Magician Hikita “Princess” Tenko suffered serious injuries on Sunday when a trick went wrong, according to her official blog. The accident was caused by mechanical trouble during an afternoon performance at the culture hall in Sabae City, Fukui Prefecture. In a variation on the sword box, the veteran illusionist was inside a large 2m-high metal box when 20 knives were passed through it in a trick called “The Spikes of Death”. Hikita was supposed to emerge unscathed from the box in a different costume. But she was unable to get out and was cut by several of the knives, suffering injuries to her head, chest and back. She had at least one broken rib, and one of the knives stopped just 1cm from taking her eye out. As she has never had to call off a show, Hikita is said to have insisted on continuing, until organizers stopped it after about 30 minutes. She was rushed to a local hospital before being moved to Tokyo, where her condition is not critical but she is expected to spend a month recovering.
• What is he thinking?! It seems that actor Ishibashi Masataka (28) has gone and proposed to divorcee singer Koyonagi Rumiko (55). As reported on Japan Zone back in June of last year, the relationship between the pair was generally regarding as simply good publicity, particularly for the largely unknown Ishibashi. But Koyanagi, who split with dancer Osumi Kenya (42) in 2000, still seems to need the security of a ring. Sources say she got one last December and the pair, who are already shacked up, are looking to get hitched at the end of the year.
• Hamasaki Ayumi (29) has matched Nakamori Akina (42) for the most consecutive years with a No.1 single for a female artist. “Glitter/Fated” is top of the latest Oricon chart rankings, meaning she’s had a chart topper every year since 1998, tying Nakamori’s 1982-91 run. Hamasaki already has the most No.1’s, the most Top 10 hits, the most overall sales and the most million sellers. Meanwhile, Kinki Kids saw their latest release “39” enter the album chart at No.1.
• Haga Kenji has been dropped by his management agency. After the talento was arrested last month on charges of extortion, Tokyo Six Production insisted on his innocence and criticized the police’s handling of the case. They say they still believe he will be vindicated in court, but as his prosecution began on Saturday they decided to sever official ties. The company represents such artists as actresses Takaoka Saki and Kitajima Mai, so they presumably didn’t want too much mud sticking to them.