Monthly Archives: July 2014

Akina’s Back, Again

Nakamori Akina

Veteran J-pop idol Nakamori Akina (49) is making another comeback, four years since her last attempt ended in hospitalization. In and out of hospital since 2010, reportedly for stress and other unspecified problems, Akina still commands legions of fanatical fans who have remained loyal to her since her heyday in the 1980s and early 1990s. Enough so to justify the release of not one but two box sets of DVDs featuring old TV appearances.

TV Asahi reported that she will release “Sweet Rain,” an original medium-tempo number that was recorded in Tokyo at the end of last month, on August 6. The song will undoubtedly be a tie up with a TV drama or some such. The single will be followed by an album that includes a cover version of the Showa era song “Koi-no-dorei,” (Slave to Love). Never one to miss an opportunity to cash in, Universal Music will issue two versions of the album, a “Best Version” and a “Cover Version.”

And for the benefit of any doubters, an unnamed music industry pundit raved, “Akina’s voice has not changed, and it’s 100% amazing. The songstress is back.”

Related story: Nakamori Akina Beset by Health Problem (October 28, 2010)

Japan’s Latest Internet Sensation

Nonomura Ryutaro crying

The latest Japanese web sensation isn’t a J-pop group but a politician caught with his hand in the public cookie jar. Nonomura Ryutaro, a member of the Hyogo Prefectural government, gave a press conference this week to apologize for his embezzlement of some ¥3 million (about $30,000) for almost 200 “business trips” to several hot spring resorts. Nothing unusual or sensational there, you might think. But this was more like watching a 3-year-old hysterical temper tantrum than the usual display of remorse.

The tears and screams were accompanied by random, seemingly unrelated comments that sounded like excerpts from a stump speech – Nonomura ranting about wanting to change the world, or Japan’s aging society. All very bizarre. The predominant debate is over whether this is genuine remorse and anguish or an attempt to fake it in the hope of winning over public sympathy. Either way, we can only suggest that the guy get psychological help and should soon be leaving the world of politics. For a career in TV soaps, perhaps.

Below is a news report with excerpts from the press conference.