It’s November 13th, and we’re celebrating the birthday of a J-Pop star who’ll get your J poppin’–if you know what we mean. Actually, we don’t know what that means, either. What we do know is that Koda Kumi (just as likely to be known as Kumi Koda) is the gal who’s convinced us that we can no longer call pop singers the Lady Gaga of Japan. That’s because nearly all Japanese pop stars are like Lady Gaga–meaning Lady Gaga just tries to be a Japanese pop star.
But while the world gets frankly underwhelmed over Gaga’s new ARTPOP, we’re excited over Koda Kumi’s really amazing and innovative career. The young beauty from Kyoto started her career with the new millennium–and, like Ayumi Hamasaki–began as a fairly conservative pop star. The former ugly duckling had plenty of hits with pop tunes that were popularized as video game themes.
Koda Kumi decided to get a little sexy with a 2004 music video for her song “Kiseki.” The public was very approving .The next year saw her releasing her fourth album, and Secret ended up going double platinum in sales. That was thanks to erotic tunes like “Hot Stuff.” In fact, Koda suddenly found herself on the vanguard of a Japanese trend called ero-kawaii (or erokawa)–that being a movement where Japanese pop stars gave up being cute and began to embrace Western notions of sexy imagery.
That includes how Koda Kumi became the first woman to popularize the wearing of lingerie in the J-Pop world. That’s a pretty important contribution. So were her songs with titles like “Freaky” and “Taboo.” Some would say that Koda’s image is more important than her urban-influenced pop tunes, but we will not judge. We will, however, present plenty of pics of Koda as we celebrate her 31st birthday. We’re pretty sure you’ll judge her to be one exciting star…