After over a decade Yumi Ito, formerly known as ICONIQ, has parted ways with Avex Mangement. The actress and former singer made the announcement on January 31st, via her official blog. The day she made the announcement was also the final day with avex.
In the statement she still referred to herself as “inexperienced”, despite being in the industry since 2002, but would like to “expand” her activities. She thanked fans for their support over the years and hopes they will watch over her warmly, promising to do her best.
Yumi is currently signed by the Korean agency BONBOO, home to former After School member Kahi, former ZE:A member Hwang Kwanghee, model Shiho Yano and her daughter Choo Sarang. Yumi will likely be focusing on activities in South Korea from now on.
Yumi made her debut in 2002 with the South Korean group Sugar. After they disbanded in 2006, she embarked on a solo career under the name “Ahyoomee”. She had a hit that year with a cover of Koda Kumi’s rendition of “Cutie Honey“.
In 2008 she went to Japan, and re-debuted again under the name ICONIQ under avex’s sub-label Rhythm Zone in 2009. She made national headlines due to her striking look, a shaved head, but unfortunately the stunt backfired. Management tried to portray her as a mysterious new artist, making no mention of her previous activities.
When her easily discoverable past was exposed, it didn’t sit well with netizens deeming her “untrustworthy”. Numerous plastic surgery allegations didn’t help her cause either. Her last release under ICONIQ was the 2012 digital single “LADIES / MAKE IT RIGHT“.
After eventually dropping the ICONIQ name for “Yumi Ito”, she appeared in some small acting roles, did some modeling work, and was rumored to have been romantically connected with GACKT.