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Ai Kago
加護 亜依

Ai Kago, November 2009
Background information
Also known as Aibon, Kago-chan
Born February 7, 1988 (1988-02-07) (age 22)
Origin Yamatotakada, Nara, Japan
Genres J-pop
Occupations Singer, actress, author
Years active 2000–2007, 2008–present
Labels Zetima (2000–2007)
in da groove/Columbia Japan (2008–2010)
P-Vine Records (2010–present)
Associated acts W, Morning Musume, Tanpopo, Minimoni, Sakuragumi, 3-nin Matsuri, Happy 7, Salt5, H.P. All Stars
Website Love basket

Ai Kago (加護 亜依 Kago Ai?) (born February 7, 1988 in Yamatotokada, Nara, Japan) is a Japanese singer, actress, author and former Guinness World Record holder.

At age 12, Kago won the 4th National Audition of Morning Musume held by 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 Works Agency. In 2007, toward the end of her suspension, she was caught once again smoking and was found to be romantically involved with a 37-year-old man. This resulted in her contract being terminated permanently. After a hiatus that lasted a year, she signed a contract with R&A Promotions Co.,Ltd and resumed her career as an actress and a singer.



Hello! Project

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.

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+12 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.


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."[1]

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.

The agency said that they were working on her comeback, though the details were not clear.[2][3][4]

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 the Up Front Agency that her contract had been canceled. An English translation of the announcement:[5]

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

Post-Hello! Project life

On May 5, 2007, 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.[6]

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.[7][8]

On April 6, 2008, it was reported by Yahoo! News that Kago was returning to the entertainment industry.[9] 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) [10] 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.[10][11]

On April 24, 2008, Ai Kago announced on her personal blog website, "Biscuit Club", that she will be appearing in Hong Kong movie Kung Fu Chef with Sammo Hung.[12]

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.

As an author

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." [13]

2009 Scandal

Kago allegedly had a relationship with 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.[14]


Kago's given name, "Ai", is a homonym for love ( 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.

Ai Kago inspired the hairstyle of the lead character Mitsuki Koyama in the manga and anime Full Moon o Sagashite, according to the manga's author Arina Tanemura.[15]


Release date Title Oricon Singles Charts Album
Peak Positions Sales
Daily Weekly Yearly Debut Overall
June 24, 2009 "no hesitAtIon"[16] 26 52 1757



Year Title Role Other notes
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
Hana Oni (華鬼?) Momoko


Year Title Role Notes
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



Title Release date Publisher
Kago Ai Live—Miseinen Hakusho (LIVE—未成年白書?)[17] August 25, 2008 Media Kreis
ISBN 978-4778803384


Title Release date Publisher
Kago Ai Shashinshū November 11, 2003 Wani Books
ISBN 978-4847027833
Gekkan Kago Ai January 23, 2009 Shinchousha
ISBN 978-4107901958
Gekkan Kago Ai -Super Remix March 19, 2009 Shinchosha
ISBN 978-4107901972
Kago Ai Kinyōbi (金曜日 加護亜依写真集?) August 22, 2009 Kodansha
ISBN 978-4063528152


Title Release date Publisher Notes
Kago Channel (DVD) (Vol.1) [18] November 28, 2008 avex trax
Kago Channel (DVD) (Vol.2)[19] December 19, 2008 avex trax
Gekkan Kago Ai - marionnette[20] February 20, 2009 E-net Frontier
Micchaku Kago Ai[21] 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


  1. ^ "Hello! Project official site: Kago announcement" (in Japanese). Retrieved 2007-03-12. 
  2. ^ "Official Friday Magazine website" (in Japanese). 
  3. ^ "Kago Ai is back! Friday interview". Hello!Online. 2007-02-22. Archived from the original on 2007-08-10. 
  4. ^ "Ikimasshoi summary". 
  5. ^ "Official Announcement Regarding Kago's Contract" (in Japanese). 2007-03-26. 
  6. ^ "Kago Ai is Back In Showbiz?". 2007-05-05. 
  7. ^ "Aibon, What Would Your Mother Say?". 2007-08-25. Retrieved 2007-08-27. 
  8. ^ "Josei Seven interview with Ai Kago's mother" (in Japanese). Retrieved 2007-08-27. 
  9. ^ "Ai Kago and entertainment activities to resume" (in Japanese). Yahoo! Japan. 2008-04-06. Retrieved 2008-04-08. 
  10. ^ a b Kago Ai Official Blog: Translations 2008.04.25 - 2008.04.27 - Hello!Online
  11. ^ "Kago Ai new video interview!". Hello!Online. 2008-04-06. Retrieved 2008-04-08. 
  12. ^ Kago Ai Official Blog: Translations 2008.04.22 - 2008.04.24 - Hello!Online
  13. ^ Kago Ai Official Blog: Translations 2008.07.11 - 2008.07.14 - Hello!Online
  14. ^ Tokyo Graph Mizumoto's ex-wife seeks damages for alleged affair with Kago Sat, March 7, 2009
  15. ^ Carlo Santos (2007-08-05). "Interview: Arina Tanemura". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2008-02-15. 
  16. ^ "no hesitAtIon" (in Japanese). In da Groove. 
  17. ^ Kago Ai LIVE ~Kago Ai no Miseinen Hakusho Listing on
  18. ^ Kago Channel (DVD) (Vol.1) Listing on
  19. ^ Kago Channel (DVD) (Vol.2) Listing on
  20. ^ Gekkan Kago Ai - marionnette Listing on
  21. ^ Micchaku Kago Ai Listing on

External links

Honorary titles
Preceded by
Maki Goto
Youngest member of Morning Musume
2000 – 2001
Succeeded by
Risa Niigaki

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