Sayonara Once Again for Ishihara, Tamaki

Tamaki Koji, Ishihara Mariko

It seems it just wasn’t to be after all for singer Tamaki Koji (50) and actress Ishihara Mari (45). Their long and strange relationship, which saw them finally married in February, is rumored to have ended. A spokesperson for Tamaki’s management agency said on Saturday, “I’ve heard they split up, but we don’t know any more than that.” Ishihara said on her blog, “Only the two of us know the truth of the recent story and we are not prepared to talk to the media.” The couple registered their marriage in February, some 24 years after their relationship began. Back in the early 1980s when he was a huge star, Tamaki was married but became besotted with the young Ishihara, sending her a set of red underwear as a sign of his love. Their affair was exposed in the media in 1985, and Tamaki divorced the following year but the couple broke up soon afterwards. Over the years, Ishihara had relationships with a host of celebrities, but largely disappeared from Japanese show business. She was back in the limelight in 2006, when in her autobiography she broke a showbiz taboo by naming many of those celebrities. About a fifth of the book was about her relationship with Tamaki, and she went into great detail about how she contemplated suicide when their affair was exposed. She also revealed that in February 1986 she was hospitalized for more than a month with a broken vertebra after he had beaten her. The book was later made into a movie. Ishihara changed her stage name from Mariko to Mari earlier this year. One of Japan’s most recognizable music stars, Tamaki formed the rock band Anzen Chitai in 1973, though it wasn’t until the early 80s that they had their major record label debut and achieved stardom.