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Actress Makiko Esumi announces retirement from showbiz; denies affair rumors


Japanese actress and TV personality Makiko Esumi, 50, announced on Monday that she will be retiring from the show business world, citing personal reasons and denying a magazine report that she is involved in an extramarital affair.

In a fax message sent to the media by a representative, Esumi said that she has decided to retire from showbiz to “reflect on herself,” and focus on her family, Fuji TV reported.

“I have been working during most of the milestones in my life -- the birth of my children and their growing up. Now it is time for me to take a pause and devote my life to things that only I can do. I have therefore come to this conclusion (to retire from acting and TV),” the statement said.

The statement further denied the accuracy of an article appearing in the Tuesday issue of a weekly magazine which speculates that Esumi, who has been married for 14 years -- her second marriage -- is involved in an extramarital affair with a man she meets frequently.

“I am not involved in an affair. The man described as my partner in the upcoming article is a business associate,” the statement said. “We are preparing to take legal measures (against the magazine), which is reporting something that is absolutely not true.”

The message also confirmed that Esumi and her husband, director Shin Hirano, live apart, but that this is only “due to work and lifestyle preferences." She denied any plans for a divorce. The couple have two children, a boy and a girl.

Esumi is mostly popular for her role as a mini-skirted “office lady” in the Fuji TV series “Shomuni,” which became a huge hit in the late 1990s. She has starred in seven movies and has appeared in a number of TV dramas and popular variety programs. Esumi is also a winner of 14 showbiz and acting awards, including a “Best Mother Award” in 2010.

In 2014, the actress became indirectly involved in a major scandal caused by her then-manager, who was caught spraying “idiot” and “stupid son” graffiti on the newly built house of former baseball star and actor Kazushige Nagashima. A number of tabloids reported that Esumi had ordered the manager to commit the vandalism, but it was later revealed that she herself learned of the incident through the media and was not involved. The manager later apologized to Esumi for his actions.

Fans were quick to react to Esumi’s retirement, with most of them saying that they regret to see her leaving.”She has been one of the few TV personalities who say things as they are without faking it just to be liked. It’s a pity,” a fan said.

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-4 ( +6 / -10 )

She doesn't look 50! Business associate... yeah right!

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

Wait, she's 50?! Wow.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

I always had a soft spot for her, since Shomuni, and a movie she did by Koreeda Hirokazu called Maborosi. She does seem like a genuine person, and her words here do nothing to detract from that. She seems like a smart, sensible, decent woman, and the press should leave them be.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

If that's a recent pic of her, she looks super young. She looks about 30 in that pic.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Darn you, marcelito! :-)

I was going to say that her not having an affair with me provides some evidence to support her claim.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I think Hara Setsuko just disappeared. I could be wrong but I doubt she announced it. She just stopped. What's the point of the announcement? And, if you're going to sue, just do it. Seems like narcissism a little run amok. Um..not that I know who this person is...maybe her output is so weighty that we need the announcement to help us through the shock of her absence?

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

She has the right to do as she pleases without explanation to anyone for her personal life. I think the media takes famous peoples lives and exploit them way too far past personal comfort. She has made many wonderful dramas, movies and has been on many shows giving people 30 years of entertainment. What she wants to do in her free time is up to her with no reason for explanation! How many famous actors and actress in the US do not see for many years and then boom, they are in another movie. I feel like Japan is a very insecure country and has to put everything into a detail manner pertaining to nothing particular but when it comes to things that actually matter, everything is not in detail and very vague to what will happen. Let her live and be with her family!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

She was great fun in Shomuni. That girl knows how to wear heels!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Greatly enjoyed SHOMUNI perhaps she can be persuaded to reappear from time to time.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I like her. Hope she comes back.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Esumi was fantastic in Maboroshi.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

This is a pr tactic used when ratings fall and is short lived

0 ( +0 / -0 )

had the hots for her when I first came to Japan many years ago, 50! damn that's one yummy mummy right there

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Huge fan of this amazing lady. Screw the haters.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Why she didn't have a lawyer take care of it is a mystery so there may be more to the story.

because they were having an affair

0 ( +0 / -0 )

what a sweetie, wow. I remember her way back for the film festival movie Maborosi ;) Too bad she felt forced out or at least indignant of an industry that rife with rumour and against successful women.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I recall her being the campaign girl for the Japanese Pension System back in the late 90s and the media later found out and published that she was not paying into her own pension account. She is aging very well by this photo.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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