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Utada Hikaru (or Hikaru Utada, if you're using the Western name order, 1983-) is one of the most prominent and successful Japanese pop artists. Her debut album, First Love (1999), recorded when she was only 15 years old, is the best-selling album in Japan's history, selling over 3 million copies when it was first released. Her next two releases went on to occupy the number four and number eight spots on the same list.

She writes and produces most of her own music, differentiating her from the numerous Idol Singers who don't hold much creative power. Being born and raised in New York, she is fully bilingual in Japanese and English, and has released two albums for the American markets under the name "Utada".

In the west, she is perhaps most well-known for penning and singing the theme songs to Kingdom Hearts and its sequel -- both the Japanese and the English versions. Her song "Beautiful World" is featured in the Rebuild of Evangelion series.

She is currently on hiatus since 2010. Her goodbye concert was streamed live on the web for the benefit of her foreign fans and others who wouldn't be able to see it in person. For those who missed it, it can be viewed in its entirety on Dailymotion starting here and is available for download piecemeal here.

Japanese discography

  • First Love (1999)
  • Distance (2001)
  • Deep River (2002)
  • Ultra Blue (2006)
  • Heart Station (2008)

English discography

  • Precious (1998) (under the pseudonym "Cubic U")
  • Exodus (2004)
  • This is the One (2009)

Provides examples of:

  • Adam and Eve Plot: In the video for "You Make Me Want to be a Man" has a modern, robotic twist, where Utada plays a feminine robot constructed around a masculine robot's rib. Also, there is a reference to the snake.
  • Continuity Nod: This is present in two of her music videos from different eras in her career. The first is "Keep Tryin" which has references to her past MV's that were all directed by her then husband, Kazuaki Kiriya. Naturally, avid fans had fun pointing these out. The second, "Goodbye Happiness" also has references to some of her past videos.
  • Echoing Acoustics: For Beautiful World's Planitb remix.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: Her classmates in New York nicknamed her Hikki. She was a bit flustered when she found out what a hickey was a few years later.
  • Epic Fail: Toshiba-EMI (her record label) employed a company called Media Interactive Inc. to go through Youtube and delete all infringing videos. Seemingly, this included all the music videos (including the video debuted exclusively on Youtube "Goodbye Happiness") from Utada's Official Youtube Channel leaving many fans, her staff and the artist bewildered. [1]
  • Genre Savvy: Has invoked both Retcon ("Come Back to Me") and Me Love You Long Time ("Dirty Desire").
  • Girls Love Stuffed Animals: She has a massive teddy bear named Kuma Chang who features heavily in her career ranging from promotional photos, tweets/blog entries involving conversations with him and to top it all, she's written a single sung from his point of his view called "Boku wa Kuma".
  • Intercourse with You: "The Workout", "Let Me Give You My Love", "Dirty Desire"... There's a fair bit of this on her English-language albums. A Japanese song "Traveling" might also count.
  • Me Love You Long Time: Possible alluded to in Dirty Desire which includes the lyrics "In my fantasies I love you long time."
  • Mood Whiplash: On Heart Station, "Take 5", a rather haunting song about dying and being separated from one's body, cuts abruptly into "Boku wa Kuma" which is a cute, children's song about, uh, a bear.
    • Also, the whiplash from "d'aw somebody died :(" to "lolsextime" in "Let Me Give You My Love".
  • One of Us: She apparently really enjoys Tetris. And the video for "Goodbye Happiness" is an Affectionate Parody of all those YouTube videos of J-Pop FanGirls dancing in their bedrooms.
  • The Oner: The aforementioned "Goodbye Happiness" music video, with a still faux-web cam in a bedroom.
  • Performance Video: "Dareka no Negai ga Kanau Koro" features a performance more heavy than her other videos, as well as an implied plot about a broken-up family.
  • Pop Star Composer
  • Redheaded Hero: Well, sort of, as a flight attendant in her extravagant music video for "Traveling".
  • Signature Song: Both of her Kingdom Hearts themes, but "Hikari" in particular. She calls the song "Hikaru Junior" due to her name using the same kanji (光).
  • Softer and Slower Cover: "Final Distance" (Deep River) is one of "Distance" (Distance).
  • Surprisingly Good English: Japanese name, Japanese career, Japanese-language albums. To the casual observer, she looks about as J-poppy as you can get, but her first album was entirely in English. (The US never got it because Capitol Records was restructuring.) As noted above, she's actually Japanese-American, and speaks both Japanese and English fluently.
  • Waxing Lyrical: Come Back To Me
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