Screaming fans, the public spotlight and chart-busting hits -- for aspiring rock stars, the road to Japanese pop music fame begins in a shopping mall.
Tucked away on the third and fourth floors of a mall in Naha, a city closer to Taipei than Tokyo, is the Okinawa Actor's School, a main breeding ground for Japan's pop stars over the past two years.
The school is changing the landscape for pop music talent. Its most famous graduate is Namie Amuro, 20, who went from singing at supermarket openings in Okinawa to becoming the reigning queen of Japanese pop music after graduation from the Actor's School.
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