Game software Capcom have cut Yamamoto Mona (34) out of their latest TV commercial. The freelance announcer is suspended from work following a magazine story that claimed she was having an affair with baseball star Nioka Tomohiro (photo). Capcom’s ad for the PSP game “Monster Hunter Portable 2ndG” went on air on July 21 featuring Yamamoto and several other celebrities. But a re-edited version has been aired since last Thursday.
Meanwhile Kitano “Beat” Takeshi was in full comedy mode yesterday for the Fuji TV’s “FNS 27-jikan Terebi” telethon. He, the telethon’s main emcee Akashiya Sanma, and others recreated their 1980s TV heyday and all its associated mayhem as the broadcast came to a close. Takeshi is Mona’s main “sponsor,” as she is represented by his Office Kitano agency and he supported her through a similar scandal last year, and last night he finally spoke about the story, saying “The magazine said I was furious about the whole thing. The fact is I was delighted by the publicity, but I could hardly say that.” The reality is that Takeshi and Sanma are so popular and have so much influence that the rules are bent or even broken on their behalf. So it’s likely that Mona will be back on TV screens before too long.
• On Saturday Sato Yosuke (40) of the duo Coil suddenly dropped out of a music festival that was mainly a tribute to the artist. Sato took part in the opening ceremony of the 10th annual Augusta Camp event at the Seibu Dome in Saitama Prefecture, but was taken to hospital before he had a chance to perform. No details were given regarding his condition. The festival features acts that are with the Office Augusta agency, including such names as Yamazaki Masayoshi (36) and Kyoko (47). Sato had planned to be on stage with each act through the day, as this year also marks the duo’s 10th anniversary. Performing partner Okamoto Sadayoshi (42) performed a shortened set of Coil songs. All the artists performed together as “Fukumimi” and, together with the 30,000 fans, wished Sato a speedy recovery.
• Even as popular baseball drama “Rookies” drew to a close on Saturday, TBS announced that it is far from over. There will be a TV special sometime in the autumn, followed by a movie next spring. The series aired in a new time slot for dramas, 8pm on Saturdays, and got a respectable if not spectacular audience rating of 14.3%. But as an indication of the series popularity, more than 22,000 people turned out for a DVD launch event in central Tokyo on Saturday, hours before the final episode was aired. The original manga, which sold over 17 million copies, finished with the baseball team members as high school juniors. Next year’s movie will follow them through to graduation (via a trip to Koshien perhaps?).
• Tokyo police revealed yesterday that they recently arrested a man for making online death threats against comedian Ohta Hikari of the popular duo Bakusho Mondai. The man, identified as Saitama Prefecture native Ozawa Tadahito (32), said he wrote the threats on popular message board 2Channel in response to Ohta’s criticism of similar use of the Internet by the man who later went on a killing spree in Akihabara, central Tokyo last month.
• Rakugoka and talento Shufukutei Tsurubei (56) became a grandfather over the weekend. He announced the news during the Fuji TV 27-hour telethon. His son Suruga Taro (30), guitarist and vocalist with the band Sleepydog, got married in the spring.