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 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.
,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. By Myself, Hitomi's second album released in 2006, became her first musical work to debute at number one on the Oricon charts, and selling more than 800 thousand copies it became her biggest selling album to date.
After three studio albums and twelve singles, Komuro and Hitomi went their separate ways in 1998, and in 1999 she released her first greatest hits album, entitled H, that peaked at number one on the Japanese charts and sold more than a 500 thousand copies.
In 2000, she gained much public attention after her single "Love 2000" was used as the image song of runner Naoko Takahashi, who became popular in Japan after winning the gold medal in the 2000 Summer Olympics. This helped the song to get a lot of airplay, and the sing became a commercial success, giving Hitomi at the end of that year the chance to perform the song at the annual Kōhaku Uta Gassen. Her Love Life album released around that same time also caught attention within the Japanese entertainment because of its cover: Hitomi appeared completely naked in it, covering her breasts with her arms.
During some routine medical examination, she seemed to have some abnormalities, and after further examinations Hitomi was discovered to have an small ovarian tumor. Since it was a benign one, it was easy to remove, and Hitomi went to a succesful surgical remove in late November 2002. Hitomi could return to her normal activities very quickly, and in December 1st, 2002 she married a businessman. They got divorced in November 2007, and never had children. During this period as a married woman, her legal name changed to Hitomi Uesugi (上杉仁美 Uesugi Hitomi?).
After a one year and a half hiatus, in May 2004 Hitomi released a new studio album, Traveler. The concert tour she subsequently embarked upon was a huge success, and she played to packed arenas at almost every stop.
As the 10th anniversary of Hitomi's debut came in 2005, she opened her own record label, Love Life Records, which functioned as a subdivision of Avex. The first single to be released from the label was "Japanese girl", her 28th single, which also marked a change in Hitomi's style and looks, much more modern dance-oriented and sexy, than any of her previous works.
In 2007 she got her first lead role in the movie Akumu Tantei, and also participated in her first musical: "Waiting For The Sun: Tenkimachi". On December 5, 2007 Hitomi's singles compilation "Peace" was released to celebrate her 13th anniversary.
On July 11, 2008, Hitomi revealed on her blog that she had got married again, this time to actor Masayoshi Haneda, and that she was 4 months pregnant. She released a new digital single called Fight for Your Run☆ in August 2008. On December 23 she gave birh to a baby girl.
After a year on hiatus, Hitomi released a new single: World! Wide! Love!, on May 20, 2009, and a month later she released her ninth studio album, Love Life 2. This album was a spiritual successor to her 2000 album, Love Life, and Hitomi appeared once again nude in the cover of it, but this time pregnant of her child.
,2011: Departure from Avex and Indie start
Hitomi's last single in the Avex label, "Umarete Kurete Arigato/Smile World", was released on February 16, 2011. This month she also inaugurated her own baby clothing brand called PomiPomi. On March, 28th it was announced on Hitomi's official website that two new songs, "Special" and "Guru Maze Yeah!" would be used in the NHK educative cartoon Hana Kappa, as opening and ending themes respectively, although these songs were never officially released.
On April 5, 2011, it was announced that Hitomi had left the Avex major label and had signed to Maximum 10, an independent label, altough still affiliated to the Avex company, and owned by post-hardcore band Fact. On April 27, Hitomi's tenth studio album and first indie album, Spirit, was released, and featured mainly productions of western artists such as Rivers Cuomo from Weezer, Chuck Comeau and Pierre Bouvier from Simple Plan, and Gabe Saporta from Cobra Starship. In June Hitomi started her Live Tour 2011: Spirit, her first live tour in five years.
Main article: Hitomi discography
1995: Go to the Top
1996: By Myself
1999: Thermo Plastic
2000: Love Life
2006: Love Concent
2009: Love Life 2