Ai Iijima as a AV idol
|Birthdate||October 31, 1972|
|Birth location||Tokyo, Japan|
|Birth name||Matsue Ōkubo |
|Date of death||December 24, 2008 (aged 36)|
|Height||1.63 m (5 ft 4 in)|
|Ai Iijima at IMDb|
Ai Iijima (飯島 愛 Iijima Ai , October 31, 1972 – December 24, 2008) was a Japanese media personality and AV idol. She belonged to the entertainment agency Watanabe Entertainment until her retirement. 
Born as Matsue Okubo (大久保松恵 Ōkubo Matsue ), she described a troubled early life in her autobiography. She was raped in her early teens, and had an abortion, She ran away from home as a teenager, later stating, "I hated my parents, to the point where I would rather be coached by bums to sleep in parks wrapped in newspaper blankets."
In order to make a living during this time, Iijima worked in karaoke establishments, snack bars, Ginza hostess clubs, and in enjo kōsai (paid dating). She entered the entertainment business in her late teens, appearing on late night television programs wearing clothing such as thongs, short skirts, and even appearing topless with saline breast implants. Her stage name was chosen by a fan survey.
Iijima's adult video debut was in April 1992 for the Crystal-Eizou AV company. She quickly became the top AV actress of the time, appearing in over 100 films. She became a hostess on the nighttime television program, Gilgamesh Night, where she became known as the "T-Back Queen", for her practice of turning her rear to the camera, lifting her skirt and flashing her G-string, known in Japan as a "T-Back". One of the top AV models by the age of 20, with admitted breast implants, a nose job, eyebrow work and bottom work as well, she decided to leave the porn business, intent on a career in mainstream entertainment.
After ending her career in adult videos, Iijima released a musical single in 1993 and soon became a regular on daytime TV talk shows. Before long, she became one of the most successful tarento to make the transition from pornography into mainstream entertainment. She even provided the story for her own manga series, Time Traveler Ai, in which she was featured as the main character. Publicly, Iijima became known for her outspokenness and ability to speak frankly about her past and her personal life. Privately, a friend says, "At first glance, Ai looks like the really rough around the edges, but she's actually really sensitive, and she always thinks of others in ways like giving them little presents. She's that type..."
In 2000 Iijima published Platonic Sex, a semi-autobiographical novel about a young girl who leaves home to escape her parents and ends up as an adult movie star. The book was a best-seller, selling over 1.7 million copies. By 2004, the book had been translated into Korean, Chinese, Spanish and Italian, and an English version was being planned. She visited Taiwan in 2001 and was well-received by the media there. The novel was also made into a four-hour television series and a theatrical movie which Iijima supervised. Iijima's catch phrase, "watashi teki ni" ("my way"), became a popular catch-phrase due to the popularity of the book and film.
By 2002, Iijima had become a regular on several TV shows. With her pornographic past a decade away, Iijima was so well-known as a mainstream TV celebrity that many younger members of her audience were unaware that she had once been one of the top AV actresses. Items from her early career began going for high prices, and an unauthorized 2002 box-set release of her pornographic appearances sold very well, until her lawyers took it off the market.
Iijima's acceptance into the mainstream gave her access to the highest levels of Japanese society, including once having dinner with Junichiro Koizumi, who was Japan's Minister of Health and Welfare at the time. Iijima claims that on this occasion, the future Prime Minister discussed the sex life of dragonflies with her.
In November 2004, Iijima was invited to speak about her past at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan. Later the same month, she participated in a United Nations program in Tokyo on AIDS awareness in the week leading up to World AIDS Day on December 1, 2004.
After the difficulties of her early life, Iijima's career in mainstream entertainment had been remarkably free of trouble for over a decade until she was victimized by an embezzler at her talent agency, who took about 100 million yen from her. Late in 2006, she took two weeks off from her position as panelist on the Sunday morning TV variety show, Sunday Japon. She later revealed in her blog that she was suffering from health problems, causing rumors of her possible retirement from show business to circulate in the press. In March 2007, when asked by the host of Sunday Japon whether rumors of her retirement were true, Iijima replied, "Yes, I have been wanting to quit for some time. I will announce my future plans next week."
Iijima's farewell appearance on the TV program KinSuma, on which she has been a regular for five years, was described as "a teary two-hour sayonara party complete with speeches, bouquets and lots of blubbering". However, when psychic Fujiko Kimura confronted Iijima on the program, telling her not to retire and suggesting that there was more behind the retirement announcement than had been made public, Iijima "seemed to admit as much and was reduced to tears." Whatever the circumstances leading to the decision, Ai Iijima's retirement at the age of 34 brings an end to what has been called "one of the more remarkable careers in the cutthroat Japanese entertainment world".
At about 3:30 p.m. on December 24, 2008 (JST), Iijima was found dead in her 21st floor Tokyo apartment not far from Shibuya Crossing. She was found lying face-down on the floor when medics forced their way into her place. She had been dead for about 7 days, police said. Some of her show business friends told reporters that Ai suffered recently from bouts of melancholia and depression, and they believe her death was accidental or perhaps a heart attack. She once told reporters 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 a World AIDS Day event in Tochigi Prefecture on December 6. On March 3 2007, Sports Nippon reported that Ai Iijima was suffering from hay fever, pyelitis (ascending urinary tract infection that has reached the pyelum (pelvis) of the kidney), cystitis and acute backache. She had written in her blog that she had kidney problems and inflammation of the urinary tract and bladder. Later, in February 2009, police announced that the pathology examination showed she had died of pneumonia, and that there was no suggestion of suicide or murder.