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Friday, December 26, 2008

Ai Iijima Found Dead

Former talento Iijima Ai was discovered dead in her luxury Tokyo apartment yesterday afternoon. She was 36. A friend who had tried unsuccessfully to reach her for several days asked the building caretaker to let her in. They found Iijima lying face down on the floor of her living room. Local firefighters were on the scene minutes later and they reported that Iijima had been dead for several days. Police said there was no sign of a struggle and are investigating the death as either suicide or death from natural causes. The apartment is one of just four on the 21st floor of an office building minutes walk from the bustling Shibuya station.

The area is a mecca for the young girls and women among whom Iijima became something of a cult figure in the 1990s. A former porn star, she made a successful jump to the regular TV variety circuit. But rather than try and hide her colorful past she turned it into the autobiography "Platonic Sex," which sold over 1.7 million copies. In the book she revealed that she had suffered both abuse and rape. Royalties from the book and a movie spinoff, together with her regular TV appearances brought her considerable wealth. But she was plagued with health problems, which she cited as her main reason for quitting show business last year. In February she said she was taking medication for a "mild neurosis."

Through this and other occasional entries on her blog, "Porno Hospital," she kept fans up to date on her life and business dealings. She is said to have been planning to start a new business focused on selling condoms to women. She wrote extensively about World Aids Day at the beginning of this month and attended a related Rotary Club event in Tochigi Prefecture on December 6. A spokesman expressed shock at the news of her death, saying she had seemed in good form.

Source from japan-zone.com