Daily Archives: January 12, 2007

Morning Musume at 10

Former and current members of Morning Musume have formed a new unit to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the popular girl group on January 28. Morning Musume Tanjou 10-Nen Kinentai is made up of “graduates” Abe Natsumi (25), Iida Kaori (25) and Goto Maki (21), and current younger members Niigaki Risa (18) and Kusumi Koharu (14). They have recorded a commemorative single, “Bokura ga Ikiru, My Asia”, which will also be the theme tune of the upcoming Cirque du Soleil show “Dralion”. The name is a combination of the Eastern dragon and the Western lion, and the tune is described by Helo! Project founder and producer Tsunku (38) as a reflection of that east-meets-west theme. The show opens on February 7 and other celebrity supporters enlisted to promote it include comediennes Hisamoto Masami and Shibata Rie, newscaster Ogura Tomoaki, and Olympic ice skating gold medalist Arakawa Shizuka. Morning Musume will also have their annual spring tour from March to May 6, after which leader Yoshizawa Hitomi (21) will graduate from the group. Her role will be filled by Fujimoto Miki (21).

• The DJ Ozma scandal continues and NHK chairman Hashimoto Genichi (63) spoke about nothing else during his regular press conference yesterday. The public broadcaster has received some 1,800 complaints from viewers about the “naked” performance of Ozma and his dancers on Kohaku last New Year’s Eve. The network has apologized, as have Ozma’s label, Toshiba EMI. But NHK are determined that there will be no repeat of such a “surprise attack” on future shows. Ozma appeared on NHK music shows a total of eight times last year, but is unlikely to be seen on the network again anytime soon as he has been resolutely unapologetic for the incident. In future, according to Hashimoto, verbal agreements will be replaced with written contracts that clearly forbid unsuitable” performances. There are also plans for a new manual on how to change camera angles during a live broadcast. On a related note, three U.S. stations in San Fransisco, Los Angeles and Hawaii broadcast an edited version of the show.

Johnny’s veteran Higashiyama Noriyuki (40) has fessed up to his romance with actress Uchiyama Rina (25). The former Shonentai member admitted to the relationship in a message to fans on the Johnny’s Web mobile site.