Top of the Oricon weekly singles chart is club queen Koda Kumi (23) with “You.” But I’m told the act to keep an eye on is 4-man rock band Ellegarden, an indie group whose “Space Sonic” is a new entry at No.5. Around since 1998, the group supported Sum 41 on tour in February and played this year’s Summer Sonic festival.
• TV Asahi got the luck of the draw yesterday. Four networks took part in a lottery to see which would get the right to broadcast the Japan-Croatia game at next year’s World Cup in Germany. The Croatia game is the only one of Japan’s three group qualifiers that was up for grabs, the other two – against Australia and tournament favorite Brazil – being on NHK. TV Asahi also had exclusive rights to the games in the Asian qualifiers. Expectations are high for Zico’s team next summer, with the hope that they can at least match their achievement in 2002 and reach the second round.
• Actor Fujiki Yuu died on Monday of pulmonary embolism at a Tokyo hospital. He was 74. He was best known as a supporting actor in the mid-70s TV drama series “G-Men ’75”. His latest role was in this year’s movie “Kita no Zero-nen.” He broke his leg after a fall last month and was hospitalized. Complications arose during surgery and he went into a coma, from which he never recovered.
• TV celebrity Murakami Rikaco (39) was as classy as ever during a press conference yesterday to announce her divorce from actor Watabe Atsuro (37). Looking great for her age but tired from the obviously stressful situation, she was very good-humored with the very reporters whose gossip mongering has probably made life less than easy for her and her family. Watabe also spoke to reporters and denied that another woman was behind the divorce. Though probably less financially successful than his ex, he said he has agreed to support his two sons, now 11 and 6, until they graduate from university. (see yesterday’s story for more)