May J.

May J.
May J.
Birth name May (Jamileh) Hashimoto
Also known as May J.
Born June 20, 1988 (1988-06-20) (age 23)
Origin Yokohama, Japan
Genres R&B, urban, pop
Occupations Singer, television host
Years active 2006-present
Labels Neosite Discs (2006-2009)
Rhythm Zone (2009-present)

May Hashimoto (橋本芽生 Hashimoto Mei?), better known by her stage name May J., is a R&B and pop singer from Yokohama, Japan. Born to a mother of Iranian descent and to Japanese father,[1] May J. made her major label debut under Sony Music Japan on July 12, 2006 with her first mini-album All My Girls.



Early life

May J. was born on June 20, 1988 in Yokohama, Japan. The "J" in her name comes from the common Persian girl's name "Jamileh," meaning 'beautiful'.[1]

May J.'s Iranian mother refused to acknowledge her Persian roots due to perceived negativity towards Iranians in Japan and May J. grew up unable to speak the Persian language. Believing she was American, she discovered her true identity on a chance overhearing of a conversation between her mother and grandmother.[1] During her formative middle school years she began listening to Iranian singers Googoosh and Afshin and has later said she hopes to debut in Iran.[1]

At the age of 14, May J. was successful at a Sony Music Japan audition and soon signed onto Sony Music. While waiting to make her major label debut, May J. was a dancer for Aaron Carter's Japanese concert and was featured on the track Luyva: Another Episode from Sphere of Influence's album Big Deal, credited simply as May.

A childhood fan of Christina Aguilera and Whitney Houston she then came to admire Canadian rock singer Avril Lavigne, winning a MTV lookalike contest as Avril.[1] She began listening to R&B while studying at the American School in Japan, from which she graduated in 2007 following a period of balancing her studies and her singing career.

Debut & development: 2006-2009

Released July 12, 2006 under Neosite Discs, the hip-hop division of Sony's Ki/oon Records, the music of her debut mini-album All My Girls was billed by her label as "Jennifer Lopez/Beyonce/Rihanna-type music which has never before existed in Japan."[2]

To celebrate the 10 year anniversary of Neosite Discs, the single "I Say Yeah!" was released on October 4, 2006 as a collaboration by all 5 of the label's signed artists.[3] The single marked May J.'s first appearance in the Oricon top 10.

May J. performed as the opening act for American R&B singer Cassie alongside Rōma Tanaka at Cassie's concert at Shibuya O-EAST on November 28, 2006.[4] December 20, 2006 saw May J.'s first solo single release when "Here We Go feat. Verbal (M-Flo)" dropped and charted at #70 on the weekly charts.

Her follow-up single, "Dear…" was released on May 30, 2006, and was unlike most of her previous work. Despite the ballad being much more Japanese-friendly than her debut, the single charted at just #90. May J. was then featured on Hip-Hop artist Zeebra's new album World of Music on the track "Shinin' Like a Diamond". In October, it was announced that May J. would be releasing her 3rd single, "Do tha' Do tha'" on November 21, followed shortly by her first full-length studio album, Baby Girl on December 5.

In October 2008, she became the co-host of NHK's weekly music program, J-Melo, with Shanti Snyder, going out to 180 countries via NHK World.

Rise to prominence: 2009~

On 6 March 2009, label Rhythm Zone opened a new official site for May J. confirming that she had left Sony to join the Avex imprint. On the May 23, 2009 her second album Family was announced, featuring the single Garden (featuring DJ Kaori, Diggy-MO', クレンチ&ブリスタ).[5] The album charted at #4 on the Oricon weekly chart.

Her third full album titled For You was released on February 17th 2010. Her first solo live tour, lasting ten weeks and including 40 shows followed, culminating at Tokyo's Shibuya AX venue on May 23, 2010.[1]

On November 24, 2010, she released a mini-album titled Believin... as a prelude to her fourth full album Colors, released on January 26, 2011.[5]


Studio albums

Album # Album information Chart position Debut Week Sales (Oricon) Sold Copies (Oricon)
1st "All My Girls (mini-album)"
  • Released: July 12, 2006
85 2,097 9,432
2nd "Baby Girl"
  • Released: December 5, 2007
50 4,110 12,078
3rd "Family"
  • Released: May 27, 2009
4 26,662 94,848
4th "For You"
  • Released: February 17, 2010
9 10,976 30,334


Year Single JP Album
2006 "I Say Yeah!" 1 8 -
"Here We Go" (featuring Verbal) 70 Baby Girl
2007 "Dear…" 97
"Do tha' Do tha'" -
2010 "Shiny Shiny , AIli thanx to May J" -

1 Released by "Pushim, Rhymester, Home Made Kazoku, Maboroshi, May J."


  • July 13, 2006 - My Girls (House Mix by Studio Apartment)
  • July 13, 2006 - Baby Close Your Eyes (Reggae Mix by Ma$amati XXX (Racy Vallet)) feat. Ken-U / Destination (Hip Hop Mix by D.O.I.)

As featured artist

  • May 27, 2009 - "Unchain my Heart" by WISE feat. May J. (in album Love Quest)
  • December 15, 2010 - "HeartBeat" by TARO SOUL & KEN THE 390 feat. May J. (in album So Much Soul)


  1. ^ a b c d e f Robert Michael Poole (2010-04-15). "May J - The J-pop songstress reveals her Persian heritage". Metropolis (free magazine). Retrieved 2011-05-04. 
  2. ^ "Sony Music Online Japan". May J.: All my girls. Retrieved December 10, 2006. 
  3. ^ "NeOSITE 10th". Retrieved December 10, 2006. 
  4. ^ "Kingrecords Webcommunication". Tanaka Rōma. Retrieved December 10, 2006. 
  5. ^ a b "May J - Official Site". Retrieved December 5, 2006. 

External links

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