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'Oh $#&%!' -- Foul-mouthed starlet Sawajiri's career in crisis

Having sneaked off to London for a three month love-in with a boyfriend more than twice her age, haughty actress Erika Sawajiri announced her return to Japan by proclaiming "Oh shit" after dropping her make-up kit at Narita Airport. If she's seriously thinking about her career prospects, Shukan Bunshun (4/10) says, she might use exactly the same phrase.

"She's having a great time taking things easy over there in her 'trial marriage.' She came back to Japan for work, but will go back to London in the middle of April," an entertainment beat reporter tells Shukan Bunshun. "This time, she's gonna stay there for a really long time."

Sawajiri, 21, has been living in the British capital with Tsuyoshi Takashiro, a hyper-media creator (whatever that is), who at 43 is 22 years older than her. Sawajiri's career has virtually been on hold since September last year, when she threw a tantrum at a news conference where she was supposed to be promoting her new movie. Her petulant display caused an uproar in the media, and though she quickly went into damage control and apologized, she's since done little work.

"There were reports of her going crazy at the Led Zeppelin concert in London in December and then she flew off to Britain not long into the New Year. Since then, she hasn't tried to hide her relationship with Takashiro and has had no problem being photographed with him," another celebrity beat hack following Sawajiri in London says.

"She's using a pricey apartment Takashiro is renting as her base and going to English classes every day. She's also going out doing a lot of shopping and taking in the tourist traps. She went and saw a lot of old English castles and has flown over to Spain. Takashiro has apparently got a lot of bases in Europe where he can do his work and she's apparently gone on a trip to the Caribbean with him, too."

Takashiro is actually a bit of a celebrity in his own right.

"The apartment they're living in is in a pricey area of London. They're paying about 700,000 yen a month in rent. They're not showing any concerns about money, shopping at an exclusive supermarket near their place, eating out a lot and staying in five-star, luxury hotels despite having their own apartment," the hack says. "Takashiro's connections have seen her go out to quite a few parties at night. And he's always with her when she goes out to buy clothes for the dos. Sawajiri does things at her own pace and is not scared to speak her mind, but Takashiro just stands by, gently grinning."

What remains uncertain is whether Sawajiri is taking a break, or deliberately holding back on more work to show she is reflecting on her bad behavior last year.

"Actually, she hasn't got any TV or movie work in the pipeline at all. The only work she does have is for a few existing contracts for commercials," a TV industry insider tells Shukan Bunshun. "The situation is totally dependent on whether Sawajiri wants to do more work or not. Her talent agency is waiting with bated breath."

Several offers made to Sawajiri were withdrawn following her hissy fit, and though the spoiled brat act was not generally seen as being career-threatening then, things have changed now.

Shukan Bunshun (4/10)
Shukan Bunshun (4/10)

"Her agency is pretty keen to get her a high profile job she can use for a 'comeback' appearance, but life is so good for her at the moment, I doubt she's in a hurry to do it," an entertainment beat reporter says. "Considering she was a good money earner for them, I guess the agency would be pretty peeved."

A reporter for a women's magazine, however, says Sawajiri should think deeply about what she's doing.

"If nothing else, her time away from the limelight has showed the entertainment world here that it doesn't really need Sawajiri," the women's gossip rag hack tells Shukan Bunshun. "There are loads of actresses similar to her popping up all over the place." (By Ryann Connell)

(Mainichi Japan) April 11, 2008


WaiWai stories are transcriptions of articles that originally appeared in Japanese language publications. The Mainichi Daily News cannot be held responsible for the contents of the original articles, nor does it guarantee their accuracy. Views expressed in the WaiWai column are not necessarily those held by the Mainichi Daily News or the Mainichi Newspapers Co. WaiWai © Mainichi Newspapers Co. 1989-2007.

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