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Behind this Mai Shiranui, There's Tragedy

Illustration for article titled Behind this Mai Shiranui, Theres Tragedy
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Last year started out well enough. It looked like it was going to be a big one for Yang Qi Han (aka Isabella Yang). She was all over the place, even appearing at the Cannes Film Festival. Then things got bad, real bad.


Everything came to a head with Isabella hanging on the side of a Beijing hotel. Then, she slit her wrists. And that was only summer.

Back in 2010, Isabella made a big splash as a "soccer girl" during the FIFA World Cup, appearing in promotional pictures. Her look—big eyes and a sharp chin—were considered the ideal for men and females alike.


But Isabella had more to offer than just a simple smile. Trained at the China Conservatory in Beijing, she was an accomplished opera singer as well as an actress.

Isabella was a hit online, too, but not for her voice. She released cosplay pic after cosplay pic, dressing as fantasy and game characters (Mai Shiranui is a cosplay favorite of late for curvy models in China and Taiwan). There seemed to be no stopping her. Then a video of her making out with a female friend at a male bordello hit the internet and soon went viral.


By summer, the rumors about Isabella mounted, including vicious ones about her visiting male prostitutes. It apparently became all too much, because on August 11, she tried to jump out of downtown Beijing window. After police were able to get her back in the hotel, she slit her wrists and was rushed to the hospital. Footage of her dangling out of a window and right after she cut her wrists made the evening news.

Illustration for article titled Behind this Mai Shiranui, Theres Tragedy

Much of Isabella's image was built on sexuality. Yet, when that sexuality went viral, it proved too much for her.

Her suicide attempt, thankfully, was unsuccessful.

Things were relatively quiet until December, when she wrote on her online profile, "I'm back", heralding a return of sorts—or at least, some sort of stability. A new batch of photos followed, with Isabella in a bed or roses. She seemed like she was finding her way.


This January, Isabella was once again caught up in a scandal after another video—this time teaching a friend how to pleasure herself—went viral. Once again, she said she was set up by a jealous friend. In China, jaded rumors persisted that the viral videos—even the suicide attempt—were publicity stunts.

Isabella continues to release photos and gain new fans online. This spring a flutter of Japanese blogs discovered Isabella's Mai Shiranui photos, immediatley praising it as "high grade" cosplay.


Yet, behind these photos and behind Isabella, there's Yang Qi Han—a young woman with dreams of opera and acting. What thrust her into spotlight, however, was her sexuality. And sadly, it almost destroyed her.

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A day of work for Brian Ashcraft: Search for random asian news, put them half assed in an article, profit. I'm very surprised to see someone like him working in a site like kotaku.