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Ten years ago, Namie Amuro’s star appeared to be fading fast. The pop singer’s massive popularity in the 1990s helped cement the rise of sleek J-pop, but by 2005, sales of her albums and singles were starting to come back to Earth. Worse still, the former “Queen of J-pop” was seemingly being lapped by rival singers Ayumi Hamasaki and Kumi Koda.

But 2015 saw Amuro solidify — once again — her position as the country’s premier female pop star. This endpoint has been on the horizon for a few years, but the past 12 months saw her finalize it via the Oricon chart-topping “_genic,” which was released in June. While she continued a late-career resurgence, she could also enjoy a degree of schadenfreude in seeing her closest rivals slip up massively over the past year.

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