • A Song is Born (with Keiko Yamada)
  • Daybreak
  • Free & Easy
  • H
  • Voyage
  • &
  • Forgiveness
  • No Way to Say
  • Moments
  • STEP You/is this LOVE?
  • fairyland
  • Bold & Delicious/Pride
  • Startin'/Born to Be...
  • glitter/fated
  • Talkin' 2 Myself
  • Together When...
  • Mirrorcle World
  • GREEN/Days
  • Rule/Sparkle
  • Sunrise/Sunset ~LOVE IS ALL~
  • You Were.../BALLAD
  • MOON/blossom
  • crossroad
  • L

Other pages


  1. (Japanese) "Talent Directory: Hamasaki Ayumi". Sponichi Annex (Mainichi Shimbun). http://www.sponichi.co.jp/entertainment/meikan/ha/hamasakiayumi.html. Retrieved 2010-02-13. 
  2. "Ayumi Hamasaki's Profile (Avex)". Avex Network. http://web.archive.org/web/20051217103237/http://www.avexnet.or.jp/english/ayu/#profile. Retrieved 2010-02-13. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Japanese pop singer Ayumi Hamasaki deaf in left ear". BBC News Agency. January 7, 2008. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/7174893.stm. Retrieved 2010-02-13. 
  4. (Japanese) "A Great Achievement — Hamasaki Ayumi Ties with Akina Nakamori for the Achievement of Five Crowns". Oricon. July 24, 2007. http://www.oricon.co.jp/news/rankmusic/46603/. Retrieved 2010-02-13. 
  5. Takeuchi Cullen, Lisa. "Empress of Pop". Time. p. 1. http://www.time.com/time/asia/features/ayumi_hamasaki/cover.html. Retrieved 2010-02-13. 
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  7. Connell, Ryan (January 27, 2008). "Pushing 30, rivals circling, and now deaf in one ear: it's tough at the top for Ayu". Sunday Mainichi. Archived from the original on February 6, 2008. http://web.archive.org/web/20080206150944/http://mdn.mainichi.jp/culture/waiwai/face/news/20080118p2g00m0dm005000c.html. Retrieved 2010-02-13. 
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  9. "Japan's pop princess 'Ayu' goes half deaf". AFP. January 6, 2008. http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5hNw4Md-JdCu6y2e8xsEGld1O41xg. Retrieved February 2, 2008. 

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