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Famous Like Me > Singer > H > Ayumi Hamasaki

Profile of Ayumi Hamasaki on Famous Like Me

Name: Ayumi Hamasaki  
Also Know As:
Date of Birth: 2nd October 1978
Place of Birth:
Profession: Singer
From Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia
Ayumi Hamasaki as a covergirl for a Japanese teen magazine Popteen (Image © by '

Ayumi Hamasaki (浜崎 あゆみ Hamasaki Ayumi, born October 2, 1978) is a Japanese pop singer and Japanese idol originally from Fukuoka. In Japan, she is commonly called by her nickname Ayu. To this date, she has released six full-length studio albums, one mini-album, two compilation albums, and 37 singles. She officially debuted in 1998 with her single poker face. She is the first Japanese artist to have her first original six studio albums top the charts.


Early Life

Although Ayu lived with her mother, she was primarily raised by her grandmother. She has vague recollections of her father, but he left the family at a very early time, around the time she was two, and has not seen him since then. She recalls playing a cassette tape that her father gave her that she drew from later on. She grew up in a very liberal household where she was expected to do what was right for her without her mother intervening in her affairs, since her mother was always out working to support the family.

In her youth, Hamasaki started her modeling career as a model for a local bank. During high school, she was considered a delinquent because she liked to wear short skirts and to dye her hair, which was extremely unconventional in Japan at that time, and she also rarely came to school. Eventually she dropped out of high school as well and moved to Tokyo to pursue a fulltime modeling career.

Idol Career

Hamasaki used the pseudonym Kurumi Hamazaki, acting in low budget dramas like Miseinen and b-movies like Sumomomomomo; however, she did not find success. She was too short to become a professional model. As a result, she spent her days wandering the streets of Tokyo, shopping, and dancing at clubs in the Shibuya district. She was "discovered" by her producer Max Matsuura, an avex trax producer when she was singing karaoke. When he asked her if she wanted to pursue a singing career, she said she agreed, "only because I had nothing to do." Hamasaki was contracted voice lessons in Tokyo, which she did not attend, as they were too rigid. For a more relaxed atmosphere, Matsuura sent Hamasaki to New York, an event she would later say was exactly what she needed. Impressed by the writing style in her letters to him, Matsuura suggested that she try her hand at writing her own lyrics for her songs.

Hamasaki has never had any formal instruction in lyric writing, and yet could draw well on her emotions to write her lyrics. Matsuura has stated repeatedly that such a gift comes along only with much practice and that it is highly unusual for such a young artist to be so articulate and mature in her writings, being the only female of her generation to write lyrics with such impact and meaning.

As an Artist

A Song for XX to LOVEppears

In 1998, Hamasaki released her debut single poker face, which sold 43,000 copies. But with the support of her producer Max Matsuura, she released four additional singles, with Depend on you eventually breaking top 10 with its tie-up as the theme song for Thousand Arms video game for Sony PlayStation, before she released her first album A Song for XX on January 1, 1999. Her album quickly became certified platinum.

LOVE~Destiny~, her seventh single, was her first #1 single. The title track was specially comissioned for her to be a subtheme for a drama series SemiDouble, and its b-side featured a duet with Tsunku, the vocalist of a hit band Sharan Q and the producer of Morning Musume, called LOVE~since1999~, which was the theme song for the drama series. Starting with the release of Boys & Girls, her singles changed format dramatically. Hamasaki's production team, following the music industry trend, moved away from the 8cm single format to 12cm maxi-singles; her new releases contained many remixes. As a result, Boys & Girls became the first of her singles to be certified platinum. In August, A was released. In an unprecedented move by avex trax, A featured 4 a-sides and 10 remixes. The single sold over 1,600,000 copies and remains her best-selling single. In November, she released her second album, LOVEppears, less than a year after her first. The album sold over two million copies. She brought out a positive reaction from her fans when she appeared on her album cover posing topless and covering her breasts with her hair. The single appears was released on the same day limited to 300,000 prints. Following the release of LOVEppears, two recut singles from the album were released in the same manner as appears, kanariya in December and Fly high in March of the following year.


In 2000, she became a spokeswoman for KOSE Visee, a cosmetics company in Japan. When she appeared in commercials and promoted Kose's lipsticks, a record of 500,000 lipsticks were sold in only two days. Vogue, which was used as a background music, also benefitted from this commercial, selling over 700,000 copies. She also became a spokesperson for Tu-ka and promoted their cell phones. Her fans, who were mostly teenage girls and young women, loved her Barbie-like fashion. She was constantly featured on front covers of fashion magazines, which featured articles about her successful life and her style. From April to June of 2000, she released one single per month, vogue, Far away, and SEASONS, which would be later known as The Trilogy because of the similar themes in lyrics and the connected music videos. September saw the release of her third full-length album Duty. Duty, like her previous studio albums, topped the charts and went on to sell over four million copies. On the same day, the single SURREAL was released, which was an initial pressings only single, and it also peaked the charts like Duty, making Hamasaki the fourth artist following Seiko Matsuda, KinKi Kids, and WANDS to have a single and album top the charts on the same week, and with the release of Ayumi Hamasaki Concert Tour 2000 A 第1幕 topping the DVD charts, it gave her the record of being the first artist to top three charts on the same week.

Since the release of vogue, her voice started to change in a way that it was darker and heavier, and starting with the release of SURREAL, her songs started to take on a rock-feeling edge, which would later reach its climax.

A BEST to I am...

To close up the millenium, her single M was released, and became a huge hit, making the single her fourth platinum single. The song M saw Hamasaki take more creative control of her music. Prior to M, she had always written lyrics for her songs (with the special exception of LOVE~since1999~), but with M, Hamasaki started composing her own songs under the pseudonym "CREA". That year, a little controversy was started when her compilation album A BEST's release date was changed to put her into direct competition with Utada Hikaru's second album DISTANCE. Though A BEST topped the charts first week, DISTANCE topped the following week, thus staggering the sales of both albums.

Later in 2001, her second eurobeat remix album became the second remix album in Japanese history to top the charts, following MISIA's LITTLE TOKYO. When her 4th album's release was delayed, stock prices for avex trax decreased, which shows how much power she wielded. It was estimated around that time that she was responsible for 40% of the avex trax's profit. In December, her duet with KEIKO of Globe was released as a single for avex's nonprofit project, SongNation, which raised money for the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. On the first day of 2002, her fourth album I am... was released, and like its predecessors LOVEppears and Duty, it was certified double platinum.


The release of Free & easy in April saw a complete change in the trend of Ayumi Hamasaki's singles. The single only featured two remixes and only one original song. The song also almost saw the record of having #1 singles broken because a single that was released on the same day, Kuraki Mai's Feel fine!, briefly topped the daily charts. However, Free & easy eventually claimed the top spot and gave Hamasaki the top spot on the weekly charts. Her fifth platinum single H was released in July. Like A, this single featured multiple a-sides, however, unlike A, this single did not contain any remixes. Her next single Voyage had an extended music video to promote it - a short film titled Tsuki ni Shizumu (or Sinking into the Moon), featured Ayumi Hamasaki's acting for the first time since her idol days.

The much-hyped release of RAINBOW in December was the first of Hamasaki's albums since A Song for xx to not reach double-platinum status. The album featured more of CREA songwriting like the previous album and saw her using English for the first time in her releases. The album had a massive promotion, which the buyers of the more-expensive initial pressings could access a password-only website that featured a part of the instrumental version of the title track "RAINBOW" that was not on the album, and the accessers could submit their own lyrics for the song. Over 100,000 people accessed the website. The song was later featured on her ballad compilation album A BALLADS, which was released on March 2003. Though promoted extremely well, A BALLADS was considered a flop because it didn't even achieve platinum status. Most of the tracks on A BALLADS were already included in her first compilation album A BEST. Also, only two years had passed since her first compilation album was released when A BALLADS was released.

Memorial address to MY STORY

Hamasaki's 1st mini-album Memorial Address. (Image © by 'avex network')

&, like the single H, saw three a-sides. However, unlike H, it contained an extra track that wasn't considered a-side, theme of a-nation '03, and videos were filmed for all three a-sides of the single. After the releases of the forgiveness and No way to say singles, she released a mini-album, Memorial address, which only featured three new songs. Memorial address was unique in a way that all the songs except for the title track (which was a bonus track) had a music video and it was available in CD only or CD+DVD formats. Memorial address gave her the record for the only female solo artist to releas a platinum status mini-album.

The following year was a year of internal strife in her recording company, avex trax. A feud between Max Matsuura and Yoda, an executive at avex trax, caused chaos and also started rumors that Hamasaki and other popular artists in avex trax like hiro, Every Little Thing, hitomi, and Do As Infinity were leaving the record company, causing the stock prices for avex trax to plunge. However, when Hamasaki sided with Matsuura, Yoda ended up resigning, effectively ending the feud.

Her singles since Moments were released at least in two formats - CD only or CD+DVD. Moments was used as a background music for her last KOSE Visee commericial. INSPIRE also saw something she hasn't done since the release of vogue in 2000, a b-side track. CAROLS was released in four formats - CD only, CD+DVD, SACD, and DVD-Audio. Since the release of &, she has also experimented with various composers to arrange her songs. In December of 2004, she released her sixth album MY STORY which was certified platinum. MY STORY, like its singles was also available in CD+DVD package as well as the CD only package.

Recent News

Her 35th single, STEP you/is this LOVE?, her first double a-side single debuted at the number one spot for the daily, weekly and monthly Japanese charts.

Her 36th single, fairyland, was released on August 3, 2005 and again, claimed the number one spot on the ORICON, and sold over 310,000 copies, and is still on the charts.

Her 37th single is HEAVEN, the theme song for the movie Shinobi and was released on 14 September 2005. It debuted at #2 to Kanjani 8's single, and then on day two it fell to #3. Starting day three, it has been #1 on daily charts, and snatched the #1 position for the week selling 170,000 copies, only 6,000 copies more than the #2 single. This is Ayumi Hamasaki's 12th consecutive #1 single starting with Free & Easy in 2002. This also broke the record of the most singles a Japanese female artist has in the top ten (35 out of 36 singles), and the second most singles an artist has had in the number one position (24).

At the 2005 World Music Awards, Ayumi Hamasaki recently won the award for best-selling Japanese artist.


Symbols used by Ayumi Hamasaki

Ayumi Hamasaki uses a symbol to represent her name. Usually, when typed, the symbols are just replaced with the letters A, M, and H.

The first A

The first time she used a symbol for a title was her tenth single A. The each strokes of the symbol represented the a-sides of the single - monochrome, Trauma, too late, and End roll. This is the only context that this symbol has only been used in, and she ceased to use this symbol after the invention of the second A.


This symbol was only used for her 19th single M, which unlike A featured only one song. However, this symbol is still used whenever versions of the song M appears on a tracklist.

The second A

The second A is not really an A, but a combination of her initials A and H. This has been used frequently since its first appearance as the A in LOVEppears in 1999. This symbol is also used in the A for the RAINBOW album (therefore, technically making her song RAINBOW that later appeared in A BALLADS not the title track) and the first A in A BALLADS. This symbol was prominently featured in the covers of SUPER EUROBEAT Presents ayu-ro 2, CYBER TRANCE Presents ayu-trance, and MY STORY Classical. Since the album A BALLADS, this symbol is always on the center of the very last page of the lyrics booklet.


The H is a modified version of the second A where the top has been removed to look only like A. Its three strokes represent the three songs featured on the H single - independent, July 1st, and HANABI. So far, it has never been used outside this context.


Studio Albums

  • December 1, 1995 - NOTHING FROM NOTHING (not in avex discography) Failed to Chart
  • January 1, 1999 - A Song for XX - #1 over 1,800,000 copies sold
  • November 11, 1999 - LOVEppears - #1 over 2,560,000 copies sold
  • September 27, 2000 - Duty - #1 over 3,000,000 copies sold
  • January 1, 2002 - I am... - #1 over 3,000,000 copies sold
  • December 18, 2002 - RAINBOW - #1 over 1,870,000 copies sold
  • December 17, 2003 - Memorial address - #1 over 1,070,000 copies sold
  • December 15, 2004 - MY STORY - #1 over 1,100,000 copies sold
  • January 1, 2006 - Untitled


    • 1995/??/?? NOTHING FROM NOTHING - #Failed to Chart
  • from A SONG FOR xx
    • 8 April 1998 "poker face" c/w "FRIEND" - #20 over 43,000 copies sold
    • 10 June 1998 "YOU" - #20 over 78,000 copies sold
    • 5 August 1998 "Trust" - #9 over 180,000 copies sold
    • 7 October 1998 "For My Dear..." - #9 74,000 copies sold
    • 9 December 1998 "Depend on you" c/w "Two of us" - #6
  • from LOVEppears
    • 10 February 1999 "WHATEVER" - #5 over 180,000 copies sold
    • 14 April 1999 "LOVE ~Destiny~" c/w "LOVE ~since1999~" - #1 over 650,000 copies sold
    • 12 May 1999 "TO BE" - #4 over 320,000 copies sold
    • 14 July 1999 "Boys & Girls" - #1 over 1,020,000 copies sold
    • 11 August 1999 A ("monochrome"/"Trauma"/"too late"/"End roll") - #1 over 1,670,000 copies sold
    • 10 November 1999 "appears" c/w immature - Limited pressing - #2 300,000 copies
    • 8 December 1999 "kanariya" - Limited pressing - #1 300,000 copies
    • 9 February 2000 "Fly high" - Limited pressing - #3 300,000 copies
  • from Duty
    • 26 April 2000 "vogue" c/w "ever free"- #3 over 770,000 copies sold
    • 17 May 2000 "Far away" - #2 over 570,000 copies sold
    • 7 June 2000 "SEASONS" c/w ever free - #1 over 1,300,000 copies sold
    • 27 September 2000 "SURREAL" - #1 over 570,000 copies sold ~ First edition only
    • 1 November 2000 "AUDIENCE" - Limited pressing - #2 300,000 copies
  • from I am...
    • 13 December 2000 "M" - #1 over 1,310,000 copies sold
    • 31 January 2001 "evolution" - #1 over 960,000 copies sold
    • 7 March 2001 "NEVER EVER" - #1 over 750,000 copies sold
    • 16 June 2001 "Endless sorrow" - #1 over 760,000 copies sold
    • 11 July 2001 "UNITE!" - 'over 570,000 copies sold
    • 27 September 2001 "Dearest" - #1 over 760,000 copies sold
    • 6 March 2002 "Daybreak" - Limited pressing - #2 300,000 copies
  • from RAINBOW
    • 24 April 2002 "Free & Easy" - #1 over 480,000 copies sold
    • 24 July 2002 H ("independent"/"July 1st"/"HANABI") - #1 over 1,000,000 copies sold
    • 26 September 2002 "Voyage" - #1 over 670,000 copies sold
  • from Memorial address
    • 9 July 2003 & ("ourselves"/"Greatful Days"[sic]/"HANABI~episode II~) c/w "theme of a-nation '03" - #1 over 590,000 copies sold
    • 20 August 2003 "forgiveness" - #1 over 220,000 copies sold
    • 6 November 2003 "No way to say" - #1 370,000 copies sold
  • from MY STORY
    • 31 March 2004 "Moments" (CD/CD+DVD) - #1 over 300,000 copies sold
    • 28 July 2003 "INSPIRE" c/w "GAME" (CD/CD+DVD) - #1 over 320,000 copies sold
    • 29 September 2003 "CAROLS" (CD/CD+DVD/SACD/DVD Audio) - #1 over 300,000 copies sold
  • from the upcoming album
    • 20 April 2005 STEP you/is this LOVE? (CD/CD+DVD) - #1 over 340,000 copies sold
    • 3 August 2005 "fairyland" c/w "alterna" (CD/CD+DVD) - #1 over 310,000 copies sold
    • 14 September 2005 "HEAVEN" (CD/CD+DVD) - #1 over 300,000 copies sold (week 5)
    • 30 November 2005 "Bold&Delicious/Pride" (CD/CD+DVD)

Non-Regular Singles

    • 6 December 2000 - the other side ONE ~previously unreleased version~ -
    • 31 January 2001 - the other side TWO ~previously unreleased version~ -
    • 31 January 2001 - the other side THREE ~previously unreleased version~ -
    • 31 January 2001 - the other side FOUR ~previously unreleased version~ -
    • 28 February 2001 - "poker face" c/w "FRIEND" (12 cm re-release) -
    • 28 February 2001 - "YOU" (12 cm re-release) -
    • 28 February 2001 - "Trust" (12 cm re-release) -
    • 28 February 2001 - "For my dear..." (12 cm re-release) -
    • 28 February 2001 - "Depend on you" c/w "Two of us" (12 cm re-release) -
    • 28 February 2001 - "WHATEVER" (12 cm re-release) -
    • 28 February 2001 - "LOVE~Destiny~" c/w "LOVE~since1999~" (12 cm re-release) -
    • 28 February 2001 - "TO BE" (12 cm re-release) -
    • 21 November 2001 - excerpts from ayu-mi-x III CD:001 -
    • 21 November 2001 - excerpts from ayu-mi-x III CD:002 -
    • 21 November 2001 - excerpts from ayu-mi-x III CD:003 -
    • 21 November 2001 - excerpts from ayu-mi-x III CD:004 -
    • 21 November 2001 - excerpts from ayu-mi-x III CD:005 -
    • 21 November 2001 - excerpts from ayu-mi-x III CD:006 -
    • 12 December 2001 - "a song is born" - #1 (a duet with KEIKO (globe))
    • 2002 - "Connected" (System F presents ayu) - Released in Germany only
    • 2003 - "Connected" (Push remix) - Released in Germany only
    • 2004 - "Depend on you" - Released in Germany only
    • 2004 - "Naturally" (Wippenberg remix) - Released in Germany only
    • 2005 - "UNITE!" - Released in Germany only

Compilation Albums

  • 28 March 2001 - A BEST - #1 4,300,000 copies sold
  • 12 March 2003 - A BALLADS - #1 over 1,000,000 copies sold

Remix Albums

  • 17 March 1999 - ayu-mi-x -
  • 16 February 2000 - SUPER EUROBEAT presents ayu-ro mix -
  • 8 March 2000 - ayu-mi-x II version US+EU -
  • 8 March 2000 - ayu-mi-x II version Acoustic Orchestra -
  • 8 March 2000 - ayu-mi-x II version JPN -
  • 29 March 2000 - ayu-mi-x II version Non-Stop Mega Mix -
  • 28 February 2001 - ayu-mi-x III Acoustic Orchestra Version -
  • 28 February 2001 - ayu-mi-x III Non-Stop Mega Mix Version -
  • 27 September 2001 - SUPER EUROBEAT presents ayu-ro mix 2 - '
  • 27 September 2001 - Cyber TRANCE presents ayu trance -
  • 20 March 2002 - ayu-mi-x 4 + selection Acoustic Orchestra Version -
  • 20 March 2002 - ayu-mi-x 4 + selection Non-Stop Mega Mix Version -
  • 26 September 2002 - Cyber TRANCE presents ayu trance 2 -
  • 25 September 2003 - ayumi hamasaki RMX WORKS from SUPER EUROBEAT presents ayu-ro mix 3 -
  • 25 September 2003 - ayumi hamasaki RMX WORKS from ayu-mi-x 5 non stop mega mix -
  • 25 September 2003 - ayumi hamasaki RMX WORKS from Cyber TRANCE presents ayu TRANCE 3 -
  • 24 March 2005 - MY STORY Classical -


Video Clips

  • HAMASAKI AYUMI (29 March 2000)
  • vogue Far away SEASONS (20 September 2000)
  • SURREAL (13 December 2000)
  • M (7 February 2001)
  • evolution (13 June 2001)
  • A clips vol.2 (13 March 2002)
  • ayumi hamasaki COMPLETE CLIP BOX A(25 February 2004)
  • Moments (31 March 2004)
  • INSPIRE (28 July 2004)
  • CAROLS (29 September 2004)
  • STEP you/is this LOVE? (20 April 2005)
  • fairyland (3 August 2005)
  • HEAVEN (14 September 2005)

Short Film

  • 月に沈む(Tsuki ni Shizumu) (Sinking in the Moon) based on "Voyage" Clip (13 November 2002)


  • ayumi hamasaki concert tour 2000 A 第1幕 (27 September 2000)
  • ayumi hamasaki concert tour 2000 A 第2幕 (27 September 2000)
  • ayumi hamasaki countdown live 2000-2001 A (20 June 2001)
  • ayumi hamasaki DOME TOUR 2001 A (12 December 2001)
  • ayumi hamasaki COUNTDOWN LIVE 2001-2002 A (29 January 2003) (ONLY IN THE COMPLETE LIVE BOX)
  • ayumi hamasaki ARENA TOUR 2002 A (29 January 2003)
  • ayumi hamasaki STADIUM TOUR 2002 A (29 January 2003)
  • ayumi hamasaki COUNTDOWN LIVE 2002-2003 A (29 January 2003) (ONLY IN THE COMPLETE LIVE BOX)
  • ayumi hamasaki COMPLETE LIVE BOX A (29 January 2003)
  • ayumi hamasaki A museum ~30th single collection live~ (25 February 2004)
  • ayumi hamasaki ARENA TOUR 2003-2004 A (29 September 2004)
  • ayumi hamasaki COUNTDOWN Live 2004-2005 A (2 March 2005)
  • ayumi Hamasaki ARENA TOUR 2005 A ~MY STORY~ (24 August 2005) '

DVD Audio

  • RAINBOW (9 July 2003)
  • CAROLS (29 September 2004)
  • MY STORY (24 March 2005)


Video Clip Compilations

  • A Film for XX(15 September 1999)
  • A clips(23 February 2000)
  • vogue Far away SEASONS(12 July 2000)
  • SURREAL(13 December 2000)
  • M(7 February 2001)
  • evolution(13 June 2001)
  • A clips vol.2(13 March 2002)


  • ayumi hamasaki concert tour 2000 A 第1幕 (13 September 2000)
  • ayumi hamasaki concert tour 2000 A 第2幕 (13 September 2000)
  • ayumi hamasaki countdown live 2000-2001 A (20 June 2001)
  • ayumi hamasaki DOME TOUR 2001 A (12 December 2001)
  • ayumi hamasaki ARENA TOUR 2002 A (29 January 2003)
  • ayumi hamasaki STADIUM TOUR 2002 A (29 January 2003)


  • A VISUAL MIX (PlayStation 2 software, 13 December 2001)

This content from Wikipedia is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Ayumi Hamasaki