Daily Archives: September 11, 2009

Matchy the Iron Man of Japanese Showbiz

Kondo Masahiko, Hagiwara Kenichi

Singer Kondo Masahiko (45, photo left) looked a bit battered at a press conference yesterday. With his right arm in a sling, “Matchy” said he had fractured his shoulder blade while participating in the Sado Island Long Distance International Triathlon last weekend. He has a long history of participation in sports and endurance events, and took part in the triathlon privately. After swimming 2km, and 10km into the cycling stage, he braked for a water stop and fell off his bicycle. “Though I noticed some pain,” he said, “I never thought about giving up.” He continued the race, finishing the 105km cycling and 20km run for a total time of 7 hours 13 minutes, well within the 8-hour target he had set for himself. Yesterday’s press event was for the La Festa Mille Miglia 2009 classic car rally, scheduled for October 10-13. The 1,000-mile (1,600km) race starts and ends in central Tokyo. Kondo says he still plans to take part for the full four days.

• Actress/singer Sakai Noriko says she has no wish to apply for bail just yet. Currently at the Tokyo Wangan police detention center, she was formally charged with the use of amphetamines yesterday, in addition to the earlier charge of possession. She and her husband, Takaso Yuichi (41) have admitted using the drugs while on a visit with their young son to Amami Oshima island in July. Sakai says she doesn’t want to cause a media frenzy and wouldn’t be able to see her son even if a bail application was approved. Her trial is set to open at the Tokyo District Court on October 26.

• Getting his life back on track recently is actor/singer Hagiwara Kenichi (59, photo right). He was back in the recording studio yesterday for the first time in seven years. He recorded the famous “Jidai Okure,” released by the late Kawashima Eigo (1952-2001) in 1986. The single will be available on online and mobile services from November 4. Popularly known by the nickname “Shoken,” Hagiwara started out as vocalist for hugely popular band The Tempters back in the late 1960s. He later went on to an award-winning acting career, but he is almost as renowned for his legal problems as his performing. He was first arrested in 1983 for marijuana possession. He was given a suspended jail sentence in 2004 for attempted blackmail in connection with a canceled movie role. Earlier that year he was fined for causing a traffic accident, and he was later caught speeding. He got divorced in March 2006.

• Singer Nishino Kana (20) is to be the first Japanese to promote Maybelline New York’s mascara. The company spotted her in a promo video and decided she was a good match with their young market. She appeared at a PR event in Tokyo yesterday and also performed her latest song, “Motto,” for the first time. The single is due for release on October 21.