Japanese Culture and Daily Life

Hamasaki Ayumi (23)sold more CDs than any other popular singer in the year 2001. Known as "ayu," she is tremendously popular with young people. Until recently, her image was strongest as a fashion icon of teenage girls, but today her popularity is growing across a wider stratum--men and women in their twenties and thirties.
Hamasaki writes her own lyrics, lyrics that express an image of herself that is true to life. Her songs speak of heartache, loneliness and despair, the importance of accepting and believing in ourselves just as we are, seeing failure in love as energy to go forward, and offering the encouragement that "I (ayu)am right here with you."
In an article in the Asahi Shimbun newspaper on June 2, 2001, copywriter Maeda Tomomi noted, "Today's younger generation suffers from a real thirst for words--they're desperately seeking words with the power to rescue them. Many teenagers shed tears of relief when they hear songs like those of Hamasaki Ayumi--whose lyrics are embarrassingly straightforward for anyone of my age--grasping for the strength and solace they offer. You can tell that the adults in their lives aren't offering any support or advice--even moralistic--that really resonates in their hearts. "She continues to offer hope and companionship to those frustrated by what they feel is a world with no future, to those who can not see where they belong.

Data■Ranking of Total CD Sales (singles + albums) by Artist
Oricon Survey 12/4/2000-11/26/2001
Rank Artist Total Sales(yen)
1 [Hamasaki Ayumi] 24,370,000,000
2 [Utada Hikaru] 15,830,000,000
3 GLAY 10,860,000,000
4 Mr.Children 10,810,000,000
5 [Sourthern All-Stars] 10,320,000,000
6 [Morning Musume] 8,980,000,000
7 SMAP 8,330,000,000
8 CHEMISTRY 7,560,000,000
9 [Gospelers] 7,060,000,000
10 MISIA 6,480,000,000

Lyrics■ see TJF Newsletter no24 "Japanese Culuture Now" PDF

Original text : The Japan Forum Newsletter no 24"Japanese Culture Now" March 2002.

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