Kago Ai (加護亜依) is a Japanese pop singer, actress, author and Guinness Book of World Records breaking hula hoop player.
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 popular girl band 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.
At age 12, Kago succeeded in passing the National Audition for Morning Musume held by Up-Front Works Agency in 2000. 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 the two 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 hyperactice 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 similair looks and personalities. The girls each developed a strong fanbase each in time 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 a television special they were both 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.
Along with Yaguchi Mari from Morning Musume and Tsuji Nozomi, Kago approached Tsunku with a proposal of the formation of a new sub-group. The idea was that the group could only have members who were 1.5 m (4 ft 11 in) in height or shorter. It was to show that 'Small people could acieve Big things'. Mika Todd from Coconuts Musume was added before the group's debut and the group recieved their name, Minimoni. The group's debut single became a #1 hit.
Kago also participated in the 2001 shuffle unit, 3nin Matsuri and competed against the other two units for sales, eventually beating the others and rising to the top.
In 2002, Kago participated in a drama alongside her fellow Morning Musume members titled "Angel Hearts". She also released a duo photobook with Tsuji Nozomi. Kago continued her career in Morning Musume during 2002 and into 2003 as well as Minimoni and Tanpopo. She also participated in the 2002 Happiness Groups as a member of Happy 7.
Kago continued with her duties in Morning Musume and Minimoni, remaining active in each. In a surprise move by Tsunku, Morning Musume was split into two halfs - 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 and formed Morning Musume once more. Kago was included in the 2003 Elemental Shuffle Groups as a member of SALT5.
In August 2004, Kago Ai and Tsuji Nozomi graduated from Morning Musume together, whereas Minimoni began their indefinite hiatus. Under the arrangement of the Up-Front Works Agency, Kago and Tsuji formed a new pop duo, W, which released a total of two albums and six singles.
On February 9, 2006 it was confirmed that the magazine Friday (フライデー, Friday?) (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 secluded 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. 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 cancelled. 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.
2007/3/26 Kawaguchi Yuukichi, Representative Director, Up Front Agency ”
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. On August 25, 2007, an interview with Kago's mother in the magazine Josei Seven revealed that after parting company with Hello! Project, 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 April 24, 2008, Kago announced on her personal blog website, "Biscuit Club", that she will be appearing in Hong Kong movie Kung Fu Chef with Sammo Hung.
In October, It had been officially revealed that Kago Ai will be a presenter on the SKYPerfecTV! Awards 2009. The SKYPerfecTV! Awards 2009 will air on 11/12.
On December 21, 2009, Kago Ai has opened up a Twitter account. 
In January, FRIDAY reported a romance between Ai Kago (20) and actor Hidejiro Mizumoto (33), but the rumor was denied by Kago's agency at the time. Now, the matter has surfaced again, as Mizumoto's ex-wife is 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 is seeking monetary damages, reportedly on the order of 10 million yen from Kago and 50 million yen from Mizumoto. She is also asking for some of Mizumoto's assets and child support for their three children. The judge has apparently already received Asato's claim, which means that the matter may be taken to court if it is not settled.
Kago met Mizumoto through his mother, the psychic Yoshiko Shimo, 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 opens in April.
Asato plans to submit Mizumoto's script for "Benten-dori no Hitobito" as evidence. In 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," ending jokingly with "This message is a work of fiction."
It is also said that Kago has been living with Mizumoto in his apartment in Kanagawa since the end of last year. Asato has obtained photographic evidence of Kago's underwear, clothes, cosmetics, and other items at the apartment.
Kago's agency has declined to comment.
In March 24, Kago released her first album AI KAGO meets JAZZ ~the first door~. The album sold 527 copies.
Gossip magazine, “Shukan Josei” reported that ex-Morning Musume member Kago Ai is dating MEN’s NO-NO fashion model, Mikawai Takeshi.
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 immigrate to the US someday.
On January 21, 2011, “Ai Kago meets Jazz~The First Door Live” DVD has been announced and is set to be released March 23rd.
On February 2, 2011, Kago Ai started a blog on Diamond Blog. In this blog she put a gallery of pictures of herself. Kago announced she would be holding 2 charity events on June 5.
In June of 2011, 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 is currently looking for a new agency.
On September 6th, Kago’s boyfriend Ando Haruhiko (44) was arrested due to mafia affiliations. Kago Ai herself was taken in for questioning.
On September 11th, Kago was found on the floor in her apartment by her agency officials, after attempting suicide. According to the Azabu Police, Kago had slit her wrists. The hospital report told that she was in stable condition. Kago’s agency officials immediately rushed over to her apartment when she hinted suicide during a phone call. When they got there, they found her on the ground in a haze, with cuts to her wrists, and reported the incident to the police. It was suspected that she consumed large amounts of medication, and the police investigated this as a planned suicide.
On December 6th, 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 20, 2011, it was announced that Kago got married and was pregnant.
On April 13th, it was announced that Kago’s baby was a girl.
On June 22nd, at 15:54, she gave birth to a healthy baby girl. The baby weighed 2768 grams.
In May, Kago promoted dandelion-tea, and talked about its benefits on pregnancy.
On June 22, she finally announced the name of her daughter, Minami.
On August 15, she announced on her blog that she transferred to a new agency.
On October 7, Kago annouced 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.
- Birth/Stage Name: Kago Ai (加護亜依)
- Legal Name: TBA
- Nickname: Aibon, Kago-chan, Ai-chan
- Birthdate: February 7, 1988
- Birthplace: Yamatotakada, Nara, Japan
- Date Married: December 20, 2011
- Family: Husband, Daughter Minami (みなみ, age 1)
- Western Zodiac: Aquarius
- Eastern Zodiac: Rabbit
- Blood Type: AB
- Height: 155cm
- Weight: 39 kg (About 86 lbs)
- Hello! Project Status:
- 2000-04-16: Member
- 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 Morning Musume Color: Blue
- Former Sakura Gumi Color: Red
- Hobby: Peeling Pears!
- Speciality: Impressions (Gackt)
- Hobbies: Cooking
- Favorite Foods: Deserts and Ramen
- Hello! Project Groups:
- Shuffle Groups:
Singles Participated InEdit
- Happy Summer Wedding
- I WISH
- Ren'ai Revolution 21
- Mr.Moonlight ~Ai no Big Band~
- Souda! We're ALIVE
- Do it! Now
- Koko ni Iruzee!
- Morning Musume no Hyokkori Hyoutanjima
- AS FOR ONE DAY
- Go Girl ~Koi no Victory~
- Ai Araba IT'S ALL RIGHT
- Roman ~MY DEAR BOY~
- Joshi Kashimashi Monogatari
Morning Musume Sakura GumiEdit
- Minimoni. Jankenpyon! / Haru Natsu Aki Fuyu Daisukki!
- Minimoni. Telephone! Rin Rin Rin / Minimoni. Bus Guide
- Minihamus no Ai no Uta
- Minimoni. Hinamatsuri! / Mini. Strawberry~ Pie
- Ai~n Taisou / Ai~n! Dance no Uta
- Genki Jirushi no Oomori Song / Okashi Tsukutte Okkasui~!
- Minihamus no Kekkon Song
- Rock n' Roll Kenchoushozaichi ~Oboechaina Series!~
- Minimoni. Kazoe Uta
- CRAZY ABOUT YOU
- Mirakururun Grand Purin! / Pi~hyara Kouta
- Lucky Cha Cha Cha!
H.P. ALL STARSEdit
|#||Title||Release date||First Week sales||Total Sales|
|1||"no hesitAtIon"||June 24, 2009||1,757||1,757|
|#||Title||Release date||First Week sales||Total Sales|
|1||AI KAGO meets JAZZ ~The first door~||March 31, 2010||527||527|
- [2002.03.27] Densha no Futari (with Abe Natsumi, Ishikawa Rika, Yoshizawa Hitomi, Takahashi Ai, Konno Asami, and Niigaki Risa)
- [2003.03.26] Tsuyoki de Yukouze! (with Tsuji Nozomi, Takahashi Ai, Konno Asami, Ogawa Makoto, and Niigaki Risa)
- [2003.03.26] YES! POCKY GIRLS (with POCKY GIRLS)
- [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~
- [2003.11.22] KAGO ai: Go on the Journey!
- [2009.03.08] Monthly Kago Ai - Super Cargo
- [2009.08.27] Kinyoubi
- [2010.03.25] Kago Ai Photo Album -Los Angeles
- [2002.05.23] Nobu - Tsuji Nozomi+Kago Ai (辻希美・加護亜依) with Tsuji Nozomi
- [2003.09.??] Pocket Morning Musume<Vol.1> (ポケットモーニング娘<Vol.1>) (with Ishikawa Rika, Yoshizawa Hitomi, Tsuji Nozomi)
- [2004.01.07] 50W (with Tsuji Nozomi)
- [2004.12.??] U+U=W -Essay Book- (with Tsuji Nozomi)
- [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 ja 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
-  Ju-on: Kuroi Shojo
-  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
-  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)
- [2010-] 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
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.
As a hula hoop performerEdit
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 AuthorEdit
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).
- 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 Arina Tanemura, the hairstyle of Mitsuki Koyama from her manga Full Moon O Sagashite was modelled 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, only being the age of 11.
- Kago and Tsuji shared the world record for the largest hula hoop spun at 4.08 m (13.4 ft) in diameter. They set their record on 1 January 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 Guiness Book of World Records. The record was eventually broken by Ashrita Furman (USA) in September 2010.
- Her Morning Musume mentor was Goto Maki.
- She has said that she wants to move to America in the future.
- She is the fifth former Morning Musume member (with Tsuji Nozomi) to only graduate from Morning Musume and not Hello! Project. The first being Nakazawa Yuko, the second being Goto Maki, the third being Yasuda Kei, and the fourth being Abe Natsumi.
- YouTube celebrity turned model, Magibon, is a big fan of Kago Ai, and based her nickname, "Magibon" off of Kago's nickname "Aibon".
- There might be a possiblitiy that her husband last name might be Ando. If this is true, then her legal name would be Ando Ai.
Youngest member of Hello! Project
Youngest member of Morning Musume
Sub-leader of W
External Links Edit
- Official Website - archive version
- Official Twitter
- Diamond Blog
- Biscuit Club Official fanclub and blog
- Ai Kago IMDB
- Wikipedia: Japanese, English
|Members||3rd Gen/Shin: Fukuda Kanon, Takeuchi Akari, Miyamoto Karin|
|Former Members||1st Gen: Yaguchi Mari, Tsuji Nozomi, Kago Ai, Mika Todd |
2nd Gen: Takahashi Ai
3rd Gen/Shin: Linlin
|Singles||01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10, 11, 12|
|Albums||Original: Minimoni Song Daihyakka 1 Kan, Minimoni Songs 2 |
Soundtrack: Minimoni ja Movie Okashi na Daibouken! OST
|Other||Minimoni ja Movie Okashi na Daibouken!|
|Related Units||Morning Musume, Tanpopo, Coconuts Musume, W, Hello! Pro Kenshuusei, S/mileage, Juice=Juice|
|Former Members||Tsuji Nozomi (L), Kago Ai (SL)|
|Singles||01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06|
|Albums||Duo U&U, 2nd W|
|Related Units||Morning Musume, Minimoni, H.P. All Stars|
|Former Members||1st Gen: Ishiguro Aya, Iida Kaori, Yaguchi Mari|
2nd Gen: Ishikawa Rika, Kago Ai
3rd Gen: Konno Asami, Niigaki Risa, Shibata Ayumi
4th Gen/#: Kamei Eri, Mitsui Aika, Kumai Yurina, Okai Chisato
|Singles||01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08|
|Albums||Original: TANPOPO 1|
Best: All of Tanpopo, Tanpopo / Petitmoni Mega Best
|Related Units||Morning Musume, Minimoni, Petitmoni|