Mixed martial arts fighter Akiyama Yoshihiro (33) and model Shiho (32) have married, they both announced on their official websites yesterday. They didn’t say when exactly they tied the knot but Akiyama’s agency said it was at the beginning of the year. The newlyweds are currently enjoying a week-long honeymoon in Hawaii. Though born in Osaka, Akiyama is one of the country’s many ethnic Koreans. After graduating from university in Japan, he crossed the water to Korea in the hope of representing that country in Olympic judo. Though he won the Asian Games title in Pusan in 2002, he faced “reverse racism” and returned to reclaim his Japanese citizenship. After he narrowly failed to qualify for the Athens games in 2004, he switched to the popular K-1. He was widely criticized by K-1 fans for cheating (he was accused of using knuckle dusters) in a bout against the popular Sakuraba Kazushi on New Year’s Eve 2006, and has been greeted with boos on most occasions since. He is scheduled to make his debut in the UFC in the U.S. later this summer. Shiga Prefecture native Yano Shiho made her modeling debut at the age of 17 and is currently a presenter on the NHK show “Top Runner.”
• Also tying the knot around the same time was actress Itoh Maiko (44). She announced on the “Narutomo!” morning show yesterday that she and a telecom company employee got married in mid-January. They first met when Itoh was walking her dog back in 1997. They lost touch for several years but got together again three years ago.