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Death Blog Lady is a nickname given to Aki Higashihara (東原亜希), a Japanese idol, fashion model and TV personality who is well known for her regular appearances in variety show programs, game shows and commercials. In addition to her presence in popular culture, she also gained notoriety on the web as a blogger who brings misfortune or failure to any brand she chooses to endorse. Though mostly an Internet legend, fabricated stories about her history of misfortunes have been since circulating in the blogosphere and BBS forums.
Aki Higashihara was recruited by the Tokyo-based talent agency Platinum Production in 2000 while still attending high school. She made her mainstream debut as the model for the advertising campaign of Japanese beer brand Asahi in 2002. In the following years, Higashihara continued to pursue her modeling career in gravure idol magazines and host various programs on Fuji TV, including a horse-racing related news program. While working as the program’s host from April to December in 2007, Higashihara became associated with bad luck after rumors spread on the web that whichever horse she predicts as the winner would lose the games, even the most popular race horses.
Around June 2007, she was eventually dubbed “Favorite Killer” by the co-hosts and her forecast notes regarding the winning horse was reported as “Death Notes” in the program, which is a reference to the title of a well-known crime thriller manga & anime series.
Her notoriety was covered by another primetime sports variety show on numerous broadcasts in 2007. As a result, the legend of Higashiahara’s “Death Note” became a popular topic of gossips in the Japanese media. In one of the episodes, a horse jockey teased Higashihara by pleading her to not write his horse’s name for her winner forecast, to which she jokingly replied back: “I’ll write your name many times on my note!” Two month later, the jockey actually fell off a horse during race and suffered severe cuts and concussions.
The 2008 Beijing Olympics
Myths surrounding Higashihara’s curse entered a new chapter in 2008 with her marriage to Judoka Kousei Inoue. He was a famous Judo player and had went onto compete in the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athene, as the captain of Japan’s national team. But, the performance of Inoue who started going stedy with Higashihara in the previous year fell short of many sportscasters and analysts’ expectations and failed to place any medals in that Olympics. And after the marrigige to her, he was rejected from the national team for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China in April 2008. In the following month, Inoue retired from a Judo player and it was rumored that his misfortunes were caused by the marriage. Some heartless Japanese people gave her the dishonorable nickname “Sageman” (さげまん,Sah-Geh-Man), an offensive label describing a woman who has the undesirable characteristic of absorbing others’ good luck, derived from the Japanese verb sageru (下げる), which means “to lower.”
Moreover, her curse inflicted further damage on Japanese Olympic players during she were visiting in Beijing with her husband to cheer for them. It soon came to the netizens’ attention that many Japanese teams and players in various events who were mentioned in Higashihara’s blog entries and were cheered by her at the sites also performed below their expected levels and finished in disappoint results. By contrast, other players who were not mentioned in her blog or attended games after she left from the sites seemed to have played better games. This observation quickly gained momentum on the Japanese blogosphere throughout August 2008, further amplifying the level of public exposure on Higashihara’s blog.
The Death Blog
Following the 2008 Olympics games, Japanese internet users began referring to Higashihara’s blog as the “Death Blog” (デスブログ), a reference to the popular manga / anime series Death Note in which writing someone’s name in a special notebook would bring deadly misfortune to the person.
Discussion threads about Higashihara’s curse soon started in 2channel’s /occult/ board, generating thousands of related posts that same month. 2channel users also began researching her track record of the past, many of which were listed in a collection of copypastas named “The Legend of Aki Higashihara” (東原亜希伝説).
On August 16th, 2008, Higashihara officially responded to the rumors of her curse in a blog post written from Beijing. Although she had already suffered many crude, negative comments from those who seriously believed the legend, she seemed unaffected by the harassments:
A friend of mine in Tokyo told me that some people were talking about my Death Note again. I don’t know if she did it for me from kindness or a pinprick. Don’t worry. I never close comment section in posts. Those just raise the page views. But those are rude for players.
The notoriety of Higashihara’s bad luck and her “Death Blog” spread across the blogosphere and BBS forums in the form of copypastas, drawing unlikely connections between her blog posts and various news of natural disasters, deaths of celebrities and economic crises.
Higashihara worked as an advertising model for the Sega Dreamcast; the console was ultimately defeated by its competitor’s product, Sony PlayStation 2.
In 2003, she began dating Japan’s star Judoka Kosei Inoue. At the 2004 Athens Olympics, Inuoe suffered a major upset against Elco van der Geest of the Netherlands and didn’t place, despite the media predictions that he will win the gold medal.
From 2005 to 2007, she worked as an advertising model for the loan firm Deposit Insurance Corporation of Japan, which filed bankruptcy soon afterwards. Its parent company, Citibank, also became involved in the 2008 U.S. subprime mortgage crisis.
In 2007, she began appearing on horse racing show titled “Super Keiba.” During her gig as a caster, her predictions for the winning horse were unfulfilled in 21 consecutive races and 38 races in total. The show, which ran for over two decades prior to Higashihara joining the cast, was cancelled three months later.
In 2007, Higahshihara appeared on a panel session for Toshiba’s HD-DVD technology at the Combined Exhibition of Advanced Technologies. In the following year, Toshiba abandoned the format.
In 2008, she stated that she’ll marry the Japanese Judo star Inoue at the Imperial Hotel; Following their wedding ceremony, a fire broke out at the hotel.
In early 2008, Higashihara made a public appearance at a McDonalds restaurant. The next day, parasites were found in the burgers.
In late 2008, she was featured in an advertisement for an instant ramen brand. Once again, parasites were found in the noodles and traces of insecticides were also found at the factory.
In 2008, Higashihara moved to the United Kingdom with her husband Kosei Inoue. That year, Queen Elizabeth II lost 37 million pounds in personal wealth.
In March 2009, she responded to Michael Jackson’s announcement of the live concert tour by saying that "it will come true” on her blog. Three months later, Michael Jackson passed away and the tour was canceled.
In August 2009, Higashihara attended a fireworks event in commemoration of Japanese Self-Defense Force and blogged about it. Two months later, a Japanese Navy warship collided with a South Korean commercial vessel and a minesweeper collided with a fishing boat on the following day.
In December 2009, Higashihara posted a photo of her new iPhone in a blog post, which apparently led to concerns from other netizens who worried that her endorsement of the product would bring bad luck for Apple.
In January 2010, she purchased a Nintendo Wii and published a blog post about it. At the following E3 held in June 2011, Nintendo officially revealed the next-generation Wii U, effectively ending any prospects for major Wii title releases.
In January 2010, she wrote a blog post about her visit to a famous shrine in Kamakura and said “I wanted to eat ginkgo nuts!”. Two month later, the 800-year-old sacred ginkgo tree in the shrine went into ruin. This topic was reported by even in Chinese news sites.
In April 2010, she wrote a blog post about her visit to Holland Park in London. The same day, the president of Poland and 97 others died in a plane crash. In Katakana characters, Holland (ホーランド) and Poland (ポーランド) are spelled near identically.
In January 2011, Higashihara mentioned “earthquakes” in a blog post. Exactly two months later, Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami disaster struck the nation.
In March 2011, days after the earthquake, she blogged about the power outage and called on her readers to joint the recovery efforts by saving electricity. At the same moment she published this post, the reactor in Fukusima Daiichi nuclear power plant exploded.
In September 2011, she wrote about her recent purchase of a Sony digital camera in a blog post. One month later, Sony’s digital camera factories in Thailand were shut down due to a flood.
In July 2012, she blogged about panda and she putting her children in bed at 8:30PM. In the following day, the long-awaited baby panda born at Ueno Zoo died at 8:30AM.
In December 2012, she posted a picture of her child holding a toy of Japan Airlines plane, accompanied by the caption “my son loves planes.”. One month later, Japan Airlines grounded its entire fleet of 787 Dreamliners by lithium ion battery problems. FAA also ordered all American Dreamliners grounded as well.
Search queries for Aki Higashihara (東原亜希) first surged when it was reported that she is dating Japan’s national Judoka (judo practitioner) Kosei Inoue in November 2004 and peaked years later with their marriage in January 2008.
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