Sawajiri Erika Films Syoss Ad and Eases Back into Japanese Entertainment

When I saw this recent ad for a Japanese hair care brand Syoss, my eyeballs almost popped out. All I could think of was “OMG, Sawajiri Erika is BACK!” Well, here in 2011 the Japanese entertainment is a completely different actress landscape than back in 2006 when she ruled the roost, but I immediately started having LOL flashbacks to the whole bitchery feud between Sawajiri and her faction (i.e. the bad girls) versus Nagasawa Masami and her clan (i.e. the good girls). Oh god, those were the days, where the gossip sheets were nearly as much fun as some of the dramas going on.

Erika’s been absent from J-ent since her public flogging after the Closed Note press conference in 2007, then taking off for Europe, getting herself hitched, getting herself cast in Space Battleship Yamato  with KimuTaku only to be dropped from her own agency and the role being replaced with Kuroki Meisa, and finally her divorce and return to Japan this year.

Whew, can’t believe the girl is only in her mid-twenties and had already lived more than some people double her age. For me Erika has proven her talent in I Litre of Tears with Nishikido Ryo and Taiyou no Uta with Yamada Takayuki. It’s strange seeing her back onscreen again, but she still looks as pretty as ever. There have been rumors for the past year that Erika is making an acting comeback, so hopefully she’ll announce a project soon.

I’m sure people will ask about what the whole Erika vs. Masami showdown was all about, so I’ll preempt that and give a summary. Back in 2005, after 1 Litre, Erika was pretty much the hottest young starlet since sliced tuna in Japan. But she had an attitude, which I have no problem with. So in 2006, rival chocolate companies Ghana and Lotte each signed Masami and Erika to be their spokesperson, and since the two allegedly already hated each other, this just fanned the flames which started when Masami gave Erika a dirty look when they both attended an awards show. Oh the horror. *rolls eyes*

Back then Erika had her group of loyal followers which included among them Ueno Juri and Horikita Maki. Erika derided Masami as only being able to play one type of role, the good girl, whereas she can do innocent and edgier roles. Which….is pretty much true. But whatever, I love both girls. Back to the feud, which involved Masami starting her own gang of actresses who were getting harassed by Erika’s faction, including other notable good girls like Ayase Haruka and Toda Erika. This feud was the talk of the town for months, until pretty much everyone grew out of it. But mostly because Erika got sick of the industry and bailed, with her “performance” at the Closed Note press conference a signal she was done with it.

I love me a great comeback story, so if Erika can make another go of her career, I’m all for it. She really is very talented. Most of the talented ones are uber-prickly in real life. If you want to watch Erika in action, take a look at the official behind-the-scenes video for the Syoss ad campaign which was filmed in Prague. It’s a pretty snazzy video, which confirms for me that making hair look beautiful takes quite a lot of work.

Syoss BTS video:


Sawajiri Erika Films Syoss Ad and Eases Back into Japanese Entertainment — 12 Comments

  1. Ueno Juri and Horikita Maki as “bad girls”? I … can’t see it. That’s so weird.

    I guess I’m so used to Asian actresses being super demure and polite that it’s odd to say the least to see one flaunting her “badness” as an asset. I always thought humility was a necessity to surviving long-term in the industry, since Asians put great stock in such “virtues”.

    I’m constantly reminded how young female Japanese entertainers seem to be. Compared to say Korean or Chinese actresses (or at least the ones I’m most familiar with), the best working years of a female Japanese entertainer are her teens, then she gets hitched in her early 20s, has a kid, and exits the industry. In comparison, most of the Chinese/Korean female entertainers I can think of usually hit their peak in their 20s and then starting pushing for marriage closer to 30. Has anyone else noticed this or is it just me?

    • Not really, yes some actresses retire after getting married but that does not happen that much anymore. Lot’s of japanese celebrities return to work after having children (Hirosue Ryoko, Igawa Haruka, Hasegawa Kyoko etc) and there are many unmarried celebrities in their 30-40’s that are actively working like Amami Yuki.
      But then Japan is the promised land of idols who are famous for a while and then disappear.

  2. Wow – I cannot believe it has been so long. Back then, was really about the last time that I regularly watched jdramas. I didn’t know she got divorced already. And she’s still so young. Anyhow – I remember thinking “cat fight” or “mean girls” with that feud, but I mostly didn’t pay attention to the gossip. I also think she’s a talented actress… after 1 litre and TNU. But as jactresses go, I definitely lends more towards Ayase so SE kinda fell off my radar even before she pretty much quit the industry. Again, wow – she looks gorgeous in these photos! I wish her the best… I’m not big on people who have an edgy attitude but hopefully she’s matured now.

  3. I think she is a pretty and versatile actress but there are plenty of talented people out there with good attitudes so I never cared much for her.

    Real life gossip is always so much more juicy LOL

  4. The divorce isn’t finalized yet, it seems there is always a reason why not.
    I think it will be very difficult for her to start getting cast again, her attitude was always bad and if she pulls another “betsu ni” at a press conference she’s screwed for good.
    Her attitude is her biggest flaw, I like her as a actress but her attitude is horrible.
    Lol, I remember those rumours. Hilariously Maki gets along really well with Masami, she really enjoyed working with her and appeared in Masami’s radio show.

    • Agreed. Her attitude has got to change, even if she’s rebelling against a system that is fundamentally unfair to its talent. Juri is also chill with Masami now after they did Last Friends. I think that whole feud was just some bitchy attitudes during a period and everyone has grown up from that and moved on.

      • That’s true. The whole J-entertainment if unfair to it’s talents. There was a actress that spoke openly about it (Shinobu Terajima).
        Juri is actually another brilliant actress who is surprisingly known for having a bad attitude, she wasfired froma cm because of it.
        But hopefully Erika has learned something of all this and starts getting work again, I think shes signed with Avex currently so maybe she plans to continue singing.

    • I thought Maki and Erika Toda also got along XD Wow, I didn’t really know about this. I’ve just always watched the dramas, and never really known what goes on BTS @_@~

  5. Sawaeri is back?!
    Good to know. She is my favorite gossip queen. I don’t have such high opinion on her acting abilities (average at best) but she sure makes things interesting. Even if this means hell on earth for the rest of the cast and the production team.
    Now, please, please, please pick an interesting project and get back into the spotlight!!! And no more innocent types, please, or the tragic romantic stuff. You need a role that fits your diva attitude.

  6. Wait what? There was a feud? Can someone give me the lowdown? LOL, funnily enough, my attitude towards gossip/high school drama in real life carries over to my online life– I always find out after the fact all the details while I’m just oblivious to it all even if I’m surrounded by the drama while it’s ongoing.

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