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In her autobiography Iijima describes a troubled early life. She was raped in her early teens, and had an abortion,2 She ran away from home as a teenager, later stating, "I hated my parents, to the point where I would rather be coached by bums to sleep in parks wrapped in newspaper blankets."
In order to make a living during this time, Iijima worked in karaoke establishments, snack bars, Ginza hostess clubs, and in enjo kōsai (paid dating). She entered the entertainment business in her late teens, appearing on late night television programs wearing clothing such as thongs, short skirts, and even appearing topless. Her stage name was chosen by a fan survey.
By 2002, Iijima had become a regular on several TV shows.5 With her pornographic past a decade away, Iijima was so well-known as a mainstream TV celebrity that many younger members of her audience were unaware that she had once been one of the top AV actresses.2 Items from her early career began going for high prices, and an unauthorized 2002 box-set release of her pornographic appearances sold very well, until her lawyers took it off the market.2
Iijima's acceptance into the mainstream gave her access to the highest levels of Japanese society, including once having dinner with Junichiro Koizumi, who was Japan's health minister at the time. Iijima claims that on this occasion, the future Prime Minister discussed the sex life of dragonflies with her.9
After the difficulties of her early life, Iijima's career in mainstream entertainment had been remarkably free of trouble for over a decade when she was victimized by an embezzler at her talent agency, who took about 100 million yen from her.5 Late in 2006, she took two weeks off from her position as panelist on the Sunday morning TV variety show, Sunday Japon. She later revealed in her blog that she was suffering from health problems, causing rumors of her possible retirement from show business to circulate in the press.5 In March 2007, when asked by the host of Sunday Japon whether rumors of her retirement were true, Iijima replied, "Yes, I have been wanting to quit for some time. I will announce my future plans next week."10
Iijima's farewell appearance on the TV program KinSuma, on which she has been a regular for five years, was described as "a teary two-hour sayonara party complete with speeches, bouquets and lots of blubbering."11 However, when psychic Fujiko Kimura confronted Iijima on the program, telling her not to retire and suggesting that there was more behind the retirement announcement than had been made public, Iijima "seemed to admit as much and was reduced to tears."11 Whatever the circumstances leading to the decision, Ai Iijima's retirement at the age of 34 brings an end to what has been called "one of the more remarkable careers in the cutthroat Japanese entertainment world."
At about 3:30 p.m. on December 24, 2008 (JST), Iijima was found dead in her 21st floor Tokyo apartment not far from Shibuya Crossing. Police are currently investigating her death as she was found lying face-down on the floor when medics forced their way into her place. She had been dead for about 7 days, police said. Some of her show business friends told reporters that Ai suffered recently from bouts of melancholia and depression, and they believe her death was accidental or perhaps a heart attack. She once told reporters she was taking medication for a "mild neurosis." Through this and other occasional entries on her blog, "Porno Hospital," she kept fans up to date on her life and business dealings. She is said to have been planning to start a new business focused on selling condoms to women. She wrote extensively about a World Aids Day event in Tochigi Prefecture on December 6. On March 3 2007, Sports Nippon reported that Ai Iijima was suffering from hay fever, pyelitis (ascending urinary tract infection that has reached the pyelum (pelvis) of the kidney), cystitis and acute backache. She had written in her blog that she had kidney problems and inflammation of the urinary tract and bladder. Her father said on TV news after her death that he was very much shocked, adding that the autopsy will take a few weeks.From Wikipedia