Daily Archives: January 31, 2012

Ishii Two Times Lucky

Lasar Ishii

Happy news for comedy talento Lasar Ishii (56) who is getting married not once but twice this year. And not only that but in both cases it’s to a woman younger than his own daughters! Ishii is currently appearing in the NHK drama series “Carnation” in which his character just last week married a much younger woman, played by “Kill Bill” star Kuriyama Chiaki (27).

And on last night’s edition of the “Odoru! Sanma Goten!!”, hosted by comedian Akashiya Sanma (56), he revealed that he and his 24-year-old ippanjin girlfriend plan to tie the knot soon. It’s been a year since Ishii divorced his wife of 32 years after a 15-year separation. As we reported at the time, it was reported that he had been spotted on a Christmas Eve date with a woman in her 20s and also that she had dumped him soon after he resented her with a ring. But it is believed that his fiancee is the same woman, who is 32 years younger than the star and younger than both of his daughters.

UPDATE: It turns out that Ishii and the young lady in question are already married, having tied the knot on January 11. And she is not the same person he broke up with around the time of his divorce. He and his new bride met in September and Ishii proposed just a month later. She is currently a university student.

An AKB48 Scandal

Hirajima Natsumi, Yonezawa Rumi

It had to happen. With its dozens of teen and young adult members, it was only a matter of time before someone in AKB48 got themselves in trouble. It was announced on the group’s official blog at the end of last week that Hirajima Natsumi (19, photo left) and Yonezawa Rumi (20, photo right) are to be kicked out. The reason? Being photographed semi-naked? No, that was approved. Singing rubbish songs badly? No, that was the whole point of the group. Photos circulating on the web of members hanging out with boys? Yer outta here!

AKB48 Scandal
The photos, posted to Twitter, were not exactly hardcore. The one above – Yonezawa is far left, Hirajima far right -showed the two stars having a typical night out with friends some of whom were male. But it is standard practice in the world of disposable Japanese pop aidorus – where devoted adoration by legions of male fans is the key to commercial success – to be prohibited from having boyfriends, even if they have come of age. And truth be told, neither Hirajima not Yonezawa were among the more popular members of the huge AKB48 troupe. Hirajima performed on only 3 of the group’s A-side singles, the last in February 2008, while Yonezawa never even got one call up.

Group leader, or captain, Takahashi Minami (20) posted a comment on the incident on her blog yesterday. “It may be just a regular thing for regular girls, but we are AKB48, aren’t we? We can’t change the reality of the situation.” She wished her two friends well in their new journey through life. Like Takahashi, Hirajima has been one of the group’s original members since 2005, while Yonezawa joined in the third round of auditions in 2006. Their final appearance as AKB48 members will be a fan meet-and-greet on February 5.

Money Problems No Laughing Matter

Othello, Nakajima Tomoko

Comedienne Nakajima Tomoko (40, photo left), currently on an extended break due to health problems, is having serious financial problems as well, according to today’s issue of weekly magazine “Flash.” She is said to owe some ¥6.6 million in back rent on her luxury Tokyo apartment and her nearby management office in a posh area of Tokyo’s Shibuya district. A curious angle on the story is that her landlord is none other than popular actor Motoki Masahiro (46) and his wife, actress Uchida Yayako (35). Legal proceedings have already started to recoup the six months rent owed on the ¥450,000-a-month office. Rent on the ¥650,000 apartment is outstanding for the same period. One source says that Nakajima is currently sharing the apartment with a fortune teller who guides her every decision. Her family is said to be so worried about her that they consulted with Tokyo police last autumn.

Nakajima is still formally one half of the duo Othello, so named because she was permanently tanned while partner Matsushima Nahomi (40, photo center) was very pale. The pair have been regulars on the variety show circuit from the mid-1990s. Nakajima is a former college beauty queen and her dramatic weight gain in the last couple of years has been the subject of much media speculation. She had four weekly TV slots until poor health forced her to take time off last April. Officially she still has those slots, though others have been filling in for her for almost a year so she is not currently receiving any salary. Meanwhile, Matsushima has maintained a strong solo career and became a mother in December.