MASAO SEN: BIG IN JAPAN
Fifteen years ago, singer Masao Sen was a household name, and immediately associated with three distinguishing features - his enormous wealth, his blonde American wife, and the prominent mole in the center of his forehead. Now, at 53, Sen is still well-known, despite living most of the time in
Sen, born in
Thanks considerably to his former wife's financial advice, Sen became the most famous multimillionaire entrepreneur in
Yet it was this extensive investing that caused his downfall, for when the bubble burst in the late '80s Sen's finances spiraled down faster than a jet with engine failure. With debts of over JY1 billion, he was forced to claim bankruptcy last year for his company, Abe Enterprises, and its 50 or so offices worldwide. The interest on his loans alone are said to hover at around JY5 million a day, and have forced him to resume the singing career that had become more of a hobby in richer times.
On Christmas Eve, when he should have been back at home in
Sen is well-known for his preference for blondes, and in 1972 he married jazz singer Joan Shepherd. The marriage ended 17 years later, and he moved in with a blonde British dancer named Amanda, who has since borne him four children. Sadly, in addition to his financial troubles, he has had to face problems with his children's health: His six-year-old was diagnosed with leukemia.
At the start of the new year there are some flickers of hope in this poor man-rich man-poor man story. Sen will return to the Koma Theater to do a one-month show in September and at the time of writing, his latest release, "Yume no Shizuku," is in the top ten on the cable radio charts. His luck may just be turning again.