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The Next J-Pop Queen Article

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Rinoa
Posted: Jan 04, 2006 8:18 am Reply with quote
クムリウタ クムリウタ
Joined: 14 Apr 2005 Posts: 2039 Location: Europe
I was not sure if I should post it here or somewhere else but since it's really recent I posted it here.

The next J-pop queen?

Who will rule the J-pop world in 2006? Which celebrity couple will do the shotgun next? And what lies ahead for the reigning J-pop royalty? CHANG MAY CHOON gazes into her crystal ball

January 03, 2006 - CALL it the battle of the 1982 girls.


By sheer coincidence, the three young singers vying for the J-pop queen throne are all born in 1982. But their personalities and appeals are vastly different.

Kumi Koda is the voluptuous sex goddess with a brazen attitude to match.
Ami Suzuki is the comeback sweetie-pie who is still immensely likeable after a four-year break.
Ai Otsuka is the cute girl with wild musical ideas.

Ai Otsuka, Ami Suzuki and Kumi Koda will battle each other next year to earn the right to be called the next J-Pop queen.

The three 23-year-olds do share one thing in common, though - the uncanny ability to sway consumer behaviour and give reigning queens like Ayumi Hamasaki, Hikaru Utada and Mika Nakashima a run for their yen. So, who will be the next in line to the throne?

Of the trio, Kumi comes across as the strongest contender. Recently voted best artiste by the Oricon chart, this sex bomb follows closely in Ayumi's royal footsteps. Her offering of dance-pop is trendy, though not especially striking. But she knows how to grab eyeballs with her chameleon image.

Flaunting her ample cleavage on a gigantic poster hung prominently in the streets of Tokyo certainly helped her to achieve the feat of selling over 1.2 million copies of her first album of singles, Best - First Things. Now, she is tackling a new challenge - to release a single once a week for 12 weeks, from 7 Dec. Each CD cover bears a stunning ethnic look, ranging from Native American Indian and Chinese to Japanese, Hawaiian and Indian, and fans are supposed to collect all 12 to form a big picture.

If all the singles make it to the Top 5 on the Oricon chart, Kumi has promised to be a professional wrestler for a day. But she may not have to, since her second single, Birthday Eve, only made it to No 6. Her first and fourth singles, however, debuted at No 1, and her third at No 5.

Meanwhile, Ai and Ami are not about to let Kumi ascend the throne without a fight.

For Ai, it is her cutesy girlish powers that appeal to the throngs of fans who snap up her albums - all of which come with collectible photo books or bonus DVDs.

While the career of Mika Nakashima is big news in J-pop land, the top showbiz story right now is whether Manabu Oshio and Akiko Yada have secretly tied the knot.

Her latest album, Love Cook, beat Mika's Best to debut at No 1 on the Oricon chart two weeks ago, and sold 335,000 copies within a week. This talented singer-songwriter is also ranked fourth on Oricon's overall CD sales chart this year, boasting total sales worth 38 billion yen ($539m).

Ami, however, has no staggering figures to show off. But she did achieve the mean feat of bouncing back with aplomb in March. Four years of silence due to contract problems did little to dent her popularity.
She has since released five singles and an album, and completed a sell-out concert tour on Saturday.

Only time will tell if she will be able to regain the music clout she used to wield at the height of her career in 2000.

While Ami and her 1982 contemporaries are scaling their way up, reigning queens Ayumi, Mika and Hikaru are showing no signs of sliding. Mika, 22, has been fast expanding her career out of Japan and looks set to keep up the momentum.

VALIANT

Besides headlining the hit manga-adapted movie, Nana, and going to Hong Kong for promotions, the mysterious diva also debuted in South Korea and performed to thousands of fans during a concert in Seoul.

At the other end is Hikaru, 22, who looks set to focus on the Japanese market after her valiant but failed attempt to break into Hollywood and Europe with an English album.

As for Ayumi, 27, she proves once again with her new No 1 album, (miss)understood, that she still reigns supreme on the Oricon chart. All eyes are also on whether she will finally wed her long-time boyfriend, Tomoya Nagase, this year, with speculations rife in recent months.


Credits: nmskalmn@AHS
Source: Newpaper
 
yangirl
Posted: Jan 04, 2006 11:22 am Reply with quote
SMILY SMILY
Joined: 13 May 2005 Posts: 469 Location: Canada
interesting article ... but I wonder for the source of this. I mean, is this written by a professtional writer or fan-writer; it sounds a bit personal to me
 
Rinoa
Posted: Jan 04, 2006 2:14 pm Reply with quote
クムリウタ クムリウタ
Joined: 14 Apr 2005 Posts: 2039 Location: Europe
Well sounds like a professional journalist to me but I'm not sure.
 
kawai-no
Posted: Jan 04, 2006 2:21 pm Reply with quote
Planetarium Planetarium
Joined: 11 Nov 2005 Posts: 655 Location: Finrando
I dont know is this article writen by professional or just a fan. But it just sounds someway i cant explain...
but interesting article anyway it was i cant deny that Nod
 
Rinoa
Posted: Jan 04, 2006 2:43 pm Reply with quote
クムリウタ クムリウタ
Joined: 14 Apr 2005 Posts: 2039 Location: Europe
Well it's from Singapore so she must have a different point of view from a journalist in Japan.
 
orange_ka
Posted: Jan 04, 2006 3:43 pm Reply with quote
ユメクイ ユメクイ
Joined: 01 Jul 2005 Posts: 1117 Location: *mentally in: yamapi/keita's world*
a very interesting article, lots of points that the writer written were true. its really hard to compare, since all three are different types of singers. kumi released a BEST album, but ai-chan hasn't....so that can't be compared. the definition of J-pop queen is somewhat "mild" to me, and I don't have a certain idea of what it takes to be a J-pop queen.

But competition is always good, that's how people will improve! There is always room for improvement and trying to be the new J-pop queen will definitely encourage all three of them to improve. Giggle

thanks to Rinoa is posting the article!~ Laughing
 
broken::dreams
Posted: Jan 04, 2006 4:58 pm Reply with quote
SMILY SMILY
Joined: 26 Jun 2005 Posts: 497 Location: New York
This was an interesting article to read. Right now, I think it's too early to determine a clear-cut winner of the next JPop Queen. I don't really think Suzuki Ami will make it though. And, I don't want to believe Koda will either, but she's gotten tremendously popular recently and there is a high chance she will be one of the future JPop Queens. Ai's been doing very well lately, and it seems as if her third album, LOVE COOK, will be her most successful album by far. She has the kind of charm that the Japanese like, so there's also a strong possibility that she may become a JPop Queen in the future. So, Koda Kumi and Ai-chin I believe will be the reigning queens after ayu, Hikki, and Mika have died out.

Weird that they're all the same age, no? Makes for an interesting competition. Giggle
 
bahamut88
Posted: Jan 04, 2006 7:39 pm Reply with quote
上塩タン焼680円 上塩タン焼680円
Joined: 04 Jun 2005 Posts: 347 Location: Singapore
i read this article before...the reporter is a professional journalist tt is specialise on j-pop and k-pop column...she would be writing an article on every monday...but most of her article is on korean entertainment as now in singapore korean entertainment is more popular than japnanese on...
 
shinde
Posted: Jan 05, 2006 12:01 am Reply with quote
Happy Days Happy Days
Joined: 17 Dec 2005 Posts: 102 Location: Independence!
Thanks for sharing this article Rinoa ^.^ I think it's avery interesting too, and what the article says really does point out a lot of good points, but I think among teh three, Ami is the least possible to be the Queen, Ai chan and Kumi are more likely. Both of their singles recently chart #1 on Oricon, and that's a strong sign of their popularity.

But what "Queen of Jpop" is really confuses me. As I know, people in HK know Mika Nakashima as the Queen of Jpop, and it certainly seems like that's not the case. Is it how much of an influence they bring to the Japanese soceity or just how much they sell?

It's good that Ai composes and writes the lyrics to her own songs, if she does try new things. I mean, she can't keep her cute image forever. And Kumi now is gaining so much popularity by the 12 singles, and she does write her own lyrics sometimes too.

I guess we'll just have to see in a few years, it's really hard to determine who will be the next queen.
 
and_etude
Posted: Jan 05, 2006 12:33 am Reply with quote
上塩タン焼680円 上塩タン焼680円
Joined: 24 Nov 2005 Posts: 287
[ayu fangirl mode]yay Ayu's still queen![/ayu fangirl mode]

Music industry's very hard to predict. I mean, Ami Suzuki was huge in 2001 but she fell so sudden. Namie Amuro was queen but she fell after only 1 year hiatus. But I do think that Ai's not really queen material. She' s more of a ... princess, but if she continue to have music such as Cherish and Planetarium, chances are better. All these three artists could be very powerful this year but can suddenly fall very fast.

and off topic, but when is Ayu's going to tie the knot with Nagase? they've been saying for years....
 
HilaryDuffFanboy
Posted: Jan 05, 2006 12:52 am Reply with quote
PEACH PEACH
Joined: 10 Oct 2005 Posts: 1975 Location: Melbourne, Australia
Very interesting article indeed..... and thank you....

Firstly, I am surprised Ami Suzuki was only 23/24. I thought she was 27 or so like Ayu. Shocked I don't think Ami has got anything on Koda Kumi and Otsuka Ai... Her 'comeback' may be worth mentioning, but generally. it just does not compare at all to Otsuka Ai or Kumi Koda.

Moreover, I don't think Otsuka Ai and Kumi Koda can attain 'J-Pop Queen' status in 2006 unless a miracle happens. Fanboyism aside, it is probably Kumi Koda that has the slightly better edge IF she is more selective with her singles.

Why? Because Kumi Koda is viewed by many as having lots of sex appeal. And in a place like Japan, not to be rude/stereotypical, I am inclined to think a sexy image would beat a cute image.

But then again, if we concentrate at the most important matter at hand, MUSIC, Otsuka Ai wins without a doubt... Her talent extends to not only composing but also writing lyrics...

Moreover, as previously speculated, the 'cute' image of Otsuka Ai will only last for so long, and it is bound to get tiresome one time or another. I think if Otsuka Ai is intent on really expanding her popularity exponentially, she needs to alter her directions a LITTLE bit, as to account for a wide range of audience.

Personally, I'd love to see Otsuka Ai give Kumi Koda a good beating. BoogieBoogie
 
Rinoa
Posted: Jan 05, 2006 1:32 am Reply with quote
クムリウタ クムリウタ
Joined: 14 Apr 2005 Posts: 2039 Location: Europe
Well here's what I've written at AHS.


Honestly since listening to some of the 12 singles I've concluded that it's pretty impossible to become queen of pop unless she releases at an insane rate each and every year. I like Kumi but most of her releases are a hit and miss. Especially these 12 singles. Some were awesome (you, D.D.D), others were ok (birthday eve, lies) and others were simply awful (Lies, Shake It Up). I think she'll remain big but personally I don't think she can maintain this kind of popularity. Other artists were sexy in the past - Namie, hitomi but that didn't secure a permanent place as queen from what I've seen. In a couple of years her sexy act will get old and she'll have to reinvent a new image.

Also sure it was the 2nd week for Mika's album but I must remind you guys that it was a best compilation and usually best compilations sell at an insane level and there was also the NANA hype. I imagined Ai's and Mika's albums would struggle a bit for #1 but Ai easily got #1 for weeky.

Ai Otsuka has a huge chance imo. Since her debut she's been climbing up the JPop scene and she does produce the highest quality material per single even if LOVE COOK disappointed me. She also manages to create concepts for each and every single for example Neko Ni Fuusen - cats and loneliness, Planetarium - stars, memories. I am always curious to see what she comes up with since it's usually she does not release something just to have something on the market but she does give a lot of attention and care to her releases. The firstpress edition also gets me to buy her singles. However her cute act also cannot go on forever but from what I've noticed she also manages to portray a serious image of herself to the public.

As with regards to Ami well look at it this way - it's amazing enough that she came back with a huge label (avex). I don't think she will become queen but I have a feeling she'll be a pretty strong competitor for the future. She's talented, writes her lyrics, dances and is charismatic. I am waiting for a release which will skyrocket her popularity. Ami is a talented artist and I do hope she will have some attention given on her because she deserves it.

However right now Ayu will still be the queen. No one can beat her list of achievements and no one can really replace her unless she decides to retire. Plus the best releases are still by Ayu imo. Also I haven't yet seen Koda or Ai breaking a million copies in a regular album though LOVE COOK has a high probability to do so.
 
HilaryDuffFanboy
Posted: Jan 05, 2006 3:39 am Reply with quote
PEACH PEACH
Joined: 10 Oct 2005 Posts: 1975 Location: Melbourne, Australia
I highly doubt LOVE COOK will reach the million barrier... It might come a few hundred thousand close, but i doubt it...

I've relatively new to J-Pop, so if other artists have tried the sexy image and not secured a permanent place at the very top, then following trends, I think it would be extremelty hard for Kumi Koda to do so, especially with her singles that fluctuate erratically in quality.

If you're looking for someone to replace Ayu's spot popularity and music wise, it'd still have to be Kumi Koda since her music is much more similar to Ayu than Otsuka's.

It takes a lot to become a J-Pop queen like Ayu and the has-been Namie, especially because they both sing a particular genre of songs. For instance, they have songs which are very poppy and good to dance to, for example, INSPIRE, Surreal, Boys & Girls etc. I don't see, and I hope I don't see, Otsuka taking any direction towards such a genre. It is for that reason, that I think Otsuka has a very slim chance of elevating herself to J-Pop queen status... no matter how much I wish she does...

One thing I am quite sure about is that, with the current cute image, there is no chance. But as you pointed out, she does have a mature and serious side. And in interest of her future, we can only hope she makes this subtle but important transition. LOVE COOK wasn't much of a step forward in terms of maturity... it's same old same old I guess.... only a slight improvement at best... Which makes it really interesting to see where she is heading in 2006 and what her 4th full length studio album is like.... [I so hope her first singles compilation will feature at least 20 tracks Shifty]

2005 was definitely Koda Kumi's breakthrough year, there is no denying... the singles early on in in the year were well recieved, and she followed it up by a compilation, which is always bound to sell. Riding on her sudden wave of popularity, she then releases 12 singles in as many weeks. As you can see, she has been hectic with these releases in '05, and that has helped her skyrocket her popularity, but she faces the test in '06 that Otsuka faced in '05, can she keep this popularity up? 2006 will definitely be an interesting year... Otsuka, Kumi Koda at their peak, Ami Suzuki making a comeback, Ayu slowly declining in the eyes of the general public, Utada at an all time low.... Very interesting indeed.
 
Rinoa
Posted: Jan 05, 2006 5:20 am Reply with quote
クムリウタ クムリウタ
Joined: 14 Apr 2005 Posts: 2039 Location: Europe
Who knows? Ai's at her peak. All her singles sold pretty well this year and her album has been hyped a lot so I wouldn't be surprised if it actually got a million copies sold.

With regards to image Kumi has been trying to use different images but she's not as flexible as Ayu to be honest. She tries but when you compare her ballads to Ai's - there's a huge difference. Plus she can't sing "you" live to save her life. It sounds forced, awful and painful to my ears while Ai sings so soothingly live without sounding forced. But that's just me. Also when she did a cute video like birthday eve - it came out as Kumi trying to hard to be cute and adorable and looked forced. When Ai does a video where she looks cute it looks so natural.

A sexy image doesn't secure an artist's popularity even if it does help especially since Kumi's sexiness is so extravagant and obviously in-your-face and she also sings a genre of songs which are extremely popular in Japan. I am suspecting this is simply a phase. Some factors point to the fact that she's been so popular this year because she's had a lot of exposure with the fact that she released a ton of singles and two albums plus she's recently gone onto the 12 singles project. Plus she also makes them exciting by her extravagant promises.

Personally though I think Ai's style is more similar to Ayu's than Kumi's is. Kumi's songs are usually with some sort of sexy theme and with lyrics which aren't really that meaningful. Ai has more pvs which have concepts like Ayu does which make them quite artistic.
However isn't Sakuranbo and Smily a poppy song which everybody can dance to? Also I do hope this year she will provide different images as you have pointed out. LOVE COOK was sort of in the borderline. And I'm pretty sure her compilation will be huge, or even two cds since avex usually does that with best compilations.

Personally I think Ai has a bigger chance than Ku. Since her debut she's been climbing up the ladder of popularity. Kumi has spent years without getting noticed till her best album compilation and a ton of singles and promotion. Personally I'm sure Ai will get a ton of attention when her best compilation shall be out, maybe even more than Kumi's. Ai has showed how she can upkeep her popularity and even rise higher at a steady rate while I'm not sure about Kumi.

I also don't think Ayu's sinking. Her singles' quality have improved and so have sales except B&D but that was because it was exactly before her album and also she's been getting a lot of tie-in songs - Shinobi movie, Dawn of Dreams. And let's not forget she's still presenting A-Nation, the jeans she signed sold at an enormous rate and she's still huge in Japan even if Hikki is definately declining in Japan.
 
EVILXKAKASHI
Posted: Jan 05, 2006 6:23 am Reply with quote
SMILY SMILY
Joined: 01 Jun 2005 Posts: 457 Location: err..geez I duno
wow great its the newpaper =D its a singapore newpaper and yea its on the mondae ,that writer is a proffesienal writer =D to clear u guys doubt most journalist need to major in english to become a journalist, so tis explain why they got veri good english

i have persoanlly read it too lol did not expect anybody from tis forum to read it lol XD i was quite shock lol why it had Ai face at one of the coloumn , anyway is ayu eali getting married?? lol ai,kumi,yumi all are talented singer , the most important are songs that reali are meaningfull
and people enjoy listening to it =D not based on using sexy outfit to boost sales and ai is getting more mature most of the song in love cooks are ballads/slow songs but i think Ai reali can be the next J-queen with her powerfull lyrics writing skill she is sure to be the next J-queen
 
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