Comedian Monkekee (38) is engaged to talento Yamakawa Erika (24). Management agencies for the couple made the announcement to the media yesterday, saying they will give a press conference at a Tokyo hotel on February 2. The pair had worked together many times on variety shows, but romance started when they both took part in a group vacation to Guam in April of last year. Monkekee, real name Omori Akira, was formerly known as Osaru (Monkey) and was one half of a comedy duo with Koala. They split in 2000 after Koala married idol singer Miura Junko and moved to her agency. Monkekee changed his stage name in 2004 following the advice of hugely popular fortune teller Hosoki Kazuko. Yamakawa, who can be seen in TV commercials for cosmetics maker DHC, was previously linked with Ungirls member Yamane Yoshiaki.
• Kuwata Masumi (38) is doing a new kind of pitching. The former Yomiuri Giants ace has his first job as a narrator in the TV commercial for Kevin Costner’s latest movie. “Shugoshin” (The Guardian) features Costner as an aging rescue swimmer, and Kuwata’s decision to take on one last challange in his career by joining the Pittsburg Pirates was thought to have parallels in the movie. The CM will also feature singer Wada Akiko and comedian Amano Hiroyuki. It airs from February 3 to 9 and the movie opens here on February 10.