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Japanese actress Yui Aragaki, left, and actor Gen Hoshino attend an award ceremony in Tokyo in October of 2017. Aragaki and Hoshino, who played offbeat but endearing lovers in a hit television show, are really getting married. The couple announced their life-imitates-art decision in a jointly signed statement posted on Aragakiís Instagram site. (Kyodo News via AP)

Stars of hit Japan "contract marriage" show to wed for real

By Yuri Kageyama

The Associated Press

May 20, 2021

TOKYO (AP) ó Actors Gen Hoshino and Yui Aragaki, who played offbeat but endearing lovers in a hit Japanese TV show, are really getting married.

The couple announced their life-imitates-art decision in a joint statement posted on Aragakiís Instagram.

"We would like to announce that we, Gen Hoshino and Yui Aragaki, are getting married," it said. "We hope you will continue to warmly support us both."

Aragaki and Hoshino co-starred in the 2016 comedy, "Nigeru wa Haji da ga Yaku ni Tatsu," or "Itís Shameful to Run, but It Works," as youngsters who enter a roommate-like contractual marriage. That story spoke to the dilemma of Japanese society, where people are increasingly holding off on marriage and children, resulting in one of the lowest birth rates in the world.

The catchy theme song, composed and sung by Hoshino, which ran with the credits, also was a megahit, including its dance moves.

Caroline Kennedy, who was then U.S. ambassador to Japan, had posted a video clip on YouTube of the embassy staff and herself doing the dance.

"Heartbeats throb within distance," the song "Koi," or "Love," goes. "Go beyond man and wife."

The show, based on a manga comic, also highlighted the perennial gender inequalities of Japan. The heroine has a university degree but loses her job and, without better opportunities, decides to work as a housekeeper. The relationship that develops is a comfortable mutual respect, devoid of fiery eroticism. It gradually evolves into love.

An award-winning recording and touring musician, Hoshino, 40, has starred in many movies, including 2020′s "The Voice of Sin." Aragaki, 32, started as a fashion model and is featured in Uniqlo and Toyota ads.

No date has been revealed for their wedding.

A post on the Twitter account for their TV show had five crying-face icons and typified the reaction buzzing through Japan: "Oh, wow."

"We hope to work together to build a calm happy life. As an individual, I would like to continue to face up to each and every one of the jobs I take up, be it in music, acting, or writing, with sincerity, more than ever," Hoshino said on his Instagram.

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