Koda Kumi (倖田 來未) is a Japanese pop singer. Originally from Kyoto, she made her debut in 2000 with Take Back and has released numerous albums, including those that made her a star in 2005, Secret and Butterfly.
Originally, Koda started her career by auditioning for Morning Musume. She did not make the band and was signed by Avex where she debuted with Take Back, her first single, on December 6, 2000. Her next single, Trust Your Love did not succeed in Japan, but reached the #20 slot on the Billboard top Dance Music Charts in the United States, and she followed up on March 27, 2002 with her first full album, affection.
She continued to perform poorly on the charts and did not make it big until her seventh single, Real Emotion / 1000 no Kotoba, which was used for the opening vocals in Final Fantasy X-2. Her single debuted at #3 and she released her second album, Grow into One to decent success.
Her next handful of singles would reach the Top Twenty until her next album released, Feel My Mind. Her fourth album, Secret was released in 2005 and started at third on Oricon’s charts. It later went on to sell more than 500,000 copies and charted double platinum.
She continued to release new singles to higher debuts each time and her first compilation, Best ~first things~ debuted at number #2 later in 2005, then went up to #1. She followed with a project of releasing 12 singles, one per week for three months, and landed all of them in the Top 10.
In 2006 and 2007, she continued to experience incredible success with each of her major releases debuting in the top 10 and many of them reaching number 1, competing directly with other major artists like Ayumi Hamasaki’s newest releases.
In January of 2008, Koda enraged a large portion of the Japanese female population by saying “When a woman reaches the age of 35, her amniotic fluid begins to rot”. Her promotions for her next album were pulled and she had many of her endorsements stalled or canceled.
Koda has earned multiple awards for her music including the Nihon Record Taisho, the Japan Gold Disc Awards Pop Artist of the Year, Pop Album of the Year, and Music Video of the Year in 2006 and the Grand Prix winner at the 39th Japan Usen Grand Prize.