Daily Archives: November 14, 2007

An Unusual Press Conference

RakugoRakugoka Shunpuutei Koasa (52) and his wife of 20 years, talento Yasuha (46), held an unusual press conference at the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo yesterday. The purpose was to tell the media that they had decided to divorce, but the usually celebratory gold screen behind them and the fact that they sat flanked by Yasuha’s two younger brothers had reporters scratching their heads. Shunpuutei joked, saying the divorce registration paper was “a love letter. We’ve just changed from being a married couple to ‘enjoukousai’ (compensated dating).” The couple first talked of divorce in September, with Yasuha saying the pressure of being married to a rakugo master was too much for her. Shunpuutei seemed surprised when she said she had never felt there was love between them, that it was more like a professional relationship. Her brothers, Hayashiya Shouzou (44) and Ippei (36) are both established rakugoka. Their late father, Hayashiya Sanpei, was one of the pillars of the traditional storytelling world. Though she had a brief career as a pop singer, Yasuha gave it up when she got married. When Shouzou succeeded to the stage name in 2005, he various official events were produced by his sister and brother-in-law. This return to work sparked something in Yasuha and she and screenwriter Tabuchi Kumiko (48) set up an entertainment business in January. Another sign of her recent change of heart could be seen in the fact that she has been making TV appearances this year.