Actor Hagiwara Kenichi (54) was found guilty yesterday at the Tokyo District Court on charges of attempted blackmail. He was handed down an 18-month prison sentence, as sought by prosecutors, though it was suspended for three years. Though he earlier challenged the charges, he said by fax that he will abide by the verdict and will not lodge an appeal. “Shoken” was kicked off a movie project last summer and later allegedly made telephone threats against producers, demanding he be paid his full fee of ¥18 million and dropping the name of a yakuza organization. He was arrested at his home four and a half months ago, with TV cameras capturing the scene. He made his name as vocalist of the “group sounds” band The Tempters back in the 1960s. He became a popular TV actor in the early 1970s. He was arrested for drug possession in 1983 and again for drunk driving in 1984.
• Veteran actor Matsumura Tatsuo died of heart failure on June 18, it was revealed yesterday. He was 90. he had been admitted to a Tokyo hospital with breathing difficulties on June 10. A rugby player in his youth, his vigor had allowed him to continue acting until quite recently. But he will be best remembered for his role as Oi-chan, which he played five times in the long-running movie series “Otoko Wa Tsurai Yo.” He also appeared in “Mada Dayo” directed by the late Kurosawa Akira. He is survived by his wife and son.
• Singer-songwriter Tanimura Yumi (36) announced yesterday that she gave birth to her first child, a baby boy, on June 21. She married Nihon McDonalds Holdings CEO Harada Eikou (55) in 2002 – he was head of Apple Computer Japan at the time.