Retired actress Minamida Yoko (76) was hospitalized yesterday after losing consciousness. Her condition is not said to be life threatening but she is expected to spend at least a week in hospital. Her husband, actor Nagato Hiroyuki (75) spoke tearfully to reporters last night as he expressed his fear that his wife might end up in a vegetative state. She retired several years ago after beginning to show signs of dementia, and her husband has been caring for her since. It wasn’t until during filming of a TV Asahi documentary last November that her condition was diagnosed as Alzheimers. The program was the network’s most widely viewed show of last year. Nagato and Minamida were both up and coming stars when they became Japan’s most famous screen couple in the 1955 hit “Taiyo no Kisetsu,” one of the definitive movies of the postwar era.
• Actress Fukada Kyoko (26) and young baseball star Saito Yuki (20) were spotted out together on a dinner date in February, according to today’s issue of women’s weekly magazine “Josei Seven.” Fukuda is one of Japan’s most poipular young actreses, and is currently starring as the sexy villain Doronjo in the big screen adaptation of the “Yatterman” anime. Saito, known as the “handkerchief prince” since becoming an overnight star as a pitcher for his high school team, has almost single-handedly turned Waseda University into a baseball powerhouse in the last couple of years.