Hikaru Utada Official Website

MESSAGE from Staff

  • 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.

    2001/01/17/02/00/00
    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.

  • 2000.11.12

    Introducibg our staff -Michiru Emori-

    Here's another staff member in charge of advertising, introduced by Tsuruta Fukubucho!
    Name: Michiru Emori
    Birthday: May 21. Gemini. Blood-type B.
    Birthplace: Miyazaki (where Seagia is)
    Division/Title: Just an employee (Soldier No.2)
    Job Description: Advertising

    Q1: What animal are you compared to? Why?
    A1: Hasty koala (so written in the "animal fortune-telling").

    Q2: If you weren't doing this work, what would you have wanted to become? Why?
    A2: Hacker. I saw the movie "War Games" around the time I was studying for university entrance exams, and I don't know why but I lost my mind and majored in programming. It's not made use of, though. What was that C-language, assembler, etc. that I learned then? Or maybe a "pachi-pro" (pachinko professional). I don't play any more but I mastered all models made by the N company! After all it's man-made, and I can't be beaten! Maybe I'm quite competitive...

    Q3: What would you do if you were Hikaru Utada now?
    A3: I'll go into space!! I'd hold a live show for the whole world on a ship like Star Trek's Enterprise.

    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 work or yourself).
    A4: Impressive thing: Her duet with her mother at the Sapporo concert!! (It was so awesome I had goose pimples.)
    Confession: I had to go home early even though there was work left for an interview. It was because our one-year-old daughter had locked her father, who was hanging laundry, out on the balcony! (When I got home, I not only was scolded by my daughter and husband, who were both totally excited, but ended up taking them out for dinner! What am I?)

    Q5: Please draw your portrait.
    A5: [no comment]

    Q6: Your message to fans.
    A6: Those who couldn't come to the concert and even those who could, please buy the VIDEO!!

    Q7: Please introduce the next staff member.
    A7: Mr. Takeshi Hara in charge of sales promotion.

  • 2000.10.30

    Introducing our staff -Masato Tsuruta-

    We're delighted that more and more people come to the "Staff Diary" page thanks to the message from Hikaru Utada. This week, again we'll introduce a staff member. This guy was introduced by Kaji last week.
    Name: Masato Tsuruta
    Birthday: Latter 20th century, just before the U.S. Independence Day.
    Birthplace: Shanghai, Fukuoka, about an hour by plane from Seoul.
    Division/Title: Fukubucho (lit. long belly; role played by those whose belly got fatter.)
    Job Description: Bully Kaji, get pushed around by Mikaye, laugh with Okita,
    cry with Emori and so forth -- all for Hikki.

    Q1: What animal are you compared to? Why?
    A1: Female orangutan of Borneo. No nails on my big toes. Also unexpectedly good guy.

    Q2: If you weren't doing this work, what would you have wanted to become? Why?
    A2: Master of "Tsuru-Tsuru," a handmade udon restaurant. Get up early in the morning, knead flour, make deliciously textured noodles and move customers.

    Q3: What would you do if you were Hikaru Utada now?
    A3: I'd run for the U.S. president! I'd aim to become the first female president in American history.

    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 work or yourself).
    A4: Impressive thing: I've made the acquaintance of people working for wide shows and pictorial magazines.
    Confession: I've developed a soft spot for women named "Hikaru."

    Q5: Please draw your portrait.
    A5: [no comment]

    Q6: Your message to fans.
    A6: Let's enjoy together our good fortune of living in the same age as Hikki.

    Q7: Please introduce the next staff member.
    A7: I'll introduce Emori who is in charge of advertising with Kaji.

  • 2000.10.25

    Introducing our staff -Nozomu Kaji-

    Now, we'll introduce another staff member this week again -- the member introduced by last week's Mr. Okita!
    Name: Nozomu Kaji
    Birthday: June 9, 1971
    Birthplace: Shizuoka Prefecture
    Division/Title: Toshiba EMI Ltd., Virgin Headquarters, Domestic A&R, A&R 1 Group
    Job Description: Advertising

    Q1: What animal are you compared to? Why?
    A1: A small animal. You know, when I was a student, a big heap of salad was always placed in front of me at get-togethers and my friends would say, "Here's your grass. Eat it!"

    Q2: If you weren't doing this work, what would you have wanted to become? Why?
    A2: Urban development consultant (I graduated from college majoring in civil engineering, but never used it! Sorry, teachers! [laughs])

    Q3: What would you do if you were Hikaru Utada now?
    A3: I'll give a nice follow-up to the comment from Mr. Okita, saying "Kaji is not so smug!"

    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 work or yourself).
    A4: Impressive thing: At an interview around the time when her single "Automatic/time will tell" was a bit hit, she was asked, "Have you changed somehow?" She answered, in a very carefree manner, "Are there people who change just because one single has good sales?" I thought, "What a great artist!"
    Exposure: I may be a short-haired nice young man now, but my hair used to reach my back, which I once talked about. Well, I'll show you at last how I looked in those days!

    Q5: Please draw your portrait.
    A5: Comment: I was young ten years ago. Hmmm... who is this person? (laughs)

    Q6: Your message to fans.
    A6: Thank you very much for your kind support. At "Bohemian Summer 2000," fans gave their full cooperation to our task of recording their messages for Hikki's regular program. I think the communication with fans through the Net is also fantastic! Don't misunderstand me seeing the above photo. I'll continue to do my best (so that I won't be smug), so please continue to support Hikaru Utada!

    Q7: Please introduce the next staff member.
    A7: Next is Assistant Manager Tsuruta, my senior, chief of advertising and someone whose fashion sense is getting much attention!

  • 2000.10.16

    Introducing our staff -Hidenobu Okita-

    So, here we are introducing staff members one after another! This week, we interviewed Mr. Okita, Production Director, who was introduced by the previous interviewee, Mr. Miyake.
    Name: Hidenori Okita
    Birthday: Feb. 21, 1967
    Birthplace: Tokyo
    Division/Title: Toshiba EMI Ltd., Virgin Headquarters, Domestic A&R, A&R 1 Group
    Job Description: Production director

    Q1: What animal are you compared to? Why?
    A1: A pigeon = peace symbol. But it's also said to be a vermin.

    Q2: If you weren't doing this work, what would you have wanted to become? Why?
    A2: A person of religion (because I was thinking I had to save the world. I was drunk, though.)

    Q3: What would you do if you were Hikaru Utada now?
    A3: I'd buy university credits with cash. (I hate studying.)

    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 work or yourself).
    A4: Impressive thing: Every time she completed lyrics. I get dizzy and wonder, 'What's happening in your head?!' Confession: At Minneapolis. We were supposed to meet at noon, but it was noon when I woke up. My excuse was 'Jet lag,' but it was a lie. I was drinking until 9 a.m.! Sorry.

    Q5: Please draw your portrait.
    A5: Comment: A one-dimensional character.

    Q6: Your message to fans.
    A6: Thank you very much for supporting Hikaru. Your support of artists always encourages us staff members.

    Q7: Please introduce the next staff member.
    A7: Let me introduce Nozomu Kaji in charge of advertising, who is a bit smug because he has become popular recently.

  • 2000.10.10

    Introducing our staff -Akira Miyake-

    Hi, All!
    I was sorry to get messages commenting on the infrequency of the updates.
    So, We're starting a "staff member introduction" which had been on our mind for some time. The idea is to regularly introduce the fun staff members surrounding Hikaru Utada. If necessary, we will force staff members to come out for the interview, so please give your support!
    To start things off here's an interview with Mr. Miyake, who works with President Utada of U3Music in producing Hikaru Utada.
    Name: Akira Miyake
    Birthday: July 20, 1955
    Birthplace: Fukuoka Prefecture
    Division/Title: Production Manager (Toshiba EMI Ltd., Virgin Headquarters, Domestic A&R, A&R 1 Group)
    Job Description: Supervision of production/advertising

    Q1: What animal are you compared to? Why?
    A2: Dolphin = generosity.

    Q2: If you weren't doing this work, what would you have wanted to become? Why?
    A2: Counselor. It's perhaps not so different from my current work.

    Q3: What would you do if you were Hikaru Utada now?
    A3: I'd be writing songs.

    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 work or yourself).
    A4: When I first met her she had a school uniform on. When I introduced her to our staff, she was in uniform (though her new school didn't have uniforms). I don't have a Lolita complex at all!

    Q5: Please draw your portrait.
    A5: Comment: A new face of a new age facing the future.

    Q6: Your message to fans.
    A6: While giving your warm and long support, be sure to buy her CDs.

    Q7: Please introduce the next staff member.
    A7: Let me introduce Production Director Okita, who, though we once worked together for such artists as Eikichi Yazawa and Sachiko Kumagai, is very slow in reporting his marriage.

  • 2000.09.26

    Hikaru has become a university student!

    Sorry for the delay in updating this page -- thanks for your patience.
    On Sept. 3, we left Japan and at 6 p.m. on the same day (since we crossed the date line) arrived safely in NY.
    University started the following day. There was lots to do for freshmen on the first day -- signing up for classes, preparing documents for a student ID, and so forth. We went back and forth across the vast campus where we were strangers, while being chased by the Japanese media, which had been eagerly waiting for us. Despite the prohibition of media activities within the school (the campus is mostly open to the general public, except for those who pursue activities disliked by students), the cameras kept chasing us, which was really devastating.
    The university people seemed amazed that the Japanese media would come all this way to cover a singer who wished to be left alone.
    Well, if we were to succumb to such an incident, Hikaru would not be worthy of the name! She has taken a firm stance and attends classes unfazed. Now that Hikaru is a university student, I think her thoughts must be rather complex, though the situation with the media was not unexpected.
    What we can do now, I think, is to quietly lend our support so that Hikaru can spend a happy student life as much as possible, and the experience will be reflected in her music in a favorable way. Our being around her all the time may be annoying to Hikaru, I guess.
    Every day is still a busy day for a freshman, like going all over New York to find a textbook. The number of books she must read as homework is immense! At American universities, students have to read so many books. I myself graduated from a college in New York -- though it's been 30 years -- and I clearly remember those four hard years.
    The university student's life has just begun. What will she study, where is she heading -- I'm quite excited about it. In any case Hikaru is doing very well. I would like to keep you posted with progress reports; consider this the first one. So till next time,
    DON'T WASTE YOUR TIME. (something Hikaru often says)

    Teruzane Utada/U3MUSIC