Namie / France / Europe

When I discovered Amuro Namie in 1996, I wasn't even 12 years-old. I opened my first website a few months later in 1997 and decided to name it "Namie Amuro in French". As a French teenager, I went for every tiny clue that could relate Namie to France. I was particularly excited when Toi et moi was released in 1999 and inclined to rename my website as such. Lately, I have been inspired by Socurious' work to retrieve all my memories and archives and show what could bring Namie and France together. That was actually quite fun and I may find additional details with time. I have also added a "European" version even though I lack of early material. Do not hesitate to bring anything to my attention through commenting or Facebook.



NAMIE / rest of EUROPE

Namie / France




Two French signs can be seen in Sweet 19 blues PV.

The first one reads "Halard... du reu". Halard sounds like a family name while "reu" may be a corruption of the French "rue" ("street").

The second one, right at the bottom, reads "Tonnages" (same as English).



Following the success of her album Sweet 19 blues, Reuters Communication interviews Namie Amuro. The footage is broadcasted on more than 600 TV channels around the world, including Euronews. It is translated into several languages, including French.



Several French magazines dedicated to mangas and video games publish articles about Namie Amuro.

Yoko Magazine (1997-02), Console Plus (1997-02)



Marc Panther, French-Japanese member of globe, co-writes several tracks of Namie Amuro's new album Concentration 20. In an interview for JaME (2012), he says: "I wrote the lyrics, I was the poet. In Los Angeles, I would wake up and find 4 cassettes waiting for me on the front door: I had to write everyday. At the end, there were pink elephants coming out of Namie Amuro's lyrics... (Laughs)".




The aesthetics of Dreaming I was dreaming PV is inspired by the French Avant-Garde of the 1920s.

Fashion: short hairstyles ; "roaring twenties" dresses ; cigarette holders ; pencil moustaches

Art: Cubism/Futurism ; Art nouveau ; Modigliani ; Man Ray and Kiki de Montparnasse ; Nijinski and the Russian Ballet

Exoticism/Primitivism: Japonism ; tom-tom players ; African-Oceanian-Yup'ik inspired masks ; Joséphine Baker ; screens with ancient French worldmap

But there is much inventiveness in these choices: the tom-tom players are wearing Venitian masks while an African shield is represented in a cubist-2D way. The giant Braque and Picasso-inspired painting shows a modern landscape with contemporary buildings instead of the small houses of Provence. The painting inspired by Braque's cubist "Pont du Gard" (see above cubism/futurism) also seems to be infused with futurism. More details are open to interpretation. The dreamspace seem to allow the merging of times and geographies to redefine art history.

The lyrics of Dreaming I was dreaming contain the French expression "déjà-vu".



Namie Amuro appears for a few seconds in the special Japan edition of French TV show Plus vite que la musique ("Faster than music", M6 Channel)

The short clip is from How to be girl live at Utaban (1997-05-20)



French plastic artist Alexandre Périgot uses a photography of Namie Amuro in his collage Fanclubbing.



Namie Amuro's new single is entitled Toi et moi: "You and me" in French. The lyrics do not contain any French though.



French TV channel Game one, which is dedicated to video games, regularly broadcasts a video clip of Digital Dance Mix vol.1.



Mi Corazon (te' amour) is one of the new tracks of album Genius 2000. The word "amour" is the French for "love". It replaces the Spanish "amo" ("te amo": "I love you"). The Japanese pronunciation of "amour" actually sounds like "Amuro".



In Tour Genius 2000 pamphlet, a photo-montage shows the touring bus on the Trocadero promenade in Paris. The Eiffel tower can be seen from there.



Namie Amuro sings Never end during a reception held for the international leaders invited to the G8 Summit in Okinawa, including French President Jacques Chirac who is known to be very fond of Japanese culture. He has been photographed with Namie Amuro and Tetsuya Komuro.

Several French TV channels cover the event. A few seconds of Namie Amuro's live is aired during TF1's news broadcast.



TV CM for Meiji Fran is shot in Paris and more precisely in Montmartre. The other pictures of the campaign are shot Place Baudoyer, Place des Vosges and along the banks of river Seine.

Namie Amuro said that she didn't fully enjoy Paris: there were dog poops everywhere and too many Japanese tourists could recognize her.

The first notes of Please smile again, which is then tied to Fran's CM, have a "Versailles" inspiration.



Alexandre Périgot's Fanclubbing (see 1998) is part of the works selected for the exhibition Au-delà du spectacle at the Centre Pompidou - National Museum of Modern (Paris).



VERBAL (m-flo) decides to name the collaborative project to which Namie Amuro takes part "Suite Chic". In French, "Suite" can refer to a hotel suite or to future developments ("la suite" is what happens next). Chic means elegant and stylish.



The demo of As good as, a song from album Style, is also bought by French band Whatfor. The French version is entitled Je ne suis pas un ange ("I am not an angel").



The lyrics of I love you, a song from album Queen of Hip-Pop, contain the French "Je t'aime".




The lyrics of Luvotomy, a song from m-flo's album Cosmicolor, contain the bilingual sentence "We're so nouveau" ("We're so new").

photo coming soon...



In Hide and Seek PV, a song from album Play, you can see barricade tape with the French words "entrée interdite" ("no entry").



In Do me more, a song from album Best Fiction, Namie Amuro sings the French words "un deux trois" ("one two three").




French singer Matt Pokora mentions Namie Amuro as his inspiration for his song Tokyo Girl.



The aesthetics of Vidal Sassoon new TV spot is inspired by rococo and Marie-Antoinette's style. The CM is entitled "Bourgeois Gorgeous".



Namie Amuro flies to Paris for a shooting with Karl Lagerfeld, to be included in Vogue Taiwan.



Namie Amuro is invited to attend the World Music Awards in Monaco. She stops in French town Bordeaux where she visits the Saint-André cathedral and has some wine tasting.



Namie Amuro spends some time in Paris.



A video from Live Style 2011 shows the Arch of Triumph. (Source: Socurious)



Namie Amuro stays in Paris and attends the 14th of July parade (National Day). She is also spotted in a Chanel boutique. She then flies to Barcelona in Spain.



Namie Amuro stays in Paris.



Namie Amuro's team releases a special documentary for her 20th anniversary on official youtube channel. It is translated into several languages, including French.



The 2014 version of Sweet 19 blues, from album Ballada, shows the same French signs as the former version, but offers a better view.

One reads "Tonnages", another "Yves Halard au fond du reu" (certainly meant to be "Yves Halard au fond de la rue", which means "Yves Halard at the end of the street"). Yves Halard is a French interior designer.

A third sign reads "un homme et une femme" ("a man and a woman").



In Four Seasons PV, from album Ballada, the background for the autumn part is Paris. The view is from the quay of Bourbon, Saint-Louis island. Saint-Gervais-Saint-Protais church can be seen from there. The arch featured in the PV doesn't exit though.



The logo of album Ballada contains several French coats of arms (Provence, Anjou, Comtat venaissin - Source: Socurious). 

"Ballada" means "dancing" in old Provençal.



The car featured in Brighter day PV is the iconic French Citroën CX, which was edited between 1974 and 1991. 




French DJ David Guetta asks Namie Amuro to sing a new version of his song What I did for love, which originally featured Emili Sandé. The song can be found on new album _genic.



Red carpet's setting bears a strong French inspiration. A sign on the first shop-front window reads: "Depuis 1942. Cordonnier" which means "Since 1942. Shoemaker" in French. On the second shop, one can read "Librairie - Book Print". "Librairie" being the French for "Bookshop". Namie Amuro also wears a coat clearly inspired by Christian Dior 1952 collection while the final scene shows a view from Montmartre, Paris.



Finally, Namie has been seen wearing many French designers creations such as Balmain, Barbara Bui, Céline, Chanel, Chloé, Christian Dior, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Givenchy, Lacoste, Lanvin, Christian Louboutin, Nina Ricci, Sonia Rykiel, Yves Saint-Laurent and Louis Vuitton.






Namie / rest of Europe



Namie Amuro covers several Eurobeat songs originally produced in Italy by Rodgers & Contini Record: Try me (Lolita - 1995), Memories (Norma Sheffield - 1993), Season (Veronica Sales - 1994), Burning love (D-Essex), Go Go (DJ NRG - 1995).



Stop the music (Sophie) was originally produced in 1992 by Giacomo Maiolini.




Namie Amuro's profiles mention that she is 3/4 Japanese and 1/4 Italian. This ethnical background is actually made up: Namie's mother, Emiko Taira, wrote later in her book Yakusoku that she never knew her biological father's background except for it was Western/European.



Namie Amuro becomes the new brand ambassador for Edwin Fiorucci. Fiorucci is an Italian fashion label founded in 1967 by Elio Fiorucci. It was partly sold in 1990 to the Japanese group Edwin Co. Ltd.

Namie Amuro is probably chosen to represent the brand for her status as a fashion icon and because she is is said to be part Italian (sea above c.1995-1997). Both TV Commercials show Namie Amuro and Elio Fiorucci meeting and being transported to Milan, Italy.




Namie Amuro receives the World Music Award for "Best Selling Japanese Recording Artist of the Music". She doesn't attend the ceremony in Monte Carlo (Monaco), but leaves a video message. The latter is not broadcasted on every channel though. French TV channels do not air it for example.




Mi Corazon (te' amour) is one of the new tracks of album Genius 2000. The title and the lyrics "Mi corazon bate por ti" are in Spanish. The song has a flamenco feeling. During Genius 2000 tour, Namie Amuro wears a long flounced skirt that recalls flamenco costumes. The choregraphy also takes inspiration in flamenco.

photos to come...




The lyrics of I love you, a song from album Queen of Hip-Pop, contain the Spanish sentence "Yo te quiero".



In Step with it, a song from album Play, Namie Amuro sings the Spanish words "une dos tres cuatro" ("one two three four").



New Look's PV alludes to British icon of the 1960's, Twiggy. The promotional campaign to which the song is tied endorses Vidal Sassoon hair products. Vidal Sassoon was a British hairstylist known for the Bob cut that Twiggy herself sported.




New TV commercial for Vidal Sassoon, "Amuroad", shows a style associated with the city of London, United Kingdom.




Namie Amuro is invited by Karl Lagerfeld to attend Milan's Chanel fashion show, Italy.




Namie Amuro stays in Pisa, Florence and Porto Venere in Italy as well as Monte Carlo in Monaco for the World Music Awards.



She also flies to Santorini and Athens in Greece, and London in United Kingdom.






New TV commercial for Kosé Esprique is filmed in Palma de Mallorca, Balearic Islands (Spain).






Live Style 2011 pamphlet is shot in Rome, Italy. The city pictures are taken Piazza della Repubblica.




Love Story music video is filmed in London, United Kingdom.




Namie Amuro stays in Naples, Venice, Capri and Amalfi in Italy as well as in Barcelona, Spain.



Ballerina is the tied-in song for Vogue x Italian brand Gucci new promotional campaign. 




Namie Amuro's team releases a special documentary for her 20th anniversary on official youtube channel. It is translated into several languages, including Spanish and Portuguese.





New TV commercial for Kosé Esprique is filmed in Sychrov Castle, Czech Republic. Namie enjoys this opportunity to visit Prague.




Namie Amuro spent some of her holidays in Sardegna along with Aki Müller Yamauchi of Japan Proxy, a Swiss-based store selling goods from Japan.





Namie Amuro has been working with European music producers and songwriters since the early 2000s, but this tendency has grown even stronger in the 2010s, following the worldwide trend of the music industry.
Many Swedish, Norwegian and British artists are credited for her songs, Erik Lidbom, Maria Marcus and Andreas Öberg being the most prolific ones. For a full list of Namie's songwriters, follow the link.



Finally, Namie Amuro has been seen wearing numerous Italian fashion houses creations such as Emporio & Giorgio Armani, Roberto Cavalli, Alessandro Dell'Acqua, Dolce & Gabbana, Etro, Fendi, Alberta Ferretti, Paola Frani, Gucci, Missoni, Miu Miu, Anna Molinari, Moschino, MSGM, Maurizio Pecoraro, Prada, Emilio Pucci, Emanuel Ungaro, Valentino, Giambatista Valli and Versace.


As for British designers, Namie has often seen been wearing Burberry trench coats. Also, the Burberry skirt she wore in 1997 during her wedding announcement press conference launched a trend in Japan.


Namie also often wears British designer Jimmy Choo's shoes. She has also worn creations by Dutch fashion house Viktor&Rolf, British designer Alexander McQueen and German designer Jil Sander.