All About Japan

After a 12-Year Hiatus, Utada Hikaru Is Back!

J-Pop Events Concert Music Shoryudo Fukuoka Aichi Chiba Kanagawa Saitama Kanto Chubu Kyushu Tokai Region

Following her major-label debut in 1998, Utada Hikaru quickly became one of the biggest stars in the world of Japanese pop music. But while many Japanese recording artists continue to churn out similar-sounding albums at a brisk clip until audiences tire of them, Utada took a different path.

Utilizing her multilingual capabilities, she recorded albums in English for international release, lived overseas and took her time feeding the J-pop machine, waiting eight years between the release of Japanese-language albums Heart Station in 2008 and Fantôme in 2016.

Now the singer who’s perhaps best-known abroad for her theme-song performances for the Kingdom Hearts and Evangelion anime and video game franchises has surprised fans by announcing that after a 12-year break she’s going on tour again later this year.

Utada’s last tour, “Utada United 2006,” featured 22 performances in 11 Japanese cities. The current venue list for her upcoming, as-yet untitled tour is smaller, consisting of:

• Kanagawa Prefecture: Yokohama Arena (November 6, 7)
• Fukuoka Prefecture: Fukuoka Marine Messe (November 14, 15)
• Aichi Prefecture: Nihon Gaishi Hall (November 22, 23)
• Osaka: Osaka Castle Hall (November 28)
• Saitama Prefecture: Saitama Super Arena (December 4, 5)
• Chiba Prefecture: Makuhari Messe (December 8, 9)

Ticket pricing and availability have yet to be disclosed, but given the 12 years of pent-up demand, odds are they’ll be snapped up immediately regardless of cost. If you’re looking for an inside track, though, Epic Records, Utada’s current label, has also announced that she’ll be releasing a new album on June 27, 2018, titled Hatsukoi. The album will contain not only a dozen songs but also an entry form to apply for ticket purchase rights ahead of their general sale date—which would also give you four months or so to practice singing along to the new songs for when you attend the concert!

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