The last time we truly heard from singer-songwriter and J-pop megastar Hikaru Utada was at a concert on Dec. 9, 2010, at Yokohama Arena. Captured on the home-video release "Wild Life," the glorious two days of concerts concluded with a performance of "Time Will Tell," the companion track to her 1998 debut single, "Automatic."

"Time will tell / We'll understand when time passes," the then-27-year-old sang to a sold-out arena crowd. In contrast to the studio version of the song that featured a 15-year-old Utada, the "Wild Life" performance seemed more refined and world-weary. "You don't have to hurry," she sings in the chorus. It was as if she was singing it to herself; Utada began her self-imposed, indefinite hiatus and exile from the music industry the following year.

It has been six years since. While there have been releases — from a lone, out-of-the-blue single "Sakura Nagashi" in 2012 to a 15th-anniversary reissue of her debut album "First Love" — Utada has been, for the most part, off the grid for the past half-decade. Citing reasons such as wanting to see the world and work on her personal life, Utada stepped away from the Japanese music industry after having conquered it single-handedly. She's so well-known here, even writing her name in the Western style — not Utada Hikaru as she's known in Japan — seems odd. She still holds the record for the most albums sold by a Japanese artist ever — all of her Japanese releases have sold over a million units — and her first three albums, "First Love," "Distance" and "Deep River," have sold more than 3 million copies each, a feat still unmatched across three consecutive albums by any other Japanese artist. Her last album, "Heart Station," released in 2008, spawned seven hit singles. Showing no signs of any sort of decline in creativity or popularity, her sudden hiatus was met with alarm by fans and the media.