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Studio album by Ayumi Hamasaki
Released November 29, 2006 (2006-11-29)
(see Release history)
Recorded 2005-2006 at:
Prime Sound Studio Form (Tokyo, Japan)
Sony Music Studios (New York)
Record Plant Recording Studios (Los Angeles, California)
Avex Honolulu Studios (Honolulu, Hawaii)
Genre J-Pop
Length 55:25
Language Japanese
Label AVEX Trax
Producer Max Matsuura
Professional reviews
Ayumi Hamasaki chronology
A Best 2 (White/Black)
Alternate covers
CD+DVD Cover
Singles from Secret
  1. "Startin' / Born to Be..."
    Released: March 8, 2006
  2. "Blue Bird"
    Released: June 21, 2006

Secret is the eighth studio album by Japanese pop singer-songwriter Ayumi Hamasaki, released by Avex Trax on November 29, 2006 in Japan. Hamasaki herself wrote all of the album's lyrics. The album has debuted high on charts across Asia and has gone triple platinum in Japan alone.[1] Secret received an "Album of the Year Award" at the Japan Gold Disc Awards[2] and its title track received the award for "Japanese Song of the Year" at the RTHK international awards in Hong Kong.[3] It was also the 22nd best selling album of 2006 according to the Oricon[4].


The title

The meaning behind the title 'Secret' is that the album is literally a secret.[5] Hamasaki has named it 'Secret', so that people might think "That's one of my secrets" or "When I hear this song, I think I know her secret." People are able to relate to Hamasaki's 'Secret' to see if they are similar or the same, and this is how Hamasaki wants people to listen to her album.[5] Hamasaki continues to reinforce understanding others, rather than just yourself, as she states:

But it's not a secret in the sense that "I'm about to disclose something you didn't know!" Instead, it could be about "me" in my daily life, or it could be about you… Everyone keeps secrets; there is not one person on this planet who does not have at least one secret, nor is there a person who can tell others everything about him or herself. Even when you try to understand others (or to have a mutual understanding with others), there is always a "you" that only you know about. I have aspects that only certain people know about and aspects that everyone knows about. That's what I call a secret. And in this sense, there are secrets incorporated into this album.[6]


Originally, Secret was announced to be a seven-track mini-album. After announcing that Secret was to become a full album on her official website, a message from Hamasaki on her TeamAyu fanclub website stated that she was doing overtime in the studio in order to complete the album on time.

Hamasaki stated that Until that Day... was originally intended to be an instrumental track composed by CMJK.[7] She loved the sound of the guitar and the b-melody and thus asked him to compose it into a full-length track.[7] From the beginning, she knew just what she had in mind to write about. She admitted to having difficulty matching her emotions with the complex melody of the song[7] so she sat down at home and compiled a list of synonyms of key words and eventually finished the song. Although she tried to keep the song positive, it sparked feelings of heartbrokenness upon revealing it to her staff.[7]

The third track, Startin', was recorded in New York City.[8] According to Hamasaki, the sound in the studio made it easy for her to sing despite the challenge in vocals that she gave herself by choosing to sing in this particular style.[9] Hamasaki stated that even though the song is generally perceived as a song for dancing on stage with dancers, it was originally intended to be a band-only song.[8] She enjoyed her recording session, commenting that what really brought out the new vocal style was doing the recording in the New York studio with its great sound and atmosphere.[8]

Momentum, the eighth track on the album, took Hamasaki a total of four days to record.[10] This is the longest amount of time she has ever taken to record a song in her whole career.[11] Usually, she goes into the booth and records a song very quickly, but with "Momentum" she had been spending so much time in the recording booth that she felt like she might as well have slept there.[11] Hamasaki stated that listening to the song now makes her remember the strenuous recording and brings her to tears.[11]

The album's title track, Secret, was the last song to be recorded for the album.[11] Since she had so much strain with recording "Momentum", Ayumi vowed to complete the recording for "Secret" in one go.[11] However, by doing this she put great pressure on herself and made herself quite nervous.[11] She had considered forgetting the song and leaving the studio several times due to the stress from her pressure and the extreme time limit to have the song recorded, but she decided to simply give it her all and do her best.[11]

By finishing this song, she had completed the recordings for the entire album. Hamasaki stated that she was almost in tears with the staff members because she actually managed to extend this album from a seven-track mini-album into a full length fourteen-track studio album in a matter of weeks.[11]

On November 6, 2006, recording for the album was wrapped. On November 7, the tracklist and both the CD-only and CD+DVD covers were released.

Secret is Hamasaki's first album to be produced and sold in Malaysia.


During November and December 2006, Hamasaki performed live on Japanese TV shows eleven times.[12] The main promotional track of the album was 'Jewel', which was performed live on Japanese TV eleven times, three times in which a special orchestra version of the song was performed. Jewel was also released as a ringtone, where it went on to be certified triple platinum, meaning it was downloaded over 750,000 times.[13] "1 Love" was also performed once. Hamasaki was featured on the cover of seven Japanese magazines during the promotion of Secret.[14] These magazines were "Sweet", "Bea's Up", "Vivi", "Popteen", "Cawaii", "S Cawaii", and another edition of "Vivi". Hamasaki was also a guest on two major radio shows during the release of the album; All Night Nippon and DoCoMo Hits from the Heart.[15] This album was highly promoted and sold many copies throughout Asia.

Tie-ups and theme songs

The album's first single Startin was used as the opening theme song for Capcom's video game Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams. [16] It is the standard theme song in the Japanese version of the game and can also be heard in the International version if the game language is set to Japanese in the settings menu. It was also used in a commercial advertisement for Japanese music downloading service Mu-Mo.

Born to Be was a special song used as the theme song for Japan's coverage of the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy. [16] The song was written especially for the occasion and this can be apparent in the style of the song as well as its lyrics. It was also used in a Mu-mo advert.

Hamasaki's summer single Blue Bird was used in a promotional campaign for Zespri Golden Kiwis. [16] The use of Hamasaki's song in advertisements boosted sales so much that Zespri launched a special press conference to thank her.[17] The song was also used in advertisements for Japanese music downloading services Dwango and Mu-mo.

Beautiful Fighters was used in a commercial advertisement promoting Panasonic's D-Snap portable audio player. [16] Hamasaki appeared playing tennis while using the product in its commercial to demonstrate the portability of the audio player.

Jewel was used in a commercial for Panasonic's Lumix FX07 digital camera. [16] Hamasaki appeared in the commercial wearing a traditional Japanese wedding gown as well as various coloured cocktail dresses. It was also used in a Mu-mo advertisement.

1 Love was used as in a commercial for Panasonic's D-Snap portable audio player. [16] Hamasaki appeared in the commercial using the products while riding on the subway. The commercial demonstrated the noise-cancelling abilities of the product. It was also used in another Panasonic commercial for the D-Dock. Upon the launch of the Lumix FX07 and the D-Snap and D-Dock audio players, Hamasaki appeared as Panasonic's spokesperson at a press conference in Tokyo.

The album's title track Secret was used as the theme song for Hong Kong film Confession of Pain.[18] Hamasaki attended the movie premiere in Hong Kong. That song can also be found on the single Glitter / Fated and is Hamasaki's first song on its original form to be released on a single after it was featured in an album.


Upon her explosive release of Secret throughout Asia, Hamasaki launched her first ever international tour. Entitled "Asia Tour 2007 ~Tour of Secret~", the tour reached various countries and territories throughout Asia such as Japan, China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. As with most of Hamasaki's tours, most of the tickets were sold out within minutes. The tickets also sold surprisingly well in Asia. Tickets were sold out to the Taiwan concert in less than two hours.[19] Similarly, tickets were sold out in less than three hours in Hong Kong[20] and in within six hours in Shanghai[21] To promote the album, Hamasaki performed many hit songs from "Secret". This also marked the beginning of her use of the English language at her concerts and press conferences in which she used the language to communicate fluently with fans and media.

Music videos

There are a total of 7 music videos (or PVs) on the album. In order of release, they are Startin', Born To Be..., Blue Bird, Beautiful Fighters, Jewel, momentum, and 1 Love.


"Blue Bird"

The "Blue Bird" PV (music video) officially aired on SpaceShower TV on June 9, 2006. In the first scene, she is singing on an empty beach. She is then seen on a boat with friends (many of whom are featured in her Fairyland PV, while they are in fact her dance team members). Throughout the video, it switches between the first setting, the second setting, and a third setting in which she is feasting and having fun with the same friends. There is also a fourth setting where she sings on a cliff. The PV was filmed in Guam.

"Beautiful Fighters"

The "Beautiful Fighters" PV officially aired on SpaceShower TV on June 12, 2006.

"Born to Be..."

The video for "Born to Be..." had thematic ties to the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy, which TV channel Nittele promoted using "Born To Be...".


The music video for Jewel, directed by Wataru Takeishi, is one of the most expensive music videos ever made, allegedly costing over 100 million yen (nearly $1 million USD) to produce. It is basically composed by scenes featuring Hamasaki adorned in diamonds at a winter-like set.


The video for "momentum" first aired on MTV on November 28, 2006 and was directed by Takahide Ishii (石井貴英 Ishii Takahide ?) who had previously directed both the PV's for the Startin' / Born to Be... double A-side single.[22]


The first music video showcased of Ayumi's album, it was released on the single "Startin'"/"Born to Be".

"1 Love"

The Music Video for "1 LOVE" features an underground human bid, where rich people (covered with venetian masks) buy human beings who are slaves and supposedly have special abilities, like a monster, an eat-it-all man, a prostitute, an otaku, and Hamasaki herself, who appears singing and pole-dancing. She is also seen in a cage, and later on tries to escape, covering herself with one of the masks, just to be found by the owner of the bid, a circus-master like man.

CD Track listing

All lyrics written by Ayumi Hamasaki. 

# Title Music Length
1. "Not Yey"   CMJK 2:01
2. "Until That Day..."   CMJK 4:47
3. "Startin'"   Kazuhiro Hara 4:19
4. "1 Love"   Yoji Noi 4:30
5. "It Was"   Naruya Ihashi 4:09
6. "Labyrinth"   H∧L 1:43
7. "Jewel"   Tetsuya Yukumi 4:16
8. "Momentum"   Tetsuya Yukumi 4:12
9. "Taskinst"   Tasuku 1:36
10. "Born to Be..."   Kazuhiro Hara 4:52
11. "Beautiful Fighters"   Kazuhito Kikuchi 5:12
12. "Blue Bird"   D.A.I. 4:11
13. "Kiss o' Kill"   Tetsuya Yukumi 4:39
14. "Secret"   Tetsuya Yukumi 4:39

DVD track listing

  1. Startin' <video clip>
  2. Born to Be... <video clip>
  3. Blue Bird <video clip>
  4. Beautiful Fighters <video clip>
  5. Jewel <video clip>
  6. 1 Love <video clip>
  7. Momentum <video clip>
  8. Startin' <making clip>
  9. Born to Be... <making clip>
  10. Blue Bird <making clip>
  11. Beautiful Fighters <making clip>
  12. Jewel <making clip>
  13. 1 Love <making clip>
  14. Momentum <making clip>

TV performances

  • March 3, 2006–Music Fighter–"Startin' "
  • March 10, 2006–Music Station–"Born To Be..."
  • March 10, 2006–Music Fighter–"Born To Be..."
  • March 11, 2006–CDTV–"Startin' "
  • June 11, 2006–Domoto Kyodai–"Blue Bird"
  • June 16, 2006–Music Station–"Blue Bird"
  • June 23, 2006–Music Fighter–"Blue Bird"
  • June 23, 2006–Music Station–"Blue Bird"
  • June 24, 2006–CDTV–"Blue Bird"
  • June 25, 2006–Avex Shareholders Meeting–"Blue Bird"
  • October 13, 2006 ? Music Station Fall Special ? "Jewel"
  • November 13, 2006–Hey! Hey! Hey!–"Jewel"
  • November 24, 2006–Music Station–"Jewel"
  • November 24, 2006–Music Fighter–"Jewel"
  • November 29, 2006–3,000,000 Choose Best Artist 2006–"Jewel ~orchestra version~"
  • December 1, 2006–Music Station–"Jewel ~orchestra version~"
  • December 6, 2006–FNS–"Jewel ~orchestra version~"
  • December 8, 2006–PopJam–"Jewel"
  • December 22, 2006–Music Station Super Live–"Jewel"
  • December 24, 2006–Happy X-Mas Show 2006–"Jewel"
  • December 31, 2006–57th Kouhaku–"Jewel"
  • December 31, 2006–CDTV Special Live 2006-2007–"1Love"

Release history

Region Date
China November 29, 2006 (2006-11-29)
Hong Kong
Singapore December 2, 2006 (2006-12-02)
South Korea December 14, 2006 (2006-12-14)


Release Chart Peak Position First Week Sales Sales Total Chart Run
November 29, 2006 Oricon Daily Albums Chart 1
Oricon Weekly Albums Chart 1 386,280 675,400 18 weeks
Oricon Monthly Albums Chart 1
Oricon Yearly Albums Chart 22(2006)
73 (2007)
494,399 (2006)
180,898 (2007)
  • Total Sales: 675,400 (Japan)
  • Total Sales: 900,000 (Avex)
  • Total Sales: 2,000,000 (Asia)

Charting information

Secret debuted at the top spot of the Oricon weekly chart with first week sales of 386,280 copies, outselling the number two album for a large 160,129 copies. However, its first week sales are about 263,000 lower than her last studio album (Miss)understood showing. This is because the "first week sales" of (Miss)understood were actually the sales of two weeks, as Oricon blends the last week of a year with the first one of the following year, making an Oricon Year with 51 weeks only. The same rule applies for the first week sales of her I am... album. On the Oricon chart, Secret failed to surpass the one-million mark, making it her second album to not do so (the first being (Miss)understood). However, while (Miss)understood still manage to surpass the one-million mark in accordance to Avex, Secret failed to do so, selling only 900,000 copies.

The singles of this album together sold a total of 447,177 copies. The sales of the singles and the album itself combined come to a sales revenue of 1,314,551 CDs sold.

Secret is also believed to be Ayu's most successful album yet in worldwide sales. Not only did Secret top the Japanese charts, the album was an instant number-1 hit in countries as Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong[1], and China.

In Japan Secret charted 18 weeks.

Physical sales charts

Chart Peak
Oricon Daily Albums Chart 1
Oricon Weekly Albums Chart 1
Oricon Monthly Albums Chart 1
Oricon Yearly Albums Chart 2006 22
Soundscan Albums Chart 1 (CD+DVD)
Soundscan Albums Chart 5 (CD-Only)


Date Title Peak position Weeks Sales
March 8, 2006 "Startin' / Born to Be..." 1 15 weeks 188,551
June 21, 2006 "Blue Bird" 1 13 weeks 258,566

Total Single Sales: 447,117

Total Album and Single Sales: 1,122,414


See also


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