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Shinji Kagawa (Japanese: 香川 真司 Kagawa Shinji [kagawa ɕindʑi̥]; born 17 March 1989) is a Japanese professional footballer who plays for German club Borussia Dortmund and the Japan national team. Kagawa began his professional career in his homeland with Cerezo Osaka before joining Borussia Dortmund in 2010. After two years with Dortmund, Kagawa signed for Manchester United on a four-year contract. Two years later, he returned to Dortmund. A goal-scoring midfielder, he is known for his “vision, technique, movement and deft passing.”
Namie Maruyama —known professionally as Namie Amuro (安室奈美恵 Amuro Namie?, born September 20, 1977)— is a Japanese singer, dancer, fashion model, actress and businesswoman. She achieved popularity by a series of successful singles and albums, both exploring different genres and working with producers and musicians outside of Japan, one of the first Japanese artists to do so at the time. Due to her longevity and resilience in the industry, she has been often referred by critics and music publications as the “Teen Queen” of Japan, “Queen of J-Pop”, and the “Japanese Madonna or Janet Jackson“.
Yoshiki Hayashi (林 佳樹 Hayashi Yoshiki?, born November 20, 1965) is a Japanese musician, songwriter, composer and record producer. Better known by his stage name Yoshiki, he is best known as the leader and a co-founder of the heavy metal band X Japan, for which he is the drummer, pianist and main songwriter. The band achieved breakthrough success in the late 1980s, and besides being one of the first Japanese acts to achieve mainstream success while on an independent label, Extasy Records which he founded, the group is widely credited as one of the pioneers of the visual kei movement. Though the band disbanded in 1997, they reunited in 2007 after ten years. In 2000 and 2007, Yoshiki formed his solo musical project Violet UK and the Japanese rock supergroupS.K.I.N. respectively.
Girls’ Generation (Hangul: 소녀시대; RR: Sonyeo Sidae), also known as SNSD, is a South Korean girl group formed by S.M. Entertainment. The group is composed of eight members: Taeyeon, Sunny, Tiffany, Hyoyeon, Yuri, Sooyoung, Yoona, and Seohyun. Originally a nine-piece group (with Jessica, who later departed from the group in September 2014), Girls’ Generation debuted in 2007 with their Korean eponymous debut album. Though the album gained some attention, it was not until 2009 that the group rose to fame with the single “Gee“, which claimed the top spot on KBS‘s Music Bank for a record-breaking nine consecutive weeks and was named the most popular song of the 2000s in South Korea by Melon. Girls’ Generation further consolidated their popularity on the South Korean music scene with follow-up singles “Tell Me Your Wish (Genie)“, “Oh!“, and “Run Devil Run“, which were released in mid-2009 and early 2010.
Haruki Murakami (村上 春樹 Murakami Haruki?, January 12, 1949) is a Japanese writer. His books and stories have been bestsellers in Japan as well as internationally, with his work being translated into 50 languages and selling millions of copies outside his native country. The critical acclaim for his fiction and non-fiction has led to numerous awards, in Japan and internationally, including the World Fantasy Award (2006) and the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award (2006). His oeuvre received, for example, the Franz Kafka Prize (2006) and the Jerusalem Prize (2009).
Wakon（和魂）中野博 Hiroshi Nakano
Babymetal (stylized as BABYMETAL) is a Japanese metal idol band. Their line-up consists of Suzuka Nakamoto as “Su-metal”, Yui Mizuno as “Yuimetal”, and Moa Kikuchi as “Moametal”. The concept of the group is a fusion of the heavy metal and Japanese idol genres. The three teenage girls and their band are managed by the Amuse talent agency. Their vocals are backed by heavy metal instrumentation played by the Kami Band. Babymetal released their eponymous debut album in February 2014. Their second album Metal Resistance was released worldwide on April 1, 2016.
L’Arc-en-Ciel (“The Rainbow” in French, stylized as L’Arc~en~Ciel) is a Japanese rock band, founded in Osaka in 1991. With a reported 40 million records sold, they were the first Japanese act to headline at Madison Square Garden. In 2003, they were ranked 58 on a list of the top 100 Japanese pop musicians by HMV Japan. While they first got their start as a visual kei band, they have not had any association with the movement since their major label debut in 1994.
Kei Nishikori (錦織 圭 Nishikori Kei?, [niɕi̥ꜜkoɽi keː]; born 29 December 1989) is a Japanese professional tennis player, currently ranked world No. 5 by the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP). He is the only male Japanese tennis player ever to be ranked inside the top 10 in singles.
AKB48 (pronounced A.K.B. Forty-eight) is a Japanese idol girl group named after the Akihabara (Akiba for short) area in Tokyo, where the group’s theater is located. The group has expanded since then to include over 130 members as of December 2015. aged from their early teens to their mid-20s.AKB48’s producer, Yasushi Akimoto, wanted to form a girl group with its own theater (unlike pop groups performing occasional concerts and seen on television) and performing daily so fans could always see them live. This “idols you can meet” concept includes teams which can rotate performances and perform simultaneously at several events and “handshake” events, where fans can meet group members. Akimoto has expanded the AKB48 concept to several sister groups in China, Japan and Indonesia, with upcoming groups announced for the Philippines, Taiwan and Thailand.
Exile is a 19-member Japanese boy group. The leader of the group is Hiro, who debuted as a member of Zoo under For Life Music, but Exile has released their singles and albums under Avex Group‘s label Rhythm Zone. Hiro and Avex’s president Max Matsuura came from the same high school.
Kana Nishino (西野 カナ Nishino Kana?, born March 18, 1989) is a Japanese singer and songwriter signed with SME Records’ Newcome Inc. She debuted on February 20, 2008, with the single “I”. CNN said that she was the favorite singer of teenage girls in Shibuya, Tokyo, signalling Sony’s jump on the bandwagon effectstarted by Avex.
The J Soul Brothers are a Japanese music group formed in 1998. The group is managed by LDH, and is signed to the Avex Group record label Rhythm Zone. The J Soul Brothers spawned three generations, with their most recognizable lineup being its third generation, the Sandaime J Soul Brothers.
Yuki Furukawa (古川 雄輝 Furukawa Yūki?, born 18 December 1987) is a Japanese actor. He played the leading role as Naoki Irie in the 2013 television series Mischievous Kiss: Love in Tokyo and its sequel, Mischievous Kiss 2: Love in Tokyo.
Ayumi Hamasaki (浜崎 あゆみ Hamasaki Ayumi?, born October 2, 1978) is a Japanese recording artist, lyricist, model, and actress. Hamasaki has achieved popularity in Japan and Asia by enforcing her position as an artist and not trying to be forced as a “product”, which was a common factor within the Japanese musicculture and Avex Trax. Through her entire career, she has written all her lyrical content, produced her own music and has sometimes co-composed her music, which is evident in her albums I Am…, Rainbow and My Story.
Risa Oribe (織部 里沙 Oribe Risa?, born June 24, 1987), better known by her stage name LiSA (an acronym of Love is Same All), is a Japanese pop singer-songwriter from Seki, Gifu, signed to Aniplex under Sony Music Artists. After aspiring to become a musician early in life, she started her musical career as the vocalist of the indie band Chucky. Following Chucky’s disbandment in 2005, LiSA moved to Tokyo in order to pursue a solo career, making her major debut in 2010 singing songs for the anime television series Angel Beats! as one of two vocalists for the fictional band Girls Dead Monster. In April 2011, she made her solo debut with the release of her mini-album Letters to U. She performed at Animelo Summer Live in August 2010, Anime Expo in 2012, and is a regular guest at Anime Festival Asia.
X Japan (エックス・ジャパン Ekkusu Japan?) is a Japanese heavy metal band from Chiba, formed in 1982 by drummer Yoshiki and lead vocalist Toshi. Predominantly a power/speed metal band with heavy symphonic elements, they later gravitated towards a progressive sound with an emphasis on ballads. Besides being one of the first Japanese acts to achieve mainstream success while on an independent label, the group is widely credited as one of the pioneers of visual kei, a movement among Japanese musicians comparable to Western glam.
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu (きゃりーぱみゅぱみゅ?, born January 29, 1993) is a Japanese fashion model and singer. Her public image is associated with Japan’s kawaisa and decora culture centered in the Harajuku neighborhood of Tokyo. Her music is produced by musician Yasutaka Nakata of electronic music duo Capsule.
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