J-pop star Namie Amuro announces retirement on her 40th birthday

Japanese singer Namie Amuro at a press conference in Singapore on July 6, 2012.
Japanese singer Namie Amuro at a press conference in Singapore on July 6, 2012. PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER

TOKYO - J-pop singer Namie Amuro dropped a bombshell on her 40th birthday on Wednesday (Sept 20) by announcing her retirement plan.

Amuro - who made her professional debut 25 years ago, four days shy of her 15th birthday - said she would retire on Sept 16, 2018, the 26th anniversary of her career, The Yomiuri Shimbun reported.

She said on her official website: "I would like to write about something that I have carried on my mind and have decided on the 25th anniversary of my debut. I, Namie Amuro, would like to take this opportunity to inform all of my fans of my decision to retire as of Sept 16, 2018."

In the letter that was written in Japanese and English, she added that she would make the last year of her music career meaningful by "creating a final album and performing at concerts".

Amuro rose to stardom in the 1990s as a teen queen, with hits like Can You Celebrate?. The native of Okinawa also popularised the sun-kissed look, with her long brown hair and golden tan. She has a 19-year-old son from a short-lived marriage to dancer Masaharu “Sam” Maruyama of J-pop group TRF.