Seiko Matsuda is the number one Japanese music idol, pure and simple. The "idol" phenomenon, or the art of manufacturing ultimate media stars, has spread through Japan in the '70s and early '80s, and survived as a perfected business practice in the following decades, but, for all the abundance of idols of all sorts, Matsuda remained the top one. Later stars are known to have called her "Goddess," the number of her sales and her charts achievements look like a Guinness Book of World Records, and her career longevity has led the Japanese press to call her "the Eternal Idol." Her music was never groundbreaking -- she played ballads and dance-pop tunes conscious of Western models of the '80s and '90s -- but Matsuda still drew comparisons to Madonna, mainly due to the ambition and the showbiz independence which the two pop queens shared with each other. Matsuda's image, however, was the shy girl-next-door type, despite her fairly complicated love life.