Kagoshima: Ocean, tranquil life draw showbiz personality

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Imalu is seen at the Ohama Seaside Park in Amami, Kagoshima Prefecture.

AMAMI, Kagoshima — Beautiful ocean views and pristine nature have attracted a celebrity to Amami-Oshima island, Kagoshima Prefecture, making the remote island an even more alluring place to live.

The Yomiuri Shimbun

Imalu, 33, is known as a daughter of a famous comedian and an actress, and works in the entertainment industry as a TV and radio personality. She divides her time between Tokyo, where she mostly works, and the island.

She grew up in Tokyo, and always dreamed of living near the sea. For the past few years, she had been searching for a place to live in Kanagawa and Chiba prefectures, but after visiting the island she instinctively knew it was the place for her.

Initially, living near Tokyo looked to be the best prospect, so she could be close to work. However, as teleworking became more common during the pandemic, she felt comfortable living further away.

“As I got to know about Amami, I came to believe that sticking to living near Tokyo was half-baked,” Imalu said. “If I wanted to be near the ocean, I might as well come all the way here. That’s how I decided.”

Despite being a tourist destination with its rich natural environment, the island is not so crowded, making it even more appealing to Imalu.

“The place is pristine. Time goes by slowly. You have the sea all to yourself. I find every one of these aspects amazing,” she said.

Once she started living on the island, she began to feel herself change.

“Compared to when I’m staying in Tokyo, I think I feel less anxious, worried and irritated,” Imalu said about the positive aspects of living on the island. “I could also draw a clear line between my private life and my work.”

There have been some surprises. Crabs coming into the house and geckos walking around the room are among things that she never imagined coming across. She had never heard geckos squeaking before.

Imalu began sharing information about her island life via social media.

“First of all, I want more people to know about Amami-Oshima island,” she said. “I also want to find out more about the island myself, and visit other islets in the Amami Islands chain. Then, I also want to think about what I can do to help the island.”

Although it is only a few months since she started living on the island, she feels she is home every time she gets off the plane from Tokyo.

On Amami-Oshima island, there is always a hometown-like nostalgic atmosphere that cannot be experienced in a big city. Imalu hopes to convey these experiences over time.