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At age 12, Kago won the 4th National Audition of Morning Musume held by the Up-Front Works Agency in 2000, which led to her admission into the extremely popular idol group as a 4th generation member. In the same year, she became a founding member of Minimoni. In 2004, she graduated from both the aforementioned groups and formed W with Nozomi Tsuji.
In 2006, photos of the under-age Kago smoking were leaked by the media. As a result, she was immediately suspended for one year by Up-Front Agency. In 2007, toward the end of her suspension, she was caught once again smoking. This resulted in her contract being terminated permanently.
On April 16, 2000, Kago, along with Rika Ishikawa, Hitomi Yoshizawa, and Nozomi Tsuji, were inducted into the idol group Morning Musume as its fourth generation. Their recording debut was in the group's ninth single "Happy Summer Wedding".
Kago and Tsuji's addition to the group received positive critical response. With an increasing fan base, they, along with fellow Morning Musume member Mari Yaguchi and Coconuts Musume member Mika Todd, formed a new subgroup named Minimoni. In addition to this, Kago was also admitted into established subgroup Tanpopo as a second generation member.
From 2001 to 2004 Kago participated in the annual Hello! Project shuffle units, being part of the smallest units the first three times (3-nin Matsuri in 2001, Happy 7 in 2002, and Salt5 in 2003) and joining the 46-member H.P. All Stars in 2004.
In August 2004, Kago and Tsuji graduated from Morning Musume together after Minimoni began their indefinite hiatus. Under the arrangement of the Up-Front Works Agency, Kago and Tsuji formed a new pop duo, W, releasing two albums and six singles together.
Guinness World Records: hula hoop performerEdit
Kago and Tsuji shared the world record for the largest hula hoop spun at 4.08 m (13 ft 5 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 Tsuji 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 2005.
Post-Hello! Project lifeEdit
On August 25, 2007, an interview with Kago's mother in the magazine Josei Seven revealed that after parting company with Hello! Project, Ai Kago left Japan and started residing in New York City.
On April 6, 2008, 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 begun smoking to feel more like an adult without realizing the impact it would have on her peers and young fans. She stated that she had actually not gone to New York, but rather to Los Angeles for three months in 2007 with her boyfriend. She said she took the trip because she felt like a criminal in Japan. While in LA 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 having inflicted self-injury upon herself by cutting her wrists. 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 July 4, 2008, in an interview with Akashiya Sanma, she stated that she had been in Kyoto filming for a movie about Princess Sen, followed by a joint Singapore/Hong Kong project.
In June 2011, Kago announced on her blog that she left R&A Promotions Co.,Ltd in November 2010 due to being unhappy with the direction of her work.
Book cover of Kago Ai Live—Miseinen Hakusho (ＬＩＶＥ—未成年白書?)On August 25, 2008, Kago released a book entitled Kago Ai Live—Miseinen Hakusho (ＬＩＶＥ—未成年白書?). On a July 13, 2008 post to her personal blog website, "Biscuit Club", Kago described 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, and 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."
Marriage and PregnancyEdit
On December 20, 2011, Kago announced on her blog that she registered her marriage earlier in the month and was pregnant. On one of her blog posts, she announced that she had given birth to her first child, a girl, on June 22, 2012.
On February 9, 2006 it was confirmed that the magazine Friday (フライデー?) (the same one that provoked Mari Yaguchi's sudden departure from Morning Musume) would publish photos showing Kago smoking. The legal age for smoking in Japan is 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–the very same magazine responsible for her suspension–Kago revealed 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 under house arrest at her family's residence in Nara.
In the same interview the young idol claimed to have had undergone several changes in regard to her outlook on life, to have become more responsible. Additionally she met up with the other members for the first time at Yokohama Arena, after a lengthy period of time, though the group couldn't quite recognize her at first, given the fact she had lost some weight.
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 Kawaguchi Yuukichi, the director of Up Front Agency that her contract had been canceled. An English translation of the announcement: 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. In 2009 it was alleged that Kago had a relationship with 33-year-old actor Hidejiro Mizumoto. Mizumoto's wife Asato sued them both, stating that she has proof of the affair and that it was the cause for her pending divorce. On May 24, 2009 a family court found in Asato's favor and ordered Mizumoto to hand over his home in Kumamoto and his car to Asato as well as 300,000 yen in child support every month for his three children.
Yakuza, Suicide AttemptEdit
In September 2011, it was widely reported that her boyfriend was arrested in relation to attempted extortion to bilk a portion of his own debt by saying that he had close affiliations with the Yamaguchi-gumi yakuza crime syndicate. Her boyfriend, 44, allegedly told the victim that he was "in friendly affiliation with the Kodo-kai", and police reported that her boyfriend actually had a close relationship with the boss of the Komatsu-gumi (an affiliate of the Kodo-kai). Kago has been taken in for questioning as well. On September 11, 2011, Kago was rushed to a nearby hospital after agency officials found her on the floor of her apartment with cuts to her wrists. It is believed to have been a suicide attempt. Her life was reported to be not in danger.
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.
|Release date||Title||Oricon Singles Charts||Album|
|June 24, 2009||"no hesitAtIon"||26||52||—||1757||—||—|
- AI KAGO meets JAZZ (March 31, 2010 P-Vine)
- Compilation Albums
- Kirakira Majocco Cluv (キラキラ 魔女ッ娘 Cluv?) (Various Artists, Feb 10, 2010 P-Vine)
|2000||Pinch Runner||cameo appearance|
|2002||Mini Moni ja Movie: Okashi na Daibōken!||Herself|
|2009||Kung Fu Chefs||Shum Ying|
|Benten-dori no Hitobito||Saku|
|Ju-on: Kuroi Shōjo||Yūko|
|Hana Oni (華鬼?)||Momoko|
|2010||Nikushokukei Joshi (肉食系女子?)|
|The Haunting Lover|
|2002||Angel Hearts (2002)|
|Kochira Hon Ikegami Sho (こちら本池上署?)||Yumi Shiina|
|2003||Kochira Hon Ikegami Sho 2 (こちら本池上署?)||Yumi Shiina|
|2004||Kochira Hon Ikegami Sho 3 (こちら本池上署?)||Yumi Shiina|
|Kochira Hon Ikegami Sho 4 (こちら本池上署?)||Yumi Shiina|
|Mini Moni's Brementown Musicians (ミニモニ。でブレーメンの音楽隊?)||Hinako Niwa|
|2005||Kochira Hon Ikegami Sho 5 (こちら本池上署?)||Yumi Shiina|
|2008||Tonsure (トンスラ?)||Mai Kurume||ep3,6,11–12|
|Nihonshi Suspence Gekijō (日本史サスペンス劇場?)||Princess Sen|
|2009||Ikemen Shin Sobaya Tantei (イケ麺新そば屋探偵?)||ep3|
|Kago Ai Live—Miseinen Hakusho (ＬＩＶＥ—未成年白書?)||August 25, 2008||Media Kreis|
|Kago Ai Shashinshū||November 11, 2003||Wani Books|
|Gekkan Kago Ai||January 23, 2009||Shinchousha|
|Gekkan Kago Ai -Super Remix||March 19, 2009||Shinchosha|
|Kago Ai Kinyōbi (金曜日 加護亜依写真集?)||August 22, 2009||Kodansha|
|Kago Ai Shashinshū LOS ANGELES (加護亜依写真集 『LOS ANGELES』?)||March 25, 2010||Air Control|
|Kago Channel (DVD) (Vol.1)||November 28, 2008||avex trax|
|Kago Channel (DVD) (Vol.2)||December 19, 2008||avex trax|
|Gekkan Kago Ai – marionnette||February 20, 2009||E-net Frontier|
|Micchaku Kago Ai||February 20, 2009||E-net Frontier||Originally released exclusively to Lawson convenience stores,|
Nationwide release July 30, 2009
|Kago Ai VS. FRIDAY (DVD) (加護亜依 VS. FRIDAY?)||October 25, 2009||GP Museum Soft|
|LOS ANGELES||March 25, 2010||Air Control|