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A screenshot of Anne and Hikaru Utada both laughing in the kitchen as they prepare and cook gyoza.

Hikaru Utada randomly appeared in the vlog of actress turned influencer Anne Watanabe, the daughter of the legendary Ken Watanabe. One of two Japanese actors that Hollywood calls when it wants a Japanese man. The other being Hiroyuki Sanada.

As you’ll discover in the video, Hikaru Utada reached out to Anne to appear in a video with her because a friend showed them Anne’s YouTube channel and Hikaru Utada liked it. Of course this is not Teruzane’s doing. Because if there were, we woulda had a 360 product tie-in and a bag. There is no way he woulda had Hikaru Utada cooking in a kitchen without a Sori Yanagi or Wahei Freiz bag. Even though he knows his child cannot cook for shit.

But whilst the pairing of Hikaru Utada and Anne seems random as hell, there are things which probably drew Hikaru and Anne together without them realising it. The first being that both Hikaru and Anne moved from Japan to live in Europe with their families; with Hikaru Utada moving to the UK and Anne moving to France. The other being that both of them have a famous parent who had a huge career, a career which they also chose to follow in. And the most obvious one is that Anne stars in Kingdom, the film of which Hikaru Utada’s “Gold ~Mata au hi Made~” was the theme song of.

The dynamic of this video was really interesting, because Hikaru is the one asking all of the questions, which says a lot about the kind of person they are. Hikaru seems very present, curious and genuinely interested in wanting to know about Anne’s life, and none of it concerning her career, but her experiences as a mother. And it makes sense. Not only is Hikaru a mother themselves who also chose to move to a whole new country with a family, but they seem to have entered this phase of their life where they are far more open about sharing their experiences as a mother with the public and including their child in their work. In pretty much every single thing Hikaru has put out and every interview they’ve done over the past couple of years, there has been something of their son. There must be something in the air, as we’re also seeing Beyoncé, Mariah Carey and Madonna featuring their children more in what they do too.

But we also see how far Hikaru Utada has come generally when it comes to sharing personal aspects of their life generally. It’s something they’ve always been candid about in their music, but protective of it during press. But to hear Hikaru speak of their son and their mother so casually really warmed my heart; as fans know that Hikaru losing their mother whilst being a mother themselves was a bit of a whirlwind of emotions, which formed much of Fantôme.

It’s really fascinating to see how YouTube has become a big thing amongst celebs in Japan. It makes sense on one hand, because blogging was such a big thing that many of them used to do back in the day and that included vlogging. Everybody had a damn Ameba account. But to see the industry push toward YouTube after refusing it for so long really is something. A lot of big record labels still don’t know how to do YouTube right. Lots of official Japanese channels still turn comments off and don’t allow videos to be embedded. And labels still keep releasing short versions of music videos (which are up to 2 minutes long in some cases) and then the full music video weeks later, which doesn’t offer anything more and then wonder why the short video has more views. But, baby steps, I guess.

Can somebody in Hikaru’s team please tell them that we have Uniqlo here in the UK, so they don’t have to keep shipping it over from Japan. They also have a UK website you can shop from.

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Hikaru Utada and Anne Watanabe have a chinwag in the kitchen