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.© Japan Today