The Eternal Legend of the Queen of Hip-Pop: Namie Amuro

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September 16, 2018.

A day that will go down in modern music history books as a day full of sadness. A golden star has finished shining brightly in the music world. Some in the Western Hemisphere might have never heard the Queen of Hip-Pop. But, many have in the Eastern Hemisphere world.

That one person is Namie Amuro.

But why Amuro? What was so special to like her so much? Why did I consider her to be one of my role models?

One: Her Flawless Beauty

Image and video hosting by TinyPicNamie was THE fashionista here in Japan! She looked so good on all the magazine covers. She was always dressed in the most beautiful fashions from business suits to free-flowing dresses. This made many want to imitate her style — and many did in 1997 with the “Amura” fashion. (By the way, “the “Amura” fashion was long, straight, brown hair, sported the thin eyebrows that were oh-so-fashionable in the 90’s, and wore mini-skirts with thick-soled platform boots.”)[1]

Her makeup was also exquisite. She could master a variety of looks: from a basic, bare makeup face to a fierce look. The singer, along with her fashion and makeup, inspired girls to be bold, to be beautiful inside and outside, and do whatever you want. As Daily Vanity said, “[Amuro’s] svelte silhouette and perfect makeup were what all of us aspired (and still do!) to achieve.”[1]

Two: Her Music

I fell in love with Amuro’s music since the day when I first watched the music video for her fourth single “You’re My Sunshine”. I found it on a legal streaming site for avex trax’s music videos when I was in middle school. Some songs would inspire me. Some would make want to be like her on stage: singing and dancing with such passion. And, some affect my emotional being with their raw emotions and potent meanings.

Every song featured on her singles and albums were like a precious treasure. Ballads had lyrics that the listener could relate to. Or, in the case of the mid-tempo ballad “Can You Celebrate?”, the lyrics speak to us in a romantic sense. And, in turn, this romantic feeling has inspired many to use the 1997 ballad as their wedding song.

Speaking of lyrics, Amuro had proactive lyrics too. For her 2005 song “WANT ME, WANT ME”, the lyrics talked about the main character’s desire of having sex. Yet, Amuro sings about safe sex in the line “But don’t forget the Trojan”.[2] This was one the firsts in Japan, a country that rarely talks about safe sex in their public education system. And maybe in the world as not many artists (even in the United States) mention “safe sex” in their music.

She also had inspirational lyrics. One song that comes to mind is her 2016 Olympics-themed song “Hero”.  The lyrics encourage those to reach their dreams and always go for their goals. Nothing should hold them as they will be supported by their biggest fan: the love from their family and friends.

Three: Her Dancing

Amuro was one of the greatest dancers in her generation. And what made her great was her ability to adapt to the ever-changing music and dance scene. The songstress made her debut in 1992 as part of the idol group SUPER MONKEY’S and then made her solo debut in the fall of 1995. Since her musical debut, dancing styles have come and gone. But, Amuro didn’t stick with 1990s dancing, like some of her labelmates have been doing since their 90s’ debut. Instead, she evolved her performance styles. Even incorporating techniques that were never before seen in Japan.

She also had the talent of incorporating her black belt karate skills into her choreography. This was seen earlier in her career. The video below was a performance on a Japanese TV in the early 90s. It aired when the singer was part of SUPER MONKEY’S. You can see her mixing dancing with some karate moves. Isn’t that cool? As someone who practices martial arts and loves to dance in her free time, I would like to try to mix the two someday!

Of course, her music would always inspire the listeners to get up and dance. Whether it be at home, during dance class, or working out, Amuro’s songs encourage everyone to create their own dance moves to the beat. And it inspired me, although I was a terrible dancer when I was in middle school. I tried to make up my own choreography for the 1996 song “You’re My Sunshine” for a middle school talent show. It was disastrous then and funny now. I still try to make up my own dance moves to various Amuro songs during my morning exercises. When the music starts to play, I just want to naturally move to the beat.

It’s Not the End, It’s Only the Beginning

I was heartbroken when she announced her retirement last year. I was even sadder when that time came on Sunday when she posted her farewell message all over social media. I sat by the computer after reading her letter, listening to her music for about an hour. During that time, I cried for a short amount of periods as I thought back to the memories of one of my role models. I felt, at that moment, that I would lose her forever. That she would never come back.

However, I came to a conclusion after mourning for some time: This isn’t the end, it is only the beginning. Namie Amuro is now retired, but not her music and performances. Her music is still alive and will live in her fans’ hearts for a long time. And it will inspire other generations in the future to help them to learn her music and about how much of a star she was.

Yes, her legend is going to live on for a long time.

I posted about Namie Amuro about three years ago. You can take a look here as I explained a lot about her in that post.


References

[1] Wong, Mandy. “11 Times We Looked up to Namie Amuro as #Beautygoals.” Daily Vanity, 16 Jan. 2018, dailyvanity.sg/celebrity/namie-amuro-beauty-goals/.

[2] Joseph. “Otenkiame Translations.” Amuro Namie: “WANT ME, WANT ME” English Lyrics, 6 Apr. 2005, shinitakashi.blogspot.com/2005/04/amuro-namie-want-me-want-me-lyrics.html.

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27 thoughts on “The Eternal Legend of the Queen of Hip-Pop: Namie Amuro

  1. Wow, you’ve written such a great article! I’m really feeling for you.
    But, without knowing anything else of her, it sounds like retiring fits her character. She seems very true to herself and strong and I think that’s what it takes to make a huge cut like that in one’s life.

  2. It’s always hard when something you love (including an artist or a tv show) is no longer active, especially when it’s something you’ve grown up with. I love your perspective and haven’t heard of Amuro before, but will be checking her music out!

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