Erika Sawajiri to hold possible press conference this month

The latest rumor regarding actress Erika Sawajiri (24) comes from the Sports Nippon newspaper, which says that she may be returning to Japan this month, with possible plans for a press conference.

Sports Nippon previously reported that Sawajiri was out of contact with her mother for a few weeks after disappearing in September. Although the details of her situation have remained unverified, it has since then been reported by multiple newspapers that she is currently overseas.

According to Sports Nippon, Sawajiri’s mother stated that the actress will be coming back to Japan this month, and she hinted that Sawajiri may hold a press conference upon her return. No other details were given, but a friend interviewed by the newspaper indicated that it is likely Sawajiri will be back in time to celebrate Christmas with her mother.

If Sawajiri does hold a press conference, it is speculated that she will talk about the status of her marriage with multimedia creator Tsuyoshi Takashiro (46). An unconfirmed rumor has been circulating for several months that she plans to get a divorce as a condition for signing with Avex’s management division.

Star of Kabuki barred for brawl

A star of traditional Japanese theater who called in sick, then went out drinking and ended up brawling in a bar apologized Tuesday for the scandal that has embarrassed the rarefied world of Kabuki.

Ebizo Ichikawa, 33, known as the "prince" of Kabuki, gave a televised news conference Tuesday hours after leaving a Tokyo hospital where he was treated for the facial injury sustained in the fracas that has riveted the nation for almost two weeks.

Originating in the 1600s, Kabuki is a stylized all-male theater that combines music, dance and acting to tell stories about samurai vendettas, love suicides and everyday city-life in performances that use outlandish facial makeup and elaborate costumes.

Although the audience still tends to be elderly, young performers like Ichikawa have revived interest in Kabuki in recent years by tackling TV shows and other works outside their genre.

Ichikawa, from one of the most respected kabuki families, has won fans with his telegenic look and powerful performance at home and abroad, including France, the U.S. and Australia.

But Ichikawa has been suspended indefinitely from performing Kabuki by theater operator Shochiku Co. following the incident at a celebrity bar in a ritzy Tokyo neighborhood on Nov. 25. He had been out drinking after skipping a daytime media event, citing health reasons.

Read the rest of the story: Star of traditional Japan theater barred for brawl.

Two Japanese films nominated for Venice Film Festival’s Golden Lion

Two Japanese movies have been nominated for the 67th Venice Film Festival’s Golden Lion award, organizers of the festival beginning Sept. 1 said Thursday.

One is "Norwegian Wood" directed by Vietnamese-born French director Tran Anh Hung, based on Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami’s bestseller of the same title. The other is "Ju-san nin no shikaku" (13 Assassins) directed by Japanese director Takashi Miike.

Read the rest of the story: 2 Japanese films nominated for Venice Film Festival’s Golden Lion.