Monday, October 24, 2016

First-day-screening event of new movie "Birthday Card"

The first-day-screening event of new movie "Birthday Card" was held at Shinjuku Wald 9 on 22 October which was attended by the director Yoshida Yasuhiro and cast members Hashimoto Ai, Miyazaki Aoi, Yusuke Santa Maria, Suga Kenta, Nakamura Aoi, Shinokawa Momone and Seiru. The movie features Hashimoto as Noriko who receives a letter from her late mother Yoshie (Miyazaki) on her birthday every year from the time she was 10 until she turns 20 which gives her the courage to live life to the fullest.

In line with the theme of the movie, Hashimoto, Suga and Nakamura prepared letters which they read aloud to the audience. Hashimoto wrote a letter to Miyazaki where she expressed regret for being unable to act together with her in this movie except for one scene despite the fact they played mother and daughter. As such, she was especially thankful for that one scene and felt that Miyazaki is a very loving person especially after they had been on the promotional tour together. Hashimoto expressed her wish to be able to work together with Miyazaki again which the latter responded with a smile.

As for Suga, he wrote a letter to Yusuke Santa Maria who played his father and expressed his gratitude towards the latter for keeping his stage play schedule in mind during the filming and supporting him during the process. Suga said that he had the idea of changing his stage name to Kenta Santa Maria which led Yusuke to say that he should drop the idea since there are many other people who use katakana surnames. Upon seeing the exchange between them, Miyazaki burst out laughing.

At the end of the event, Miyazaki commented that in these days, there are very few movies like this based on an original script and that she's very satisfied with how the movie has turned out. As such, she hopes that the movie can be seen by everyone nationwide and called upon the audience to spread the word about the film.

Sources: Oricon /

Hira Mikijirou passes away; found dead at home by family members

Hira Mikijirou was found dead in the bathtub of his house at Setagaya Ward, Tokyo by his family members who had come to visit him around 6.30pm on 23rd October who then called for an ambulance. Hira had lived alone and was 82 years old. According to the police, there was nothing suspicious about Hira's death. Details of his funeral and the host have not been decided yet.

Hira was born in Hiroshima City in November 1933 and joined the 5th batch of the Gekidan Haiyuza in 1953 after graduating from senior high school. Three years later, he became a member of the theatre group and had participated in many dramas, movies and stage plays over the years. Hira was awarded the Purple Ribbon Medal in 1998 and the Order of the Rising Sun in 2005. His most recent appearance was in the FujiTV Autumn 2016 drama "Cain to Abel" as the grandfather of the characters played by Yamada Ryosuke and Kiritani Kenta.

Hira got married to actress Sakuma Yoshiko in 1970 and had a son and daughter but the couple divorced in 1984. Their son Hira Takehiro is also an actor. Hira underwent surgery for lung cancer before and had made a full recovery.

Sources: Nikkansports / Sanspo / Yomiuri Hochi / Sponichi

Friday, October 21, 2016

Kusanagi Tsuyoshi to star in new FujiTV / Kansai TV Winter 2017 drama "Uso no Sensou"

Kusanagi Tsuyoshi will be starring in the new FujiTV / Kansai TV Winter 2017 drama "Uso no Sensou" (The war of lies) which will be shown in January next year in the Tuesdays 9pm timeslot. Filming is set to begin from the middle of next month to March 2017 and this is Kusanagi's first solo project since the disbanding of SMAP on 31 Dec.

"Uso no Sensou" is the second installment in the revenge series following the first part "Zeni no Sensou" also featuring Kusanagi which was shown in winter this year and achieved an average rating of 13.4%. It was said that the offer for this drama was made before SMAP's disband announcement in August this year. The same crew will be responsible for the new drama which is an original story featuring Kusanagi in the lead role of Ichinose Koichi who is a fraudster out for revenge as his father killed his mother and younger brother before committing suicide when he was 9 years old. However, the truth was that this was an engineered murder and Koichi had seen the culprit. Despite so, the police did not believe his words and let the real murderer get off scott free. 30 years later, he meets the murderer overseas and pledges to take revenge for all those who were responsible for his family's death. He will also be caught in a love triangle with his female fraudster partner and a doctor who is the daughter of a large company's president who happens to be one of the people he wants to take revenge on.

With regard to playing a fraudster, Kusanagi commented that he is the type not good at lying as it will show on his face so he thinks that this is a chance for him to get better at lying. Of course, not all lies are bad as some are made with good intentions. As this is a story about taking revenge, he hopes that viewers will be able to get some stress relief through this fast-paced drama where the evil gets punished.

Sources: Nikkansports / Sanspo / Yomiuri Hochi

Winners of the 5th Confidence Award Drama Prize (Summer 2016)

Best Drama: Ie uru onna (NTV)

Best Leading Actor: Mikami Hiroshi (Isan Sozoku Bengoshi Kakizaki Shinichi)

Best Leading Actress: Haru (ON Ijou Hanzai Sousakan Toudou Hinako)

Best Supporting Actor: Yamauchi Takaya (HOPE ~ Kitai Zero no Shinnyu Shain ~)

Best Supporting Actress: Kinami Haruka (Seiseisuru hodo, Aishiteru)

Best Script: Yukawa Kazuhiko (Hajimemashite, Aishiteimasu)

Best Newcomer: Ishii Anna (Aogeba Totoshi)

Source: Confidence Award Drama Prize

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Japan premiere event of new movie "Death Note Light up the NEW world"

The Japan premiere event of new movie "Death Note Light up the NEW world" was hed at Tokyo Dome City Hall on 20 October which was attended by the director Sato Shinsuke and cast members Higashide Masahiro, Ikematsu Sousuke, Suda Masaki, Toda Erika, Kawaei Rina and Funakoshi Eiichiro. The movie which will be shown in cinemas from 29 October, is set 10 years after the end of the previous Death Note movies where Yagami Light (Fujiwara Tatsuya) and L (Matsuyama Kenichi) battled to the end of their lives. In this new movie, Higashide plays Mishima who belongs to the special department handling Death Note-related cases while Ikematsu plays Ryuuzaki who is the successor of L and Suda plays Shion, a cyber terrorist who adores Kira i.e. Light. When 6 Death Notes are dropped into the human world, another series of intense battles over their ownership arise as a result.

When asked who among them would be most likely to use the Death Note, Ikematsu and Suda both chose Higashide who also chose himself. Suda said that Higashide is an eccentric guy while Ikematsu explained in detail that Higashide is a cute person who is easily influenced by others and has a strong sense of justice so he's most likely to use the Death Note. Upon hearing this, Higashide couldn't help but say that Ikematsu had done a good job describing him. When asked if they would like to become Death Note owners, Higashide was not keen on the idea but Kawaei wanted to own one even though she won't actually kill anyone with it.

However, when asked about what's appealing about their characters, the trio were visibly stumped for words. Higashide said that Mishima is a passionate police detective with special feelings for the Death Note while Ikematsu said that Ryuuzaki had inherited many things from L and wanted to exceed his predecessor. As for Suda, he said that the reality of acting in this movie scared him. Upon hearing their answers, Toda who is their senior in the Death Note series "scolded" them for just describing their characters and not even answering the question properly. In response, Ikematsu suggested jokingly that they should redo the event from the time they entered the venue.

In this movie, news of the previous movies' cast i.e. Fujiwara, Matsuyama and Toda's appearances were very much welcomed. The director Sato said that when he saw Fujiwara's acting, it was as if he had met Light again and God had reappeared. As for his meeting with Toda, he was very excited about it although she commented that he didn't seem that emotional to her. Suda also chipped in to say that he was very thrilled to meet Misa Misa (Toda's character) but Toda didn't seem to believe his response.

As news of Toda's breakup with Kase Ryo had appeared on the same day of the event, the media tried to ask about this but was stopped by the movie company's staff. Toda herself also did not react to the question.

Reflecting on her reprisal of the role Amane Misa, Toda recounted that when she acted in the original movies 10 years ago, she was a newbie actress who had made her debut less than one year ago. However, upon seeing her name on the cinema's screen when the ending credits were rolling, she realised what kind of work she was doing so the movies mean a lot to her. In the new movie, Misa had changed from an idol to an actress but she still felt the pressure since what she did 10 years ago did not really come in useful this time. Nonetheless, she was still very happy to be able to play this character again.

Kawaei who was 11 when the original movies were screened 10 years ago, revealed that she was so affected that she looked for notebooks at home and even tried to buy a black notebook from a stationery store then. This led Suda to tease her and ask if she had wanted to kill someone back then. With regard to Kawaei's performance, the director commented that her expressionless face was rather frightening to look at.

Sources: Oricon 1 /   Oricon 2 / Oricon 3 / Oricon 4 /

Kase Ryo & Toda Erika reportedly to have broken up in August this year

Kase Ryo and Toda Erika are said to have broken up in August this year. The couple who worked together as fellow police officers in the TBS "SPEC" series between 2010 and 2013, only started dating after reuniting for the WOWOW drama SP "Kono machi no inochi ni" which was shown in April this year. However, due to irreconcilable differences in values, they decided to revert back to friends rather than continue dating. According to insiders, they did not quarrel nor grow apart due to their busy schedules and still continue to maintain a healthy friendship where they respect each other as actors. When asked about the news, Kase's agency commented that this is his private matter and did not deny the reports.

Sources: Yomiuri Hochi / Sports Hochi

Hongo Kanata to star in new FujiTV drama "Rabuho no Ueno-san"

Hongo Kanata will be starring in the new FujiTV drama "Rabuho no Ueno-san" (The love hotel's Ueno-san) which will be shown via FujiTV On Demand. The drama which is based on the same-titled manga that is currently serialised in "Gekkan Comic Flapper", features Hongo as the lead character Ueno who works in a love hotel and gives advice to people who are troubled by love and having issues in their relationships. The character Ueno-san is said to be based on the author Ueno's own experience who also worked at a love hotel. The author Ueno gives advice on love through his Twitter account as well.

Hongo who is starring in his first leading role in a FujiTV drama series, commented that just by looking at the title, people might get surprised and wonder what the story is about. However, this is actually a comedy which is suitable for everyone to watch and he hopes to do his best to show how charming Ueno-san is.

"Rabuho no Ueno-san" will be shown via FujiTV On Demand from 1 December where new episodes will be released every Thursday. It will be shown on TV from January 2017 on every Wednesday.


Watabe Atsuro gets involved in traffic accident; case sent to prosecutors' office

Watabe Atsuro got into a traffic accident at Shibuya Ward, Tokyo, on 18th October and his case had been sent to the prosecutors' office as reported on 19th October. According to the police, Watabe was driving his car around 2pm on the 18th at a junction where he tried to make a right turn and bumped into a motorcycle coming from the back. The motorcyclist suffered a slight injury to his left leg as a result but Watabe was unhurt. The place where the accident happened is a two-lane road and Watabe's car was in the left lane when he suddenly wanted to make a turn to the right and switched lanes without checking the right and back properly.

When asked about the accident, Watabe's agency confirmed the report and pledged to handle this situation with the utmost sincerity going forward. They also apologised for any inconvenience and worry caused by this accident.

Sources: Nikkansports / Sanspo / Oricon

Preview of "Beppin-san" (NHK morning drama)

Title: Beppin-san べっぴんさん
Official website: here
Official Instagram: here
O.A. Period: 3 October 2016 to 1 April 2017
Timeslot: Mondays to Saturdays 8am to 8.15am
Broadcast by: NHK
Total number of episodes: 151
Theme Song: Hikari no Atorie by Mr.Children
Cast: Yoshine Kyoko, Namase Katsuhisa, Kanno Miho, Renbutsu Misako, Soganoya Bundou, Miyata Keiko, Koura Kengo, Nagura Jun, Ichimura Masachika, Tanimura Mitsuki, Momota Kanako, Tsuchimura Kaho, Nakamura Tamao, Honda Hirotaro, Yamamura Momiji, Mikura Mana, Nagayama Kento, Tanaka Youji, Hiraoka Yuta, Ishino Youko, Matsushita Yuya, Horiuchi Masami, Taki Yukari

Seto Asaka to star in new NHK Winter 2017 drama "Onna no naka ni iru tanin"

Seto Asaka will be starring in a drama for the first time in 8 years when she appears in the new NHK Winter 2017 drama "Onna no naka ni iru tanin" (The other person inside the woman) which will begin its run from 8 January in the Sundays 10pm timeslot and consists of 7 episodes. The drama is based on the same-titled 1966 suspense movie directed by the late Naruse Mikio and will be re-arranged to fit the current era's time setting.

Seto plays the role of an ordinary housewife Yuriko who lives with his husband, two children and mother-in-law. One day, her peaceful life is shattered when her husband Kazuo (Omi Toshinori) confesses to her that he had an affair and killed his lover Saori (Nishiyama Mayuko) who was the wife of his friend Kusumoto Masafumi (Ishiguro Ken). In order to protect her family, Yuriko decides to help her husband conceal his crime and stops him from surrendering to the police. Yuriko's mother-in-law will be played by Kino Hana while Itaya Yuka will play Michiko who had a grudge against Yuriko in the past and pesters her. Kazuo's subordinate Kuroki will be played by Komoto Masahiro and Morioka Yutaka will play the police detective who wants to solve the murder case.

As it had been 8 years since Seto last appeared in a drama, she revealed that although she feels happy, she is also nervous about being the lead this time. Ever since Seto got married to V6's Inohara Yoshihiko in 2007 and gave birth to her son and daughter respectively in March 2010 and November 2013, she had been busy with taking care of her family. When asked about her thoughts about her character, Seto stressed that Yuriko is doing all these for the sake of protecting her family especially her children and that she didn't really forgive her husband for what he did. As such, she hopes to be able to show this emotional state in the drama. As for how she would react in real life, Seto admitted that she probably can't keep any secret and that she won't be able to forgive and forget. She hopes that married couples can watch this together and have a discussion about the story in the process.

Source: Sanspo 1 / Sanspo 2 / Oricon

Cast lineup announcement for new WOWOW drama "Rakuen"

The supporting cast lineup for new WOWOW drama 'Rakuen" starring Nakama Yukie which will begin its run from January next year in the Sundays 10pm timeslot was announced recently. The drama which consists of 6 episodes and describes what happens 9 years after the "Mohouhan" case, features Nakama as report writer Maehata Shigeko who tries to get to the bottom of a new case involving the Doizakis, a couple who killed their 15-year-old body and hid her body under their house for 16 years. When she meets a housewife Hagiya Toshiko who claims that her 10-year-old son Hitoshi can see other people's memories, she is shocked to see one of Hitoshi's drawings resembling what happened in the Doizakis' case. Just when she wants to find out more about Hitoshi, the boy dies in a traffic accident. At the same time, the Doizakis engage lawyer Takahashi Harumi (Kuroki Hitomi) to carry out the legal procedure of disowning their second daughter Seiko (Kaho) who is bewildered by their actions. Meanwhile, another case about a senior high school girl being illegally confined and dismembered after her death comes to light.

Co-stars also include Kaneko Nobuaki, Matsuda Miyuki, Ishizaka Koji, Kobayashi Kaoru, Nishida Naomi, Komoto Masahiro, Oshinari Shugo, Riju Go, Okayama Hajime, Ikeda Narushi, Hosoda Yoshihiko, Kanai Yuta, Togashi Makoto, Miwa Hitomi, Kurosaka Mami, Maeno Tomoya and Ito Sairi.

Source: Oricon

Kurashina Kana, Kanjiya Shihori, Kawaei Rina etc. to star in new FujiTV Winter 2016 drama "Kanjou 8-go sen"

Kurashina Kana, Kanjiya Shihori, Kawaei Rina, Matobu Sei, Ono Yuriko and Hotta Akane will be appearing in the new FujiTV Winter 2016 drama "Kanjou 8-go Sen" (Feelings Line No.8) which will be shown via FujiTV TWO Drama Anime and TWOsmart at 11.30pm on Sundays from 15 January. The drama is based on a novel by Hatano Tomomi and features the various love situations of women staying along the Circle Line No.8 such as one-sided love, domestic violence and extramarital affairs.

In the first episode, Kawaei who plays the role of Maki living at Ogikubo, left her hometown in Shizuoka to come to Tokyo three years ago in the hope of becoming an actress. She is currently working part-time at a gyoza restaurant and secretly in love with a fellow member of her theatre group but doesn't know how to make her feelings known. Kurashina appears in the second episode as Eri who lives at Hachimanyama and is about to get married but cannot tell anyone about her fiance inflicting violence on her. Kanjiya plays Ami in the third episode who lives at Chitose-Funabashi and works at the interior shop as Eri but has an unspeakable issue even though she is newly-married and should be basking in bliss.

The fourth episode features Fumi (Matobu) who is a housewife living at Futako-Tamagawa and Maki's cousin. Although it looks on the surface that she is having a good life and has two children, she finds out that her husband is having an affair with his subordinate. Ono appears in the fifth episode as Rina who lives at Kaminoge and has an affair with Fumi's husband. In the final episode, Hotta plays Mayu who lives at Denen-Chofu and is a rich girl. She falls in love at first sight with a guy from a theatre group and goes to work part-time at the gyoza restaurant where he works at even though she doesn't need the money.

Source: Oricon

Preview of "Princess Maison" - Autumn 2016

Title: Princess Maison プリンセスメゾン
Official website: here
O.A. Start Date: 25 October 2016
Timeslot: Tuesdays 11.15pm
Broadcast by: NHK
Total number of episodes: 8
Original manga by: Ikebe Aoi
Cast: Morikawa Aoi, Takahashi Issei, Hizuki Hana, Shison Jun, Maihane Mimi, Watanabe Makiko, Kino Hana, Watanabe Misako, Fukagawa Mai

Press conference of new NHK drama "Princess Maison"

The press conference for new NHK BS Premium drama "Princess Maison" was held on 18 October which was attended by cast members Morikawa Aoi, Takahashi Issei and Watanabe Misako. The drama which begins its run from 25 October in the Tuesdays 11.15pm timeslot, is based on the same-titled manga by Ikebe Aoi and features Morikawa as a 26-year-old single woman Numagoe Sachi whose parents had passed away. She works in an izakaya and earns an annual salary of 2.5 million yen. As she wishes to buy an apartment, she goes around to look at model showrooms so as to find the perfect apartment. Takahashi plays Date who works at a real estate company and meets Numagoe through his work.

When asked about her impression of her character, Morikawa thought that Numagoe is a strong woman who resolves to live on her own means since she has no boyfriend and no plans for marriage. As her character is 5 years older than herself, she says that even though she hopes to get married one day, she thinks that it's also fine to live on her own after working on this drama. Morikawa also revealed that she was feeling apprehensive at first as to whether she would be able to play her character well but after watching the first episode on 17 October, her fears were put to rest.

When asked about any interesting happenings during the filming, Morikawa revealed that Takahashi had treated her to ice cream every time she asked for it and they had fun talking about eating sweet things despite their age gap. In response, Takahashi said that he is a lover of sweet things but can't really find many people around him who share his passion. As such, when Morikawa said that she wanted to eat ice-cream, he was more than happy to buy it for her and wants to expand his circle of sweets-lover friends in future.

Source: Nikkansports / Yomiuri Hochi / Oricon /

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Completion screening event of new movie "Oboreru Knife"

The completion screening event of new movie "Oboreru Knife" was held at Yurakucho Asahi Hall on 18 October which was attended by the director Yamato Yuki and cast members Komatsu Nana, Suda Masaki, Shigeoka Daiki, Kamishiraishi Mone and Shima Ryohei. The movie which is based on the shoujo manga by George Asakura, will be shown in cinemas from 5 November.

The film features Komatsu as teen model Mochizuki Natsume who moves from Tokyo to a countryside town and meets a mysterious and charming guy Hasegawa Koichiro (Suda) there where they fall in love with each other. Filming took place in Wakayama over 17 days from September to October last year.

The actors recounted the scene where they had to dive into the sea and look at each other after surfacing from the water. As the day of the filming was just before a typhoon's approach, Suda revealed that the sea was rather rough and it was very cold then but they had divers on standby to ensure their safety. Komatsu also commented that she felt as if she was about to sink as her wet school uniform was weighing her down and there were weights attached to her so that she wouldn't float but Suda joked that Komatsu is the type who won't sink into the sea no matter what happens.

Shigeoka revealed that when he first met Suda, he thought that the latter was a quiet person but the two of them became close friends after chatting with each other. However, Suda "complained" that Shigeoka spoke too much and tried to stop him from rambling on during the event. Shigeoka also commented how impressed he was with Suda who knew where his hometown is even though it is a place which most people from Kansai might not even know. Suda then pretended to forget about it which made Shigeoka complain about his "memory loss".

As for Kamishiraishi, she recounted how she had to put on weight then lose it during the filming in a span of just four days which led Suda to comment that she's like a boxer who can control her weight. In response, Kamishiraishi commented that Suda also put in a lot of effort to lose weight for the filming of his character's junior high days by not eating but he said that he couldn't remember much of those dieting days since he didn't get enough nutrition during the process.

Sources: Oricon 1 / Oricon 2 /

Mizuno Miki & Karahashi Mitsuru married in June after dating for 3 months

Mizuno Miki and actor cum illustrator Karahashi Mitsuru got married on 28 June this year which was also her birthday after dating for a brief 3 months. According to insiders, the couple met in mid March through mutual friends and started dating in April. After dating for three months, the couple registered their marriage on her 42nd birthday. She is currently not pregnant and there are no plans yet for a wedding.

Karahashi is mainly active in stage plays and acted as the protagonist in the 2003 TV Asahi "Kamen Rider 555". In recent years, he is also active as an illustrator and opened his personal exhibition in 2012. On the other hand, Mizuno has appeared in 5 dramas this year and can be seen in the ongoing NTV drama "Kuroi Juunin no Onna". Her new stage play "Chinuzumushi" will be staged in Shimokitazawa from 27th October to 8th November by her theatre group "Propeller Ken" where she takes on the three roles of the scriptwriter, director and actress.

Sources: Nikkansports / Sanspo

Preview of "Suishou no Kodou ~ Satsujin Bunsekihan" - Autumn 2016

Title: Suishou no Kodou ~ Satsujin Bunsekihan 水晶の鼓動 ~ 殺人分析班 (The crystal's heartbeat - Murder analysis team)
Official website: here
O.A. Start Date: 13 November 2016
Timeslot: Sundays 10pm
Total number of episodes: 5
Broadcast by: WOWOW
Original novel by: Asami Kazushi
Cast: Kimura Fumino, Aoki Munetaka, Watanabe Ikkei, Kitami Toshiyuki, Fujimoto Takahiro, Koyanagi Yuu, Furukawa Yuuki, Kanno Misuzu, Katsumura Masanobu, Nakamura Tooru

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Yoshida Yo on sick leave due to fatigue

Yoshida Yo is on sick leave now due to fatigue as reported on 17 October. According to media reports, Yoshida was said to have been feeling unwell since 14th October and went to a hospital where she was diagnosed to be suffering from fatigue. As such, she is currently staying at home to recuperate during these few days which coincides with her filming break.

Yoshida was said to be busy with a tight filming schedule for her current FujiTV / Kansai TV drama "Medical Team Lady Da Vinci no Shindan" which is supposed to wrap up within this month. At present, the filming for up to episode 7 has been finished. After the filming break ends, the TV station will proceed with the filming of scenes which do not involve Yoshida on the 20th and see how her condition is before deciding what to do on the 21st.

Yoshida is also due to appear in the stage play "Enokeso Ichidaiki" which begins from 27th November and expected to appear at the first-day-screening event of her new movie "Boku no tsuma to kekkon shite kudasai" on 23rd October. Due to her sudden illness, she had skipped the PR appearance at Cannes, France, on 17th November to promote her WOWOW drama "Cold Case ~ Shinjitsu no Tobira ~" at MIPCOM.

Sources: Nikkansports / Yomiuri Hochi / Sponichi

Top 10 movies box office ranking for the weekend of 15th & 16th Oct

Numbers in brackets indicate the number of cinemas showing the film:

1) Kimi no na wa (296)

2) Nanimono (296)

3) Jason Bourne (332)


5) Eiga Koe no katachi (121)

6) GANTZ:0 (153)

7) Sully (333)

8) Good Morning Show (278)

9) SCOOP! (247)

10) Nagai Iiwake (95)


Preview of "Kaseifu no Mitazono" - Autumn 2016

Title: Kaseifu no Mitazono 家政夫のミタゾノ (The male housekeeper Mitazono)
Official website: here
Official Twitter: here
O.A. Start Date: 21 October 2016
Timeslot: Fridays 11.15pm
Broadcast by: TV Asahi
Theme song: Ai! wanna be with you... by TOKIO
Cast: Matsuoka Masahiro, Shimizu Fumika, Shibamoto Yuki, Hotta Akane, Hirata Atsuko, Yo Kimiko

Production press conference of TV Asahi Autumn 2016 drama "Kaseifu no Mitazono"

The production press conference of TV Asahi Autumn 2016 drama "Kaseifu no Mitazono" was held on 17 October which was attended by cast members Matsuoka Masahiro, Shimizu Fumika, Yo Kimiko, Shibamoto Yuki, Hotta Akane and Hirata Atsuko. The drama which begins its run from 21 October in the Fridays 11.15pm timeslot, features Matsuoka as a super housekeeper who dresses as a woman and exposes the dark secrets in the households where he works at so that they can rebuild their crumbling families.

As Matsuoka has to be dressed like a woman most of the time in the drama, he appeared in this image for the photo-taking session but changed to a suit for the subsequent press conference. Upon seeing that, his co-stars all commented that they are not used to seeing him dressed in men's clothes since they have been accustomed to seeing him as a woman. Shimizu also "complained" about Matsuoka's image as a woman because he has a nice-looking face with an airy hairstyle and even slimmer legs than her. In response, Matsuoka revealed that Shimizu kept squeezing his "breasts" on the first day of the filming which she admitted sheepishly that she couldn't help it since they were so beautifully-shaped. In order to look convincing as a woman, Matsuoka started to pay attention to the free cosmetic samples at drug stores and practised sitting on the toilet seat. Yo then commented that when she was drinking with her friends from Shinjuku 2-chome, they were so excited at the mention of Matsuoka which led him to suggest that their wrap-up party should be held there.

As for the response to him dressing up as a woman, Matsuoka said that his fellow TOKIO members didn't seem that excited but his juniors i.e. Arashi's Ohno Satoshi and Aiba Masaki asked for his photos to be sent to them as they wanted to use it as their mobile phones' screensaver. In response, he told them to drop the idea.

Through the filming of this drama, he has come to understand women better like how they can't use the eyeliner well if they didn't have a good night's sleep and the amount of time needed for them to redo their make-up. Although he had dressed as a woman in the past as a penalty when he lost at games in variety shows, this is the first time he had to dress as a woman for so long and he was shocked that he actually look like his mother when he looked into the mirror. Even his staff members who had worked with him for a long time also said the same thing. Matsuoka revealed that he had wanted to play a very different character who is unlikely to appear in reality so he was very excited when he got the offer for this drama.

Sources: Modelpress 1 /  Modelpress 2 / Oricon

Monday, October 17, 2016

Sometani Shota to star in Japanese-Chinese joint production film "KU-KAI"

Sometani Shota will be starring in the Japanese-Chinese joint production film "KU-KAI" which is directed by Chen Kaige and play the younger version of monk Kukai who was sent from Japan to the Tang Dynasty as an envoy. The movie took 5 years of planning and has a production budget of 15 billion yen. Filming is done entirely in Xiangyang City of Hubei Province in China from 31 July and expected to last for 5 months. The movie will be jointly released in Japan by Toho and KADOKAWA in 2018.

The movie is based on the novel Shamon Kukai Tou no Kuni nite Oni to udagesu" by Yumemakura Baku and talks about how the young Kukai and poet Bai Letian try to solve a huge mystery affecting the Tang Dynasty's capital at Chang-an. Sometani who is starring in his first overseas movie, will be speaking Chinese entirely in the movie. The role of Bai Letian will be played by Chinese actor Huang Xuan.

Source: Oricon

Abe Hiroshi wins "Mifune Toshiro Award" at Kyoto International Film Festival 2016

Abe Hiroshi was presented with the "Mifune Toshiro Award" at the closing ceremony of the Kyoto International Film Festival 2016 held at Kyoto Hotel Okura on 16 October. During the ceremony, Abe was named as the third winner of this award after veteran actors Yakusho Koji and Nakadai Tatsuya. In his acceptance speech, Abe commented that he had watched many of Mifune's works in the past and had participated in two remakes of them so far where there was once he had played a role which Mifune had acted in before. As such, he called upon younger actors to watch more of Mifune's works and learn various things through the process. When asked about the type of roles he had played to date, Abe began by joking that he played a lot of foreigner roles before in a reference to his non-typical Japanese looks. He then revealed his wish to be able to participate in foreign movies in future or bring Japanese films to overseas audiences. As for this award given to him, he felt that it was a good life experience and hopes to do even better in movies from now on.

Sources: Modelpress / Oricon

Nagasawa Masami named as travel ambassador for Taiwan

Nagasawa Masami has been named as the travel ambassador for Taiwan as announced during a press conference by the Taiwan Tourism Board at Taipei on 17 October. During the event, Nagasawa commented that she had grown to love Taiwan when she was there for the filming of a Taiwanese drama in 2014 and was impressed by how warm the locals were to her so she hopes that more Japanese tourists will go to Taiwan for their holidays. The CMs featuring her will be shown in Japan from late November.

Tourist numbers from Japan increased by about 20% to 1.2 million people in the period between January and August this year.

Source: Sanspo

Preview of "Kokku Keibu no Bansankai" - Autumn 2016

Title: Kokku Keibu no Bansankai コック警部の晩餐会 (Police inspector Cook's dinner party)
Official website: here
Official Instagram: here
Official Twitter: here
O.A. Start Date: 19 October 2016
Timeslot: Wednesdays 12.10am
Broadcast by: TBS
Cast: Emoto Tasuku, Kojima Ruriko, Nishime Shun, Enari Kazuki, Fuji Mariko

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Preview of "Cain to Abel" - Autumn 2016

Title: Cain to Abel カインとアベル (Cain and Abel)
Official website: here
Official Twitter: here
O.A. Start Date: 17 October 2016
Timeslot: Mondays 9pm
Broadcast by: FujiTV
Theme song: Title undecided by Hey! Say! JUMP
Cast: Yamada Ryosuke, Kiritani Kenta, Kurashina Kanna, Kinoshita Houka, Hino Yojin, Yamazaki Hirona, Nishimura Motoki, Tozuka Junki, Takashima Masanobu, Otsuka Nene, Minami Kaho, Hira Mikijiro

Saturday, October 15, 2016

First-day-screening event of new movie "Nanimono"

The first-day-screening event of new movie "Nanimono" was held at TOHO Cinemas Roppongi Hills on 15 October which was attended by the director Miura Daisuke and cast members Satou Takeru, Arimura Kasumi, Nikaidou Fumi, Suda Masaki, Okada Masaki and Yamada Takayuki. The film which is based on the novel by Asai Ryou, features a group of university students searching for jobs and through the process, try to figure out what kind of person they really are.

Sato commented that acting in this movie was a very fulfilling process for him and he was amazed and happy at how the director could lead him and such a cast made up of actors with varying and unique characters into making such a movie.

During the event, there was a game asking the cast members of their opinions of one another. For the question of who was most likely the first to secure a permanent job offer, Suda, Nikaidou and Okada all picked Satou. Suda commented that Sato is a clever person who can do anything if he puts his heart into it and is good at dealing with people. What's more, since he is so good-looking, he will definitely get the job. In response, Satou said that he was happy with his popularity today and might consider getting a job for real.

For the question on who is most likely to betray others, Nikaidou and Yamada both picked Okada. Nikaidou related that Okada had peeped at the cards of another player during his promotional appearance in the Babanuki game on "VS Asahi" but he clarified that he did see the cards but did not betray anyone. Yamada then chipped in that Okada can't hide his emotions from appearing on his face which led Okada to reply that Satou is even better at this since the latter is so clever that Okada wouldn't know if he has been betrayed since he can't even sense it.

As for the question on who might be most affected when he or she falls out of love, Satou, Arimura, Suda and Yamada all chose Okada. Satou teased Okada for still being affected which led Okada to say that there's no such thing. As for the question on who is most popular with the opposite gender, Okada and Nikaidou chose Satou for being popular with both men and women since he is fun to be with and can treat everyone nicely. However, Satou chose Arimura instead and said that she is most likely to be more popular than him in reality.

With regard to the question on who they want to be roommates with, Satou, Arimura and Okada chose Suda. Satou said that this was a choice by elimination since he couldn't imagine staying together with Yamada but the latter said that he chose Satou because he felt that Satou wouldn't interfere nor bother about him too much.

Sources: Sponichi /

Preview of "IQ246 Karei naru Jikenbo" - Autumn 2016

Title: IQ246 Karei naru Jikenbo / IQ246 華麗なる事件簿 (IQ 246 The gorgeous case files)
Official website: here
Official Facebook: here
Official Instagram: here
Official Twitter: here
O.A. Start Date: 16 October 2016
Timeslot: Sundays 9pm
Broadcast by: TBS
Cast: Oda Yuji, Tsuchiya Tao, Dean Fujioka, Miyao Shuntaro, Matobu Sei, Shinkawa Yua, Yano Masato, Shinoi Eisuke, Terajima Susumu, Nakatani Miki

Friday, October 14, 2016

Fujiwara Tatsuya to be back as Kira in new movie "Death Note Light up the NEW world"

Fujiwara Tatsuya will be back to play Kira for the first time in 10 years in the new movie "Death Note Light up the NEW world" which is due to be shown in cinemas from 29 October. Although there will be no scenes where he will appear together with Matsuyama Kenichi who plays L, Fujiwara expressed his joy in being able to play this character again which he had not expected before. In conjunction with his appearance in the movie, there will be a 30-sec clip shown on the same day as the movie's release while a 90-sec clip will be shown on the movie's official website.

Fujiwara commented that he was thankful for being able to do the movie  10 years together with Matsuyama at such a young age of 23 years old and remembers the warm response from people in Japan and overseas. With a new storyline and characters, he feels that the new movie will be as interesting as the previous movies. The producer Sato Takahiro revealed that he had told Fujiwara about the new movie which led the latter to murmur that he would like to play Yagami Light again. However, since Light was already supposed to be dead in the last movie, they went through a few scenarios to see how they could get him to be "revived" without changing any rules in the Death Note. As for how this happens, viewers will only be able to find out after watching the new movie.

Prior to the movie's screening on the 29th, there will be a drama SP "Death Note Gyakushuu no Tensai" which describes the battle between Light and L from the viewpoints of Mishima (Higashide Masahiro) and Ryuuzaki (Ikematsu Sousuke) that will be shown at 9pm on 28 October.

Sources: Oricon /

Higa Manami to star in new WOWOW drama "Honjitsu wa, Ohigara mo yoku" as speech writer

Higa Manami will be starring in the new WOWOW drama "Honjitsu wa, Ohigara mo yoku" which will be shown from 14 January 2017 in the Saturdays 10pm timeslot. The drama which is based on the 2010 novel "Anmaku no Gerunika" by Harada Maha that was one of the nominees for the 155th Naoki Award and had sold more than 300,000 copies to date, features Higa as the lead character Ninomiya Konoha who has no particular dream nor goal in life and unwittingly enters the world of speech writing after attending her childhood friend Imakawa Atsushi's (Watanabe Dai) wedding. There, she meets the legendary speech writer Kudo Kumi (Hasegawa Kyoko) and is so impressed by her ability to write good speeches. As such, she becomes a student of Kumi and later becomes the speech writer for Atsushi who decides to stand for election.

Higa commented that Kotoha is almost like a replica of herself as they are both frank and clumsy so she felt comfortable playing the character. Although everyone has been using words since they were young, this is a drama which re-emphasizes the importance of words and its ability to bring warmth and gentleness to people's hearts.

Co-stars also include Ishibashi Renji, Yachigusa Kaoru, Hayami Mokomichi and Funakoshi Eiichiro.