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Ishihara Mariko Tells All on Japanese Entertainment Industry
Tell-all actress blasts Japanese showbiz world
"Bubble era" actress Mariko Ishihara -- currently receiving blanket coverage
from the Japanese language media for her newly released tell-all
autobiography -- slammed the '80s entertainment world Friday during a news
conference at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan in Tokyo.
Ishihara's "Fuzoroi na Himitsu" tells a story of violence, suicide, scandal,
sex and harassment among the glitterati two decades ago, a time she said was
"oppressive" but had given way to a more positive era.
"Japanese society has been changing in a good way. People are more
opinionated. They talk about their opinions and hopes and the things they
want to do. They were not allowed to do that in the '80s. Not because they
were told (that), but there were unwritten rules. I think I was a victim of
that Japanese, or Asian, way of thinking," Ishihara said in English, which
she continued speaking throughout the conference before about 200
representatives of the Japanese language media and a handful of non-Japanese
Ishihara, whose book has also attracted attention for "naming names" in a
country where it is common even for the mainstream media to often refer to
people only by initials, claimed that during her long-term '80s relationship
with singer Koji Tamaki, he frequently beat and kicked her, including one
occasion that left her with a broken pelvis requiring a month of
The book also tells of how she and Tamaki, who was married to another woman
at the time he and Ishihara were cohabiting lovers, had tried to commit
suicide together to escape the pressure of the tabloid media tracking them
"(Suicide) happens a lot among celebrities because of the job. People follow
you everywhere. Especially in the '80s. We had rules. It was almost like a
box we can't get out of. A box Japanese society made," Ishihara said.
Ishihara also said the Japanese media had "misunderstood" her about the 13
stars she names in her book as having dated in the '80s. Ishihara -- who
made a point of not mentioning any names during the media conference --
claimed the men, who included such stars as Sanma Akashiya and Hiromi Go,
helped her get over what had been a "traumatic" relationship with Tamaki.
Ishihara, who left Japan in 1991 while still one of the country's biggest
actresses to "become an ordinary person" in the United States during a
15-year stay there, also lashed out at the bullying that went on in the
Japanese entertainment world, saying that people ganged up on others.
Ishihara also touched on her knowledge of the casting couch.
"When I was shooting a movie, producers or directors would say, not directly
with words, but starting with an agent, or people around you, that you
should sleep with producers or directors to get the job," Ishihara said. "I
didn't do that. I don't know what percentage of actresses did that, but I
often encountered that in the '80s."
But Ishihara said since her return from the United States, she had noticed
positive changes, such as a greater respect for women and creativity among
"I want people who are changing in a good way to not go back to the way that
they were in the '80s. I'm very honored that this country has been changing,
entertainment world-wise. I think the Japanese entertainment world will be
more successful," she said. "As I've seen since I came back from the United
States, people are allowed to talk about any topics you can let out. That
kind of new rule, I'm very proud of. That was what I wanted to say the most
in this book." (By Ryann Connell, Staff Writer)