Morning Musume leader Yoshizawa Hitomi (21) is a true professional. Yesterday, she made a scheduled concert appearance with the dozens of other Hello! Project members despite the recent tragic death of her younger brother. The 26-song set went ahead as planned, with the pink-clad Yoshizawa making reference only to how sad she was about her planned “graduation” from Morning Musume in May. She is currently the longest-serving member of the group, having joined in 2000. Word of her personal tragedy had spread among the 2,400 fans at the Osaka Kouseinenkin Kaikan hall, and they shouted their encouragement. But reporters were told that she would not be answering any questions about the tragedy after the concert. 16-year-old Yoshizawa Hirota was killed in a traffic accident last Thursday.
• Also on the road are rock band Glay, who kicked off the second leg of their 42-show nationwide tour at the Yokohama Arena yesterday. Some 13,500 fans enjoyed a two-and-a-half-hour set that included the new single “100-mankai no Kiss”, out on January 17. It’s taken from their first original album in almost three years, “Love is Beautiful”, which goes on sale January 31.
• Finishing a mommoth tour yesterday were Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra. They celebrated the end of a 6-month, 71-date tour, that included shows in Europe, with 15,000 fans at the Saitama Super Arena. They will release a greatest hits album and a “road movie” about their tour in March.
• In town promoting his latest book is former U.S. vice president Al Gore (58). He appeared at a book-signing event for “An Inconvenient Truth” at the Maruzen bookstore in Tokyo’s Marunouchi district yesterday. Today he is to meet with the environment minister and business leaders, and attend the Japan premiere of the documentary movie based on his book at the Asahi Hall in Yurakucho.