The past 12 months have seen a lot of exciting new artistsin the Japanese music scene. Some on streaming sites such as Spotify, while others uploaded videos to YouTube that became online sensations. Yet as 2017 comes to a close, the J-pop album with the highest sales of the year belongs to a familiar name: Namie Amuro.
The singer, who debuted in 1992,another career highlight with Finally, a best-of compilation. In its first week alone, the collection sold well over a million copies. . And fans didn't stop, keeping the album near the top of the charts for weeks. No other release has come close to approaching it.
Part of the reason for the big numbersAmuro's announcement that she will retire within a year. The short post on her website on Sep. 20, her 40th birthday, and became breaking news in Japan. It fans as they social media share their favorite videos and lyrics from the artist. And then they rushed out to buy her compilation.
It's hard not to compare Amuro's coming retirement with theof boy band SMAP last year. Both artists were among the biggest acts of the 1990s — Amuro's Can You Celebrate? remains the highest-selling single by a female J-pop performer. For a whole generation of listeners, Amuro and SMAP are among the most important musical artists of their lives.
Some of those fans, and they feel nostalgia for the of their youth in the 1990s. It's a common — some people say that you are never a bigger listener of music than when you are a teenager, and what you hear during your will end up being your favorite sounds forever. Now, for those fans, two of their most well-loved acts .
But the similarities between Amuro and SMAP end there. SMAP broke up. Amuro is stepping away , and has given herself a full year as an and to look back on her career. A documentary, Namie Amuro Channel, has begun airing monthly on Hulu, while a tour of Japan's domed stadiums next year. And you can expect even more interviews along with special magazine and online as September 2018 .
Amuro has made a smart move — she'll get a ton of attention in theto her final goodbye, and an extra million CDs in the process. That's one way for a star to .
The Japan Times ST: December 15, 2017