Japan reels as sumo king hooks sex idol

TO SOME it might seem like a union of beauty and the beast. To others, it might seem natural that the two most famous expanses of flesh in Japan should decide to become one. But when it was revealed yesterday that the sumo superstar Takahanada was to marry the national sex symbol, Rie Miyazawa, the nation could talk of nothing else. The 'Taka-Rie' shock dominated news bulletins, front pages and the electronic news diplay boards on buildings in central Tokyo. Even the Prime Minister, Kiichi Miyazawa, was lost for words, repeating 'it is an amazing thing'.

But most surprised of all were the hordes of paparazzi who follow the two national celebrities nearly everywhere they go. Japan's tabloid papers and weekly scandal sheets compete aggressively for sensational 'scoops' about the love lives of public figures - they are so persevering that the Imperial Palace had to call them off the hunt for a bride for the Crown Prince after a number of potential candidates complained about intrusions of privacy.

Yet none of these newshounds had the slightest inkling of Takahanada's and Ms Miyazawa's romance, even though it turns out that the couple had been secretly in contact for two years. Both figures were riding high on their own respective crests of publicity. Takahanada, a 20-year-old wrestler who won the last national sumo tournament, is already being tipped as a future yokozuna, or grand champion. Ms Miyazawa, 19, a singer and actress, gripped Japan with a book of nude photos of her which was published last November and has sold over a million copies. Together the couple epitomise the heights of Japan's television-oriented popular culture.

Takahanada, whose name means 'dignified flower meadow' and who weighs a mere 298 lbs - modest for a sumo wrestler - has long enjoyed an extensive female fan club in Japan. His boyish good looks and quiet charisma have made him, along with his brother, Wakahanada, 21, the object of much adoration. The relative youth of the 'Waka-Taka' brothers has contributed greatly to the resurgence of interest in sumo by the younger generation in Japan.

Ms Miyazawa is considerably lighter than her husband-to-be, but her physique has also inspired its own fan club. Initially she was one of a large group of teenage female aidoru or idols, whose good looks propel them into a glamorous but short-lived singing and modelling career. Many of these teenage heart-throbs end up as second-rate actresses, some even in the pornography business. But when Ms Miyazawa, who has a Dutch father and a Japanese mother, made the decision to 'go nude', her popularity rocketed.

Mr Miyazawa, who is no relation, even used her picture on political pamphlets for his own campaign last year. Ms Miyazawa was flattered: 'Even though he is not my relative, I like him very much,' she gushed. She is currently starring with Arnold Schwarzenegger in a TV commercial for a health drink, as well as playing a leading role in a film called Erotic Relations.

(Photograph omitted)

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Manager

£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity to...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Manager - Production

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Trainee Managers are required to join the UK's...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Manager

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will maximise the effective...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + uncapped commission : SThree: Hello! I know most ...

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss