Ataru Nakamura (中村 中 Nakamura Ataru?) is a Japanese J-pop singer and who made her major debut on the popular Avex Trax in 2006. She is transsexual, and the revelation of this fact attracted a lot of attention from the Japanese media, leading to increased publicity and success.
Born in Tokyo on 28 June 1985, Nakamura began studying music at a young age. She taught herself to play the piano, guitar, and the drums at age ten, and began to write her own songs at the age of fifteen. She entered herself in various music competitions at that time and garnered attention when she won the Katsushika Band Festival, making her the first (and thus far only) solo artist to do so. In 1999, at the age of fourteen, she released an indie label album called Shouchikubai as her prize.
2006-early 2007: Switch to Avex Trax and Ten Made Todoke
In 2006, she switched to a major label, the popular Avex Trax. Her first major label single "Yogoreta Shitagi" was released on her birthday, and received minor attention. "Yogoreta Shitagi" was written about an ex-boyfriend who was cheating on her and is written from the former boyfriend's point of view. Nakamura called this individual on the telephone to explain that the song she had written about him was to be her debut single.
Her second single "Tomodachi no Uta" received greater attention, and placed in the Top 150 at #150 on the Oricon charts. However, it was not until Nakamura revealed on the talk-radio program All Night Nippon that she was born male and had undergone sex reassignment surgery that she received major attention. Her explanation garnered a lot of media attention, and her single rose to #9 on the Oricon. "Tomodachi no Uta" became the theme song for the popular television drama Watashi ga Watashi de Aru Tame ni, a primetime television drama about a young transsexual woman; Nakamura even received a small cameo on the program.
Nakamura wrote "Tomodachi no Uta" when she was fourteen-years-old; notably, it was the first song she ever wrote. She wrote the song to say goodbye to the friends in junior high she would never see again.
Her third single, "Watashi no Naka no Ii Onna," entered the Oricon at #39. On the same day "Watashi no Naka no Ii Onna" was released, the song "Chewing Gum," written by Nakamura for the band AAA, debuted on the Oricon. Her two songs competed with one another for four weeks.
Her first album Ten Made Todoke was released on 1 January 2007. A month later she released "Kaze ni Naru," her fourth single. "Kaze ni Naru" was the theme song for the film Sakebi.
Her song "Kakeashi no Ikizama" was used as the closing theme for the anime series Reideen.
Late 2007-present: Watashi wo Daite Kudasai
Nakamura's fifth single marked the promotion of her second album titled Watashi wo Daite Kudasai. The album was released on 5 December. "Ringo Uri," the album's first single, premiered on 27 June 2007 and peaked at #30 on the Oricon. The album's second single "Hadaka Denkyuu" premiered 21 November. "Tori no Mure," the album's third single and her seventh overall, will be released later; a video has already been shot.
A new song called "Kaze Tachinu" will be released on 9 July 2008. She is soon to appear at Ap Bank Fes '08, a musical festival, on 20 July.
Nakamura intended to be a singer and songwriter from a very young age; she explained on a talkshow that she had never dreamed of being anything other than a singer.
She has a calico cat named Paa.
She played the flute in her high school band.
In a television interview with Ando Yuko, she explained that she had originally hoped to maintain her career without explaining that she had undergone sex reassignment surgery, but changed her mind so as to be honest.
- She revealed on Cartoon KAT-TUN, a talkshow hosted by the group KAT-TUN that she likes to listen to music while reading the lyrics.
- She also said on Cartoon KAT-TUN she is a fan of Noriyuki Makihara, who she likened to Santa Claus bringing presents to her. She has gone on the record explaining she would like to work with Makihara.
Nakamura is notable for the two different styles in which she sings. Her first style is a modern rock/pop sound. Her second style is an enka-inspired sound; thus far her enka-styled ballads have been her largest successes. Her singles have thus far alternated between these two styles.
Nakamura is also noted for her powerful vocals.
- "Yogoreta Shitagi (汚れた下着 Dirty Underwear?)" (6/28/06) - Oricon Weekly Charts Peak - #155
- "Tomodachi no Uta (友達の詩 Poem of Friends?)" (9/06/06) - Oricon Weekly Charts Peak - #9
- "Watashi no Naka no "Ii Onna" (私の中の「いい女」 The Good Woman in Me?)" (11/15/06) - Oricon Weekly Charts Peak - #39
- "Kaze ni Naru (風になる Become the Wind?)" (2/21/07) (recut single from "天までとどけ") - Oricon Weekly Charts Peak: #103
- "Ringo Uri (リンゴ売り Apple Seller?)" (6/27/07) - Oricon Weekly Charts Peak: #30
- "Hadaka Denkyuu (裸電球 Naked Light Bulb?)" (11/21/07) - Oricon Weekly Charts Peak: TBD
- "Kaze Tachinu (風立ちぬ?)" (9 July 2008) - To be released
- "Ten Made Todoke (天までとどけ Reach Heaven?)" (1/01/07) - Oricon Weekly Charts Peak: #26
- "Watashi wo Daite Kudasai (私を抱いて下さい Please Embrace Me?)" (12/5/07) - Oricon Weekly Charts Peak: #23