Divorce for Hikki…and Parents!

Singer Utada Hikaru (24) and filmmaker Kiriya Kazuaki (38) have divorced. And it was revealed that her parents also divorced yet again last year – for the seventh time! Just as her marriage to Kiriya was announced on Hikki’s website four and a half years ago, on Saturday she used the same website to reveal that they had divorced the previous day. She thanked fans fopr their support and apologized for the sudden announcement. She cited different views of the future and a lack of communication due to her business international work schedule as the main reasons for the split. Kiriya posted his message on the same site, an indicator of the one-sided nature of their respective levels of success and fame. The two met in 2000 during the design of the sleeve for Hikki’s 7th single, “Can You Keep a Secret?” Two years later, she underwent surgery for ovarian cancer and just five months later they were married. They worked together in several different capacities, one being Utada’s title song for “Casshern”, Kiriya’s 2004 debut as a movie director. He also supported her during her attempt the same year to break into the U.S. market. According to a friend of the couple, neither of them are particularly sociable or talkative types and so communication was a problem for them. Utada, whose parents have divorced and re-married each other a ridiculous seven times since 1981, was looking to him as an older man who could support her emotionally. She made no mention of the split during her live appearance on Friday’s “Music Station”, where she performed her new single “Flavor of Life”. Bittersweet is probably the flavor one would use in English to refer to her life right now, though she referred to it as being like “green pepper tempura”.

• Former porn star turned popular TV regular Iijima Ai (34) hinted on her blog at the weekend that she plans to retire from showbiz at the end of March. She appeared as scheduled on yesterday’s edition of “Sunday Japon” on TBS but didn’t give details of her reasons. She missed the show twice at the end of last year due to health problems with her liver and bladder. When quizzed by other panel members, she seemed reluctant to discuss the matter but retorted “Don’t you ever feel like quitting?” With contracts often running from April to March, she may announce soon that she will quit after her current four regular shows finish their run.