What did “FRIDAY” report 10, 20, and 30 years ago? In this edition of “Playback Friday,” we take a look back at the topics that made headlines back then. This time, we bring you “Yuki Maeda and Yuta Tago ‘enjoying their love life in Utsunomiya'” from the October 25, 2001 issue, which was published 10 years ago.
It was in an unexpected place that this magazine discovered the popular female announcer who had left the company.
I am leaving TV Asahi to study abroad.
Yuki Maeda, then 32, left TV Asahi abruptly in March of this year. Many men may have been soothed by her soft smile on “Yabecchi F.C.”. She seemed to have gone abroad, but in fact, she was living a loving life in Japan with her rumored boyfriend.
On a Saturday in early October, a home game of the professional basketball team “Link Tochigi Brex (now Utsunomiya Brex)” was being held at a gymnasium in Utsunomiya, Tochigi. Among the spectators waiting for the game to start (tip-off), she was of course there. She used to be an idol announcer, but today she is wearing glasses and no makeup, so she doesn’t seem to be noticed by the people around her. She was staring at Yuta Tagase (then 33), with whom she has been in a relationship for ……5 years.
Tagase, the first Japanese NBA player, is a legend in the Japanese basketball world, so to speak, but he is not conceited at all. He is also very attentive to his fans and is well-loved in Tochigi.
It was Tagara’s birthday on the same day, but unfortunately, he could not celebrate with a white star. Nevertheless, Maeda’s expression was lively as she cheered him on during the game, holding her head in prayer and doing her best to cheer him on. After the match, she returned alone to her apartment in the city, and he went back to his room where Maeda was waiting for him.
When Tago left the room to go to the match the next day, Maeda popped out of the doorway and waved to him (see photo ). Tago smiled back at him. They looked like newlyweds. Maeda also cycled to the match venue on the same day, and met with Tago’s family. He joined Tago’s relatives and cheered for the team. The team lost again, but Maeda parted from them with a smile on her face and went back to her room where they lived together.
The article at the time introduced a comment from a TV Asahi official that Maeda was not actually studying abroad, but had quit TV Asahi in order to live together with Tagase. As far as this magazine could see, the two looked like a newlywed couple, but in response to this magazine’s interview, the team’s PR person replied, “We are not married yet, and we have not heard that there are any plans to get married. Also, Tagase himself told Sankei Sports, “We are not living together. She just comes and goes. （It isalso true that she was studying abroad. I’m concentrating on playing now.
It was reported that the two broke up around the beginning of 2002. The reason was said to be a difference in their views on marriage.
In the June 26, 2003 issue of this magazine, we found Maeda working at a flower shop in Tokyo and interviewed her directly. At that time, Maeda said the following.
I have been working here since last February because I wanted to study flowers. （When I studied abroad in England for four months (after quitting TV Asahi), I went to a flower school in London while attending language school, and I also went on garden tours in the provinces. Now I hope to make flowers my life’s work. I have no intention of going back to being an announcer.”
When I pointed out the ring on her left ring finger, she also revealed that she was planning to marry a man in July.
True to her word, Maeda married a college classmate in July 2003, and they later had two boys. In terms of work, Maeda became an independent floral artist, launching her own floral brand “gui” in 2006, and in 2009, she opened her own store, “NUR,” in Jingumae, Tokyo.
She continues to look forward to her past loves as a passing phase.
PHOTO： Shima Sota