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Ayumi Hamasaki (Japanese Singer)
Ayumi Hamasaki, a.k.a. "Ayu", is dubbed "the Empress of Japanese Pop". She is hugely popular in Japan and is one of the country’s few singers ever to become known overseas. She was born in 1978 on Japan’s southern island Kyushu. She moved to Tokyo when she was 14 because she wanted to become a superstar. After a brief spell as a model, she got into singing.

In 1998, she released several singles that did OK in the Japanese charts, but did not give her the fame she desired. Her 1999 debut album ‘A Song for XX’ debuted at number one in the music charts and stayed there for four weeks in a row. Ayu had arrived and her adoring fans loved her. She quickly became an icon and a style sensation.

She has sold over 50 million records, making her one of Japan's best-selling singers ever. She holds the record for a Japanese female having the most number-one singles and for having a number-one single every year for ten consecutive years. Her music videos are the most extravagant and expensive ever made by a non-American.

In 2008, Hamasaki revealed that she had become totally deaf in one ear, and that her condition was permanent. Despite this setback, she stated that she would continue singing. She told her fans that she would "not give up" on them, and that "as a professional", she would like to "deliver the best performance for everyone".
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