Shukan Gendai steps in to reveal the answer: golfer Ai Miyazato. The magazine
knows this because it had obtained the original photo, in which the face is
plain to see. Ranking sixth in the world, 21-year-old Miyazato is undoubtedly
one of Japan's most famous sports celebrities.
But is the photo genuine?
Most of the experts Shukan Gendai speaks with say no, no doubt to the
disappointment of Miyazato's many male fans.
Takafumi Suzuki, a professional photo analyst, concludes that the manipulation
in the image goes well beyond some blurring of the face. The image appears to
be a composite, with the head stuck on the body of another shapely young woman.
"In the photo, the tiles in the background are in focus, while the body is a
bit blurry. So then why is the face in focus?" he says.
Other inconsistences include the way light is reflected in the bathroom mirror,
Suzuki points out.
As to why someone would create and then give such a photo to the media, the
answer likely involves a very serious grudge against the famous golfer.
But, believe it or not, that news wouldn't come as a surprise to anyone
familiar with Japan's professional women's golf scene, according to the
magazine. Ai, it turns out, is deeply resented by many of her colleagues.
"There's a lot of behind-the-scenes bullying going on, and it's particularly
bad toward Ai," says an anonymous source, described as someone who takes part
in the pro golf tour in Japan. "People do all sorts of things to her, such as
breaking her umbrella or hiding her clothes right before the tournaments get
Who might be the bullies? Namely other female golfers on the tour who are
considerably older than Ai and not nearly as popular, the source speculates.
"For players in their 30s, even if they win a championship they'll see Ai
grabbing the headlines in the sports papers the next day. . . . The photo seems
to be just another part of this bullying."
Clearly, behind the naked truth of Flash's controversial photo lie some nasty
truths in the world of Japanese professional sports.