The father and son who built Sun Music Production into a major talent management agency are stepping down from their posts as a sign of repentance. The decision, announced at a hastily arranged press conference yesterday by president Aizawa Masahisa (60), comes in the wake of the recent scandal caused by the drug arrest of top star Sakai Noriko. Aizawa will become company vice-president, while his father and company chairman Hideyoshi (79) will be an advisor. Both men and other company directors will also take salary cuts. Aizawa Snr. established the company in 1967 and his son took over in 2004. He became a substitute father figure for Sakai after her own father died shortly after she became a star. Sun Music moulded her first into a top idol singer and, after her marriage in 1998, into a squeaky clean Mama-san role model – an image shattered by her arrest. Aizawa Jnr. gave repeated pres conferences when Sakai was on the run and said he had no clue about her drug habit. Sun Music has launched the careers of other such stars as singer Matsuda Seiko, actress Adachi Yumi, comedian Kojima Yoshio, talento Becky, and actor turned Chiba Prefectural governor Morita Kensaku.
Noripi Taken to Court (Aug. 10, 2009)
• Two Johnny’s Jimusho stars are the latest celebrities to be laid low by influenza. Yamashita Tomohisa (24, top right) and Nishikido Ryo (24, bottom right), both members of the pop group NEWS, were both diagnosed with the flu and have been forced to take a break from filming TV drama series. Yamashita is the star of the TBS basketball series “Buzzer Beat – Gakeppuchi no Hero,” while Nishikido is filming “Orutorosu no Inu” for Fuji TV. NEWS were among the main presenters of NTV’s 24-hour telethon over the weekend, which no doubt both worsened their condition and helped the virus spread among the many people who appeared on the live broadcast.