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November 30, 2000

From Our Correspondent: Hirohito and the War
A conversation with biographer Herbert Bix

From Our Correspondent: A Rough Road Ahead
Bad news for the Philippines - and some others

From Our Correspondent: Making Enemies
Indonesia needs friends. So why is it picking fights?

Asiaweek Time Asia Now Asiaweek

MARCH 31, 2000 VOL. 26 NO. 12

Celestial Duet In Hong Kong

Asiaweek Pictures

It's a Canto-pop match made for the tabloids. The speculation that "heavenly queen" Faye Wong, right, and young heart-throb Nicholas Tse are an item, is fueling a Hong Kong media frenzy. Never mind the lack of evidence that the two singers are romantically involved. Since the pair were snapped kissing at a restaurant - during a drinking game with other local celebs - rumors of a liaison have filled the papers. Adding spice to the speculations is the decade that separates the two. At 30, Wong is a divorced mother of one. Tse, the son of 1960s movie superstar Patrick Tse, is a mere 19. According to media gossip, the pairing is not entirely improbable: Young Nicholas is said to prefer older women, and has previously been linked to singers Gigi Leung, 23, and Sammi Cheng, 27. Both Wong and Tse deny the whole affair, but the press isn't convinced. Especially after the two were spotted during an intimate dinner last week. "Everybody needs to eat," says an exasperated Tse. And it's great fodder for the entertainment pages too.

Out of the Ring

Time and again, he managed to elude defeat despite being one of the smaller people in the sport. For that, they called him the Houdini of sumo. But persistent injuries finally forced grand champion Wakanohana to call it quits this month. He made sumo history in 1998 when he joined younger brother Takanohana in the sport's highest rank of yokozuna, as the first siblings to become grand champions. Their popularity helped usher in the so-called Waka-Taka boom, a golden period in sumo. Wakanohana, 29, who announced his retirement after suffering a third loss at the spring tournament in Osaka, will now turn coach. The 1.8-meter, 134-kg champion made up for his smallish build with fierce determination, using his lower body strength and greater agility to defeat more rotund rivals. But his career was marred by injury, rumors of divorce from his wife Mieko and a well-publicized fallout with his more successful brother. (The pair, members of a prominent sumo family, made their professional debut together 13 years ago.) "I feel a heavy burden has been lifted from my shoulders," Wakanohana said after his decision. Coming from a champion sumo wrestler, that's saying something.

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