by Misa Murohashi,
Born in Okinawa in 1977, Amuro Namie debuted in 1992 and became a top star in 1995 with her million-selling singles “Body Feels Exit” and “Chase the Chance.”. Since then, she has been a leading figure in the Japanese music industry. Her hits in the 90s were produced by Tetsuya Komuro with Japan’s record label Avex Trax. Amuro’s hits brought later successes of Komuro and Avex in Japan and throughout Asia. Amuro began self-producing around the millennium and maintained her popularity. Suddenly, in September on her 40th birthday, she announced that she would retire in a year.
This singer, idol, fashion icon, and single mom of a 19-year-old has been a role model for 90s teenage girls in Japan, including me. She wasn’t only about “gal” fashion with tanned skin and bleached hair. Amuro’s continuously evolving career characterizes the 90s girls. Most of my female friends in Japan remain working whether they are single, married or a mom, contrary to the common American stereotype that Japanese women must stay at home after marriage. Amuro’s “Chase the Chance” lyric, “just chase the chance in the way you believe in,” may have encouraged these girls to pursue their careers, or the socioeconomic change after the Lost Decade may have just forced them to keep working.
Amuro set her retirement date on September 18, 2018. Her schedule seems quite busy until then. She released her greatest hits compilation album “Finally” in November and sold over one million copies in a week after its release. Her very last live tour, Namie Amuro Final Tour 2018 ~Finally~, will be held from February to June 2018 in Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan and China. All live concerts will be packed with Amuro fans including the 90s girls, who probably are not able to retire yet.