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Early life

Born Hitomi Furuya (古谷仁美, Furuya Hitomi?) in Tochigi, Japan, hitomi’s family relocated to Kawasaki, Kanagawa Prefecture when she was a child. Consequently hitomi always identified herself as a girl from Kanagawa. hitomi was an enthusiastic athlete throughout her childhood, playing baseball, soccer, and basketball, as well as an avid reader of manga. When hitomi was 16 years old, she was spotted and approached by a scout from a modelling agency. hitomi signed a short modelling contract and began appearing in magazines while she was still in high school.

In 1993, then 17 years old, Furuya was spotted by eminent Avex Trax music producer Tetsuya Komuro at an audition. Komuro signed Furuya to Avex, put Furuya through vocal training, and decided that she should use an all-lowercase ‘hitomi’ as her stage name. The following year, in November 1994, hitomi released her debut single, “Let’s Play Winter”, through avex trax, to which she wrote the lyrics. Since then, hitomi has been the lyricist for almost all of her songs. She has also performed covers, an example being the Bananarama hit “Venus” that she recorded an English-language cover for a Gillette commercial and later included on her June 2005 single, Japanese girl.

Debut and success

While the first two singles, Let’s Play Winter and WE ARE “LONELY GIRL” were considerable failures, her third single CANDY GIRL was used as the theme for a Kodak CM, and secured a Top 20 spot on the Japanese Oricon music chart. Subsequent singles “By Myself” and “Busy Now” established hitomi, barely out of her teens, as one to watch in Japanese entertainment.

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