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Media & Entertainment

Japan pop star factory that churned out Namie Amuro, Speed reopens

Famed Okinawa Actors School seeks fresh start under founder's daughter Anna Makino

Max, Da Pump, Daichi Miura and other alumni attend a concert to celebrate a new chapter for Okinawa Actors School in October 2022. (Photo courtesy of Okinawa Actors School)

NAHA, Japan -- An entertainment academy in Okinawa known for producing some of Japan's biggest celebrities -- like Namie Amuro -- is opening up to a fresh crop of aspiring stars for the first time in years.

Founded by Masayuki Makino in 1983, Okinawa Actors School is among Japan's best-known training centers for would-be superstars. Other notable alumni include '90s pop bands Speed, Max and Da Pump, as well as actress Hikari Mitsushima, who stars in the Netflix series First Love. 

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