Saturday, September 26, 2009
Bye-Bye Ai: Sad News From Japan With A Comic Book -- err, Manga -- Twist
What the Mayhem didn't know when first seeing Ai-chan, was that despite being only in her late teens or early twenties, the girl in the costume was already a lady with a past.
Iijima began her career in pornographic videos, but managed to escape into legitimate television by working her way up from the late night sexy shows to become a sought after panelist for prime time game and talk shows. Her autobiography, Platonic Sex, became an international best-seller and transformed her into an icon for a generation of girls in Hong Kong and Japan.
Over the years, the Mayhem admits to becoming less interested in Japanese pop culture. The glory days of creativity have been replaced by a numbing corporation-mandated sameness in product, whether talking about manga, anime, J-dramas, or even J-Pop. So he was shocked and saddened to read not long ago that Ai-Chan was found dead of pneumonia in her Tokyo condo on Christmas Day, 2008. Her death feels like the final closure on those halcyon days.