Amina Du Jean, also known by the name “Aminyan,” is the first black J-Pop idol.
Hailing from Detroit, Michigan, she was immersed in Japanese entertainment industry ever since she was a child, being a big fan of girl groups AKB48 and Morning Musume.
She learned Japanese at the tender age of 12 in order to consume their media more easily. At just 15 years old, she moved to Japan to pursue a career as a singer after being scouted online. The following half decade was filled with solo and group activities, particularly making a name for herself as a member of the girl group CHICK GIRLS.
I was an idol, now I’m currently idle. I started pursuing and doing active idol activities when I was 15, got a contract as a soloist from a Japanese company when I was 17. I joined an idol group (CHICK GIRLS in 2015) when I was 19 and I left the group at 20.
She even released her own music videos such as the fan-favorite “Seppuku,” a clapback towards haters.
In line with this, Amina is no stranger to receiving hate comments. The most common type that is thrown her way has to do with accusations of a black woman “stealing Japanese culture” by becoming a J-Pop idol.
Some people are all up in arms about a black woman ‘stealing’ Japanese culture—but that’s silly. I’m from Detroit. The Supremes and all those Motown girl groups—they were the original idols! If anything, I’m just taking things back to their roots.
The former CHICK GIRLS member never intends to return to the J-Pop industry. She told Forbes in 2017 that she was certain she’d pursue a career as a researcher after taking her PhD in Sociology instead.
I officially retired right before I turned 21. I’m going to finish university for sociology, and I hope to get a PhD within the next five years so that I can publish research or become a university professor.
After all, in her experience, “Idols have a very short expiration date.”
Amina now runs a self-named YouTube channel on the side where she touches on her experiences as a J-Pop idol.
Zillenial woman-child about town. Former J-pop idol making content about Japanese pop culture, pop culture, internet culture and life as it is.
— Amina’s YouTube “About” page
She touches on niche topics that few others have experience in, such as the truth behind idol scouts and what it is like to date a Japanese male host.
Read more about her below.