|Birthdate:||February 14, 1971|
Noriko Sakai (酒井 法子, Sakai Noriko, born February 14, 1971) is a Japanese singer and actress. She was born in Japan, Fukuoka, debuting in 1986 as an idol singer identity, when her short hair style, sweet smile, youthful image became a talking point. Sakai released her debut single, "Otoko no Ko ni Naritai" (男のコになりたい, "I Want to Be a Boy") on February 5, 1987, nine days short of her sixteenth birthday. Over 40,000 copies of the single were sold. In the early years of her career, she used the nickname Nori-P (のりピー), although around the mid-1990s she started to distance herself from it. She ventured overseas in the 1990s to Taiwan to shoot VITALON P beverage commercials, as well as holding concerts which received praise. Sakai returned to after 1993, where she received recognition for her acting in Hitotsu Yane no Shita as Kashiwagi Koyuki. In 1995, she acted in Hoshi no Kinka (Heaven's Coins) as Aya Kuramoto, also singing the theme song Aoi Usagi (碧いうさぎ, "blue rabbit") which became her best selling album to date. By the end of 1998 she organized the Asian concert tours throughout Taiwan, mainland China, Singapore, South Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and other countries in the regions. In December 28, 1998, she suddenly held a reporter conference, announcing her marriage to Yūichi Takasō (高相 祐一, Takasō Yūichi). In January 2000, after the birth of her son, Sakai made a comeback to showbiz, and gradually took on roles in movies, drama and advertising. Sakai's popularity in Japan is not outstanding, but she has considerable supporters in Hong Kong, Taiwan and mainland China. August 2009, Sakai was arrested on suspicion of possession and abuse of drugs and sentenced to probation for three years. She divorced after the incident and temporarily stayed away from the media circle. After her probation ended, she began rehearsals for the theater, and signed on with Office Nigun Niiba, as a first step towards returning to the media committee.