Hikaru Utada Launches 'New-Turn Project' to Mark Her Return to Music
posted on by Karen Ressler
Singer Hikaru Utada's official website opened a page for Utada's "New-Turn Project" to mark her return to music. Utada is performing the theme song "Hanataba o Kimi ni" (Bouquet for You) for the television drama Toto Neechan and the as-yet-unnamed ending theme song for NTV's News Zero program, both of which will begin on April 4.
The project page posts Tweets under the hashtag #おかえりHIKKI (Welcome Back Hikki) and links to online stores with music downloads and other related products. Part of the proceeds from the project will be donated to a non-profit organization that will plant cherry trees in areas affected by the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami.
Yahoo Japan's streaming service GyaO! and broadcast media company USEN are endorsing the project, and will donate based on the number of views on Hikaru Utada music videos and requests for Hikaru Utada songs at their respective services during the project period. The project is running from March 10 through April 30.
Japanese newspaper Sports Hochi reported in December that Hikaru Utada would return to the entertainment business after a six-year hiatus with a new album this spring. According to Sports Hochi's sources, at least two of the songs in the new album would debut in April as theme songs for a major live-action television series and a news program. However, Universal Music's Hidenobu Okita denied this on Hikaru Utada's official website, saying that the singer is continuing to work intermittently but that it is not at a stage yet where they can reveal a release period.
Hikaru Utada had previously announced in July that she was working on a new album overseas while pregnant with her son, who was born this past summer. She had married Francesco Calliano, an Italian bartender, in 2014 and dealt with the death of her mother the year before.
Utada previously provided a 2007 remix of her 2000 cover of Frank Sinatra's "Fly Me to the Moon (In Other Words)" for the trailer to Evangelion:1.0 You are (Not) Alone (Evangelion Shin Gekijōban: Jo), as well as her "Beautiful World" song for the anime film itself. She also contributed the "Beautiful World -PLANiTb Acoustica Mix-" for the second film, Evangelion:2.0 You Can (Not) Advance (Evangelion Shin Gekijōban: Ha). In addition to her singing career, she played the heroine Pinoko in the 2001-2002 Black Jack net anime series.