After taking 6 years hiatus, Hikaru Utada (or sometimes referred to as Hikki) is taking the Japanese music industry by storm. Her 6th album, Fantôme, which was released on September 28 this year, has already sold more than 500k copies, and stayed at no. 1 on Oricon  Weekly Chart for four consecutive weeks. This album also managed to enter record charts in the United States and France, her first Japanese release to do so.

Fantôme, meaning ghost or shadow in France is a dedication for her mother, late enka singer Keiko Fuji who was passed away in 2013. As quoted from an interview Hikki on life + magazine, Hikki admitted that she always feeling her mother’s presence as a shadow in her life. “And because everyone knew that the album is about my mother, I had this strong sense of responsibility to not make an album that would paint my mother’s face in mud,” she explained.

Aside from her mother’s death, Fantôme also influenced by her second marriage and the birth of her son in 2015. The lyrical content delves into themes of grieves, sadness, love, and death, and drew attention because the songs titles and the lyrics are mostly in Japanese, which is rare compared to her previous albums. “This time, I really wanted to make songs that use Japanese beautifully.  Using English making me feel like escaping my own feeling which I want to share on this album,” she added.

On its released day, Fantôme sold for more than 253k in a week. It’s a massive numbers, making Hikki as one of only a few female singer who sold massive records in 2016, number two worldwide, behind Beyonce’s Lemonade which was sold for 485k copies on its first week. Fantôme also listed as no. 1 song on many charts in countries outside Japan, and peaked at number 3 on US iTunes.

It was a surprise for the singer herself, as she tweeted: “what the hell is going on?” when the event happened. Hikki also tweet her gratitude to her fans by saying, “It’s such a surprise. But still I’m far behind my Mom’s record for 37 weeks (laughs). I still don’t get it (the 37 weeks record),” she tweeted jokingly. Indeed, Keiko Fuji hold a record for her album Shinjuku no Onna and the follow up album, Onna no Blues which topping the chart for 20 weeks and 17 weeks in early 1970.

Well, Hikki seems to forget that she’s indeed not alone. Her fans were so thirsty for her comeback and after all these years they will always follow her music release. Just like her lyrics on Michi, the opening track in Fantôme : “it’s a lonely, it’s a lonely, it’s a lonely, it’s a lonely uh uh uh uh road. But I’m not alone, not alone, not alone….”


Ami, Editor of J-Entertainment




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