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)

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Sport
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
Gabriel Agbonlahor, Alexis Sanchez, Alan Pardew and Graziano Pelle
footballAfter QPR draw, follow Villa vs Arsenal, Newcastle vs Hull and Swansea vs Southampton
News
news
New Articles
i100
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
New Articles
i100... with this review
Voices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
New Articles
i100
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
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

Cover Supervisor

£75 - £90 per day + negotiable: Randstad Education Group: Are you a cover supe...

Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

Marketing Executive (B2B and B2C) - Rugby, Warwickshire

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...

SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam