Taking A Break

Hikaru Utada, one of the biggest-selling J-pop artists of the last decade, announced she plans to take time off from making music.

A superstar in Japan since she was 15 and one of the few J-pop artists to make a decent showing in the U.S., the bilingual R&B singer-songwriter says she will release a new greatest hits package in the fall. It will contain all her singles released since 2004 plus “4-5 new tracks.” After that she will go on hiatus in order to focus on “human activities” rather than “artist activities.”

Though she has said that she feels she missed out on some personal growth in the past decade, her off-stage life has nevertheless been eventful. She went to university in America (but has yet to graduate), underwent treatment for cancer and was married and divorced.

Two days after the announcement, Utada posted another message on her blog complaining about the Japanese media’s interpretation of her reasons for the sabbatical.

One sports tabloid quoted a producer at Utada’s Japanese label, EMI Japan, as saying that right after Utada became famous she couldn’t go to McDonald’s or department stores in Tokyo.

“That story doesn’t express my feelings,” she wrote.