Daughter of a Famous Kohaku Singer Confesses Her Life as a Sex Toy, Drug Addict and More
Nonfiction writer Kota Ishii delves into the depths of Japanese society!
There is a singer who dominated the NHK Kohaku Uta Gassen (Red and White Singing Contest) by appearing twice. She spent a glamorous life in the spotlight, appearing in movies, on TV, and on stage.
But behind the scenes, her only daughter has been addicted to methamphetamine for more than 20 years since her teenage years, and has spent her life as a sex toy for gang members.
In her daughter’s words.
I was on methamphetamines from my teens all the way through my 40s, and even as a teenager I had my share of dealings with the yakuza, being taken around, being caught, and going to jail. I know that my life was not unrelated to the influence of my mother, who was a singer. I can no longer see or talk to that mother, but…”
The breakdown of celebrity families and parent-child feuds have been reported in various forms. However, it is very rare for the children themselves to tell everything nakedly, including the crimes they committed and their relationship with gangsters.
By listening to his words, we would like to look at the state of an era and the state of a family.
Favored by Masao Koga:
It was 1974 when Kahitomi Takano (pseudonym) was born in a hospital in Shinjuku, Tokyo.
Her mother, Ukiko Kagurazaka, was called “the last geisha singer,” and she participated in the NHK Kohaku Uta Gassen in 1958 and 1961. Her representative songs include “Jyukyu no Haru” and “Shamisen Hula,” and she also appeared in many movies during her peak years in the 1950s and 1960s.
Originally, geisha singers were geisha who sang songs in the Hanamachi district. Some singers even made their debut there. In the postwar period, however, singers who sang while dressed as geisha without previous geisha experience came to be called geisha singers in the same way, and they became the rage.
Ukiko Kagurazaka admired Hanko Kagurazaka, who had gained popularity as a student, and dropped out of high school to become a singer.
Kagurazaka Hanko was a singer who debuted under the favor of composer Koga Masao (National Honor Award), who was active before and after World War II. Ukiko became a student of Koga and debuted as a geisha singer in her teens as Hanko’s younger sister, making her first appearance in the NHK Kohaku Uta Gassen at the age of 20.
Her first marriage was to an ordinary man when she was 25 years old. Soon after, a child was born, but they divorced due to a discrepancy in their finances. She liked to act as a celebrity and would sometimes waste more than her husband’s monthly salary in a single day, which apparently caused a strain in the marriage.
Ukiko then became pregnant while dating a pimp-like man and remarried. The baby born at this time was the aforementioned Kahitu Takano.
Soon after the birth of Kahitomi, the two divorced. Her husband created huge debts in Ukiko’s name and disappeared. Ukiko sold her house in Shinjuku to pay off the debt.
Kahitomi tells us, “My mother was an entertainer at the time of her second marriage.
My mother had retired from show business by the time of her second marriage, so she lost her house and all her savings to pay off her debts. So she had to raise my brother-in-law, who was in elementary school, and me, a young child, as a single mother.
I don’t know how she made ends meet. I think she probably used her old fame to do some kind of business around here and there, and got some kind of patron to support her.
Ukiko moved every two years to renew her apartment. At home, she hired a housekeeper to take care of her children and did not come home very often.
She probably had a business in the nightlife district or met with patrons to earn a living.
According to Kahitomi, she never once felt like a mother to Ukiko. She was a woman who abandoned the role of mother and lived as a celebrity.
Her daughter was just an accessory when she went out.
For example, when Ukiko took Kahitomi to the stage, she dressed in brand-name clothes and gave her daughter her own expensive bag. Wherever they went, Ukiko would act all fancy and show off how well she and her daughter got along.
However, once he returned home, he became a different person, taking the bag from his daughter and refusing to make eye contact with her. She often does not even respond when her daughter speaks to her, and she refuses to buy her clothes or shoes. To her, her daughter was nothing more than an “accessory” that she wore when she went out.
Kahitomi says, “My mother was only interested in herself.”
“My mother was only interested in herself and never cared about me, her daughter. When I would go outside, I would say, ‘I’m off,’ but she would not respond, so I would make it a habit to close the door as hard as I could to get her to notice me. It has been that way ever since I can remember, so I have never felt happy when people around me call me ‘Kagurazaka Ukiko no Musuko’ (daughter of Kagurazaka Ukiko).”
Although her life was supported by her housekeeper, she must have been in a state of mental neglect.
In addition, Kahitomi had another emotional trauma: she had been sexually misbehaved with twice, once when she was about four years old and again when she was in the second grade of elementary school, by a strange man. For Kahitomi, who never knew her father, the sexual assaults by adult men were traumatic and have haunted her to this day.
Ukiko, as a mother, did not pay attention to her daughter’s emotional trauma. As an elementary school student, she told her, “I have my own life.”
I have my life and you have yours. I will not interfere in your life, so you will not interfere in mine!
Hearing these words, Kahitomi was confronted with the fact that there was a definite gap between her and her mother.
Why did Ukiko turn away from her own child to such an extent? Kahitomi believes that her many experiences of betrayal may have made her do so.
Having gained fame at a young age, she was almost completely insulated from her relatives due to financial and other troubles. On top of that, her husband betrayed her and got her property.
Also, when Kahitomi was in elementary school, Ukiko had to undergo treatment for uterine fibroids and was accompanied to the hospital. At that time, Ukiko had written on her medical questionnaire that she had been pregnant seven times and given birth twice. That must have been how many men had played with her in her life.
Kahitomi believes that this led Ukiko to close her heart to even her own daughter and live only for herself.
In the fifth grade of elementary school, this life suddenly changed.
Suddenly, Ukiko moved alone to an apartment in an upscale residential area in Tokyo. The apartment was purchased by the president of a large company, who was her lover at the time. Naturally, it became the place for secret meetings with his mistress.
She could only see her mother when her lover was not around.
With this, Kahitomi and her brother were told to live in a nearby apartment with only their children. She was given money to buy food and could only visit her mother when her lover was not around.
By the time of her elementary school graduation, Kahitomi’s expectations of her mother had completely disappeared. She was more afraid of being betrayed and hurt by wanting something.
Her mother used her connections to send her to a private integrated junior and senior high school. The school had a dormitory, and she wanted to put her there. Perhaps the child became an obstacle in her life with her mistress. My brother, now a college student, was also forced to be independent.
Entering the dormitory of the junior high school and high school, Kahitomi’s attitude toward life changed abruptly. To put it simply, she became a “gregarious” child. It must have been a reaction to the lack of love from her mother.
In the first year of junior high school, she began smoking cigarettes, and in the second year of junior high school, she started using paint thinner. Eventually, he began skipping school and took the train to Shinjuku every day to buy paint thinner. He began dating a gangster he met there who was a trafficker.
“There were two trafficker yakuza living in the apartment. I started staying at their house instead of going back to my school dormitory. In addition to me, there was another yakuza woman, and various other yakuza came and went. I was a dealer, so when I wasn’t working, it was like I was smoking paint thinner all the time.”
If the daughter of a Kohaku singer lived in a place that was like an opium den for gangsters, that alone would be big news.
Her mother, Ukiko, learns of this fact, but takes actions that are generally unthinkable. We will see more about Kahitomi’s endless hellish days in Part 2.
[Part 2 : Daughter of Kohaku singer, “Mother with no mourners and her remains missing.”
Interview and text by： Kota Ishii
Born in Tokyo in 1977. Nonfiction writer. He has reported and written about culture, history, and medicine in Japan and abroad. His books include "Absolute Poverty," "The Body," "The House of 'Demons'," "43 Killing Intent," "Let's Talk about Real Poverty," "Social Map of Disparity and Division," and "Reporto: Who Kills the Japanese Language?
Images： Courtesy photo