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The curse of Japan’s Best Mother Awards
Love! Sex! Scandal!
Dear readers, do you like kinky things?
The Japanese certainly do, they even have an entire website devoted to the naughty bits, Tokyo Kinky. I am indebted to these folks because when I covered the sex industry, writing about the Yoshiwara red-light district, hostess clubs, and soaplands, they featured my stories.
Now the time has come to return the favor. Japan is in the midst of a “sex scandal wave,” what with revelations about powerful talent agency Johnny & Associates’ head honcho Johnny Kitagawa (the Japanese Harvey Weinstein) forcing his teenage boy talents to have sex with him, star kabuki actor Ichikawa Ennosuke being accused of sexual abuse and power harassment, and last but not least, popular actress and singer Hirosue Ryoko being caught cheating, again.
I have put together a couple of pieces about Hirosue’s escapades that originally appeared in Tokyo Kinky. Enjoy.
The actress Hirosue Ryoko has been accused of adultery with a famous chef.
In a scoop published by Bunshun this week, photos show the 42-year-old going to a luxury hotel where the 45-year-old chef Toba Shusaku, who runs a restaurant called sio that has a Michelin star, was also staying. The two are already known for being close.
There’s an aphorism, often muttered by jaded guys on bar stools between swigs of beer, that it doesn’t matter what you look like or even about your personality, hot women will inevitably go to bed with you as long as you’re funny, tall, rich, or a successful athlete.
But should a new one - chefs - be added to the list?
It’s not surprising, given Japan’s utter obsession with food.
Gastronomy dominates pop culture and daily conversation. Every TV show seems to morph into a cooking show at some point during the broadcast, with closeups of dishes accompanied by cheesy gasps of wonder by the assembled studio guests.
Considering how Toba looks (let’s be honest, he’s no Watanabe Ken), this scandal might well be cited in future as an example of the rule that good chefs can always seduce ladies ordinarily above their league.
Some might go further and call this a case of beauty and the beast.
Hirosue, who has been married twice and has three children, last year won a “best mother” award given out to celebrity parents. Toba is also married with a child (and is apparently very popular among gay men).
In 2014, there were rumors that Hirosue was cheating on her second husband with the much-younger actor Sato Takeru.
Personally, we have never been a fan of Hirosue, neither really rating her acting abilities nor her looks. Sure, she’s pretty but we have always wondered why she’s so famous and successful as a beauty icon, appearing in magazine cover shoots and advertising campaigns for cosmetics. We see hotter women every day just outside on the streets of Tokyo.
(I couldn’t agree more on this. She even starred in Departures, the 2008 film by Takita Yojiro that won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, and is the only sour note in an otherwise wonderful movie - Gianni)
But more about the “best mother” award…
The annual awards are given to female celebrities to celebrate them as a maternal role model.
The awards are announced each May near Mother’s Day, awarded to several celebrities in categories such as acting, business, singing, and sports. The winners are chosen by votes from the general public collected via surveys and events.
However, in the wake of the Hirosue scandal, people started scrolling down the list of past winners and it quickly became apparent that the awards might be cursed!
The list includes numerous “best mothers” who subsequently had scandals involving an alleged affair and/or then divorce.
Besides the recent Hirosue scandal, the 2021 winner was Shimoda Mariko, who was then accused of adultery, allegedly attempted suicide, and eventually got divorced earlier this year.
Kichise Mikiko (2019’s best mother) divorced her husband, apparently because of his snoring. (Not bad! - Gianni)
The 2017 winner was Goto Maki, who was also admitted to adultery.
Divorce hit the marriages of other winners: Tsuchiya Anna (2012), Kyoko Hasegawa (2013), Ogura Yuko (2014).
Going back a bit further, former Speed singer Imai Eriko (2009) actually became a mother and wife through a shotgun wedding and her marriage lasted only a couple of years. She is these days a politician, but her career hit a bump five years ago when a tabloid broke the scoop that she was in a relationship with another politician who was technically married (though separated from his wife).
They were found out when photos were taken of them together on a Shinkansen train. He subsequently resigned after he was found to have falsified expenses.
Adultery allegations about actress Esumi Makiko (2010) led to her retirement from showbiz in 2017.
Of course, we might well challenge the correlation between being a good mother (or even the best) and having an affair or getting divorced.
Separating from your husband does not make you a bad mother to your children. It hopefully makes you happier which quite possibly improves your family life.
But rightly or wrongly, adultery has an image (especially for women) of choosing personal pleasure over a stable domestic life, and so endangering your children’s upbringing. Alas, society was built by hypocrites.
On the other hand, the chair of the organization that decides the Best Mother Awards was arrested for physically assaulting his wife, so the scandals cut both ways.
We wonder who will be pleased to receive a Best Mother Award next year? And if it will make their husband nervous or not!
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