A Keio University student with a penchant for singing, Mariya Takeuchi took it upon herself to jump-start her career, releasing a single in 1978 without a label.
The single garnered moderate success, ultimately launching Takeuchi into wide recognition. She released a total of five albums between 1978 and 1982, with a series of singles scratching the Top 100 or Top 40 of the Oricon charts, but never gaining a number one hit (though "Mysterious Peach Pie" did become a strong player, peaking at a number three position). The albums fared similarly, each hitting the weekly Top 20, but only 1980's Love Songs hit number one on the charts and became a strong seller. After marrying fellow musician and sometimes collaborator Tatsuro Yamashita in 1981, Takeuchi took a leave from the industry to raise their young child. Upon her return in 1984, fame was awaiting in a grander fashion. Since 1984, Takeuchi has released seven studio albums, each holding the Oricon number one slot, and a 1994 compilation (Impressions) became one of the higher-selling Japanese albums with three million copies sold. Along with her success as a solo artist, however, Takeuchi has become something of a go-to songwriter for Japan's pop industry, penning songs for a series of top artists. After a brief hiatus following 2004's Longtime Favorites album, Takeuchi returned to the scene in 2007 with the number one album Denim, and repeated the number one feat with 2008's Expressions. ~ Adam Greenberg, Rovi