Actor turned singer Matsudaira Ken (photo, 51) looks likely to have another money-spinning year ahead. The man until recently best known as the “Abarenbo Shogun” in the samurai drama series of that name, had a complete career and image change with last year’s hit single “Matsuken Samba II.” With people from 5 to 95 across the nation singing the catchy tune and an appearance on NHK’s New Year “Kohaku” song spectacle, Matsudaira tripled his usual income last year. No doubt this helped ease the heartache of his divorce from beautiful actress Daichi Mao. This week he released his first photo book. And this summer, he’s set to release “Matsuken Samba III.” It probably won’t cause the same level of media frenzy, but should earn the star a few more yen.
• Pop diva Matsuda Seiko (45) kicked off her 25th anniversary national tour on Sunday at the Saitama Super Arena. During the concert, she spoke for an unprecedented 15 minutes about the rumored split with her 18-year old daughter Sayaka. She told her 15,000 gathered fans that things are cool between them and that it’s just a case of a young bird wanting to fly the nest. She says she respects her feelings and understands her need to start out on her own, adding that she herself left Kyushu to pursue a showbiz career in Tokyo at the age of 18. In response to questions about a rumored romance with a much younger man, the twice-divorced Seiko said she is not thinking of marrying again.