Japan for the Uninvited

Japanese culture from a bemused foreign perspective

Rie Miyazawa

Rie Miyazawa, a precocious child actress, earned billions of yen from advertising campaigns before she was old enough to spend it.

This success was masterminded by her domineering mother (“Rie-mama”), who set up her own talent agency to protect her control over her daughter. She brought Rie up on her own after her Dutch father left.

Her popularity soared in 1992 after she stripped off for ‘Santa Fe’, a book of nude photos. The first of its type, it sold over 1.5 million copies in 3 months.

In October 2002, at her peak, she announced her engagement to Takanohana, an up-and-coming sumo superstar. However, the wedding was cancelled early in 1993, as the conservative expectations of the wrestler’s family clashed with the ambitions of Rie’s mother.

She attempted suicide in 1994, and early 1996 sought help for anorexia. Since then, she has started acting and presenting again, but her greatest days might be behind her.

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