Ken Watanabe’s alleged affair with ex-hostess ‘not the first time’

Flash Apr. 18
Flash Apr. 18

The release last week of a report that popular actor Ken Watanabe is engaged in a seemingly open extra-marital affair while his wife battles breast cancer is causing more details to emerge.

Among them are claims by Cyzo (Apr. 3) that the affair is hardly the actor’s first indiscretion. “This is not the first time,” an entertainment reporter says.

The report, appearing in the April 6 issue of weekly tabloid Shukan Bunshun, includes photographs showing Watanabe, 57, holding hands with a Japanese woman, 36, during a date at New York’s Central Park on February 18.

The reporter for the magazine also followed them to dinner at a Chinese restaurant two days later. As well, other photographs published in the article show the couple in intimate situations.

A reporter for a women’s magazine tells Cyzo that Bunshun may have gotten the scoop but there have been numerous whispers about infidelity that have circulated in the past, each time with the woman being different. “Going back ten years, the total number of suspected affairs between Watanabe and various women is four,” the reporter says.

Jewelry designer

According to Flash (Apr. 18), the woman in question this time is a former bar hostess. The pair met while she was employed at a club in the Kita Shinchi entertainment area of Osaka in August of 2013.

When she was in her 20s, the woman was a reader of a fashion magazine who appeared in its pages as a model. She is currently a designer of jewelry.

Second wife

One year ago, Kaho Minami, 53, the wife of Watanabe, underwent surgery for stage 1 breast cancer. She is Watanabe’s second wife. The couple has two children. Watanabe divorced his first wife in 2005 and married Minami later that same year.

The divorce was finalized at the end of a trial, whose proceedings proved to be quite messy. According to Cyzo, a large number of names of actresses, including Kimiko Ikegami, Reiko Takashima, Yuki Saito, Mayumi Wakamura and Keiko Oginome, emerged in court as women with whom he had had affairs.

Some doubts

The emergence of the scandal follows a time when the couple reportedly showed support for one another in times of need — such as during the recent medical problems that both have endured. (Watanabe also had surgery for stomach cancer last year.)

Two years ago, Watanabe and his wife purchased a palatial home in Los Angeles, valued at around 600 million yen. By many accounts, they appear to be a happy couple, often seen bicycling around the neighborhood.

However, the recent revelations have cast some doubts — and Flash digs out a quote from a magazine in 2013 in which Minami giggles about numerous matrimonial quarrels in which she “erupts” and announces that she will “run away.”

Anne Watanabe, the actor’s 30-year-old daughter from his first marriage, was requested by reporters to comment on the alleged affair involving her father at an event in Tokyo’s Ginza district last Friday, according to Sports Hochi (Apr. 1). Without saying a word, Anne, who is an actress herself, bowed and exited the stage.

Source: “Furin samurai: Watanabe Ken” Flash (Apr. 18, pages 13-15)

Note: Brief extracts from Japanese vernacular media in the public domain that appear here were translated and summarized under the principle of “fair use.” Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy of the translations. However, we are not responsible for the veracity of their contents. The activities of individuals described herein should not be construed as “typical” behavior of Japanese people nor reflect the intention to portray the country in a negative manner. Our sole aim is to provide examples of various types of reading matter enjoyed by Japanese.

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