Sunday, May 13, 2007

Sayonara, Ai-chan

Ijima Ai (飯島愛) is a remarkable person. After starting her career as an AV (adult video) star, she became a hostess on the late-night Tokyo Television show Gilgamesh Night (ギルガメッシュ ナイト). The show was a thinly disguised celebration of the Japanese AV industry, and featured the starlets of the moment doing many silly things so they could show off their unclothed figures. However, it was a pleasantly mindless way to pass the time in 1990s Japan, and I confess to having watched it more than a few times myself.

Iijima herself, however, managed to parlay her hostess role on Gilgamesh Night into regular roles on more mainstrweam shows and eventuallyt became an accepted part of Japanese television. She released her autobiography in 2000, and watched it become a best-seller, while continuing to perform on Japanese television, and simultaneously running her own talent agency.

However, according to the Shukan Post (週間ポスト) and via the Daily Mainichi (毎日新聞) Wai-Wai online pages, Ms. Iijima is retiring from show business at the tender age of 34. She is citing a pelvic illness and also her parents' infirmities, but Wai-Wai reported that she also was embezzeled to the tune of over a million yen from her talent agency.

I thoroughly enjoyed watching Ms. Iijima perform through the years in her various incarnations, and would like to wish her the best in whatever field she turns her talents to. I trust that she willk repair her health and prevail in her embezzlement case. Good luck and thanks for the show. Sayonara.

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