|Birth name||元ちとせ (Hajime, Chitose)|
|Born||January 5, 1979|
|Origin||Amami Ōshima, Japan|
|Labels||Atsuga Records (2001)|
Epic Records (2001-present)
Chitose Hajime (元ちとせ Hajime Chitose) is a singer from Japan. She is from Amami Ōshima and sings in a style particular to that region, with distinctive falsetto effects. Because of this, it is said that her voice has a relaxing effect that has been observed in electroencephalograms taken from the brains of people listening to her singing.
Chitose Hajime was recognized as a gifted folk singer at a young age. She won many folk song competitions, released two traditional folk albums on an indie label, and was approached by many record labels. She decided to study to become a beautician instead of pursuing music. However, Hajime had severe allergic reactions to many of the chemicals used by beauticians. She withdrew from school, and seriously considered a music career.
In 2001, she released a self-titled mini-album on the indie label Office Augusta. The album was covers of older songs, but was so well received that Hajime was pushed to release another mini-album. In August 2001, Chitose released her second mini-album with Augusta Records entitled Kotonoha ( コトノハ, Kotonoha) . This release featured 5 original tracks.
In 2002 she released her first major label single on Epic Records - "Wadatsumi no Ki" ( ワダツミの木, "Wadatsumi no Ki") . It was the third highest selling single of the year behind only Hikaru Utada 's " traveling ", and Ayumi Hamasaki 's " H ". Three months later, she released a brand new single, "Kimi wo Omō" ( 君ヲ想フ, "Kimi wo Omō") . While also very popular, it was not nearly the success that her first single was, although it did help to cement her as a permanent artist.
Her first major album, Hainumikaze ( ハイヌミカゼ, Hainumikaze), followed later in the year. It sold 800,000 copies, charted for 57 weeks, and was the 16th highest selling album of the year.
She released 3 more singles before her second major album, Nomad Soul ( ノマド・ソウル, nomado souru ), was released in 2003. Shortly after a concert tour, and the release of a live album and DVD in 2004, Hajime announced that she would be taking time away from the music scene to get married, and have a child. Her first child miscarried, but she successfully gave birth to a girl on January 20, 2005.
She returned to the music industry in November 2005 with the single "Kataritsugu Koto" ( 語り継ぐこと, "Kataritsugu Koto"), the ending theme for the anime BLOOD+ . The single was a hit, reaching #12 on the Oricon charts. She followed this success with her next come-back single, "Haru no Katami" ( 春のかたみ, "Haru no Katami"), the ending theme for the anime AYAKASHI - Japanese Classic Horror . This single sold 6050 copies in its first week, and remained on the charts for 7 weeks total. A third single was released before her next album. The single, "Ao no Requiem" ( 青のレクイエム, "Ao no Requiem"), was the theme song for the Studio GAGA film Hatsukoi . It featured 1 extra track, and charted for 3 weeks. The following week, Hajime released her third original major album, Hanadairo ( ハナダイロ, Hanadairo) . The album was available in both a regular edition, and a limited edition. The limited edition featured a 13th track, "Shinda Onna no Ko" ( 死んだ女の子, "Shinda Onna no Ko") with Ryuichi Sakamoto, as well as a DVD containing the music videos for "Kataritsugu Koto", and "Haru no Katami".