Morning Musume leader Iida Kaori (22) and “ace” Ishikawa Rika (photo, 19) are to ‘graduate’ from the group next year. Iida is the only remaining original member. Guru Tsunku (35) says he wants Iida to develop as a multi-talented artist, while Ishikawa will be at the center of a new unit within the Hello! Project. It was announced earlier this year that young members Kago Ai (18) and Tsuji Nozomi (16) will leave the group in August. Auditions for new members are currently being organized.
• Da Pump vocalist Issa (25) turned up for the MYV Video Music Awards Japan with a freshly shaven head, a sign of repentance over his recently publicized womanizing. Hamasaki Ayumi (26) took three awards, including Best Female Artist. Amuro Namie (26) presented the Inspiration Award to a visiting Janet Jackson (38), who managed to keep her cleavage indoors.