|Birth name||大塚 愛 (Ōtsuka Ai)|
|Also known as||Ai-chin, Ai-chan, AiO|
|Born||September 9, 1982|
|Origin||Suminoe-ku, Osaka City, Osaka Prefecture, Japan|
|Genres||Pop, pop rock|
|Occupations||Singer, songwriter, composer, pianist, actress, radio personality|
|Labels||Avex Trax (Since 2003)|
Ai Otsuka (大塚 愛 Ōtsuka Ai , born September 9, 1982) is a Japanese pop singer, songwriter, pianist and actress from Suminoe-ku, Osaka City, Osaka Prefecture, Japan. She is a popular artist on the Avex Trax label and is best known for her 2003 hit "Sakuranbo," which stayed in the Top 200 Oricon Weekly Singles Chart for 103 weeks.
A piano player since age 4, Otsuka composes and co-produces her own songs, as well as writes her own lyrics. Her music ranges from upbeat catchy pop/rock music that can be heard in tracks like "Happy Days" and "Sakuranbo" to touching ballads like "Kingyo Hanabi", "Daisuki da yo.", "Planetarium" and "Kurage, Nagareboshi".
Every year Otsuka also has her own Love is Born tour to mark the anniversary of being in the music industry and her birthday in September. All of the Love is Born concerts take place in Japan, ending in her hometown of Osaka. On Love is Born 5th Anniversary in 2008, Otsuka held a leg of the concert in Taiwan, where she performed a Chinese version of her song "Planetarium". In 2009, Otsuka held 3 Love is Born 6th Anniversary concerts in Japan, as well as 2 concerts in Taiwan.
In 2012, Otsuka debuted as the vocalist of the band Rabbit.
Musical career 
Prior to her debut 
Otsuka started to play piano at the age of 4. She composed her first track at 15, as a homework given by her piano teacher. After graduating from high school she entered to the Osaka University of Arts Nursery College, where she got her degree as nursery teacher. For a short period of time -around late 2001- she was part of the duo "HimawaRi" along with classmate Mami Nishida. They released only the song "Sakuranbo" on internet, and were active for a little time. She sent demo tapes to record labels with no positive results, until getting a call back from Avex just before her graduation from university.
2003: Debut and Love Punch 
Her next single, "Sakuranbo", released in December 2003, became the twelfth best selling single of 2004. Gradually climbing the charts to top 5, the single stayed on the chart for 101 weeks (almost two years), and a special "encore press" version was commissioned, which peaked at #4.
In early March 2004, Otsuka released her last single before her first album. "Amaenbo" was used in a television advertisement for Sato Healthcare's cold relief tablets Stona Rhini S (ストナリニS sutona rini S ). "Amaenbo" peaked only at the sixth position, while at the same time "Sakuranbo" was fifth. This was the first time in Japanese music history a female artist was able to have two singles in the top ten in the same week, until 2005 Kumi Koda was able to beat Otsuka with three singles within the same week.
By end of March 2004, her first album "Love Punch" was released, which peaked third on the Oricon charts and sold 190,265 copies in its first week. She continued to release singles and gradually built a diverse and devoted following.
Love Jam 
In November 2004, the follow-up to Love Punch, Love Jam, was released, which met even greater popular success. Along with three single released before her second studio album was released. First, "Happy Days" sold 163,433 units and reached third on the Oricon weekly chart.
Love Jam Tour 2005, her first tour, began on April 24, 2005. It was completed in June 2005 and a live DVD with footage was released on July 27, 2005. Love Cook, her third album was released on December 14, 2005.
"Kingyo Hanabi" was the second single to be released after her first album. "Kingyo Hanabi" also landed in third on the Oricon weekly chart but was able to sell 148,121 units, about 20,000 copies less than her "Happy Days" single.
Otsuka released her second studio album a month later in November 2004. Love Jam debuted at the number one position and sold 224,381 units in its first week. In total, 656,700 units were sold. Love Jam became her first album to top the chart, but at the same time it was her lowest selling studio album. Love Jam was released in two different versions including a CD and a CD+DVD version.
Following the release of Love Jam, Ai Otsuka released the recut single "Kuroge Wagyu Joshio Tan Yaki 680 Yen" in February 2005. It is a different version of the "Kuroge Wagyu Joshio Tan Yaki 735 Yen" track on Love Jam. "Kuroge Wagyu Joshio Tan Yaki 680 Yen" is arranged differently in terms of music and vocals. This single sold 149,134 units and debuted third on the Oricon weekly chart and was the sixty-eighth single of 2005. It was the first ending theme song for the anime Black Jack.
Love Cook 
"Smily/Biidama" was her first single to be released after Love Jam. Both songs from the single were used for commercials. "Smily/Biidama" sold 110,512 copies during its debut week and charted at first place. "Smily/Biidama" sold a total of 308,338 copies in 2005, placing it as the twenty-sixth single of that year.
It was during this time, in June 2005, that Otsuka made her acting debut with the drama Tokyo Friends. Unlike most dramas, the series was directly released on DVD and never aired on TV. The drama used three songs as its theme song, Boo Bee Benz's "To Me" and "Kimi to Iu Hana," as well the coupling song to her sixth single, "Friends: Sabakan Ver." All three tracks would eventually be included in the soundtrack for the drama's movie sequel.
Otsuka released her tenth single in 2005, "Neko ni Fūsen" in middle of the year in July. "Neko ni Fūsen" was her lowest single that year, only reaching third on the chart and selling 111,324 copies. It placed ninety-second on the 2005 yearly charts.
Otsuka's single "Planetarium", was released on September 20, 2005. This was her last single of that year. "Planetarium" sales of 315,669 was her second highest single second only to "Sakuranbo," before her third studio album was released. "Planetarium" was used as the insert song for the live action version of the drama Hana Yori Dango.
Love Cook, her third studio album, came out on December 14, 2005. In its first week, it sold 335,000 copies. The promotional videos for this album were filmed as mini-dramas. She also hosts a radio show on JOQR Recomen!! AM1134hHz called Otsuka Ai no ai-r jack.
Love Piece 
In April 2006, Otsuka released "Frienger" (a portmanteau of the words Friend and Ranger). The promotional video was shot in Taiwan and was used as the commercial song for the Toshiba W41T 4 GB MP3 mobile phone.
She also composed a song for fellow J-Pop Singer Ami Suzuki, which was released July 26, 2006. "Like a Love?" was speculated that because Otsuka had composed the song, it would sell well, however it turned out to be a flop due to lack of promotion.
Soon after the release of "Frienger," Otsuka reprised her role as an actress for Tokyo Friends: The Movie, which hit theaters in Japan on August 12, 2006. The movie is a direct sequel to the DVD drama released the previous year. Otsuka also sang the opening theme for Tokyo Friends, "Yumekui", which was released as a new single on August 2, 2006. It debuted fifth on the weekly chart, selling 63,428 copies in the first week and a total of 145,281 copies.
Two months after "Yumekui", Otsuka released another single entitled "Renai Shashin" on October 25, 2006, which was used as the opening theme song for the movie Tada, Kimi o Aishiteru. The song was based on events from the film and its original novel, also called Renai Shashin. "Renai Shashin" debuted at number 2 and sold 129,855 copies, making it the 75th best-selling single of the year. At the end of 2006, Otsuka had released a total of three singles and charted on Oricon's 2006 yearly chart with "Frienger" at number 60, "Yumekui" at number 66, and "Renai Shashin" at number 75.
Otsuka released her fourteenth single, "Chu-Lip," on February 21, 2007. The single was used as the theme song for the TBS drama Kirakira Kenshui, starring Manami Konishi and Wentz Eiji of WaT and managed to claim the third position on the Oricon charts.
Ai Am Best 
Otsuka released her first best hits compilation album entitled Ai am Best on March 28, 2007, which features 13 pre-2006 songs and their respective promotional videos. There are 11 songs that span her singles in chronological order, one song from Love Cook and one song from a Nana sound track: "Love for Nana: Only 1 Tribute".
Ai am Best sold 64,396 copies on the first day and topped the Oricon charts, making it Otsuka's best selling album. It sold over 350,000 copies in its first week. "Ai am Best" also features two bonus tracks—one for the DVD, "Best of Babashi", and one for the CD, "Babashi". First Press "Ai am Best" includes an Ai stamp and Ai wallet calendar. Some also include an Ai pin in yellow or white.
Otsuka went on a tour entitled Ai am Best Tour that featured songs from Ai am Best and more. The tour started on May 18 and ended on July 7, 2007.
2007–2008: Love debut and Love Piece 
On April 11, 2007 Otsuka released a new single, "Love no Theme," as the self-created bunny rabbit character "Love-chan". "Love no Theme" was sung on her Jam Punch Tour 2005. Before its release, it was titled I canChu♥ before it was changed to "Love no Theme". The "Love no Theme" single included a preview of a new single featuring Love, titled "White Choco." This song could only be found previously on the promotional CD released before "Momo no Hanabira". "Love no Theme" unfortunately did not sell as well as Otsuka's normal singles.
Otsuka released her first single after Ai am Best, "Peach/Heart" on July 25, 2007. The first A-side "Peach" is an up-beat summer song and was used as the end theme for the summer drama Hanazakari no Kimitachi E (starring Maki Horikita and Shun Oguri), while the second "Heart" is a mid-tempo track. The single also includes a rearranged version of "Renai Shashin", titled "Renai Shashin -Haru-" (恋愛写真 -春- Love Photograph -Spring- ).
On September 26, 2007, Otsuka released two CDs and a DVD. The first CD was Otsuka's fourth original album, titled Love Piece. This included all of her singles from "Frienger" to "Peach/Heart", with five new songs on an 11-track album. The album was released in CD+DVD and CD-only formats, with the DVD including a music video of "Heart" and "Kumuriuta" (クムリウタ), a song from the album. The first-press of the DVD also includes the PV of "U-Boat," while the first-press of the CD-only version comes with a 40-page color photobook. The second CD was a limited pressing re-release of the best album "Ai am Best" in CD-only format.
Also on September 26, Otsuka released a DVD of her Ai am Best Tour 2007, recorded at the Tokyo International Forum Hall A on 9 July 2007. The DVD is available in a single-disc edition, as well as a special two-disc edition with offshots of the tour. The first-press of the special edition comes with a 40-page photobook.
2009: Love Letter and Love is Best 
Two months after the triple-release of Love Piece, CD version of Ai am Best and Ai am Best Tour 2007, Otsuka released her next single "Pocket" (ポケット Poketto ) on November 7, 2007 including two B-sides: "Ticket" and "Life - Love Circle." "Pocket" had Otsuka's lowest first week sales for a single and lowest sales since "Momo no Hanabira".
Love's second single "White Choco" was released two weeks after the release of "Pocket" on November 21, 2007. Similarly to "Love no Theme", the single charted badly and sold even less than its predecessor. During that year, Otsuka embarked on her Love Piece Tour 2008, her fourth solo tour, from February to May 2008.
Otsuka’s 17th single, "Rocket Sneaker/One x Time", was released on May 21, six months after the release of "Pocket." Otsuka's 18th single, "Kurage, Nagareboshi", was released on September 10, 2008.
On December 17, 2008, she released her fifth studio album, Love Letter, which peaked third on the weekly Oricon charts. It contains all of her singles since Love Piece including "Pocket," the third track on the album.Love Letter was her lowest-selling album.
It was announced on her official site that a new best album, Love Is Best, was released on November 11, 2009. The album features a collection of "love songs," ranging from singles to album tracks and b-sides, and will feature re-recorded versions of some tracks including a duet with SU from hip-hop band RIP Slyme on the song "Aisu x Time." On its first day of release the album charted at number one with a sales total of 22,895.
A new mini-album under the rabbit character Love entitled Love It was released on November 18, 2009. Love It was released only a week after Love Is Best and like previous Love singles, it did not chart well.
In January 2010, Otsuka performed a song for Fuji Television titled "Lucky Star" which the network used as the theme song for its coverage of the 2010 Winter Olympics. In February it was announced that "Lucky Star" would be released as a cellphone-only digital single, but later was announced to have a physical release as a double A-side single, "Zokkondition/Lucky Star", which released on April 7, 2010. "Zokkondition" (ゾッ婚ディション Marriage Condition ) is a promo song for Asahi Beer, similar to her 19th single "Bye Bye". On September 8, 2010 she released "I ♥ xxx" (I Love...), her 21st and last single before taking a break from music.
Hiatus and Rabbit 
After the announcement of Otsuka expecting her first child in her Love is Born: 7th Anniversary 2010 concert, she took a hiatus from music. On October 9, 2011, a new song called "Hikari" was made available for download through her official mobile website Love 9 Cube.
On March 30, 2012, Otsuka released Neko ga Suki ni natta Kirai na Neko, a series of two picture books about cats. Purchasers of the books had the chance to download another new song, called "Gomen ne". On September 9, 2012, she celebrated her 30th birthday and ninth anniversary in the music industry with Love Is Born: 9th Anniversary 2012, her first series of concerts in two years, in which she performed live in Tokyo, Hyogo and Aichi.
In October 2012, Otsuka announced that she would be debuting as the vocalist of a new band called Rabbit through the Cutting Edge label. The band released their debut album Rabito on December 12, 2012, and went on a national tour in Japan starting in February 2013.
Personal life 
In February 2010, it was reported by Josei Seven Otsuka was dating rapper Su of Rip Slyme, who she collaborated with in October 2009 for her song "Aisu×Time". Both of the artists agencies chose not to comment on the matter.
On June 26, 2010, Otsuka announced via a message on her official Web site that she and Su had gotten married on the previous day. Su also posted an announcement on Rip Slyme's website, confirming what Otsuka wrote on her website.
It was announced during her Love is Born concert on September 11, 2010 that Otsuka was pregnant and due to give birth in Spring 2011.
Her daughter was born on 24 March 2011.
Studio albums 
Compilation albums 
Radio shows 
- Nippon Cultural Broadcasting Otsuka Ai ai-r Jack Official Site
- Tokyo FM COROLLA presents LIFE-LOVE CiRCLE ～うれしいこと 全力で。～ Official WebSite
- Kimi iro Omoi (キミイロオモイ) (February 25, 2005)
- Love World (September 25, 2007)
Picture book 
- Neko ga Mitsuketa Akai Fuusen (ネコが見つけた赤い風船) (March 31, 2010)
- Nihon Yusen Taisho
- 2004: Best new artist
- Best Hits Kayousai
- 2004: Meilleure nouvelle artiste
- 2005: Gold Artist Prize – "Planetarium"
- 2006: Gold Artist Prize – "Renai Shashin"
- 2007: Gold Artist Prize – "Pocket"
- 2005: Rock & Pop Album of the Year – Love Punch
- 2005: Rock & Pop Album of the Year – Love Jam
- 2006: Rock & Pop Album of the Year – Love Cook
- 2007: The Best 10 Albums - Ai Am Best
- 2007: Best pop video - Renai Shashin
- 2007: Best video from a movie - Renai Shashin (Tada, Kimi wo Aishiteru)
- "Profile｜大塚 愛（おおつか あい） Official WebSite" (in Japanese). Retrieved 2010-05-24.
- "大塚愛☆愛 - 大塚愛について" (in Japanese). Retrieved 2010-05-24.
- "さくらんぼ 大塚愛のプロフィールならオリコン芸能人事典-ORICON STYLE" (in Japanese). Retrieved 2010-05-24.
- "胸キュンソングNo.1は大塚愛の「さくらんぼ」！ ニュース-ORICON STYLE-" (in Japanese). Retrieved 2010-05-24.
- "大塚愛☆愛 - 大塚愛について" (in Japanese). Retrieved 2013-03-20.
- "大塚 愛、ニューシングルリリース決定 ニュース-ORICON STYLE-" (in Japanese). Retrieved 2010-05-24.
- "大塚愛、初のシングルNO.1獲得！ ニュース-ORICON STYLE" (in Japanese). Retrieved 2010-05-24.
- "大塚 愛 最新コメント映像 -ORICON STYLE ミュージック" (in Japanese). Retrieved 2010-05-24.
- "大塚愛、前作『LOVE JAM』に続くアルバムNo.1に向けて好発進！ ニュース-ORICON STYLE" (in Japanese). Retrieved 2010-05-24.
- "大塚 愛『最新コメント到着！』 -ORICON STYLE ミュージック" (in Japanese). Retrieved 2010-05-24.
- "大塚 愛 『J-POPの"おもちゃ箱"！』-ORICON STYLE ミュージック" (in Japanese). Retrieved 2010-05-24.
- "大塚愛、初のシングル首位獲得へ！ ニュース-ORICON STYLE" (in Japanese). Retrieved 2010-05-24.
- "大塚 愛『言葉選びのうまさが存分に発揮された1曲』-ORICON STYLE ミュージック" (in Japanese). Archived from the original on 25 May 2010. Retrieved 2010-05-24.
- 大塚 愛 『どんなシチュエーションでも、心に何かを残してくれる』-ORICON STYLE ミュージック
- "大塚愛、2度目の首位獲得なるか!? ニュース-ORICON STYLE" (in Japanese). Retrieved 2010-05-24.
- "大塚 愛『あったかい癒し感がコンセプトの"LOVE"シリーズ第3弾！』-ORICON STYLE ミュージック" (in Japanese). Retrieved 2010-05-24.
- "12/14発売の注目アルバム、待望の大塚 愛3rdが登場！ ニュース-ORICON STYLE" (in Japanese). Retrieved 2010-05-24.
- "大塚愛、2作連続アルバム首位！初動売上は自己最高の33.5万枚！ ニュース-ORICON STYLE" (in Japanese). Retrieved 2010-05-24.
- "大塚 愛『映画主題歌のPV＆コメント映像は必見！！』 -ORICON STYLE ミュージック" (in Japanese). Retrieved 2010-05-24.
- "大塚 愛『エッチでカワイイ神秘的なPVは必見！！』-ORICON STYLE ミュージック" (in Japanese). Retrieved 2010-05-24.
- "大塚愛 インタビュー/音楽情報サイト:hotexpress" (in Japanese). Retrieved 2010-05-24.
- "大塚 愛『初のベストアルバムでデビューからの軌跡に迫る！！』-ORICON STYLE ミュージック" (in Japanese). Archived from the original on 29 May 2010. Retrieved 2010-05-24.
- "News & Info｜大塚 愛（おおつか あい） Official WebSite" (in Japanese). Retrieved 2010-05-24.[dead link]
- Ai Otsuka does Olympic song for Fuji TV
- ナタリー - 大塚愛デビュー9周年＆30歳の誕生日祝う2年ぶりワンマン
- "Ai Otsuka dating RIP SLYME's SU?". Tokyograph. Sankei Sports. 2010-02-25. Retrieved 2010-06-28.
- "Ai Otsuka, SU tie the knot". Tokyograph. Sankei Sports. 2010-06-26. Archived from the original on 30 June 2010. Retrieved 2010-06-28.
- Otsuka, Ai. "ご報告". Avex Trax (in Japanese). Avex Group. Archived from the original on 28 June 2010. Retrieved 2010-06-28.
- "入籍しました事をご報告いたします。". Warner Music Group (in Japanese). 2010-06-26. Retrieved 2010-06-28.
- "Ai Otsuka expecting first child". Tokyograph. 2010-09-11. Archived from the original on 15 September 2010. Retrieved 2010-09-12.
- Ai Otsuka and SU Blessed With Baby Girl