Ai has finally topped the album charts with her greatest hits collection. “Best Ai,” which includes her hits from the last nine years, is the latest No.1 on the Oricon album chart. Real name Uemura Ai Carina (27), she was born in Los Angeles and is quarter Italian on her mother’s side. Her family returned to Japan when she was three, but her mother encouraged her to attend Los Angeles County High School for the Arts. She later became the first female artist signed to Def Jam Japan. She has performed only rarely on the world stage beyond Japan, but her vocal range and versatility have elicited comparisons to Alicia Keys and Beyonce Knowles.
• Actress Yamamoto Mirai (34) is to be a mother for real. The daughter of the famous fashion designer Yamamoto Kansai (65), she and actor Shiina Kippei (45) are expecting their first child. Yamamoto, who plays the role of a mother in the current Fuji TV series “Otomen,” is five months pregnant. The couple have been married for six years but started dating back in 1995 when they appeared together in the TV Asahi drama “Black Out.” Shiina is currently appearing as warlord Oda Nobunaga in the movie “Katen no Shiro.”