Bye Bye, Iijima Ai

Talento Iijima Ai (34) has confirmed the rumors about her retiring from showbiz. On yesterday’s edition of TBS’s “Sunday Japon” she made the statement she had so doggedly avoided a week before, saying she will quit by the end of this month. She denied another rumor that she would be moving to New York, saying she planned to continue living in central Tokyo. As widely speculated, she said the main reason for her decision is her deteriorating health, which caused her to miss the show twice at the end of last year. She has suffered from bladder and kidney infections. The former top porn star made the crossover to variety TV in the early 1990s and became hugely popular with young women. Her frank and uncompromising autobiography “Platonic Sex” was a million-seller in 2001. She is expected to hold a formal press conference once she has finalized matters regarding her existing contracts.

• Actress Ishihara Mariko (43) yesterday admitted that she had a criminal record in the U.S. She held a press conference to explain her two arrests, in 1997 and 2003 on stalking charges, that were revealed last week by a weekly gossip magazine. The 1997 case, in which she received a 20-month suspended sentence, came about when she wrote some 30 letters to a musician on the advice of a fortune teller, who she claims defrauded her of some ¥40 million. The letters included death threats, which she insists were added by a jealous band member. The 2003 case, in which she broke a restraining order taken out by another musician, led to her imprisonment in Las Vegas for more than 4 months. One of Japan’s top actresses in the late 1980s, she left the country in 1991, and only finally returned to showbiz here last year. She immediately upset things by publishing a book revealing the names of several top stars she had affairs with in her youth. And she is currently directing a movie based on the book.

• When asked yesterday about the recent marriage of her old boyfriend, actress Adachi Yumi (25) simply said, “Yokatta desu ne. Omedetou gozaimasu” (That’s good. Congratulations). The age difference of 21 years was often cited as a main cause of her split with actor Kuroda Arthur (46), but the problem obviously wasn’t on his side as he married a woman 23 years his junior on February 25. Adachi herself can afford to be generous, after marrying comedian Itoda Jun (33) at the end of 2005 and having a baby last year. She said she hadn’t heard about Kuroda’s marriage until Saturday.