Japan's first lady hopeful an outgoing TV lifestyle guru

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By AFP

The woman who may soon be Japan's first lady, Miyuki Hatoyama, is a former actress turned lifestyle guru with an interest in spirituality who could liven up the staid role of a premier's wife.

Her husband Yukio Hatoyama -- whose Democratic Party of Japan is widely expected to oust conservative Prime Minister Taro Aso's party from power in an election next Sunday -- has called Miyuki his ever-shining "sun".

"There is no limit to her cheerfulness," the blue-blooded politician and former engineering scholar has said of his 66-year-old wife, whom he met while he was studying at California's prestigious Stanford University.

While many politicians' wives in Japan have played a traditionally meek and conservative role, Mrs Hatoyama is a celebrity in her own right.

Miyuki, known for her extrovert and quirky personality, gives inspirational talks and has appeared on TV variety shows to discuss topics ranging from spirituality to politics.

She describes herself as a "life composer" who arranges people's food, clothes and home decor and has authored cook books, including "Spiritual Food" on Hawaiian macrobiotic recipes.

She also serves as the chief stylist for her husband, doing his hair and coordinating what he wears.

The 62-year-old prime ministerial frontrunner has spoken in glowing terms about his wife as the bedrock of his life.

"I feel relieved when I get home," he told an interviewer for a photo book published in 2002. "She is like an energy-refuelling base."

Miyuki Hatoyama said she had always been "full of curiosity" when she appeared recently on a television talk show with her trademark bobbed hair wearing and a skirt made from hemp coffee sacks she bought in Hawaii.

"I'm a person who wants to try everything," she said, listing hobbies such as pickling vegetables, making stained-glass art, pottery and sewing.

She said she had never had a dream that was not fulfilled and was now "burning" with desire to make a film in Hollywood.

"Unrealised dreams? I don't think I have one," she said. "Dreams will come true if you strongly believe in them. The dream I now want to realise and believe will come true is film-making."

She playfully went on to say that the lead actor would be Tom Cruise, "because I know he was a Japanese in a previous life."

Miyuki smiled and continued: "I remember that he and I were together (in a previous life). I believe he'd get it if I said to him 'Long time no see' when I meet him."

She declined to go into details about her film plot, but declared confidently that her movie would "change people's sense of value dramatically... I'll get an Oscar for sure."

Miyuki went on to say how she gets energy from the sun.

"When the sun is up, I always eat it... I tear it off and eat it like this," she said, gesturing as if clawing at the sky, tearing pieces off the sun and putting them in her mouth. "That gives me great power," she said.

Miyuki was born in Shanghai in 1943 when the Chinese city was under Japanese occupation. She grew up in the western Japanese city of Kobe.

She was an actress with the all-female Takarazuka Revue in the 1960s and went to the United States in her mid-20s after quitting her stage career.

She began a relationship in San Francisco with Hatoyama, the scion of a political dynasty often dubbed Japan's Kennedy family. Miyuki and Yukio Hatoyama married in 1975 after she divorced her previous husband.

The couple have one son, an engineering scholar now living in Russia.

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