Ryoko Shinohara, who also stars in the April drama “I’ve been kissed by many people”, on her way to becoming a great actress | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Ryoko Shinohara, who also stars in the April drama “I’ve been kissed by many people”, on her way to becoming a great actress

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In junior high school, she often hung out with a group of delinquents.

Ryoko Shinohara (co-starring with Bakarhythm) plays a writer who can no longer write novels in the drama “Yips” (Fuji TV), which will air from April. She has played a wide range of roles, from cool roles in “Unfair” (Fuji TV) and “Haken no Hinkaku” (NTV) to roles as a mother, and she is about to show us a new side of her. This range of acting may be due in part to the tumultuous path she has taken so far.

Shinohara was born on August 13, 1973, in Kiryu City, Gunma Prefecture. He describes his hometown as “konnyaku, leeks, and gambling,” and “pachinko is very popular. Also, boat races and auto races” (Weekly Playboy, March 25, 2003 issue). She has admired singers since childhood, especially Akina Nakamori, and often hung out with delinquent groups in junior high school, but she applied for an audition on her own and debuted as a member of Tokyo Performance Doll (TPD) in 1990.

Last fall, she starred in her first terrestrial TV drama in three years, playing the role of a lawyer (from the October 27, 2023 issue of “FRIDAY” / PHOTO: Hiroyuki Yagi).

I was kissed by so many people. So many that I don’t remember.”

While performing live as TPD, he also appeared on the legendary variety show “Downtown no Gottsu-eki” (Fuji TV). In the comedy, he put his body on the line, including being hooked on the nose, and even though he was physically touched and hit on the head by Hitoshi Matsumoto, Masanori Hamada, and others, he got through it with his guts. He later said, “A lot of people kissed me. I don’t remember how many people kissed me because there were so many.” Perhaps it was her natural competitive spirit that enabled her to overcome such a number of hardships that would be unthinkable in today’s world of compliance.

A major turning point for her came in 1994, when her single “Koishisato, Setsunasato, Kokoroikata,” produced by Tetsuya Komuro, became a huge hit, selling over 2 million copies. This song became the first million-seller of the Komuro sound that would later take Japan by storm. In 2011, he released “Koishisato, Sasenashisato, Kokkyo-kosatte 2023,” a retake of “Koishisato, Sasenashisato, Kokkyo-kosatte 2023” with vocals. She says that she still cherishes the song that changed her life. “My children always request me to sing ‘Koishisato~,’ so I definitely sing that song” (Weekly Post, August 31, 2006 issue).

Komuro and Shinohara’s first encounter goes back several years before the hit, when “there was a man (*Komuro) who had been staring at Ryoko since there were still only about 10 customers in Harajuku’s ‘Louido'” (View, January ’96 issue). Furthermore, Tetsuya Komuro, who would go on to become a hit maker of rare caliber, had the foresight to know that “when he shot the promotional video for TMN’s single ‘Love Train’ in 1991, he had already asked Ryoko by name to appear in the video” (Komuro).

Dating a hair make-up artist 15 years older than her…and an affair and a short-lived marriage

On the other hand, in her private life, she was dating a hair make-up artist 15 years older than her and was rumored to be close to marriage.

What happened during this time was an affair with Masachika Ichimura, and a short-lived marriage. In 2001, Shinohara and Ichimura performed together in the stage play “Hamlet,” which led to their rapid friendship. However, at the time Ichimura was married to an actress 14 years younger than him, also from the Shiki Theater Company, and she and Shinohara saw each other many times when she visited him backstage.

Eventually, Ichimura and she separated and divorced.’ In 2005, Shinohara married Ichimura and had two sons, and continued to be active as a mother and actress, starring in the “Unfair” series (Fuji TV) and “Haken no Hinkaku” (Haken’s Dignity), both of which became hits in rapid succession. Her image as an actress who plays the role of a “cool woman” became firmly established.

Shinohara expanded her activities from idol to singer to actress, and was recognized as a great actress and a good mother, but she divorced in 2009. Ichimura was granted custody of the children. Around the time of the divorce, Shinohara’s suspicions of infidelity surfaced. The other party was reported to be Gwang-su, a member of the Korean idol group “Super Nova,” again drawing attention to her alleged infidelity.

Nevertheless, Ryoko Shinohara’s reputation as an actress has not diminished, and in addition to starring in the drama “Goldfish Wife” (Netflix), she also sang the theme song for the first time in 19 years, demonstrating her presence in the industry.

In recent years, Shinohara has also played housewives and mothers, and in “Yips” she plays a novelist in a slump. This spring, we look forward to watching her acting and comedienne skills, which are sure to become even more polished.

  • Interview and text by Diceke Takahashi

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