Female star Ayumi Hamasaki (Avex) was today (March 10) named domestic artist of the year at the Recording Industry Assn. of Japan's (RIAJ) 18th annual Gold Disc Awards ceremony, held in Tokyo.

Female star Ayumi Hamasaki (Avex) was today (March 10) named domestic artist of the year at the Recording Industry Assn. of Japan's (RIAJ) 18th annual Gold Disc Awards ceremony, held in Tokyo.

Hamasaki -- who won the same award at the 2001 and 2002 Gold Disc ceremonies -- won on the strength of shipments of 4.5 million units (albums and singles) during that period. The awards are based on net shipments for the 2003 calendar year.

Platia Entertainment's Chinese pop/traditional crossover act Joshi Juni Gakubo (12 Girls Orchestra) won the international artist of the year honor, on the strength of total Japanese shipments of 1.9 million units.

In the best new domestic artist category, the 10 winners included pop duo I Wish (SME Records), rock band 175R (Unlimited Group) and Asuka Hayashi (Toshiba-EMI). The five winning acts in the best new international artist category included Russian female duo t.A.T.u. (Universal Music K.K.) and Jamaica's Sean Paul (Warner Music Japan).

Rock legend Jimmy Page was on hand to accept an award on behalf of Led Zeppelin, whose self-titled live video/DVD box set was named music video of the year along with the Japanese edition of the Beatles' "Anthology" set.

The ceremony was broadcast live nationwide on NHK satellite TV.