Distance (Utada Hikaru album)

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Studio album by Utada Hikaru
Released March 28, 2001
Recorded 1999–2000
Length 64:26
Label Toshiba-EMI
Utada Hikaru chronology
First Love
Deep River
Singles from Distance
  1. "Addicted to You"
    Released: November 10, 1999
  2. "Wait & See (Risk)"
    Released: April 19, 2000
  3. "For You / Time Limit"
    Released: June 30, 2000
  4. "Can You Keep a Secret?"
    Released: February 16, 2001

Distance is the second Japanese album (third overall) released by Japanese-American J-pop singer Utada Hikaru, released on March 28, 2001 in direct "competition" with A Best by Ayumi Hamasaki (see 2001 in music).

Distance is the fourth-best-selling album in Japan of all time with over 4.47 million copies sold,[1] and sold over 3 million copies in its debut week, setting Japan's one-week sales record and the world's highest one week sales in a single territory, Hamasaki's album having the second highest ever,[2] a record held by the two albums until 2015, when Adele's third album 25 sold 3.4 million copies in its first week in the United States. According to Oricon, Distance is the highest selling Japanese album of the decade.[3]

Globally, the album was one of the best-selling of 2001, being listed at #10 on the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry's Top 50 Global Best Selling Albums for 2001.[4]


For this album, Utada worked with American producers for a few tracks: Rodney Jerkins, who has worked with the likes of Toni Braxton, produced (and performed rap vocals on) the track "Time Limit", while songwriters Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis produced both "Wait & See: Risk" and the Up-in-Heaven mix of "Addicted to You".

The melody of "Kotoba ni Naranai Kimochi" was originally introduced in the track "Interlude" found on the First Love album. Due to time constraints, the song couldn't be finished on time for release in full on First Love, and was carried over to this album. The title of the track "Hayatochi-remix" is a portmanteau Utada created of "Hayatochiri", the name of the original song on the "Wait & See: Risk" single, and the word "remix".

The song "Distance" was originally planned to be a single without any alterations, but it was instead released in a rearranged ballad form called "Final Distance" in memory of a fan who died in the June 2001 Osaka school massacre; this new version would appear in her next album, Deep River.

The cover art for the album, as well as the whole album photography, was done by her then husband and director Kazuaki Kiriya.

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Utada Hikaru, except where noted.

No. Title Arranger Length
1. "Wait & See (Risk)" 4:48
2. "Can You Keep a Secret?"
  • Akira Nishihira
  • Yuichiro Honda
3. "Distance"
  • Kei Kawano
  • Utada Hikaru
4. "Sunglass (サングラス, Sunglasses)" Shin'ichiro Murayama 4:46
5. "Drama (ドラマ, Drama)" (lyrics written by Utada; music composed by Utada and Takuro Kubo) Yu'ichiro Honda 4:36
6. "Eternally"
  • Shin'ichiro Murayama
  • Kei Kawano (strings arrangement)
7. "Addicted to You (Up-in-Heaven Mix)"
  • Jam and Lewis
  • Jeff Taylor (mix)
8. "For You" Kei Kawano 5:22
9. "Kettobase! (蹴っ飛ばせ!, Kick It!)"
  • Akira Nishihira
  • Utada Hikaru
10. "Parody" Kei Kawano 5:25
11. "Time Limit (タイム・リミット, Taimu Rimitto)" (lyrics written by Utada; music composed by Utada and Takuro) Rodney Jerkins 4:55
12. "Kotoba ni Naranai Kimochi (言葉にならない気持ち, Indescribable Feelings)" Shin'ichiro Murayama 5:03
13. "Hayatochi-Remix (早とちリミックス, Jumping to Conclusions-Remix)" (bonus track) Utada Hikaru 4:10


The singles released from Distance would become the biggest hits of Utada's career in terms of physical sales. Three of the four singles sold at least a million units, earning a million certification from the RIAJ and making the Top 100 listing of best-selling singles in Japan, while "For You" / "Time Limit" fell just short of that mark, selling just a little over 900K (909,000).

Date Title Peak position Weeks Sales
November 10, 1999 "Addicted to You" 1 16 1,784,050
April 19, 2000 "Wait & See (Risk)" 1 21 1,662,060
June 30, 2000 "For You" / "Time Limit" 1 13 909,000
February 16, 2001 "Can You Keep a Secret?" 1 11 1,485,000


  • Miyake Akira – producer
  • Nishihira Akira – arranger, keyboards, programming
  • David Barry – guitar
  • John Blackwell – drums
  • Darnell Davis – keyboards
  • Paul Foley – editing
  • Steve Hodge – engineer, mixing
  • Goh Hotoda – engineer, shaker, mixing
  • Jimmy Jam – arranger, producer, musician
  • Ted Jensen – mastering
  • Rodney Jerkins – arranger, programming, producer, engineer, rap
  • Terry Lewis – arranger, producer, musician
  • Harvey Mason, Jr. – engineer, editing
  • Michael McCoy – assistant engineer
  • Alexander Richbourg – producer, drum programming
  • Philippe Saisse – keyboards
  • Dexter Simmons – mixing
  • Xavier Smith – drum programming, assistant engineer
  • Mike Tocci – assistant engineer
  • Sanada Yoshiaki – executive producer
  • Honda Yuichiro – guitar, arranger, keyboards, programming, pre-production arranger
  • Toriyama Yuji – guitar


DistanceOricon Sales Chart (Japan)

Release Chart Peak Position Debut Sales Sales Total Chart Run
March 28, 2001 Oricon Daily Albums Chart 1
March 28, 2001 Oricon Weekly Albums Chart 1 3,002,720 4,472,343 51*
March 28, 2001 Oricon Yearly Albums Chart 1

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]