Ryoko Hirosue Prepares for Acting Comeback Amid Offers, Facing Major Issues Besides Affair | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Ryoko Hirosue Prepares for Acting Comeback Amid Offers, Facing Major Issues Besides Affair

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Ryoko Hirosue, who continues her relationship with Chef Toba, previously reported as her affair partner.

Ryoko Hirosue at an event in April. It had been about 11 months since her double affair with popular chef Shusaku Toba was reported in June 2011, but her fresh smile remained unchanged and on the surface she seemed to have completely moved past the affair.

Ryoko Hirosue made an appearance at an event in April. It marked her return to the public eye after approximately 11 months since reports emerged of her double affair with popular chef Shusaku Toba in June 2023. Despite the reports, her refreshing smile remains unchanged, giving the impression that she has completely moved on.

In the May 24th issue of FRIDAY magazine, Hirosue was photographed chatting with Chef Toba at a soba restaurant in Saitama Prefecture. Some weekly magazines even reported that they celebrated her birthday together with her children, suggesting that their relationship is still ongoing.

Moreover, in a survey conducted by FLASH magazine on female celebrities involved in affair scandals whom fans no longer want to support, Hirosue confidently claimed the top spot, surpassing Fukuhara Ai in third place and Erika Karata in second.

Amidst this, rumors are stirring around her.

While her appearance at the event could be seen as a return to work, the question arises regarding her original profession as an actress.

Hirosue has long been known for having overwhelmingly more male fans compared to female ones. This holds true not only among television staff but also in the film industry and advertising agencies.

“FLASH conducted a survey among 500 women, but it’s safe to say that Hirosue’s female fans are practically nonexistent. The same can be said for Erika Karata and Fukuhara Ai. They not only lack fans but also any interest or desire to support them.

If they were deliberately criticized, I think they would receive harsh backlash. Most of the people criticizing them online are either women or male fans feeling jealousy towards Chef Toba.” (Advertising agency representative)

Despite the affair scandal, the sentiments of Hirosue’s industry fans remain unwavering. These fans, mostly middle-aged or older, hold significant positions within the industry. This implies…

“Among Hirosue’s industry fans, including those in television, there are many middle-aged men who hold considerable influence. They have decision-making power and can, for example, decide to cast Hirosue in a drama.” (Same advertising agency representative)

While some fans may have distanced themselves due to the affair scandal, industry fans…

“Actually felt a sense of humanity and saw her grow as an actress.”

Their praises for her are only increasing. Indeed, contrary to public perception, voices from within the industry suggest that her return as an actress is imminent. In fact,

“It seems that CX (Fuji TV) offered her a role in a new drama last month. However, it appears she declined. Rumor has it that it was a role of a woman involved in an affair.

Surely, she herself hasn’t fully moved on from that yet. I also heard that she’s been offered a role in a movie starting filming in autumn. Nevertheless, the Hirosue brand seems to be alive and well.” (Key station producer)

It appears that the rumors of her return as an actress are indeed true. However, on the other hand, a female film writer suggests that even if she returns, she might not be able to maintain her popularity as before.

“The ‘Hirosue myth’ is undoubtedly strong. But I think it’s because she happened to be in good works so far. There were many voices saying, ‘It doesn’t have to be her’ rather than ‘It must be her’ regarding the roles she played.

We often hear ‘Hirosue is good,’ but it doesn’t seem to be referring to her acting skills, nor does it seem to be talking about her charm as an actress. In the past, there were big actresses like Yoko Yamamoto, Keiko Takahashi, and Yoko Shimada who had a scandalous reputation, but they were also talented actresses and exuded charm as actresses. It’s questionable whether Hirosue has reached that level.”

If the influential industry male fans leave the scene, there’s a considerable risk of the myth or brand collapsing. To prevent this, what should Hirosue do to revive herself as a talented actress in the future?

“The viewers who enjoy watching dramas are generally female. That’s why drama production sides tend to cast male actors or idol group members who are popular among women. So, conversely, there might be people who say, ‘I won’t watch that drama because Hirosue is in it.’

If they really want to cast Hirosue, it would be impossible for her to play innocent roles, so it might be better to have her play a thorough ‘hated character.’ If she can make drama fans really dislike her character, that could lead to popularity.” (Same key station producer)

Perhaps the role she declined was perfect for her current situation. Sometimes, the fish you let go might have been a big one.

  • Interview and text by Hiroyuki Sasaki (entertainment journalist) Hiroyuki Sasaki (Entertainment Journalist)

    Born in Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture. At the age of 31, he became a reporter for FRIDAY and has reported numerous scoops. Since then, he has continued to work mainly for weekly magazines. Currently he also appears on TV and radio as a commentator

  • PHOTO Kazuhiko Nakamura

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