Meet Ayumi Hamasaki: Japan’s Richest Celebrity

Ayumi Hamasaki, born on October 2, 1978, is a famous Japanese singer, record producer, actress, model, songwriter, and entrepreneur. She has written all of her lyrical content for her music and sometimes composed the music for her songs in her entire career. She was born and raised in the Fukuoka Prefecture, and she decided to move to Tokyo when she was 14 in 1993. The move to Tokyo resulted from her drive to pursue a career in acting and singing. With her dedication and passion for her craft, she was able to sign a contract under Avex CEO Max Matsuura in 1998.

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Early Life Struggles As A Child From A Broken Family

 

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During her childhood, Hamasaki had suffered from abandonment from her father when he left their family when she was just three years old and never bothered contacting them again. She was an only child and was raised by her mother and grandmother. To support their family, her mother worked tirelessly, and her grandmother took care of her primarily. She said in interviews that she was a strange kid growing up and liked to be alone. At the young age of seven, she already began modeling for some local institutions like their local banks to help her mother pay the bills.

When she turned fourteen, she left her family at home and decided to try her luck in Tokyo as a model under SOS’s talent agency. Though she seems promising, her modeling career did not last that long, and her agency decided to transfer her to Sun Music because she was too short of becoming a model. Sun Music is a music agency, and they decided to take a chance on her, debuted her album, and released a rap EP using her real name Ayumi. After that, she released more albums, such as Nothing from Nothing under the Nippon Columbia label in 1995. However, the albums did not take off on the Oricon chart, so the company decided to dismiss her again.

The Chance That Paid Off

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The failure of her albums did not faze Ayumi; with so much determination to succeed, she tried her luck in acting and starred in B-movies like Sōcho Saigo no Hi, Ladys Ladys! starred in a TV drama called Miseinen. However, all of the dramas she starred in were poorly received by the public, so she decided to take up hosting instead. She landed a job to co-host Soundlink magazine Hōkago no Ōsama for the Nintendo satellite viewers. She hosted the show once a week with co-host Shigeru Izumiya. However, she seemed disappointed with her current job, so she decided to just quit acting all at once and just moved in with her mother, who had recently moved to Tokyo at the time.

She then went back to school and initially had good grades during her junior high school years. However, she totally lost faith in the curriculum because her subjects were of no use to her. Soon, her grades worsened, and she then refused to put her mind to her studies. She then decided to further her studies at the Horikoshi Gakuen for arts but decided to drop out within a year. She then spent her time shopping in the boutiques on Shibuya and dancing on the Avex-owned disco club, Welfare. Soon she was introduced to the future producer of Avex, Max Matsuura, and after hearing she sang in the karaoke, Matsuura decided to offer her a recording deal.

The Start Of Her Blossoming Career

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She initially turned down the recording deal offer from Matsuura, thinking that he had an ulterior motive; however, he persisted in getting her to agree and succeeded in signing her as an artist. She signed for the Avex label and started vocal training soon after. However, she skipped most of her training because her instructors were too rigid and dull. She mentioned this to Matsuura, and he decided to send her to New York to train her vocals under a different method. Matsuura and Hamasaki stayed in contact, and he was impressed with her writing abilities and decided to write her own lyrics. Soon she released her debut single Poker Face and a major label album titled A Song for XX. The debut became a hit and reached the top of the Oricon charts and remained in the top for five weeks selling over a million copies.

Her next albums have sold millions of copies all over Japan, and her bestselling album was her first compilation album titled A Best, which sold about four million copies. Overall she has sold over 60 million albums and making her the best-selling Japanese solo artist of all time. She has achieved numerous records in Japan for her singles and albums. She has become a household name and had at least two singles topping the Oricon charts each year. She also became the first female artist to have ten albums since her debut to the top of the Oricon. In addition, her album Ayu-mi-x II Version Non-Stop Mega Mix was recognized as the best-selling remix album of all time and remained the only album with worldwide recognition and accreditation.

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Sources: Celebrity Net Worth, Japan Insides, Popnable

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