Well-known Japanese actress, Maki Horikita (堀北真希), has announced her retirement from her career in show business. She is 28 years old. Let’s find out why this successful young woman has decided to retire so early on in her career.
Born on 6 October 1988, Maki Horikita is the eldest child in her family. While she is popular as an actress, she had also modeled for magazines and commercials. Maki Horikita is known for her commercial for Lotte, and also the commercial for Fujifilm of which she starred with Tomoya Nagase (長瀬智也).
As for her acting career, she made her debut in 2003 by appearing in the drama series Itsumo futari de (いつもふたりで). However, it was her performances in Densha Otoko (電車男) and Nobuta wo Produce (野ブタをプロデュース) that garnered her huge popularity. In Nobuta wo Produce, she played the role of a very shy female lead who gets bullied by a group of girls as a result of her shyness. Therefore, two male students named Shuji (修二) and Akira (彰) decided to “produce” her by making her popular. Her portrayal as Nobuta in Nobuta wo Produce earned her the Best Supporting Actress award from Japan’s Television Academy Awards.
She then won another Best Supporting Actress Award for her part in Kurosagi (クロサギ), a drama series in which she starred alongside Yamashita Tomohisa (山下智久). Hanazakari no Kimitachi e (花ざかりの君たちへ), or Hana Kimi, is one of the most famous drama series she has acted in, in which she acted as Ashiya Mizuki (芦屋瑞稀), a female student who disguised herself as a male in an all-boys school. Other examples of the films that Maki Horikita has starred in are Dareka ga Watashi ni Kiss wo Shita (誰かが私にキスをした) or DareKiss, Tokyo Shounen (東京少年), and Always San-chome no Yuhi (三丁目の夕日).
The management agency of Maki Horikita made the announcement that the star had married actor Koji Yamamoto (山本耕史) on 22 August 2015. The couple began dating in June 2015 after they became closer while working together in the theatrical production named Arashi ga Oka (Wuthering Heights; 嵐が丘). In June 2016, Maki Horikita made the announcement that she was pregnant. In December 2016, her first child was safely delivered.
A handwritten letter of hers dated 28 February 2017 was uploaded on her official website (Japanese only) to make her big announcement of leaving the entertainment industry. According to Horikita, she has a happy life after becoming a mother and she wants to fully embrace it. Therefore, she wants to concentrate on building a loving family with her husband and being a mother full-time. According to her management agency, the actress had expressed a desire to leave for the past year or so, and she became much more determined to leave after her baby was born in December 2016.
While it is not shocking for a Japanese female celebrity to retire early to take care of her child, it is still a sad news for her fans. I enjoyed watching Nobuta wo Produce and I really love Horikita’s character in the drama series. Nevertheless, all celebrities retire one day. We hope she has a good life ahead of her, and will perhaps return to the entertainment industry in the future!