Kajiwara Yuta (photo right, 23) of the manzai comedy duo King Kong, has divorced after just 13 months of marriage, it was announced by the Yoshimoto agency. He met his wife early last year while on a break from work due to stress. In October of last year, Kajiwara was caught leaving a hotel with pin-up girl Fujikawa Nozomi (21). He and his partner Nishino Akihiro (23) formed the duo in 1999 and have become rising stars over the last couple of years.
• Rakugo comedian Katsura Kinshi (53) has made good on his promise to marry if the Hanshin Tigers won the Central league last season. It was announced yesterday that he and Shimoma Asami (29) held a wedding ceremony on her birthday last week. She is four months pregnant, while Katsura has two children in their 20s from a previous marriage.
Recently divorced actress Sugimoto Aya (35) has released a new collection of essays with a title that translates as “Orgasm Life: My Declaration of Emancipation”. She also announced that she will soon publish her third erotic novel, “Lost Virgin”, whose storyline of a divorced actress sounds all too familiar. The self-confessed sex fiend has built a reputation as a seductress and woman with a healthy “appetite”. She says the new book is based 80% on her own experiences.
• Manga artist Yokoyama Mitsuteru died recently in a Tokyo hospital after a fire at his home, said to have been caused by his smoking in bed. He was 69. Yokoyama is known as the creator of such popular manga and TV anime series as “Testujin 28-go” (Robot #28) and “Mahou Tsukai Sally” (Sally the Witch).
22 years after they broke up, Pink Lady finished their 6-month national comeback tour with a show at the Tokyo International Forum. The duo of Mii (Nemoto Mitsuyo, 46) and Kei (Masuda Keiko, 46) were one of the biggest pop acts of the late 1970s. Mii divorced her music director husband last month.
• Actress Okouchi Nanako (26) has been romantically linked with actor Nishina Masaki (21), son of vetran actress Nishina Akiko (51). Okouchi has made something of a name for herself in a recent popular afternoon soap opera.
• The Tokyo home and office of movie director Ichikawa Kon (86) was broken into recently. Police in the Shibuya district are investigating the theft of about ¥2 million in cash.
Takizawa Hideaki (22), formerly of pop group Johnny’s Junior and now one half of the duo Takki and Tsubasa, has been chosen to play the lead in next year’s NHK taiga drama, “Yoshitsune”. It tells the story of the warlord Minamotono Yoshitsune (1159-89), a major figure at the end of the Heian Period. A total of 34 veteran actors and newcomers have been named in the cast. Among the popular female stars making their taiga debuts will be Ueto Aya and and former Morning Musume Goto Maki (both 18). Others include Koizumi Kotaro, son of the current prime minister, comedian Nanbara Kiyotaka of Un-chan Nan-chan, and veteran Tanba Tetsuro.
• Former model Miwa, the wife of popular rapper Zeebra (33), recently gave birth to their second daughter. They have named the girl Rima, which is used in Spanish rap music to mean “rhyming”.
Two top female stars have just had babies. Actress Hirosue Ryoko (23) had a bouncing baby boy on Saturday, a month earlier than expected. She married model/designer Okazawa Takahiro (28) at the end of last year. Meanwhilein Paris, former announcer Nakamura Eriko (35) gave birth to her first child, a girl. She is married to Charles Edward Barthes (33), son of a French businessman.
• SMAP member and perennial most popular man in Japan Kimura Takuya (31) has been chosen to voice the lead role in the new Miyazaki Hayao (63) movie, “Howl’s Moving Castle” due for release this autumn.
J-pop queen of the 1990s Amuro Namie (26) finished up her national tour at the Tokyo International Forum on Sunday. She also announced an Asian tour that will see her play to her many fans in South Korea for the first time. She will also have her first solo event in Taiwan. The Okinawan singer is enjoying something of a resurgence in her career after a lull during which she married, had a child with and divorced former TRF dancer Sam.
TV personality Nishimura Tomomi (33) is to record her first song in nine years. She will sing the title song of this summer’s animated Anpanman movie and also do the voice of the heroine Nyani. The words and music to the lullaby are by Anpanman originator Yanase Takashi. After having her first child last summer, “Tomorin” returned to work in February – the ditzy former idol singer is a regular guest on the Akashiya Sanma-hosted variety show “Super Karakuri TV”.
Veteran actor Ashiya Gannosuke died on Wednesday of heart failure in a Kyoto hospital. He was best known for his role as the traveling artist Yamashita Kiyoshi in the television series “Hadaka no Taisho Horoki”. He was 72. Following WWII, he became a comedian, forming a manzai duo with his brother. He gained popularity as an actor in the mid-1950s, but landed his most famous role in 1980. He also had a million-selling hit with his singing debut “Musume Yo” in 1984.
• The Hello! Project, which is behind such J-pop stars as Morning Musume and Matsuura Aya (17), is to hold another audition. A spokesman said that 50 or even 100 new members might be signed up. If you – or your daughter – fancy becoming an idol singer against tens of thousands of other young hopefuls, check out this site.
Actor Otsuru Gitan (35), husband of Brazilian singer Marcia (35), gave a tearful press conference yesterday at which he apologized for being such a bad husband and asked her to take him back. He admitted to having brought another woman to their apartment last December, the day after Marcia had moved into a weekly rental apartment. She came home to pick up some belongings only to find the pair together. Otsuru denies that they were having an affair. When he told how he wanted to see his 6-year old daughter, he broke down in tears. He spent the last three and a half months filming a TV show in America.
• Actress Ozawa Maju (photo, 27) is romantically involved with Karato Ryo (34), her co-star in last year’s samurai movie “Shin Kagenogundan”. the pair first acted together in 2001’s superhero movie “Gamen Rider Agito”.
Akamatsu Naoki (24), guitarist of the defunct rock trio Hysteric Blue, was re-arrested this week for aggravated sexual assault on a 20-year old woman. He was previously arrested in a similar case which took place in November of last year. At that time, he approached a high school girl on a street in the Meguro area of Tokyo and, threatening to stab her if she resisted, sexually assaulted her in nearby carpark. He later assaulted the same girl in a neighborhood park. The popular band, formed in 1998, took a break in September of last year and broke up immediately after Akamatsu’s first arrest last month.
• The celebrity with the most TV commercial on-air time for 2003 was Tanaka Rena, who totaled 151,965 seconds (over 42 hours). Football star David Beckham was in 6th place.