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Saturday, June 24, 2017

Aiba Masaki & Matsumoto Jun to appear in NTV drama SP "Bokura no Yuuki ~ Miman City 2017"

Arashi's Aiba Masaki and Matsumoto Jun will be appearing in the upcoming NTV drama SP "Bokura no Yuuki ~ Miman City 2017" starring KinKi Kids which will be shown on 21 July at 9pm. The drama SP is the sequel of the 1997 drama and marks the 20th anniversary of KinKi Kids' CD debut. At that time, Aiba and Matsumoto who were 14 years old, made their first appearance in a drama through this work. As the two of them have been doing mainly leading roles in recent years, this will be a rare chance to see them in supporting roles.

In the original science-fiction drama, Yamato (Koichi) and Takeru (Tsuyoshi) were part of a group of underage youths who lived a micro-organism outbreak which killed all the adults in a town named Makuhara and struggled to survive in the aftermath. Aiba played Akira who was a member of a delinquent group while Matsumoto played Mori, a teenager who dreamt of reuniting with his elder sister. In the SP set 20 years after the drama, Akira and Mori will return as adults to reunite with Yamato and Takeru.

Aiba commented that he is honoured to be able to participate in this 20th anniversary commemorative work and had fond memories of the drama as he just entered Johnny's Jimusho then and was struggling to learn how to act. Through the filming, he managed to learn the joys of being able to act in and produce a drama while looking at the KinKi Kids members. As for Matsumoto, he described the drama as a memorable work for him and said that he had learnt a lot from KinKi Kids at that time. He pledged to work hard in the SP so as to make a small contribution towards the success of this sequel.

It was also announced that in conjunction with the impending broadcast of the SP, the 10-episode drama series will be available for viewing via Hulu from 1 July. The DVD and Blu-ray versions of the drama will also be released for sale from 19 July.

Sources: Nikkansports / Sanspo / Oricon 1 / Oricon 2

Nakajima Kento, Taira Yuna & Chinen Yuri to star in new real-life adaptation movie "Miseinen dakedo kodomo janai"

Sexy Zone's Nakajima Kento, Taira Yuna and Hey!Say!JUMP's Chinen Yuri will be starring in the new real-life adaptation movie "Miseinen dakedo kodomo janai" (Although I'm underage, I am not a kid) which is based on the same-titled manga by Minami Kanan published in Sho-Comi Flower Comics as the first commemorative work marking their 50th anniversary. The movie will be shown in cinemas from 23 December this year. Filming will be done between August and September.

Taira plays the role of Oriyama Karin who is an innocent girl from a rich family and in the first year of senior high school. On her 16th birthday, the birthday present given by her parents is a marriage partner Tsurugi Nao (Nakajima), a third-year student in the same school who also happens to be her first love and the most popular guy in school. However, Nao's intention is for the Oriyama family's fortune thus Karin is stuck in a one-sided love marriage. Just then, Ebina Izuzu (Chinen), a first-year student who is a rich guy and in love with Karin, comes to know about her secret marriage to Nao and presses the latter to divorce Karin.

Nakajima commented on his character that Nao is a guy with two clear different faces where he treats Karin coldly but can sometimes be gentle and warm towards her so he hopes to be able to show this difference in his acting. As for working with Chinen, he said that it had been 9 years since they worked together in the 2008 drama "Scrap Teacher ~ Kyoushi Saisei ~" so he's very excited about being rivals with Chinen this time in the movie. On the other hand, Chinen said that since they last worked together when they were both in junior high, he is also looking forward to playing rivals with Nakajima now that they are adults. With regard to working to Taira, they only acted together for one day in the movie "Shinobi no Kuni" so they will have more time to interact with each other this time and he hopes that their acting will be able to make the viewers feel tingly.

Taira commented that this will be the first time that she will be wearing a wedding dress in a movie and she never expected herself to be doing that at the age of 18. As such, when she was doing the costume meeting which coincided with her elder sister Airi's own wedding, she couldn't help but imagine how her future wedding will be like. As for being in a love triangle with two vastly different guys, Taira said that this is precisely what's interesting about the story and can't wait for the filming to start.

Sources: Nikkansports / Sanspo / Eiga.com / Oricon

Friday, June 23, 2017

Kobayashi Mao passes away due to breast cancer

Kobayashi Mao passed away on 22 June at the age of 34 due to breast cancer. She leaves behind her husband Ichikawa Ebizo and two children i.e. Reika who is 5 years old and Kangen who is 4 years old.

Kobayashi was first diagnosed with the illness back in October 2014 during a medical check-up and had been battling it quietly before her husband Ichikawa Ebizo had to reveal his wife's condition in June last year amid media speculations. At that time, she was already in such a serious condition that surgery was not an option. 3 months after the revelation, Kobayashi started her own blog to share her thoughts and experience while undergoing treatment. During this period, Kobyashi had been going in and out of the hospital as her condition was rather unstable. On 22 April this year, she went through surgery where it was found that the cancer had spread to her jaw. After being discharged from the hospital on 29 May, she had been undergoing treatment at home and mentioned in her blog entry on 4 June that she had a fever of 39 degrees Celsius. Unfortunately, despite her valiant efforts in trying to overcome the illness, her condition still did not improve in the end.

Kobayashi entered showbiz in 2002 when she was still a student at Sophia University after appearing in the NTV programme "Koi no karasawagi" with her elder sister Kobayashi Maya who is a freelance announcer now. She became the weather forecaster in FujiTV's "Mezamashi Doyoubi" from 2003 and appeared in a number of dramas such as 2005 FujiTV drama "Slow Dance", 2006 FujiTV drama "Unfair", 2006 TBS drama "Oishii Propose" and "Taiyou no Uta". She then became the newscaster on NTV's "NEWS ZERO" from 2006 and met her husband Ichikawa during an interview in December 2008. The couple started dating in June 2009 before getting married in March the following year. Their daughter was born in 2011 while their son was born in 2013.

In the morning of 23 June, Ichikawa updated his blog where he said that today is the day when he cried the most in his life and asked for the media gathered outside his house to leave as it was causing a disturbance to his neighbours. He also revealed that he would be holding a press conference later in the afternoon.

After completing his daytime performance "Ichikawa Ebizo Dai Yonkai Jishu Kouen ABKAI 2017 ~ Ishikawa Goemon Gaiden ~" at Theatre Cocoon Bunkamura, Ichikawa held a press conference at 2.37pm to break the news that his wife had passed away at home the previous night. He revealed that while at work yesterday, he got a LINE message from his mother-in-law about Kobayashi's worsening condition and rushed home to see her. Although she had been unable to speak yesterday, she managed to say "I love you" to her husband before she breathed her last. Ichikawa also explained why he decided to hold the press conference because there were so many media personnel gathered outside his place so he had to make a proper announcement earlier than when he and his family had planned to do so.

When asked how his children are coping, Ichikawa revealed that Reika had been sticking to her mother and slept by her side yesterday so he thought that she understood what was happening. As for Kangen, he appeared to understand but not entirely and kept touching his mother's face and feet. Although he doesn't think that he will be able to make up fully for the loss of their mother, he pledged to do his best for his children.

Sources: Sanspo / Nikkansports 1 / Yomiuri Hochi / Nikkansports 2 / Nikkansports 3

Top 25 bestselling DVDs in the first half of 2017 (Oricon)

Numbers in brackets indicate the number of copies sold:

1) ARASHI LIVE TOUR 2016 - 2017 Are You Happy? - Arashi (334,897)

2) Clip! Smap! Complete Singles - SMAP (268,069)

3) Hey!Say!JUMP LIVE TOUR 2016 DEAR. - Hey!Say!JUMP (195,608)

4) CONCERT TOUR 2016 I SCREAM - Kis-My-Ft2 (176,775)

5) Kanjani's Entertainment - Kanjani 8 (143,559)

6) HiGH & LOW THE LIVE - Various Artists (142,035)

7) EXILE ATSUSHI LIVE TOUR 2016 "IT'S SHOW TIME!!" - EXILE ATSUSHI (109,837)

8) namie amuro LIVE STYLE 2016-2017 - Amuro Namie (83,243)

9) GENERATIONS LIVE TOUR 2016 SPEEDSTER - GENERATIONS from EXILE TRIBE (74,244)

10) AAA Special Live 2016 in Dome - FANTASTIC OVER - - AAA (73,611)

11) Music Video Tour 2010 - 2017 - Hoshino Gen (73,278)

12) Shin Godzilla (71,529)

13) NEWS LIVE TOUR 2016 QUARTETTO - NEWS (70,544)

14) HiGH & LOW THE MOVIE (62,423)

15) Johnny's WEST 1st Dome LIVE 24 (Nishi) kara kansha todokemasu - Johnny's WEST (55,854)

16) Suiyoubi doudeshou Shikoku Hachijuuhakkasho III Nihon Zenkoku Ehagaki no Tabi 2 (54,177)

17) Resident Evil: The Final Chapter [First press limited edition] (51,743)

18) BIG BANG 10 THE CONCERT:0.TO.10 - THE FINAL - BIG BANG (45,642)

19) HiGH & LOW THE RED RAIN (43,212)

20) Okaasan to issho Memorial Plus ~ Ashita mo kitto daiseikou ~ (39,922)

21) Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (39,860)

22) Nigeru wa haji daga yaku ni tatsu DVD Box (34,602)

23) Born in the EXILE ~ Sandaime J Soul Brothers no Kiseki ~ [first press limited edition DVD] - Sandaime J Soul Brothers from EXILE TRIBE (34,129)

24) Minions (33,393)

25) KYOSUKE HIMURO LAST GIGS - Himuro Kyosuke (33,384)

Source: Oricon

Top 25 bestselling CD albums in the first half of 2017 (Oricon)

Numbers in brackets indicate the number of copies sold:

1) SMAP 25 YEARS - SMAP (1,159,997)

2) Thumbnail - AKB48 (632,615)

3) Encore - back number (527,551)

4) THE JSB WORLD - Sandaime J Soul Brothers from EXILE TRIBE (451,728)

5) Umaretekara hajimete mita yume - Nogizaka46 (377,481)

6) Ambitions - ONE OK ROCK (332,098)

7) Yuzu Iroha 1997 - 2017 - Yuzu (290,584)

8) MUSIC COLOSSEUM - Kis-My-Ft2 (234,226)

9) Ballad Selection - KinKi Kids (157,931)

10) THE KIDS - Suchmos (146,547)

11) ALL SINGLeeeeS ~& New Beginning ~ - GReeeeN (145,387)

12) NEVERLAND - NEWS (140,835)

13) WAY OF GLORY - AAA (135,299)

14) E.G.CRAZY - E-girls (133,445)

15) Kakumei no oka - SKE48 (126,720)

16) MADE - BIG BANG (122,246)

17) Fantome - Utada Hikaru (104,322)

18) La La Land OST - Various Artists (94,773)

19) 24K Magic - Bruno Mars (91,588)

20) LOVE, PEACE & FIRE - Superfly (85,876)

21) KOICHI DOMOTO [ENDLESS SHOCK] Original Soundtrack 2 - Domoto Koichi (81,525)

22) CHUBBY GROOVE - INABA / SALAS (80,994)

23) BORN TO BE WILD - EXILE THE SECOND (80,247)

24) FIVE - SHINee (76,867)

25) Oh! Suketora!! Yuuri!!! on ICE / Original Skate Song COLLECTION - Various Artists (76,441)

Source: Oricon

Top 25 bestselling CD singles in the first half of 2017 (Oricon)

Numbers in brackets indicate the number of copies sold:

1) Negaigoto no mochigusare - AKB48 (1,350,963)

2) Shoot Sign - AKB48 (1,080,326)

3) Influenza - Nogizaka46 (997,519)

4) Fukyouwaon - Keyakizaka46 (742,748)

5) I'll be there - Arashi (434,037)

6) Boku igai no dare ka - NMB48 (319,748)

7) Nagurigaki BEAT - Kanjani 8 (308,583)

8) OVER THE TOP - Hey!Say!JUMP (299,849)

9) Give Me Love - Hey!Say!JUMP (282,652)

10) Bagutte iijan - HKT48 (267,065)

11) Chi, Ase, Namida - Boudan Shounendan (257,621)

12) INTER (TONIGHT / Kimi no iru sekai / SEVEN WISHES - Kis-My-Ft2 (226,966)

13) Senakagoshi no Chance - Kame to Yamapi (205,034)

14) Seishun Tokei - NGT48 (189,441)

15) Michishirube - Busaiku (181,940)

16) PICK IT UP - Kis-My-Ft2 (174,484)

17) EMMA - NEWS (165,034)

18) Hikari no Atorie - Mr.Children (156,863)

19) ROCK THA TOWN - Sexy Zone (143,700)

20) Can't Get Enough / Hanahirake - V6 (139,244)

21) God's S.T.A.R. - QUARTET NIGHT (137,068)

22) Futarisezon - Keyakizaka46 (132,588)

23) HAPPY - Sandaime J Soul Brothers from EXILE TRIBE (110,033)

24) Koi - Hoshino Gen (109,719)

25) COLORS / Taiyo to tsuki no kodomotachi - V6 (98,525)

Source: Oricon

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Preview of "Blanket Cats" - Spring 2017

Title: Blanket Cats ブランケットキャッツ
Official website: here
O.A. Start Date: 23 June 2017
Timeslot: Fridays 10pm
Broadcast by: NHK
Total number of episodes: 7
Original novel by: Shigematsu Kiyoshi
Theme song: Soft Landing by Yano Akiko
Cast: Nishijima Hidetoshi, Kichise Michiko, Shimazaki Haruka, Karata Erika, Sakai Miki and Miho Jun

Production press conference of NHK drama "Blanket Cats"

The production press conference of NHK drama "Blanket Cats" was held at the TV station's HQ on 14 June which was attended by cast members Nishijima Hidetoshi, Kichise Michiko and Shimazaki Haruka as well as the first episode's guest star Renbutsu Misako. The drama which is based on the short novel by Shigematsu Kiyoshi, features Nishijima as the lead character Shiina Shuusuke who owns a furniture shop and lives with the 7 cats left behind by his late wife. Through searching for new owners for his cats with his childhood friend Fujimura Misaki who is the director of a nearby animal hospital, this brings warmth to the lives of the people they meet during the process.

As they had to film with cats, it was a very tough process initially and the cast revealed that there were scenes in the first episode alone which had to be filmed 30 times. However, things got better from the second episode onwards which could be due to the cats being used to the filming. Nishijima revealed that it was amazing that the cats responded in the same way as depicted in the script as if the cats had read the script and knew how to react. Although Nishijima tended to appear in many suspense and action works where he hardly smiled, his co-stars revealed that his interactions with the cats turned out to be full of warmth so it will definitely bring a smile to the viewers as they watch the drama. Renbutsu who only appeared in the first episode, said that she didn't know that cats were so tough to deal with as they did not listen to instructions.

The drama which consists of 7 episodes, will begin its run from 23 June in the Fridays 10pm timeslot.

Sources: Eiga.com / Oricon

DAIGO & Kawaei Rina to appear in new movie "Uso wo aisuru onna"

DAIGO and Kawaei Rina will be appearing in the new movie "Uso wo aisuru onna" starring Nagasawa Masami and Takahashi Issei directed by Nakae Kazuhito which will be shown in cinemas next year. In this love story with a tinge of mystery, Nagasawa plays Kawahara Yukari, a career woman working at a major beverage manufacturer who has been living with her medical intern boyfriend Koide Kippei (Takahashi) for the past 5 years and has plans to marry him soon. One day, Kippei collapses due to a subarachnoid hemorrhage and slips into a coma. To Yukari's surprise, when the police comes knocking on her door, she finds out that everything she has known about Kippei is a lie as his name, occupation, driving licence and family register are all fake. While trying to find out what kind of man she has loved, she heads to his supposed hometown on an island in the Setouchi Inland sea where she gets help from a private detective Kaibara Takumi played by Yoshida Kotaro to investigate the truth.

DAIGO will be playing Kimura (nickname Kimu) an unsociable hacker who is the subordinate of Kaibara and assists in the investigation on Kippei. He will be wearing a long wig and keeping a beard for the first time and revealed that he was worried whether he could blend into his role but was assured by the director and Nagasawa that he looked OK.

As for Kawaei, she will be playing Kokoha who is an university student dressed in Gothic and Lolita fashion and follows Kippei around like a stalker. Kawaei revealed that there is a scene where Nagasawa slapped her and joked that she was honoured that her first slap to date was from Nagasawa. There will be a scene where she kicks Yoshida Kotaro so she is eagerly anticipating how it will turn out in the movie.

Source: Eiga.com

Yoru no Honki Dance to sing the theme song for FujiTV Summer 2017 drama "Seshiru no Mokuromi"


Rock band Yoru no Honki Dance will be singing the theme song for FujiTV Summer 2017 drama "Seshiru no Mokuromi" starring Maki Youko which will begin its run from 13 July in the Thursdays 10pm timeslot. The song titled "TAKE MY HAND" will be released on 9 August.

The drama which is based on the same-titled novel by Yuikawa Kei, marks Maki's first leading role in a drama in 2 years. The name Cecile in the title comes from the French novel Bonjour Tristesse by Françoise Sagan where a young girl with good looks plots something sinister as she grapples with the struggles and troubles of being a woman.

The story features Maki as the lead character Nao who is a housewife and has not been paying much attention to her appearance for a long time as she is caught up with taking care of her husband and son who is in the first year of junior high school. By chance, she is scouted to become a readers' model by a fashion magazine Vanity where she comes face to face with jealousy, the need to keep up appearances and rivalry in this industry. Through her interaction with various women in different life situations, she undergoes a transformation both externally and psychologically. Co-stars include Kichise Michiko who plays Hamaguchi Yukako, the No.1 charismatic model grappling with loneliness, Ito Ayumi who is Okita Eri, a single freelance writer worried about her future and is the one who scouted Nao as well as Itaya Yuka who plays the chief editor of Vanity named Kurosawa Junko and Hasegawa Kyoko as Yasunaga Maiko who used to be the No.2 model at Vanity and is a commentator appearing on TV programmes now.

Yoru no Honki Dance is a four-member band from Kyoto which was formed in 2008 and made its major debut in March 2016. This will be the first time that the band is singing a theme song for a drama series. The aggressive rock song was inspired by the drama's content. The band commented that it is honoured and surprised to be given the chance to sing the theme song and are looking forward to their song being played to the public when the drama airs.

Sources: Sanspo / Yomiuri Hochi

Hayami Akari & Tanaka Tetsushi to appear in TV Tokyo Summer 2017 drama "Dead Stock Michi e no Chousen"

Hayami Akari and Tanaka Tetsushi will be appearing in the upcoming TV Tokyo Summer 2017 drama "Dead Stock Michi e Chousen" starring Murakami Nijirou which begins its run from 21 July in the Fridays 12.52am timeslot. The drama is an original horror story set at the new HQ building of TV Tokyo in Roppongi after it moved from Kamiya-cho in 2016. As a result of the move, Tsuneda Riku (Murakami), a newbie assistant director, gets assigned to work at the unconfirmed materials centre which stores a huge volume of footage yet to be organised and disposed of. While feeling disappointed at the gap between his ideals and reality, Riku accidentally finds an old video tape containing footage of supernatural phenomena. At the instigation of his senior Saori who is a director, Riku is forced to continue filming the supernatural happenings in order to make it into a complete programme but this causes him to go through a frightening and unbelievable experience.

Hayami will be playing the role of Nikaidou Saori who is a newbie director and works together with Riku on the filming of the supernatural happenings. Hayami commented that as she is not too comfortable with horror stories, she was truly frightened when she read the script. However, there is more to horror in the story as it also talks about human nature and includes comedic elements so she is eagerly anticipating the start of the filming. As for her character, Hayami described as someone who is headstrong and firm in her desire to leave the unconfirmed materials centre but is also delicate like an ordinary woman.

As for Tanaka, he will be playing the role of Sayama Satoru, a veteran director. He described the story as one which includes a lot of Japanese occult elements that will scare the viewers and make them sad and laugh at times. There are also nostalgic parts in the story which is a charm point of the drama and he called upon everyone to look forward to Murakami and Hayami's performances as well.

Tsutsui Mariko and Nakamura Yuko will also be participating in this drama.

Sources: Eiga.com / Oricon

Top 10 actors who made a breakthrough in the first half of 2017 (Oricon)

The following survey was done by Oricon Monitor Research involving 1,000 respondents from their teens to 50s between 14 June and 20 June:

1) Takahashi Issei

2) Sakaguchi Kentaro

3) Yamazaki Kento

4) Takeuchi Ryoma

5) Otani Ryohei

6) Chiba Yuudai

7) Kudo Asuka

8) Nakagawa Taishi

9) Narita Ryo

10) Kaku Kento

Source: Oricon

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Preview of MBS / TBS Summer 2017 drama "Maji de koukai shimasu"

Title: Maji de koukai shimasu マジで航海します。(I'm serious about sailing)
Official website: here
Official Twitter: here
O.A. Start Date: 2 July 2017 (MBS) / 4 July 2017 (TBS)
Timeslot: Sundays 12.50am (MBS) / Tuesdays 1.28am (TBS)
Broadcast by: MBS & TBS
Theme Song: "Ho wo agero" by BOYS AND MEN
Cast: Iitoyo Marie, Takeda Rena, Sakurada Dori, Yuhi, Izawa Yuki, Ikemoto Keita, Okada Koki, Iwaido Seiko, Nukumizu Yoichi & Horibe Keisuke

Supporting cast line-up of TBS Summer 2017 drama "Maji de koukai shimasu" announced

The supporting cast line-up of MBS / TBS Summer 2017 drama "Maji de koukai shimasu" starring Iitoyo Marie and Takeda Rena has been announced. The drama is an original story featuring first-year university students Sakamoto Marin (Iitoyo) and Ishikawa Tsubame (Takeda) who aspire to become ship navigation officers and undergo an one-month training. Besides having to cope with the tough training and sea-sickness, the girls are also caught in a reverse harlem situation where 80 percent of the students in the course are men. Marin is oblivious to her surroundings but has a strong passion for boats and refuses to give up while Tsubame repeated a year to get into the maritime systems engineering course which she still regrets to this day. However, as a result of her interaction with Marin, she slowly undergoes a change in her mentality.

Sakurada Dori will be playing Yagi Yamato, a shy guy who is a freshman in Kanto Shosen Daigaku like Marin and takes a liking to Tsubame while Yuhi from BOYS AND MEN will be playing Narumi Shinta who is a freshman from Kobe Kainan Daigaku and takes pride in his muscular build. Izawa Yuki will be playing Kogure Kensuke who is a 25-year-old married guy and quit his job at a MNC to become a freshman at Kainan Daigaku. Ikemoto Keita will play Yamada Shota who is a freshman at Shosen Daigaku and is very knowledgeable about ships and the sea. Horibe Keisuke will be playing Yokoyama Kazuya who is a senior officer and in charge of training the students while Nukumizu Yoichi will be playing Hayashida Yonosuke, the captain of Miraimaru where the students are trained. Rounding up the cast are Okada Koki who plays Sekine Keiji, the junior first engineer on the ship and Iwaido Seiko who plays Fujiwara Akane, a junior first navigating officer.

BOYS AND MEN will be singing the theme song "Ho wo agero!" (Raise the sail) which was specially written for this drama.

Source: Oricon

Kimura Takuya causes pileup traffic accident due to inattention

Kimura Takuya got into a traffic accident at 4.45pm on 20 June as reported on 21 June. According to Chofu Police Station and insiders, Kimura was driving his Hummer and waited at the downward-sloping junction of 2-chome, Sengawa-cho, Chofu City in Tokyo when he bumped into a motorbike in front of him thus causing it to ram into the back of another car. Kimura, the male motorcyclist, the woman driver and two children who were in the car were all unhurt. According to Kimura, he was absorbed in his thoughts and didn't notice that he had let go of the brake thus causing the accident. He was alone in his car and there were no signs of him having drunk any alcohol. The day of the accident was his off day and there was nobody else in the car with him. Investigations are underway to find out the cause of the accident.

In the same night on 20 June, Johnny's Jimusho released a fax statement to the media explaining the circumstances of the accident. Soon after it happened, Kimura called the police and went through the necessary procedure as instructed by the police officers who arrived at the scene. The agency also apologised to the victims affected by this accident and for the worry and inconvenience caused to fans and their working partners.

Sources: Nikkansports 1 / Nikkansports 2 / Sanspo 1 / Sanspo 2

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

DISH// to sing the theme song for FujiTV Summer 2017 drama "Bokutachi ga yarimashita"

DISH// will be singing the theme song for the new FujiTV Summer 2017 drama "Bokutachi ga yarimashita" starring Kubota Masataka which begins its run from 18 July in the Tuesdays 9pm timeslot. The drama is based on the same-titled manga by Kaneshiro Muneyuki and Araki Hikaru serialised in "Young Magazine" which had recently ended its run in April this year. However, the drama will have a different ending from the manga. Kubota plays the lead character Tobio who is a second year student at Boke Senior High School and does things with minimal effort only. One day, he happens to see his friends being beaten to a pulp by students from the high school opposite Boke which is known for being a hotspot for delinquents. With the intention of playing a trick on those students, Tobio plots a small prank. However, on the day he and his friends are supposed to take action, a large scale explosion takes place which causes Tobio and his friends to become suspects for this crime. Faced with a situation which has gone out of hand, the group makes their escape as they struggle to come to terms with the reality facing them.

The theme song titled "Bokutachi ga yarimashita" was written by OKAMOTO'S Okamoto Shou so the members of OKAMOTO'S joined DISH// during the recording of the song. They will be performing the song live for the first time during a concert held at Osaka on 28 June featuring the two bands.

Source: The Television

Monday, June 19, 2017

Top 10 movies box office ranking for the weekend of 17th & 18th June 2017

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

1) 22 Nenme no Kokuhaku Watashi ga satsujinhan desu (328)

2) Beauty and the Beast (372)

3) Hirugao (312)

4) Kodomotsukai (250)

5) Gekijouban Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei Hoshi wo yobu shoujo (59)

6) King Arthur (326)

7) Hanaikusa (353)

8) Chotto ima kara shigoto yametekuru (285)

9) LOGAN (359)

10) Meitantei Conan Karakurenai no Love Letter (354)

Source: Eiga.com

Inagaki Goro, Kusanagi Tsuyoshi & Katori Shingo to leave Johnny's Jimusho in September 2017

Johnny's Jimusho announced on 18 June that former SMAP members Inagaki Goro, Kusanagi Tsuyoshi and Katori Shingo will be leaving the company with effect from 8 September when their current contracts end. On the other hand, the two remaining members Nakai Masahiro and Kimura Takuya will be renewing their contracts for another year. It was revealed in the statement that the trio made their intentions known to management on 1 June and the decision was subsequently acknowledged by the board of directors. Details of their future plans will be announced once they are finalised. The president Johnny Kitagawa also provided his comments on the issue along with the statement which is a rare occurence where he said that although the trio has decided to embark on a different path, his consideration and feelings for them will not change no matter where they are in future. On the other hand, the trio has not released any statement to date with regard to their impending departure.

Although Nakai was part of the group which wanted to leave the agency in January 2016, he did not leave with the rest as expected which was considered a surprise. According to various insiders, Inagaki, Kusanagi and Katori are expected to join the new agency which their former female manager had set up recently. Some of the staff members who had worked under the manager in the past will also follow their footsteps in leaving Johnny's Jimusho. As for the TV programmes and CMs which the trio are currently appearing in, it is expected that these may end sometime in mid September. Nonetheless, programmes such as NHK's "Bura Tamori" where Kusanagi is the narrator, are widely expected to continue without any changes.

Sources: Nikkansports 1 / Nikkansports 2 / Nikkansports 3 / Sanspo / Yomiuri Hochi

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Oguri Shun to be back in the drama SP sequel of "BORDER"

Oguri Shun will be back in the drama SP sequel to TV Asahi Spring 2014 drama "BORDER" written by Naoki Award-winning writer Kaneshiro Kazuki which will be shown within 2017. The drama SP titled "BORDER 2 Shokuzai" (BORDER 2 Atonement) continues from the end of the drama series where Ishikawa Ango (Oguri) gets too caught up in his pursuit of justice that he pushes a criminal Ando Chikao (Omori Nao) over from the rooftop of a building. Although Ando is supposedly dead due to the fall, he appears suddenly behind Ishikawa and grabs his shoulder to welcome him to the other side of the world i.e. evil.

It was revealed that the drama's ending was actually not supposed to be the real ending to the story and that a sequel project was already in the works then. The drama SP will describe what happens to Ishikawa and Ando after that ending and the meaning of the sub-title "Shokuzai" will also be explained in the story.

Besides Oguri, the original cast members including Aoki Munetaka, Haru, Endo Kenichi, Furuta Arata, Takito Kenichi, Nomaguchi Toru and Hamano Kenta and guest star Omori will be back in the drama SP.

To commemorate the drama SP's launch, the drama series will be shown for free via on-demand services TV Asahi Catch-up, TVer and GYAO! from 14 June at 5am to 18 June at 11.59pm. By typing the search keyword BORDER on Yahoo! JAPAN, there will be a special video available for viewing which describes Ishikawa's journey so far and some parts from the sequel. Information about the sequel will also be released via its official Instagram and Twitter pages gradually.

Sources: Sanspo / My Navi News / Oricon / The Television

First-day-screening event of new movie "Eiga Yamada Takayuki 3D"

The first-day-screening event of new movie "Eiga Yamada Takayuki 3D" was held at TOHO Cinemas Shinjuku on 17 June which was attended by the directors Yamashita Nobuhiro and Matsue Tetsuaki as well as cast members Yamada Takayuki and Ashida Mana. The movie was made with the intention of winning an award at the Cannes Film Festival and is an unconventional work featuring 33 years of Yamada's life. The production process of the movie was made into a documentary drama "Yamada Takayuki no Cannes Eigasai" directed by Matsue  which was shown via TV Tokyo between January and March this year. Ashida who is the lead in the movie, was also the host for the screening event.

Ashida commented with a smile that it was great that the movie could be released successfully and that people who want to know more about Yamada will like this movie. In addition, she also praised Yamada for being cool to want to know more about himself. However, Yamada whose monologue forms the bulk of the movie, said that he wanted to stop the release of the film but couldn't do it. He also revealed that he regretted saying too much in this movie even though he meant to be experimental in the first place. Yamashita chipped in to say that although the movie is simple, there is so much information so he called upon viewers not to think so much or they will get a headache. Despite so, Yamada said that he was too absorbed with making a movie to win a Cannes award that he didn't spend too much time thinking about the story or acting. However, his desire to win an award for his movie is still very much alive and he hopes to win a Nippon Academy Award as he has not been even invited to the awards once in his 18-year acting career. Before he can do that, he revealed that he will have to increase his savings so as to have the funds to make another movie.

Sources: Eiga.com / Oricon

Kudo Asuka to appear in TBS Summer 2017 drama "Kanna-san!"

Kudo Asuka will be appearing in the TBS Summer 2017 drama "Kanna-san!" starring Watanabe Naomi which will begin its run from 18 July in the Tuesdays 10pm timeslot. The drama is based on the same-titled manga by Fukaya Kahoru serialised in manga magazine "YOU" between 2001 and 2007 and features Watanabe as a fashion designer Kanna. Although she has a handsome husband Rei, Kanna discovers that he is having an affair and she also has to cope with her difficult mother-in-law. At work, she is bullied by her unreasonable boss. Despite these daily challenges in life, Kanna tries her best to live positively for the sake of her beloved son Reon.

Kudo plays the role of Aota Sousuke who is a handsome teacher at the nursery where Reon goes to and very popular with his students and their parents. He is a good confidante of Kanna who gives her the strength and encouragement she needs.

It was announced that Jiro of the comedic Sissonne who is Watanabe's senior, will be playing the role of Katagiri Yuta who is a colleague of Kanna's husband Rei (Kaname Jun) and admires the latter like an elder brother.

Source: Oricon

Araki Yuko to play the heroine in new movie "Aku to kamen no ruuru"

Araki Yuko will be playing the heroine in the new movie "Aku to kamen no ruuru" starring Tamaki Hiroshi which is based on the novel by Akutagawa Award-winning writer Nakamura Fuminori. The movie will be directed by Nakamura Teppei and is scheduled to be shown in cinemas next year.

Tamaki plays the lead character Kuki Fumihiro who was born into a rich family. The story begins at the time when Fumihiro was only 10 years old and came to know about the secret behind his birth and upbringing. His birth father who was the head of the household told him how he had raised his son with the aim of turning the latter into a personification of evil and "promised" to show him hell on his 14th birthday. However, one year before that, he was made to see hell first hand when Kaori, his father's adopted daughter and whom he liked, was raped in front of him. In order to protect his beloved, Fumihiro killed his father which meant that he was one step closer to the evil which his father wanted him to become. He then disappeared from Kaori's side and took on a new identity as Shintani Koichi who protects Kaori from the shadows over more than ten years. While doing so, he comes into contact again with the evil in the Kuki family. Araki will be playing Kaori in the movie and act as a hostess for the first time in her acting career.

Araki commented that she is very happy to be able to act in this movie since she is a fan of the novel but she also feels the pressure. As Kaori is the symbol of hope for the lead character Fumihiro, she hopes to be able to show the pure and kind-hearted sides of Kaori through her acting. She also emphasized that the movie showed how people can be very strong if they have someone who they love and treasure so she hopes that the audience will be able to appreciate this through watching the film.

Source: Eiga.com

First-day-screening event of new movie "TAP THE LAST SHOW"

The first-day-screening event of new movie "TAP THE LAST SHOW" was held at TOHO Cinemas Hibiya Chanter on 17 June which was attended by first-time-director-cum-lead actor Mizutani Yutaka, Kitano Kii, Shimizu Natsuo, Kishibe Ittoku, Maeda Bibari, Musaka Naomasa, Ota Ayano, Sato Mizuki, dance choreography director HIDEBOH and dancers Nishikawa Taiki, HAMACHI, Sana, NON, nana and KENICHI. The movie was a project which Mizutani had been thinking of since he was in his 20s and features him as a legendary tap dancer Watari Shinjiro who had quit due to a serious injury in his leg. At the invitation of his old friend (Kishibe) who is about to close his theatre and hold a commemorative "last show", he is tasked to direct the show which allows him to regain his lost passion through the efforts of the young dancers he works with.

With regard to the movie being finally ready to be seen by everyone, Mizutani commented that he was grateful for this. As for appearing with a walking stick, Mizutani said that he wanted to appear as his character in the movie even though he could walk normally. In line with the number of years taken for the movie to be conceptualised and made, Kitano and Maeda presented a bouquet of 40 blue roses which represent realising a dream to Mizutani who said that this had been a very long dream of his so he hoped that his next dream would not take that long to realise.

Kishibe who is a close friend of Mizutani, commented that although the latter is a newbie at directing, he felt that he didn't appear to be a greenhorn and did very well for his directorial debut by doing things which other people have not done before. He also called upon Mizutani to continue directing and not stop at this movie which led Mizutani to joke if Kishibe was implying that he was a bad actor. Kishibe then clarified to say that he meant that Mizutani is both a good actor and director.

Sources: Eiga.com /  Oricon

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Cast members from TBS Summer 2017 dramas to appear in "Sekiguchi Hiroshi no Tokyo Friend Park July 2017 SP"

The cast members from the three TBS Summer 2017 dramas will be appearing as guests in the upcoming "Sekiguchi Hiroshi no Tokyo Friend Park July 2017 Drama Assembly SP" to be shown via TBS on 3 July. A total of 12 actors (4 from each drama) will be participating in the game show which will feature 7 games i.e. "Wall Crash", "Quiz! Body & Brain", "Flash Saurus", "Never Wipe Out", "Hyper Hockey", "Deli Soba" and "Fool On The Hill".

Here is the list of actors who will be appearing on the show:

From "Gomen, Aishiteru" - Nagase Tomoya, Yoshioka Riho, Sakaguchi Kentaro & Ootake Shinobu
From "Kanna-san!" - Watanabe Naomi, Kaname Jun, Kudo Asuka & Saito Yuki
From "Hello Harinezumi" - Eita, Fukada Kyoko, Morita Go & Nakaoka Souichi

Source: Oricon

Tachi Hiroshi & Kuroki Hitomi to star in new movie "Owatta Hito"

Tachi Hiroshi and Kuroki Hitomi will be starring in the new movie "Owatta Hito" (The Finished Person) which is based on the same-titled novel by scriptwriter Uchidata Makiko and will be directed by Nakata Hideo. The actors last worked together 20 years ago in the 1996 TV Tokyo drama SP "Mueitou".

The comedic movie features Tachi as the lead character Tashiro Sousuke who worked in a major bank and looked like he was on the path to success when he got transferred to a subsidiary and is about to retire without any achievement to his name. However, having been so focused on work over the past few decades, Sousuke desires to continue working or else he won't be able to continue living without a purpose. Without any special skills, he can't find anything in particular to do. Upon seeing this, his wife Chigusa (Kuroki) who works as a hairdresser and his daughter jokingly suggest that Sousuke should find someone to date. Coincidentally, Sousuke indeed finds someone who he is interested but things do not turn out the way he wants and his life starts to take on an uncontrollable twist...

Tachi jokingly commented that he had been acting as a police detective for the last 30 years and his new "workplace" in this movie has nothing to do with guns and riding a Harley Davidson bike. Although the title is rather harsh to describe someone who had retired, he hopes that he will be able to show the comical side of his character's retirement life through his acting in this movie and can't wait for the filming to start. As for Kuroki, she described her character as someone who has no more patience for her husband who lost his past glory acquired from his career but still tries to care for his feelings. She expressed her joy at being able to work with Tachi who gives her a sense of familiarity and security since they had worked together since their 20s so she believes that she will be able to rely on him during the filming.

Part of the filming was done in Iwate Prefecture during April to capture the sakura scenery but the actual filming will begin from 1 July to early August.

Sources: Yomiuri Hochi / Sanspo / Eiga.com / Oricon

Top 30 most popular karaoke songs in the first half of 2017 (JOYSOUND)

1) Koi - Hoshino Gen

2) Zenzenzense (movie ver.) - RADWIMPS

3) Ito - Nakajima Miyuki

4) Umi no koe - Urashima Taro (Kiritani Kenta)

5) Himawari no yakusoku - Hata Motohiro

6) Kanade - Sukima Switch

7) Sangatsu Kokonoka - Remioromen

8) Hanamizuki - Hitoto Yo

9) Chiisana koi no uta - MONGOL800

10) Kiseki - GReeeeN

11) Zankoku na tenshi no thesis - Takahashi Yoko

12) Takane no Hanako-san - back number

13) Nandemonaiya (movie ver.) - RADWIMPS

14) 365 nichi no kami hikouki - AKB48

15) Torisetsu - Nishino Kana

16) Sugar song and bitter step - UNISON SQUARE GARDEN

17) Happy End - back number

18) Silent Majority - Keyakizaka46

19) Story - AI

20) Eikou no Kakehashi - Yuzu

21) Aiuta - GReeeeN

22) Christmas Song - back number

23) Senbonzakura - WhiteFlame feat. Hatsune Miku

24) Sekai ni hitotsu dake no hana - SMAP

25) Let It Go ~ Ari no mama de ~ - Matsu Takako

26) Wherever you are - ONE OK ROCK

27) 366 Nichi - HY

28) Cherry - Spitz

29) SUN - Hoshino Gen

30) Konayuki - Remioromen

Source: JOYSOUND

Friday, June 16, 2017

Kaku Kento & Eikura Nana welcome the arrival of their first child

Kaku Kento and Eikura Nana welcomed the arrival of their first child on 12 June at a hospital in Tokyo as announced in their statements released by their agencies on 14 June. Both mother and child are doing well but there is no mention of the baby's gender.

In Eikura's statement she revealed that her baby weighed 2,700 grams at birth and thanked everyone for their support and advice from her pregnancy all the way till she gave birth. She also expressed her thanks to her husband for being always by her side and was grateful that the baby was born healthy. She ended her statement by pledging to support their child through life's many steps and encounters to come. As for Kaku, he expressed his joy at the arrival of a new family member and his increased responsibility in protecting his family. He also asked for the support of their fans and everyone around them.

The timing of Eikura's return to work will depend on her family situation and her health condition. On the other hand, Kaku is set to be very busy this summer with three dramas starting in July i.e. "Wanitokagegisu" from TBS, "Akira to Akira" from WOWOW and "Aishitetatte, Himitsu wa aru" from NTV as well as a musical which begins in August.

Sources: Nikkansports / Sanspo / Yomiuri Hochi / Oricon

Kaku Kento to take over Koide Keisuke's role in NTV Summer 2017 drama "Aishitetatte, Himitsu wa aru"

Kaku Kento will be taking over Koide Keisuke's role in the upcoming NTV Summer 2017 drama "Aishitetatte, Himitsu wa aru" starring Fukushi Souta which will be shown from 16 July in the Sundays 10.30pm timeslot. Koide was exposed for having alcohol and sex with a 17-year-old girl which led to his indefinite suspension of his acting career and being taken off the cast of this drama.

Fukushi plays the lead character Okumori Rei who killed his father (Horibe Keisuke) in the summer of when he was in the third year of junior high school so as to protect his mother Akiko (Suzuki Honami) who suffered from domestic violence inflicted by her husband. In order to hide his crime, Rei and Akiko decided to bury the corpse in the back garden of their house, report him as missing and share this dark secret between themselves. Rei strives hard to become a lawyer without making friends or falling in love. 11 years later, the 26-year-old Rei meets Tachibana Sawa (Kawaguchi Haruna) in graduate law school and the two of them fall in love with each other. Although Rei has made up his mind to get married to Sawa with his mother's blessings, someone who seemingly knows about his secret sends an alarming message to him. Co-stars include Endo Kenichi who plays Sawa's father and is the chief prosecutor, Koide Keisuke who plays Sawa's elder brother at odds with his father, Okae Kumiko who plays Sawa's mother and tries to keep her family together, Suzuki Kosuke who plays a doctor in love with Akiko, Shirasu Jin who is a mutual friend of Rei and Sawa, Yamamoto Mirai who plays a teacher of Rei and Sawa, Emoto Tokio who is a paralegal assisting Sawa during her internship and Yashiba Toshihiro who plays a police detective investigating the disappearance of Rei's father 11 years ago.

Kaku will be taking on the role of Sawa's elder brother who is a journalist. However, as he is also involved in the TBS Summer 2017 drama "Wanitokagegisu" which begins its run from 19 July, adjustments need to be made to his schedule before he can join the filming for this drama. In addition, Kaku will also be appearing in the WOWOW drama "Akira to Akira" which starts from 9 July (filming had been completed) and the musical "Young Frankenstein" which will begin its run from 11 August.

Sources: Sanspo / Oricon

Spitz to sing the theme song for new movie "Sensei!"

Spitz will be singing the theme song for the new movie "Sensei!" starring Ikuta Toma and Hirose Suzu. The song titled "Uta Usagi" was specially written for the movie which will be shown in cinemas from 28 October and is the band's first movie theme song in 9 years. The band commented that not everything is sweet and beautiful in love but that is also what makes love memorable and meaningful. While thinking back about their embarrassing memories of love in the past, the band wrote this song which they hope will suit the movie.

The movie which is based on the same-titled manga by Kawahara Kazune that was serialised in Bessatsu Margaret between 1996 and 2003 and had sold more than 5.7 million copies to date, features Ikuta as a world history teacher Ito Kousaku who seems aloof on the surface but treats his students very well and thinks a lot for them. Upon interacting with Ito, his student Shimada Hibiki (Hirose) falls in love with him and confesses her feelings for him. However, Ito is hardly moved by this as he had grown to distrust women due to his last breakup. Nonetheless, Hibiki's love finally moves him and the two of them begin a forbidden romance as they grapple with the tough circumstances they are in.

Source: Eiga.com

Murakami Nijirou to star in TV Tokyo Summer 2017 drama "Dead Stock Michi e no Chousen"

Murakami Nijirou will be taking on his first leading role in a drama when he appears in the upcoming TV Tokyo Summer 2017 drama "Dead Stock Michi e no Chousen" (Dead Stock The challenge towards the unknown) which will begin its run from 21 July 2017 in the Fridays 12.52am timeslot. The drama is an original horror story set at the new HQ building of TV Tokyo in Roppongi after it moved from Kamiya-cho in 2016. As a result of the move, Tsuneda Riku (Murakami), a newbie assistant director, gets assigned to work at the unconfirmed materials centre which stores a huge volume of footage yet to be organised and disposed of. While feeling disappointed at the gap between his ideals and reality, Riku accidentally finds an old video tape containing footage of supernatural phenomena. At the instigation of his senior Saori who is a director, Riku is forced to continue filming the supernatural happenings in order to make it into a complete programme but this causes him to go through a frightening and unbelievable experience.

Murakami commented that although he is always scared out of his wits while filming the drama, he is also excited and happy about taking on this daring project of TV Tokyo since this is the first time that he is acting in a horror and suspense story. Besides the standard theme about ghosts, there are some taboo topics also featured in the story which make it very interesting. As Riku grows to become a different person while the story progresses, his interaction with the other characters who had gone through various things in the past will be worth looking out for.

Sources: Yomiuri Hochi / Sanspo / Oricon / Eiga.com

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Nogiwa Yoko passes away at the age of 81

Actress Nogiwa Yoko passed away at the age of 81 on 13 June as reported on 15 June. According to insiders, her wake and funeral which was attended by family members only had been completed.

Nogiwa was born in Toyama City, Toyama Prefecture, before she moved to Suginami, Tokyo, at the age of 3. After graduating from Rikkyo University, she managed to overcome the low odds of 0.3% to become a NHK announcer in 1958 and was the host for programmes like "Ohayou Minna-san". After quitting from NHK in 1962, she worked at an advertising agency for three months and switched to become a freelance announcer which then landed her the job of being the host of TBS programme "Josei Senka". In the following year, Nogiwa made her debut as an actress in the TBS drama "Hi no Utsuwa" and continued working as an actress until she went to study French literature at Université de Paris in 1966. After she returned in 1968, she starred in the TBS drama "Key Hunter" which ran for 5 years and achieved ratings above 30 percent at the peak of its popularity. It was then when she met co-star Chiba Sonny and the couple got married in 1973 before she gave birth to their daughter Manase Juri in 1975 at the age of 37. However, when Chiba wanted to move to the US in 1994, Nogiwa didn't want to follow him there and felt that there were no longer any feelings between them so the couple went their separate ways.

Since then, Nogiwa had appeared in many dramas and movies and was especially known for her role as the mother-in-law who spoilt her son Fuyuhiko (Sano Shiro) in the 1992 TBS drama "Zutto anata ga suki datta". She also holds the title of the No.1 female guest who had appeared the most times (21) on Kuroyanagi Tetsuko's signature show "Tetsuko no Heya as they had been close friends since the days when she was a NHK announcer. Nogiwa's last drama appearances are in the ongoing TV Asahi afternoon drama "Yasuragi no Sato" and TV Asahi Spring 2017 drama "Keishicho Sousa Ikka Kyugakari" while she can also be seen in the movie "Itsumata kimi to Herijunzailai" which was released in cinemas on 24 May.

Nogiwa was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2014 while she was acting in the FujiTV afternoon drama "Hanayome no Noren" and went through treatment. However, she suffered a relapse in the following year and went through an operation to remove the tumour. Although her condition had seen an improvement after chemotherapy, rumours of her being in ill health persisted especially when she was the only person in the cast absent from the production press conference of "Yasuragi no Sato" held on 16 March this year.

With regard to why Nogiwa passed away, her agency said that they would like to refrain from making her health problems public so as to respect her privacy. Even though Nogiwa had a number of illnesses in the past, she still tried her best to live healthily and happily.

Sources: Sports Hochi / Sanspo / Sponichi

Amuse's latest statement about Koide Keisuke's sex scandal

Amuse, the agency managing Koide Keisuke who recently was exposed for drinking and having sex with an underage girl, released its statement on 15 June where it disclosed that a private settlement had been reached between Koide and the girl and her parents. Here are the key points from the statement:

- The private settlement was concluded on 10 June with Koide being represented by a lawyer to handle the negotiations. However, due to the confidentiality clause in the agreement, the agency cannot reveal any details about the deal.

- However, the private settlement will have no impact on the criminal investigations conducted by the police.

- The agency emphasized its stand that it has no intention to protect Koide from this scandal and will cooperate fully with the investigation so that he can fulfill his responsibilities in the most sincere manner.

- As for plans to let Koide hold a press conference, this is unlikely to happen anytime soon as they do not want this to affect the ongoing investigations. The agency is also unable to respond to the numerous queries about this matter one by one and apologised for this.

Source: Oricon

Supporting cast line-up of TV Asahi Summer 2017 drama "Kurokawa no Techou" announced

The supporting cast line-up of TV Asahi Summer 2017 drama "Kurokawa no Techou" has been announced. The drama which will begin its run from 20 July in the Thursdays 9pm timeslot, is based on Matsumoto Seicho's famous same-titled novel and features Takei Emi as the lead character Haraguchi Motoko who was a contract bank employee stuck with a huge debt chalked up by her mother after her father passed away. In order to repay the debts, she works part-time at a nightclub in Ginza. Just when she has finished paying her debts, she gets news of her impending retrenchment by the bank. Motoko then makes up her mind to leave the bank and embezzles JPY 180m from her employer which is used to open a high-class club Carnet. With the list of dummy bank accounts of the rich and famous which she acquired from her previous job and recorded in her black notebook, Motoko rises up the ranks in the world of darkness filled with love and desire. As Takei is turning 24 years old this year, the Motoko in this new drama will be set as the youngest mamasan to date in Ginza's history at 25 years old.

Eguchi Yosuke will be playing the role Yasujima Tomio who is the secretary of a member of the House of Representatives and harbours the ambition of becoming a politician. However, due to his meeting of Motoko, his fate is changed drastically. This will be the first time in 5 years since Eguchi and Takei are working together since 2012 FujiTV drama "Iki mo dekinai natsu". Naka Riisa who is appearing in her first TV Asahi drama, will be playing the role of Yamada Namiko who used to be Motoko's colleague at the bank, was the one who invited her to become a hostess and later becomes her rival. Takito Kenichi will be playing Murai Toru who is the assistant manager of the Setagaya Kita branch where Motoko and Namiko used to work at while Wada Masato will play Makino who is the manager of the beauty salon which Motoko frequents. Naitou Risa will play Shimazaki Sumie who is the female manager of a ryotei and became a hostess later and Takashima Masanobu will play Hashida Tsuneo who is the director of a tuition school. Maya Miki will play Iwamura Eiko, the first mamasan who Motoko worked under in Ginza and groomed her to become a hostess while Takahata Atsuko will play Nakaoka Ichiko, the chief nurse and lover of the director of Narabayashi Clinic. The director of Narabayashi Clinic i.e. Narabayashi Kenji will be played by Okuda Eiji while Ito Shiro will play Hasegawa Joji, an influential figure in the political and financial worlds.

Source: Oricon

Lee Soo Hyuk to appear in TBS Summer 2017 drama "Gomen, Aishiteru"

Korean actor Lee Soo Hyuk will be appearing in the upcoming TBS Summer 2017 drama "Gomen, Aishiteru" starring Nagase Tomoya which begins its run from July in the Sundays 9pm timeslot. This will be Lee's first appearance in a Japanese drama.

The drama which is a remake of the same-titled 2004 South Korean drama from KBS starring So Ji-sub, features Nagase as the lead character Okazaki Ritsu who was abandoned by his mother Reiko (Ootake Shinobu) when he was a child. One day, when Ritsu gets embroiled into an incident that causes him to suffer a life-threatening injury, he decides to meet Reiko for the last time and do something for her out of filial piety because he doesn't know when his life will end. However, when he sees how much she loves her son Satoru (Sakaguchi Kentaro) who is a idol pianist and the happy and rich life she has compared to him who is wallowing in the low rungs of society, Ritsu vows to take revenge on her. At the same time, he falls for a woman Mita Rinka (Yoshioka Riho) who helps him by chance but he is sad to find out that she is in love with his half-brother who is Rinka's childhood friend.

Lee will be playing the role of Baek Ran who is the heir of a Korean mafia chief and admires Ritsu like an elder brother. Baek Ran was abandoned by his birth parents at an orphanage soon after he was born and became the adopted son of a couple who later went to South Korean. Later, Baek Ran left home to join the underworld and met Ritsu who works as a bouncer at the casino owned by his father. Baek Ran's presence becomes a trigger as to why Ritsu returns to Japan to look for his mother.

Lee commented that although he is appearing in a Japanese drama for the first time, he is lucky that he can speak Korean while acting so this allows him to focus on his acting. In addition, he is honoured to be able to participate in this remake of a very famous Korean drama and will try his best to do well. With regard to his character Baek Ran, Lee said that this is a manly character which he had not attempted before in Korea so he's grateful and very happy for this opportunity. He hopes to be able to show the bond and bromance between Baek Ran and Ritsu in this drama.

Source: Nikkansports

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Kanjani 8 to sing the theme song for NTV Summer 2017 drama "Uchi no otto wa shigoto ga dekinai"

Kanjani 8 will be singing the theme song for NTV Summer 2017 drama "Uchi no otto wa shigoto ga dekinai" which begins its run from July in the Saturdays 10pm timeslot. The drama features Nishikido Ryo as the lead character Kobayashi Tsukasa who appears to be the perfect husband with good looks, stellar qualifications and a high income to his young wife Sayaka (Matsuoka Mayu). However, little does she know that Tsukasa is regarded as a burden at his workplace because of his poor work ability. Tsukasa tries his best to hide this fact from Sayaka who idolises him but things reach a stage when he wants to quit because he keeps making mistakes at work and is even bullied by his juniors at the company. Before he can do that, Sayaka discovers that she is pregnant which makes it impossible for Tsukasa to quit as he is the sole breadwinner. At the same time, Sayaka finds out about her husband's situation at work and she tries to help him overcome the challenge with her support.

The theme song titled "Kiseki no Hito" (The Miraculous Person) is a love song written by Sada Masashi who was approached by Kanjani 8 members personally. After Sada met up with Nishikido for a meal to discuss the results of a survey he had asked Nishikido to conduct among the Kanjani 8 members, he came up with the song which he hopes that the group will enjoy singing together with their fans. Nishikido commented that the song is something which is especially suitable for them to sing at this age (all of them are in their 30s now) especially since it contains their views and preferences towards love which are nicely summed up so he hopes that everyone will like this new type of music from the group.

Sources: Sponichi / Yomiuri Hochi

Yahagi Honoka to appear in the last two episodes of FujiTV Spring 2017 drama "Kizoku Tantei"

Yahagi Honoka will be appearing in the last two episodes of FujiTV Spring 2017 drama "Kizoku Tantei" i.e. Eps 10 and 11 on 19th and 26th June as the guest star. She will be playing Gudou Maki, the cousin of Gudou Hiroki (Kiriyama Ren) who is the heir of the Gudou family which deals in military equipment and is based in Singapore. Although Maki is the daughter of the family head Motofumi's second son, she is looked down on by Motofumi and Hiroki's family for being no more than an extended part of their clan. As Takatoku Aika (Takei Emi) receives a package containing JPY 500,000 and a note asking her to go to the Gudou family's bungalow Hoshimiso on 17 June, she meets Hiroki there and decides to ask about the mysterious person Masamune Koremasa who she believes is related to Kizoku Tantei (Aiba Masaki). However, Hiroki only reveals that he has heard not-so-good things about this name and advises her not to bring up the name for her own sake.

Yahagi who last worked with the drama's producer Hattori Kenichi in the 2013 drama "Itazura Na Kiss Love in TOKYO" before she went to New York for further studies, commented that she was very happy to get the offer to appear in a Getsuku drama for the first time although it was difficult to play Maki. As for working with Aiba for the first time, she said that she was really nervous but he tried to put her at ease just like a true nobleman so she could relax gradually during the filming.

Source: Eiga.com

Monday, June 12, 2017

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

The first-day-screening event of new movie "Hirugao" was held at TOHO Cinemas Roppongi Hills on 10 June which was attended by the director Nishitani Hiroki and cast members Ueto Aya, Saito Takumi, Ito Ayumi and Hirayama Hiroyuki. The movie continues three years after the end of the drama version where housewife Sasamoto Sawa (Ueto) and high school teacher Kitano Yuichiro (Saito) were forced to end their affair by his wife Noriko (Ito). After her divorce, Sawa lives alone at a seaside town and unexpectedly meets Yuichiro again when he visits the town for work. This reignites their feelings for each other and they resume their affair before Noriko gets wind of it again.

Ueto commented that with the movie's release, this also marks the end of their promotional campaign so she had been feeling quite sad about this since the morning of the event. Saito echoed her view that he felt sad about letting go of this movie as well since they had been involved with this project for a pretty long period of time.

When asked about what "Hirugao" means to them, Ito said that it was the first time that she experienced this unusual take on extramarital affairs as depicted in the story. Ueto then followed up by praising Ito for being such a wonderful actress to the extent of controlling how blood flows in her body. During acting, it is difficult to let the emotions take control to the extent of making a person burn red with rage and having her veins pop up but Ito was able to do that with ease. Meanwhile, Saito said that being involved in "Hirugao" was a life-changing experience and he thanked everyone especially Ueto for working together to produce such a wonderful production despite the heavy theme. Upon hearing this, Ueto started crying and said that it was pressurising for them to be taking on such a controversial theme but the love and feelings experienced by Sawa made Ueto think about the theme seriously every day so she was especially sad to say goodbye to this character.

Sources: Nikkansports / Sanspo / Oricon / Eiga.com

First-day-screening event of new movie "22 Nenme no Kokuhaku Watashi ga satsujinhan desu"

The first-day-screening event of new movie "22 Nenme no Kokuhaku Watashi ga satsujinhan desu" was held at Shinjuku Picadilly on 10 June which was attended by the director Irie Yu and cast members Fujiwara Tatsuya, Nakamura Tooru, Nomura Shuhei, Kaho, Ishibashi Anna, Ryusei Ryo and Saotome Taichi.

The movie which is based on the 2012 South Korean film, begins in the year 1995 where there were 5 peculiar murder cases. The murderer would always get someone close to the victim to witness how he would strangle the victim from behind with a rope but he would let the witnesses go and speak to the media on how the murders happened. Ito plays the role of Makimura, the police detective who was in charge of investigating the serial murders but failed to catch the cunning murderer and his respected superior ended up being killed as well. 22 years later in 2017 when the case is nearing its statute of limitations, a man named Sonezaki (Fujiwara) claims to be the culprit for the 1995 murders and even publishes a book titled "Watashi ga satsujinhan desu" to talk about the cases. Despite the disgust towards Sonezaki's actions, the intensive attention showered on him via the media and SNS makes him become the talk of town.

Ito Hideaki who was absent from the event due to other work arrangements, recorded a video message to apologise for his absence and said that Fujiwara would be around to make the event an success. As the video message was very short, Fujiwara complained that the content was too simple while Nomura poked fun at Ito for doing it like an apology press conference where he said nothing but sorry. Nakamura then joined in to say that it was a great "sin" for Ito to skip the promotional event especially since he is the joint lead with Fujiwara.

As the cast were reminded not to say too much during the event in order to avoid giving away the story, Fujiwara chose his words carefully while trying to promote the movie. He apologised to Nakamura for having to strangle him by his neck during the filming which lasted from morning to night but was stopped from revealing more by the alarm sound. Nakamura continued the story by saying that Fujiwara kept saying sorry to him but he actually thought of asking Fujiwara to go easy on him because Fujiwara was so immersed in his acting that he applied a lot of strength during the strangling. In the end, Nakamura did not raise his request and allowed Fujiwara to continue what he was doing.

Sources: Nikkansports / Eiga.com / Oricon

Miyazaki Aoi to star in NHK drama SP "Kurara ~ Hokusai no Musume ~"

Miyazaki Aoi will be starring in the new NHK drama SP "Kurara ~ Hokusai no Musume ~" (Kurara ~ Hokusai's daughter ~) which will be shown at 7.30pm on 18 September. The drama SP is based on the novel "Kurara" by Naoki Award-winning writer Asai Makate and the script will be written by Omori Mika.

Miyazaki will be playing the third daughter O-ei (later known as Katsushika Oi) of famous Edo-era painter Katsushika Hokusai who will be played by Nagatsuka Kyozo. This will be the first time in 9 years that Nagatsuka and Miyazaki are playing father and daughter since the 2008 NHK Taiga drama "Atsuhime". O-ei's confidante and Hokusai's student Zenjiro (later known as Keisai Eisen) will be played by Matsuda Ryuhei. Co-stars also include Miyake Hiroki, Yo Kimiko and Noda Hideki.

Oi was the daughter of Hokusai's second wife and was married to artist Minamisawa Tomei who she found to be poor at his craft and mocked him for this. As a result, she was divorced by Tomei and returned to Hokusai's home where she assisted him in his artwork and produced her own as well. During this period, she confided in Zenjiro about her worries and troubles such as returning home divorced, how she found it difficult to outshine her father who was such a talented artist and her obsession with colours. After Hokusai's death, Oi who was in her 60s then, had nothing left but the paint brushes left behind by her father.

Source: Oricon

Iwata Takanori & Sugisaki Hana to be joint leads in new movie "Perfect World"

EXILE and Sandaime J Soul Brothers member Iwata Takanori and Sugisaki Hana will be joint leads in the new movie "Perfect World" directed by Shibayama Kenji. The film which is based on the same-titled manga by Aruga Rie and had won the best shoujo manga title in 2016 as voted in French longtime manga magazine "Animeland", features Iwata as Ayukawa Itsuki, an architect who is wheelchair-bound due to an accident and Sugisaki as Kawana Tsugumi, an OL whose first love Itsuki was her senior in senior high school. Thanks to an unexpected reunion, their paths cross again but their relationship is faced with difficulties due to his condition.

Iwata commented that this is the first time that he is playing a manga character and with a physical handicap. As the theme of living with one's most important person and coping with the challenges of a handicap are serious topics, he will put in his best effort to make the story as easy to identify with as possible. As for Sugisaki, she hopes to show the charm of the story directly to the viewers and try her best to portray her character.

Filming began on 2 June and is expected to wrap up by mid July. The movie will be shown in cinemas in 2018.

Sources: Nikkansports / Eiga.com

Kiriyama Ren to appear in the last two episodes of FujiTV Spring 2017 drama "Kizoku Tantei"

Kiriyama Ren will be appearing in the last two episodes of FujiTV Spring 2017 drama "Kizoku Tantei" to be shown on 19th and 26th June. This marks his first appearance in a Getsuku drama in 11 years since he made his debut in Autumn 2016's "Nodame Cantabile". He will be playing the role of Gudou Hiroki who is the heir of the Gudou family which deals in military equipment and based in Singapore. As Takatoku Aika (Takei Emi) receives a package containing JPY 500,000 and a note asking her to go to the Gudou family's bungalow Hoshimiso on 17 June, she meets Hiroki there and decides to ask about the mysterious person Masamune Koremasa who she believes is related to Kizoku Tantei (Aiba Masaki). However, Hiroki only reveals that he has heard not-so-good things about this name and advises her not to bring up the name for her own sake.

Kiriyama revealed that when he first got the offer to appear in "Kizoku Tantei", he actually thought that this would be his first appearance in a Getsuku drama. Back then when he appeared in "Nodame Cantabile", he only had one line but fumbled through it and ended up being scolded so he didn't quite remember what happened there because he was too nervous. As it had been more than 10 years since then, he is filled with deep emotion about being able to appear in another Getsuku drama again. When asked to comment on his character, Kiriyama described Hiroki as someone who isn't a kind soul and uses his wealth and status to have his way so it's quite exciting and enjoyable to play a person like this.

Sources: Sponichi / Oricon