After her agent terminated her contract, actress Erika Sawajiri, 23, avoided the media and left Japan for Germany on Sept 26, while her husband, Tsuyoshi Takashiro, 45, fled to the UK. Sawajiri’s dismissal was blamed on “personal matters.” Sawajiri’s neighbors in Setagaya weren’t sad to see her go. One neighbor said there had been numerous complaints by residents about loud music and noise coming out of her home in the wee hours of the night.
Her former agent, Stardust Promotion, is said to have sacked the actress for several reasons. She was questioned by police for suspicion of violating traffic laws during her stay in Amami-oshima to see the solar eclipse. Her husband allegedly profited from using Sawajiri, without the consent of her agent, to promote the fashion brand Marc Jacobs, which he holds an interest in.
But rumors in the entertainment industry hint that Takashiro, suspected of using illegal drugs, may be the true reason behind his wife’s dismissal by the agency. The couple had been at the July solar eclipse event where it is now known that Noriko Sakai and her husband were taking drugs. Additionally, Takashiro made a public statement in a magazine interview about his own drug use in the past. Takashiro is known to travel widely, which has continued after his marriage to Sawajiri. His favorite destination seems to be the Spanish island of Ibiza in the Mediterranean, also known as a haven for clubbers and buyers of cheap marijuana and chemical drugs. Takashiro apparently is so fond of this island that he visits there annually and has even produced a book, published with his name as editor.
Sawajiri lost her chance of a comeback as the leading actress in the film “Space Battleship Yamato,” slated for release next year. A film industry source comments, “Those in the TV and film business are extremely sensitive about drug-related issues after the Sakai and Oshio incident. It is not uncommon now to use media reporters with police connections to check up on any gossip in advance.”
Any suspicion of drug use by actors can be financially devastating for the sponsor and production side. Sawajiri’s loss of her role has already impacted the promotional value of the film, and it is rumored that those representing lead actor Takuya Kimura are infuriated. It was inevitable that Stardust Promotion decided to sack Sawajiri.
Takashiro has denied any involvement with drug use. In reference to Sakai and Oshio, with whom he says he was not acquainted, he commented in his Sept 27 blog entry on the “social responsibility and illegal actions on the part of the mass media.”
But journalist Akihiro Otani counters: “To make a statement in an interview hinting his own drug use certainly raises questions about his common sense and propriety as an individual who can influence the media. Instead of making remarks on the legitimacy of the media’s actions, he ought to explain the inconsistencies found in his public statements.”
The use of illegal drugs appears to be infiltrating the entire entertainment industry, the most recent incident being the arrest of a former member of the rock band Otoko-gumi on suspicion of marijuana possession. After Sawajiri and Takashiro, what’s next?