Momoe Yamaguchi

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Momoe Yamaguchi : biography

17 January 1959 –

Her popularity as a singer was paralleled by rising success in a series of films and television programs. Her second film, Izu no Odoriko, paired her with actor Tomokazu Miura, chosen because he had previously done a commercial for Glico with her. Though Yamaguchi was just 14, and Miura was 22, they had great screen chemistry, and became known as the Momoe-Tomokazu "golden combi".ゴールデン・コンビ They starred together in a total of 14 of her 17 movies, one every winter and summer.

As she became popular, her father, Kubo, decided to cash in on her success. He held bogus "press conferences" unauthorized by either Yamaguchi or her management company, and in various ways disrupted her career. Since Yamaguchi was still a minor, he sued for the right of parental authority. shinken The court case ended in a victory for her mother. Yamaguchi declared in her autobiographical book that she ended her relationship with her father, and would never acknowledge his existence again. She also expressed the regret that if she had not become famous, this would not have happened.

By the end of her career, Yamaguchi’s music became more sophisticated. Her 12th and 18th albums, Golden Flight and L.A. Blue, were recorded in London and Los Angeles respectively, using local musicians and production staff. Her 21st album, Phoenix Densetsu, was written as a rock opera. Because she wanted to make a rock song before she ended her career, Uzaki and Aki wrote "Rock ‘n Roll Widow" for her, which was included on the concept album Moebius’s Game.

When her television series were broadcast in China in the 1980s, she also became hugely popular as an actress there, with the Akai series of television dramas achieving viewing figures of 100% on Chinese television at the time. In China she is known as 山口百惠 (the final character is slightly different to that used in Japan), pronounced "Shan Kou Bai Hui". According to a 2000 poll by the "News Station" news magazine programme, she was the Japanese person known most widely among the Chinese.

Marriage and retirement

With the on-screen romances between Yamaguchi and Tomokazu Miura, an off-screen romance grew. During a trip to Hawaii in early 1979, Miura proposed to Yamaguchi. She accepted, and she also said that she would retire from entertainment to marry him. Yamaguchi announced their relationship at a concert in October 1979, and the announcement about their marriage date and her retirement was made in March 1980. She performed a farewell concert at the Nippon Budokan on 5 October 1980, released her last album This is my trial on 21 October 1980, and released her last single "Ichie" on 19 November 1980. She also wrote the lyrics to this song under the pen name "Kei Yokosuka", and continued to write a few songs for a while after retirement, such as Ann Lewis’s La Saison from 1982.

In her autobiographical book, Aoi Toki, she said that she disliked repeatedly singing the same songs. She also stated that she wanted to stop working to devote all her time to the wellbeing of her husband. She also said in an interview at the time of retirement that she did not want to continue working as a singer or an actress.

On 15 October 1980, Yamaguchi officially retired from show business, and on 19 November 1980, the pair were married. Despite several rumors of her comeback, she has devoted herself to being a homemaker and mother to two sons. Her husband, Tomokazu Miura, continued to work as an actor, even though his career up to then had mostly consisted of playing romantic leads in her films and television series.

After retirement

In 1981, she wrote a book of autobiographical essays called Aoi Toki, which sold over a million copies in its first month of publication.

Despite her retirement, she is a regular feature in weekly entertainment magazines. Her family suffered considerable difficulty in attending school events due to television crews and photographers, who sometimes used deception to gain access. Fans have frequently been found hanging around her residence, and in at least one case a fan even broke in. In 1999, her husband, Tomokazu Miura, wrote a part-autobiography Hishatai detailing the problems the couple had faced.