Daily Archives: August 17, 2011

Korean Stars Turned Away


Two K-pop groups had major immigration hassles on entry to Japan yesterday and one was forced to return to South Korea. The 6-member group Beast arrived at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport around 11am and were scheduled to make a surprise appearance at a preview screening of the movie “Shanghai” in Marunouchi around 6pm. The group were to perform the song “Fiction,” the movie’s theme for its Japan release. Starring John Cusack, Gong Li, Chow Yun-Fat and local big names Watanabe Ken (51) and Kikuchi Rinko (30), the movie opens here on August 20. The movie company was informed around 4:30pm that Beast would be returning home, and as the audience at yesterday’s event knew nothing of their planned appearance, Watanabe and Kikuchi were called upon to extend their on-stage discussion.

Beast first visited Japan in July 2010, performed their first solo concert here last November and have been back several times since, never having any trouble with immigration. They are scheduled to come again this weekend for a stadium concert in Niigata by several K-pop acts, including the hugely popular female groups Shojo Jidai and Kara.

Meanwhile, another K-pop group, the 4-member F. CUZ, were held at Haneda immigration for hours yesterday. The group arrived to promote the release of “Never Let You Go,” their Japan debut single, and were scheduled to attend an event in Tokyo from 2pm. Hundreds of mostly female fans waited several hours for their arrival, but it was after 6:30pm before the group’s paperwork was finally cleared. The event has been rescheduled for this morning.

Leah Strikes Back

Leah Dizon

Good news for fans of one-time talento Leah Dizon (24). It was announced this week that she is making something of a comeback in Japan and is hoping to pursue an acting career. She shot a series of TV commercials for Shonan Cosmetic Surgery Clinic in New York earlier in the summer and they will air in Japan from the end of this month. Now a single mother, Dizon still has the youth and the looks to make it again in Japan (a la Amuro Namie) but it remains to be seen whether her fans are still interested.

The half French-American, half Chinese-Philippina fits very well with the exotic “not quite Japanese” look that has been popular in this country for the last few years. Born in Las Vegas and raised in Los Angeles, she had no real connection with Japan but through clever self-promotion online and plenty of bared flesh she built a fan base here. She became known as the “gravurekai no kurofune” or “Black Ship of the Pin-up World” and she started spending more time in Japoan from 2006. Soon she had best-selling photo books and released several singles and an album. An appearance on NHK’s “Kohaku Uta Gassen” show on New Year’s Eve 2007 confirmed her commercial relevance. But within a year she let her private life derail her meteoric rise, getting married to a Japanese stylist and having a baby in quick-fire succession. It came as little surprise when the marriage ended last year and Dizon left Japan for the U.S. with her 2-year-old daughter in tow.