Japan for the Uninvited

Japanese culture from a bemused foreign perspective


hitomi was discovered, like so many Japanese pop stars, by music mogul Tetsuya Komuro in 1993.

To distinguish herself from all the other pop idols called Hitomi, she cast off her surname and that tedious capital ‘H’. As with everything else in her early career, this was probably Komuro’s decision.

Like many of Komuro’s protégés, she ended up leaving his control in 1999. Unlike the others, she has emerged with renewed popularity and increased confidence.

Her sexual image is much less coy than her rivals. The title of her 1999 album, ‘H’, was not only a clever play on her name, but a reference to “echi”, meaning “sleaze”. More recently, a billboard to promote her new album (‘Love Life’) featured a nude hitomi, stopping traffic in Shibuya, central Tokyo.

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