The Japanese media are hitting fever pitch with the news that Tokyo police have issued an arrest warrant for actress/singer Sakai Noriko (38). Her management agency Sun Music Production, refused to comment on the latest development except to say they are checking the facts. When “Noripi,” as she is popularly known, and her young son disappeared after the drug arrest of her husband late Sunday night, the general feeling was one of sympathy. The consensus was that she was simply overwhelmed by the shock of what was happening and trying to escape the inevitable media glare. But today it was revealed that police have discovered stimulant drugs at the Kawasaki home shared by Sakai, her husband Takaso Yuichi, their 10-year-old son, and Takaso’s mother. Though she has long had a squeaky clean image and is a popular TV “mama-san” role model, Sakai has had more than her share of troubles. Her mother died when she was young and when her father remarried, the family moved to her step-mother’s home in Saitama Prefecture; her father died in a traffic accident in 1989; in 2000, shortly after Sakai returned from maternity leave, Mizoguchi Nobuo – her manager since her 1985 debut – hanged himself at the Sun office. The only sign of her since her disappearance was a brief signal from her mobile phone, the origin in Yamanashi Prefecture just 30km from the scene of her father’s fatal accident. This morning, the news that her son was safe at the home of a friend in Tokyo seemed to be the beginning of a resolution to the incident. But with an obviously rattled Sakai now the subject of a manhunt, the media are understandably nervous about the possible outcome.
Noripi in Search of Enlightenment? (Aug 5, 2009)
Sakai Noriko Goes Missing (Aug 5, 2009)
Noripi’s Hubby in Latest Drug Arrest (Aug 5, 2009)