Ai Kago

Ai Kago
加護 亜依

Ai Kago, November 2009
Born (1988-02-07) February 7, 1988
Yamatotokada, Nara, Japan
Other names Aibon, Kago-chan
Spouse(s) Haruhiko Ando
(m. 2011; div. 2015)
Children Minami Kago

Musical career

Years active
  • 2000–2007
  • 2008–present
Associated acts
Website Ai, Bonjour

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. Kago began her career at the age of 12 as a member of the idol group Morning Musume. 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, Kago was suspended from the group and dismissed a year later. In 2008 she embarked on a career in film and recorded a jazz album two years later. .


2000-2004: Morning Musume and Minimoni

Main article: Morning Musume

At age 12, Kago won the 4th National Audition of Morning Musume held by the Up-Front Works in 2000. On April 15, she, 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 (3-nin Matsuri in 2001, Happy 7 in 2002, Salt5 in 2003, and H.P. All Stars in 2004).

2004-2007: W

Main article: W (group)

In August 2004, Kago and Tsuji graduated from Morning Musume together after Minimoni began their indefinite hiatus. Under the arrangement of their agency, Kago and Tsuji formed a new pop duo, W, releasing two albums and six singles together.

Before the release of their seventh single and their third album, W3: Faithful, on February 9, 2006, Friday published photos showing Kago smoking. The following day, her agency issued a press statement saying that she and W's activities had been suspended "indefinitely."[1] Kago spent the remainder of the year under house arrest at her family's residence in Nara. During this time, she was not allowed to have contact with Tsuji or any of the other members from her agency, and she was caught smoking again during her probation period.[2]

In 2007 Up-Front Works reported that they were working on her comeback.[3][4] In late March 2007, photos of Kago going to an onsen with a man 18 years her senior and smoking for a third time circulated in the media, further tarnishing her reputation.[5] Not long after, Yuukichi Kawaguchi, the director of Up-Front Works, issued a statement announcing that she had been dismissed from the agency.[2]

2008-2010: Return to entertainment

After Kago departed from Up-Front Agency, her mother attempted to sign her to a new talent agency in her hometown, Nara.[6] Later that year, Josei Seven published an interview with her mother, revealing that Kago left Japan and started residing in New York City.[7][8] Kago herself later revealed that she had actually not gone to New York, but rather to Los Angeles for three months because she felt like a criminal in Japan. During her stay, she met people who encouraged her, including Winona Ryder,[9] and was able to reflect on her situation. She also considered suicide and cut her wrists.[10]

Kago made a well-publicized return to the entertainment industry in 2008 [11] with plans of pursuing an acting career.[5] She began appearing in multiple Hong Kong movies, including Kung Fu Chefs. On August 25, 2008, Kago released a book entitled Kago Ai Live—Miseinen Hakusho (LIVE—未成年白書). On her blog, she described the book as "a book where I talk to young teens about their various troubles and dreams."[12]

During 2009, Kago also focused on rebuilding her music career. On June 24, 2009, she released her first solo single "No HesitAtIon" [sic] on independent record label In Da Groove.[13] On February 16, 2010, she held her first jazz concert at bar JZ Brat in Tokyo.[14] Kago's first jazz album, Ai Kago meets Jazz: The First Door, was released on March 31, 2010 through P-Vine Records and Avex Marketing.[15] In August 2010 she was invited to perform at music festival Summer Sonic.[16]

2011-present: Personal struggles and Girls Beat!!

Throughout the second half of 2010, Kago became unhappy with the direction of her work.[17] Around the same time, she began dating restaurant owner Haruhiko Ando, who acted as an in-between between her agency and herself. Since beginning a relationship with Ando, Kago cancelled several jobs at the last minute, causing her agency to suspend her activities. Despite this, she participated in a live performance and opened a separate blog without permission.[18]

Kago parted ways with R&A Promotions in November 2010 despite her contract ending in March 2013. As a response, in 2011, Kazuyuki Ito, president of Mainstream (an associate of R&A Promotions), declared that the agency planned on suing for 100 million yen in damages for contract violations.[19] During that time, Kago's career was also derailed by her personal life. In September 2011, Ando was arrested for alleged extortion and claiming to have connections with the yakuza.[20][21][22] In the same month, Kago was rushed to a nearby hospital after agency officials found her on the floor of her apartment with cuts to her wrists. Her life was reported to be not in danger, though there were speculations that it was a planned suicide.[23][24] Following the incident, she and Ando registered their marriage, and Kago became pregnant.[25]

After spending 2012 out of the public eye with the birth of her daughter, Minami, Kago transferred to a new agency in 2013. Planning to revive her music career, she formed an idol group, which was later named Girls Beat!! The group would be crowd-sourced using lyrics, music, and costume ideas submitted by fans.[26] Remi Kita and Ryona Himeno were recruited as the other two members after passing the auditions.

Girls Beat!! released their first single, "Sekai Seifuku" on July 22, 2014. Their activities were abruptly put on hold when an arrest warrant was put out for Ando in October on suspicions of loaning money at illegal interest rates.[27] Kago later filed for divorce, planning to continue activities once the divorce was finalized.[28] Although Kago was eventually successful in doing so,[29] in August 2015, her contract with her agency expired,[30] though she continued activities with Girls Beat!! in November. On February 29, 2016, she graduated from the group.[31]

Personal life

During Kago's years in Minimoni, she was known for keeping her hair in curled twin tails. Manga artist Arina Tanemura used her hairstyle as inspiration for Mitsuki Koyama, the main character of Full Moon o Sagashite.[32][33]

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. The record was eventually broken by Ashrita Furman in September 2005.

Relationships and family

During Kago's house arrest in 2006, her parents divorced.[5]

In 2009, Kago was involved in a relationship with actor Hidejiro Mizumoto. Mizumoto's wife, Asato, sued them both, stating that she had proof of the affair and that it was the cause for her pending divorce.[34] 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.[35]

Shukan Josei reported in 2010 that Kago was romantically linked to model Takeshi Mikawai. Her agency released a statement claiming that while they dated, they were not a couple.[36]

Kago began dating Haruhiko Ando, a restaurant owner in Roppongi, in August 2010,[20] who acted as an in-between between her agency and herself.[18] In September 2011, he was arrested for allegedly attempting to extort a co-worker by saying that he had close affiliations with the yakuza, such as the Kodo-kai and Komatsu-gumi.[20][21][22] Kago had been taken in for questioning.[37] Following the incident, Kago and Ando married in December 2011 [38] and he took on her family name, Kago.[39] From their marriage, Kago gave birth to her first child, Minami, on June 22, 2012.[40]

The police issued an arrest warrant for Ando in October 2014 on suspicion of loaning money at illegal interest rates. This affected both Kago's career and image.[27] In 2015, Kago announced through her blog that they were living separately and were in the process of working towards a divorce.[28] She attempted to file for divorce in April, but dropped charges due to insufficient funds. On June 9, Ando was arrested on domestic violence charges stemming from an incident in May 12 where he allegedly shoved and kicked Kago in their home in Roppongi, leaving her with injuries that took ten days to heal.[39] Kago agreed to drop all charges in exchange for divorce,[41] which was finalized later that month.[29]

On August 8, 2016, Kago announced that she had gotten married to a 38-year-old beautician whose name was not disclosed to the public.[42] On September 23, 2016, she announced that she was pregnant with her second child.[43]


For releases as a member of Morning Musume and W, see Morning Musume discography and W (group) § Discography.
Release date Title Oricon Singles Charts Album
Peak Positions Sales
Daily Weekly Yearly Debut Overall
June 24, 2009 "no hesitAtIon"[44] 26 52 1757
Compilation Albums



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 Yūko
Hana Oni (華鬼) Momoko
2010 Nikushokukei Joshi (肉食系女子)
The Haunting Lover


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) Masuyo Urami ep3



Title Release date Publisher
Kago Ai Live—Miseinen Hakusho (LIVE—未成年白書)[45] August 25, 2008 Media Kreis
ISBN 978-4-7788-0338-4


Title Release date Publisher
Kago Ai Shashinshū November 11, 2003 Wani Books
ISBN 978-4-8470-2783-3
Gekkan Kago Ai January 23, 2009 Shinchousha
ISBN 978-4-10-790195-8
Gekkan Kago Ai -Super Remix March 19, 2009 Shinchosha
ISBN 978-4-10-790197-2
Kago Ai Kinyōbi (金曜日 加護亜依写真集) August 22, 2009 Kodansha
ISBN 978-4-06-352815-2
Kago Ai Shashinshū LOS ANGELES (加護亜依写真集 『LOS ANGELES』) March 25, 2010 Air Control
ISBN 978-4-86084-737-1


Title Release date Publisher Notes
Kago Channel (DVD) (Vol.1)[46] November 28, 2008 avex trax
Kago Channel (DVD) (Vol.2)[47] December 19, 2008 avex trax
Gekkan Kago Ai – marionnette[48] February 20, 2009 E-net Frontier
Micchaku Kago Ai[49] 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


  1. Hello! Project (2006-02-10). "『W 加護亜依』についてのお知らせとお詫び" (in Japanese). Up-Front Agency. Archived from the original on 2006-02-20.
  2. 1 2 Yuukichi Kawaguchi (2007-03-26). "加護亜依 一部報道記事について" (in Japanese). Up-Front Agency. Archived from the original on 2007-04-03.
  3. "Official Friday Magazine website" (in Japanese).
  4. "Kago Ai is back! Friday interview". Hello!Online. 2007-02-22. Archived from the original on 2007-08-10.
  5. 1 2 3 Ryan O'Connell (2008-04-22). "Ex-Morning Musume star Ai Kago blazing a trail back to top (using a cigarette lighter)". Mainichi Daily News. Archived from the original on 2008-04-21.
  6. "Kago Ai is Back In Showbiz?". 2007-05-05.
  7. "Aibon, What Would Your Mother Say?". 2007-08-25. Archived from the original on September 29, 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-27.
  8. "Josei Seven interview with Ai Kago's mother" (in Japanese). Archived from the original on August 24, 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-27.
  9. "Kago Ai Official Blog: Translations 2008.04.25 – 2008.04.27 – Hello!Online". Retrieved 2012-01-02.
  10. "Kago Ai new video interview!". Hello!Online. 2008-04-06. Archived from the original on 2008-04-09. Retrieved 2008-04-08.
  11. "Ai Kago and entertainment activities to resume" (in Japanese). Yahoo! Japan. 2008-04-06. Archived from the original on April 10, 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-08.
  12. "Kago Ai Official Blog: Translations 2008.07.11 – 2008.07.14 – Hello!Online". Retrieved 2012-01-02.
  13. "あいぼん待望のソロシングル「no hesitAtIon」発売". 2 June 2009. Retrieved 14 July 2013.
  14. "加護亜依ジャズライブ、涙を浮かべ熱唱". 17 February 2010. Retrieved 14 July 2013.
  15. "楽天ブックス: AI KAGO meets JAZZ -The first door- - 加護亜依 - 4995879510292 : CD". Retrieved 14 July 2013.
  16. "ナタリー - サマソニ第14弾は星野源、おおはた雄一、加護亜依ら". 25 June 2010. Retrieved 14 July 2013.
  17. "加護亜依オフィシャルブログbyダイヤモンドブログ » 2011 » 6月 » 7". Retrieved 2012-01-02.
  18. 1 2 "熱愛&移籍宣言の加護亜依に事務所は困惑" (in Japanese). Nittere News 24. 2011-06-07. Retrieved 2016-08-06.
  19. Casey Lee (2011-12-07). "Kago Ai sued by agency". Yahoo! News Singapore. Retrieved 2016-08-05.
  20. 1 2 3 Rheus Wai Soh See (2011-09-07). "The Yakuza Connection?". Yahoo! News Singapore. Retrieved 2016-08-06.
  21. 1 2 "加護の「恋人」と報じられた男が恐喝未遂" (in Japanese). Sankei Sports. 2011-09-07. Archived from the original on 2011-09-26.
  22. 1 2 "暴力団名で恐喝未遂の疑い 逮捕の男否認" (in Japanese). 2011-09-07. Retrieved 2012-01-02.
  23. "加護亜依さんが自殺未遂? 自宅で手首切る" (in Japanese). MSN Sankei News. 2011-09-11. Archived from the original on 2011-09-11.
  24. "自殺図った加護さん、都内の病院を退院" (in Japanese). Nittere News 24. 2011-09-17. Retrieved 2016-08-06.
  25. "加護亜依電撃!結婚&妊娠報告「見守って」" (in Japanese). Nittere News 24. 2011-12-21. Retrieved 2016-08-06.
  26. "加護亜依、ユニット結成。再スタートしたい" (in Japanese). Nittere News 24. 2013-10-07. Retrieved 2016-08-06.
  27. 1 2 "Girls Beat!! Suspends Activities After Police Issue Arrest Warrant For Group Member's Husband". 2014-10-27. Retrieved 2016-08-06.
  28. 1 2 "元モー娘。加護亜依が離婚へ 夫と別居で協議中" (in Japanese). Oricon. 2015-04-03. Retrieved 2016-08-06.
  29. 1 2 "加護亜依、ブログで離婚を報告「ゆっくり前へ」" (in Japanese). Oricon. 2015-08-09. Retrieved 2016-08-06.
  30. "加護亜依、フリーに…事務所との契約満了" (in Japanese). Nittere News 24. 2015-08-06. Retrieved 2016-08-06.
  31. "加護亜依、アイドルユニットを卒業 脱退理由には年齢も" (in Japanese). Retrieved 2016-10-06.
  32. Carlo Santos (2007-08-05). "Interview: Arina Tanemura". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2008-02-15.
  33. Tanemura, Arina (2005-07-05). "Mitsuki's Case: Character Introduction sidebar". Full Moon, Volume 1. Full Moon O Sagashite. San Francisco: Viz Media. p. 27. ISBN 978-1-59116-928-4. Mitsuki Koyama: Her hairstyle was taken from Ai Kago of Morning Musume.
  34. "加護亜依"不倫相手"前妻から慰謝料請求" (in Japanese). Sponichi Annex. 2009-03-09. Archived from the original on 2009-03-09.
  35. "加護との浮気の代償…元妻に"高額授業料"" (in Japanese). Sponichi Annex. 2010-05-25. Archived from the original on 2009-05-27.
  36. "Ex-Morning Musume member, Kago Ai's new boyfriend is a MEN's NON-NO model?". Tokyohive. 2010-10-31. Retrieved 2016-08-05.
  37. TV Asahi ANN News, September 8, 2011
  38. "Ai Kago Official Blog (in Japanese)". 2011-12-21. Retrieved 2012-01-02.
  39. 1 2 "Husband of former J-pop singer Ai Kago arrested for alleged domestic violence". The Japan Times. 2015-06-10. Retrieved 2016-08-06.
  40. "Ai Kago Official Blog (in Japanese)". 2012-06-22. Retrieved 2012-06-22.
  41. "Ai Kago Drops Domestic Violence Charges Against Husband In Exchange For Divorce". Jpopasia. 2015-07-01. Retrieved 2016-08-05.
  42. "加護亜依、38歳一般男性と再婚 美容関係の会社経営者" (in Japanese). Oricon. 2016-08-08. Retrieved 2016-09-13.
  43. "加護亜依、再婚後初ライブで妊娠報告「しばらくは妊婦さんです」" (in Japanese). Oricon. 2016-09-23. Retrieved 2016-09-25.
  44. "no hesitAtIon" (in Japanese). In da Groove.
  45. Kago Ai LIVE ~Kago Ai no Miseinen Hakusho Listing on
  46. Kago Channel (DVD) (Vol.1) Listing on
  47. Kago Channel (DVD) (Vol.2) Listing on
  48. Gekkan Kago Ai – marionnette Listing on
  49. Micchaku Kago Ai Listing on

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