Photo/IllutrationFans of pop diva Namie Amuro head for her final stage appearance at the Okinawa Convention Center in Ginowan, Okinawa Prefecture, on Sept. 15. (Kengo Hiyoshi)

  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion

GINOWAN, Okinawa Prefecture--Twenty-six years after she began her ascent to super-stardom, retiring pop diva Namie Amuro gave thousands of fans one last memory during her final stage appearance here on Sept. 15.

Amuro, 40, sang eight songs at the Okinawa Convention Center while dressed in a black T-shirt, pants and red boots. When she completed her 30-minute set, the Okinawa native shouted, “Thank you very much.”

She called the other performers at the music festival, including the Okinawa groups Begin and Mongol 800, along with singer Ken Hirai, to the stage.

“To all of you who came here today, thank you very, very much,” Amuro said.

All those on stage joined hands and bowed, at which she yelled out one last “thank you” and waved to the audience.

The crowd shouted “Namie, Namie” as she left the stage.

While about 3,500 lucky fans who had tickets could see and hear the popular singer directly, thousands of other fans gathered outside the venue and strained their ears to catch even a glimpse of what Amuro sang and said.

They joined in the chorus saying farewell to their favorite singer.

Amuro stunned her fans around the world when she announced last year that she was retiring on Sept. 16, 2018, which marks the 26th anniversary of her debut.

Thousands of fans packed the venues of her farewell concert tour that took her around Japan and Asia, and many made the long trek to Okinawa to say goodbye.

Momoko Kimura, 29, a nurse who had come for the music festival from Yokohama, said, “Of all the concerts of hers I have seen, she seemed to enjoy herself the most. I also felt very happy.”

(This article was written by Masako Sakamoto and Kengo Hiyoshi.)