Ai Kago

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Ai Kago
加護 亜依
Ai Kago, KDDI 2009 06.jpg
Ai Kago, November 2009
Background information
Also known as Aibon, Kago-chan
Born (1988-02-07) February 7, 1988 (age 26)
Origin Yamatotokada, Nara, Japan
Genres J-pop, jazz
Occupations Singer, actress, author
Years active 2000–2007, 2008–present
Labels Zetima (2000–2007)
in da groove/Columbia Japan (2008–2010)
P-Vine Records (2010–present)
Associated acts W, Morning Musume, Tanpopo, Minimoni, Sakuragumi, 3-nin Matsuri, Happy 7, Salt5, H.P. All Stars
Website Love basket

Ai Kago (加護 亜依 Kago Ai?) (born February 7, 1988 in Yamatotokada, Nara, Japan) is a Japanese singer, actress, author and former Guinness World Record holder.

At age 12, Kago won the 4th National Audition of Morning Musume held by the Up-Front Works Agency in 2000, which led to her admission into the extremely popular idol group as a 4th generation member. In the same year, she became a founding member of Minimoni. In 2004, she graduated from both the aforementioned groups and formed W with Nozomi Tsuji.

In 2006, photos of the under-age Kago smoking were leaked by the media. As a result, she was immediately suspended for one year by Up-Front Agency. In 2007, toward the end of her suspension, she was caught once again smoking. This resulted in her contract being terminated permanently.

Biography[edit]

Hello! Project[edit]

On April 16, 2000, Kago, along with Rika Ishikawa, Hitomi Yoshizawa, and Nozomi Tsuji, were inducted into the idol group Morning Musume as its fourth generation. Their recording debut was in the group's ninth single "Happy Summer Wedding".

Kago and Tsuji's addition to the group received positive critical response. With an increasing fan base, they, along with fellow Morning Musume member Mari Yaguchi and Coconuts Musume member Mika Todd, formed a new subgroup named Minimoni. In addition to this, Kago was also admitted into established subgroup Tanpopo as a second generation member.

From 2001 to 2004 Kago participated in the annual Hello! Project shuffle units, being part of the smallest units the first three times (3-nin Matsuri in 2001, Happy 7 in 2002, and Salt5 in 2003) and joining the 46-member H.P. All Stars in 2004.

In August 2004, Kago and Tsuji graduated from Morning Musume together after Minimoni began their indefinite hiatus. Under the arrangement of the Up-Front Works Agency, Kago and Tsuji formed a new pop duo, W, releasing two albums and six singles together.

Guinness World Records: hula hoop performer[edit]

Kago and Tsuji shared the world record for the largest hula hoop spun at 4.08 m (13 ft 5 in) in diameter. They set their record on January 1, 2004, during a live New Year's Day television special at Nippon Television Network, Tokyo, Japan. The record appeared in the 2005 and 2006 editions of the Guinness Book of World Records and was the second time that Tsuji held the record, having previously held the record between January 2003 and June 2003. The record was eventually broken by Ashrita Furman (USA) in September 2005.

Post-Hello! Project life[edit]

On May 5, 2007, the Tokyo Broadcasting System's newscast reported that Kago's mother was trying to sign her to a new talent agency in her hometown of Nara.[1]

On August 25, 2007, an interview with Kago's mother in the magazine Josei Seven revealed that after parting company with Hello! Project, Ai Kago left Japan and started residing in New York City.[2][3]

On April 6, 2008, it was reported by Yahoo! News that Kago was returning to the entertainment industry.[4] Also, in an interview by OhmyNews, Kago admitted that she had begun smoking to feel more like an adult without realizing the impact it would have on her peers and young fans. She stated that she had actually not gone to New York, but rather to Los Angeles for three months in 2007 with her boyfriend. She said she took the trip because she felt like a criminal in Japan. While in LA she met many new people who encouraged her (including Winona Ryder)[5] and was able to reflect on her situation and begin her new life. She also admitted to having considered suicide and having inflicted self-injury upon herself by cutting her wrists. At the end of the interview, Kago states that even though she is now 20 years old and can legally smoke cigarettes, she no longer does or has any desire to do so.[5][6]

On April 24, 2008, Ai Kago announced on her personal blog website, "Biscuit Club",[7] that she will be appearing in Hong Kong movie Kung Fu Chef with Sammo Hung.[8]

On July 4, 2008, in an interview with Akashiya Sanma, she stated that she had been in Kyoto filming for a movie about Princess Sen, followed by a joint Singapore/Hong Kong project.

On June 24, 2009, she released her first solo single "No HesitAtIon" [sic] on independent record label In Da Groove.[9] On February 16, 2010, she held her first jazz concert at bar JZ Brat in Tokyo, where she expressed her desire to become a singer of this music genre.[10] Kago's first jazz album, Ai Kago meets Jazz: The First Door, was released on March 31, 2010 through P-Vine Records and Avex Marketing.[11] In August 2010 she was invited to perform at music festival Summer Sonic.[12]

In June 2011, Kago announced on her blog that she left R&A Promotions Co.,Ltd in November 2010 due to being unhappy with the direction of her work.[13]

As an author[edit]

On August 25, 2008, Kago released a book entitled Kago Ai Live—Miseinen Hakusho (LIVE—未成年白書?). On a July 13, 2008 post to her personal blog website, "Biscuit Club",[7] Kago described the book as "a book where I talk to young teens about their various troubles and dreams. Idols-in-waiting, exchange students, high school girls, and otaku. The teenage years can be tough, and I had a lot of troubles in those days. But it's important to break through those troubles."[14]

Marriage and Pregnancy[edit]

On December 20, 2011, Kago announced on her blog that she registered her marriage earlier in the month and was pregnant.[15] On one of her blog posts, she announced that she had given birth to her first child, a girl Minami, on June 22, 2012.[16]

Scandals[edit]

Smoking[edit]

On February 9, 2006 it was confirmed that the magazine Friday (フライデー?) (the same one that provoked Mari Yaguchi's sudden departure from Morning Musume) would publish photos showing Kago smoking. The legal age for smoking in Japan is 20, and Kago had just turned 18 two days prior to the incident. On February 10, Hello! Project issued a press statement saying that the singer had been suspended "indefinitely."[17]

According to an interview in the March 9, 2007 issue of Friday–the very same magazine responsible for her suspension–Kago revealed she had been serving tea, answering phones and doing assorted secretarial work at the Up-Front Works agency since January 23, 2007, when her employers found it fit for her to return to Tokyo, after she spent most of 2006 under house arrest at her family's residence in Nara.

In the same interview the young idol claimed to have had undergone several changes in regard to her outlook on life, to have become more responsible. Additionally she met up with the other members for the first time at Yokohama Arena, after a lengthy period of time, though the group couldn't quite recognize her at first, given the fact she had lost some weight.

The agency said that they were working on her comeback, though the details were not clear.[18][19][20]

Smoking (2nd)[edit]

On March 26, 2007, following a newly publicized scandal that involved Kago dating a 37-year-old man as well as smoking again, it was announced by Kawaguchi Yuukichi (the director of Up Front Agency) that her contract had been canceled. An english translation of the announcement:[21]

To whom it may concern:

Regarding our client Kago Ai and the article in the weekly magazine that went on sale on March 26th, the information in the article has been verified with Kago herself, to our regret.

One year ago, when Kago was 17 and the smoking problem happened, we still considered her future in this company, and as punishment, she was imposed to house arrest in her parents' home. Seeing how she had progressed over that year, it was decided to start from scratch and start preparing for a comeback by bringing her to Tokyo and having her do clerical and other office duties, starting on January 23rd. Although this worked out well for two months, there was another incident and the comeback plan was abandoned. After consulting with the family, as she is a minor, it has been confirmed, and she has been released from her contract.

We're very sorry that it has come to this, and accept full responsibility.

We feel a renewed sense of responsibility for the future, especially when it comes to minors.

In 2009 it was alleged that Kago had a relationship with 33-year-old actor Hidejiro Mizumoto. Mizumoto's wife, Asato, sued them both, stating that she has proof of the affair and that it was the cause for her pending divorce.[22] On May 24, 2009 a family court found in Asato's favor and ordered Mizumoto to hand over his home in Kumamoto and his car to Asato as well as 300,000 yen in child support every month for his three children.[23]

Yakuza, Suicide Attempt[edit]

In September 2011, it was widely reported that her boyfriend, age 44, was arrested in relation to attempted extortion to bilk a portion of his own debt by saying that he had close affiliations with the Yamaguchi-gumi yakuza crime syndicate.[24] Her boyfriend allegedly told the victim that he was "in friendly affiliation with the Kodo-kai", and police reported that her boyfriend actually had a close relationship with the boss of the Komatsu-gumi (an affiliate of the Kodo-kai).[25][25][26][27] Kago has been taken in for questioning as well.[28] On September 11, 2011, Kago was rushed to a nearby hospital after agency officials found her on the floor of her apartment with cuts to her wrists. It is believed to have been a suicide attempt. Her life was reported to be not in danger.[29]

Name[edit]

Kago's given name, "Ai", has no real meaning written as "亜依", but it is also a homonym for love ( ai?). Kago has sometimes said in interviews that she was named that by her parents because she was conceived out of wedlock.

Discography[edit]

For releases as a member of Morning Musume and W, see Morning Musume discography and W (group) § Discography.
Singles
Release date Title Oricon Singles Charts Album
Peak Positions Sales
Daily Weekly Yearly Debut Overall
June 24, 2009 "no hesitAtIon"[30] 26 52 1757
Albums
  • AI KAGO meets JAZZ (March 31, 2010 P-Vine)
Compilation Albums

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Year Title Role Other notes
2000 Pinch Runner cameo appearance
2002 Mini Moni ja Movie: Okashi na Daibōken! Herself
2009 Kung Fu Chefs Shum Ying
Benten-dori no Hitobito Saku
Ju-on: Kuroi Shōjo Yūko
Hana Oni (華鬼?) Momoko
2010 Nikushokukei Joshi (肉食系女子?)
The Haunting Lover

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2002 Angel Hearts (2002)
Kochira Hon Ikegami Sho (こちら本池上署?) Yumi Shiina
2003 Kochira Hon Ikegami Sho 2 (こちら本池上署?) Yumi Shiina
2004 Kochira Hon Ikegami Sho 3 (こちら本池上署?) Yumi Shiina
Kochira Hon Ikegami Sho 4 (こちら本池上署?) Yumi Shiina
Mini Moni's Brementown Musicians (ミニモニ。でブレーメンの音楽隊?) Hinako Niwa
2005 Kochira Hon Ikegami Sho 5 (こちら本池上署?) Yumi Shiina
2008 Tonsure (トンスラ?) Mai Kurume ep3,6,11–12
Nihonshi Suspence Gekijō (日本史サスペンス劇場?) Princess Sen
2009 Ikemen Shin Sobaya Tantei (イケ麺新そば屋探偵?) ep3

Publications[edit]

Books[edit]

Title Release date Publisher
ISBN
Notes
Kago Ai Live—Miseinen Hakusho (LIVE—未成年白書?)[31] August 25, 2008 Media Kreis
ISBN 978-4-7788-0338-4

Photobooks[edit]

Title Release date Publisher
ISBN
Notes
Kago Ai Shashinshū November 11, 2003 Wani Books
ISBN 978-4-8470-2783-3
Gekkan Kago Ai January 23, 2009 Shinchousha
ISBN 978-4-10-790195-8
Gekkan Kago Ai -Super Remix March 19, 2009 Shinchosha
ISBN 978-4-10-790197-2
Kago Ai Kinyōbi (金曜日 加護亜依写真集?) August 22, 2009 Kodansha
ISBN 978-4-06-352815-2
Kago Ai Shashinshū LOS ANGELES (加護亜依写真集 『LOS ANGELES』?) March 25, 2010 Air Control
ISBN 978-4-86084-737-1

DVDs[edit]

Title Release date Publisher Notes
Kago Channel (DVD) (Vol.1)[32] November 28, 2008 avex trax
Kago Channel (DVD) (Vol.2)[33] December 19, 2008 avex trax
Gekkan Kago Ai – marionnette[34] February 20, 2009 E-net Frontier
Micchaku Kago Ai[35] February 20, 2009 E-net Frontier Originally released exclusively to Lawson convenience stores,
Nationwide release July 30, 2009
Kago Ai VS. FRIDAY (DVD) (加護亜依 VS. FRIDAY?) October 25, 2009 GP Museum Soft
LOS ANGELES March 25, 2010 Air Control

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Kago Ai is Back In Showbiz?". 2007-05-05. 
  2. ^ "Aibon, What Would Your Mother Say?". 2007-08-25. Archived from the original on September 29, 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-27. 
  3. ^ "Josei Seven interview with Ai Kago's mother" (in Japanese). Archived from the original on August 24, 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-27. 
  4. ^ "Ai Kago and entertainment activities to resume" (in Japanese). Yahoo! Japan. 2008-04-06. Retrieved 2008-04-08. [dead link]
  5. ^ a b "Kago Ai Official Blog: Translations 2008.04.25 – 2008.04.27 – Hello!Online". Hello-online.org. Retrieved 2012-01-02. 
  6. ^ "Kago Ai new video interview!". Hello!Online. 2008-04-06. Archived from the original on April 9, 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-08. 
  7. ^ a b "加護亜依 - ビスケットクラブ | TOP | Yahoo!ファンクラブ". Biscuitclub.fc.yahoo.co.jp. Retrieved 2012-01-02. 
  8. ^ "Kago Ai Official Blog: Translations 2008.04.22 – 2008.04.24 – Hello!Online". Hello-online.org. Retrieved 2012-01-02. 
  9. ^ "あいぼん待望のソロシングル「no hesitAtIon」発売". Natalie.mu. 2 June 2009. Retrieved 14 July 2013. 
  10. ^ "加護亜依ジャズライブ、涙を浮かべ熱唱". Nikkansports.com. 17 February 2010. Retrieved 14 July 2013. 
  11. ^ "楽天ブックス: AI KAGO meets JAZZ -The first door- - 加護亜依 - 4995879510292 : CD". Rakuten.co.jp. Retrieved 14 July 2013. 
  12. ^ "ナタリー - サマソニ第14弾は星野源、おおはた雄一、加護亜依ら". Natalie.mu. 25 June 2010. Retrieved 14 July 2013. 
  13. ^ "加護亜依オフィシャルブログbyダイヤモンドブログ » 2011 » 6月 » 7". Diamondblog.jp. Retrieved 2012-01-02. 
  14. ^ "Kago Ai Official Blog: Translations 2008.07.11 – 2008.07.14 – Hello!Online". Hello-online.org. Retrieved 2012-01-02. 
  15. ^ "Ai Kago Official Blog (in Japanese)". Diamondblog.jp. 2011-12-21. Retrieved 2012-01-02. 
  16. ^ "Ai Kago Official Blog (in Japanese)". Diamondblog.jp. 2012-06-22. Retrieved 2012-06-22. 
  17. ^ "Hello! Project official site: Kago announcement" (in Japanese). Retrieved 2007-03-12. 
  18. ^ "Official Friday Magazine website" (in Japanese). 
  19. ^ "Kago Ai is back! Friday interview". Hello!Online. 2007-02-22. Archived from the original on 2007-08-10. 
  20. ^ "Ikimasshoi summary". 
  21. ^ "Official Announcement Regarding Kago's Contract" (in Japanese). 2007-03-26. 
  22. ^ Tokyo Graph Mizumoto's ex-wife seeks damages for alleged affair with Kago Sat, March 7, 2009
  23. ^ "Mizumoto loses settlement over affair with Kago", Tokyograph, Mon, May 25, 2009
  24. ^ "The Yakuza Connection?", September 8, 2011, Yahoo! News Philippines
  25. ^ a b [1][dead link]
  26. ^ "加護の「恋人」と報じられた男が恐喝未遂 - 社会". Sanspo.Com. Retrieved 2012-01-02. 
  27. ^ ":日本経済新聞" (in Japanese). Nikkei.com. 2000-01-01. Retrieved 2012-01-02. 
  28. ^ [2] TV Asahi ANN News, September 8, 2011
  29. ^ http://sankei.jp.msn.com/affairs/news/110911/crm11091117510010-n1.htm Sankei Sankei MSN, September 11, 2011
  30. ^ "no hesitAtIon" (in Japanese). In da Groove. 
  31. ^ Kago Ai LIVE ~Kago Ai no Miseinen Hakusho Listing on Amazon.co.jp
  32. ^ Kago Channel (DVD) (Vol.1) Listing on Amazon.co.jp
  33. ^ Kago Channel (DVD) (Vol.2) Listing on Amazon.co.jp
  34. ^ Gekkan Kago Ai – marionnette Listing on Amazon.co.jp
  35. ^ Micchaku Kago Ai Listing on Amazon.co.jp

External links[edit]