Japanese music industry: The best of Ayumi Hamasaki

Next to the United States, Japan now also takes the lead as the world’s second-biggest music market, with a value worth nearly $3 billion every year. There are several reasons that explain its global popularity and success, but it wouldn’t have gotten that far if it weren’t for the artists and fans’ vigorous passion towards the Japanese music culture. One major example of these people is Ayumi Hamasaki or better known as the ‘Empress of J-pop’. Here’s everything you need to know about her.

About Ayumi Hamasaki

Instalirik takes the trip down memory lane to reminisce about the best of Japan’s queen of pop, Ayumi Hamasaki. Not only is her talent loved and valued in Japan, but also in many regions in Asia. Throughout her career since 1993, her wit and intelligence have also ventured into different areas in professional careers. She is a singer, songwriter, studio record producer, actress, model, and even a businesswoman.

Early life

Born on October 2, 1978, Ayumi was raised in the populous Fukuoka City by her mother and grandmother. Her father, on the other hand, left them when she was three years old. She began modelling at the age of seven due to life’s challenges and her mother’s unstable income. Then, at the age of 14, she travelled to Tokyo to further her singing and acting career.

Road to the Japanese music industry

Ayumi’s early discovery of her musical talent and exposure in the entertainment sector had her dropped out of junior high school to pursue the music industry. Not later than a few years, she finally accepted the recruitment offer of founder and CEO of Avex Group, Max Matsuura.

Max, upon learning that she found her vocal classes too dull, sent her to New York. There she learned vocal and songwriting methods under various styles. She came back to Japan all set and ready at the age of 19. In 1998, she debuted with the single entitled ‘Poker Face’.


Ayumi has 17 studio albums, 26 remix albums, several singles, and many other projects. Impressively enough, both her first single (Poker Face, 1998) and album (A Song for xx, 1999) ranked first on the Oricon album chart. Below are some of her studio albums with millions of sales.

Studio album title YearSales (JPN)
Loveppears1999¥ 2,680,000
Duty2000¥ 2,985,000
I Am…Jan. 2002¥ 2,495,000
RainbowDec. 2002¥ 1,920,000
My Story2004¥ 1,200,000
(Miss)understood2006¥ 1,030,000

Below are some of her singles with millions of sales.

Singles title YearSales (JPN)
Boys & Girls1999¥ 1,038,000
A1999¥ 1,631,000
M2000¥ 1,320,000
H2002¥ 1,013,000

Where and what Ayumi Hamasaki is up to now

Ayumi is now a mother of two gorgeous children, where she gave birth to her second child in late April 2021. However, she didn’t disclose the baby’s gender nor reveal who the father was.