Tenko Hikita (Princess Tenko), Japan’s famous magician, is a master of illusion. She often suffers several broken ribs and so on… She sometimes looks like she could die…
Don’t you want to know about her private life?
We shouldn’t interfere in her personal life?
◉ Apparently, women in your U.S. audiences love it when you pull a big stunt using many male assistants, whereas Japanese men like it when you look relieved after performing a dangerous illusion. Do you make these distinctions on purpose?
Always. What people like in the U.S. often doesn’t work in Japan, and vice versa. Even when my escape act is perfect, Japanese men hate it if I show off or act like a power woman. If I act like it was really tough and difficult, they think, “Poor girl. I must protect her” — and then they give me lots of applause (laughs).
On the other hand, in countries with an unfortunate history with Japan, like China or Korea, I am careful not to use costumes like old Japanese armor that may remind people of past wars.
◉ Female Japanese fans in their teens seem to admire you for your looks and fashion, while those in their late 20s and up see you as a symbol of career-building — being independent and successful abroad. How do you feel about that?
I think you get stuck if you stay in Japan all the time. The women who see me and like me get interested in overseas issues, which I think is good for them. When I’m on TV, for example, I try to talk about overseas as much as possible to raise their interest.
◉ It has been reported many times since 1995 that you are going out with a Hollywood star and nuptials are imminent. Is that so?
Well . . . it’s going well. But like many couples, we must respect each other’s work.
◉ Does that mean you are not discussing marriage with one particular person?
That also happens. Sometimes I’m in a marriage-oriented mood, and then we may be talking about it.
Tenko & the Guardians of the Magic (Let the Magic Begin)
◉ So do you get proposals from many different people, and discuss marriage with each?
That’s right. As I do 300 shows at different locations every year, I get into long relationships with different people at different places.
◉ You have said that your honeymoon will be in space, and that you were being trained in Russia for a $20-million orbital space tour. Your partner is undecided, but would any of them join you in space?
In fact, one of them is actually training to go to space.
◉ Does that mean you will marry that person?
If we do go on honeymoon, that will be the case.
Princess Tenko 〜 interview 〜
◉ Is it true that billionaires and members of royalty ask you to perform for them, and then offer you bars of gold, precious stones, and even oil fields and marriage as a reward?
Yes. In our (entertainment) world, big gifts are common.
◉ Who was the person who offered marriage?
There were quite a few, but I can’t tell you who as they are still alive. Many are from Asia. There was also one from Africa.
◉ How do you refuse their offers?
I don’t. It’s too scary. I tell them that I’ll visit again and we’ll talk. I keep a mobile phone hotline for each, and I record a new message every week. I call back when I get an emergency call.
◉ It is also said that you own about 50 luxurious houses around the world. Is that so?
I perform in many countries, and once there, I stay for one or two months. It gets stressful in a hotel because I don’t have my own things, so there’s a house in every location where I perform. It’s handy, because I can leave costumes, like my kimono, and I don’t have to carry them around.
Princess Tenko’s Water Tank Escape
◉ Which house is your favorite?
The one in Las Vegas is my favorite. I have many animals, like a white tiger and a mountain lion. I can relax with them there.
◉ Your pets’ feed is said to cost 3 million yen a month. Is that right?
It’s probably more. I also have a kinkajou (kind of raccoon), two white lions, eight horses, a Serval cat (African wild cat) and a dozen dogs. Lots of them.
◉ Apparently you also have a Punsan dog from Kim Jong Il, a protected species in North Korea. Is it true that it is the brother of the dog offered to former South Korean president Kim Dae-jung?
Yes. I was told they are brothers.