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Japanese Pop Icon Amuro Namie to Retire Next Year (News)

Tokyo, Sept. 20 (Jiji Press)—Japanese pop icon Amuro Namie said Wednesday that she will retire from the world of show business in September next year. "I would like to write about something that I have carried in my mind and decided on the twenty-fifth anniversary of my debut," the 40-year-old singer, who celebrated her milestone anniversary on Saturday, wrote in her blog and indicated her inte…

SMAP: How a Boy Band Became a National InstitutionUno Koremasa

After 28 years of activity, the popular group SMAP is to break up at the end of this year. They have played a unique role in the Japanese entertainment industry, becoming national icons along the way.

Hashimoto Kanna and the 40-Plus Consumers of Idol CultureUno Tsunehiro

I have been asked by Nippon.com to write about Hashimoto Kanna, a 15-year-old sensation who has been described as a “once-in-a-millennium idol,” and the somewhat surprising phenomenon of older fans—primarily those in their forties—who are supporting Japan’s idol culture today. To be quite honest, I found the choice of topic rather peculiar. Why Hashimoto Kanna? And why 40-plus devotees? As an e…

AKB48: The Return of Idol Music and the Rise of the SuperfanIan Martin

Idol pop phenomenon AKB48 hit the news in two very different ways over the past few months. The first was a vicious and unexpected attack on group members Kawaei Rina and Iriyama Anna at a May 25 meet-and-greet event in Iwate Prefecture by a man wielding a 50-centimeter saw. The second was the altogether more choreographed and celebratory spectacle of the group’s annual “election,” which determine…

Yoshinaga Sayuri: Last of the Silver Screen’s National HeroinesInamasu Tatsuo

In her latest movie, Kita no kanaria-tachi (A Chorus of Angels), Yoshinaga Sayuri plays a teacher on a small island off Hokkaidō in the north of Japan. She has embodied the zeitgeist of postwar Japanese society, it is said, ever since her debut in 1959. Still centering her career on cinema, she is called the last of the great movie stars.

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