Former Morning Musume member Mari Yaguchi recently appeared on an episode of Nakai no Mado, a variety show hosted by Masahiro Nakai.
She was joined by fellow Morning Musume OG Yuko Nakazawa, Kaori Iida, Asuka Fukuda, Hitomi Yoshizawa, Rika Ishikawa, and Nozomi Tsuji for a special episode. Throughout the episode they went through the main history of Morning Musume, stopping to discuss various important events such as member graduations.
When the chronology entered 2005, the series of events surrounding Yaguchi’s graduation were told. Yaguchi is one of the few Morning Musume members who never received a graduation ceremony. In the past, television shows used footage from her final performance as a member of the Morning Musume sub-group Tanpopo as a placeholder. The deciding factor for her withdrawal from the group was a “passionate” relationship she shared with actor Shun Oguri.
Their relationship was exposed by the gossip magazine FRIDAY in April 2005, she then shortly withdrew from Morning Musume saying that she had “betrayed” her position as an idol. It isn’t quite transparent whether or not Hello!Project properly enforced a no dating rule, considering aces Maki Goto and Abe Natsumi both had romances during their tenure in the group.
Yaguchi mentioned that they were told not to date when she first joined Morning Musume back in 1998, but no follow up was made. This situation most likely has to do more with Yaguchi’s own personal feelings and the fact that FRIDAY did such big coverage on it.
Yaguchi had contemplated to herself if the two should just break up, then she would still consider continuing normal activities. But she was so infatuated and wanted “love” so badly that she decided to stay with him and leave the group. Oguri was her first serious boyfriend, and at the time she just couldn’t bear being away from him. “I wanted to kiss, I wanted to touch!” Surprisingly, reactions overall were quite positive for the former idol calling her behavior quite normal for a woman her age.
The two ended up parting ways in April 2006. Oguri went on to marry actress Yu Yamada in 2012, the same year Yaguchi held her wedding ceremony with actor Masaya Nakamura. Yaguchi’s marriage ended in disaster after a highly publicized cheating scandal.
Nakai lightened the mood at the end of her segment by jokingly referring to her as a chimpanzee, causing a roar of laughter among the guests, audience, and Yaguchi herself. (chimpanzees are known to be quite promiscuous, females mate with multiple males during their breeding season)