We’re back with another glimpse into the world of J-Pop. Today we are looking at the newly crowned queen of J-Pop, the “Katy Gaga”, Kyaru Pamyu Pamyu! This young 20 year old has taken Japan by storm with her infectious pop melodies and bright colours. Read on to find out about her roots, and how she became the mega star she is today, plus see some of her amazing music videos.
Now less known by her real name, Kiriko Takemura, growing up she had her distinct fashion sense, and in high school she would wear a blonde wig as part of her look, and her friends started calling her “Kyary” (pronounced Carrie), as she embraced western culture so much.
Her claim to fame began with her own fashion blog, which later transformed into a professional career in modelling. While modelling, she worked for a few Harajuku fashion magazines, which heightened her celebrity status, and as her fame grew, she started a line of fake eye lashes called “Harajuku Doll Eyelashes by Eyemazing x Kyary”.
With a growing celebrity status in the Harajuku & Tokyo fashion scenes, Kyary made the leap to the music industry. This all began when she headlined a charity event for the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami relief. Shortly after, she released her first promo single, PonPonPon, which became a worldwide viral hit when the psychedelic music video hit over 50 million views.
Later in 2011 Kyary released her first official single, “Tsukema Tsukera”, which was very quickly certified gold. She later traveled to California, which was her first time overseas, to perform, which caused her popularity to grow exponentially! Shortly after her first mini album release, she released a autobiography / photo book about her rapid rise to fame titled “Oh! My God! Harajuku Girl!”
In 2012, she released her first full studio album, title “Pamyu Pamyu Revolution”, which she followed with a national tour around Japan in the summer, which later expanded to a concert for more than 13,000 fans in Paris. On her return from tour, she was bestowed the “Kawaii Harajuku Ambassador” by the mayor of Shibuya, where she accepted the award and performed for the crowd. In late 2012, she released her second single, “Fashion Monster”, for which she collaborated with fashion brand G.U.
This year has only been bigger for Kyary, starting the year with a whirlwind world tour through USA, Europe, England, Asia, South Korea and Australia, and many performances locally across Japan as well. On her tour, she gained a lot of international media attention, where she was called “the coolest girl in the planet”, and “the most exciting person making music”. With her career rocketing along, she released her second studio album, “Nanda Collection”, in June, where it was so hugely popular, that she was asked to close the 2013 Japanese MTV Music Video Awards, where she also won the Best Pop Video and Best Karaoke Video (Only in Japan!) awards for her single “Fashion Monster”. Just this past month, Kyary has announced a second world tour.
In her short career, we’re impressed to have only been able to positive news surrounding her, with her notable fashion sense always coming up in the news. The closest thing she has had that could be considered controversy was in a TV interview, where the huge bow she wore on her head blocked the view of another J-Pop band in the background, angering the band’s fans. I know - watch out, she is out of control! Most recently she has become the face of KFC’s desert drinks “Krushers” in Japan, where you can see her bright neon self up there next to the colonel.
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu is unique in the J-pop world, as she has gained quite a celebrity overseas, with large sales of her music in western countries as well as all over Asia. She was recently signed with Sire Records for more American releases and has just announced her plans for a second world tour, which is quite a feat for a person who broke into the music world less than four years ago .
She has been called Japan’s Katy Perry, with her cotton candy fashion and bubble gum pop melodies, her western inspirations are the previously mentioned, Lady Gaga, and Gwen Stefani. However in sheer fashion creativity and design she has leaped pass them in originality and kawaii in her few short years on the J-Pop scene.