KAT-TUN’s Akanishi “On Leave”

What the hell’s going on with Akanishi Jin (22)? A member of the hugely popular Johnny’s Jimusho group KAT-TUN, he is supposedly taking six months off to study abroad. A Johnny’s spokesman insisted that Akanishi is not retiring or leaving the group permanently. But as they only made their recording debut this year and are currently riding a wave of popularity, that official explanation sounds bogus. Then again, there is a precedence: in 1996 Mori Katsuyuki (32) quit fellow Johnny’s group SMAP to become a bike racer at around the same stage of his career. The five remaining members survived the ordeal and have stayed on top of the showbiz world since. KAT-TUN, minus Akanishi, recently recorded the theme song for NTV’s new drama series, “Tatta Hitotsu no Koi” and will continue to perform as a five-member unit. Akanishi joined the Johnny’s agency in 1998, at the same time as fellow KAT-TUN members Kamenashi Kazuya (20) and Nakamaru Yuichi. The group was formed from six former members of Johnny’s Junior in April 2001. They supported several of their fellow Johnny’s artists over the years, building up a fan base before finally making their hugely successful CD debut in March of this year. Several members have started out on acting careers too, starring in some of the most popular drama series of the last few years. Akanishi was in the NTV series “Gokusen” and “Anego”.

• Actress Yamaguchi Tomoko (41) yesterday appeared before fans for the first time in almost ten years. She is to appear in an NTV documentary about the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg on October 24. One of the most popular and visible actresses of the 90s, Yamaguchi has in recent years only appeared in commercials and the occasional TV special.

• Playboy Haga Kenji (44) has given details of his plans to finally settle down. He and finacee Yamada Mayu (29) announced their engagement recently and yesterday Haga told the media they plan to register their marriage on October 24 and hold a wedding ceremony in Hawaii on December 29. They will tie the knot at the Central Union church in downtown Honolulu.