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Japan Entertainment News - December 2005

Fujiki Weds OL

Popular actor Fujiki Naohito (33) got married to a 28-year old OL (office worker) on Tuesday, according to his official website. The announcement was made yesterday only to memebrs of his fan club. Fujiki, who has been having some success recently as a singer, met A-san when they were both attending Waseda University, so the relationship has been a well-kept secret for many years. She is said to work in the fashion industry. Fujiki made his movie debut in 1997's "Hana Yori Dango" while still a student, but became a star with the Fuji TV comedy series "Naasu no Shigoto." he made his singing debut in 1999 and has since released 12 singles and 5 albums. He got his first emcee job this year as host of the NTV show "Oshare-ism."

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Noriko's Fashion Choice

Talento Kato Noriko (32) is to get married on New Year's Day, according to her agency yesterday. The lucky man is Wakatsuki Yoshio (43), a creative director in the fashion world. The fax announcement of the engagement caught the media by surprise as the two have only been going out since the spring, though they've been living together for the last couple of months. They have known each other for several years, and met when Kato took a break from showbusiness to study in Paris in 2000. Wakatsuki was working on the Paris Collection at the time.

• Rock band Mr. Children finished up their first nationwide "dome tour" with a show last night at Tokyo Dome. They played to 45,000 fans, bringing the tour total to about 390,000. Vocalist Sakurai Kazutoshi (35), who battled with serious illness in 2003 that saw the band take a 6-month hiatus, said 2005 was the best year ever.

Kabuki actor Onoe Matsusuke died of cancer at a Tokyo hospital on Monday. He was 59.

• A survey has shown that people are pretty evenly divided about whether national broadcaster NHK should take legal action against those who refuse to pay their license fee. The number of those refusing to pay has increased to over a million following a series of scandals involving NHK employees.

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All Eyes on Women Skaters

Women's figure skating is enjoying a real boom at the moment. The women's event in the recently held Japan National Figure Skating Championships had a 33.7% audience rating for Fuji TV in the Kanto region, the network's highest rating this year. Suguri Fumie captured her fifth national title on Sunday and secured one of three spots for Japanese women at the Turin Winter Olympics, along with Arakawa Shizuka and Ando "Mikiti" Miki. Teen sensation Asada Mao (photo) finished second with a free skate that included two triple axels, but is too young to be eligible for the Olympics. Even Prime Minister Koizumi Junichiro chimed in that he couldn't understand why Asada wouldn't be skating in Turin, but rules are rules.

• Singer Noguchi Goro is to appear in next year's historical taiga drama on NHK, his first taiga role since 1996, when he played Tokugawa Yorimoto. This time around, he'll be playing the brother-in-law of the famous shogun Toyotomi Hidetoshi (played by Emoto Akira). The star-studded cast of "Komyo ga Tsuji," which starts on January 8, also includes Tachi Hiroshi (as warlord Oda Nobunaga), Nishida Toshiyuki (as shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu), Nakama Yukie and Takeda Tetsuya. Noguchi turns 50 next February, when he will issue a special DVD of a live performance this spring which marked his 35th anniversary in showbiz.

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Ryoko Polishing Her Bridal Skills

Actress Yonekura Ryoko (30) is to start doing "hanayome shugyo," or training in the homemaking arts, according to the women's fashion magazine Miss. Usually a sign of impending marriage, in this case it's actually a series of articles in which the popular actress will learn things like cooking and cleaning from experts. The series, the first in the magazine to feature an actress, will run for a year from the February edition. Speculation about a possible marriage might have been rife except for the fact that Yonekura just recently split up with popular kabuki actor Ichikawa Ebizo (28).

• Singer Gackt put on a one-off spectacle at the Tokyo Dome on Christmas Eve. The "Diabolos" show is said to have cost ¥500 million to put on. It started with the singer and four band members, dressed as medieval knights entering the arena on horseback and at full gallop, for which Gackt spent the last six months learning to ride. The show also featured Gackt hanging suspended 20m in the air and disappearing in a sudden puff of smoke from the stage.

• Actor Oshio Manabu (27) has issued a denial on his official website that he and actress Yada Akiko (27) are planning to get married. The couple made a very public show of their romantic relationship on the way to Hawaii for the Christmas break, and the media speculated that they might get hitched on December 23, Yada's birthday.

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Boyz of Summer?

The jury is still out on whether or not they've been a success in the US, but it looks like Universal Music Group International see the Teriyaki Boyz as having potential in Europe. There was an announcement this week that the group's debut album "Beef or Chicken" is to go on sale in Europe next spring. It'll be launched in March in Paris, where it's already on sale in some boutique shops and where's said to be a Japanese hip hop "movement" happening. This is probably due to the involvement of local group Daft Punk among the album's producers and the fashion angle of having Nigo, founder of the street fashion brand A Bathing Ape, in the group. The others are Ryo-Z and Ilmari from Rip Slyme, m-flo vocalist Verbal, and Kaze no Hito's MC Wise. Anyway, I can definitely see the group doing well in Europe, where there not up against the same kind of local hip hop competition as they are in the US. Of course, the US market is where the big money is, and it seems that they'll be making another attempt there next summer. The Teriyaki Boyz have just finished a Japan tour, playing last night at Zepp Tokyo. They're scheduled to play a New Year's Eve countdown event at the Makuhari Messe convention center.

• Will the Boyz boom or bust? See our forum poll here >>.

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Kyoka Denies Romance With Sanada

Today is the Emperor's birthday and a national holiday.

• Actress Suzuki Kyoka (photo, 37) has denied rumors of a romance with award-winning actor Sanada Hiroyuki (45). She was asked about the rumors, published in the latest issue of the Josei Seven women's weekly, at a PR event for next year's 29th Japan Academy Awards ceremony. Suzuki was named as co-presenter with Sekiguchi Hiroshi (62), who'll be presenting for the 9th year in a row. The awards ceremony will be held on March 3. The big winner in terms of nominations is "Always - San-chome no Yuuhi," a movie adaptation of the best-selling manga, which is up for 13 awards.

• I'd also like to take this chance to wish both the Emperor and my lovely wife Chiho a very happy birthday!

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Northern Romance Cools Off

The fiction-turned-reality romance between actor Yoshioka Hidetaka (35) and actress Uchida Yuki (30) has ended after just three years of marriage. Love between the two blossomed in 2002 when they co-starred in a revival of the popular Fuji TV drama series "Kita no Kuni Kara," (From the North Country) in which Yoshioka had a major role from the age of 11. In the series, the two overcame hardships and tragedy to finally find love and marriage. They continued the romance off-screen, even holding their wedding ceremony on location, but the ending has not been so happy. The main reason is said to be Yoshioka's film and drama work schedule which has kept him on location away from home for long periods. Uchida gave up acting after marriage saying that being together with her husband was enough to make her happy, but the success of his "Dr. Koto" series, filmed in Okinawa and China, and starring roles in two movies have kept them apart. Yoshioka finally moved out of their Tokyo apartment at the end of November and Uchida's lawyer filed the divorce papers yesterday.

• A new version of the popular 70s series "Saiyuki" (Monkey) is to be broadcast from January 9 on Fuji TV, and will be the first Japanese drama to be shown at the same time in Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore. The show will feature SMAP star Katori Shingo (28) in the lead role, supported by comedy duo Uchan Nanchan's Uchimura Teruyoshi (41). The show is sponsored by JAL and the PR event was held at Tokyo's Haneda Airport yesterday. JAL unveiled a jet decorated with Katori's Songoku character from the drama, a historical first. the theme song, "Around The World" is to be sung by the group Monkey Majik, made up of two Canadian brothers and two Japanese. It will be the second release on Avex's new rock label, Vinyl Records. The original series aired between 1978 and 1980, and made TV icons of Sakai Masaaki, Nishida Toshiyuki, Kishibe Shiro and the late Natsume Masako.

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One to Watch

Top of the Oricon weekly singles chart is club queen Koda Kumi (23) with "You." But I'm told the act to keep an eye on is 4-man rock band Ellegarden, an indie group whose "Space Sonic" is a new entry at No.5. Around since 1998, the group supported Sum 41 on tour in February and played this year's Summer Sonic festival.

• TV Asahi got the luck of the draw yesterday. Four networks took part in a lottery to see which would get the right to broadcast the Japan-Croatia game at next year's World Cup in Germany. The Croatia game is the only one of Japan's three group qualifiers that was up for grabs, the other two - against Australia and tournament favorite Brazil - being on NHK. TV Asahi also had exclusive rights to the games in the Asian qualifiers. Expectations are high for Zico's team next summer, with the hope that they can at least match their achievement in 2002 and reach the second round.

• Actor Fujiki Yuu died on Monday of pulmonary embolism at a Tokyo hospital. He was 74. He was best known as a supporting actor in the mid-70s TV drama series "G-Men '75". His latest role was in this year's movie "Kita no Zero-nen." He broke his leg after a fall last month and was hospitalized. Complications arose during surgery and he went into a coma, from which he never recovered.

• TV celebrity Murakami Rikaco (39) was as classy as ever during a press conference yesterday to announce her divorce from actor Watabe Atsuro (37). Looking great for her age but tired from the obviously stressful situation, she was very good-humored with the very reporters whose gossip mongering has probably made life less than easy for her and her family. Watabe also spoke to reporters and denied that another woman was behind the divorce. Though probably less financially successful than his ex, he said he has agreed to support his two sons, now 11 and 6, until they graduate from university. (see yesterday's story for more)

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Watabe, Rikaco Finally Split

Celebrity Murakami Rikaco (39) and actor Watabe Atsuro (37) have finally divorced. Married since 1994, the couple have two sons, and were often portrayed as an ideal TV family, with Rikaco in particular often playing a typical "mama" in TV commercials. But they have been denying rumors of affairs and impending breakup for years. Rikaco said in a magazine interview in October that her husband had set up his own management agency and moved out of the family home in March. The couple have been spending more time on their own careers, with Watabe aiming to be a movie director and Rikaco setting up her own fashion brand and children's hair salon. They are due to give separate press conferences today.

• Like many Japanese showbiz types, actor Oshio Manabu (27) and actress Yada Akiko (26) headed off yesterday to spend Christmas in Hawaii. But the rumors are that this showbiz couple might be planning to tie the knot while there. December 23 is Yada's birthday, and reporters at Narita Airport asked the couple, holding hands and wearing matching rings, whether there would be a Christmas wedding. Oshio said "No," but his expression hinted otherwise. We'll see.

• "Seishun Amigo," the one-off single by two young Johnny's Jimusho singers, has been announced as the best-selling single of 2005. Kamenashi Kazuya (19), a member of the group Kat-Tun, and Yamashita Tomohisa (20) of News, released the single in April as and it was the year's first million seller.

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3 New Works from Anime Master

Anime director Miyazaki Hayao (64) gave a sneak preview of his latest work at the weekend. The three shorts will be shown at the Studio Ghibli Museum in Mitaka from January 3. "Hoshi Katta Hi", "Mizugumo Monmon" and "Yadosagashi" run between 12 and 16 minutes, and each is made in quite a different style. "Hoshi Katta Hi" (The Day We Bought a Star) is a fantasy about a boy and his sister who raise a star from a seed. "Mizugumo Monmon" (Water Spider Monmon) is a romance between a spider and a less than gentle female water strider. Through it, Miyazaki hopes to reduce children's recent dislike of insects. In "Yadosagashi" (House Hunting) a young girl sets out for the mountains and encounters the spirits of nature. The anime has no music and features manga-like visual sound effects, narrated by singer-pianist Yano Akiko and veteran comedian Tamori. Visitors to the museum will only be able to see one of the animes at a time. The next Ghibli feature production, "Gedo Senki," (Tales From the Earthsea, based on the fantasy novels by US writer Ursula Le Guin) is due for release next July, and will be directed by Miyazaki's son Goro (38).

• Keigo (28), vocalist of the rock band Flow, was hospitalized with whiplash yesterday after a traffic accident. He was waiting at a signal in Tokyo's Nakano Ward when he was hit from behind by a mini-van. He will have to spend the next two weeks in hospital, so Flow have had to cancel two shows scheduled for Osaka and Tokyo this month.

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A "Promising" Award Season?

"Promise," the Chinese movie starring Sanada Hiroyuki (45), has been nominated for a Golden Globe award. The movie, which only had its world premier in Beijing this week and is not scheduled to open here until next February, was nominated for Best Foreign Film. "Memoirs of a Geisha" star Zhang Ziyi (26) was nominated for Best Actress, with the movie also getting the nod for Best Score. The award ceremony will be held on January 16 in Los Angeles.

Mino Monta (61), the busiest man in Japanese showbiz, is to undergo surgery just days after he hosts NHK's Kohaku Uta Gassen on New Year's Eve. Monta, who hosts five hours of live TV every day as well as several weekly recorded shows, will enter hospital on New Year's Day and have surgery on January 4. He plans to be back hosting his three live shows from January 14. The surgery is for a condition called spinal stenosis, caused by a narrowing of the spinal canal, which leads to back pain and difficulty in walking. Monta started experiencing lower back pains in April.

• Actor Mitamura Kunihiko (52) has once again shown his preference for much younger women. According to the latest issue of weekly gossip magazine Friday, a 25-year-old TV production company employee was spotted spending the night at his Osaka apartment earlier this month. Mitamura married actress Nakayama Maki (57) in 1980 but they divorced in 1999 after his affair with actress Takahashi Kaori (30).

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SMAP, Aya Still Rule the Roost

SMAP's rule of the showbiz world shows no signs of fading. The 5-man pop group easily topped this year's TV commercial popularity rankings, and the individual members took the Top 5 of the male star rankings. Katori Shingo (28) pushed Kimura Takuya (33) out of the top spot for the first time in 3 years, followed by Nakai Masahiro, Inagaki Goro and Kusanagi Tsuyoshi. Fellow Johnny's Jimusho band Tokio, band member Nagase Tomoya, and gangly comedy duo Ungirls also made the rankings. The most popular female star was last year's No.3 Ueto Aya (photo, 20) followed by 2004's top star Matsuura Aya (19). Kuu-chan, the oh-so-cute Chihuahua from the Aiful commercials, was the most popular character.

Overall
1. SMAP
2. Katori Shingo
3. Kimura Takuya
4. Nakai Masahiro
5. Tokio
6. Ueto Aya
7. Inagaki Goro
8. Matsuura Aya
9. Kuu-chan
10. Kusanagai Tsuyoshi

Male
1. Katori Shingo
2. Kimura Takuya
3. Nakai Masahiro
4. Inagaki Goro
5. Kusanagai Tsuyoshi
6. Shimizu Shogo
7. Nagase Tomoya
8. Tsumabuki Satoshi
9. Yamane (Ungirls)
10. Tanaka (Ungirls)

Female
1. Ueto Aya
2. Matsuura Aya
3. Yada Akiko
4. Kiki Kirin
5. Yasuda Misako
6. Kato Ai
7. Matsushima Nanako
8. Horikita Maki
9. Miyazawa Rie
10. Suzuki Kyoka

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Tomomi Bares (Almost) All

Singer Kahara Tomomi (31) has released a book of photos, including several semi-nude shots. "Crystallize" was shot on location in Melbourne and Cairns. The publication of the book comes several months after her latest album, "Naked," which came out in June and had a shot of her topless but taken from behind. PR for the new book features a more risque shot of the faded star.

• The Tokyo apartment of actor Ishida Junichi (51) was recently burglarized, with a total of ¥5.5 million worth of items stolen. The total included ¥1.5 million in cash, several wristwatches and items of clothing. The burglar broke in through a garden window of the first-floor apartment in Aobadai district of Meguro Ward.

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Sanada Gets Red Carpet Treatment in Beijing

Actor Sanada Hiroyuki (45) was in Beijing yesterday for the world premiere of his latest movie "Promise," in which he shares top billing with Korean star Jang Dong Gun (33). The fantasy-action movie was made in China and directed by top Chinese director Chen Kaige. With temperatures dropping to -10ºC, the Japanese-Korean-Chinese cast removed their coats and braved the elements to greet about 1,500 fans and 250 reporters. The movie opens this week across China and on Friday in the US, but is not scheduled to open in Japan until February.

• Former idol star Kondo Masahiko (41) is making a real comeback. The Johnny's Jimusho star made his debut 25 years ago and is marking the anniversary with a series of dinner shows across the country up to Christmas Day. He delighted fans at a show in Kagoshima yesterday with the announcement that next February he's scheduled to play his first concert at the Nippon Budokan in 22 years. The show will be on Valentine's Day and no doubt will feature at least some of his younger Johnny's stablemates as special guests.

• Folk singer Yamashita Tatsuro (52) has managed to make the Top 100 of the Oricon singles chart for 20 years in a row with the latest release of his hit "Christmas Eve." The next best is Wham's "Last Christmas" at 10 years in a row. Meanwhile, on top of the chart is Koda Kumi (23). "You" is her first No.1 single, and the first of 12 she plans to release over the next 12 weeks.

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TMR Vocalist and the Pin-Up Girl

Singer Nishikawa Takanori (photo, 35) and pin-up girl Seto Saki (20) are romantically entwined, according to the latest edition of weekly magazine Friday. The two were recently spotted holding hands as they entered Nishikawa's home. The vocalist with TMRevolution and recently formed 4-man rock band Abingdon Boys School was previously married to Puffy member Yoshimura Yumi but divorced in July 2002.

• Rock star Yazawa Eikichi (56) played at the Zepp Tokyo venue last night, a medium size venue that saw him playing to crowd of about 2,700, a third of the size of his usual shows. Last night was the first of three nights in the capital, on a sold-out nationwide tour of "live houses." It's all part of a "back to my roots" approach to his 30th anniversary as a solo artist, following the break up of rock band Carol in 1975. 'Ei-chan' delighted fans with a rendition of "Whiskey Coke," a hit from that year, as well as numbers from his latest album, "Only One," released in September. The tour finishes up in Okinawa on December 21.

• Australian actress Naomi Watts (37) arrived at Narita Airport yesterday and was welcomed by about 300 fans. She's in town to promote the new Peter Jackson version of "King Kong." The movie will have its Japan premiere at the Tokyo International Forum tonight and opens at theaters on December 17.

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Ryokos In and Out of Love

A wedding announcement yesterday came from stage actor Ichimura Masachika (56) and actress Shinohara Ryoko (32). The couple registered their marriage on December 8 and plan to give a press conference. They first met during a theater production of "Hamlet" in 2001. Rumors of romance have appeared several times in the weekly magazines but they were always denied. Ichimura divorced actress Yaezawa Mami in May 2003. He is currently in rehearsals for a production of the musical "Fiddler on the Roof."

• Meanwhile the relationship between kabuki actor Ichikawa Ebizo (28) and actress Yonekura Ryoko (30) has come to an end. Yesterday Ichikawa made his first public appearance since the breakup but refused to make a comment.

• Singer Otsuka Ai (23) is the queen of the ringtones. She has a total of 163 ringtones, or chaku-uta, to her name and they have been downloaded over 10 million times. Her 2003 hit "Sakuranbo" was the first chaku-uta to become a million-seller. Her new album, "Love Cook," goes on sale on December 14.

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Ken's Shock Wedding

Actor Watanabe Ken (46) and actress Minami Kaho (41) shocked the media with yesterday's announcement that they had married last Saturday. The news came as Watanabe was in New York for the US opening of "Memoirs of a Geisha" ("Sayuri" in Japan), his third venture into the world of Hollywood. Minami was originally identified as an "unknown guest" at the premiere, an indication of how secret their romance had been. Watanabe and Minami issued a joint fax statement to the media, saying, "We've both been through a lot, but now we can look forward to calm and abundant time ahead." In September Watanabe finalized his divorce from his wife Yumiko, who built up huge debts while her husband was battling leukemia. Minami divorced musician and award-winning novelist Tsuji Hitonari in 2000.

• Madonna (47) is currently in Japan promoting her latest album "Confessions From a Dancefloor." It's her first visit in 12 years, and yesterday at the Tokyo International Forum she gave her first press conference here in 20 years before giving a show for 2,000 fans. She said she planned to visit Kiddyland to buy toys for her two kids back home in the UK. Her new album is atop the Oricon western music chart and has sold over 300,000 copies here.

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Sayonara, Obaachan

Actress Hara Hisako died on December 4 of heart failure. She was 96. Known as "Nihon no Obaachan" (Japan's Grandma), she recently made the cover of the New York Times as Japan's oldest active actress. She had been in poor health in the last few years, but continued working. Just last year she played a bed-ridden hospital patient in "Sayonara Color," directed by actor Takenaka Naoto. "Even when we worked late, she was always, always smiling," he recalled. "When we finished she thanked me and took my hand. I'll never forget the warmth and softness of her hands."

• 10 of the top Japanese and Korean pop artists took part in a joint concert yesterday in Seoul. The lineup included Nakashima Mika (22), the most popular Japanese artist in Korea, Johnny's boy band V6, and Hirahara Ayaka (21). Although the temperature was -10 outside, Nakashima took to the stage in her trademark bare feet. She sang several songs from Korea's best-selling Japanese album, "Love". Her first greatest hits album, simply called "Best," goes on sale today in Japan, tomorrow in Korea. Meanwhile V6 gave an acrobatic display of back flips and dance moves. Korean artists on the bill included rivals P (23) and SE7EN (21), as well as the Japan-based BoA (19). The event was part of the "Japan Korea Friendship Year" to mark the 40th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

• The latest silly award goes to actress Kuroki Hitomi (45), who was named the first "Lifestylist of the Year" yesterday. In her 25th year in showbiz, the hugely popular actress is active in movies, dramas, stage productions and has has won awards for her writing.

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Pop Marketing

You've probably never heard of the U.N.O. Band, and you'll never see them play live. The five-man group was formed to record just one single and play one live event before disbanding. Made up of two manzai comedy duos, Ungirls (photo) and Itsumo Kokokara, and one half of the duo Cunning, the group recorded the song "No.1" which was used for TV commercials promoting Shiseido's "Uno" cosmetic range for men. The single went on sale on Friday, the band played a record-store event and immediately announced that they were breaking up. Of course, it's all a marketing ploy to milk the current popularity of the band members, as the comedy boom continues to populate the variety show circuit with dozens of comedy acts. The tall and gangly Ungirls in particular have managed to gain a huge following among schoolgirls, though playing in a band is probably a bit too cool for their carefully tended dorky image.

• Another celebrity has ben the victim of a break-in. It was revealed yesterday that the Tokyo home of rock singer Uchida Yuya (66) was broken into in mid-November. Several watches and jackets that the singer described as "priceless" were stolen. The news of the burglary comes shortly after that suffered by actor and former boxer Akai Hidekazu just last week.

• Rock band Southern All Stars played Tokyo Dome last night, wowing 47,000 fans with a set made up of 29 hits and songs from their new album "Killer Street." The album has sold over 1.25 million copies. The 21-date tour continues up to New Year's Eve, when the band will play Yokohama Arena.

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More Kohaku Surprises

The media expressed great surprise that singer Wada Akiko will be taking part in this year's Kohaku Uta Gassen, NHK's annual New Year's Eve song spectacle. The surprise is largely because she'll be taking part as a member of rap trio "m-flo Loves Akiko Wada." The gimmick act, featuring "Akko" and popular rap duo m-flo, released one single earlier this year, "Hey!" And though Wada is a popular star, the single was her first time in 33 years to make the Oricon Top 10. The move is seen as yet another attempt to revive the struggling ratings of the once-mighty jewel in NHK's crown. Another was last month's announcement that "king of the emcees" Mino Monta would be given that role for the show, the veteran's first venture onto the public broadcaster. Other first-timers scheduled to appear include folk veteran Matsutoya Yumi (51), sexy club queen Koda Kumi (22), and WaT, the duo of Wentz Eiji (20) and Koike Teppei (19) who made their major label debut just last month.

• Actor Sakaguchi Kenji (30) and actress Ito Misaki (28) have been awarded this year's "Best Dresser Award". Sakaguchi was dressed in a black suede jacket and jeans for the award ceremony, but said he only has two jackets altogether. The actor, who spoke briefly for the first time about his split from girlfriend Koyuki (28) earlier in the year, said, "I can't easily describe what I've been through this year," adding that the award was both an honor and pressure. Ito wore a camisole-type long white dress. Other winners were music producer Matsutoya Masataka (54) and Cyber Agent CEO Fujita Susumu (32).

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You Little Devil!

Gorgeous singer Arahiro Beni (19) has been chosen as the 2nd "Triumph Little Devil," the award from the ladies' lingerie maker. She was presented with a Little Devil Bra, which comes with two locks and keys...The singer releases her new single, "Cherish," on December 7.

• Actor Akai Hidekazu (46) chased a burglar out of his Tokyo home early last Wednesday morning, according to police. The former pro boxer was woken by his wife at about 5am, when she heard someone in the first floor living room of their house in Setagaya Ward. Akai shouted as he came down the stairs and the man escaped through the broken bathroom window he had entered through. He stole about ¥500,000 in cash and three watches worth another ¥1.9 million.

• Actor Watari Tetsuya (63) is to make his first live appearance on a news show. He will be a guest commentator on tomorrow's Hodo Station on TV Asahi, withe the theme being middle-aged divorce, also the theme of his current drama series "Jukunen Rikon."

• Actress Miyazaki Masumi (37) sent a fax to the media yesterday announcing that she has breast cancer and is scheduled to undergo surgery tomorrow. The former Clarion Girl published a nude photo book in 1993 and moved to the US, where she married a Japanese photographer the following year.

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