Or Ayumi Hamasaki to use her full name.
This female singer is arguably the biggest name and most recognizable face in Japanese pop music at the moment. But despite her detractors, Ms Hamasaki (or whoever looks after the singer) isn’t stupid. Her time at the top could well be over before she knows it, especially as Japanese consumers are perhaps even more fickle than their western counterparts, so understandably she is making hay whilst the sun shines. Not only does Ayu regularly release new music, but she also lends her face to countless products, and even has her own fashion label. But who can blame her?
From all accounts, Hamasaki’s childhood wasn’t the happiest, and at the tender age of 14 she moved to Tokyo in search of fame and fortune. But after bit parts in low-budget movies and relatively unsuccessful dramas, the young Ayu was left to wile away her time hanging around in the city’s fashionable Shibuya district. Until that is a chance encounter with a record producer from one of Japan’s biggest labels.
Some accounts say he spotted her on the streets, whilst others claim they were introduced in a karaoke parlour. A few even suggest she used her womanly charms. Yet either way, the rest as they say is history.
Just as Ayu could soon beâ€¦