Oct 20 2015

Japanese Idol Dating Policy

Category: J-pop,Japan EntertainmentIchiban @ 11:45 pm


It’s widely known in Japan that idol singers are often contractually prohibited from engaging in romantic relationships. The reasoning goes that if word gets out that an idol singer has a boyfriend, her fans will feel betrayed that she isn’t solely devoted to her role as a musician and entertainer, and thus stop buying her CDs (there’s also the unspoken implication that openly dating someone will destroy the fantasies of individual fans that would like to date the singer themselves).




A signed contract isn’t always enough to keep young love and hormones in check, though. And when you consider that idols are almost always attractive, outgoing young women, it seems like it should be only a matter of time until they find a guy they fancy out of their swarms of would-be suitors. That’s why in addition to legal pledges not to date, the Japanese entertainment industry has a number of sneaky tactics up its sleeve to prevent its idols from falling in love or going on a single date.

A handful of entertainment industry executives, under the condition of anonymity, recently shared some of their methods, which involve psychological and time-management tricks as complicated as some idols’ stage routines.

One common practice is to keep the idols themselves in the dark about their own work schedules, sometime waiting until the end of the day to announce tomorrow’s timetable. Being an idol isn’t like working a nine-to-five shift at the office. On any given day, you could be recording songs, practicing choreography, appearing on TV variety programs, or meeting fans face-to-face at handshake events and other local promotions. All of those involve varying amounts of time and being in different locations, and it’s incredibly difficult to plan a romantic rendezvous if you don’t know when you’ll finish work or even where you’ll be when you do.

This method is so effective that one talent manager says he can tell when an idol has secretly found a boyfriend, because she’ll suddenly start wanting to know the details of her work schedule farther in advance. But in many cases, it’s not like that would make much of a difference, because another method to keep idols from dating is to pack their schedule so tight that they don’t have any unsupervised free time. As mentioned above, idols have a huge variety of responsibilities, and talent managers ideally want them to be so busy with those that when their workday is done, the singers are too worn out to do anything other than head straight home and go right to sleep (alone, naturally).

However, there’s a complication that managers have to bear in mind regarding this practice. Idols’ owe their success as much to their looks as their voices, and by running their performers ragged, they also run the risk of ending up with a group of haggard-looking, exhausted vocalists. But since the talent agencies want to minimize the idols’ private time, managers will add on-site breaks and rest periods in the middle of the work schedule. This is also why some idol appearance agreements include riders about keeping the break room stocked with specific snacks or other items the idols are fond of. The conditions are often demanded by the talent agencies in order to keep the idols from wanting to venture off-site on their own to pick up their favorite brand of tea or candy.

Finally, while producers don’t want their idols to actually be in a romantic relationship, some worry that they’ll lose a certain special radiance if they never have any contact with attractive guys. So when hiring hairstylists and makeup artists, certain talent agencies choose handsome young men for the job, which they feel gets their idols’ hearts ever so slightly aflutter before they go on stage. But wait, isn’t there a chance that the hairstylists will fall in love with the idols? Not if the men are gay, which is another characteristic some agencies look for when choosing who to handle their idols’ appearance.

Whether a little eye candy in the makeup mirror makes up for the lack of personal freedom, though, is something each idol has to answer for herself.

Source: Joshi Spa

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Mar 12 2014

Hikaru Utada to marry Italian

Category: J-pop,Japan Entertainment,Japan NewsIchiban @ 10:35 am

I will be getting married soon.

There has been much talk of Italy, and Apulia especially, in the Japanese press lately. Utada Hikaru, one of Japan’s most famous and beloved pop stars is getting married to an Italian bartender, Francesco Calliano, a native of Fasano, a small town near Brindisi. The two have met in London at the hotel where Calliano works. They will get married in Polignano a Mare, hometown of singer Domenico Modugno (of the famous Volare song), on May 23. “It’s sudden and it makes me chuckle – I’m getting married –
I was thinking of announcing this quietly after the wedding ceremony, but it seems that there are already some rumors circulating so I thought of announcing it now.

I even find it funny how unexpected this is of me, but my partner is Italian. He’s a “regular person”, and I would like to sincerely ask everyone to please refrain from reporting his real name in order to protect his and his family’s safety and his rights to his privacy.

Thank you all for your warm support. And I would like to apologize for making everyone worry so much. He is an honest and sincere man who is loved by many friends. He comes from a large and happy family that seems like it jumped straight out of a manga. I myself am not getting any younger, so I would greatly appreciate it if you could silently look after us.

Hikaru Utada


And… Since I’m still in mourning, I was thinking if I should postpone my marriage. But when I last talked to my mother, I remember her sounding really happy which made me think, “Wow, how many years has it been since I heard my mother sound this happy”. I believe that my mother also gives her support to this marriage, which will make us proceed with the plans according to schedule.


Source: http://www.utadahikaru.jp/from-hikki/both/

31-year-old singer-songwriter Hikaru Utada announced on Monday that she will “very soon” marry an Italian man. She acknowledged that even she laughed a little in surprise over this.

In her blog entry to both fans and the mass media, Utada said that her husband-to-be is a “fine young man sincerely loved by many friends.” He has a “large, cheerful, and bustling family, like one straight out of a manga.” Since her fiancé is not in the entertainment industry, she asked her fans and the media to view her personal life from a respectful distance for privacy’s sake.

Since Utada is still in a mourning period for her late mother Keiko Fuji, she said that she was uncertain whether to delay the upcoming marriage. However, she recalled that when she talked about her fiancé in her last conversation with her mother, her mother’s voice sounded happier than she can remember in years. With that in mind, she believes that she has her mother’s support and decided to go ahead with her marriage as scheduled.

Utada was previously married to Kazuaki Kiriya from 2002 to 2007. Kiriya directed several of her early music videos, as well as the live-action Casshern film which used a track by Utada as its theme song.

Utada is an internationally known, bestselling pop artist born in New York City and raised in Japan and the United States. Her debut album, 1999’s First Love, is still Japan’s bestselling album ever with about 8 million copies sold. Bandai Visual used Utada’s “Kiss & Cry” and “This is Love” songs for the Freedom anime project. Besides the theme song for the live-action Casshern movie remake, Utada also contributed to the live-action Hana Yori Dango 2 television adaptation.

More recently, she provided a 2007 remix of her 2000 cover of Frank Sinatra’s “Fly Me to the Moon (In Other Words)” for the trailer to Evangelion: 1.0 You Are [Not] Alone (Evangelion Shin Gekijōban: Jo), as well as her “Beautiful World” song for the anime film itself. She also contributed the “Beautiful World -PLANiTb Acoustica Mix-” for the second film, Evangelion: 2.0 You Can [Not] Advance (Evangelion Shin Gekijōban: Ha). In addition to her singing career, she played the heroine Pinoko in the 2001-2002 Black Jack net anime series. She toured the United States and the United Kingdom in 2009.

Utada had been on hiatus from the entertainment business since the beginning of 2011, although she returned to host a monthly radio program called Kuma Power Hour with Utada Hikaru on the InterFM station last April. (She did not host last month’s program on January 21 due to health reasons.) She did contribute the song “Sakura Nagashi” as the ending theme for 2012’s Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo (Evangelion Shin Gekijō-ban: Q), but her management emphasized that the song did not represent a full-fledged return from her hiatus.

Singer-songwriter Hikaru Utada, 31, revealed on her blog Monday that she plans to marry her 23-year-old Italian fiance on May 23.

In a message to her fans and the media, Utada, whose 1999 multi-million-selling debut record, “First Love,” is one of Japan’s biggest-ever hits, said they are planning to have their wedding ceremony in a church by the sea near Fasano in south Italy.

She said: “I’m getting married soon… This is unexpected even for me and makes me chuckle a bit but my partner is an Italian man. My partner is a sincere, nice man loved by many friends.”

Sports Nippon reported that Utada’s fiance is a bartender working in a hotel in London and the two got to know each other when Utada was staying there. Last summer, he introduced her to his family who live in Fasano.

A local magazine in Fasano, reporting the news, said it was like a fairytale that a Japanese superstar and a normal boy will marry, and predicted that the town will become internationally famous, according to Sports Nippon.

Utada said she decided to go ahead with the wedding despite her mother Keiko Fuji’s death last year in a fall from her 13th-floor Tokyo apartment.

“When I talked about my fiance in my last conversation with my mother, she was so glad, that I thought ‘I’ve not seen my mother this cheerful in many years,’” Utada said.

It will be Utada’s second marriage. She was previously married to photographer Kazuaki Kiriya, 45, in 2002. They divorced in 2007, with the couple citing differences in future vision and communication problems.

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Dec 31 2013

AKB48 Yuko Oshima announces retirement.

Category: J-pop,Japan EntertainmentIchiban @ 2:51 pm


“The 64th Red and White Singing Contest” (December 31st, Tokyo · NHK Hall)
Oshima Yuko (25) of popular idol group · AKB48 has announced her graduation (retirement) to singing before the stage of red and white, roar arose from the hall. She will now most likely pursue her acting career.

Will the band fall apart now with virtually no strong leaders to fill her shoes?

AKB48 Oshima

Yuko Oshima retires














From Wiki:

Yuko Oshima (大島 優子 Ōshima Yūko?, born October 17, 1988 in Tochigi Prefecture) is a member of Japanese idol girl group AKB48, of which she is the captain of Team K.[1] She is also a member of the AKB48 subunit Not Yet. Outside of singles that involved rock-paper-scissors tournaments, she has sung on the title tracks for all of AKB48’s singles since “Aitakatta” in October 2006. She has placed among the top two for the annual AKB48 general elections from 2009-2013. She announced her graduation on December 31st, 2013, during Kōhaku Uta Gassen.




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Dec 20 2013

Miss International Ikumi Yoshimatsu Rocking the boat!

Category: J-pop,Japan EntertainmentIchiban @ 8:15 am

A JAPANESE beauty queen says a talent manager threatened her life after she refused to sign with a major agency.















Celebrity stands up to talent agency ‘stalker’

 Originally published in the The Daily Beast and also the Japan Times
Permission to re-post here given by Jake Adelstein

In Japan’s often-shady entertainment world, speaking out against bullying, harassment and stalking of women by talent agency management and producers has long been taboo.

Any woman who stands her ground and goes public risks being shunned from the industry.

But one woman has decided not to back down.

The current Miss International, Ikumi Yoshimatsu, filed criminal and civil charges Wednesday against one of Japan’s most powerful talent agencies’ executives for stalking her and attempting to ruin her career. The harassment began shortly after Yoshimatsu became the first Japanese to win the title in the pageant’s 52-year history and then refused to sign up with a problematic talent agency.

“Today I filed criminal charges against Genichi Taniguchi, a Japanese talent agency executive, who in December of last year grabbed me, forced his way into my dressing room and tried to abduct me,” Yoshimatsu said.

“Since then, he has intimidated my family, sent private detectives to my home, tried to extort money from me and my company, slandered me in the press and has made threatening calls to my family, sponsors and business associates.”

Taniguchi is president of Pearl Dash and an executive at K-Dash, the talent agency that handles such luminaries as Ken Watanabe, who co-starred in the blockbusters “The Last Samurai” and “Batman Begins.”

Yoshimatsu has attached to the criminal complaint tape recordings, videos and photographs detailing the stalking. She has been documenting the attacks toward her on the advice of her lawyer and others.

According to the criminal complaint and other sources, the trouble started last December, when Yoshimatsu amicably decided to leave her agency at the time and establish her own company. In the middle of that month, at what was supposed to be a meeting with her management at the time, former K-1 fight promoter Kazuyoshi Ishii, who has been convicted of tax evasion and destruction of evidence, abruptly entered the room and made his own proposal.

He had several times suggested in the past that she work with Taniguchi, who is a close personal friend of Ikuo Suo, chairman of Burning Productions, Japan’s most powerful talent agency.

At that meeting, Ishii allegedly urged Yoshimatsu to sign with an entertainment agency affiliated with Burning Productions. She adamantly refused, noting the Burning group was long rumored to be affiliated with the yakuza. Indeed, police files that were leaked on the Internet in 2007 list the firm as a client of the Yamaguchi-gumi.

She left the meeting and founded her own company, IY Global. She chose Matt Taylor as her international agent to secure overseas work.

On Dec. 30, after filming finished on NTV’s yearend special “Bankisha!” she was shocked to find that Taniguchi, whom she had never met, had entered the set using a pass for a different show. He immediately began shouting accusations and creating a scene. He claimed that Taylor did not represent Yoshimatsu and that the two owed him money. At one point, he allegedly grabbed Yoshimatsu’s arm and forcibly tried to pull her out of the studio. A tape recording and pictures of the incident corroborate her account.

The staff rushed Yoshimatsu into a waiting room, but Taniguchi reportedly kept chasing her. In the months that followed, Taniguchi warned her family and friends that he might bring a locksmith and break into her house to take possession of money that he insisted Taylor owed him. He also allegedly hired private detectives to watch her house.

Taylor has acknowledged that he has had problems with Taniguchi but points out, “Do his issues with me justify him attacking my client and harassing her? Is that acceptable in Japan to victimize a woman out of a personal grudge? He has also demanded I turn over her contract to him. It’s bizarre.”

Taniguchi repeatedly called sponsors of the Miss International Contest and alleged that he would release materials shaming Yoshimatsu and the contest. The International Culture Association, which operates the Miss International competition in Japan, allegedly responded by telling Yoshimatsu last month that they wanted her to keep a low profile, feign illness and not attend the succession ceremony where she was supposed to turn over her crown. The executive briefing her reportedly told her they were afraid of Taniguchi and wanted to avoid scandal. While acknowledging that Yoshimatsu was a victim of a harassment campaign, he reportedly made it clear they would prefer she did not stand up on her own behalf.

After deciding she could keep silent no longer, Yoshimatsu consulted a lawyer and filed for charges of criminal obstruction of business with the police and a claim for damages in civil court.

“I filed charges not just for my personal benefit, but to voice my concern and outrage on behalf of all the women who could not call for help, out of fear of retaliation and being ignored in a society where a ‘culture of silence’ toward crimes against women has been the standard for centuries,” Yoshimatsu said.

“Stalking is a serious issue in Japan and several women have been killed by stalkers even after consulting with the police.”

Japan’s largest weekly magazine, the Shukan Bunshun, is set to publish a four-page article Thursday on the lawsuit documenting the details of how Yoshimatsu was harassed by Taniguchi. It is questionable if the mainstream media will follow up on the story due to the tremendous power of the talent agencies.

Most Japanese publications and media avoid offending the agencies for fear of losing access to “tarento” and other celebrities.

Calls made to K-Dash and Pearl Dash were not returned. In the Shukan Bunshun article, Taniguchi admits to entering the “Bankisha!” set but denies any other wrongdoing.

Tape recordings of various incidents and of phone calls he made to people associated with Yoshimatsu contradict his account substantially.

Taniguchi told The Japan Times: “Yes, I just happened to be visiting the set of ‘Bankisha!’ but I did not harass Ms. Yoshimatsu. I’m no stalker. I called her father at least twice to try and reach her manager to solve my financial dispute with him. I have no grudge against her and Bunshun’s article is very wrong.”



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Aug 23 2013

Hikaru Utada Mother Suicide

Category: J-pop,Japan Entertainment,Japan News,UncategorizedIchiban @ 12:00 am

Ex-singer Keiko Fuji takes fatal leap


Former singer Keiko Fuji, the mother of singer Hikaru Utada, on Thursday plunged from a Tokyo condominium building to her death in an apparent suicide, police said. She was 62.

Fuji was found lying on a street bleeding in front of the building in the Shinjuku district at around 7 a.m.

She was taken to a hospital in a state of cardiac arrest and was pronounced dead soon afterward.

Fuji is believed to have jumped from the 13th-floor balcony of the residence of a male acquaintance in his 30s. The man told police that he did not know Fuji had fallen from the building because he was sleeping, sources said.

The building, about 1 km northwest of JR Shinjuku Station, is in an area hosting a number of office buildings, high-rise condominium complexes and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government office.

Fuji made her debut as a singer in 1969 and retired in 1979, moving to the United States. Since then, she has been little seen in public.

She married music producer Teruzane Utada in 1982 and gave birth to her daughter, Hikaru, in 1983.

Keiko Fuji, a former enka legend and the mother of J-pop superstar Utada Hikaru, died yesterday after falling from the 13th-floor balcony of her Tokyo apartment. She was 62. Police are treating the case as an apparent suicide, though no note was found at the scene.

Fuji was the daughter of musicians and led a nomadic lifestyle as a child. She became a breakthrough star following her 1969 debut in the world of enka ballads. Her first single “Shinjuku no Onna” was typical of her dark and melancholy songs about women of the night, and her debut album of the same name spent 20 weeks at the top of the charts. The immediate follow up, “Onna no Blues” was also a huge hit, topping the charts for 17 weeks. No one has since broken that record of 37 consecutive weeks atop the chart.

Fuji married enka singer Maekawa Kiyoshi in 1971 but they were divorced the following year. Fuji’s musical decline began after she underwent surgery for a throat polyp in 1974. She went through a series of comebacks but never reclaimed her former glory. She announced her retirement in 1979 and moved to the US until making a comeback in 1981. She married producer Utada Teruzane (65) in 1982 and their daughter Hikaru was born the next year. The family formed a self-managed trio under the name U3 in 1995 and released a single on their own label.

Hikaru of course went on to become a huge star in her own right, but the family continued to be plagued by misfortune. Fuji and Utada divorced in 2007, a year after Fuji was held at JFK airport after more than $400,000 of cash were found in her luggage (the money wasn’t returned to her until 2009).

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Jun 30 2013

Mari Yaguchi

Category: J-pop,Japan EntertainmentIchiban @ 12:36 pm

First it was Ai Kago and now another scandal from the ex- Morning Musume old girl’s club.

Divorced and back to work again, Mari Yaguchi.


.In the following days there were more press reports about multiple instances of alleged infidelity by Yaguchi. On May 30, 2013, the public relations firm for Yaguchi and Nakamura announced that the couple had submitted their divorce papers.  Neither Yaguchi nor Nakamura, nor their respective agencies have denied the reports about Yaguchi’s behavior as would be expected if the stories were false.

Earlier reports:

It seems like the recent happy marriage of former Morning Musume member Mari Yaguchi and stage actor Masaya Nakamura has already been stained after Yaguchi’s illicit affair was revealed to the public in Josei Seven on May 21.

According to the magazine, the couple has been living away from each other for almost three months now after Nakamura found Yaguchi in bed with 25-year-old model Kenzo Umeda in February. The cheating incident has lead the marriage to be on the rocks and there are no new reports regarding any reconciliation between the two.

As of now, the 30-year-old idol has admitted her scandalous mistake and stated her apology during her variety show, for having such an affair.

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Sep 23 2011

AK98 Chinese Version of AKB48

Category: Chinese Pops,J-popIchiban @ 11:21 pm

China has copied the AKB48 theme with a new group AK98. The manager of the group saying he has never heard of AKB48 and that they are an original group. The AK standing for Angel Kiss.

An original group that used AKB48s song for its auditions. (as shown in the youtube clip again).

Japan used to be good at copying and improving. China seems to be just good at copying.

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Sep 12 2011

Kago Ai Suicide Attempt

Category: A + Japanese Dating,J-pop,Japan News,Japan RelatedIchiban @ 2:53 am

On September 11th, former Morning Musume member Kago Ai (23) was found on the floor in her apartment by her agency officials.

According to the Azabu Police, Kago had slit her wrist and was quickly transported to a hospital. Her life is not in danger.

Kago’s agency officials immediately rushed over to her apartment when she hinted suicide during a phone call. When they got there, they found her on the ground in a haze, and reported the incident to the police. She’s suspected of consuming large amounts of medication, and the police are investigating this as a planned suicide.

On September 6th, Kago’s boyfriend Ando Haruhiko (44) was arrested due to mafia affiliations. Kago Ai herself was taken in for questioning.

Kago’s actions were no doubt triggered by last Tuesday’s arrest of her 44-year-old boyfriend Ando Haruhiko on charges of attempted extortion. Kago was present at the time and also subjected to police questioning. Ando describes himself as the director of a restaurant business but is allegedly running something closer to a prostitution ring for elite Tokyo businessmen and celebrities. He has been charged with using his connections with the Yamaguchigumi, Japan’s most notorious yakuza organization, to get out of debts totaling some ¥20 million. Police are in the middle of a coordinated campaign to sever ties between organized crime and showbiz. Exposed relations with the Yamaguchigumi is what recently forced top star Shimada Shinsuke (55) to retire.

Police officials state she had slit her wrists and taken a lot of medication but that her life is not in danger and she’s expected to make a full physical recovery.

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Jan 15 2011

Kat McDowell

Category: J-popIchiban @ 3:02 am

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Jan 01 2011

Ayumi Hamasaki to Marry Austrian Actor Manuel Schwarz

Category: A + Japanese Dating,J-pop,Japan EntertainmentIchiban @ 7:13 am

Manuel’s Twitter this morning:

Manuel Schwarz
Things are gonna change in 2011 I’m gonna have a beautiful wife 🙂

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