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Birth name Ayumi Itō
Also known as Ayumi Lee, Yumi Ito, Ahyoomee
Born (1984-08-25) August 25, 1984 (age 29)
Origin Tottori Prefecture, Japan
Genres Pop, R&B
Occupations Singer, actress, dancer, MC, model
Years active 2002-present
Labels Starworld (Korea) (2002-2007)
SM Entertainment (Korea)
Rhythm Zone (Japan)
United Asia Management
Associated acts Exile Atsushi, SM Town, Sugar, Verbal
Website iconiq.jp (Japanese)
Korean name
Hangul 이아유미
Revised Romanization I Ayumi
McCune–Reischauer Yi Ayumi
Japanese name:
Itō Ayumi ( or あゆみ?)

Ayumi Itō[1] (伊藤 亜由美 Itō Ayumi?) (born August 25, 1984[2]), better known by her stage name Iconiq (stylized ICONIQ), is a Japanese singer of Korean ethnicity in Japan. She was a member of the Korean girl-group Sugar. Ito was born as a third generation Korean resident[3] and raised in Japan for much of her younger life and is the reason for her Japanese accent, although she is now fluent in both languages. Although Ayumi's name is commonly believed to be Japanese in origin, she has explained that her name is hanja-based.[4]


Iconiq was born in Tottori Prefecture on August 25, 1984, to Korean parents. She lived in Japan until she was 15, after which she moved to South Korea. She attended Korea Kent Foreign School.[5]

Korean debut[edit]

She was scouted by entertainment company Starworld at a H.O.T. concert,[1] debuting as part of the girl group Sugar in 2002.[2] The band released two albums in Japan and three in Korea, however were met with only moderate commercial success.

In 2006, the group disbanded, and Iconiq released two solo singles as Ayumi.[1] The first, a cover of the theme song for Cutie Honey (in the style of the Kumi Koda's 2004 version), was released on July 13, 2006, however was criticized by Korean media for her "heavy accent" and the overall Japanese feel of performances.[6] Her second digital single, "Jalmotdoen Mannam" (Korean: "잘못된 만남", "Wrongful Meeting") was released on November 7, 2006, and is a cover of Kim Gun Mo's hit from 1995.

She switched labels in February 2007, moving from Starworld to SM Entertainment and started collaborating with SM Town on their summer and winter albums that year.[7] However, she did not release any solo material in this time. In 2008, Iconiq moved to Los Angeles to study dance, and find new inspiration as a musician.[1][8]

Japanese debut[edit]

In late 2009, she changed her stage name to Iconiq, and debuted in Japan under Rhythm Zone. Her first promotions were for Shiseido's Maquillage cosmetics line, for which her song "I'm Lovin' You" (a duet with Exile vocalist Atsushi) was used in commercials, and Iconiq's images used in billboards.[9][10][11] Iconiq was marketed around her buzz cut hair-style, often called "baby short hair" (ベビーショートヘア?),[10][12][13] along with the catch-phrase "Watashi ga kawaru. Ongaku de kawaru." (私が変わる。音楽で変わる。 I change. I change through music.?).[14][15] Her hair style was suggested by her management as a strong image to compliment her desire for a theme of change.[1][16]

Iconiq's official Japanese profile did not mention her past as a member of Sugar or her Korean heritage, however vaguely references starting activities "overseas" in 2002.[8] Concerns about the motives of this were raised in the Korean media. Korean netizen reactions were mixed, with some seeing the decision as "embarrassment" of her past, while others reasoned Iconiq's Japanese career's stylistic differences were the cause.[17][18][19] Tokyo Sports ran an article about Iconiq's past as a Korean idol, however later apologised to Iconiq's record label.[20]

After two more promotional songs used in Maquillage commercials, "Change Myself" and "Bye Now!," she released her debut album, Change Myself, on March 10, 2010. The album debuted at #3 on Oricon's albums chart, the highest debut position since Yui Aragaki's Sora in late 2007.[12] Since then, she has released her debut single "Tokyo Lady," and released an EP called Light Ahead in September. The EP was promoted with three music videos directed by Diane Martel, including "Tokyo Lady."[21][22]

Iconiq won a new artist award at the 52nd Japan Record Awards in 2010, alongside Girls' Generation, Madoka Kikuchi and S/mileage.[23]

In January, 2011, her official homepage featured a sample of an unreleased song. Days later, it was removed without explanation. Since then, the homepage stated "New Song this Spring" and has revealed the title "I will love".[24]



Year Album Information Oricon
2010 Change Myself 3 64,000

Extended play[edit]

Year Album Information Oricon
2010 Light Ahead
  • Released: September 15, 2010
  • Label: Rhythm Zone (RZCD-46616)
  • Formats: CD, digital download
18 12,000


Japanese singles[edit]

Release Title Notes Chart positions Oricon
Oricon singles charts
Billboard Japan Hot 100
RIAJ digital tracks
2010 "I'm Lovin' You" (Iconiq x Exile Atsushi) Digital download 8 Change Myself
"Change Myself" 73 20
"Bye Now!" 8 47
"Tokyo Lady" 19 21 10,000 Light Ahead
"Light Ahead" Promotional single 49 62
2012 "Ladies" Digital download TBA
"Make It Right"

Korean singles[edit]

  • "Cutie Honey" July 3, 2006
  • "Jalmotdoen Mannam" (Korean: 잘못된 만남, Wrongful Meeting) November 7, 2006


Japan Record Awards[edit]

The Japan Record Awards is a major music awards show held annually in Japan by the Japan Composer's Association.

Year Recipient Award Result
2010 Iconiq "Change Myself" New Artist[29] Won
Best New Artist Nominated


  1. ^ a b c d e "Rising Star Set to Shine". The Japan Times. 2010-05-28. Retrieved 2010-07-24. 
  2. ^ a b Sugar profile at Toy's Factory
  3. ^ Ayumi is in love with J.League soccer star, Koreanmovie.com
  4. ^ Ayumi explains the origin of her name on KBS's Star Golden Bell.
  5. ^ 엠파스 - 인물검색
  6. ^ Chosun Ilbo. Ayumi's Hit Solo Debut Divides Online Critics. Retrieved 10 November 2006.
  7. ^ (Korean) Sports Chosun.'큐티 하니' 아유미, 亞무대 활동위해 보아 소속사와 계약. Retrieved March 9, 2007.
  8. ^ a b "PROFILE – ICONIQ Official Website" (in Japanese). Rhythm Zone. Archived from the original on August 20, 2010. Retrieved August 20, 2010. 
  9. ^ "謎の"坊主"女性アーティスト、ICONIQ。ATSUSHI (EXILE) とのコラボ曲が、資生堂「マキアージュ」CM曲に決定" (in Japanese). CDJournal. 2009-11-24. Retrieved 2010-07-24. 
  10. ^ a b "ATSUSHI(EXILE)の心を動かした新人・ICONIQが、2009年新人最高DL記録を樹立" (in Japanese). Barks. 2009-12-17. Retrieved 2010-07-24. 
  11. ^ "新人美女アーティストがEXILE・ATSUSHIとの"丸刈り2ショット"で衝撃デビュー" (in Japanese). Oricon. 2009-12-09. Retrieved 2010-07-21. 
  12. ^ a b "新人・ICONIQが初登場3位、デビューアルバムTOP3入りは新垣結衣以来2年3ヶ月ぶり" (in Japanese). Oricon. 2010-03-16. Retrieved 2010-07-21. 
  13. ^ "ICONIQ、レコチョクウィークリーも2作品連続1位獲得" (in Japanese). Barks. 2010-01-28. Retrieved 2010-07-24. 
  14. ^ "ICONIQがMASERATI、スターバックス、kitsonら7企業とコラボCMを制作" (in Japanese). Barks. 2010-03-09. Retrieved 2010-07-24. 
  15. ^ "資生堂「マキアージュ」キャスティング&楽曲タイアップ決定!". Rhythm Zone. January 20, 2010. Archived from the original on July 24, 2010. Retrieved July 24, 2010. 
  16. ^ "NOをYESに変えるICONIQアルバム「CHANGE MYSELF」インタビュー" (in Japanese). Chocoage. March 2010. Retrieved 2010-07-24. 
  17. ^ "아유미 일본 공식 홈피, 신상정보에 한국 활동 언급 없어" (in Korean). Max Movie. December 10, 2009. Retrieved August 20, 2010. 
  18. ^ "아유미 日활동 시작, 과거 한국활동 안밝혀 ‘대체 왜?’" (in Korean). Newsen. January 22, 2010. Retrieved August 20, 2010. 
  19. ^ "韓国での過去は恥部? 坊主頭の新人歌手ICONIQにバッシングと"悪行暴露"" (in Japanese). Men'z Cyzo. Archived from the original on August 20, 2010. Retrieved August 20, 2010. 
  20. ^ "「ICONIQは元韓国アイドル」報道で東スポがエイベックスに全面降伏していた" (in Japanese). Livedoor. Archived from the original on August 21, 2010. Retrieved August 20, 2010. 
  21. ^ Daily Sports (September 10, 2010). "ICONIQ最新ミニアルバムPVで魅せた". Livedoor. Archived from the original on September 15, 2010. Retrieved September 15, 2010. 
  22. ^ "ICONIQのPVに世界的スタッフ". Daily Sports. August 23, 2010. Retrieved September 18, 2010. 
  23. ^ "「レコ大」大賞候補にいきもの、AKB48、植村花菜ら". Natalie. November 20, 2010. Retrieved November 21, 2010. 
  24. ^ http://iconiq.jp/2011/01/new-song.html
  25. ^ a b c "アーティスト: ICONIQ". Oricon. Retrieved 2010-07-24. 
  26. ^ a b c "オリコンランキング情報サービス「you大樹」". Oricon. Retrieved 2010-07-24.  (subscription only)
  27. ^ "Hot 100|JAPAN Charts|Billboard JAPAN" (in Japanese). Billboard. 
  28. ^ "有料音楽配信チャート" (in Japanese). RIAJ. 
  29. ^ Winners announced for the 52nd Japan Record Awards

External links[edit]