Ai Kago

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Ai Kago
Ai Kago, KDDI 2009 06.jpg
Ai Kago, November 2009
Native name
加護 亜依
Born (1988-02-07) February 7, 1988 (age 31)
Other namesAibon
Haruhiko Ando
(m. 2011; div. 2015)
Musical career
Years active
  • 2000–2007
  • 2008–present
Associated acts
WebsiteAi, Bonjour

Ai Kago (加護 亜依, Kago Ai), born February 7, 1988 in Yamatotokada, Nara, Japan,[1] is a Japanese singer, actress, author, and former Guinness World Record holder. Kago began her career at the age of 12 as a member of the idol group Morning Musume. 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 In 2004, she graduated from both the aforementioned groups and formed W with Nozomi Tsuji, but she was withdrawn from the group in 2007. In 2008, she embarked on a career in film and returned to music, releasing a jazz album in 2010 and becoming part of the group Girls Beat!! in 2013.


2000-2004: Morning Musume and Minimoni[edit]

At age 12, Kago won the 4th National Audition of Morning Musume held by the Up-Front Works in 2000. On April 15, she, 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 (3-nin Matsuri in 2001, Happy 7 in 2002, Salt5 in 2003, and H.P. All Stars in 2004).

2004-2007: W[edit]

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

Before the release of their seventh single and their third album, W3: Faithful, on February 9, 2006, Friday published photos showing Kago smoking. She was 15 at the time the photos were taken. The following day, her agency issued a press statement saying that she and W's activities had been suspended "indefinitely."[2] Kago spent the remainder of the year under house arrest at her family's residence in Nara. During this time, she was not allowed to have contact with Tsuji or any of the other members from her agency, and she was caught smoking again during her probation period.[3]

In 2007 Up-Front Works reported that they were working on her comeback.[4][5] In late March 2007, photos of Kago going to an onsen with a man 18 years her senior and smoking for a third time circulated in the media, further tarnishing her reputation.[6] Not long after, Yuukichi Kawaguchi, the director of Up-Front Works, issued a statement announcing that she had been dismissed from the agency.[3]

2008-2010: Return to entertainment[edit]

After Kago departed from Up-Front Agency, her mother attempted to sign her to a new talent agency in her hometown, Nara.[7][self-published source?] Later that year, Josei Seven published an interview with her mother, revealing that Kago left Japan and started residing in New York City.[8][self-published source?][9][self-published source?] Kago herself later revealed that she had actually not gone to New York, but rather to Los Angeles for three months because she felt like a criminal in Japan. During her stay, she met people who encouraged her, including Winona Ryder,[10] and was able to reflect on her situation. She also considered suicide and cut her wrists.[11][better source needed]

Kago made a well-publicized return to the entertainment industry in 2008 [12] with plans of pursuing an acting career.[6] She began appearing in multiple Hong Kong movies, including Kung Fu Chefs. On August 25, 2008, Kago released a book entitled Kago Ai Live—Miseinen Hakusho (LIVE—未成年白書). On her blog, she described the book as "a book where I talk to young teens about their various troubles and dreams."[13][better source needed]

During 2009, Kago also focused on rebuilding her music career. On June 24, 2009, she released her first solo single "No HesitAtIon" [sic] on independent record label In Da Groove.[14] On February 16, 2010, she held her first jazz concert at bar JZ Brat in Tokyo.[15] 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.[16] In August 2010 she was invited to perform at music festival Summer Sonic.[17]

2011-present: Personal struggles and Girls Beat!![edit]

Throughout the second half of 2010, Kago became unhappy with the direction of her work. Around the same time, she began dating restaurant owner Haruhiko Ando, who acted as an in-between for her agency and herself. Since beginning a relationship with Ando, Kago cancelled several jobs at the last minute, causing her agency to suspend her activities. Despite this, she participated in a live performance and opened a separate blog without permission.[18]

Kago parted ways with R&A Promotions in November 2010 despite her contract ending in March 2013. As a response, in 2011, Kazuyuki Ito, president of Mainstream (an associate of R&A Promotions), declared that the agency planned on suing for 100 million yen in damages for contract violations.[19] During that time, Kago's career was also derailed by her personal life. In September 2011, Ando was arrested for alleged extortion and claiming to have connections with the yakuza.[20][21][22] In the same month, Kago was rushed to a nearby hospital after agency officials found her on the floor of her apartment with cuts to her wrists.[23] Her life was reported to be not in danger, though there were speculations that it was a planned suicide.[24][25] Following the incident, she and Ando registered their marriage, and Kago became pregnant.[26]

After spending 2012 out of the public eye with the birth of her daughter, Minami, Kago transferred to a new agency in 2013. Planning to revive her music career, she formed an idol group, which was later named Girls Beat!! The group would be crowd-sourced using lyrics, music, and costume ideas submitted by fans.[27] Remi Kita and Ryona Himeno were recruited as the other two members after passing the auditions.

Girls Beat!! released their first single, "Sekai Seifuku" on July 22, 2014. Their activities were abruptly put on hold when an arrest warrant was put out for Ando in October on suspicions of loaning money at illegal interest rates.[28] Kago later filed for divorce, planning to continue activities once the divorce was finalized.[29] Although Kago was eventually successful in doing so,[30] in August 2015, her contract with her agency expired,[31] though she continued activities with Girls Beat!! in November. On February 29, 2016, she graduated from the group.[32]

Personal life[edit]

During Kago's years in Minimoni, she was known for keeping her hair in curled twin tails. Manga artist Arina Tanemura used her hairstyle as inspiration for Mitsuki Koyama, the main character of Full Moon o Sagashite.[33][34] Her official nickname in Hello! Project was "Aibon."[35]

Kago and Tsuji shared the world record for the largest hula hoop spun at 4.08 m (13 ft 5 in) in diameter.[citation needed] 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. The record was eventually broken by Ashrita Furman in September 2005.

Relationships and family[edit]

During Kago's house arrest in 2006, her parents divorced.[6] In 2009, Kago was involved in a relationship with actor Hidejiro Mizumoto. Mizumoto's wife, Asato, sued them both, stating that she had proof of the affair and that it was the cause for her pending divorce.[36] 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.[37] Shukan Josei reported in 2010 that Kago was romantically linked to model Takeshi Mikawai. Her agency released a statement claiming that while they dated, they were not a couple.[38]

Kago began dating Haruhiko Ando, a restaurant owner in Roppongi, in August 2010,[20] who acted as an in-between between her agency and herself.[18] In September 2011, he was arrested for allegedly attempting to extort a co-worker by saying that he had close affiliations with the yakuza, such as the Kodo-kai and Komatsu-gumi.[20][21][22] Kago had been taken in for questioning.[39] Following the incident, Kago and Ando married in December 2011 [40] and he took on her family name, Kago.[41] From their marriage, Kago gave birth to her first child, Minami, on June 22, 2012.[42]

The police issued an arrest warrant for Ando in October 2014 on suspicion of loaning money at illegal interest rates. This affected both Kago's career and image.[28] In 2015, Kago announced through her official blog that they were living separately and were in the process of working towards a divorce.[29] She attempted to file for divorce in April, but dropped charges due to insufficient funds. On June 9, Ando was arrested on domestic violence charges stemming from an incident in May 12 where he allegedly shoved and kicked Kago in their home in Roppongi, leaving her with injuries that took ten days to heal.[41] Kago agreed to drop all charges in exchange for divorce,[43] which was finalized later that month.[30]

On August 8, 2016, Kago announced that she had gotten married to a 38-year-old beautician whose name was not disclosed to the public.[44] On September 23, 2016, she announced that she was pregnant with her second child.[45] On February 23, 2017, she announced on her blog that she gave birth her second child, a boy named Yoshitsugu.[46]



Release date Title Oricon Singles Charts Album
Peak Positions Sales
Daily Weekly Yearly Debut Overall
June 24, 2009 "no hesitAtIon"[47] 26 52 1757


  • AI KAGO meets JAZZ (March 31, 2010 P-Vine)




Year Title Role 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) Kariko Oogami
The Haunting Lover


Year Title Role Notes
2002 Angel Hearts
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 Town Musicians of Bremen (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) Masuyo Urami ep3



Title Release date Publisher
Kago Ai Live—Miseinen Hakusho (LIVE—未成年白書)[48] August 25, 2008 Media Kreis
ISBN 978-4-7788-0338-4


Title Release date Publisher
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


Title Release date Publisher Notes
Kago Channel (DVD) (Vol.1)[49] November 28, 2008 avex trax
Kago Channel (DVD) (Vol.2)[50] December 19, 2008 avex trax
Gekkan Kago Ai – marionnette[51] February 20, 2009 E-net Frontier
Micchaku Kago Ai[52] 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


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  2. ^ Hello! Project (February 10, 2006). "『W 加護亜依』についてのお知らせとお詫び" (in Japanese). Up-Front Agency. Archived from the original on February 20, 2006.
  3. ^ a b Yuukichi Kawaguchi (March 26, 2007). "加護亜依 一部報道記事について" (in Japanese). Up-Front Agency. Archived from the original on April 3, 2007.
  4. ^ "Official Friday Magazine website" (in Japanese). Archived from the original on February 25, 2007.
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  27. ^ "加護亜依、ユニット結成。再スタートしたい". Nittere News 24 (in Japanese). October 7, 2013. Retrieved August 6, 2016.
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  29. ^ a b "元モー娘。加護亜依が離婚へ 夫と別居で協議中". Oricon (in Japanese). April 3, 2015. Retrieved August 6, 2016.
  30. ^ a b "加護亜依、ブログで離婚を報告「ゆっくり前へ」". Oricon (in Japanese). August 9, 2015. Retrieved August 6, 2016.
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  33. ^ Carlo Santos (August 5, 2007). "Interview: Arina Tanemura". Anime News Network. Retrieved February 15, 2008.
  34. ^ Tanemura, Arina (July 5, 2005). "Mitsuki's Case: Character Introduction sidebar". Full Moon, Volume 1. Full Moon O Sagashite. San Francisco: Viz Media. p. 27. ISBN 978-1-59116-928-4. Mitsuki Koyama: Her hairstyle was taken from Ai Kago of Morning Musume.
  35. ^ "加護亜依、辻希美&矢口真里でのミニモニ。特別復活に言及". Model Press (in Japanese). February 15, 2018. Retrieved August 29, 2018.
  36. ^ "加護亜依"不倫相手"前妻から慰謝料請求" (in Japanese). Sponichi Annex. March 9, 2009. Archived from the original on March 9, 2009.
  37. ^ "加護との浮気の代償…元妻に"高額授業料"" (in Japanese). Sponichi Annex. May 25, 2010. Archived from the original on May 27, 2009.
  38. ^ "Ex-Morning Musume member, Kago Ai's new boyfriend is a MEN's NON-NO model?". Tokyohive. October 31, 2010. Retrieved August 5, 2016.
  39. ^ [1] TV Asahi ANN News, September 8, 2011
  40. ^ "Ai Kago Official Blog (in Japanese)". December 21, 2011. Retrieved January 2, 2012.
  41. ^ a b "Husband of former J-pop singer Ai Kago arrested for alleged domestic violence". The Japan Times. June 10, 2015. Retrieved August 6, 2016.
  42. ^ "Ai Kago Official Blog (in Japanese)". June 22, 2012. Retrieved June 22, 2012.
  43. ^ "Ai Kago Drops Domestic Violence Charges Against Husband In Exchange For Divorce". Jpopasia. July 1, 2015. Retrieved August 5, 2016.
  44. ^ "加護亜依、38歳一般男性と再婚 美容関係の会社経営者" (in Japanese). Oricon. August 8, 2016. Retrieved September 13, 2016.
  45. ^ "加護亜依、再婚後初ライブで妊娠報告「しばらくは妊婦さんです」" (in Japanese). Oricon. September 23, 2016. Retrieved September 25, 2016.
  46. ^ Ai Kago (February 27, 2017). "息子の名前" (in Japanese). Ameba Blogs. Retrieved August 22, 2017.
  47. ^ "no hesitAtIon" (in Japanese). In da Groove.
  48. ^ Kago Ai LIVE ~Kago Ai no Miseinen Hakusho Listing on
  49. ^ Kago Channel (DVD) (Vol.1) Listing on
  50. ^ Kago Channel (DVD) (Vol.2) Listing on
  51. ^ Gekkan Kago Ai – marionnette Listing on
  52. ^ Micchaku Kago Ai Listing on

External links[edit]