Actress Hirosue Ryoko (photo, 24) made her first public appearance in 18 months yesterday. The last time she appeared before the media was to announced her wedding to designer-model Okazawa Takahiro (29) in December 2003. She was also several months pregnant at the time. Yesterday’s event was to promote the upcoming Fuji TV Monday night drama series “Slow Dance.” Hirosue, who seems to have lost quite a bit of weight, will star alongside popular actors Tsumabuki Satoshi (24), Fujiki Naoto (32) and Koizumi Kotaro (26, son of the prime minister). Popular weather girl Kobayashi Mao (22) will make her dramatic debut in the series.
• Pop group SMAP are to have the first simultaneous single/album release in their 14-year career. The group are aiming to be just the 6th act to reach the top of both the singles and album Oricon charts at the same time with the July 27 releases. The album “Sample Bang!” will be sold as part of a 3-CD set that includes one disc of solo songs and one of remixes of some of their hits. SMAP embark on a 21-date national tour on July 30.
• Pop duo Kiroro are to have a joint wedding ceremony in the autumn. Vocalist Tamashiro Chiharu (27) and pianist Kinjou Ayano (27), both got married in the spring. Tamashiro got hitched in April and Kinjou was three months pregnant when she married a 31-year old restaurant “producer” in May. They plan to hold the joint ceremony in their hometown of Naha in Okinawa after finishing a concert tour. They’ll release a new single, “Ikite Koso” (Alive) on July 6 and a new album in December.