Avex in Chaos

Record company Avex is in a state of chaos following the sudden announcement by managing director Matsuura Masato (39) and executive director Chiba Ryuhei (40) that they are quitting. The pair addressed company employees at an emotional morning assembly yesterday, and said the problem was chairman and president Yoda Tatsumi (64). Yoda criticized Chiba for pursuing personal profit from a few big artists. Chiba tearfully denied any fault, while Matsuura complained that Avex had lost its love of music and said he wanted to start over. They have the support of many staff who also said they would quit. More significantly, the label’s top star, Hamasaki Ayumi (25), has already said she’s off, too. The company’s share price went into freefall until trading was suspended.

• Ironically, Hamasaki’s announcement came on the same day her new single topped the Oricon chart. It is her 20th hit to go straight to the top. On the album chart, rock group Porno Graffitti’s Greatest Hits “Blue” and “Red” have grabbed both the top two slots, the first time the feat has been achieved since Mr. Children in 2001.

• Rock band The Yellow Monkey have formally broken up. They have been inactive since a concert at Tokyo Dome in 2001, but finally decided to call it a day last month. They made their major debut in 1992 and released 8 albums. &