News on Utada Hikaru, MTV Latin Awards, TLC
Top Japanese singer-songwriter Utada Hikaru took Japan by surprise today (Sept. 6) by announcing her marriage the same day to Kazuaki Kiriya, a photographer and video director with whom Utada has worked during the past two years. In contrast with the glitzy PR-fest that is the norm when Japanese celebrities marry, Utada and Kiriya tied the knot by simply registering their marriage at a government office with no publicity at all.
Utada, 19, made history when her debut album, "First Love," became Japan's biggest-selling album ever (9 million copies to date) following its release by Toshiba-EMI in March 1999. Her second and third albums, as well as a string of singles, have also topped the Japanese charts. Kiriya is 34.
In a message to her fans posted on her Web site, Utada said that while some people might think she is too young to get married, "It's natural for me to decide to spend my life with a person I love." She also asked her fans for their support as she begins married life while continuing with her career.
In March, Utada signed a worldwide English-language recording deal with the Island Def Jam Music Group, although she remains under contract as a Japanese-language artist to Toshiba-EMI on its Virgin division's Eastworld label. That contract is also worldwide. The artist was born in New York and is the daughter of music producer Teruzane Utada and Junko Utada, who in the 1970s was one of Japan's top
female singers under the name of Keiko Fuji.
-- Steve McClure, Tokyo