Among the myriad singers and musical groups in modern Japanese culture, most can be sorted into two rather stereotypical categories: J-Pop and J-Rock. And for the most part, the majority of female Japanese artists fall under J-Pop, and male artists under J-Rock. There are, of course, a great many exceptions to this hyper-generalisation, and one of them is Aikawa Nanase1.
Aikawa Nanase is, plain and simply, a rocker. While she does have her fair share of soft songs (such as 'Dandelion' and the contents of The Last Quarter), and fun songs ('Break Out,' 'Cosmic Love'), a good portion of her collection (and, indeed, the majority of her most popular songs) fall firmly under the rock category.
Aikawa Nanase was born 16 February, 1975 in Osaka, Japan. Her parents divorced when she was young, which affected her significantly in that she developed into a bit of a troublemaker (which also happens to be the title of one of her best songs.) It is rumoured that she was in a girl gang in her young teenage years, and supposedly may have been its leader. Another story has it that she was severely bullied by classmates, giving rise to nightmares, and she skipped an entire year of school. Regardless, at the age of 15, she left all that behind, dropped out of school and was discovered by well-known music producer Tetsuro Oda. Throughout her school years, Nanase would sing, and participated in a few singing competitions, which routinely passed her over, though brought her to the attention of Mr Oda. He trained Nanase as a singer for five years before she released her first single, though the details of her life in those years are sketchy.
As can be seen from the above, Nanase is an intensely private person. She never gave a media interview until three years after she burst onto the musical scene, and in fact very little is known about her personal life except for the bits and pieces she feels confident enough to announce. For instance, on 16 February, 2001, a great many of her male fans were heartbroken when she publicly announced that she had got married that very day. She published this, and the fact that she was already three-months pregnant, on her official website. Nothing else about her relationship was known until the birth of her son, on 6 September, 2001.
She is 'polite, but seldom enthusiastic'2 in interviews, but frequently leaves hand-written messages on her official site. Very little else is known of her. This may also be due to the lack of Japanese to English translators in the Aikawa Nanase fan base. Oddly enough, roughly half of the non-Japanese Nanase fans are Chinese.
After she released her first single in November, 1995, she released three more singles, and then her first full album Red in 1996, which sold more than two million copies in its first month. That album won her an invitation to perform in a New Year's Eve singing contest between male and female teams of popular singers sponsored by NHK (one of Japan's television companies). Since then, she's released an album each year, plus an average of three mini- or maxi-singles3. Her second album, Paradox, was released in July 1997, selling 1.8 million copies, and coincided with her first concert tour 'Live Emotion '97' (consisting of 20 concert dates, attracting a total of 65,000 fans, according to Avex.) July 1998 saw her third album Crimson, and another concert tour with over 40 concert dates. Her 1999 release, I.D., was a compilation album, but it debuted at number one on the Rock chart, her fourth consecutive album to release in the number one slot. In 2001, she also released a 'mini-album', something between a full album and a single, of uncharacteristically soft, though lovely, ballad-style music, recorded during her later months of pregnancy.
At the 11th Annual Japan Gold Disc Awards, Nanase's album Red was voted the Best Album (Japanese Rock and Folk music, female vocalist category). Her album Paradox was voted Best Album of the Year, at the 12th Annual Japan Gold Disc Awards.
To date (January 2002), Aikawa Nanase has released five albums, plus one compilation album and the mini-album, a total of 19 singles, and no less than three separate concerts and two music video collections on video and DVD.
Aikawa Nanase publishes her music under the Motorod label, a division of Avex Group.
|Birthday:||16 February, 1975|
Year of the Hare
|Weight:||39kg (86 lbs)|
|Hair:||Varies (Brown, currently)|
|Favourite Time of Day:||Night|
|'Yume Miru Shoujou Ja Irarenai5'||(8 November, 1995) Mini-Single|
|'Bye Bye'||(9 February, 1996) Mini-Single|
|'Like A Hard Rain'||(17 April, 1996) Mini-Single|
|'Break Out!'||(5 June, 1996) Mini-Single|
|Red||(3 July, 1996) First Album|
|'Koigokoro6'||(7 October, 1996) Mini-Single|
|'Troublemaker'||(13 February, 1997) Mini-Single|
|'Sweet Emotion'||(1 May, 1997) Mini-Single|
|Paradox||(2 July, 1997) Second Album|
|'Bad Girls'||(12 November, 1997) Mini-Single|
|'Kanojo To Watashi No Jijou7'||(4 February, 1998) Mini-Single|
|'Nostalgia'||(8 May, 1998) Mini-Single|
|Crimson||(8 July, 1998) Third Album|
|'Lovin' You'||(6 November, 1998) Mini-Single|
|'Cosmic Love'||(17 March, 1999) Mini-Single|
|I.D.||(19 May, 1999) Compilation Album|
|'Sekai Wa Kono Te No Naka Ni8'||(23 July, 1999) Maxi-Single|
|'Jealousy'||(29 September, 1999) Maxi-Single|
|'China Rose'||(8 December, 1999) Maxi-Single|
|Foxtrot||(16 February, 2000) Fourth Album|
|'Midnight Blue'||(31 May, 2000) Maxi-Single|
|'Seven Seas'||(9 August, 2000) Maxi-Single|
|'No Future'||(31 January, 2001) Maxi-Single|
|'Dandelion'||(31 January, 2001) Maxi-Single|
|Purãnã||(21 February, 2001) Fifth Album|
|The Last Quarter||(27 September, 2001) Mini Album|