Just how popular are Shibuya Girls? Well, popular enough with the teen market that J-pop duo Yumachi & Aina, both models with the Shibuya-kei fashion magazine Egg, have seen their debut single reach No.1 on the download charts. “I Love…” is a sentimental love song aimed squarely at the female teen market. With their tans, striking makeup and blonde curls, the duo are typical of the current Shibuya-kei look and about as far as you can get from the image of the traditional Japanese female. But they have appeared as representatives of Japan on the NHK show “Tokyo Kawaii TV.” The duo have a live concert and talk show lined up at Marui Jam in Shibuya on December 22.
Talento Terrence Lee markets himself as a bad ass security expert, but he had the stuffing knocked out of him by a drunk late last night. Real name Kato Yoshiteru (45), he was riding his bicycle past Sagamihara station near his home in Kanagawa Prefecture when he collided with Inaba Satoru (42). The two got into a scuffle and Lee – a former mercenary – was badly beaten, while Inaba was arrested on the spot.
Comedy duo Honjamaka are to perform live together for the first time in ten years. Made up of Ishizuka Hidehiko (47, photo left) and Megumi Toshiaki (44, photo right), the pair only appear together on one weekly show, the TBS variety “Sekiguchi Hiroshi no Tokyo Friend Park 2.” But both are busy with regular TV appearances, and Megumi hosts an afternoon “wide” talk show. Yesterday’s announced event, to be held in Tokyo next March 13-14, is being billed as commemorating their 20th showbiz anniversary, but it’s already two years late!
When Honjamaka started out in 1983, there were ten members, including one who would later become Megumi’s wife. But the numbers were whittled down and they re-launched their career as a duo in 1987. They became more popular the following year when they won the “Terebi Engei” comedy contest. At the time, both members were overweight, but Megumi dieted from the mid-1990s, while Ishizuka has since made the most of being a “debu” talento. He and former dancer Papaya Suzuki had a hit with the variety show “Debuya” a few years ago.
Ishizuka said of next year’s event, “We’d like younger people to know that we’re comedians and not just food reporters and air hockey players.” The latter is a reference to the “Friend Park” segment where they wear silly costumes and take on that week’s guests in a game of “Hyper Hockey.” The live show will also feature other comedians from the same management agency, including Nishioka Sumiko, Yamamoto Takahiro and Fall In Love.
Former actor Oshio Manabu (31, photo left) was detained by Tokyo police this evening, three days after a warrant was issued for his latest arrest. Also in detention at the Azabu police station in central Tokyo are Izumida Yusuke (31), an acquaintance of Oshio, and his former manager, Endo Ryohei (28). Oshio was arrested in August on charges of possession and use of MDMA (ecstasy) and received a suspended prison sentence last month. But from the start, the more serious matter was the death of hostess Tanaka Kaori (30), whose naked body was found in the Roppongi Hills apartment used by Oshio (and reportedly others) as a “play spot.” Traces of MDMS were found in her blood though it has been a matter of contention whether she supplied Oshio with the drugs (as he has claimed) or he gave them to her. When she had a bad reaction to the drugs, Oshio called Endo and moved to another apartment, and it was an estimated three hours before anyone called for an ambulance. For now, Oshio has been charged with supplying the drugs to Tanaka, and there may well be further charges such as abandonment of her body. Endo has been charged with disposing of Tanaka’s mobile phone, while Izumida is charged with providing the drugs to Oshio.
Oshio Manabu Gets Suspended Sentence (Nov. 2, 2009)
Oshio Manabu Faces Drug Arrest (Aug. 4, 2009)
• Talento Isono Kiri (45, photo right) chose one of her regular TV slots to announce last night that she had divorced her two-timing husband. She said on the NTV variety show “Gyoretsu No Dekiru Horitsu Shodanjo” that she and Shoji Hiroyuki (38), the son of a comedienne, decided to split after she found out his having an affair. Shoji is Isono’s manager and the two married in 2003 after a 10-year relationship. Isono said she grew suspicious during the summer as Shoji’s golf outings and all-night trips grew more frequent. When she checked his mobile phone she found messages between him and his mistress. When she confronted him, he asked for a divorce. She said after the variety show that she will continue to work with Shoji for the same management agency.
• Happier news for actor Kamikawa Takaya (44), who announced by fax today that he married a former stage actress last Friday. His new bride, who wasn’t named, recently retired due to health problems.
A couple of stories of love found and love lost. Baby-faced actor Enari Kazuki (25, top left) has broken up with his girlfriend of two years. Enari-kun, as he is popularly known, and flute player Yumi (25, top right) were widely thought to be headed for marriage. His management agency refused to comment on reports that the pair’s relationship ended earlier this year, but management for Yumi confirmed that they are true. Sources say their conflicting and busy work schedules made romance impossible and they decided to go their separate ways. Enari has several regular slots hosting TV variety shows as well as many guest appearances and TV drama roles.
Meanwhile, happier news for talento Hara Chiaki (34, bottom left). She confirmed her relationship with a TV producer (36) by email to a live afternoon variety show yesterday. She sent the email to Nakayama Hideyuki, host of the NTV show “Omoikiri Don!” and a “sempai” at her management agency. The gossip papers had described her boyfriend as a “wild” Asano Tadanobu lookalike, but she joked that in fact he looks more like Jam Ojisan (bottom right) from the kids anime “Anpanman.”
Actor Yagira Yuya, who gained worldwide fame at the Cannes Film Festival in 2004, is engaged to marry a Japanese-British model. Yagira (19) found overnight success five years ago when he became the first Japanese, and youngest ever, winner of the Best Actor award at Cannes for his role in the movie “Daremo Shiranai” (Nobody Knows). He has had various movie roles since then but had an off year in 2008, reaching a low point with a suspected drug overdose in September. He has since got his career back on track. Last month he attended a PR event for the movie “Subete wa Umini Naru,” which will be in theaters next January.
His private life is obviously looking up, too. Yesterday it was revealed that he and Toyota Ellie (20), who he has been dating for four years, are engaged and planning to get married early next year. Toyota is reported as not being pregnant and planning to continue her showbiz career after marriage. The couple both attended the same Tokyo high school and belong to the same management agency. Toyota, whose father is British, has appeared in “Erin ga Chosen! Nihongo Dekimasu” on the NHK Education channel as well as in music videos for such major J-pop acts as Mr. Children and Exile.
• Also getting hitched to a popular model is Olympic speed skating gold medalist Shimizu Hiroyasu. It was revealed yesterday that Shimizu (35) and “AneCan” fashion magazine model Takagaki Reiko (30) are planning to tie the knot next spring. At the end of this month, Shimizu will take part in final qualifiers, attempting to make his fifth Olympic appearance in Vancouver in February. He won gold and bronze medals at the Nagano Olympics in 1998, and a silver in Salt Lake City in 2002. In 2006 he finished well out of the medals.
Management for talento Uehara Sakura (32, photo left) announced yesterday that she and her husband of six years have divorced. She and Endo Noriaki (37, photo right), founder and president of the Devilock street fashion brand, were friends for three years before they married in August 2003. Uehara was pregnant at the time but later had a miscarriage and the couple have no children. Endo was arrested earlier this year after he assaulted a paparazzi photographer at the wedding of showbiz friends. As a sign of repentance, Uehara put her own television career on hold for a month. Uehara’s management said yesterday that, despite Endo’s arrest, there was no history of domestic violence and there is no alimony agreement between the two. The couple were already living separately before Endo filed the divorce papers yesterday. In her blog Uehara said, “Rather than carry on as married friends, we’ve decided it would be better to each go our own way and start over.” She said of her ex, “He is a really nice guy, smart, hard-working and very thoughtful towards his family and friends. We may no longer be a couple but I still love and trust him.”
Fashion CEO Arrested in Paparazzi Assault (Apr 6, 2009)
• Actress Esumi Makiko (42) gave birth to her second child in the early hours of Monday morning. Married briefly in 1996 to photographer Kirishima Roland (41), in 2003 Esumi married a Fuji TV producer who worked on her hit comedy drama series “Shomuni.” They had a daughter in 2005.
• Japan’s women won yet again at the Cheerleading World Championships, held in the German city of Bremen. The women have won all five of the bi-annual events. One member of the team was Takayama Iyo (21), daughter of comedian Takayama Tomohiro (41) and a senior at Baika Women’s University in Osaka. Japan also won the gold medal, for the 4th time, in the 16-member mixed group competition.