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the Official AYUMI HAMASAKI (浜崎�ゆ�) thread - ☆I Am the Party Queen☆

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How ever did you find us?

Lbr, I never stopped following you. :lol:

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I'm finding it really hard and frustrating to stan for this bitch. She doesn't career about her career and commercial success anymore which is fine but as an International fan it's hard to stan for a bitch that tours one country for 9 months a year and only bothers to release an album so she has more material to tour with.

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I'm finding it really hard and frustrating to stan for this bitch. She doesn't career about her career and commercial success anymore which is fine but as an International fan it's hard to stan for a bitch that tours one country for 9 months a year and only bothers to release an album so she has more material to tour with.

 

Like I said a while ago, she's in the Madonna phase of her career. There's nothing else to really do.

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IA Factory, I think her lack of singles has killed any popularity she had left in the mainstream and her casual fans probably are now completely turned off by now, probably just went off to stan Namie

 

I think she should go back to releasing singles and creating some buzz for her albums, I miss her singles being so different from one another then the album being a 180 on everything she did up until even tho sometimes it meant a messy album

 

like I said in some thread long ago, one of her singles could just be a hit and propel back to the top but alas

 

and even her tours are starting to bore me and her visuals....lawd RIP ...her last thing that caught my eye was like in early 2011

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I'm sorry, did I just enter the anti-Ayumi Hamasaki thread and nobody warned me?

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Her singles are too formulaic. She should just release a single every two months and make people fucking like her again. Media whore everywhere!
 



In retrospect, Alterna was Ayu saying good bye to her commercial career and success really.

If you are afraid of changes
Watch me at a distance
Whatever I do or don't do
I'm talked about behind my back
Whatever will be, will be.
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When is my beautiful goddess returning? 

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When is my beautiful goddess returning? 

 

She's only interested in touring to make as much yen as possible ^___^

 

She'll probably release another album to tour with at the end of the year. I wish I had discovered her earlier. (I became a fan just before the Fairyland single was released)

 

OMG Fairyland is such an awesome song.

 

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Not too bothered but it would be nice if her career picked up again :( (and an international world tour plz)

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Her singles are too formulaic. She should just release a single every two months and make people fucking like her again. Media whore everywhere!

 

I couldn't agree more.

 

Ayu needs to take a break and reinvent herself. It seems the quality of her music has stagnated.

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Tell All photobook text translation

http://www.ahsforum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=117865

 

It must be ~exciting~ being in her staff when she suddenly just decides to go somewhere overseas.

 

 

"If I wanted to live for myself, I wouldn't have chosen this life. That's the conclusion I've reached" :/

 

Interesting, I wonder what sounds they considered..after ASFXX it seemed like Ayu went in whatever direction she pleased.

 

I had gained one more thing during the recording session in L.A. this time. The composer Mr Hoshino, who had a hand in numerous songs including "A Song for xx" and "MOON", had now taken on the role of ayu's vocal director. From him, and from engineer Mr Eiyama, I heard about how ayu was like before she debuted. Mr Hoshino and ayu met about a year before her debut. In preparation for her debut, he had worked with her to find a music style and direction suitable for Hamasaki Ayumi.

 

"At that time, that alone took up most of the time we set aside to prepare her for debut, and I felt that it was a really difficult task. In truth, she had really worked hard. And then, the lyrics written by her before debut. You would not have imagined that an 18 year-old wrote them. (laugh) I remember feeling shocked, and wondering "Just what life experiences had this girl of 18 accumulated?" In the end, her strong will came through even then, when she came right out and said "I want to do it this way". It wasn't a debut dictated by the adults around this kid of 18."

I would love to read more about Ayu's pre-debut development. Max said that everyone from music show producers to advertisers told him that she would never sell and doesn't have the face or demeanour to make it.

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I would like to see her just start working with completely new people production wise. Maybe get some up and coming people.

 

 

Tell All photobook text translation
http://www.ahsforum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=117865
 
It must be ~exciting~ being in her staff when she suddenly just decides to go somewhere overseas.


"If I wanted to live for myself, I wouldn't have chosen this life. That's the conclusion I've reached" :/

Interesting, I wonder what sounds they considered..after ASFXX it seemed like Ayu went in whatever direction she pleased.

I would love to read more about Ayu's pre-debut development. Max said that everyone from music show producers to advertisers told him that she would never sell and doesn't have the face or demeanour to make it.

 

I remember reading this article from 2000 or so and it was talking about how she only had a year or so left before her career was over.

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Factory, Winona Forever and Midnight Circus'  kind of tumblr: http://ayumi-flopasaki.tumblr.com/

 

I love the pushing of Kuu on there when her total numbers don't even put in the running with Ayu, Hikki, and Namie to be honest: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_best-selling_music_artists_in_Japan

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lol I think Party Queen and Japon.. did about the same over all so who cares.

Best interview..I LOVE THAT AYU'S MAMA WEARS WIGS TOO.

 

 (Shikano) I've been looking forward to seeing you.
  (Ayumi) Thank you very much.
  (S) I listened closely to your albums over again for this interview. I'm already familiar with Hamasaki-san's music, as your songs are heard very often in a city. When I listen to them actually in a city, they are fit with its noises in every sense, and they sound like the music of this age. But when I listened to each album purely as an album, I used my energy extremely much.
  (A) Did you?
  (S) I was much exhausted while listening. I thought I liked to know very much what is the energy you are emitting. And another thing is that you are producing your songs at a very high speed. If we gather all your released CDs here, we will see they have been made at the same speed as a monthly magazine.
  (A) (Laugh) Yes.
  (S) You are spending so much energy at such a high speed. I thought it perhaps means you are living and expressing at such a high speed. And I'd like to hear closely about such things from you today.
  (A) Quite all right.
  (S) Well, so, can I ask your birthday first?
  (A) Yes. October 2 1978.
  (S) I hear you were born in Fukuoka City. What was it like?
  (A) Well, how was that? I don't have any special impressions. We lived in the center of the city.
  (S) Are you an only child?
  (A) Yes.
  (S) Do you remember what was your father and mother like?
  (A) Well, I don't remember my father. But my Mommy was, how do I say, quite a woman. (Laugh)
  (S) ... Hard to explain? (Laugh)
  (A) She was "a woman" rather than "a mother". So, how do I explain? As the word "obatarian" (man-like woman) was in fashion years ago, after a woman has a child, she tends to lose her sex in general, isn't she? For example, she tends to prefer the clothes she can wear at ease or the hairstyle she can trim at ease. It has been my firm image of "a mother". But Mommy wasn't such type of woman who brings up a child without caring her appearances. She always wore a suit, and often wore a long or short wig.
  (S) Since you had reached the age of the reason?
  (A) Yes, so. It seems her own pleasure as a woman was primary to her, Ayu being the next.
  (S) Was your mother doing so to encourage herself as a working woman? Did she care her appearances at home, too?
  (A) Um, yes. She wasn't a type of woman who wears sweat pants, for example. I have her image with proper make-up and red rouge, even when she didn't go out.
  (S) Don't you remember your father at all?
  (A) I don't.
  (S) I hear your parents were devorced.
  (A) Yes, so.
  (S) How did you realize in your mind that you had no father?
  (A) Well, I was too little to understand the word, devorce. It was natural for me that I had no father. 
  (S) But looking around, you saw commonly both parents in the majority of the families.
  (A) Really. But my friends didn't ask me, "Why don't you have your father?" Though I disliked not being asked so, as I didn't think myself as miserable.
  (S) Didn't you have any strange feelings or questions about it in your mind?
  (A) Well, I had a very strange feeling when I went to the house of a friend of mine and found some males there. My family members were all females --- grandmother, Mommy and Ayu. I was brought up in a perfect female family. And when I occasionally went to the house of a friend of mine and her brother or father was there, I thought, "Ah, a male person is in the house." and somehow felt disagreeable.
  (S) Hahahahaha.
  (A) When I took a bath at home, Ayu could walk stark naked to the bathroom. But I wondered how she would behave, living together with her brother or father. I wondered if she would take off and put on her clothes in a small room next to it, and wondered how to wash their clothes.
  (S) So, you were brought up, not feeling the physical incongruity at all, in other words, that man and woman are different.
  (A) Ah, not at all.
  (S) What is your oldest memory? Would you tell me concretely?
  (A) ... Well, I'm not sure if this is the oldest. But I vaguely remember my father was fishing. We went fishing together, and I fell into the sea from a tetrapod. I remember I had come to dislike the sea after that. (Laugh)
  (S) (Laugh) Wasn't it grave?
  (A) Ah, I remember the scene alone. I don't remember the following scenes.
  (S) Do you remember that your father was kind to you or so, in the scene or in other scenes?
  (A) Hmm, I don't think so. ... Well, I don't feel I have so good impressions.
  (S) I see. So your mother worked very hard to get a livelihood, didn't she?
  (A) I suppose so. But not furiously. It seems she enjoyed her life and worked hard, as I said a little time ago. Though she might not let me see the hardness.
  (S) I feel she liked you to grow up, looking at her positive side only.
  (A) It might be.
  (S) Have you confirmed such matters with her after you grew up?
  (A) No. I never talk about the old days with her. I never talk about my father, either. I don't even know his name. (Laugh)
  (S) To be frank, you don't want to hear from him?
  (A) No. I have no interest. I often see a child go to see his father living separately on TV dramas. Ayu doesn't understand.
  (S) Ah, the child's feelings?
  (A) Right. I can't understand at all.
  (S) So, you could restart your life without your father, couldn't you?
  (A) I think so.
  (S) What were you like when you were a child?
  (A) Hmm ... What was I like? I was calculating. Good at making my way in life, not to say casting a furtive glance at the grown-ups. Though I was much conflicted with the grown-ups later in my junior high school days.
  (S) I suppose you might have a kind of instinct that you wanted to show yourself pretty or make your way well in the world. How do you think it was like?
  (A) Well, if a child is conflicted with someone, he must be much concerned with the person. But if he is doing everything relatively well and can do everything to a certain degree, he isn't looked as a problem child, and no one cares him especially. Don't you think so? Well, I didn't want to be concerned with others so much, and liked to get along well.
  (S) Were you rather shy?
  (A) Ah, yes.
  (S) Listening to your story, I've got an impression that your mother wasn't so. (Laugh)
  (A) Ah, she is quite the opposite. ... Hmm ... I don't know the clear reason. But anyway, I remember I had a strong feeling that I didn't want to be concerned with anyone, whether they were the children of the same age as me or the grown-ups.
  (S) Were there any actual incidents which caused you to think so?
  (A) Huh? What would it be? ... I think that maybe I trusted my father and mother very much when I was very little and regarded them as the persons always with me. But my father left me, and that deceiving Ayu, telling a lie to Ayu.
  (S) Could you let me know more, if you don't mind?
  (A) Well ... I liked a cassette tape when I was very little. I don't remember the content clearly. But a man was telling a long story of animals as, "Mr. Lion is such and such." And the background music was like, what is called, the healing music. (Laugh)
  (S) Haha. I see.
  (A) I liked listening to it very much before sleeping. But I wasn't permitted to listen to it often, because once I started listening, I couldn't sleep before listening to the end. And one day, I was told somehow that I could listen to it before sleeping and I felt very happy. I thought I was permitted that night, and played the cassette tape. And my grandmother was beside me, though we usually slept in the different rooms. Do you realize that it was a very happy night to a child?
  (S) That night was somewhat special. (Laugh)
  (A) Yes. I thought, "It's special today." I slept, and when I woke and looked out of the window, which faced the street, there was our car and my mother and father carried luggages into it earnestly. I opened the window curiously and asked, "What are you doing?" My mother answered, "I hear he is going on a business trip," and I said, "Ah, I see. Take good care." But my father didn't turned to me, never, carrying the luggages silently. I only said, "Take good care," without even saying good-bye to him, as I thought we would soon see again. I was sleepy and slept again, and when I woke up again, all his belongings had disappeared. I thought, "Ah, he might have left." It was like, to Ayu, how do I say? If he had told me honestly, there should have been something I wanted to tell him ...
  (S) Is it the story when you were three or four?
  (A) I think so.
  (S) I see. Maybe you felt instinctively at that time that bonds are too weak, and began hesitating to associate deeply with others, didn't you?
  (A) Maybe. So I thought strongly I didn't want to expect others.
  (S) How were you in the kindergarten or the nursery school?
  (A) In the nursery school, I think I was a calm child, though I was conspicuous in appearances. I was quite fair-skinned somehow and my hair was not pure black. And my mother was such a woman that she applied a sauvage to my hair. Very conspicuous, brownish hair with a sauvage and fair skin. I was so conspicuous in appearances that I didn't want to attract people's attentions any more. You see? If I had cried, "Wow !" in such appearances, I would have attracted so much attentions. It was annoying for me to be watched as that, and I kept myself calm. I wasn't bullied by other children.
  (S) And what were you doing alone?
  (A) Hmm, what was I doing? ... I'm sure I never played with a doll. (Laugh) I thought it was absurd to do such a thing. (Laugh)
  (S) Hahahaha. Just like you.
  (A) I might be outside, alone.
  (S) Sounds weird to me. (Laugh)
  (A) I think it was weird, too. I have a faint recollection that I was on the top of a jungle gym, though I don't know why. In the case of my family, Mommy returned home late at night, my grandmother had her knitting class outside, which was to her taste, and there was nobody when I returned home.
  (S) ... You are talking about your kindergarten days now, aren't you?
  (A) From my nursery school days to my elementary school days.
  (S) Were you alone in the period?
  (A) Yes. A woman living near my apartment used to picked me up. She also had a daughter at the same age as Ayu, and I used to return home together with the girl. Because otherwise, I had to remain school till the time I was the last.
  (S) I've come to feel it absurd to ask you, "Weren't you lonely?"
  (A) Hahahahaha.
  (S) You felt lonely, didn't you?
  (A) Well, yes. 
  (S) How did you cope with the loneliness?
  (A) Hmm ... How did I do? By disliking? People?
  (S) By disliking everything?
  (A) Well ... well.
  (S) By finding the reason for your disliking?
  (A) Well ... I used to blame someone. For example, I thought I was lonely because Mommy had been such at that time, and I blamed Mommy for everything. Maybe Mommy was living hard, too, but I didn't understand that.
  (S) Didn't you take it out on anybody?
  (A) No, I didn't.
  (S) Did you take on such feelings within yourself?
  (A) Yes. I didn't talk about them with anyone.
  (S) Did you write about them on some papers, for example?
  (A) Ah, I wrote very often. I think it was like a diary.
  (S) Does it pain or depress you, when you read it again now?
  (A) Ah, it isn't now. Isn't it common that diaries get lost? My family moved quite often, unbelievably often. And maybe because of it, we have no such memorial goods. It reminds me now that we don't even have any photo albums.
  (S) Photo?
  (A) Haven't you often seen? The albums filled with the photos in one's childhood. We don't have them. 
  (S) The words sound deep to me somehow.
  (A) Do they? Well, there weren't so many situations in which we took photos. And, compaired with other families who could make photo albums ...
  (S) So you were spending your days mostly on the dialogue with yourself, weren't you?
  (A) Maybe. But I think I was not so pessimistic.
  (S) I suppose you were forming your self much faster than other children and you felt it a little interesting. Isn't it right?
  (A) I suppose so.
  (S) How was it like? I think you were sensitive to everything since at an early age. And I feel you were remarkably in contrast with other children in the same generation in the respect.
  (A) Right. So when I was in the upper grade of elementary school, I always thought that I was talking at cross-purpose with the children of the same age. It was not that I looked down on them but that I often wondered why a child was still caring about such trifles, why a child didn't understand yet. But the children around said, "I feel so. I feel so", and I thought , "Ah, I can't go along with them."
  (S) And you shut your door again?
  (A) Yes. (Laugh)
  (S) To return to what you were saying, what was your mother's occupation?
  (A) Actually I don't know. I used to be told, "Huh?" For example, the mother of a friend of mine asked me. "Isn't it time Ayu-chan has to return home?" I answered, "I didn't have to, because my mother hasn't yet come from work." "What does your mother do?" "I don't know." --- It seemed a surprise to her that I didn't know my mother's job.
  (S) It's a surprise to me. (Laugh)
  (A) Hahahahaha. Because I never asked my mother such things as, "What is your job?"
  (S) So you were latchkey child and alone in your elementary school days. too?
  (A) Yes, so. Even after school, the children whose parents were not yet at home had to remain school. Was it as same as in your school?
  (S) No such rule was in my school.
  (A) Huh ! Really? What was the name? ... "Absent family class"! Just literal ! Hahahaha. It's quite an impolite naming, isn't it? (Laugh)
  (S) Discrimination. (Laugh)
  (A) That's right. I belonged to the "absent family class." Yes, I remember ! I envied very much the children returning home soon after school.
  (S) What did the children of the "absent family class" actually do? Was it like a club activity?
  (A) There was a hut-like house behind the school building. All such children were gathered into one class, regardless of grade. Then, we did nothing special. Only watching TV or reading books there. The "absent family class" was, how do I say? --- so bleak that you wouldn't believe it to be an elementary school. (Laugh) We saw the children returning out of the windows, thinking, "I wish I could ..." It was not envy indeed, but the emotion far stronger. Jealousy, I could say so, actually.
  (S) Looking back upon those days now, do you think they were rather empty?
  (A) Yes. Completely empty.
  (S) Achaah ...
  (A) Hahahahaha.
  (S) What do you think was the mental support then?
  (A) It might be my grandmother.
  (S) Was your grandmother very kind to you?
  (A) Yes, she was kind. As Mommy was not at home, my grandmother always cooked dinner. You see? A dog is attached to the person who gives meals every day, for example. To eat is the basics of life. Only because my grandmother always gave meals to me, I must have felt, "Ah, I'm living thanks to this," maybe. Though I don't remember she did something special to me.
  (S) Well, didn't you feel the loneliness or the transience of life, as you were sensitive to such things?
  (A) I think I did. I think there were many facts which I don't want to notice if possible.
  (S) But the more you think so, the more you see, don't you?
  (A) Agree.
  (S) Did you take some positive attitude, when you were in the upper grades of elementary school, for example? If so, which incidents did you experience?
  (A) Well, at first I studied mathematics and did scientific experiments eagerly. I did them as I couldn't find anything else to do, and my grades were improving much. But I thought one day they were not necessary for me to live on.
  (S) (Laugh) You realized so early !
  (A) Hahahaha. I thought that whichever colour the liquid of the test tube turned, it would exert no influence on Ayu when I grew up. I thought that actually I needed no study, and I stopped studying then. It had been hard to improve my grades, but they fell down so quickly.
  (S) Did you take a clearly defient attitude toward other people?
  (A) Maybe. My appearances changed first. It became showy, though not to excess ...
  (S) The make-up, for example?
  (A) Yes. I put light-coloured lip cream. Pink, for example.
  (S) And you were warned, weren't you?
  (A) Yes, so. Though they warned me far less later.
  (S) (Laugh) They gave you up?
  (A) Yes.
  (S) But your mother was called to school, wasn't she?
  (A) She didn't come, even when called to school. It seems her stomach got aching somehow. (Laugh) She didn't come.
  (S) Well, I hear you entered the show business world quite early in your elementary school days.
  (A) Yes.
  (S) When and how?
  (A) It's a bit exaggerated. I merely modeled in some posters of a bank, which was only in Fukuoka, for example, in order to gain money.
  (S) Huh ! Hamasaki-san wanted to gain money?
  (A) Sure.
  (S) How old were you then?
  (A) Well, it was rather late, when I was in the third or fourth grade. But money is necessary to live on. Don't you think so? It never happens that we are at a loss because we've got money.
  (S) Did you choose the way yourself?
  (A) Well, I was addressed by a scout. As I lived in the center of the city, walking in the streets, I usually saw many scouts, as I see many in Harajuku now. I was addressed somehow and talked with him. And when he made contact with Mommy, she said OK, and said to me, "Do your best", or something like that.
  (S) Did you have a longing for the show business world as you were watching TV, for example, or did you want to be looked at more by everyone, before the reason of money?
  (A) I might have a feeling that I wanted to be looked at.
  (S) Isn't it contradicting what you said?
  (A) Hmm ...
  (S) You wanted everyone to leave you alone, and at the same time, you wanted to be looked at through such a filter. Is it right?
  (A) Well, I liked everyone to have more interest in and take more notice of Ayu actually in my heart, but I felt at the same time that it was awkward and shame to say so. And I behaved not to be conspisuous and wanted everyone to leave me alone. But such a feeling grew stronger when I was in the upper grade of elementary school, as if I had transformed myself suddenly.
  (S) And after entering the world, did you get some excitements?
  (A) Hmm ... Not especially. My job was merely to put on some clothes and smile, and not what only Ayu could do. If Ayu had not be able to come with a cold, for example, another girl would have put on the clothes and smile. It was like so.
  (S) As you modeled in some posters in the bank, how did you feel looking at them, for example? When you were walking in the streets, you saw them, didn't you?
  (A) Hmm ... Hmm ... I hated to see them at first. I hoped they would not be discovered, as I was not the type of girl who could smile just after I met someone. But, you see, the girl models in general are really all smiles in such posters or fliers. I hated such smiling faces of mine to be looked at.
  (S) So you couldn't feel such activities as positive ones in your heart, such as a proof of life?
  (A) I couldn't
  (S) In the second half of your elementary school days, did you experience any incidents by which you realized you were living or for which you were looking forward to tomorrow?
  (A) Ah, there weren't any. I wasn't looking forward to tomorrow at all.
  (S) What were you like in your junior high school days?
  (A) Better I don't talk much about them. (Laugh) Please forget me in the days, everyone. (Laugh)
  (S) (Laugh) Did you go astray?
  (A) Indeed. Is it all right I say as such? Hahaha. But actually I don't know which word to use. I didn't do such things as hurting someone or injuring someone I didn't know. Though it might only be what I thought so.
  (S) It's something like a NHK documentary program. (Laugh) But in the case of Hamasaki-san, there was the means by which you could be taken notice of. I'm talking about your show business activities now.
  (A) Yes.
  (S) And, if you had done them positively, you could have been taken notice of in a very positive sense.
  (A) It might be. But it was not fun to me. I did the job, not because I liked to, but because I could get money. For example, in order to get the same amount of money after I did the photo job for two or three days, I had to work at McDonald's hamburger shop for a month getting little by little per hour.
  (S) You seem to forget that the children at such ages cannot work at McDonald's. (Laugh)
  (A) (Laugh) That's really so.
  (S) The reason why you wanted to get money. What did you want to do, what did you want, and how did you want to live on concretely?
  (A) I don't want anything especially, but I thought I had to earn my own living.
  (S) ... Well, listening to your story, I feel you decided yourself to look after yourself, feeling that your mother seemed hard in working and your grandmother couldn't always take care of you. I feel so, regardless of such things as how poor your family was.
  (A) Well ... It was maybe because I didn't like to receive an allowance.
  (S) So you liked to spend your own money when you did something.
  (A) Yes.
  (S) Do you have some happy memories in your junior high school days?
  (A) Happy things in school? What were they? ... Hmm ... You know? The desk and seats of students are commonly arranged up in lines in a school. And there is a seat for Banchou (the leader of juvenile delinquents) in a classroom.
  (S) (Laugh) Are you talking about the seat in the rearest by the window?
  (A) That's it. (Laugh) And the seat in the opposite side, in the rearest by the passage.
  (S) The seat easy to get away from.
  (A) Yes. Most of my friends had such seats, in the rearest by the window or by the passage. And as the school buildings faced each other, for example, the class no.1 to no.6 on this side and the class no.7 to no.12 on the opposite side, if all of us had the seats by the window on this side, we could play during the lessons.
  (S) I see.
  (A) And in the case I had a seat in the rearest by the passage, if I put my head out of the class and clicked my tongue, for example, many faces appeared from other classes. Such things were fun to me. Hahahaha. Simple and lovely.
  (S) So you had many friends in your junior high school days.
  (A) Yes, I had. And what did we do? --- What students commonly do, such as gathering and talking in front of a convenience store. (Laugh) And riding motorbikes? Though Ayu could only ride a bycicle with a motor.
  (S) I see. The escape.
  (A) The escape?
  (S) Yes, In short, to go somewhere and to gather somewhere.
  (A) I see. That's right. And I felt myself much strong, always gathering as such.
  (S) But, how was it? I think you remained cool in some part of your heart and mind. Didn't you have a feeling that you couldn't be melted together with them even when playing together?
  (A) Well, I spent my junior high school days with a feeling of cheers for friendship. For example, when we did something bad all together, we felt being united firmly, as we had one secret in common. There were many incidents like that in those days and, well, I was hot.
  (S) I see. But didn't that result in bringing some troubles into your family?
  (A) Yes, it did. The gulf between my mother and me got deeper.
  (S) But before that, weren't you persuaded not to do such things?
  (A) Hmm ... She seemed to be merely surprised, or merely ashamed.
  (S) Ashamed out of the consideration for the neighbours?
  (A) It might be one of the reasons. When Ayu returned home with such a long skirt, saying, "I'm back," she said eagerly somehow, "You are borrowing it from XX-chan, aren't you?" "No, it's mine," said me. And "You are telling such again. It can't be Ayu-chan's." (Laugh)
  (S) It sounds like she was not accepting the realities.
  (A) Ahahahaha. Really.
  (S) Did you spend the days together keeping such gaps?
  (A) Yes.
  (S) But Hamasaki-san rushed recklessly, didn't you?
  (A) It might be. She said to me, "Why are you going out with my high-heeled shoes on?" for example. Ahahahahaha.
  (S) Did you keep on your show business activities at that time?
  (A) Yes, I did. But I feel my heart aches a little, talking about it. I put on neat clothes and looked neat when making the poster of the bank, for example, but my appearances were quite different from those in my daily life. I felt sorry for the persons I worked together.
  (S) I understand. By the way, we haven't yet talked about music at all.
  (A) Indeed. (Laugh)
  (S) (Laugh) How about starting to talk now?
  (A) Ah, I wasn't interested in music at all. I didn't want to be a singer, either.
  (S) Well, as you were doing the show business activities, though in a local city, I think you must have understood which position you were in and what possibilities you might have.
  (A) I see.
  (S) Didn't you think about your future doing such activities or about such possibilities, watching an idol singer singing on TV, for example?
  (A) Not at all. I began to have interest in music only two or three years ago.
  (S) The comfortable honest words. (Laugh) Then, how did the things go in your junior high school days? Ended without any changes?
  (A) Well, in the middle of my junior high school days --- Both my grandmother and Mommy had actually come from Tokyo, and they spoke standard Japanese.
  (S) How about Hamasaki-san?
  (A) I spoke with the complete Fukuoka accents. But I could speak standard Japanese, too, as I had been hearing it. And in the middle of my junior high school days, I began going to Tokyo to play. When I went to Tokyo for some photo jobs, I stayed there for some extra days. And I had many friends in Tokyo, for example, those who were together with me on the photo jobs, those whom I got to know in a city. And I felt like going to a senior high school in Tokyo. I talked with my friends in Tokyo, "Let's take the entrance examination for Horikishi Gakuen together." We took it together, and Ayu alone failed.
  (S) Huh ! Failed?
  (A) Hahahaha.
  (S) It was that you had to pay for having neglected? (Laugh)
  (A) I don't know. But Horikoshi Gakuen has the public entertainments course, as you know. It's rare that a candidate fails the examination of the course, if one art ...
  (S) If he excels in one art?
  (A) That's it. And it's said to be almost OK, if he belongs to a certain talent office. --- But I failed.
  (S) No good. What on earth did you do?
  (A) It's still a question to me. When I was said, "I've seen the girl who failed the examination of the public entertainments course after an interval of couple of years," I was quite shocked.
  (S) I've heard of such a person for the first time.
  (A) Ahahaha.
  (S) Did your family agree that you were going to enter a senior high school in Tokyo and live in Tokyo doing some show business activities?
  (A) Yes, no problem.
  (S) Was it as if you had been under dry contract to your family? For example, you had been told, "You live for yourself."
  (A) I think so. My mother would maybe have said to me, "Now you are at such an age, do anything as you like, and take responsibilities for what you have done."
  (S) And after failing, what did you do?
  (A) I took the entrance examination of Horikoshi Gakuen again. I took the written examination that time. There had been no written examination the first time.
  (S) (Laugh) It was stern reality to you that you failed after taking the oral examination only, wasn't it? As a human being? (Laugh)
  (A) (Laugh) So it was shock to me.
  (S) I understand. (Laugh)
  (A) As I had had no anxiety that I might fail. As I had thought I would pass and be given a school guide book.
  (S) Had you already moved to a talent office in Tokyo then?
  (A) I belonged to SOS (a talent office mostly for models) in Tokyo at first. And a man of the office, who was on friendly terms with a person of Sun Music, said to me, "As Ayu is small and can't do the model job, I think it's better for you to appear on television." Then I moved to Sun Music. As it was the reliable talent office, I was sure I would be able to pass. And I took the written examination and entered Horikoshi Gakuen.
  (S) How was it?
  (A) Soon after entering it, I quit.
  (S) Hahaha.
  (A) Well ... Doesn't it seem Ayu can't do anything right? (Laugh)
  (S) Please don't forget that you have led up to this topic, hamasaki-san. (Laugh) I didn't lead you at all.
  (A) (Laugh) But it's a true story !
  (S) Did you find something to live for after entering the senior high school?
  (A) Hmm ... Might be friends.
  (S) Did you have a friend with whom you had a very firm feeling?
  (A) It was differently. I had quite a lot of friends but they were not at all close. In my junior high school days, I felt we really understood each other. But as I was living alone in Tokyo, an unfamiliar city to me, I thought that too much relationship would be troublesome and hard.
  (S) Did you experience love with someone by that time?
  (A) Yes.
  (S) Didn't you feel trust or confidence much in love?
  (A) Hmm ... How was it? It might be. But my way of going with was not so different from now. It may be slight. (Laugh)
  (S) You didn't feel much actually that you were having great experience or so?
  (A) Ah, but I think I'm living now anyhow because friends of mine or my boyfriend supported me at that time.
  (S) So can I understand as that your love in those days was temporary?
  (A) I think so.
  (S) How was your show business activities in Tokyo? Did you begin to find some joy or pleasure in them?
  (A) Well, the show business activities at that time was ... terrible. (Laugh) Indeed. (Laugh) Well ... my job was merely smiling with a swimsuit, for example, and I thought why I was doing such things. But I couldn't live on if I quit the job ...
  (S) Did you support yourself after coming up to Tokyo?
  (A) I lived in a dormitory of the talent office. So I thought I would have no place to live if I quit.
  (S) So you became an actress.
  (A) Yes.
  (S) I suppose other people reacted to or estimated your acting. How did you feel about them?
  (A) Hmm ... I remember as that the more I appeared on TV dramas, the more I put pressure on myself, rather than I gained self-confidence.
  (S) What kind of pressure?
  (A) What was that? I wondered in some part of my mind why I was there, doing such things as talking with the persons whom I had seen on TV in Fukuoka. And that the process I had been going through was such. I wondered if I was permitted to be there, I should be there, or I might be wrong. I can't explain clearly, but I was afraid somehow my true colours might be exposed, for example. (Laugh)
  (S) I think your true colours were fully exposed.
  (A) Ahaha. You dare say like that.
  (S) Because you weren't get along well. And when Hamasaki-san was doing many things in the show business world, I suppose there were many around you who were in the same generation and doing the same kind of activities as you, including your schoolmates.
  (A) Yes.
  (S) I suppose many of them were indivisualists. And looking at them, weren't you in sympathy with them or didn't you feel at ease in the world, as they didn't interfare with each other?
  (A) Hmm ... I had always said that I wanted to quit anyhow. I said so every day.
  (S) Quit the show business world?
  (A) Yes. I had such friends in my generation, but not girls, all boys.
  (S) Was it because girls often quarrel?
  (A) Well, they seemed to me somehow selfish.
  (S) How did you feel, to be honest? Did you feel they didn't take life seriously, or that they belonged to such systems?
  (A) Girls seemed to be ... I felt they weren't competing in a fair manner like boys, though I don't know clearly as Ayu isn't a boy. For example, in the work of photogravures ... 
  (S) When doing the work of photogravures, did you feel as if you had been made a play thing of men, for example?
  (A) When I went together with some other girls to Saipan or Guam, a cameraman usually took photos of every girl efficiently. And we usually ate out with the cameraman or the editorial staff. That was no problem itself. But every girl but Ayu poured beer into his glass eagerly, lighted his cigarette, or was doing a nonsense chatting with him for hours sitting just closely. Ayu hated to do such things. So I think Ayu made unfavourable impressions on the men, maybe.
  (S) I agree. (Laugh)
  (A) (Laugh) But I didn't understand why I had to do such things.
  (S) But was it better for Hamasaki-san to do such things to gain your purpose?
  (A) Ah, to get a higher position in the world?
  (S) Yes. And to get the level of your living higher.
  (A) Ah, I couldn't go so far to do so. I was looking at them feeling that there were many girls on whose faces were written as stupid.
  (S) It seems to me it was because you had self-confidence.
  (A) Ah ...
  (S) Your words don't sound so reckless to me. How do you think about it?
  (A) Is that so? But I thought somehow I wasn't such kind of person. I thought it would be all right not to do such things. I don't mean "all right" by succeeding in the show business world. I thought I could live more straight and it was good enough not to do such things.
  (S) So maybe you didn't think yourself inept even if you couldn't do such things, did you?
  (A) Hmm ...
  (S) It seems to me you thought that the cleverness in an ordinary and common sense wasn't the right cleverness. Were you sensitive to that kind of matter?
  (A) It might be. But the reason why I quit after all was there were some unpleasant incidents. For example, though I did a job of photogravures, many of the photos weren't used in magazines. I thought it wasn't congenial to me.
  (S) Did you have similar feelings in doing the work of TV dramas?
  (A) Yes, so.
  (S) As I've seen just one of them, I felt you were acting well, as the role of the girlfriend of Kawai Gamon.
  (A) Thank you. (Laugh)
  (S) Didn't you find some values in acting, such as the feeling of attainment?
  (A) No. I was tired of it every day.
  (S) So how did you get rid of the stress then?
  (A) Hmm, by playing with friends actually. I was usually around Shibuya 109.
  (S) Ah, really? Speaking in a pretty way, taking instant photo seals (Print Club), for example?
  (A) Yes, speaking in a pretty way. (Laugh)
  (S) I see. Didn't you find some interesting hobbies or something fun?
  (A) No, I didn't. Sorry (laugh) for my too honest talking.
  (S) Don't mind. (Laugh) Did you quit school of your own will?
  (A) Yes. I remember vaguly I sent a fax message, after writing on a paper, "I quit." (Laugh)
  (S) (Laugh) Just like a notice of withdrawal?
  (A) It was because I didn't want to see the people, such as my teachers.
  (S) Do you have any unpleasant memories?
  (A) In the school? What was it? ... I was conspicuous somehow in the senior high school, too. The students of the public entertainments course are inevitably conspicuous, and I was conspicuous among them, too.
  (S) In which respects?
  (A) I don't know the precise reason. Might be my clothes or appearances.
  (S) I hear the talents are generally quietly dressed in the school.
  (A) Really.
  (S) Hamasaki-san was different?
  (A) Yes, different.
  (S) You became fasionable in a different way from modeling in photogravures, didn't you?
  (A) Right. So my work of photogravures got somewhat oddly halfway. You see? The blond hair doesn't seem to fit for them.
  (S) I agree, as a model with an image of innocence. (Laugh)
  (A) They might be the reason why I was conspicuous. It has often happened that Ayu alone was conspicuous anyhow since I was very little, whatever I did. Even when doing the same things as others, Ayu alone was conspicuous, in a good sense and in a bad sense.
  (S) How do you think about it now? Was it almost your imagination? (Laugh) Or do you think you have actually done many things excessively?
  (A) I don't know the reason why. You see? It often happens that when we come across an old classmate, whether of elmentary school or junior high school or senior high school, and he says for example, "Oh, long time no see. It's me, of the same junior high school," though we think, "Who are you?" But I think there are nobody who were in the same schools as me and don't know Ayu.
  (S) (Laugh) I see.
  (A) Huhuhu. Why are you laughing?
  (S) Well, I suppose it would be the hardest situation for a person to be natural.
  (A) Ah.
  (S) It would be good if you enjoyed such a situation. But as far as I hear you talking, you couldn't enjoy it at all.
  (A) Well ... really. Though I remained cool in some part of my heart, I thought it was much fun to gather somewhere, to be with some friends or the boyfriend --- I wonder if I just wanted to think so.
  (S) And you sent a fax message and quit school in your way.
  (A) Yes.
  (S) Then, what did you do?
  (A) Then I was at 109 --- as same as before. (Laugh) And, what I was doing? Playing anyhow.
  (S) By the money you earned for yourself?
  (A) Yes. And around that time, Mommy came up to Tokyo.
  (S) Was it because she had thought, "I can't let my daughter alone any longer."?
  (A) I'm not sure. She said at first she had a certain job in Tokyo. She likes working very much. And when she came, I couldn't stay in the dormitory any longer and had to find somewhere to live in.
  (S) Ah. You were fired by the talent office.
  (A) I merely belonged to it and did no jobs at all. You know? There are many agreements, such as a contract. I thought the contract would expire soon. I got more or less reconciled with Mommy at that time.
  (S) Would you let me know the documentary drama?
  (A) Ah, there were no incidents like a documentary drama, as we seldom talk seriously.
  (S) Is it because you are afraid of talking seriously with her?
  (A) No, I'm not. It's tiresome. I heard from Mommy that she would come up to Tokyo and rent a certain apartment. I asked the address, went there, and carried all my belongings there. As I had quit both school and the talent office, I asked her, "Can I live here?" And she said, "OK." That's about it.
  (S) Really? So you were feeling the peaceful days had come, getting reconciled with your mother?
  (A) I think so. But I was playing every day. And I got later than before returning home, as I grew older. 
  (S) And you saw the crows of Shibuya at 5: 30 in the morning.
  (A) Hahahaha. The lonely view, isn't it?
  (S) I agree. They peck my head. So terrible.
  (A) Hahahaha ! Well, we didn't talk more than before, but was spending the days quite ordinarily as parent and child.
  (S) What were you going to do then, Hamasaki-san?
  (A) I thought of nothing.
  (S) Really?
  (A) Yes. I was idling away my time. And clubs were really in fashion at that time.
  (S) How many years ago was it?
  (A) I began to go to clubs at the age of sixteen, if I remenber right. ... It's prohibited, isn't it? (Laugh)
  (S) Hahahaha ! I'm now remembering what were the situations like six years ago. I see. It was the period when dance music and club music were just about to be popular.
  (A) Really. I remember Real McCoy very well. His song was played just everywhere. Though I didn't know him at all, as I wasn't interested in nor familiar with music. I just thought I had always heard the song of the foreign man.
  (S) So the reason why you often went to clubs was not that you felt the music and the beat comfortable.
  (A) No, it wasn't. Clubs are so noisy somehow, aren't they? You can't start talking without saying, "Hey !!" I'm not good at talking. It's an awkward time for me to think I must talk something when together with other people. I dislike the silence. But clubs were so noisy that I didn't have to talk. It was good for me to stay together with friends there for many hours without talking.
  (S) I see. I think you are the person who can see a lot. So you try to fill up the silence with words.
  (A) Yes. (Laugh)
  (S) And you get tired becaues of that. You were such type, weren't you?
  (A) I think so. And at that time, I met the producer at Velfarre (a disco club).
  (S) I know. You are talking about Matsuura-san.
  (A) Yes. I remember that when he was introduced by someone as the executive director of avex, I greeted another person next to him, as he was apparently so young., and he said, "It's me." The encounter was just like that. And a while later, I met him at a Karaoke house. A little bit lowbrow one. A snuck?
  (S) I suppose it's a Karaoke bar, with a stage.
  (A) That's it. You must have a hard time there listening to other guests singing, too.
  (S) Don't go to such a place. (Laugh)
  (A) Ahahahaha ! And I met him there. He asked me, "We have met before, haven't we?" and I said, "Ah, yes." I didn't know what was avex then, and I thought he would be a man of high position somehow. I didn't know at all that avex was the record company. I was singing songs at random then, and he began to say, "Sing this song next."
  (S) Which song did you sing?
  (A) The songs of Komuro (Tetsuya)-san, as they were very popular then. And he said to me after I sang, "Don't you intend to be a singer?" I answered, "No, I don't."
  (S) Hahahahaha !
  (A) Hahahahaha. Because, such a question. You see? Don't you think it was the honest answer?
  (S) Yes, I think so. (Laugh) In Hamasaki-san's way.
  (A) I said I didn't intend to be, as I didn't like singing especially and I wasn't confident of singing. And I didn't contact him for quite a while after that. I was asked my phone number then and told it to him. Some messages were recorded in my answering machine, but I forgot his name, and left it alone. I kept on playing at Shibuya and Roppongi as before, But, you know, I got tired of such things, as they were not so fun actually.
  (S) I'd rather say it as nothingness.
  (A) Really. When I was seized with such a feeling, he phoned me again. I remember quite well it was when Ayu was walking in the Center St. of Shibuya. I answered, "Hi," walking in the Center St. (Laugh) It was the secretary. She said, "This is XX of avex. I'll put you through to Matsuura." I noticed it was that man. And we were talking as, "It's a long time since we talked last." "Don't you really intend to sing?" "I do. I do. Because I'm free now." "I suppose so. You have nothing to do, don't you?" "Yes." "So go to the voice lessons and the physical training first to develop your strength," said he. I thought, "Oops ! I don't want to go." Actually I was still unwilling to sing then. But about a week later --- I changed my mind again. I thought that just to sing songs wouldn't be so bad, as I had nothing to do. I went to avex so casually, talked with the executive director, and went to the lessons. And, as you would imagine without my words, I stopped going to the lessons soon.
  (S) Yes, I can. I don't even want to hear that. (Laugh)
  (A) Hahahaha. Though I pretended to go to them. And I made my debut without feeling any growth of myself. It was like that.
  (S) Hmm. Don't you like to be unkind to me?
  (A) No ! (Laugh) Why?
  (S) Well, because I've thought you were making light of life ... no, people.
  (A) Hahaha. Really.
  (S) Couldn't you find the joy of music before you made your debut?
  (A) I didn't even know that for a while after my debut.
  (S) So how about singing and expressing? To be frank, the situation became quite different from before, didn't it? Basically, what you had within yourself became the most important thing instead of putting on the given costumes or doing as you were told.
  (A) Yes.
  (S) I think you had been making your way in such direction before the debut. And didn't you think that your talents were admitted somehow or you had been able to find a healthy field to advance, which you hadn't known before?
  (A) Well, I hardly felt the joy of music then. As you know, I entered, left and came back again to the show business world, experienced the failure once. So I thought I would do everything for myself this time, not to blame anyone if I should fail again. I took great care over my appearances, clothes and make-ups, besides music. So much care over my visual side that I almost lost the sense of being a singer ... Do you understand?
  (S) I understand. What should I say? A mere performer?
  (A) Yes. So I think I forgot enjoying music completely. 
  (S) Ah, I see. You thought you were standing at the same startline as before, in short. But you wanted to get back what you had lost previously or, in other words, you wanted to revenge, didn't you? Was it like a kind of fighting to revenge your dark age when you had done many things in vain?
  (A) I think so. I thought that it was for once in my life, that I should never do like that in the future. I worked terreibly hard, really forgot enjoying. And choosing clothes mattered as much as making sounds, writing lyrics and singing. And it suddenly occurred to me when I was creating my first album, "A Song for XX."
  (S) What's that? Do you mean you noticed for the first time then that you were holding a grudge to get back what you had lost?
  (A) Yes. As I had no actual sense of releasing singles, and I didn't even notice it was the time for making an album. I felt I came back to myself then.
  (S) You released many singles before releasing the album. Were you working as posessed by a grudge against your past?
  (A) I suppose so. It was like I was made to dance by my trauma alone ...
  (S) I see ... And how was it? You were looked differently from in your previous days, and and you had come to the field where your true colours were basically judged, whether they were supported or not. How did you think and feel about it?
  (A) I had no idea about it until I released the album and got the response to that. So I only put out and didn't take in at all. Put out, put out, put out, put out ... I made out my works up to the level I could think as "perfect", and put them to the public, but I really ignored the results. I didn't know how much Hamasaki Ayumi was recognized then, for example.
  (S) Do you mean that you didn't confirm much, so to speak, the deformed world? And you didn't have time to do so?
  (A) I think so.
  (S) Then you released the album. "A Song for XX" ranked first in the first week, if I remember right? 
  (A) Yes.
  (S) So much actual feelings, wasn't it?
  (A) Hmm, I didn't know well. It was unbelievable. Really to Ayu, how should I say? I felt as if it had been only about three months from the time I was wandering aound Shibuya or Roppongi till the time I released the first album. "Though I feel as if I had gone to the club till yesterday, the first rank in Oricon chart?" I felt as that.
  (S) I've just broached the fact that the album ranked first in Oricon chart, as it's quite symbolic. But you had released five singles before that, which marked considerably well in the charts and were used as the various tie-up songs. In other words, your songs were discharged so much in the age.
  (A) Yes. 
  (S) Didn't you confirm such situation or interprete something in your mind then?
  (A) Well, I didn't until then.
  (S) Did you avoid thinking?
  (A) It might be so, as I had been worried, "What shall I do, if I'm not accepted?"
  (S) I see. This title song, "A Song for XX", is full of interrogative phrases, from beginning to end. Was it true to your real feelings?
  (A) Well, yes.
  (S) The response as a certain figure to that? Well, simply speaking, I think many things had changed then. Various reactionos to you. When you were walking in a street, for example, I suppose you had got looked differently from before. How did you realize them?
  (A) But actually, there wasn't so much time for me to recognize and try to understand them. Ern ... Because I kept on releasing single after single after that, too.
  (S) Yes, you've kept on doing so. And at that time, how did Hamasaki-san feel about the speed? Was it ordinary or extraordinary to you?
  (A) Well, I had no standards, in the music world. So I thought it was ordinary. I didn't know. I didn't look around and didn't know of course at which pace other artists released CDs. It was only later that I knew it.
  (S) But it wasn't like that someone told you, "The melody and the lyrics of this song are such and such. Sing this now." You had produced the lyrics for yourself at least.
  (A) Yes, I had.
  (S) So the expressions were also required of you. How did you think about that?
  (A) Hmm ... But the lyrics are ... Though Ayu is often told many things about the lyrics, hmm, how do I say? ... It's just lately that I, very much ...
  (S) That you have a sense of fulfillment that you could express well and you can put your stamp on it?
  (A) That's right.
  (S) Actually, since which song?
  (A) Hmm ... "Duty"?
  (S) "Duty"! (Laugh) Toward the end of last year !
  (A) Ahahahaha !
  (S) So, you released "A Song for XX", but didn't understand them well.
  (A) No I didn't.
  (S) But after that, your lyrics gained the sympathy of quite a lot of people, including those of "LOVEppears". And I suppose you've been thinking how to settle the matter, the gap between your feelings and people's understandings.
  (A) I see. Hmm ... How is it? ... How should I say? ... I've very often heard they say that they had been saved. Or that they had been encouraged. The more I heard such words, the more I was seized with the pecuriar conceptions, such as, "Ah, should I save them?" or "I have to encourage them." But it sometimes happened that the more I tried to do so, I had written the opposite type of lyrics. Things went on like that at that time. For example, when I was told that my lyrics were always positive and good, I thought, "What are you saying?"
  (S) I see. I've wanted to ask you one thing very much. I think the loneliness and the indivisual are esteemed very much in Hamasaki-san's lyrics as a result, and that it's a matter of course because you've lived in such a way. But while you sing the songs accepting and esteeming the loneliness and the indivisual, the fans crowding around you are very much "Ayu" as a result.
  (A) Really.
  (S) A large number of your clones are appearing in this country. I think you must be feeling very much the gap between what you are doing and the essencial parts you wish to be understood and communicated.
  (A) Well, I was feeling it very much around when I released the Trilogy, for instance. In the period from "vogue" to "SEASONS", I was somehow ... well ... what is it? ... what should I say? ... ern ... I was ashamed of myself very much. I had the moments of thinking so most at that time. I was ashamed of the person, Hamasaki Ayumi.
  (S) Does it mean "yourself" or the musician, "Hamasaki Ayumi"?
  (A) Myself as Hamasaki Ayumi?
  (S) Is it yourself performing Hamasaki Ayumi?
  (A) Yes. That's it. I was ashamed of that as stupid-like.
  (S) Could you tell me a little concretely?
  (A) Hmm ... somehow ... what is it? ... I've liked clothes since I was a child. There have always been the idol-like persons called the fashion leaders of the times, and I used to follow them thinking they were cool somehow. But once I became one of them, there were a lot of girls like Ayu in every magazine and I always ranked first in every ranking, for example, "Who is the big name you think to be the fashionable dresser?" "Hamasaki Ayumi." Somehow ... ern ... What is it? How should I say? I was ashamed of myself somehow, and didn't even go to an unfamiliar restaurant. I couldn't go to such a place with this face.
  (S) I see. 
  (A) Well ... And it might be better to find a breakthrough for myself, but I was afraid of doing so then. I thought I must not destroy Ayu's style of music much. --- How should I say? The typical popular music? The pops? Or the music just like avex? I dared not destroy it.
  (S) How come so? Was it because you were conscious of that the huge market rose up in front of you?
  (A) I had come to have much desire of making different sounds, doing different expressions, or singing in different styles. But I was afraid that if I should do them, the people who had supported Ayu might suddenly forsake me, all together. Nobody might remember Ayu, and they might say, "There might be a singer with such a name once." I went so far as to think so.
  (S) In short, you were split into two selfs, one wanted to remain in the favourable state, and the other wanted to destroy it, weren't you?
  (A) Yes, so.
  (S) How did you get out of the dilemma?
  (A) Well, I was very uneasy when I started the nationwide concert tour. I felt like drawing back when singing the second song or so, which I know is very impolite. I wondered why. I had been looking forward to the tour and every staff had made great efforts to prepare for it, but I felt something different on the very first day from what I had imagined. I couldn't enjoy at all. I had been wondering why while I was doing the Act 1 (the first half of the tour). After finishing the Act 1, I had to cancel some concerts of the Act 2 because of the ear disease. But I could rest then. I could have a time calm and not busy in the hospital, for example. I thought then I had wished strongly before as, "Look at me, everyone ! I'm here !" and had made efforts to make them turn toward me. I didn't know what a live concert was like, as I hadn't done it before then. But, when I first appeared on the live stage, I had already been looked at, by about 20,000 eyes, before I said, "Look at Ayu ! I'm here !"
  (S) I see. 
  (A) I was startled and frightened somehow. I thought, "Ah, different."
  (S) Were you frightened just personally?
  (A) Hmm ... What does it mean?
  (S) You see? Hamasaki-san has lived until now without depending on anybody.
  (A) Really.
  (S) You've lived without dependence and keep on producing music now. But you confirmed then the huge power depending on what you had produced. I think such uncomfortable relations made you feel uneasy. Isn't it right?
  (A) I'm not sure. I had felt some compunction in choosing the words or making the sounds, feeling somewhat different and wishing everyone not to go anywhere else. I had such a feeling to the audience, too, maybe. And when I felt the huge power as, "We've been waiting for you ! We've wanted to see you !", I couldn't catch it well. I thought I couldn't support myself. I thought I would be overwhelmed by the audience.
  (S) I see.
  (A) And I thought around the time, "It would be all right now." I had had no interest in music and hadn't understood music at all formerly, though I don't understand even now. But I had begun to have not a little desire for the sound, in Ayu's way. And since I had begun to have desire, I thought it would be all right to do that. And if I was told, "Ah, disappointed. Ayu should be with more digital sound,."
  (S) Hahaha.
  (A) Or "Should be with more shaka-shaka sounds," and many fans left me, I thought I could maybe find the joy of life in making them turn toward me again.
  (S) The album, "Duty" cannot invite the pleasantness of dance beat nor even the positivity any more, does it? Those factor are confined in the song, "AUDIENCE" alone and the other songs are so much chaotic without them at all, which I've thought quite symbolic, hearing you talking now. And I thought you've caught and expressed as music in this album that what you have to catch in yourself has got bigger and more chaotic, rather than that you've given an answer to it. How do you think?
  (A) Maybe so. I had always thought before, "Ah, finished. It's completed as a disk at last. Now, the release !" But when "Duty" was finished, I wasn't in such a happy mood.
  (S) Like that you showed what you didn't want to show? (Laugh)
  (A) Yes. I had to encourage myself so much to resolve in the case of releasing this album. But, listening to this album now, I feel I was much reserved. My taste and what I want to do very much ...
  (S) What are they concretely?
  (A) Ern, everything. Music, words, my vocal ... Because I was puzzled. I feel it was made in so much perplexity.
  (S) Yes, this album sounds as so. That you are puzzled and cannot find the answer. And I thought you had settled the matter somehow in yourself and made for creating this album positively. But it wasn't so simple matter, was it?
  (A) Well ... It wasn't.
  (S) The album was released, and the people around you say it recorded the remarkable sales as had been expected.
  (A) Hmm ... I had expected more.
  (S) Huh?
  (A) Though I don't have confidence in myself. (Laugh) Though I don't have confidence in myself, I thought somehow, "Huh? I had expected more."
  (S) Does it mean you had thought that the album should be understood more, or that it should be consumed more smoothly?
  (A) No. I had thought we could understand each other more.
  (S) You were disappointed to feel that Hamasaki Ayumi was merely accepted as a phenomenon rather than as music.
  (A) Yes, so. And when I released the album, the first topic was that I was wearing the leopard costume.
  (S) Well, what was your intention? Was it your nihilistic stance to the situation? (Laugh)
  (A) You can take as so. Maybe grown-up people took a glance at the jacket and thought, "This girl, dressed like a costume play again !" and didn't but it.
  (S) I think in the opposite. (Laugh)
  (A) Huh? What do you mean?
  (S) I think it has proved that there were a lot of people who looked at that jacket and bought it with an easy mind.
  (A) Really?
  (S) Because such pleasure like a costume play has been one of the main factors Hamasaki-san was needed. In other words, I think it shows the negative result that your music could not excel the public image.
  (A) Ah, I see. I agree.
  (S) And you got into negative mood again?
  (A) No. Somehow ... I thought I could expect the future on the contrary. I thought I could take the next step. If it had recorded more sales as I had expected, for instance, I couldn't have been hungry for stepping forward.
  (S) I see. Was it around the time that you began to think you wanted to communicate yourself more closely by means of music?
  (A) Yes.
  (S) And you began to want to write melodies.
  (A) Yes.
  (S) Could you tell me how it started to the release of the song, "M"?
  (A) When we make a single, usually the producer listens to the melodies first. How many was it? Maybe about fifty. He selects twenty or thirty among them and passes them to Ayu. And Ayu selects one, changes some parts and decide the composition. But in this case, any melodies didn't appeal to me. I realized in some part of my mind that it was not the fault of the melodies but I should do it, I should write the melody for myself. And I bought a keyboard suddenly. But I couldn't use it well at all at first. I use Pigeon, but couldn't use it at all and recorded my voice to the tape-recorder alone as "La la la ..."
  (S) (Laugh) It seems to show that the culture level is as low as the case that one has a handphone with the function of i-mode, yet he can only answer a phone.
  (A) (Laugh) Really so. Though it was a very strange feeling, as I knew I had written it myself. People in the world didn't know at first of course, and most of the people in the company didn't know, either, as I had told it to a few reliable staff only. As I alone knew it, I felt so abashed. Besides, the melody was amateurish abruptly. It sounds to me as so very much. Somehow ... I had no confidence at all, almost to my surprise. I had been so excited while making it. But when I listened to the song after the recording, I breathed a sigh. I listened to it again and again, wondering about as, "Is it all right?" It didn't sound like a song. I coundn't listen to it calmly as a song. I got excited alone somehow and much embarrassed.
  (S) Was it like the fear that you knew you could actually start to do what you wanted to do more, rather than that it couldn't get the passing mark in Hamasaki-san, who has a cool judgement?
  (A) Maybe so. I thought in excitement, "I've written the melody at last. It's going to be released very soon."
  (S) I see. My impression of the song, "M" is --- It's not completed at all as a song. But I think it has a very understandable result that it reflects certainly the energy you've wanted to give off compaired with the previous songs, just like a straight ball. (Laugh)
  (A) Hmm, Really.
  (S) I felt so on Dec. 29 or 30 when I went to the event of Music Station at NK Hall, which is customarily held every year. I saw Hamasaki-san singing "M" there, and thought strongly, "What is this person?" You were singing so emotionally --- as if you had tripped to another world. (Laugh)
  (A) Ah. Really?
  (S) Though I don't know how you were actually feeling. I could clearly see your aura and energy, which I had thought I didn't understand well and weird. Didn't you feel such things?
  (A) Well, It's surely different from the previous songs. Let me see. When I'm given a melody from someone, write a suitable lyrics and sing, I start with memorizing the melody. But I had some unnatural feelings around the time I was creating "Duty." Making much effort to memorizing the melodies, caring about as, "Let me see. The end of the word, up or down?"and looking at the music sheet, saying "Where is the notes?" --- I wasn't satisfied with myself doing such things, and had unnatural feelings very much. But when I wrote a melody for myself, "Up or down? No problem. Either will do." (Laugh)
  (S) Hahahahaha. Real feelings.
  (A) Yes. (Laugh) Everything is different, including such trivial things. But somehow, I think even now that wasn't the type of song to be sold as much as that. You know? That song sold more than a million copies. Many grown-ups said to me, "You had written a melody for the first time, and it sold a million. How talented you are !" But I thought it wasn't true, and that it should not be sold as such. It wasn't true, and the fact was just that a lot of people bought the CD of Hamasaki Ayumi. I think there are quite a lot of people in Japan now who think, "Ah ! Ayu has released a new song. I must buy it !", even though they haven't listened to the song or don't know which type of song it is, a ballad or an up-tempo.
  (S) Well, that's the reality. And I think it's the reality, too, that we wonder if that song was as perfect as sold a million copies. But it's certain that the song contains the energy as haven't seen in the previous songs. I think it's so heavy energy. And another factor is that those who had invested in the top-brand of Hamasaki Ayumi have bought it, too, regarding it as the realistic value by their experiences. I think such way of persuading oneself is possible. How do you think about it?
  (A) Now, somehow, really ... I'm enjoying life more than ever. Really enjoying music now. So I've come to need less reasons than before. Playing with Mac is a pure fun to me.
  (S) And that you don't need any excuses any more?
  (A) Ah, really. Though I'm not so ambitious as to break down the situations. How do you think? Does Ayu look like a person who listens to Backstreet Boys rather than Smashing Pumpkins.
  (S) As your public image?
  (A) Yes. It's likely, isn't it?
  (S) I feel so.
  (A) Though I had listened to Smashing Pumpkins so often until I was tired of it. (Laugh) But I think most people can't imagine so without doubt. They would say, "Huh? Ayu would never listen to such music."
  (S) You are eager to link yourself with it now, aren't you?
  (A) Yes. But somehow, I'm not so ambitious of it. It's all right even if I don't realize it. I only like to enjoy the process toward it.
  (S) I see. You like to enjoy yourself now. Otherwise, I think you wouldn't have suggested to do this work with us. (Laugh)
  (A) Really.
  (S) I think you would have been reluctunt. (Laugh)
  (A) Huhuhuhu.
  (S) How do you like Smashing Pumpkins?
  (A) Let me see. What do you call that --- like an obi (band of paper) of a CD?
  (S) Huh? An obi.
  (A) Ah, it's and obi. (Laugh) You know? On the obi of "Mellon Collie", which I've listened to before this interview, written as "Infinite Sadness." Somehow I liked the phrase very much at first, not the songs. I liked the phrase "Infinite Sadness" very much, just when I saw it before buying it. I wondered what it was, listened to it, and thought --- "Ah ! The obi is right." Hahahaha. Actually I have no knowledge of other artists, whether foreign or Japanese. So all I can do is to find in such a way at first.
  (S) I think it's just the belief of Billy Corgan, the leader of Smashing Pumpkins. That sadness is one of the great emotions, the great asset in life, and one must not deny it, though he doesn't affirm it, either. I think he is the person who maintains in music with courage that nothing will be solved without facing it, and so is his music. You felt sympathy in that respect, didn't you?
  (A) I think so.
  (S) And you wish to do like him, don't you?
  (A) I think so. It's somehow very ... tender, beautiful, kind and healing on the one hand. But on the other hand, distant and horryfying. I feel so very much somehow. Tremendously cold, I feel.
  (S) Smashing Pumpkins kept on doing so, created quite high quality music. But the quality didn't satisfy that man who aimed at even higher level of music, and the band broke up. I think Hamasaki-san is at the starting point in the sense now.
  (A) Yes.
  (S) I think your music expresses such "Infinite Sadness" as energy, but that it hasn't bloomed yet as music. Talking with you now, I feel you know that more than anyone else. And I think you wish to make for the place very much now.
  (A) ... Huhuhuhu. Yes.
  (S) I really think so. And I think that's why you had thought in a practical manner (laugh) of leaving off your work once and releasing the best album.
  (A) Ahahahaha. Yes, That's really so.
  (S) Weren't you afraid of releasing the best album?
  (A) I was afraid. A best album is, you know. both a starting and an ending. It may happen that the carrer ends there. Well, something about it.
  (S) I understand. And, as I said in the beginning of this interview, you've kept on runnung at quite a high speed since your musical debut.
  (A) Yes.
  (S) You are going to piece together the works you've let out in such a way, without much confirmation or without being able to confirm. (Laugh) And the huge market is rising up for it again. I think they aren't the situations you can seize so positively.
  (A) Really.
  (S) But you have to release it now, don't you?
  (A) Well ... Huhuhu. Do you like me to say something?
  (S) Yes. (Laugh) Don't you have fear that you will be consumed up?
  (A) Well ... I don't know. I have no answer now. I have no time to think it over, partially because I myself have made such situations. ... I think about many things. I feel the revenge upon myself in the period of failures hasn't yet come to an end. (Laugh)
  (S) I see.
  (A) Well ... I'm now re-recording some previous songs. Terribly difficult somehow. I can't sing them at all. Far more difficult than the recording of a new song.
  (S) (Laugh) It's not the technical problem but the gap between you in actuality making for a certain direction now and ---
  (A) Yes. I wonder why I'm singing now with this musical performance, which causes discord in my mind. And ... my previous vocal performances have been already inputted in my brain, and I'm liable to sing in such manners.
  (S) Do you feel so even if you have confirmed the lyrics you had written before?
  (A) The lyrics are really ... There are some parts difficult for me to understand, though I wrote them myself.
  (S) (Laugh) Do you think as, "I want to rewrite them."?
  (A) Yes, very much. (Laugh) But if I did so --- it would be lies.
  (S) It would not be the best album before that. (Laugh)
  (A) True.
  (S) All right. The interview has almost ended. How have you felt about this?
  (A) Well, the staff around me had threatened me very much about this interview. (Laugh)
  (S) Ah, they told you that I'm quite a black-hearted man, the dubious man and the dubious magazine, or something like that?
  (A) Not that this is a dubious magazine. But, how can I say, it's not avex.
  (S) Of course it's not avex. (Laugh) But Toshiba EMI is not avex, either.
  (A) Hahahahaha. Many staff around me had tried to make me have such prejudices. (Laugh) And I thought, "If it's true, how should I do?"
  (S) Was it against the brand of "ROCKIN' ON JAPAN"?
  (A) Yes.
  (S) So, Hamasaki-san reads "ROCKIN' ON JAPAN" ---
  (A) I usually read it.
  (S) Almost every month?
  (A) Yes.
  (S) Ah, really.
  (A) But it seems the staff don't read it at all. And as I have a pretty image somehow, they had told me that "ROCKIN' ON JAPAN" is such and such ...
  (S) And you thought, "I know it. Shut up !"?
  (A) Yes. I said, "But I read it often. I know it." But they said as, "No, it's not right. There are many horrible grown-ups besides." So I had come here feeling much pain in the stomach.
  (S) Don't be foolish. They are living in the world far more weird.
  (A) Hahahahahaha !
  (S) (Laugh) And how do you feel now?
  (A) No problem. Well, very good for me to have worked together this time.
  (S) You are welcome. As I had expected, you had the clear intention, didn't you? The clear intention of talking in the interview of our magazine.
  (A) Yes, I had.
  (S) I felt so very much. And what is your general impression? I suppose it's for the first time for you to be interviewed in such a way?
  (A) Yes. As I'm usually interviewed by the same persons. It's quite rare for me to talk seriously with the person whom I met just a few hours ago. But somehow, I had thought you would not understand at all
  (S) Understand what?
  (A) Hmm, what Ayu meant.
  (S) Is it on some evidence that I don't understand your music well?
  (A) No, it isn't. Apart from that this is "ROCKIN' ON JAPAN", I hadn't thought I could talk, how do I say, so seriously with the person I met for the first time. I suppose that not a few persons take good care of me in such a case. If he says many things out of point, I'll probably answer as, "Yes, yes. That's it. Lucky !" (Laugh)
  (S) I see. I hope you will have such chances as this with various persons in various places.
  (A) I hope so, too.
  (S) And I think it will be very good for you not to feel disconsolate actually and not to make light of people. (Laugh)
  (A) (Laugh) Yes.
  (S) I had been looking forward to seeing you. The reason why I wanted to talk with you is --- I think Hamasaki-san is doing the activities now as the reaction to that you can't make terms with you past easily, which I've felt during this interview. But it's certain that you've left quite a lot of things. For example, I can't imagine myself talking with B'z easily. And the reason is that I can't see their faces, though I know the fact that many of their CDs sold more than two million copies, setting two million as a standard figure now. But you certainly leave your face on your works, the more they sell.
  (A) Hmm.
  (S) Irrespective of whether the situation is good or bad, to you and to me. I can't guess how many copies this best album will sell. But supposing it sells two millions now, your activities will certainly have left your face for the sales figure. Because, frankly and simply speaking, the two million people are like you.
  (A) Ahahahahaha !
  (S) I think it very exciting that you are doing such activities through music. I had been interested in that and came here today. Don't you think something like that?
  (A) No. I've been told so for the first time, and I've thought, "Ah, you think so." But I've come to feel I understand it. (Laugh)
  (S) One regrettable thing is we could talk very little about music. (Laugh)
  (A) Yes. (Laugh)
  (S) I had glanced over what is called the exposing book. (Laugh)
  (A) Ahaha !
  (S) It was written there that you had listened to Rebecca and Boowy before (laugh), and I had thought you would talk about such artists. But when I asked, "How about music?", you didn't at all ---
  (A) Well, I said so maybe because I had to say so, even though I hadn't liked them so much. I think I could talk enough and well today.
  (S) I would rather say that you've been so brave in today's interview. (Laugh)
  (A) Hahahaha.
  (S) Though you've done lots of activities, I think you've just started to challenge composing. I think and hope Hamasaki-san will do some more musical challenge from now on, though I don't know if you disclose youe real intention or you put out what you've felt fresh and assimilated.
  (A) Yes.
  (S) I'm looking forward to it.
  (A) Thank you very much.

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