Pop diva Ayumi Hamasaki, 36, who has appeared on NHK's popular New Year's Eve "Kohaku Uta Gassen" for the past 15 years, announced earlier this week that she would not be appearing on the gala show this year.
Hamasaki made the announcement three days before the line-up was revealed by NHK on Wednesday.
Hamasaki prefaced her announcement by saying that she wanted to be up front with her fans and give them the full story, not the words of some newspaper or rumor mill, Sports Nippon reported. Her tweet read, "This is it, I am graduating from the NHK Hall!"
Hamasaki said, "NHK and I deliberated for some time about this, and mutually agreed that the timing would be perfect and that this would be the best way for me to part ways with the 'Kohaku' tradition. I feel truly refreshed to be able to leave on such good terms."
She concluded her tweet with an uplifting note and reassured fans that she would continue to look forward to the bright future ahead of her, " ...And here I thought this Tweet would be a disaster, but not at all. lol!"
The artist later posted on her official fan website home page, that by "decreasing the number of things I am involved in, I believe this action will allow me to focus more on the things I am truly passionate about rather than doing things I feel obligated to do. For this opportunity and all your support, I am truly thankful to you all."
Hamasaki, who made her "Kohaku" debut in 1998, said she had begun feeling the pressure of having to do it every year, and that she felt truly relieved to be free of the responsibility.
As a follow-up to the bittersweet news, Hamasaki told her fans that they would have much to look forward to as she plans on expanding her sphere of influence and artistic expression in not just Japan, but throughout the Asian region.© Japan Today