Actress Mika Mifune, 33, held a news conference in Tokyo to announce that her divorce from Joji Takahashi, 57, guitarist and vocalist of rock band THE TRA-BRYU, had been finalized on March 29.
The couple, who had long been known for their happy marriage despite the age gap, announced they would be splitting up in January 2015.
Mifune filed for divorce, seeking full custody of their 11-year-old daughter, claiming that her husband subjugated her to emotional abuse, or “moral harassment.”
With her legal battles over, a beaming Mifune told media on Thursday, “I am overjoyed and relieved by the happy conclusion," Sports Nippon reported Friday.
Her lawyer, who was also at the news conference, stated that the divorce settlement was resolved “peacefully with Mr Takahashi." However, in regards to visitation rights, both parties agreed to prioritize their daughter’s feelings first. For the time being, Takahashi will not be able to meet with his daughter and, instead, will receive two color photographs of her twice a year.
In response to finally winning sole custody over their daughter, Mifune tearfully admitted, “I felt as though I had to be stronger than ever to protect my daughter.”
Looking back on her 17 years and 6 months of marriage, she added, “I’ve learned many life lessons.”
April 1, coincidentally, was the birthday of Mifune's father, the late Japanese actor Toshiro Mifune. “I’m pleased that my birthday present to my father will be this ‘good news,'" the actress said.
Mifune said she intends to continue residing in Osaka, where she initially moved with her daughter after separating from her husband in December 2013.
Takahashi first met Mifune when she was 13 years old and married her on her 16th birthday, the legal age for marriage, attracting massive media attention.
In 2011, during an interview about her marriage, Mifune said: “Being with an older man, you don’t get treated like a child even at the age of 16, so I had to try my best to grow up. When we were dating, we always went out together with my mother. But the first time just the two of us had a date, Joji turned to me at Shibuya crossing and just out of nowhere said, ‘Hey, why don’t we get married?’
“When we married, people were saying ‘You’re too young, it’s not going to work. It’s just going to end in divorce.’ So I thought I needed to grow up quickly, to become an adult. Of course, there was a big gap between my ideal of an adult woman and myself at that age.”
The couple became known as a happy couple and in 2011, were named as “Partners of the Year,” an award given to ideal married couples by online dating service O-Net. Theyt often appeared on TV shows together.
Sports Nippon, quoting Mifune’s friends, reported that things started to go sour when Takahashi ordered a “curfew” for his wife whenever he was at home. Even if Mifune was out at business-related events, she had to be home by a certain time. On the other hand, Takahashi would hang out with his friends until the next morning, leaving his wife at home.© Japan Today