Kago Ai (加護亜依) is a Japanese pop singer, actress, author and former Guinness Book of World Records holder for the hula hoop.
At the age of 12, Kago was one of the four winners of the Morning Musume 3rd Tsuika Audition held by UP-FRONT AGENCY in 2000, which led to her admission into the popular girl group Morning Musume as a 4th generation member. In the same year, she became a founding member of Minimoni. In 2004, she graduated from both the groups and formed W with Tsuji Nozomi.
After a series of scandals, she was dropped by her agency. Kago is currently working towards rebuilding her career, but is still followed by scandal. In 2014, she formed a group called Girls Beat!! which she graduated from on February 29, 2016.
Kago Ai was born in Yamatotokada, Nara, Japan on February 7, 1988. Her mother's maiden name is Kago Aki. Her biological father's name is unknown.
On April 15, at age 12, Kago succeeded in being inducted into the idol group Morning Musume. She joined as a part of the fourth generation alongside Yoshizawa Hitomi, Ishikawa Rika and Tsuji Nozomi. Kago debuted on Morning Musume's ninth single, "Happy Summer Wedding," with her album debut on the group's fourth album, 4th Ikimasshoi!.
Kago and Tsuji met during the auditions and when they both found themselves in Morning Musume they became fast friends. The two were the youngest members in Morning Musume at the time and as such, took it upon themselves to become the hyperactive troublemakers of the group. Although at first, both girls were shy about being on camera, they soon warmed up to being recorded. Kago and Tsuji were accepted by Morning Musume's fans quickly and they ended up being dubbed "The Twins" due to their similar looks and personalities. The girls each developed a strong fan base, although fans found it difficult to think of one without the other. As well as being known as "The Twins," Kago and Tsuji were also known as "Two Top" as on the television special, Mecha-Mecha Iketeru!, they were both found to be the least knowledgeable when given surprise pop quizzes on several grade school problems, Tsuji being the least knowledgeable and Kago being the second least knowledgeable.
In June, Kago, alongside fellow 4th generation member Ishikawa Rika, joined the already-established subgroup Tanpopo. They teamed up with remaining members Iida Kaori and Yaguchi Mari forming the group's 2nd generation.
In late 2000, Yaguchi Mari had an idea for a subgroup whose members were 1.5 m (4 ft 11 in) in height or shorter. Yaguchi and Morning Musume's songwriter and producer, Tsunku, selected Kago Ai and Tsuji Nozomi to join the new subgroup, and the trio began performing in concerts as Minimoni. American-born Mika Todd of Coconuts Musume was later added into the group, and Tsunku made them official. Their debut single, "Minimoni Jankenpyon!," released in January 2001, became a #1 hit.
In July 2001, Kago participated in Hello! Project's 2001 shuffle unit event as a member of 3-nin Matsuri, competing against the other two units, 7-nin Matsuri and 10-nin Matsuri, for sales. 3-nin Matsuri's single, Kiss! Summer Party, was released on July 4, 2001, and the song outsold the other unit's singles by a wide margin.
In 2002, Kago participated in a drama alongside her fellow Morning Musume members titled "Angel Hearts." She also released a duo photo book with Tsuji Nozomi.
Kago continued as a member of Morning Musume during 2002, as well as in Minimoni. However, Tanpopo was reformed in July 2002 and Kago, Iida Kaori and Yaguchi Mari "graduated" from the group.
Kago participated in Hello! Project's 2002 shuffle unit event as a member of Happy 7.
In a surprise move by Tsunku, Morning Musume was split into two halves - Morning Musume Otome Gumi and Morning Musume Sakura Gumi - so that the large group could perform in smaller towns that could not hold the larger numbers the full ensemble needed. Kago was placed into Sakura Gumi and released two singles with the group before the groups merged together again in Spring 2004.
Kago participated in Hello! Project's 2003 shuffle unit event as a member of SALT5.
In May, under the arrangement of the Up-Front Works Agency, Kago and Tsuji formed a new pop duo, W, which eventually released a total of two albums and six singles.
In July, Kago and Tsuji's final single with Morning Musume, "Joshi Kashimashi Monogatari," was released.
In August, Kago Ai and Tsuji Nozomi graduated from Morning Musume together, whereas Minimoni went on an indefinite hiatus.
On February 9, 2006 it was confirmed that the magazine FRIDAY (the same one that prompted Yaguchi Mari's sudden departure from Morning Musume) would publish photos showing Kago smoking. The legal age for smoking in Japan at the time was 20, and Kago had just turned 18 two days prior to the incident. On February 10, Hello! Project issued a press statement saying that the singer had been suspended "indefinitely."
According to an interview in the March 9, 2007 issue of Friday, Kago revealed that she had been serving tea, answering phones and doing assorted secretarial work at the Up-Front Works Agency since January 23, 2007, when her employers found it fit for her to return to Tokyo, after she spent most of 2006 in seclusion at her family's residence in Nara.
In the same interview, Kago claimed to have undergone several changes in regard to her outlook on life, to have become more responsible. Additionally she met up with other members of Hello! Project for the first time at Yokohama Arena, after a lengthy period of time, though the group apparently couldn't quite recognize her at first, given the fact she had lost some weight.
The agency said that they were working on her comeback, though the details were not made clear.
On March 26, 2007 following a newly publicized scandal involving Kago dating a 37-year-old man, as well as smoking again, it was announced by Up-Front Works that her contract had been cancelled.
Message From Kawaguchi Yuukichi
|“To whom it may concern:
Regarding our client Kago Ai and the article in the weekly magazine that went on sale on March 26th, the information in the article has been verified with Kago herself, to our regret.
One year ago, when Kago was 17 and the smoking problem happened, we still considered her future in this company, and as punishment, she was imposed to house arrest in her parents' home. Seeing how she had progressed over that year, it was decided to start from scratch and start preparing for a comeback by bringing her to Tokyo and having her do clerical and other office duties, starting on January 23rd. Although this worked out well for two months, there was another incident and the comeback plan was abandoned. After consulting with the family, as she is a minor, it has been confirmed, and she has been released from her contract.
We're very sorry that it has come to this, and accept full responsibility.
We feel a renewed sense of responsibility for the future, especially when it comes to minors.
2007/3/26 Kawaguchi Yuukichi, Representative Director, Up Front Agency”
On May 5, the Tokyo Broadcasting System's newscast reported that Kago's mother was trying to sign her to a new talent agency in her hometown of Nara.
On August 25, an interview with Kago's mother in the magazine Josei Seven, revealed that after parting company with Hello! Project, Kago left Japan to reside in New York City.
Kago herself later revealed that she had actually not gone to New York, but rather to Los Angeles for three months because she felt like a criminal in Japan.
On April 6, it was reported by Yahoo! News that Kago was returning to the entertainment industry. Also, in an interview by OhmyNews, Kago admitted that she had started smoking to feel more like an adult, without realizing the impact it would have on her peers and young fans. She stated that the smoking scandal made her feel like a criminal in Japan, so she left the country and lived in Los Angeles with her boyfriend for three months in 2007, where she met many new people who encouraged her (including Winona Ryder) and was able to reflect on her situation and begin her new life. She also admitted to having considered suicide and inflicting injury upon herself by cutting her wrists with scissors. At the end of the interview, Kago states that even though she is now 20 years old and can legally smoke cigarettes, she no longer does or has any desire to do so.
On April 24, Kago announced on her personal blog, "Biscuit Club", that she would appear in Hong Kong movie Kung Fu Chef with Sammo Hung.
In October, it was officially announced that Kago would be a presenter on the SKYPerfecTV! Awards 2009 which would air on November 12.
On December 21, Kago opened up a Twitter account.
2009: Second Scandal
In January, FRIDAY reported a romance between Kago (20) and actor Mizumoto Hidejiro (33), but the rumor was denied by Kago's agency at the time. The matter surfaced again in March, as Mizumoto's ex-wife was seeking damages against both Mizumoto and Kago.
Mizumoto and his wife, Asato (25), had divorced on January 8, before the FRIDAY article had appeared. But Asato claims that the reason for their divorce is that Mizumoto and Kago were having an affair. As a result, she was seeking monetary damages, reportedly on the order of 10 million yen from Kago and 50 million yen from Mizumoto. She was also asking for some of Mizumoto's assets and child support for their three children. The judge had apparently already received Asato's claim, which meant that the matter would be taken to court if it was not settled.
Kago met Mizumoto through his mother, the psychic Shimo Yoshiko, whom Kago had often consulted before her comeback to show business. The pair reportedly became intimate after working together on the movie "Benten-dori no Hitobito," which was released in April.
Asato planned to submit Mizumoto's script for Benten-dori no Hitobito as evidence. On the back, Kago wrote a message to Mizumoto, which included lines like "I love you" and "If we get married, I want to have a boy."
It was also said that Kago had been living with Mizumoto in his apartment in Kanagawa since the end of last year. Asato had obtained photographic evidence of Kago's underwear, clothes, cosmetics, and other items at the apartment.
In March 24, Kago released her first album AI KAGO meets JAZZ ~the first door~. The album sold 527 copies.
On August 27, the DVD of Kago's Hong Kong horror film, The Haunting Lover, was released. The movie, which chronicles the fictional story of a poor young man, Leung Kwong, and his struggle to save up to marry the woman he loves, Hsiao Chen (Kago), was met with fairly positive reviews despite having a fairly genre-typical plot.
On September 11, Kago held a solo concert at Webster Hall in New York City, which brought about 200 fans. Because it was held on this day, Kago gave a memorial comment in both English and Japanese. Earlier, in June, she had made a comment on her blog that she would like to live in the US someday.
On January 21, "Ai Kago meets Jazz~The First Door Live" DVD was announced and was set to be released March 23rd.
On February 2, Kago Ai started a blog on Diamond Blog. In this blog she put a gallery of pictures of herself.
Kago announced she would hold two charity events on June 5.
In June, Kago announced on her blog that she left R&A Promotions Co.,Ltd in November of 2010 due being unhappy with the direction of her work and was looking for a new agency.
On September 6, Kago's boyfriend Ando Haruhiko (44) was arrested on suspicions of attempted extortion, after allegedly threatening a man he owed 20 million yen to, saying that he had close affiliations with the Yamaguchi-gumi Yakuza boss. Ando denied the allegations and Kago herself was taken in for questioning.
On September 11, Kago was hospitalized in stable condition after an apparent suicide attempt. In the afternoon, Kago hinted at suicide during a phone call with her agency officials, who immediately called emergency services to her apartment, where she was found on the floor in a haze, with cuts to her wrist. It was suspected that she also consumed large amounts of medication, and the police investigated this as a planned suicide.
On December 6, the president of Kago's agency told Sankei Sports that he planned to sue Kago for 100 million yen in damages. “She cancelled her last job at the last minute and it has been about a year since we’ve truly been able to contact her. Since we love her as a child, we patiently waited for her to come back, but even we have our limits. The lawsuit is for the damages she’s caused the company by canceling her activities and breaking off her contract, which was good until the end of March 2013. It’s likely she has caused more than 100 million yen in damages. I want to hear what she says firsthand before the end of the year in the courtroom.”
On December 21, Kago announced through her blog that she had registered her marriage and discovered that she was pregnant. She thanked fans for watching over her, but no further details were revealed.
In May, Kago promoted dandelion-tea, and talked about its benefits on pregnancy.
On August 15, she announced on her blog that she transferred to a new agency.
On October 7, Kago announced on her blog she will be forming a 4 member girl group, the 1st member being herself. The auditions would be held to recruit two to four other girls within the 15-21 age range. The group would be crowd-sourced using lyrics, music, and costume ideas submitted by fans, as well as online voting.
In June, it was announced that her girl group is called Girls Beat!!. They would be releasing their debut single "Sekai Seifuku" on July 22.
On October 24, it was reported that there was an arrest warrant out for Kago's husband on charges of loansharking. According to the Tokyo Metropolitan Police, her husband had lent an individual ¥2,500,000 at an illegally high interest rate in September 2013. As a result, Kago and Girls Beat!! halted all activities.
In March, she was spotted without her wedding ring and reportedly met with a divorce attorney.
On April 3, Kago confirmed on her blog that she was filing for divorce from her husband. Once divorced, she planned on resuming activities. However, on April 18, it was reported that Kago "had no money" and the divorce was called off.
On June 11, it was reported that her husband had been arrested for domestic violence on June 9 stemming from an incident on May 12 in their Roppongi home where he allegedly shoved and kicked her, leaving her with injuries that took ten days to heal. Kago agreed to drop all charges in exchange for a divorce, and the divorce was finalized later that month.
On August 29, Kago was announced as the special guest judge for the final round of entrepreneur Horie Takafumi's idol audition that would take place on Horie's Ameba livestream channel on September 10.
In February, Kago collaborated with the entertainment group Bokura no Zaidan for the track "XXX".
From March 7 to 12, Kago performed in the stage play Do You Know ~Desperado~ alongside Bokura no Zaidan.
On June 15, it was announced that Kago would make an appearance at the Hello! Project 20th Anniversary!! Hello! Project 2018 SUMMER concerts held on August 25 and August 26 as part of a guest list featuring former Hello! Project members, marking her first UP-FRONT GROUP related activity in over 11 years.
In September, Kago again collaborated with Bokura no Zaidan for their song "Hai & Rou ~Umarete kite Gomennasai~". The music video was uploaded to the band's official YouTube channel on September 3.
From September 25 to 30, Kago participated in the stage play Play ~kill time for xxx~ alongside Bokura no Zaidan.
From October 6 to 7, Kago starred in Watashi no Shiranai, Watashi no Jijou.
On May 5, Kago announced on her blog that she had formed a new unit with Bokura no Zaidan, who she had frequently collaborated with throughout 2018, under the name Watashi to Bokura no Zaidan and that she would be in charge of the unit's planning and production.
On August 25, it was announced that Kago Ai had cancelled her contract with her management agency upon not being able to reach an agreement on certain terms after three months of discussion.
Kago's mother is named Aki. Her father's name is undisclosed. She has three younger brothers and a sister. Her mother got married at 17 and gave birth to Kago at 19. However, she was divorced before Kago was a 1 year old. She remarried when Kago was in fifth grade, and had three children together with her second husband since then. It was just before Kago joined Morning Musume that she was told about the existence of her real father. She thought that her "father" was the one who had always been with her ever since she could remember.
In March 2000, she had to move to Tokyo with her grandmother, Aki's mother, in order to continue her work in show business. She gave birth to a son on February 23, 2017. His name was later revealed to be Yoshitsugu (義継).
On December 20, 2011, it was announced that Kago had married a person she knew for some time (Ando Haruhiko, a restaurant owner) and was pregnant. They divorced in June 2015.On August 8, 2016, Kago announced that she registered her second marriage a few days before. It is the first marriage for her second husband, who is an ordinary man 10 years her senior and manages a beauty-related company.
Kago's given name, "Ai", is a homonym for love (愛; ai). Kago has sometimes said in interviews that she was named that by her parents because she was conceived out of wedlock. Written "亜依" it has no real meaning.
- Name: Kago Ai (加護亜依)
- Nicknames: Aibon (あいぼん), Kago-chan (加護ちゃん), Aipi, Ai-chan
- Birthdate: February 7, 1988
- Birthplace: Yamatotakada, Nara, Japan
- Blood Type: AB
- Height: 155 cm (5 ft 1 in)?
- Weight: 39 kg (approx. 86 lbs)
- Western Zodiac: Aquarius
- Eastern Zodiac: Rabbit
- Hello! Project Status:
- 2000-04-16: Morning Musume Member
- 2004-08-01: Graduated Morning Musume
- 2006-02-09: Suspended
- 2007-03-26: Fired
- UP-FRONT AGENCY Status:
- 2000-04-16: Member
- 2006-02-09: Suspended
- 2007-03-26: Fired
- Years in Morning Musume: 4 Years
- Former Sakura Gumi Color: Red
- Girls Beat!! Color: Blue
- Hello! Project Groups:
- Shuffle Groups:
- Concert Units:
- Other Groups:
- Girls Beat!! (2014-2016)
- Watashi to Bokura no Zaidan (2019)
- Main article: Kago Ai/Discography
- [2009.06.24] no hesitAtIon
- Solo Songs
- [2002.12.04] Hello! Project Douyou Eizou Shuu ~Ponkikies21~
- [2003.05.01] Atarashii Douyou
- [2004.xx.xx] Morning Musume Tsuji☆Kago Sotsugyou Memorial
- [2008.11.28] Kago Channel (DVD) (Vol.1)
- [2008.12.19] Kago Channel (DVD) (Vol.2)
- [2009.02.20] Gekkan Kago Ai - marionnette
- [2009.02.20] Micchaku Kago Ai
- [2009.10.25] Kago Ai VS. FRIDAY (DVD) (加護亜依 VS. FRIDAY)
- [2010.03.25] LOS ANGELES
- [2011.04.13] AI KAGO meets JAZZ ~The first door Live~
- Main article: Kago Ai/Publications
- [2003.11.22] KAGO ai → GO ON THE JOURNEY!
- [2009.03.08] Gekkan Kago Ai SUPER CARGO
- [2009.08.27] Kinyoubi (金曜日)
- [2010.03.25] Los Angeles
- [2008.08] Kago Ai LIVE ~Kago Ai no Miseinen Hakusho (published by メディア・クライス in August, 2008, 175 pages. ISBN 978-4778803384)
-  Pinch Runner (Brief appearance just before the credits, with other 4th gen members.)
-  Tokkaekko
-  Minimoni the Movie Okashi na Daibouken!
-  VICTORY! Futto Girls no Seishun
-  Ju-on: Kuroi Shoujo
-  Deng Zhe Ni Hui Lai
-  Kung Fu Chefs | Gong fu chu shen
-  Benten dori no hitobito
-  Hana Oni
-  Nikushokukei joshi
-  The Haunting Lover
- [2000–2006] Hello! Morning (ハロー! モーニング。)
- [2000-2006] Utaban
-  Bishoujo Kyouiku (Ayaka's Surprise English Lessons)
-  Bishoujo Kyouiku II (Ayaka's Surprise English Lessons)
- [2002-2004] TinTin TOWN! (ティンティンTOWN!)
-  Futarigoto (二人ゴト)
-  Marco Polori
-  Yoru wa Bijo Bana (夜は美女バナ)
-  Kochira Dai-san Shakaibu
-  Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo (時をかける少女)
-  Kochira Hon Ikegami Sho
-  Tou-san no Natsu Matsuri
-  Mikeneko Holmes no Hanzaigaku Kouza (三毛猫ホームズの犯罪学講座)
-  Liliput Oukoku (リリパット王国) (Voice actor)
-  Angel Hearts
-  Minimoni de Bremen no Ongakutai
-  Tonsure (NTV)
-  Nihonshi Suspence Gekijō (日本史サスペンス劇場)
-  Ikemen Shin Sobaya Tantei (イケ麺新そば屋探偵)
-  Hamtaro Movie 1: Adventures in Ham Ham Land (voice of Ai)
-  Hamtaro Movie 2: The Captive Princess (voice of Ai)
-  Hamtaro Movie 3: Miracle in Aurora Valley (voice of Ai)
-  Glico Mousse Pocky
- [2008-2009] Kago a yo no girl LOVE toku (加護亜依のガールズLOVEトーク)
-  Gekkan kago SPA! (月刊 加護SPA!)
-  Gekkan! Kago-chan neru (月刊!加護ちゃんねる)
- [2000-2002] Tanpopo Henshubu OH-SO-RO! (タンポポ編集部 OH-SO-RO!)
- [2001-2003] Minimoni. no Minna HAPPY! (ミニモニ。のみんなHAPPY! )
- [2003-2004] Young Town Douyoubi (ヤングタウン土曜日)
-  Fushigi Shoujo Tantei Cara & Mel, Ma no Violin Dounan Jiken
As a Hula Hoop Performer
Kago and Tsuji shared the world record for the largest hula hoop spun at 4.08 m (13 ft 4+1⁄2 in) in diameter. They set their record on January 1, 2004, during a live New Year's Day television special at Nippon Television Network, Tokyo, Japan. The record appeared in the 2005 and 2006 editions of the Guinness Book of World Records and was the second time that she and Tsuji have held the record, having previously held the record between January 2003 and June 2003. The record was eventually broken by Ashrita Furman (USA) in September 2010.
As an Author
On August 25, 2008, Ai Kago released a book entitled "Kago Ai LIVE ~ Kago Ai no Miseinen Hakusho" On a July 13, 2008 post to her personal blog website, "Biscuit Club", Ai Kago describes the book as "a book where I talk to young teens about their various troubles and dreams. Idols-in-waiting, exchange students, high school girls, otaku. The teenage years can be tough, and I had a lot of troubles in those days. But it's important to break through those troubles."
- Kago was crowned the kusojo ("crap girl") of Morning Musume after finishing last in the Mechaike Okajo Taiikusai Special (also known as the Mechaike Okajo Sports Festival).
- She was commonly ridiculed for her weight on variety shows while in Morning Musume.
- A character she often draws is a cupid-like girl who is usually flying and winking. She uses it mostly for her signatures.
- According to Tanemura Arina, the hairstyle of Koyama Mitsuki from her manga Full Moon o Sagashite was modeled after Kago when she was in Minimoni.
- She was the youngest person to join Morning Musume, as she turned 12 just two months prior to joining. She held this record for 11 years, until Kudo Haruka joined in 2011, at the age of 11.
- Her Morning Musume mentor was Goto Maki.
- She is the fifth former Morning Musume member (with Tsuji Nozomi) to only graduate from Morning Musume and not Hello! Project. The others being Nakazawa Yuko, Goto Maki, Yasuda Kei and Abe Natsumi.
- YouTuber Magibon mentioned being a fan of Morning Musume and supposedly based her nickname, "Magibon" off of Kago's nickname "Aibon".
- In an appearance on Yoso de Iwantoite (October 29, 2015), she said that she had her first boyfriend at the age of 15, while a member of Morning Musume. He was 17, and a member of a popular boy group. Her friends would ship him in a box to her house so they could date discreetly.
|Youngest active member of Hello! Project
May 2000 – October 2001
|Youngest member of Morning Musume
2000 – 2001
|Youngest member to join Morning Musume
2000 – September 2011
|Youngest member of Tanpopo
2000 – 2002
|Youngest member of Minimoni
2000 – 2004
|Sub-leader of W
2004 – 2006
- Official Website "Aibonjour"
- Girls Beat!! Profile (archived)
- Former Official Website (archived)
- Diamond Blog (archived)
- Wikipedia: Japanese, English
|Hello! Project Shuffle Units|