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Noriko Sakai (酒井法子, Sakai Noriko; born February 14 1971) is a J-pop singer and actress. She was born in Fukuoka, Fukuoka Prefecturemarker, Japanmarker. She married in 1998, and has one son born in 1999. She is particularly popular in Hong Kong and Taiwan. Her best-selling single to date is .

Sakai released her debut single, "Otoko no Ko ni Naritai" (男のコになりたい, I Want to Be a Boy) on February 5, 1987, nine days short of her sixteenth birthday. Over 40,000 copies of the single were sold. In the early years of her career, she used the nickname NORI-P (のりピー), although around the mid-1990s she started to distance herself from it.

She recently re-emerged in the headlines again for a drug scandal in August 2009.

Career

Drug scandal

On August 2 2009, Sakai's husband, Yūichi Takasō (高相祐一) allegedly inhaled a small amount of stimulant drugs in a public lavatory, at a park in Tokyo's Minato Ward. The next day, Takasō's car, parked on a street in Tokyo's Shibuya Ward, was searched. In the car, 0.817 grams of stimulant drugs were found. On August 4 2009, Takasō was stopped by Tokyo Metropolitan Police while walking in public in Shibuya. When Takasō was subjected to a body search, stimulant drugs were reportedly found in his underwear. Takasō was immediately placed under arrest. Sakai was summoned to the scene of the arrest. She was asked to go to the police station for further questions and to submit to a urine test. Instead, she told the police she had to pick her 10-year old son up, and that she would go to the police station later that day. Sakai later disappeared with her son.

While Takasō was being questioned at the police department, he reportedly told the police he and Sakai were involved in drugs. As early as ten days prior to his arrest, the two of them used drugs while on a family trip to Amami Ōshimamarker in Kagoshima Prefecturemarker. At the time of Takasō's arrest, Sakai was living in her own apartment in Tokyo. While Sakai was away, the police searched Sakai's home, and reportedly found 0.008 grams of stimulant drugs, carefully wrapped in aluminum foil. An inhaler among the drugs was discovered to have Sakai's DNA. As a result, a warrant has been issued for her arrest. On August 5 2009, Sakai dropped her son off with an unnamed friend, purchased some underwear and other necessities from a store, and then disappeared.

Attempting to track Sakai down by cell phone, the police reported that her cell phone lost signal within the area of Yamanashi Prefecturemarker, about 60 miles (100 kilometers) west of Tokyomarker. Sakai later claimed that the cell phone was damaged, and threw the phone away. Police believe that the cell phone may contain information leading to the source of the stimulant drugs.

On August 7 2009, Sakai turned herself in to the authorities, and then was placed under arrest. The official charge against Sakai is "suspicion of possessing stimulant drugs," according to a Tokyo police official. She admits to the drugs being in her apartment, but did not admit to taking the drugs herself. She also said she kept the drugs in foil "to use them later."

On August 17 2009, a beach house in Katsuura, Chibamarker was also searched. A frequent location for both Sakai and Takasō the past five years, 0.097 grams of amphetamines and paraphernalia were found in the house. On August 21 2009, after admitting to the drugs found in the beach house, Takasō was served with a second charge for possession of stimulant drugs.

Drug testing and indictment

On August 9 2009 - two days after Sakai's arrest, a urine test result came up negative.. Light use of methamphetamine can only be detected in a urine test within one to four days after use. On August 19 2009, investigators announced that Sakai's hair tested positive for the stimulant drug, although the results were weak. Before Sakai was caught, she reportedly dyed and cut her hair; both practices would affect the testing results. Because of the positive result in the hair test, Sakai's jail time was extended another nine days - until August 28 2009.

On the final day of Sakai's detention, prosecutors officially indicted Sakai for alleged amphetamine possession, based on the evidence collected by the police. The fact that the drugs were carefully wrapped for later use was a deciding factor in the verdict. On September 10 2009, an additional charge of stimulant drug use was added. Sakai allegedly used amphetamines at a hotel during her visit with her husband and son, on Amami Ōshima Islandmarker in Kagoshima Prefecturemarker.

Sakai was released from jail after posting bail on September 17 2009. Accompanied by her attorney, and with Sun Music Vice President Masahisa Aizawa in attendance, she apologized to the public during a press conference. "My weakness caused me to give in to illegal drugs and caused grief to many people. I pledge to repent and atone for this crime for the rest of my life," she said. Sakai will be checked into a hospital to overcome her drug habit, and asked for restraint from the media during her recovery.

Sakai's first court date was held on October 26 2009 - drawing a crowd of 6,600 people outside of a Tokyo courthouse. Sakai pleaded guilty to drug use. Prosecutors suggested eighteen months in prison for Sakai, but on November 9 2009, the court delayed the jail term to November 9 2012, as long as she stays crime-free. Sakai is now attending Sōzō Gakuen Universitymarker in Maebashi, Gunma Prefecturemarker. She is studying welfare and nursing care.

Industry and consumer reactions

The drug scandal can potentially cost Sakai billions of yen in canceled contracts and other endeavors she was involved in prior. On August 6 2009, car manufacturer Toyota reportedly stopped showing a commercial, featuring Sakai, on its web site. Sakai's clothing line "PP rikorino", consisting of over 150 items were pulled from stores throughout Japan.

During the first week of the scandal, Apple Incmarker's iTunes Store rated Sakai's 1995 song Aoi Usagi the number one downloaded song. The rating is based on an eleven-day period. Other Sakai songs among the top 100 downloads include Kagami no Doresu (17th) and Sekaiju no Dare Yori Kitto (18th). On August 9 2009, Victor Entertainment, the distributor of Sakai's works, withdrew Sakai's CDs from stores, and suspended downloads of her songs. On-line stores such as Amazon Japan still sell Sakai's CDs and DVDs, despite increasing the selling prices as a result of Victor's move.

Immediately after the indictment announcement, Sun Music, the talent agency who has represented Sakai since 1986, suspended the contract. Sun Music president Masahisa Aizawa said, "We apologize from the bottom of our hearts for the alleged misdeeds of Ms. Sakai." Sun Music removed Sakai's official web site from its web server. Soon after Aizawa's announcement, he was demoted to vice-president. Chairman Hideyoshi Aizawa removed himself from the position, and is now an adviser to Sun Music, with no right to represent the firm.

Discography

Long playing releases

  • Fantasia - Noriko Part I
  • Yumeboken Noriko SPECIAL
  • Guanbare - Noriko Part II
  • Lovely Times - Noriko Part III
  • Blue Wind - Noriko Part IV
  • My Dear - Noriko Part V
  • Singles - Noriko Best
  • White Girl - Noriko Part VI
  • Sweet'n Bitter - Noriko Part VII
  • CD-File 1
  • CD-File 2
  • CD-File 3
  • Magical Montage Company
  • Sentimental Best
  • Manmoth
  • Singles - Noriko Best II
  • Anata-ga Michite Yuku
  • Natural best
  • 10 Songs
  • Watercolour
  • Youyenchi Enri (Mandarin)
  • Twin Best
  • In Snowflakes
  • Work out fine
  • Asian Tour Special ~ Asian Collection '98
  • Pure Collection
  • Single - Noriko Best III
  • Asia2000 - Work of Love
  • moments
  • Best Selections


Box sets

  • Noriko Box
  • Complete DVD Box


Original soundtrack contributions

  • Aim for the Top! Gunbuster (Active Heart)
  • Video Girl Ai (Ureshi Namida)
  • Hoshi no Kinka (Aoi Usagi)
  • Zoku Hoshi no Kinka (Kagami no DORESU)
  • Three Musketeers (Yume Bouken)


Singles

  • Otoko no Ko ni Naritai
  • Nagisa no Fantasy
  • NO.RE.na.i Teen-age
  • Yumeboken
  • Guanbare
  • 1 Okuno Smile - Please Your Smile
  • Nori-P Ondo
  • Happy Again
  • Honki o Dashite
  • Otogi no Kuni no Birthday
  • Love Letter
  • Sayonara o Sugite
  • All Right
  • Shiawasenante Hoshikunaiwa
  • Diamond Blue
  • Hohoemi wo Mitsuketa
  • Eve no Tamago
  • Anata ni Tenshi ga Mierutoki
  • Montage
  • Namida ga Tomaranai How!Aw!Ya!
  • Karui Kimochi no Julia
  • Nagisa no Pithecanthropus
  • Tabun Taboo
  • Anata ga Michi te Yuku
  • Egao ga Wasureranai
  • Sasowarete
  • Oh Oh Oh We are the Winners
  • Aoi Usagi
  • Here I am
  • Kagami no Doresu
  • Namida Iro
  • Yokogao
  • Pure
  • Words of Love
  • Miracle
  • Susume! Hakkushon Baby
  • Tenka Muteki no Ai
  • Sekai Jū no Dare Yori Kitto


Video

  • Guanbare CDV Special (mini laser disc)


Television dramas

  • Hitotsu Yane no Shita as Kashiwagi Koyuki, Fuji TVmarker 1993
  • Longing For The Old You, NTVmarker 1994
  • Watashi, Mikata Desu, TBSmarker 1995
  • Hoshi no Kinka (Heaven's Coins) as Kuramoto Aya, NTV 1995
  • Zoku Hoshi no Kinka (Heaven's Coins 2) as Kuramoto Aya, NTV 1996
  • Hitotsu Yane no Shita 2 as Kashiwagi Koyuki, Fuji TV 1997
  • Seija no Koushin, TBS 1999
  • Toi Shinseki Chikaku no Tanin, NHKmarker 1999
  • Tenshi ga Kieta Machi, NTV 2000
  • Honke no Yome, NTV 2001
  • Toshiie and Matsu as One, NHK 2002
  • Mukodono 2003, Fuji TV 2003
  • Fight as Kido Ayako, NHK 2005
  • Marumaru Chibi Maruko-chan as Okaasan, Fuji TV 2007


Filmography



Photo books

  • Let's Nori-P
  • Shuffle Heart
  • Blue Pearl
  • Aquarius
  • Zephoros
  • In Europe
  • In Greece
  • Comme Le Cinema
  • Shinin Run
  • Orange Hotel
  • Naturelle
  • Fizz


References




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