Koda Kumi is a Japanese pop singer-songwriter from Kyoto, Japan who is known in the west for singing the Japanese language theme songs of Final Fantasy X-2
. In her home country, she started out as a standard pop singer and eventually, worked her way to sex symbol status. For a more straightforward way to put it, she could be considered a Japanese counterpart of Britney Spears
, Christina Aguilera
, or Rihanna
Since her debut she has released nearly fifty singles and nine studio albums. Not to mention her collaborations with other artists, remixes, and Greatest Hits albums.
In addition to her work in the music industry, she's also made a strong influence on Japanese fashion trends, resulting in the ero-kawaii style
, named after what she called her pop star image. Her younger sister Misono is also a pop singer.
In December 2011, she announced her engagement to BACK-ON lead singer Kenji, and shortly after the couple announced they were expecting their first child together. They married that same month and welcomed a son in July 2012. Koda Kumi has since returned to work, releasing a couple of singles and announcing a much awaited tour by her fans worldwide.
Her albums include:
- Affection (2002)
- Grow Into One (2003)
- Feel My Mind (2004)
- Secret (2005)
- Best: First Things (2005), her first greatest hits album
- Best: Second Session (2006), her second greatest hits album, consisting of various non-album singles
- Koda Kumi Remix Album (2006), which is nothing but remixes of songs from Second Session
- Black Cherry (2006)
- Best: Bounce & Lovers (2007), a collection of love songs and ballads
- Kingdom (2008)
- Trick (2009)
- Out Works & Collaboration Best (2009), a collection of collaborative efforts, plus an extended version of Second Session's intro for some reason
- Koda Kumi Driving Hit's (2009), another remix album
- Koda Kumi Driving Hit's 2 (2010), yet another remix album
- Best: Third Universe (2010), her third greatest hits album, which was a tie-in with...
- Universe (2010)
- Eternity: Love & Songs (2010), a Cover Album
- Dejavu (2011)
- Koda Kumi Driving Hit's 3 (2011), Remixes, again. But let's be honest, fans lap it up.
- Japonesque (2012)
- Koda Kumi Driving Hit's 4 (2012), guess what this one is
- Color the Cover (2013), a second Cover Album
- Koda Kumi Driving Hit's 5 (2013), no, really, guess
Tropes that apply to Koda Kumi and her music:
- AcCENT Upon the Wrong SylLABle - Well... she's Japanese.
- Auto-Tune - Varying amounts. "Pink Spider" is drowned in it, which is one of the reasons it was not very well recieved among hide fans.
- Award Bait Song - All of her Power Ballads.
- Bare Your Midriff - Of◊ course◊.
- Boastful Rap
- Cover Album - Eternity: Love & Songs and Color the Cover.
- Cover Version - "Pink Spider." Its reception among hide fans has not been... pleasant. Mostly due to the video not matching the lyrics or intent of the song, and the replacement of hide's guitar work - one of the outstanding points of the song - with some work by a DJ of questionable skill miming David Guetta.
- Even the Girls Want Her - Look at ANY of her lives, or in any number of her P Vs where she can be seen getting VERY friendly with other females.
- Erotic Eating - THIS◊.
- Fanservice - She's given lap dances and serenades to audiences members brought up on stage. Also, this is pretty much what she's famous for.
- Follow the Leader - Also, some of her songs sound suspiciously similar to some American hits. 'Puppy' sounds exactly like Rihanna's 'SOS' and 'You're So Beautiful' sounds like Jordin Sparks's 'Tattoo.' To be fair, this is hardly her fault (she had nothing to do with Puppy's production nor You're So Beautiful's music), but still.
- Girl-on-Girl Is Hot - Music videos for "But" and "Taboo" come to mind, her live performances often involve dry humping/groping of female & male dancers.
- Good Bad Girl - She is a total cutie in public and interviews. Her music, videos and performances say otherwise.
- Gratuitous English
- Greatest Hits Album - As of right now, five of them.
- Guy-on-Guy Is Hot - "Ima Sugu Hoshii" features one man snaking up another, "Taboo" features her male love interest kissing a guy after he catches Kumi with girls.
- Hotter and Sexier
- Impossibly Cool Clothes
- Intercourse with You - Has at least one per album anymore. Special mention goes to Ima Sugu Hoshii (lit. I Want It Right Now), which doesn't even try to convince you that it's anything else.
- Japanese Pop Music
- Japanese Ranguage - Incredibly guilty of this, especially in her cover of A Whole New World. Coincides with Gratuitous English.
- Kansai Regional Accent - Well, she is from Kyoto. (BoA commented on her accent as being very "strong" during a television interview.)
- Kimono Fanservice the cover of her latest album◊ , JAPONESQUE◊. The "So Nice" video has this by the truckloads, too.
- Kimono Is Traditional - The video for "Aisho" features Kumi in a Kimono, as have many promotional photos. She also a special feature, in which she wore a montage of Kimono.
- Let's Duet - Peabo Bryson, Tatsuya Ishii and BoA among others.
- Lighter and Softer
- Mood Whiplash - On Black Cherry, the change from Juicy (a smutty hip-hop song) to Candle Light (a piano ballad where Kumi sobs the whole time she's singing) is so jarring that you almost can't help but laugh. The fact that Cherry girl, a sassy pop song, immediately follows is just icing on the cake.
- Motor Mouth - she speaks incredibly fast.
- Nice Hat - Pirate hats, flight attendant chapeaus, you name it, she's worn it.
- Panty Shot - The cover◊ for Second Session.
- Peacock Girl - The video for "Show Girl".
- Power Ballad - At least three per album.
- Pretty in Mink - During her "Kingdom" tour she actually, JUMPED up and down, and danced around whilst singing in a gianormous fur coat.
- The coat in the video for "Showgirl".
- She Cleans Up Nicely - A theme of the "Bambi" music video.
- Smoking Is Glamorous - The video for "Aisho" (Love Proof).
- Showgirl Skirt: A pink feather one for her "Trick" tour.
- Stage Names - Born 神田 來未子 (Koda Kumiko) but is branded as 倖田 來未 (Koda Kumi), changing Kanji in her Family Name and shortening her Given Name.
- Surprise Pregnancy: She announced that she was pregnant a few days after she said she was getting married to BACK-ON's Kenji03. It was probably a Shotgun Wedding.
- Stripperiffic - What◊ did◊ you◊ expect◊ from◊ the◊ Japanese◊ Britney Spears?
- Three Minutes of Writhing - Her P Vs or her lives, constantly.
- Translated Cover Version - Her version of Kelly Clarkson's Can We Go Back.
- Woman Scorned
- Yaoi Fangirl - Again - "Taboo" & "Ima Sugu Hoshii" video clips. Her expression to witnessing boy on boy action is priceless.