Noriko Sakai completes first stage of comeback following drug scandal
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.