I just recently found out that, on her 40th birthday on September 20th, J-Pop Idol and legend Amuro Namie announced that at the end of her 2018 concert tour following her latest album release, she will be retiring from the J-Pop scene after more than 25 years of actively being the J-Pop scene’s greatest and best ambassador. Ever since she popped up on the J-Pop scene back in 1992, at the young age of 14, as part of the band Super Monkey, of which she would later become the headliner of the group before departing Super Monkey in 1995.
From the first time I heard their single “Dancing Junk” in the mid-1990s and was amazed by the delightful vocals of the young songstress, I became a fan of Amuro Namie and would continue to follow her career closely for the next several decades. From other early hits with Super Monkey like “Try Me ~Watashi o Shinjite~”, “Stop the Music”, and “Body Feels Exit” to her singles career success with hits like “Can You Celebrate?”, “Dreaming I Was Dreaming”, and “Big Boys Cry/Beautiful”, there was no denying the appeal and reach that Amuro Namie had within the J-Pop scene. It’s no wonder that many critics and J-Pop mags called her the “Teen Queen of Japan” and the “Queen of J-Pop”. In many ways, she set the standard for what it was to be a J-Pop Idol and how to maintain a positive public image.
Through the release of no less than 12 studio albums, 10 live albums, more than 60 singles and an astounding 96 music videos, Amuro Namie has kept herself busy since her singles debut in 1995, and that’s not counting her works with Super Monkey since 1992. Indeed, she is one of, if not the most prolific J-Pop Idol to ever grace the music scene. Hell, even as big of a fan that I am of Amuro Namie, I could never say that I know all of her songs or have seen all of her music videos – her library of work is way too vast for me to have heard or seen all of it. But because I am a fan, I keep trying, listening to and watching songs and videos I have not seen unto date.
Amuro Namie has yet to announce what she plans to do with her life following her retirement, but it is my hope as a fan that she continues to make public appearances to meet with fans as well as possibly continuing her acting career, the last such work having been in 2011 in a cameo role for the Japanese romantic comedy series The Reason I Can’t Find My Love.
Though she still has one more album to release and one more concert tour in 2018 before retiring that September, I want to personally wish Amuro Namie the best of luck with whatever she has planned for her future and to thank her for all the years she has entertained myself and her legion of fans worldwide with her body of work. It is sad to see one of the J-Pop greats leave the scene, but I am thankful for all the years that she has allowed us to be a part of her life as fans.