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Category: J-Pop

  1. Ayumi Hamasaki (浜崎 あゆみ)

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    Ayumi Hamasaki (浜崎 あゆみ) is without a doubt, Japan’s biggest pop star of the past 15 years.

    Ayumi Hamasaki released her 13th studio album last month (“Party Queen”).

    With 13 albums since 1998’s “A Song for xx”, 3 EPs, over 50 singles, countless compilation and remix albums, live videos, over 52 million units sold and counting, Ayumi Hamasaki has become the highest-selling Japanese solo artist of all time and has earned the title of “Empress of Pop”.

    Musical style and collaborators

    Ayumi Hamasaki’s musical style is a combination of electropop-rock, guitar-heavy power-pop and ballads.  It has gotten somewhat “harder” over the years and often features epic production...

  2. Maaya Sakamoto (坂本真綾)

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    Maaya Sakamoto (坂本真綾) is perhaps best known as one of Japan’s top “voice actresses”, with an impressive and ever-expanding list of anime and video game roles to her credit (some personal favorites: young Motoko Kusanagi in the two “Ghost in the Shell” feature films and “Stand Alone Complex” series, Aerith Gainsborough in “Final Fantasy VII Advent Children”, and Lightning in “Final Fantasy XIII” and “XIII-2”).

    She is also a popular singer of “Anime” songs (“Escaflowne”, “Wolf’s Rain”, “RahXhephon”, and many, many more).

    Since 1997, she has also built a successful career as a pop singer, with no less than 7 full-length albums, 3 “mini-albums”, and 3 compilations reprising her anime work and other singles.  She’s only 31 and just getting started…

    Maaya Sakamoto’s voice is incredibly pure and crystalline.  You don’t need to know Japanese to appreciate her singing (she also has a few songs in English).  She also brings an innocence and dream-like quality to her music that I find very refreshing.

    To me, Maaya Sakamoto has the purest and most beautiful voice in pop today – in any language.


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