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AYUMI HAMASAKI -Ayumi Hamasaki (浜崎 あゆみ, Hamasaki Ayumi?, born October 2, 1978) is an award-winning J-pop singer. Also known as Ayu, Hamasaki is one of Japan's most popular pop singers and has been dubbed the "Empress of J-Pop". Born and raised in Fukuoka, she moved to Tokyo to pursue a career in entertainment. Since her 1998 debut with the single poker face, she has sold more than 45 million records in Japan alone, with the releases of her eight full-length studio albums, one mini-album, four compilation albums, 42 singles, and numerous non-studio albums, making her the top-selling solo and female artist and the fourth best-selling Japanese artist in history. With the release of her 40th single, Blue Bird, Hamasaki's single sales exceeded 20 million, making her the first solo and female singer to reach that milestone.
With the release of her 39th single, Startin'/Born to Be..., in 2006, Hamasaki became the female solo artist with most number-one hits. With the release of her 2007 single Talkin' 2 Myself, Hamasaki has 29 number-one singles (30 when A Song Is Born is included) and 39 singles in the Top 10 of the Japanese Oricon charts. The release of Talkin' 2 Myself also gave Hamasaki 17 consecutive number-one singles (starting with Free & Easy). Hamasaki is also the first Japanese artist to have her first original eight studio albums top the Oricon charts.