Ken Watanabe talks to reporters during the press conference on July 15 in which he admitted having had an extramarital affair. Photo: YouTube
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Ken Watanabe admits having had extramarital affair

32 Comments

Popular actor Ken Watanabe, 57, has publicly admitted that he had been in an extramarital affair as rumored since earlier this year.

The actor, wearing a gray suit and a black tie, appeared in front of journalists at a press conference in Tokyo on July 15, approximately four months after the news of the affair first broke in tabloid magazine Shukan Bunshun in March.

“Most of what is written in the (Shukan Bunshun) article is true,” Watanabe told reporters, after apologizing for taking so long to talk about the matter. “I am deeply sorry for making my fans, supporters and work-related staff worried over my frivolous actions. Above all, I am deeply sorry for having hurt my wife.”

The March article, which reported on Watanabe seeing an unnamed 36-year-old Japanese woman in New York, caused a major stir in the Japanese media and a crack in Watanabe’s presumably “ideal” marriage with actress Kaho Minami, 53.

Watanabe and Minami have been married since 2005, and have been looked upon as one of the most stable couples in the Japanese show business world, having undergone major health issues together, including Watanabe’s battle with leukemia in 2016.

The March article, however, showed Watanabe — known for his roles in The Last Samurai, Inception and the Broadway musical The King and I — holding hands with the woman in Central Park in New York. The photo was reportedly taken in mid-February. Other photos showed the two taking a selfie and having dinner at a restaurant.

The magazine also reported that the two had been together for over three years, though Watanabe said that “it wasn’t continuing for the entire time,” suggesting that they were seeing each other on and off during this time. Watanabe’s affair was supposedly taking place in the same time when his wife, Minami, was fighting an early stage of breast cancer that she was diagnosed with in February 2016.

Watanabe and the woman reportedly met in Osaka while he was filming. According to the Shukan Bunshun article, she is a jewelry designer, who used to work as a hostess in Ginza.

The two are no longer together, Watanabe told reporters. However, when asked if he had real feelings for her, he did not deny it, but rather brushed the question off by saying, “I don’t think I could've been with somebody if I disliked them.”

Watanabe and Minami currently live separately. The actor told reporters he hopes to make it up to her. Asked if he was considering a divorce, he answered vaguely, saying “I’m not in a position now to talk about this.” He gave the the exact same comment when he was asked if he still loved his wife.

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32 Comments
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I will never understand the "shock" fans "suffer" from when these stories break. Affairs are VERY common here. Why do they expect those who are famous and often away from home to be any different the thousands of husbands and wives in this country?

16 ( +17 / -1 )

He just wanted to feel young again. 8p

Agree, not sure why some people put others on a pedestal and don't see them as failable.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Monogamy isn't for everyone shocker!

7 ( +7 / -0 )

None of our business, it's between him and his wife.

12 ( +12 / -0 )

Isn't it a private matter between him and the wife?

I wonder if he desperately craves publicity for some reason after his recent performance in "Sea of trees" which has been mocked relentlessly and derided as one of the worst performances ever on screen. So shockingly bad, some people wonder if the whole thing was a wind up and wonder what has gone wrong with him. A drastic fall from grace, it seems he wants people to feel sorry for him. How sad.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

Thinking with little head never ends up good.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Marriage is for life, till death do us part, through the up and downs and ifs, buts, maybes. no excuses.

One of my favorite actors too. Betrayal...

-11 ( +3 / -14 )

I will never understand the "shock" fans "suffer" from when these stories break. Affairs are VERY common here. Why do they expect those who are famous and often away from home to be any different the thousands of husbands and wives in this country?

5 ( +6 / -1 )

I will never understand the "shock" fans "suffer" from when these stories break. Affairs are VERY common here. Why do they expect those who are famous and often away from home to be any different the thousands of husbands and wives in this country?

Affairs are very common in most societies, with certain factors making things worse i.e city vs country life, rich & famous, frequent travel etc.

Re fans being 'shocked' by the news, could because of this:

Watanabe’s affair was supposedly taking place in the same time when his wife, Minami, was fighting an early stage of breast cancer that she was diagnosed with in February 2016.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

It happened. He is dealing with it. It will have been hard for each of the three of them. The rest will be decided between husband and wife. I respect his honesty in the press conference above.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Re fans being 'shocked' by the news, could because of this:

Watanabe’s affair was supposedly taking place in the same time when his wife, Minami, was fighting an early stage of breast cancer that she was diagnosed with in February 2016.

Coping mechanism? Am neither condemning nor condoning but who knows what transpires when such an event like that occurs.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

"having undergone major health issues together, including Watanabe’s battle with leukemia in 2016."

Um, no. Watanabe first had leukemia in 1989, when he was still married to his first wife. He then had a relapse in 1994. In early 2016, he had surgery for stomach cancer and about a month later Minami had surgery for breast cancer.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

why do I have to know this? I don't want to know other people's business.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Naughty Boy But if not Having affection at home then a bit on the side is not the answer

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Oh my gosh! I just can't believe a star I really like is cheating on his wife. Back to reality - there is no such thing as an ''ideal marriage.'' What looks ''ideal'' to the outside observer is frequently a nightmare to one or both parties. These stars are not heavenly bodies, so, he must be human after all.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I don't get why this is front page news. Its tabloid journalism, what these people do with their personal lives are not anyone's business but theirs. The fact that they need to hold a news conference to "admit" something is ludicrous.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Silly man: never, ever admit to anything. (unless you are in the divorce court and have no choice.)

2 ( +3 / -1 )

tmarieToday 04:18 pm JSTI will never understand the "shock" fans "suffer" from when these stories break. Affairs are VERY common here.

Not just "here". Kind of like everywhere.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

It is OK.

People of his status and fame can allow themselves to use someone younger from time to time. As long as he keeps his acting cool and undisturbed...

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

All men will know a younger woman given the chance.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

In my observations, men who have plenty of money with frequent and extended overseas travel will tend to play around. 90% of them at the very least. Throw in being a celebrity, with all the extra female attention that brings, it's probably closer to 99.9%. At least the non-celebrities don't have paparazzi stalking their every move.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

he should have been more discreet then no problem.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

RecklessToday

he should have been more discreet then no problem.

How do you expect that animal in him to be discreet when confronted

with a young girl at her prime and oozing with beauty.

It is believed that man has two independent brains the one down there that controls the

shaft and the brain in the head that controls every other part of the body.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

You're scum, Ken. You made a conscious decision to betray. Admit it in those terms and be on your way.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Ummm is this really that surprising, Japanese male culture in general doesn't really seem to consider extra marital relationships an issue. If i was to name of the number of my girlfriends friends in their 20s and 30s having sexual relationships with Japanese married men mostly in their 50s i would run out of fingers to count them on. When you have a society geared towards men and in particular power for men in senior positions its not really surprising this is the result.

I don't know why people get married in Japan anyway, always seemed more like a business relationship then one of love.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

those six lady reporters surrounding Ken in the photo are all thinking "I wanna be next Ken!"

0 ( +0 / -0 )

drlucifer,

"How do you expect that animal in him to be discreet when confronted with a young girl at her prime and oozing with beauty."

Interesting that you consider a 36-year-old woman to be a young girl in her prime.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

those six lady reporters surrounding Ken in the photo are all thinking "I wanna be next Ken!"

Because that's all women want; isn't it? Not integrity or being treated as equals but rather as conquests and playthings.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Interesting that you consider a 36-year-old woman to be a young girl in her prime.

'Young' is relative. But women in their 30's are in their sexual prime.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

No need to apologize to fans, only the people involved who he hurt.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Wow, a celebrity had an affair. Say it isn't so. How could this possibly be true?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

She should just get a divorce!!!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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