Will Namie Amuro be forced into retirement?

According to Tokyo Sports (read: gossip), the day when Namie Amuro fades out from center stage could be near. The entertainment industry is furious at her for leaving her label “Rising Pro”. People don’t want to cooperate with her demands surrounding her entertainment activities, so she might be blacklisted from the industry, and in short, retire.

Gossip has been swirling the past month or two about the pop diva exiting her contract with Rising Pro Inc. agency that she has been under for the last 22 years. Amuro met the president of Rising Pro, Tetsuo Taira (68), when she was a young girl in sixth grade. Since then there was a “parent-child” relationship between them. Through his mentorship with Amuro, now 36-years old, she is said to have signed a contract at the age of 14 that would legally bind her to the company for 25 years, ending in February 2017.

A music industry professional commented, “It’s become known to people in the industry that Amuro is ignoring the ‘rules’ of the entertainment industry and it’s causing an outrage behind the scenes. Because of her lack of effort, they’ll fail to reach an agreement, and if this continues, she won’t be able to formally do her activities.”

A tax accountant got involved with the company about raising Amuro’s rewards and royalties and transferring her music rights to a new private company, but no settlements could be made because while she is a huge draw in for money, they also sink a lot of money into her without it affecting her salary. The aforementioned music industry professionals continued:

“Amuro is guaranteed a salary of 8 million yen (roughly $80k) per month, even when she doesn’t do any activities. Furthermore, concerts and merchandise is split 50/50. Last year she was supposed to have a 20th Anniversary concert in her hometown of Okinawa, but it was cancelled due to the typhoon. The debt was all on the company and not herself. Her annual income was about 600 million yen (roughly $6 million).”

It’s said that many of Amuro’s career missteps are a result in her constant trust towards men who might not have her best interests in hand, making rash decisions without even informing her company. The music industry professionals insinuate she takes a backseat and let these men take control for her:

“While she doesn’t trust anyone, she’s the type that listens to men she trusts. There was a time when she got involved with a no-good men when she made her big break. There were times that she skipped work to go pachinko parlors with him. Now, the only one she can trust is Mr. Nishi (Shigehiro Nishi, 54. President of the event production company “On The Line” whose family lives in the same apartment complex as Amuro does). Amuro said, ‘Nishi-san can do anything, so if I leave it up to him I feel safe.'”

While Amuro’s relationship with Mr. Nishi may be strong, her relationship with the company is still worsening. Last April, a big rift happened between Amuro and Mr. Nishi’s relationship and her company: why her Singapore concert was cancelled. Mr. Nishi was in charge of organizing this venue with the foreign venue, but only 2,000 tickets were sold in advance. While this may sound decent for a singer performing overseas, a singer of her magnitude should have drawn in thousands of more sales when the venue in fact has a 12,000 guest capacity.

Her record company commented on the cancellation:

“Frankly, the likelihood of failure was great. Nevertheless, they still tried to hold the performance because the company bought tickets and fans were looking forward to it. We had intentions to tell that to Mr. Nishi, but he decided to cancel the performances. The company didn’t even know the concert was being cancelled until the last minute.”

The Singaporean promoter was furious because of the sudden cancellation. He sought out a lawsuit against Mr. Nishi’s production company “On The Line” for 50 million yen due to default on a debt last December. Even in this situation, Amuro’s trust in Mr. Nishi won’t even fray a bit.

Japan’s lifetime employment system has been commonplace for decades and isn’t considered unethical from a cultural standpoint, but looking at the big picture, Amuro has realized how much she has been taken advantage of through this despite all it has given her.

Breaking free from all of this will not be an easy task, and she might have caused herself some trouble along the way, but if she plans to continue her career she needs to surround herself with a team that has her best interest in mind or it’ll just be a repeat of what’s happening now. Nonetheless, whatever happens, she’ll have to make some sacrifices as a result of this whole ordeal if in fact this is actually occurring.

(via TokyoSports, Translation by Haley, Tip from Michele)


This post is tagged with gossip, meaning it contains information that is purely speculation.

We post about gossip for the sake of discussing topics that are not often talked about on this site and how the Japanese entertainment industry interprets certain issues within the context of their culture. Plus, it's fun.