Another Marriage for Japan’s Premier Playboy?

Ishida Junichi, Higashio Riko

Actor Ishida Junichi (55) is probably the most famous playboy in Japanese showbiz, so talk of love and romance is his stock in trade. But now he’s talking about marriage once again, this time to pro golfer Higashio Riko (33). The last time Ishida talked about marriage, it was to his long-term girlfriend Hasegawa Rie (35). Their 9-year relationship undoubtedly gave the model a higher profile, but she ended it in 2005. It comes as no surprise that the latest object of Ishida’s affections is also young, but she’s a year younger than his son from his first marriage, actor Ishida Issei (34). If he ties the knot, it would be the third marriage for Ishida. The first was when he was a student at Waseda University, though he dropped out at the age of 24 to become an actor. It wasn’t until a decade later that he had a breakthrough as a “trendy actor” in dramas such as Fuji TV’s “Dakishimetai!” in 1988. That same year he married actress Matsubara Chiaki, but they divorced in 1999. Their daughter, model Matsubara Sumire (19), recently earned a place at Carnegie Mellon University. Higashio is the daughter of former baseball star and Seibu Lions manager Higashio Osamu (59). She and actor Kane Kosugi (34) were thought to be on the verge of marriage until their 3-year relationship ended in 2005. She graduated from Florida State University in 1999 and joined the JLPGA the same year. She has no tour victories and her highest money ranking was 44th in 2001. She and Ishida, a keen amateur golfer, hit it off when they appeared together on a TV Aichi golf show at the end of last year. Ishida has hinted that they might get hitched within the year.