Noriko Sakai completes first stage of comeback following drug scandal

TOKYO —

Actress Noriko Sakai, 41, affectionately dubbed “Nori-P” by media and fans, on Monday night completed the first stage of her comeback bid after a drug scandal that threatened to end her career.

Sakai successfully completed the 10-day run of performances of the stage play “Rhapsody of the Azure Sky” in which she played the role of feudal warlord Oda Nobunaga’s sister Ichi in the Sengoku era story at Sakura Hall in the Shibuya Cultural Center Owada. The play constitutes the first step in her plan to break back into show business three years after she was arrested for drugs.

Sakai was convicted of drug use in 2009 and received a suspended sentence, which expired at the end of November. 

After Monday night’s final performance, Sakai received a rapturous round of applause from the audience and thanked them for providing her with memories she would treasure forever, Sankei Shimbun reported.

The play was seen by around 7,500 people. Sources close to Sakai told Sankei that she was relieved to have finished the run and was feeling tired, but had enjoyed herself and was eager to perform on stage again.

Japan Today

  • 1

    badsey3

    http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/entertainment/view/1239448/1/.html (pic)

    Sakai expressed that she was grateful to her son for supporting her through this trying period and said she would "spend my life making up for the harm I have caused him". The 41-year-old actress added that she would never take drugs again. "If I take drugs, I'd be too foolish!" said Sakai. "I have truly kicked my drug habit. Now I only think about bravely going forward. Everyone, please don't worry."

    -Another person saved by the Japanese Judicial system.

  • -1

    ebisen

    Rinsed clean, as good as new... I give her less than 3 years before she is in "those kind of" news again.

  • 0

    alladin

    It is kind of sad, but the truth is that she is all washed up. Her husband has really ruined her image and to get that sparkling clean image back will be extremely difficult. It will be virtually impossible for her to become popular again. I hope she can find it in herself to pursue another direction for her life that will make her to become a happier and joyful person in the coming years.

  • 0

    smithinjapan

    alladin: "Her husband has really ruined her image and to get that sparkling clean image back will be extremely difficult."

    You make it seem like she is the victim of what she did, rather than the person who did the drugs. Is her former husband a god who controlled her? did she have no will of her own? If so, she has no business doing what she is doing now. You cannot believe she could not control herself over drugs but has the ability and will to move back into acting circles.

    She's a druggie, bottom line, and she's washed up because SHE washed up. I just didn't know there was a 12-step program for celebrity drug users.

  • 2

    Cos

    You cannot believe she could not control herself over drugs but has the ability and will to move back into acting circles.

    It's an open secret that druggies in show-biz are like fish in water. Her sin was to have been caught with an idiot. Remember, her ex was carrying the dope around in the street. If they had got it delivered like other celebs do, you'd never have heard of it as the police would never go to check the hip parties in those superb villas.

  • -1

    tmarie

    Well said Smith. Look at her family life. She is not an innocent victim in the least. So much for that nursing school and giving up the industry.

    JT, why do you continue to run news on her? So many other more interesting and deserving folks out there.

  • -3

    smithinjapan

    Cos: "Her sin was to have been caught with an idiot."

    Then why was she found guilty and convicted of drug use? She was indeed with an idiot, but the fault in that, and the drug use, is hers, not his.

  • -1

    theResident

    The website is call 'Japan Today' tmarie. That should suffice. It is no different to the press in yoru country (you are canadian?) reporting the daily bowel movements of Justin Bieber.

  • 2

    SS Abe

    Maybe you are forgetting the half-week man-hunt for Sakai. Instead of saying -- "Yea, I do drugs, so what?" she committed a number of crimes by fleeing the police and then putting her head down when the cameras came.

    And by the way, she was doing Meth, the one drug that deserves to be illegal.

  • -8

    tmarie

    You're mistaken Res. You can't compare Beiber to "Nori P". One famous worldwide, the other a washed up Japanese "artist" who promised to stay out of the lime light. A better comparison would be the druggie from the Barenaked Ladies but wait, I can't remember his name because the media doesn't continuously report on him.

    • Moderator

      Stay on topic please.

  • -3

    tmarie

    Abe, was it meth? I had no idea. Funny how I haven't seen THAT on JT.

  • -1

    JaneM

    Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future. (O.Wilde)

    I am not her fan, but who am I to judge her without knowing what the circumstances of her family, her becoming addicted, etc. were?

  • 0

    theResident

    @tmarie: Hence, you are clearly missing my point that this website is 'Japan Today' Since her conviction I have not read a scrap of news about her. She DID stay out of the limelight for three years as promised. She had multiple contracts with various companies prior to her conviction - she certainly wasn't 'washed-up' prior to her arrest. Personally, I couldn't care less about her, but your stinging attacks on anything/anybody Japanese is very tiresome. Does it matter if it was Meth, Grass or Coke? Whats your point?

  • 0

    Mirai Hayashi

    She disgusts me...the only person whose truly innocent in her family is her son...everyone else are convicted felons

  • 1

    Nessie

    Abe, was it meth? I had no idea.

    The usually just call it "stimulants" in the news.

    Let's hope she doesn't go back to her methed acting.

  • -1

    SS Abe

    The news media called it Kaku Seizai, I thought that was meth, maybe it is not meth, but if you are looking for meth do not call it Kaku Seizai as that is a tip-off that you are a nark and not a high-ass.

    Anyway, I do not advocate drugs. Nor do I believe in witch-hunts.

  • -6

    tmarie

    Res, I thought JapanToday was about interesting news from here and around the world. Nori P's "comeback" really isn't "news" nor is it interesting - unless you like washed up druggies trying to make it back in the biz because they have nothing else to fall back on. I guess you've missed the other articles on JT recently about her - one last week I believe.

    Actually is does matter what drugs - coke, meth and weed are all very different and lead to very different lifestyles and issues. When was the last time you heard about a weed addict unable to parent or function? Meth on the other hand...

    Mirai, agreed. Where is her son in all of this?

  • 2

    Fazlı Azly

    Some people are commenting as if they don't care about this lady, but I wonder why they would even want to read any news about her (if they really don't care), let alone commenting on this news. If someone wants to be a better person, then why don't we show him/her some supports? Even if we don't want to support this person, then we can just let her lives her own life because she never caused any direct harm to you, didn't she? Nobody is perfect in this world. Everyone makes mistakes, it's just that some of our mistakes are well-covered that nobody else knows it.

    Pardon my bad English.

  • 0

    gaijinfo

    10-day run of performances of the stage play

    The play was seen by around 7,500 people

    According to their website, the place has got 729 seats. (source: http://www.city.shibuya.tokyo.jp/eng/est/owada.html)

    Pretty small place. I wonder how many people went to see the play due to the "let's go see that criminal actress" effect.

  • 3

    badsey3

    Lots of closet Nori-P fans here I think. -Who really is the shameful one? At least Nori-P doesn't hide anymore.

    Sickening to see the Libs come out and attack one of their own. And I thought God loved the sinner and saint equally. Isn't this Christmas?

  • -3

    smithinjapan

    Res: "Since her conviction I have not read a scrap of news about her."

    You have been selectively reading then, since she's been in the media a lot for the last few months, and still then some. All the same, you seem to be defending a meth-head with a family history of violence. Why? Why do only 'talento' seem to deserve a staying hand?

  • 2

    CrisGerSan

    i am very happy for her, that is a great step forward in rebuilding her life. Congratulations.

  • 0

    hidingout

    Nori P's "comeback" really isn't "news" nor is it interesting - unless you like washed up druggies trying to make it back in the biz because they have nothing else to fall back on.

    Quite honestly I don't care about the private lives of people who appear on TV and I am not a "fan" of any Japanese TV personalities (OK I kind of like Matsu Takako) but you are being very uncharitable in your comments on this thread. What constitutes a "druggie" tmarie? Were you right there watching to see how much and how often she used drugs? Maybe come down off the soapbox and give the lady a second chance.

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