Original article [here].


Hamasaki Ayumi’s re-marriage controversy: “Commemorative photobook” release hugely unpopular
25 December 2013.

Hamasaki Ayumi (35), who is in the limelight again due to her lightning engagement to an American student (25), faces “struggles” with sales of her photoboook. To commemorate her 15th debut Anniversary, she released a photobook named “ayu” (2800yen) last month, 11 years since her last photobook, and reviews have been harsh.

Customer reviews on Amazon (average rating 2.6 stars) have been particularly critical. Comments were severe, such as;

“The book talks about an opening of her private residence, but it’s hard to tell anything from the photos”
“There’s nothing nice about looking at walls and bedsheets. Too much Photoshop. It’s a photobook of her tattoos, bedsheets and walls”
“She’s been a disappointment lately”
“An item fans buy only because of obligation”

Even so, the initial press sold more than 20,000 copies, and Kodansha’s PR department commented that “with subsequent presses, total sales reached 23,000 copies”. Seems like hardcore fans are still buying the book.

In April 2002, photobook “uraayu” (special edition 8400yen) sold up to 100,000 copies.

At that time, her romance with TOKIO’s Tomoya Nagase (35) was the hot topic, and she released consecutive hits like “Dearest” and “Voyage”. It was then that her presence as “pop princess” was strongest. However, even that premium photobook is now selling for 1yen in second-hand stores.

The plunge in Hamasaki’s popularity is obvious with this release. Will this memorial year end with nothing but news about her private life…?