Uehara Miyu in Apparent Suicide

Uehara Miyu

Tokyo Metropolitan Police are treating as a probable suicide the death of talento Uehara Miyu. She was 24. Her body was found last night hanging by the neck in her apartment in the Meguro district of the capital after an emergency call from a man about 2am. She was rushed to a nearby hospital, where she was confirmed dead.

Real name Uehara Mutsumi, she was born the youngest of 10 siblings raised on the small island of Tanenoshima in the southern prefecture of Kagoshima, known mainly as the site of Japan’s space rocket launches. Born into a poor working class family, she became popular due to a TV boom in two things – large families and celebrities living on or below the breadline. She often related the story of how she was born in the parking lot of a pachinko parlor, where her mother’s waters broke as she hit the jackpot. As a teenager, she moved to live with her sister in Kagoshima City, where she worked to pay her own way through school. After an assault by two boys she was kicked out of school and joined a girl’s gang. She later moved to live with another sister in Tokyo, where she was accepted by a talent agency. After a failed romance, she made a failed attempt to commit suicide with an overdose of sleeping pills.

A few career changes followed before her background became her main selling point and she started to make appearances on the variety show circuit. It was only when she published an autobiography in 2009 that her parents first learned of many of the experiences she had been through. Her mother died of a heart attack in March 2010.