Some people are known for their hairdos. Others are known for their wit. Rina Akiyama was known for her round butt. Now, she's known for something else:
Her increasingly thin figure.
Akiyama debuted around the turn of the century, appearing in bikini mags and TV dramas.
But she went on to appear in Kamen Rider feature films and was so popular that her pin-up poster appeared in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater.
Akiyama also appeared at promotional events for the stealth game.
It was Akiyama's tush that caught everyone's attention.
Her nickname was "Oshirina", a word play on "oshiri" (butt) and her first name "Rina".
Akiyama was even awarded "Best Butt in Japan" and released music singles that allowed her to flash her clothed button on stage.
Akiyama at the Snake Eater launch party (Game Impress Watch)
Akiyama and her bottom's popularity peaked in 2008, when a collectible plastic "Rina Akiyama Real Figure" went on sale for ¥:18,900. That same year, she appeared at Hudson's booth at the Tokyo Game Show.
In recent years, Akiyama, like so many idols, has faded from the public eye. The 25-year-old continues to get roles, but in bit parts on TV.
She did appear in Gothic & Lolita Psycho, a wild exploitation flick from Go Ohara, who also directed the big screen version of hack-and-slash game Onechanbara.
High-brow cinema this ain't, but with special effects from Yoshihiro Nishimura of Tokyo Gore Police, it was a guilty pleasure. Gothic & Lolita Psycho probably wasn't the best career move, though.
Japan's moved on to its next flavor of the month. Idols disappear as quickly as they appear, and unless they have the gift of the gab and are good at improvising on talk shows, their lifespan tends to be rather quick.
On Japanese television, the ones who stick around—male or female—need to constantly say, or do, amusing and interesting things so not to wear out their welcome.
After a certain point, they become like the carpet, and Japanese TV doesn't feel quite the same without them, much like Regis Philbin in the U.S.
Akiyama released her most recent collection of bikini butt pics in 2009, which might explain the shock caused online when she recently posted photos of herself in a bikini.
"You're way too thin," wrote commenter after commenter, worried about Akiyama's skin-and-bones appearance in photo after photo.
Akiyama replied that she just looked too thin in the pic and for everyone not to worry—because the camera subtracts ten pounds or something? "I'm eating every day," she added.
While other pin-up model's weight loss, such as Aki Hoshino's frighteningly thin waistline, could be the result of diet binges, there might be an explanation for Akiyama's. In the past few years, she opened a vegetarian restaurant. Of course, not all vegetarians are beanstock skinny, but Akiyama could have drastically changed her diet. That, or she could have an eating disorder.
Vegetables are healthy. Getting so skinny that your ribs poke out is not.
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(Top photo: BSTV)