J-pop singer Namie Amuro would retire in 2018, the 26th anniversary of her career. Amuro rose to stardom in the 1990s as a teen queen.
She said, “I would like to write about something that I have carried on my mind and have decided on the 25th anniversary of my debut. I, Namie Amuro, would like to take this opportunity to inform all of my fans of my decision to retire as of Sept 16, 2018.”
She has been the reigning queen of the J-pop scene for 25 years, inspiring both the music and the style of the acts that followed her. The native of Okinawa also popularised the sun-kissed look, with her long brown hair and golden tan.
(She has a son from a short-lived marriage to dancer “Sam” of J-pop group TRF.)
Amuro is one of a few performers to successfully make the transition from girl group member to solo act and maintain her relevance for decades.
She has created songs that have become iconic—her track “Can You Celebrate?” remains the top-selling Japanese single by a solo artist more than 20 years after its release.
As a solo singer
Amuro was born to Emiko Taira (1950 – 1999), and an undisclosed Japanese father, Mr. Amuro in Okinawa, Japan on September 20, 1977. She is one of three children by Taira and Mr. Amuro. Taira had divorced when Amuro was four years old, and raised her three children solely in Okinawa.
Taira worked as a nursery school employee and bar hostess to support her three children. Although she had no ambition to become a singer, she was discovered at age 12, while visiting a friend. Amuro was scouted by a performing arts school, and eventually enrolled there.
Two years later, she was placed in a group called Super Monkey’s, with five other girls. A year after their 1992 debut , the group relocated to Tokyo, despite Amuro’s mother’s disapproval.
Super Monkey’s didn’t gain much success and the group went through constant lineup changes. They changed their name to “Namie Amuro with Super Monkey’s” in 1994 to reflect Amuro’s rising popularity as an upcoming actress and fashion model.
The Super Monkey’s experienced a large amount of success with their single “Try Me ” in 1995. Despite the beginning success as a group, the other four members of the Super Monkey’s formed their own sub-group, Max.
Amuro made her solo debut, releasing the single “Body Feels Exit” in 1995. It became a huge success. Amuro’s second single with Tetsuya Komuro, “Chase the Chance”, became her first number single on the Oricon Singles Chart, and became her first single to sell over one million units there.
As a fashion leader
The impact of Amuro’s retirement on the music industry is clear. But her songs aren’t the only important aspect of her legacy. Amuro’s influence in the world of fashion was every bit as interesting.
In 1995, Amuro had established herself as an alternative to the typical idol. She spawned the “Amuraa” style, a look focused on tan skin, short skirts, and platform combat boots, inspiring a legion of fans who emulated her every outfit.
Amuro often challenged Japanese social mores by simply living her life. When she decided to get tattoos in honor of her son and mother, her much-discussed body art broke with tradition. As she was one of the only women in J-pop to sport prominent ink, it was a bold statement.
Likewise her status as a performer over the age of 30 who fearlessly sports sexier styles, such as ruffled mini-skirts, corsetry, and thigh-high boots, made her an anomaly within the teen-focused music scene.
Personal struggles (1998〜2001)
In 1998, Amuro gave birth to her son. And in 1999, her mother, Emiko Taira, had been murdered. Emiko and her second husband were hit by an axe, by Emiko’s ex-husband’s brother.
Upon hearing the news, Amuro postponed all promotional activities and flew back to Okinawa in order to identify her mother’s body.
However, her songs are selling like fun…
In 2000, Amuro confirmed her separation from husband…
A walk in the Park (1996)
Namie Amuro rocked the J-pop world by announcing her retirement. Amuro’s fans, collectively called “Amurah,” emulated her powerful voice and dance moves, as well as her hairstyles and fashion.
Can You Celebrate her graduation with a smile?