Original Article from here.


Reason for Ayu’s Divorce? Ex-Husband’s Steamy “Surprise” Photobook
18 January 2012.

A current hot topic is the photobook of Hamasaki Ayumi’s (33) ex-husband, Austrian-born model Manuel Schwarz (31), released without Hamasaki’s knowledge. The contents emphasized strongly on the male body in a sexual way, and it has been said that this photobook was the trigger for the divorce.

To summarize all the details, Hamasaki announced her marriage to Schwarz on 1 Jan 2011, after acting together in a PV shoot, and the two held their wedding ceremony in the US on the same day. However, just a year later, on 16 Jan 2012, she announced their divorce. On the 17th, Hamasaki filed for divorce with the US courthouse through a lawyer, and the application was accepted.

Publishing a Nude Photobook Without Permission

Hamasaki personally explained on her website that the reason for divorce was the Tohoku Earthquake Disaster. The disaster made her develop a strong “reluctance to leave Japan”, and “since I cannot see a future in the US with my husband”, she decided to divorce.

On the other hand, some reports claimed that another reason for the divorce was the fact that Schwarz released a photobook of himself without Hamasaki’s knowledge. In November 2011, 1,000 limited copies of the book, titled “SUPER MANUEL”, were released.

The contents of the book soon leaked onto the Internet. On the cover, Schwarz posed half-naked, with a look of yearning on his face as he looked at the camera. There were also shots of him in the sea, the water making his pants wet and emphasizing his groin area, as well as some naked shots, with bubbles covering his groin. Full of male sex appeal, it was an intense book.

Asking Price of 9,000yen on Yahoo! Auctions

This book was dedicated to “my beautiful wife”, to which Hamasaki replied “My heart was gonna almost STOP! LOL” on Twitter. However, reports claimed that Hamasaki was actually upset. Although the truth remains unknown, it is surely not unreasonable to get angry should someone you love “surprise” you by publishing a nude photobook.

This book has become a hot topic online, and there were comments such as “Is hubby gay?” circulating around on 2ch and Twitter.

Leslie Kee, who shot the photobook, is a famous Singaporean photographer, and had worked on CD jacket covers for artists like Hamasaki and Koda Kumi. On his official website, most of his works deal with men as his subject, and are often as extreme as what he had done for Schwarz. This is Kee’s photography style.

By the way, one copy of “SUPER MANUEL” is being auctioned on Yahoo!Auctions currently. Instead of the original price of 6,300yen, this signed copy is going for 9,000yen.

It is now 18 Jan 2012, one night after the divorce application had been accepted. Fans have been tweeting Hamasaki with messages such as “There will be many complications until the divorce procedure is complete, but please continue to progress and be ayu-chan”.