What is Amuro Namie’s ethnicity?
Are there songs that Amuro Namie has never performed live or others that were never released?
Why has Amuro Namie stopped performing in TV shows?
How did the press treated Amuro Namie before her second peak?
Has Amuro Namie ever sung in other languages than Japanese and English?
Does Amuro Namie communicate with her fans?
Which countries has Amuro Namie ever been to?
Do we know any of Amuro Namie’s friends?
What do we know about Amuro Namie’s lovelife?
How much do we know about Haruto?
What about her tattoos? 
Does Amuro Namie play any instrument? NEW
Why did Amuro Namie retire? NEW
What does Amuro Namie intend to do after she retires? NEW


What is Amuro Namie’s ethnicity? [UPDATED]
It is likely that you have read somewhere that Amuro Namie was 3/4 Japanese and 1/4 Italian. This is actually inaccurate. The truth is that no one knows, including Amuro herself, what she is besides 3/4 Okinawan.

Moreover, being Okinawan is not exactly the same as being Japanese since the Ryukyuan people, who are indigenous of the Ryukyu Islands, are more related to the Ainu and the Jomon prehistoric society than the Japanese majority living on the main islands.

The left quarter is Western, but is it American, Italian-American, Spanish-American, Irish-American…? We have no idea. Taira Emiko, Amuro’s mother, revealed in her book Yakusoku that she didn’t know about her non-Okinawan origins, except for they were Western.

Okinawa’s colonial context and the occupation of the island by American militaries after Second World War play a great part in this family history. Amuro’s grandmother used to work in a military base as a cleaning lady. Even though numerous testimonies have recounted Okinawa’s tragic history and the fate of women working in American bases, it seems like Amuro’s grandmother was not molested but had a relationship with an American soldier. Taira Emiko remembers that her mother always kept a letter written in English and a very small, blurred, photography. She assumes they were memories of her father.

So how this 1/4 Italian appeared? It was clear from the beginning that Amuro Namie was not 100% Asian and it was just a matter of time before the public would start wondering. It was then necessary to build up something. When Amuro’s fame started to rise, medias went indeed to ask Amuro’s family about her ethnicity. Taira Emiko answered she had no clue about her father’s origins, but other members of her family suggested he might have been British or Italian. It seems like Amuro’s agency chose to pick the Italian option.

The origin of this choice could lie in the fact that Amuro Namie with the SUPER MONKEY’S only started being successful with Italian eurobeat. Italy is also famous for fashion and Amuro was quickly becoming a fashion icon in 1995. This is not entirely a coincidence if she was chosen as the spokeperson for Fiorucci’s fashion brand in 1996, appearing in the TV commercials with Elio Fiorucci himself and being called “Amurocci”. The ‘Italian’ ethnicity added more to her Okinawan exoticism than a simple ‘American’ or ‘Western’ one.

As a conclusion, Amuro Namie simply is:
75% Okinawan
25% Western [White American]


Why has Amuro Namie stopped performing in TV shows?

There are several reasons to this. Amuro Namie has appeared in countless TV shows during the mid-1990s. In 1996, she was on TV every night. With age, she must have grown tired of it. But more specifically, three explanations can be given:

First of all, Amuro Namie has explained that she doesn’t know what to say and how to interact with hosts. This is also the reason why she stopped doing MCs in her concerts. The conversation part in TV shows was stressful to her.

Secondly, Amuro has also explained that she doesn’t like performing without an audience and most TV shows don’t have one.

Thirdly, it has been rumored that in the early 2000s, Amuro asked her agency to help her being promoted by appearing in more TV shows. As they did nothing to assist her, when she got her fame back and she was asked to attend TV shows, she simply refused.


How did the press treated Amuro Namie after her second peak?

During the mid-1990s, Amuro Namie became the “little fiancée of Japan”, meaning she was loved more than you can imagine at the point of becoming a society phenomenon. Thousands of girls started imitating her and were called “Amuraa”.

When Amuro got married, Japan did not scrapped her. On the contrary, the country remained attentive and waited for her comeback. When she did in 1998, during the annual TV show NHK Kouhaku Utagussen, she was warmly welcomed and could have regained her fame.

It has often been said that Amuro’s fall was due to newcomers such Hamasaki Ayumi and Utada Hikaru. But the truth is that these two singers were evolving in different styles and that, without getting the number 1 spot again, Amuro could have maintained her populary. In 1999-early 2000, she was actually still a decent seller.

Japan did not really care about Amuro getting married and did not expect her to act as a mother: they wanted the same sparkling Amuro that they knew before her maternity leave. Namie, on the other hand, thought the public would expect her to act differently. Her family-in-law could have also played a role in this and pressure her to change her style. When she came back, she was dark-haired, less tanned and wore less revealing clothes. Even whe she had a mini-skirt and boots, she would counterbalance them with a sweater. These changes were the first to affect her popularity and explain why Amuro spent so much time trying to define herself, leading to an identity crisis which has been resolved through giving up her name and participating the SUITE CHIC project.

Her divorce also deeply affected her popularity. Divorce is still very frown upon in Japan. The fact the she gave up Haruto’s custody to SAM got things even worse. Many photos from drunk parties with other celebrities leaked in tabloids in 2002-2003. Amuro was accused of being a bad mother and abandoning her son to her work and parties. Everyone said, including her closest friends, that she was finished.

The fact that Amuro started getting big tattoos dedicated to her mother and her son in 2002 were also poorly regarded. It needs to be recalled that Japan associates tattoos with yakuza (mafia) and that people wearing them are still mostly denied from public hot baths. When she participated NHK Kouhaku Utagussen in 2003, she was forced to hide her tattoos with make-up.

Things started getting a little better when Amuro took Haruto’s custody back and when her hard work as a performer started being recognized. It was slow, but from 2007 with ‘Baby Don’t Cry’, she started being in the picture again. Her second peak arrived in 2008 with the release of ’60s70s80s’ single and ‘BEST FICTION’ album.

Since then, the press has been much more merciful and even laudatory to her. In 2017, when she announced her retirement, she was called “Heisei era’s hero”.


Are there songs that Amuro Namie has never performed live or others that were never released?

Yes. You can find here a list called “Songs that…” with many features.


Has Amuro Namie ever sung in other languages than Japanese and English?

Yes, but mostly just a few words. She sings a whole verse in Mandarin in ‘I’m not yours’ and had small phrases of ‘NEVER END’ and ‘CAN YOU CELEBRATE?’ translated during her concerts in Taiwan.

In “I Love You”, she sings ‘Je t’aime’ in French, ‘Yo te quiero’ in Spanish and ‘Wo ai ni’ in Mandarin. She also sings “Mi corazón bate por ti” in ‘Mi Corazón (te’ amour)’ and counts “uno dos tres quatro” in ‘Step With It’. In ‘Dreaming I was dreaming’ and ‘Luvotomy’, she sings the French words “déjà-vu” and “nouveau” and counts “un deux trois” in ‘Do Me More’.


Does Amuro Namie communicate with her fans?

Back in the mid-1990s, Amuro Namie used to have a website called AM-GLAM (www.amuro.com) with a contact page. An official e-mail namie@planettk.co.jpclub was provided, but it was soon shut down because of the amount of messages immediately received.

Since then, fans have been sending their letters to her fanclub or agency and Amuro communicates through her fanclub, which used to be called CLUB AMRER before changing its name to AmR (Amuro Music Ring) in 2000 and once again to FAN SPACE in 2002.

Amuro Namie is not known to have communicated directly with fans, except in the late 1990s-early 2000s when she would enter chatrooms and BBS on Japanese fansites and try to introduce herself. But no one would believe her, especially after her management responded that she did not browse the Internet late at night. Nevertheless, she left a message once on a BBS to thank her fans explaining that she would not have been able to pursue her career after her mother’s death without their continuous support. She is known to have read their letters.

Amuro Namie has never had any Instagram account and she only used blogs and Twitter for a limited period of times (during a few tours). Her official Facebook is very active on the other hand, but only a very few messages seem to have been written by her. Except for spontaneous encounters, she is only known to have met fans during her Hawaii concert in 2000 and her Singapour promotional visit in 2012.


Which countries has Amuro Namie ever been to?

Follow the link and you will find a list of the countries we know Amuro has visited and/or performed in.


Do we know any of Amuro Namie’s friends?

We don’t really know much about her personal life. She has often said that she doesn’t have many friends and mostly see people from her workplace. Longtime collaborators like choreographer Izumi or bassist/vocal director Sano Kenji might be among her friends. She also seems to get along with her dancers, especially hossy. Someone like AI could also be among of her friends. We know that she was particularly at ease with Downtown’s duet (Matsumoto Hitoshi and Hamada Masatoshi) too.

When Amuro Namie was younger, the members of the SUPER MONKEY’S were her best friends. She particularly bounded with Nana. You can clearly see in videos of the mid-1990s how close the two of them were. When Amuro had a photoshoot in Jamaica and celebrated her 19th birthday , Nana made her a surprise appearance. Also, in the beginning of the 2000s, she appeared in TV shows with her.

Amuro Namie has often said that should she have debuted solo, she might have not been able to have the carrier she had. The fact that the girls faced many difficulties together, from leaving Okinawa to doing poorly in charts, reinforced their friendship. Besides, when Amuro went solo, Nana, Mina, Reina et Lina continued dancing her the middle of 1996. When Amuro came back after her pregnancy, she was warmly welcomed by them during the Kouhaku Utagussen.

We don’t know if this friendship went on since they have not been seen together for a long time. Live Style 2006 pamphlet only includes a picture with the former Super Monkey’s members who had left the industry (Ameku Minako, Makino Anna and Arakaki Hisako). On the other hand, Amuro posted a picture in 2013 where she imitates MAX’s Tacata choreography. And when she announced her retirement, they all shared very nice messages.


What do we know about Amuro Namie’s lovelife?

Very few things and mostly suppositions since Amuro Namie has remained a very private person.

She said that when she was a teenager, she was not so much interested in love. Even though she had a crush, she never had any boyfriend. Her ideal type back then was sumo wrestler Daigoro Takamiyama.

Back in the 1990s, she has been rumored to date actors Yamamoto Taro and Sorimachi Takashi as well as dancer Kawano Yonosuke. She also said once that she liked men like Kato Shingo from SMAP which led to believe that they were dating.

Maruyama Masaharu, known as ‘SAM’ from TRF, was among Namie’s dance instructors when she started working with Komuro Tetsuya. That’s how they met. We don’t know when their relationship exactly began. The couple announced during their wedding press conference that they only started dating in January 1997, but during SAM’s appearance at 1996 Live at Chiba Marine Stadium, they already seemed to be close.

In September 1997, they suddenly announced that they were getting married and that Amuro was pregnant of three months. This shotgun wedding were unexpected news in Japan and led to the development of the term ‘dekichatta ketton’ (or ‘dekikon’). Amuro & SAM were still seen as a responsible couple and taken as an example by the governement. SAM even participated with their baby boy Haruto, born in May 1998, in an official campaign to encourage young men to be responsible fathers.

The couple finally divorced in 2002. The official reason they gave was that they were too busy with their respective work and spent their time missing each other. Tabloids made many other hypothesis, especially concerning SAM’s family not wanting Amuro to pursue her career as a ‘sexy’ singer and decreeing that Haruto would be a doctor like the rest of the family.

Amuro Namie has never commented her divorce, but the lyrics of ‘Did U’ (2002) that she penned herself, might give hints about her thoughts at the time. Moreover, this is one the rare B-Sides in her career that received a music video while she decided not to perform it live.

At the end of ‘ALARM’ music video (2004), she is also seen throwing a ring away which corresponds to the time she was fighting to get Haruto’s custody back.

Interesting fact, during an interview at Okinawa Film Festival, the host announced that he had divorced one year ago. Amuro answered: “So the wound should just be about healed.”

Around 2003, Amuro Namie seems to have dated Miyake Ken from V6.

In 2010, she is known to have dated comedian Tamura Atsushi from London Boots. Even though her agency claimed it was not the reason for their breakup, they separated not long after he gave a press conference about their relationship.

Finally, in 2014, when Amuro declared her independence from Rising Productions, tabloids suggested that she had an affair with Nishi Shigehiro, president of event producing company ‘On The Line’, a married man whose family lived in the same apartment complex as her, and that she was being brainwashed by him. The magazine that started this rumor issued apologies in 2018.


How much do we know about Haruto?

Once again, not much. Haruto was born on May 18th 1998. The first kanji of this name is taken from SAM’s name “MasaHARU”. The two kanji mean “Warm” and “Big”.

He can be seen with SAM as a baby boy in an official campaign issued by the government to encourage young men to be responsible fathers.

When he grew up, Amuro was very anxious to protect him from the media. Tabloids still managed to take pictures of him, but used to blur them. When they didn’t, Amuro sued them.

Between 2002 and 2004, SAM had the sole custody of Haruto. This decision was practical since Namie had a much busier schedule. Besides, Amuro and SAM were still living in the same apartment complex on different floors, and their child could see both his parents as much as he wanted. Even after their divorce, Amuro and SAM could be seen attending their son’s school events together. However, this decision was not well received by the press and Amuro was accused of being a bad mother, preferring her career to her son. Tabloids claimed that she left him at nights and went partying.

In 2004, SAM was thinking about getting married again. Child custody works very differently in Japan and it is thought that a child should not be teared between two homes. So when the parent who holds the custody remarries, the other one almost loses the right to see their child again. This is the reason why, and in reaction the press commentaries,  Amuro Namie decided to take Haruto’s custody back.

Amuro revealed in 2017 that the song ‘Say the word’, for which she has penned the lyrics herself was dedicated to her son. ‘MY DARLING‘ is also known to be dedicated to him. In 1999, she also had a tattoo with his name on it, just under the one dedicated to her mother. The singer also said that she tried limiting her working hours so she could spend as much time as she could with her son. She used to accompany him at school and make his bentos. She has also traveled a lot with him, especially in Europe and the United States.

Divergent commentaries have been made about Amuro’s boyfriends and Haruto. Some of her close friends have said that she would not introduce anyone to her son if she does not intend to marry while tabloids have related that Tamura Atsushi would cook for Haruto.

In 2013, it was announced that Haruto had obtained a major role in a NHK drama that was supposed to air in 2015. But this has revealed to only be rumors.

In 2017, we learnt that Haruto had attended international schools in Tokyo since his young age. In high school, he entered a school specialized in English education. During this time, he also studied in the United States. He is supposed to attend a prestigious university in 2018.

Meanwhile, he is also said to be singing, dancing and playing the piano. He has been witnessed practicing her Avex’s office in Tokyo. He might debut his career after Amuro Namie’s retirement.


What about her tattoos?

Amuro Namie had her first tattoo in 1996 when she was in Jamaica. It is a barcode that reads her birthday, ‘19770920’. She said in her photobook that it is supposed to provide information about her in case of emergency. It is located near her left wrist.

The second tattoo she got is just under the first one and consists in a floral pattern enlacing her wrist. She had it drawn in 2001.

Her third and fouth tattoos were made in 2002, three years after her mother’s death. They seem to appear on her right shoulder for the first time during MTV Video Music Awards Japan.

The one dedicated to her mother reads:
JUN.30 in 1950
my mothers love live with me
Eternally in my heart
MAR.17 in 1999

The other one is her son’s name, Haruto, in stylized capital letters.

A fifth tattoo has appeared in 2011 in the inside of her right arm. It reads “Love, Peace, World”.

She has slowly been in the process of removing her first two tattoos around 2010, the two other ones from 2012 and the last one in 2015. None of them can be seen anymore.

Fans have been wondering about the the significance of her mother’s tattoo removal: either the tattoo was already fading and changing in aspect so she chose to remove it for aesthetics reasons, either she considered her mourning to be achieved and she managed to suffenciently overcome the traumatic experience of her mother’s murder to be at peace with it and finally remove the tattoo.


Does Amuro Namie play any instrument?

Amuro Namie learnt how to play the battery after she debuted, thinking her career as a singer would not last and wanting to have more than one string to her bow. She can be seen playing the battery in early concerts and TV shows, as well as in the ending theme of ‘Shonan Liverpool Academy’.

In 2013, medias also announced that she learnt how to play the piano as demonstrated in ‘Let Me Let You Go’ PV. Nevertheless, the story caused controversy after pianist Fukawa Ryo said her she was just pretending to play the piano and her gestures would not produce the sound we hear.


Why did Amuro Namie retire?

Similarly to other questions, only suppositions can be made. It seems like the young Amuro Namie took the decision to retire after her 20th anniversary and after she had a dome tour when she debuted. Her recent interviews and the messages left by her former Super Monkey’s friends in September 2017 seem to corroborate this hypothesis. She probably planned to announce her retirement after her 20th Anniversary live in Okinawa. But the typhoon that led to the cancellation of the show interfered with her plans and she decided to add five more years to her career.

People have been commenting the fact that Amuro was simply fed up with singing and dancing, but other reasons must have led to this decision. Amuro Namie is known for being stubborn when it comes to work, as she admitted herself, but also very intransigent and demanding towards herself. She has repeatedly said in interviews that she did not know how long she would be able to keep singing and dancing. Even though she has shown admiration for Janet Jackson and Madonna who pursued their career after their 40s, she has always taken care to precise she would do the same only if she had the physical ability to do so.

Amuro is known to avoid lipsynching, have long setlists and exhausting tours. Her passion is live performance and the combination of singing and dancing. She is quite realistic about her capacities, admitting she is not the best dancer or singer ever, but when it comes to doing both at the same time, she might be able to surpass others. It has been asked why Amuro did not just slow down the pace and partly give up on dancing: she seems to not resolve herself to do so since it does not fit her aspirations as an artist. Despite her good health condition, years are passing and she probably thinks she is not able to give the best of herself anymore. This is the kind of intransigence that must have led to her decision, apart from wanting to dedicate her life to other things or simply live her life, given that she has been working since her teenage years.


What does Amuro Namie intend to do after she retires?

Amuro Namie has announced nothing, professionnally speaking, about her post-retirement’s intentions. Speculations have consequently been rife. Rumors say she has bought an expensive appartment in Kyoto, not far from a major temple, and that she will just live a simple live there. Others report she wishes to open a jazz club or launch a fashion line. The most popular suggestion is that she will manage and train new artists: she indeed expressed the wish to do so in old interviews. Many think she will be the one who manages her son’s career. However, she has taken the decision to shut down all her companies, including her label Dimension Point. Even though it does not remove the possibility for her to start new structures, it probably won’t happen in a very close future. More recently, tabloids have also been hinting at a fake retirement, expecting a come-back at the end of the year, or an involvement in politics – Amuro having expressed much support to Okinawa these last year. Both suggestions are very far-fetched.

The most probable thing is that Amuro Namie will at least take one year to rest and travel. She said in numerous interviews that she would like to visit more countries and eat all the specialities she can. The rest is up to her: she might or might not play a new role in the musical scene, but one thing is sure she won’t return to the stage. “My life as Amuro Namie the singer has ended with my 25th anniversary”, she said. And you know the girl is stubborn.