Utada Hikaru Official Website

MESSAGE from Staff

  • 2001.06.21

    Our Request on How to Get the Analog "Distance"

    As you may know, the analog version of the album "Distance" will be released on July 25 in a limited quantity. Those who'd like to buy a copy,read on.
    We recommend that you book your copy at a record store by the release?@date (July 25), to be sure of receiving one.
    Please note, too, that the shipment may be delayed, depending on the?@time of your booking and the record store.
    Although shipment may be delayed, we will certainly manufacture the number of discs booked by the release date.
    For any further details, please ask at your record store.

    Sales Promotion No.1 Group, Toshiba EMI

  • 2001.04.03

    Thank you for your support.

    The album "Distance" continues to sell well thanks to your support and backing. I'd like to use this space to thank you first of all.

    The sales situation has been talked about in some media in terms of "competition," which is not at all our intent.

    Consequently, we have refused to accept interviews or make any comments on this matter. Music is not a game, nor something to be talked about on the basis of win or lose.

    I feel sad about such thinking that negates other artists just because each favorite artist is the best. We think the diversity of the current music market in Japan is what makes it interesting. If Hikaru Utada were the only artist around, wouldn't the music scene be rather boring?

    There are many things we should learn from the Western music scene, but I trust that there are "songs" which have roots in Japan's culture, and we'd like to continue pursuing Japan's popular songs.

    Good sales is a very happy thing, but we aim at long-lasting, long-loved music. It's not just how many copies are sold, but how many times one CD is listened to.

    I used to listen to one of my favorite CDs so many times it wore out. "First Love" achieved record sales of over eight million copies, but I'd rather continue to give my attention to how many times each one of you listened to it.

    We'll do our best as we have done so far!

    Akira Miyake
    Toshiba EMI Ltd.

  • 2001.03.29

    To Those Who Purchased the Album "Distance"

    We have received many comments via email from fans who purchased "Distance," the new album released on March 28. There were several questions, and we'd like to address them here.

    1. There's noise in the intro section of the seventh song, "Addicted To You," and in the eighth song, "For You."

    This is "scratch noise" that was intentionally inserted during production. Young fans may not be familiar with this sort of noise, but it can be heard when you put a stylus on analog records. We incorporated the noise as one of the "sounds." So in answer to questions asking if the CD is defective, no -- it's normal.

    2. What is a picture label disc?
    It is a disc which has a photograph (same as the jacket photo) printed on the disc surface. The initial production lot of the album "Distance" is produced under such a specification. After the initial production, the disc will be produced with the usual text label only.

    If you have any other questions, click the "Mail to Staff" button to send an email, or call Toshiba EMI's Quality Assurance Section (03-5512-1729).

    Those who read the earlier Staff Diary might find the above repeated contents, for which I ask your understanding.

    Hidenori Okita
    Domestic A&R 1 Group, Virgin Headquarters
    Toshiba EMI Ltd.

  • 2001.03.09

    Who Is "PINO" ?

    We have received many inquiries recently asking, "Tell me about the robot that appears in the new song's video clip," so I'd like to introduce the cute robot today.

    PINO is a humanoid robot developed by the Japan Science and Technology Corporation ERATO Kitano Symbiotic Systems Project. It was developed to be highly mobile, environmentally friendly and reasonably priced, all of which are considered necessary for robots to coexist with humans in the future.
    Robots are our old and new partners. Just as the industrial revolution of the 20th century brought about sweeping change to society, as did the information revolution most recently, so too will robots offer new value to life in the 21st century. The designs of machines -- whether they be automobiles or computers -- create a new culture, and we advocate a new field called robot design as a new industry (and hence new culture) that will give birth to a trend in new designs.

    Humanoid Robot PINO is a robot for the purpose of research and development, specifically to experiment with two-footed walking. It is 70 cm tall, about the size of a one-year-old child. In its current states its walk is not yet perfected, and so the child who has just started to walk is employed as its exterior appearance. Pinocchio is employed as its motif. Its name contains a metaphor that it is not yet perfect (still under experimentation) and another metaphor, whereby just as Pinocchio in the story seeks what humans are through experience, we are researching robots that will understand humans from an engineering standpoint. -- Tatsuya Matsui, Robot Designer, Kitano Project

    So it goes. The scientist's explanation is a little difficult but in short this Japan Science and Technology Corporation ERATO Kitano Symbiotic Systems Project is trying to create a robot that can be a friend to humans. The leading creation is PINO, though it's still at the experimental stage. It's truly a cute robot.
    In making a video clip for Hikaru's new song, "Can You Keep A Secret?" we all studied the content. No co-performer has ever appeared in the previous video clips. Considering Hikaru is going to be 18 years old, we decided to have an attractive companion to appear in the new video. But we were at a loss whom we should ask to appear as her companion. There are various problems, and so the idea "how about a robot?" came up and we looked into that. We learned that there are about ten robots currently existing in Japan, among which the one that appealed most to Hikaru was PINO. Only thing is that PINO is 70 cm tall, the height of a one-year-old child. So we decided to ask them to make an enlarged model about 130 cm tall. As expected, it is a robot that is friendly, which is the goal of the Kitano Project. PINO's movement is natural. Even a facial expression seemed to be felt. I can't help but hope such friendly robots will share our lives some day. I feel it's not that far off. I sincerely thank all at ERATO Kitano Symbiotic Systems Project, and PINO, who readily gave their cooperation to Hikaru's video production.

    Teruzane Utad/U3 MUSIC

  • 2001.02.22

    How to Enjoy Hikaru Utada's TV Appearances (in-your-face version)

    Hello Fans! Starting with tomorrow's "Music Station," Hikaru Utada will appear on TV. So allow me, the director in charge, to initiate you in the "correct way to enjoy Hikaru Utada on TV."
    This time she will sing "Can You Keep A Secret?" on three programs (please check the NEWS corner for schedules).
    As you know, "ad-lib" is a term commonly associated with Hikaru Utada's music. This occurs in the beginning and/or ending of the song when the singer sings freely. Hikaru ad-libs differently each time, so you?fll hear a new version each time you watch.
    By the way, I often receive questions like "What is she saying in that ad-lib?" Well, Hikaru sings that way on the spur of the moment, so the lyrics are not written down anywhere.
    Let me digress a bit here: about 40 years ago, British youth listened to blues records until the discs were worn out trying to understand and transcribe the lyrics so as to imitate the songs before anyone else. (Blues records in those days didn?ft come with lyric sheets.) From among those young people came a young man named Mick Jagger. Well, I forgot what point I was trying to make, but anyway, history is so unpredictable isn't it?
    Next, I'd like to take this opportunity to thank you and apologize.
    Belatedly, I thank you for buying the new single. We staff were thrilled to receive so many e-mails saying, "I bought it!" We received, however,from several people messages saying "I was expecting a picture disc..."
    They're referring to the album to be released on March 28 whose initial production is a picture disc. The single has a normal "text" only label.Since some people seem to have misunderstood this point, so I guess my explanation wasn't clear.
    Sorry about that.
    We will try to make this site more reliable for fans. Thanks for your continued support!

    Hidenobu Okita
    Domestic A&R 1 Group, Virgin Headquarters, Toshiba EMI

  • 2001.02.13

    About the Picture Label of the 2nd Album "Distance"

    Following the news about the release of the second album, we have received several inquiries from fans asking about the picture label discs being offered as an initial production bonus. Here we'd like to explain what that is.
    Generally, discs are printed with text such as the album title, tracks, etc.
    The initial production lot of the album "Distance" has a photograph printed on the disc. We call such a label a "picture label." Let me say in passing that the number of machines that can produce picture labels is limited, so our factory started the production two months early so as to meet the release date. (After the initial production, the disc will be produced with the usual text label only.) As for what picture appears on the disc, I'm afraid you'll have to wait until the release date to see.

    Hidenori Okita
    Domestic A&R 1 Group, Virgin Headquarters
    Toshiba EMI Ltd.

  • 2001.02.02

    Postscript (after recording)

    I've returned to Tokyo from New York and time after time have been listening to the album we created there. Of course I feel we did a great job, but more than that, I'm filled with the feelings that I'm really happy I've encountered the artist called Hikaru Utada. Anyone who listens to the album will share my feelings, I'm sure.
    A certain heartless photo magazine wrote as if she had been goofing off in December and January but this work will prove how hard she was working. If the magazine had been following her, which it did, they should have known she was in the studio almost every day, but what it did was to focus only on her rare holiday.
    After all, she composed, wrote lyrics, made a demo, then another demo with arrangements, and redid all this many times in a continual process of trial and error. Then came the studio work -- recording the vocals, dozens of choruses (which in some parts she did 40 times; no chorus was created by machine). I thought it was really tough, but for the past 20 months, I maintained a rather strict attitude during the work, mentioning the deadlines and so forth. Hikaru, however, always met our expectations, showing her magical strength at critical moments, though she did struggle and suffer. You know, I'm actually not so strict but quite a sweet person!
    The difference between the latest "Distance" and"First Love" is, by the way, in how I called her. I called her "Hikaru-chan" during "First Love" and this time I called her "Hikaru," though I'm still not used to it. (She's 18, and I felt she shouldn't be a "chan" anymore.) Her progression from "chan," I feel, matches that of "Distance."
    Anyway, 13 songs - 64 minutes - of absolute determination and spirit are coming to you soon, so please look forward to it. It's simply the best work you could ever imagine.
    Hikaru Utada will continue to grow as an artist, so please look forward to that, too.
    Well, Hikaru, thank you for your hard work for so long. But the promotion work will soon start, so....back to work! I guess I'm strict after all.

    Akira Miyake, Toshiba EMI

  • 2001.01.19

    Introducing our staff -Shigetaka Haratake-

    Name: Shigetaka Haratake
    Birthday: March 3, 1964 (The year of Tokyo Olympics + inauguration of Bullet Train! Girls' Day + Ear Day)
    Birthplace: Fukuoka Prefecture, where many of this project staff came from (Hooray Daiei Hawks!)
    Division/Title: Chief, Sales Promotion
    Job Description: In charge of record stores. Sales promotion

    Q1: What animal are you compared to? Why?
    A1: A camel (all the time).

    Q2: If you weren't doing this work, what would you have wanted to become? Why?
    A2: A nursery teacher. Lately, I can't help but feel kids are so dear! (It's not a Lolita complex!)

    Q3: What would you do if you were Hikaru Utada now?
    A3: 1) I'd eat sushi regardless of the expense! 2) Or run a coffee shop in Hawaii!

    Q4: What is the most impressive thing related to your work with Hikaru Utada so far? And, please reveal one thing you couldn't tell Hikaru Utada so far (about the work or yourself).
    A4: Impressive things: 1) The first time I heard her sing live, at a presentation in the studio. 2) The anxiety before the release of the first single and album. How can I ever forget?
    Revelation: Before her debut, it was I who ordered everyone to put up her posters, etc. at certain record stores she might visit, thinking, "She might go there."

    Q5: Please draw your portrait.
    A5: Comment: When I shone the most. (7-5-3 ceremony)

    Q6: Your message to fans.
    A6: Thank you for your continued support. Please support her forever.

  • 2001.01.17

    About fake CD

    Recently, some instances of fake Hikaru Utada CDs purporting to be the real thing were brought to the attention of the media.
    Hikaru Utada is currently under contract with Toshiba EMI and has no plans to release CDs on any other label. Rumors to the effect that she has made recordings with other labels simply aren't true.
    We checked with President Utada of U3 Music, Hikaru Utada's management office, and he has confirmed this.
    We plan to investigate and if necessary take full legal action against those engaged in the fraud.
    We ask you fans as well as those in mass media be aware of this so as not be deceived by such frauds.

    Domestic A&R 1 Group, Virgin Headquarters, Toshiba EMI

  • 2000.12.12

    To fans who purchased "HIKARU UTADA BOHEMIAN SUMMER 2000" DVD

    We have received inquiries from customers who purchased the above title released on Dec. 9 that "the sound and images freeze for an instant in the middle [of the program]."
    This disc uses technology known as "one side two layers," which means the recorded information is separated into two layers. We used this technology because it permits the highest possible quality of both images and sound over a long duration, in this case about 147 minutes. What happens is that the images and sound must pause for an instant when playback moves from the first layer to the second layer. (This occurs just before the beginning of chapter 23, "Playback Part 2.") It is inherent to the technology and not due to any defect in the product. We appreciate your understanding.

    Yuji Endo, Video Division, Toshiba EMI, Ltd.