With Japan’s Queen of Pop set to end her career, many are left wondering who the front-runner for the opening ceremonies is now.

After a highly successful career spanning two and a half decades, Namie Amuro announced that she would be calling it quits in September of 2018 and leaving singing to perhaps take up needlepoint or crime, like so many other retirees in Japan.

But along with laments from her fans, the internet has been abuzz with talk about the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. Amuro was considered a front-runner to perform at the opening ceremonies due to her decorated career and international recognition. But with her heading out to greener pastures, who is the prime candidate now?

As one might expect with a question that is essentially “Who is your favorite musician?” The Internet was a chaotic mess of suggestions over who and who not to select for the prestigious role of… um, opening ceremony singing person.

Here’s a selection of comments from the wild (apologies for any videos that don’t work outside Japan; Japanese record labels can be jerks sometimes):

“So it’s going to be Sheena Ringo or Hikaru Utada.”

“Just please don’t make it anything Johnny’s or AKB.”

“If they just let Arashi sing the national anthem, Johnny’s Otaku would utterly lose it.”

“Let’s pass on EXILE.”

“Tell Yasushi Akimoto and Johnny Kitagawa to stand down!”

“This looks like a set-up for a SMAP reunion.”

“Keisuke Kuwata and the Southern All Stars are well suited for summer festivals like this.”

“There’s always B’z!”

“Sachiko Kobayashi would amaze the world.”

“Enka is a good representation of Japan. Let’s get Kiyoshi Hikawa to do Zundoko Bushi.”

“Saori Yuki is a good choice.”

“Have you all forgotten Piko Taro?”

“Who says it just has to be one choice?”

Indeed, if Queen Elizabeth and James Bond can share an opening ceremony, why not two or more of Japan’s top musicians? But it is a tough crowd to choose from, with Sheena Ringo, who produced the music for the closing ceremony at the Rio Games, and Hikaru Utada, who has only recently resumed singing after a long haitus, leading the pack.

It is also interesting to note that for every person recommending a musician, there was another requesting that idols from Johnny’s stable of boy bands or Yasushi Akimoto‘s combinations of letters and numbers be kept out of the festivities. Despite being an inarguable part of Japanese pop culture, many don’t feel these acts put the country in the best light.

And amidst all this, its not like Amuro is getting her vocal chords removed (unless certain rumors are to be believed). I’m sure she would probably consider doing a song for special occasions such as this. And the fact that her mere retirement announcement has triggered this avalanche of Olympic speculation, goes to show how influential and perfect for the job she would probably be.

Nevertheless, it is fun to imagine different talents standing on stage when the games kick off in three years. A part of me is hoping Prime Minister Abe, having gone terribly over-budget with the whole event, will have to do it himself in a wistful rendition of “My Way.”

Otherwise, they should just get Seiji from Guitar Wolf.

And if he’s unavailable, then this turbocharged toy bear.

Who do you think deserves to musically represent Japan in one of the biggest international events around? Go ahead and click a spot on our poll, or tell us in the comments because, you know, we can only make the poll so big.

Source: NamieAmuro.jp
Featured image: YouTube/yayaya777b

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