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Thursday, December 08, 2016

2016 Ranking of celebrities with the most CM deals (Nihon Monitor)

This ranking released by Nihon Monitor list the top celebrities with the most CM deals between 1 January 2016 and 30 November 2016. The number of CM deals held by each celebrity is presented within the brackets:

Top male celebrities with the most CM deals
1) Aiba Masaki / Nishikori Kei (12)

2) Sakurai Sho / Nishijima Hidetoshi / Ninomiya Kazunari / Endo Kenichi (11)

3) DAIGO / Nagase Tomoya / Matsumoto Jun (10)

4) Ohno Satoshi / Saito Tsukasa (Trandy Angel) / Matsuoka Shuzo (9)

5) Oguri Shun / Joshima Shigeru / Matsushige Yutaka (8)

Top female celebrities with the most CM deals
1) Yoshida Yo (13)

2) Hirose Suzu / Matsuko Deluxe / Rola (12)

3) Arimura Kasumi / Matsuoka Mayu (11)

4) Kiritani Mirei / Taira Yuna / Haru (10)

5) Ayase Haruka / An / Ueto Aya / Kimura Fumino / Yamamoto Mizuki (9)

There was also a list of celebrities who saw a huge jump in the number of CM deals they had in 2016 compared to the previous year. Listing only actors and actresses here though:

Yamazaki Kento - from 2 deals to 7

Sakaguchi Kentaro - from 2 deals to 6

Koura Kengo - from 1 deal to 5

Seino Nana - from 3 deals to 5

Nagano Mei - from 1 deal to 5

Yoshioka Riho - from 0 deal to 4

Yoshine Kyoko - from 1 deal to 4

Source: Nihon Monitor

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Nagasawa Masami, Matsuda Ryuhei & Hasegawa Hiroki star in new movie "Sanposuru Shinryakusha"

Nagasawa Masami, Matsuda Ryuhei and Hasegawa Hiroki will be starring in the new movie "Sanposuru Shinryakusha" (The strolling invader) which is adapted by the director Kurosawa Kiyoshi from the same-titled 2015 stage play from theatre group Ikiume.

Matsuda plays the role of Kase Shinji who has the habit of going on daily walks every evening but disappears without a trace for a few days. When he returns home, it is as if he has become an entirely different person which makes his wife Narumi shocked at his changes especially when he becomes very gentle and nice to her. Suddenly, Shinji tells Narumi that there will be an attack on Earth which is then followed by a series of strange happenings such as the mass killing of a family in the town they live in and the happening of weird events that disrupts the peaceful life they once had. Hasegawa plays the role of a journalist Sakurai who follows the "invader" around as part of his job.

Nagasawa who was impressed with the script, expressed deep interest in the movie and commented that she can identify with Narumi's feelings as a woman and hopes to be able to convey the love she has for Shinji as a family. Matsuda said that he is thankful for Nagasawa's efforts and revealed that Shinji was a tough character to play as he was angry all the time and it has been a long time since he felt giddy every day on set due to the emotional rollercoaster he had to go through. As the presence of the invader poses a threat to the relationship between Narumi and Shinji which was already shaky before his disappearance, Matsuda commented that he had to show how Shinji tries to make things work again between them and show the difference between the original Shinji and the invader's characters. As there are many elements in this movie, he thinks that it will be an interesting film which will attract people of varying tastes.

Hasegawa revealed that before the filming, the director had told him to forget about his past roles so as to act in a new way for Sakurai. Besides the romance element, the friendship between men is also something to look out for in this movie.

Filming was done over a month from late July. The movie will be shown in cinemas from 16 September 2017.

Sources: Sanspo / Eiga.com

Top 20 bestselling Japanese music albums of the year (Tower Records)

Here is the list of this year's bestselling Japanese music albums at Tower Records:

1) Fantome - Utada Hikaru

2) YELLOW DANCER - Hoshino Gen

3) Butterflies - BUMP OF CHICKEN

4) Are You Happy? - Arashi

5) Kimi no na wa - RADWIMPS

6) METAL RESISTANCE - BABYMETAL

7) DEAR - Hey!Say!JUMP

8) COSMIC EXPLORER - Perfume

9) Ano hi Ano toki - Oda Kazumasa

10) THE JSB LEGACY - Sandaime J Soul Brothers from EXILE TRIBE

11) The World's On Fire - MAN WITH A MISSION

12) 10TH ANNIVERSARY BEST "10Ks!" - KAT-TUN

13) Chou Ikimonobakari ~ Tennen Kinen Members BEST Selection ~ - Ikimonogakari

14) QUARTETTO - NEWS

15) Sorezore no isu - Nogizaka46

16) E.G. SMILE - E-girls BEST - - E-girls

17) Chandelier - back number

18) N Album - KinKi Kids

19) Just LOVE - Nishino Kana

20) HiGH & LOW ORIGINAL BEST ALBUM - Various Artists

Source: Tower Records

"The Last Cop" to have a "live" broadcast for its last episode and ending to be decided by viewers

NTV Autumn 2016 drama "The Last Cop" will be making a rare attempt at broadcasting its last episode on 10 December "live" and having the ending decided by viewers' voting where they will decide if Kyougoku Kousuke (Karasawa Toshiaki) lives or dies.

In the last episode, Kyougoku and Mochizuki Ryota (Kubota Masataka) are sent by Jinno (Kohinata Fumio) to infiltrate a hospital. Once there, Kyougoku is surrounded by the child patients who became his fans after seeing his heroic deeds online. Actually, Jinno was asked to send Kyougoku there as the hospital's director Machida wanted to make the unwell children happy by seeing their idol. Just then, a strange man Nagasawa approaches Kyougoku at the hospital and declares that he will create chaos in Yokohama which leads the latter to declare that he will go all out to stop that from happening. As soon as he finishes, the power plant suffers an explosion which causes a blackout in Yokohama that causes panic on the streets. The children at the hospital who suffer from lung problems are also unable to use the respirators due to the loss of power thus Kyougoku and Ryota try to save the city.

Besides the ending which will be acted out by the cast, there are some scenes involving the police deparment and Kyougoku's daughter Yui (Sasaki Nozomi) which will also be broadcast "live". Viewers can choose the ending during the broadcast by pressing the "d-Button" on their remote controls.

Source: Oricon

Eikura Nana, Oshima Yuko, Sakaguchi Kentaro & Suzuki Ryohei to appear in NTV Winter 2017 drama "Tokyo Tarareba Musume"

Eikura Nana, Oshima Yuko, Sakaguchi Kentaro and Suzuki Ryohei will be appearing in the upcoming NTV Winter 2017 drama "Tokyo Tarareba Musume" (Tokyo What If Girls) starring Yoshitaka Yuriko as the lead. The drama which begins its run from January 2017 in the Wednesdays 10pm timeslot, is based on the same-titled manga by Higashimura Akiko which had sold more than 1.8 million copies.

Yoshitaka plays the heroine Kamata Rinko, a scriptwriter in her 30s who is facing a bottleneck at work and has no boyfriend. She spends her nights having girls-only gatherings with her buddy Yamakawa Kaori (Eikura) since their senior high school days at an izakaya named Nonbee while lamenting about the "what ifs" in her life and how things will turn out better if certain things or conditions are fulfilled. For example, if she is prettier, she would be able to find a good man. If she falls in love with someone, she would be able to get married. If she puts in effort, she can get anything she wants in her life. All of a sudden, she realises that she still hasn't matured as a woman despite having entered her 30s as she reflects on her inadequacies. Kaori works as a nail artist while Oshima plays Torii Koyuki who works at Nonbee. Sakaguchi plays the role of KEY, a famous and charismatic model who tries to knock some sense into the girls and Suzuki plays Hayasaka Tetsuro who is a drama producer and was dumped by Rinko in the past.

When asked to describe her character, Eikura who is appearing in her first drama since getting married to Kaku Kento in August this year, described Kaori as a free spirit who tries her best but ends up running around for no reason so she hopes to make her character interesting and relatable to the viewers. As for Oshima, she said that the manga seemed to be talking about how she truly feels as a woman around the age of 30 and she hopes to show the positivity of life through her character despite the challenges the three women face in their lives.

Sources: Sponichi / Oricon

Top 10 actresses who had made a breakthrough in 2016 (Oricon)

Oricon conducted a survey on 1,000 people from their teens to 50s where the respondents chose the actress who they felt had made a breakthrough this year:

1) Takahata Mitsuki

2) Haru

3) Hirose Suzu

4) Tsuchiya Tao

5) Nikaidou Fumi

6) Matsuoka Mayu

7) Shimizu Fumika

8) Yoshioka Riho

9) Kamishiraishi Mone

10) Kawaei Rina

Source: Oricon

Winners of Yahoo! Japan Search Awards 2016

Yahoo! Japan Search Awards is an annual event which lists the people and things that experienced a surge in online searches via Yahoo! Japan as compared to the previous year. This is a barometer of the amount of attention which the person or thing has enjoyed in the past year. The measurement period is from 1 January to 1 November of the current year.

As the list of winners is very long, I will only feature the winners in the person and culture categories which are more related to J-ent in general:

Grand Award: Dean Fujioka

Actor: Dean Fujioka

Actress: Takahata Mitsuki

Idol: Keyakizaka46

Comedian: Kazu Laser

Model: Ryuchell

Musician: Fujiwara Sakura

Voice Actor: Nakamura Yuichi

Athlete: Fukuhara Ai

Writer: Murata Sayaka

Anime: Osomatsu-san

Movie: Kimi no na wa

Game: Pokemon GO

Novel: Kimi no suizou wo tabetai

Drama: Sanadamaru

Popular Phrase: PPAP

Source: Yahoo! Japan

Yamada Ryosuke & Nishida Toshiyuki to star in new movie "Namiya Zakkaten no Kiseki"

Yamada Ryosuke and Nishida Toshiyuki will be starring in the new movie "Namiya Zakkaten no Kiseki" which will be directed by Hiroki Ryuichi and shown in cinemas from autumn next year. The movie which is based on the same-titled novel by Higashino Keigo that had sold more than 5 million copies, is set in modern Japan in the year 2012.

Yamada plays the lead character Atsuya who grew up at an orphanage. After doing some evil deeds with his childhood friends Shota and Kohei, he hides at an abandoned house which used to be a general store named Namiya that was known for being a place where people could come to seek advice for their troubles. While at the house, Atsuya finds a letter written by someone 32 years ago in 1980 asking for advice on a problem in the post box and starts to interact with this person through mail on the behalf of the store's owner Namiya Yuji (Nishida). Gradually, the secret behind the store is unravelled through the mail correspondence.

Yamada who is working with Nishida for the first time in a Higashino adaptation work, commented that to be able to work with Nishida is a great honour and he hopes that he will be able to learn a lot from Nishida through the collaboration. The movie is a challenge for Yamada as there is the constant shuffling between past and present so he hopes to be able to show the emotions of his character. As for Nishida who plays Namiya Yuji, the owner of Namiya, praised Yamada for being a talented actor and said that he is a perfect fit for the role of Atsuya.

Filming will begin in January next year.

Sources: Nikkansports / Sanspo / Sponichi

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Ihara Tsuyoshi makes his debut as a rakugo storyteller

Ihara Tsuyoshi made his debut as a rakugo storyteller at National Theatre of Japan on 3 December under the stage name of Gougou which was voted by the 300-strong audience. Ihara revealed that he took an interest in rakugo after working with the late Katsura Shijaku in the 1996 NHK morning drama "Futarikko" and started viewing rakugo performances during his free time about 5 years ago. His new year resolution this year was to do something he had always wanted to try and decided to approach Shijaku's student Jakujaku to learn rakugo after viewing the latter's solo performance in April. Ihara then wrote a letter to Jakujaku asking to be accepted as a student and began formal training in October this year.

Jakujaku revealed that when he received the letter from Ihara, he was convinced that the latter was very passionate about rakugo and had already made up his mind to learn it properly. During the training, Jakujaku saw how Ihara was so enthusiastic that h had to ask him to tone down a bit. As his teacher, Jakujaku was happy to see his student make his debut and hoped to see Ihara make his mark in Osaka which will be the ultimate test of his ability and talent.

Ihara revealed that he will continue working as an actor while juggling his rakugo training and performance. In order to distinguish his image as an actor and rakugo storyteller, Ihara decided to wear a pair of round-shaped spectacles and red kimono for his debut performance. As Shijaku had tried using English to perform rakugo in the past, Ihara's dream is to do the same in Los Angeles one day. At the age of 53 and having been an actor for 35 years, Ihara views this new "debut" in a new field as a form of stimulation for himself.

Source: Sponichi

Kuroki Meisa to be the guest star in TV Asahi Autumn 2016 drama "Doctor X 4 ~ Gekai Daimon Michiko ~" Ep 10

Kuroki Meisa will be the guest star in the 10th episode of TV Asahi Autumn 2016 drama "Doctor X 4 ~ Gekai Daimon Michiko ~" which will be shown at 9pm on 15 December. This is the first time that she is working with Yonekura Ryoko who plays the lead character Daimon Michiko.

In this episode, Kuroki will play Tokiko who is married to a rich man from China and is admitted to Toutei University Hospital where Daimon works as a freelancer at. Due to a heart condition, Tokiko is deemed to be unable to carry on with her pregnancy as it will be life-threatening. However, Tokiko chooses to prioritise her baby's life over hers so Daimon tries to find a way which will allow Tokiko to live without having to sacrifice her child.

As there are scenes when Tokiko has to speak in Mandarin to her Chinese husband, the production crew decided to offer the role to Kuroki who spoke the language in the 2008 TV Asahi drama SP "Dansou no Reijin Kawashima Yoshiko no Shougai". Coincidentally, after the offer was made to Kuroki in late November, she announced her second pregnancy on 26 November. On Kuroki's part, as she has passed her first trimester and her condition is stable now, she agreed to the offer.

Kuroki commented that it was easy for her to get immersed in her character as she is a mother and also pregnant now. As such, she can understand why Tokiko has made the choice to choose her baby's life over hers. She hopes that she will be able to convey Tokiko's strength and resolve through her acting in this episode. As for the filming process, she related that she was nervous about joining the cast at such a late stage of the drama but everyone was very welcoming of her and put her at ease.

Sources: Nikkansports / Sanspo / Oricon

Winners of the 29th Nikkansports Movie Award / Ishihara Yujiro Award (2016)

Here is the list of winners for the 29th Nikkansports Movie Award and Ishihara Yujiro Award. The award ceremony will be held at Hotel New Otani on 28 Decenber:

Best Movie: 64 Rokuyon

Best Director: Shinkai Makoto (Kimi no na wa)

Best Leading Actor: Sato Koichi (64 Rokuyon)

Best Leading Actress: Miyazawa Rie (Yu wo wakasu hodo no atsui ai)

Best Supporting Actor: Tsumabuki Satoshi (Ikari / Museum)

Best Supporting Actress: Miyazaki Aoi (Ikari / Sekai kara neko ga kieta nara)

Best Newcomer: Arimura Kasumi (Nanimono / Natsumi no Hotaru)

Ishihara Yujiro Award: Saraba Abunai Deka

Best Foreign Movie: Spotlight

Source: Nikkansports

"Kodoku no Gurume" to be back as New Year drama SP in January 2017

"Kodoku no Gurume" will be back as a New Year drama SP which is due to be shown via TV Tokyo on 2 January 2017 with the title "Kodoku no Gurume Oshogatsu SP ~ Inogashira Goro no Nagai Ichinichi" (The solitary gourmet New Year SP ~ A long day of Inogashira Goro). The one-hour SP to be shown from 11.20pm to 12.20am will feature the lead character Goro (Matsushige Yutaka) on his working day in Tokyo. To date, the SPs showed him on business trips to places like Kyushu, Hokkaido and Tohoku but this time, he will be based at "home" and visit various places for food during the day. In addition, the author of "Kodoku no Gurume" Kusumi Masayuki will also be back in his usual segment "Furatto QUSUMI" where he visits the restaurant featured in the drama at the end of the episode.

Matsushige commented that it has been 5 years since the series began so it won't be surprising if they revisit any of the restaurants before which were featured in the past. As for the guest lineup, it will be announced at a later date.

Sources: Natalie / Oricon

Monday, December 05, 2016

Top 10 movies box office ranking for the weekend of 3rd & 4th December 2016

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

1) Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (350)

2) Kimi no na wa (296)

3) Museum (331)

4) Kono sekai no katasumi ni (68)

5) Shippu Rondo (286)

6) Gekijouban Kancolle (61)

7) Florence Foster Jenkins (204)

8) RANMARU Kami no shita wo motsu otoko Hoozuki Death Road Hen (270)

9) Kuroko no Basuke Winter Cup Soushuuhen Tobira no Mukou (31)

10) Death Note Light up the NEW world (342)

Source: Eiga.com

Individual winners of the 38th Yokohama Film Festival's Japanese Movie Awards

Best Movie: Kono sekai no katasumi ni

Best Director: Nakano Ryota (Yu wo wakasu hodo no atsui ai)

Morita Yoshimitsu Memorial Best New Director: Mariko Tetsuya (Distraction Babies) / Sugiyama Yasukazu (No Youna mono No youna mono)

Best Script: Nakano Ryota (Yu wo wakasu hodo no atsui ai)

Best Photography: Sasaki Yasuyuki (Distraction Babies)

Best Leading Actor: Miura Tomokazu (Katsuragi Jiken) / Yagira Yuuya (Distraction Babies)

Best Leading Actress: Tsutsui Mariko (Fuchi ni tatsu)

Best Supporting Actor: Suda Masaki (Distraction Babies)

Best Supporting Actress: Sugisaki  Hana (Yu wo wakasu hodo no atsui ai)

Best Newcomer: Taiga (Fuchi ni tatsu) / Komatsu Nana (Distraction Babies) / Murakami Nijiro (Distraction Babies)

Judges Special Award: Non (Kono sekai no katasumi ni)

Special Award: Anno Hideaki (Shin Godzilla)

Source: Yokohama Film Festival

Top 10 best movies of 2016 as selected by Yokohama Film Festival

1) Kono sekai no katasumi ni

2) Yu wo wakasu hodo no atsui ai

3) Distraction Babies

4) Shin Godzilla

5) Nagai Iiwake

6) Fuchi ni tatsu

7) Ikari

8) Satoshi no Seishun

9) Katsuragi Jiken

10) Kimi no na wa

Source: Yokohama Film Festival

Saturday, December 03, 2016

Top 20 bestselling paperbacks in 2016 (Oricon)

The following is the list of top 20 bestselling paperbacks in 2016 (from 23 November 2015 to 20 November 2016). In this ranking, you will see a number of titles which had drama and adaptations which seems to suggest that this helps to increase sales of the original novels as well. The numbers in the brackets represent the number of copies sold:

1) Shousetsu Kimi no na wa - Shinkai Makoto (1,196,994)

2) Mugenbana - Higashino Keigo (559,515)

3) Nanatsu no Kaigi - Ikeido Jun (500,453)

4) Boku wa ashita, kinou no kimi to deeto suru - Nanatsuki Takafumi (482,673)

5) Sekai kara neko ga kieta nara - Kawamura Genki (437,376)

6) Murakami Kaizoku no Musume 1 - Wada Ryo (431,782)

7) Kamen Byoutou - Chinen Mikito (363,978)

8) Shokubutsu Zukan - Arikawa Hiro (361,479)

9) Ikari Part 1 - Yoshida Shuichi (359,206)

10) Murakami Kaizoku no Musume 2 - Wada Ryo (341,165)

11) Boukyou - Minato Kanae (332,076)

12) Soodo Art Online 17 Arishizeeshon Awakening - Kawahara Reki / abec (321,834)

13) Ikari Part 2  - Yoshida Shuichi (318,185)

14) Nanimono - Asai Ryou (317,085)

15) Inori no maku ga oriru toki - Higashino Keigo (315,201)

16) Shikisai wo motanai Tazaki Tsukuru to, Kare no Junrei no Toshi - Murakami Haruki (307,155)

17) 64 Part 1 - Yokoyama Hideo (301,576)

18) Soodo Art Online Progressive 004 - Kawahara Reki / abec (298,674)

19) Koukou Nyuushi - Minato Kanae (290,307)

20) Soodo Art Online 18 Arishizeeshon Lasting - Kawahara Reki / abec (288,839)

Source: Oricon

Friday, December 02, 2016

Narimiya Hiroki strongly denies FRIDAY's report accusing him of consuming cocaine

Narimiya Hiroki hit out strongly against FRIDAY for its report in the magazine's 2 December issue which accused him of consuming cocaine and said that the report was entirely fabricated. His agency Top Coat also said that they will take legal action against the editorial department and publisher of FRIDAY i.e. Kodansha.

According to the statement from Top Coat sent to the media on 1 December, they were notified of FRIDAY's intention to publish the report a day before. However, despite their strong objections and denial that the report was totally untrue, FRIDAY still went ahead with publishing the story. As such, instead of the usual procedure of asking for an apology or correction of the report, Top Coat decided to take the extreme step of legal action, be it civil or criminal against FRIDAY and its publisher for damaging Narimiya's image and reputation. The agency also apologised to fans and work partners for the worry and inconvenience caused by this episode.

Narimiya himself also released a statement on 2 December which was signed by him where he revealed that he was very furious to hear about this baseless accusation. He also swore that he has never consumed any illegal drugs and apologised for the worry and trouble caused to fans and work partners by this report.

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

Gouriki Ayame to star in TBS Winter 2017 drama "Rental no Koi" as a rental girlfriend

Gouriki Ayame will be starring in the TBS Winter 2017 drama "Rental no Koi" (Rental Love) which begins its run from January 2017 in the Wednesdays 12.10am timeslot. She plays the role of Takasugi Remi who is the No.1 girlfriend for rental dispatched by Rental Lovers, a management company in this business. Remi is said to be a woman who you will fall in love with once you go on a date with her and she is able to meet the clients' needs and know their preferences which makes her the ideal girlfriend to them. However, there is something strange about Remi as she wraps a bandage around her neck all the time. Once the contracted period ends, Remi will treat the client like a stranger and not even smile at him.

Gouriki commented that she rarely did any romance works in the past so she is both happy and nervous at this opportunity. Especially since this girlfriend is for rental and not for real, she is eagerly anticipating how things will turn out in the story. In order to meet the preferences of her clients, Remi will appear in various costumes such as a priestness, juvenile delinquent and otaku so Gouriki's changing images will be something to look forward to.

Sources: Sponichi / Eiga.com

Yamamoto Yuusuke, Minamisawa Nao & MEGUMI to join the cast of TV Asahi drama SP "Fukigen na Kajitsu"

Yamamoto Yuusuke, Minamisawa Nao and MEGUMI will be joining the cast of TV Asahi drama SP "Fukigen na Kajitsu" titled "Fukigen na Kajitsu ~ Sannenme no Uwaki ~" which will be shown in January 2017. The three of them will play new characters who will be involved in romantic relationships with the original cast consisting of Kuriyama Chiaki, Ichihara Hayato, Takanashi Rin and Inagaki Goro.

Yamamoto will play the character Souma Hiroto, a strawberry and radish farmer who Kudo Mayako (Kuriyama) is infatuated with after meeting him at her friend Takeda Kumi's (Takanashi) wine bar as he supplies fruits and vegetables to Kumi. Yamamoto commented that he will try his best to play this character although this is a type of man who he has hardly ever played before.

Meanwhile, Mayako's husband Michihiko (Ichihara) will be seduced by his student Kanzaki Aoi (Minamisawa) at the music university he teaches at. Although she behaves innocently most of the time, her actions are somewhat suggestive as she tries to get close to Michihiko on the pretext of seeking advice for career guidance. Minamisawa commented that she is eager to show a new side to herself through this new character in the drama SP.

As for MEGUMI, she will play a mysterious woman named Natsuki who is somehow involved in Mayako's new romance. MEGUMI commented that she is happy to be able to participate in this drama and she will be eager to show the two-sided faces of her character which will make woman laugh in agreement and the men feeling jittery.

Source: Oricon

Production press conference of new FujiTV drama "Retake Toki wo kakeru omoi"


The production press conference of new FujiTV drama "Retake Toki wo kakeru omoi" was held on 1 December which was attended by cast members Tsutsui Michitaka, Narumi Riko and Asano Atsuko. The drama which begins its run from 3 December in the Saturdays 11.40pm timeslot, features Tsutsui in the role of Shintani Shinji who graduated from University of Tokyo and is a civil servant working in the Ministry of Justice. However, due to his involvement in a molesting case although he was subsequently let off without an indictment, his wife walks out on him and he is assigned to work as the section chief of the family register supervision department. In this department he has to deal with people called the time travellers who come from the future and help them begin their lives in a designated area where they will be monitored and protected by the government without exposing their identities. Narumi Riko will play his subordinate Nasuno Kaoru who is young enough to be his daughter while Asano Atsuko will play Masako Powell who works part-time in the same department.

In line with the drama's theme of time travel, Narumi was asked if she would like to go back to her past and redo anything but she stated that she doesn't want to do that. Having been an actress for almost 20 years since she made her debut at the age of 5, Narumi revealed that there were many bad memories she had in the past especially during her schooling days when she disliked herself a lot. When a photo of her at the age of 8 or 9 was flashed on the screen, everyone marveled at how cute she looked then.

Likewise, Tsutsui had his photo at 18 years old when he made his debut flashed on the screen. He recounted that as he was a newbie then, the director threw the script at him every day thus he thought that he had entered a dark world which was truly frightening. As for Asano, the photo of her in a wedding gown when she filmed the hit drama "101kaime no Proposal" in 1991 was shown which led the host to comment that she had aged pretty slowly over the years. This led Asano to question the host jokingly what he meant by that and she "sternly" told him off for his remark.

Sources: Oricon / Sanspo

Hayashi Kento & Kawaei Rina to star in new NHK BS Premium drama SP "Aozora Cut"

Hayashi Kento and Kawaei Rina will be starring in the new NHK BS Premium drama SP "Aozora Cut" which will be shown on 15 March 2017. This is Kawaei's first heroine role in a NHK drama. Filming will be done in Osaka at the beginning of the year.

The drama which is set in Nishinari Ward of Osaka City, features Hayashi as a hairstylist who clashes with his father (Yoshida Kotaro) who operates a beauty salon. Through the conflicts, the two of them gradually come to terms with their differences and the son rediscovers the charm of the town where he was born and raised. Kawaei's character will be an employee at the salon. As the story is set in Osaka, the cast will speak mostly Kansai-ben in the drama.

Source: Nikkansports

"Seirei no Moribito" spin-off drama to be shown on 3 and 11 December

NHK announced on 1 December that there will be a spin-off drama of their Taiga fantasy series "Seirei no Moribito" starring Ayase Haruka which will be shown at 11.55pm on 3 December. The 3-min mini drama "Seirei no Moribito Gaiden" (Seirei no Moribito Side Story) will be the connection between the drama series' first season shown in spring this year and the second season consisting of 9 episodes which will begin its run from January 2017. There will be a longer 4-minute version to be shown on 11 December at 11.55pm. The spin-off story describes how Barusa (Ayase) has a strange experience while being on the run.

"Seirei no Moribito" consists of 22 episodes in total which were shot entirely in 4K and will be shown over three years.

Source: Sponichi

Chiba Yuudai to play a 17-year-old and 27-year-old in new movie "ReLIFE"

Chiba Yuudai will be playing the 17-year-old and 27-year-old versions of his character in the new movie "ReLIFE" starring Nakagawa Taishi and Taira Yuna. The movie which is based on the manga by Yayoiso published on comico, has released 6 volumes to date and achieved sales of more than 1.4 million copies. Nakagawa plays the lead character Kaizaki Arata who is a 27-year-old NEET approached by a mysterious man Yoake Ryo from the ReLife Research Institute who offers him the opportunity to go back to his high school days 10 years ago for a limited period of one year as their test subject. During the period, he gradually falls in love with his classmate Hishiro Chizuru (Taira). Chiba will be playing the character Yoake who invites Kaizaki to take part in the ReLife programme. After drinking the medicine which transforms him back to 10 years younger, Yoake observes Kaizaki up close as a senior high school student and supports him during the test period while pointing out things to the latter in a rather sarcastic way.

Chiba commented that the relationship between Yoake and Kaizaki is very interesting because they would behave as if they are same-age friends as times while Yoake would sometimes treat Kaizaki as a younger person. As for playing the 17-year-old version of his character, Chiba said that he would try hard to look convincing in that aspect.

Other co-stars in this movie include Takasugi Mahiro, Ikeda Elaiza and Okazaki Sae. The movie will be shown in cinemas from 15 April 2017.

Sources: Sanspo / Eiga.com

Yoshitaka Yuriko plays a murderer in new mystery movie "Yurigokoro"

Yoshitaka Yuriko will be starring in the upcoming mystery movie "Yurigokoro" (Lily Heart) directed by Kumazawa Naoto which will be shown in cinemas in September next year. The movie is based on the same-titled novel by Numata Mahokaru that was published in 2011 and had sold more than 250,000 copies to date. It was also nominated for the Ooyabu Haruhiko Award and Honya Taisho award in 2012 and was ranked No.5 in the same year's "Kono mystery ga sugoi!" ranking. This will be Yoshitaka's first leading role in a movie in 5 years since 2012's "Bokura ga ita" which she co-starred with Ikuta Toma and she will be playing a murderer for the first time. Filming lasted for one month from early September to mid October this year.

One day, a family comes to find a diary belonging to someone from their dying father's study which describes how the person killed multiple people but they are unable to tell if this is a fictional story or a real account by the person and why this was written. Yoshitaka plays the heroine Misako described in the diary who is destined to kill people so as to be at peace with herself emotionally. However, when she comes to understand what true love is, she tries to fight against her fate and struggles with the resulting internal turmoil.

Yoshitaka commented that her character is someone who many people wouldn't be able to understand or identify with so it was a very difficult role for her as well. However, the experience was something hard to come by so she is eagerly awaiting to see the end product once it's ready.

Sources: Nikkansports / Sanspo / Eiga.com

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Matsu Takako, Mitsushima Hikari, Takahashi Issei & Matsuda Ryuhei to star in TBS Winter 2017 drama "Quartet"

Matsu Takako, Mitsushima Hikari, Takahashi Issei and Matsuda Ryuhei will be appearing in the upcoming TBS Winter 2017 drama "Quartet" which will be shown from January 2017 in the Tuesdays 10pm timeslot. The romance and suspense drama is an original story written by Sakamoto Yuji which will be set at Karuizawa in winter. This will be Matsu's first appearance in a drama since TBS drama "Unmei no Hito".

The story features two men and two women in their 30s who meet by "chance" and form a quartet to play music together at a bungalow in Karuizawa for the winter only. They all have dreams which they didn't manage to realise and are on the downward path in their life. However, their meeting is not by chance at all and a big secret is waiting to be unravelled...

Matsu plays the lead character Maki Maki who is responsible for playing the first violin in the quartet. As Maki has a family of her own, she lives in Tokyo during weekdays and goes to Karuizawa on the weekends. Being someone who has a very negative thinking and not an assertive person, she somehow takes a step back from the others but sometimes says things which hit the nail on its head so the rest of them are unable to fathom what kind of person she is.

Matsuda plays the role of Beppu Tsukasa who plays the second violin in the quartet and was born in a family of musicians. However, he chooses to work at a doughnuts company while playing the violin. Among the four of them, he assumes the role of the leader and is calm and able to communicate with the others. He provides the bungalow at Karuizawa which belongs to his grandfather for the quartet's activities. Although he looks like he has no issues in life, he has an unspeakable secret.

Mitsushima plays Sebuki Suzume who is responsible for playing the cello and lives at Tsukasa's bungalow because she is unemployed. Most of the time, she sleeps her day away but when she plays the cello, she transforms into another person. She is usually relaxed and does things at her own pace but has a motive for joining the quartet.

Last but not least, Takahashi plays Iemori Yutaka who plays the viola and is an argumentative guy who has a lot of principles which he insists on sticking to.

Sources: Sponichi / Cinemacafe / Oricon

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Endo Kenichi, Oosugi Ren, Taguchi Tomorowo, Terajima Susumu, Matsushige Yutaka & Mitsuishi Ken to star in TV Tokyo Winter 2017 drama "Byplayers ~ Moshimo rokunin no meiwakiyaku ga sharehouse de kurashitara ~"

Six of Japan's most indispensable supporting actors will be sharing the limelight in TV Tokyo's upcoming Winter 2017 drama "Byplayers ~ Moshimo rokunin no meiwakiyaku ga sharehouse de kurashitara ~" (Supporting actors ~ what if 6 famous supporting actors live in a sharehouse ~) which will be shown in the Fridays 12.12am timeslot from January 2017. The six of them are (in alphabetical order) Endo Kenichi, Oosugi Ren, Taguchi Tomorowo, Terajima Susumu, Matsushige Yutaka and Mitsuishi Ken and they will be appearing as themselves in this almost-like-reality drama which features six middle-aged men living in a sharehouse together for three months.

The six of them were first selected in a feature article published in 2002 that named them as the six supporting actors which supported Japan's movie scene. Since then, they have talked about doing a movie together but it was only until now that they finally got the chance to do so in a drama. This drama will be written and directed by Matsui Daigo whose latest film "Azumi Haruko wa yukue fumei" which will be screened soon. The six of them will be showing their principles and preferences as actors as well as offer a look into their lifestyles through this drama. Matsui commented that to be able to assemble such a wonderful cast will definitely make this drama very interesting and encouraged viewers to watch this late night drama while enjoying some alcohol.

The setting of the drama describes how the six of them receive a request from an internationally-known director that they live together for three months so as to get closer to one another for the filming of a blockbuster drama which will be shown overseas. They will have to work out schedules for tasks such as doing housework and preparing the breakfast menu and squabble over every little thing possible. Actually, the six of them had some issues with one another due to a work project 10 years ago and their relationships get even rockier when they hear that the lead of their drama has left the project and discover the secret behind the drama offer to them.

Comments from the cast as follows:

Endo Kenichi - Although we have worked with one another before, this is the first time that all of us are assembled together. It is a very enjoyable filming process since we are all on good terms with one another and I think we will make a good team with Oosugi, our senior, being at the centre of the group.

Oosugi Ren - We've always said that we wanted to get together but it took more than 10 years for this to come true. I look forward to seeing the kind of chemical reaction among us who have very different personalities and hope to showcase the power of the Japanese middle-aged actors through this drama.

Taguchi Tomorowo - I thought it was a prank when I heard that we were finally going to realise our wish after all these years. We are all colleagues in the same line but also rivals, seniors and juniors so it is like a dream collaboration to do this drama. I would like to thank the staff for making this possible and will work hard to make sure that I do not lag behind by the other actors.

Terajima Susumu - It has been such a long time since we got together so I'm looking forward to this very much.

Matsushige Yutaka - It will be fun talking about our health issues and retirement plans during the filming breaks.

Mitsuishi Ken - I'm shivering from the excitement at being able to realise our dream of working together ever since I was included in this group more than 10 years ago. At the age of 55, this is such an exciting time for me and I'm really looking forward to the filming.

Sources: Nikkansports / Sponichi 1 /  Sponichi 2 / Oricon

Spin-off drama of NTV Autumn 2016 drama "Jimi ni sugoi! Kouetsu Girl Kouno Etsuko" to be shown via Hulu

The spin-off drama of NTV Autumn 2016 "Jimi ni sugoi! Kouetsu Girl Kouno Etsuko" will consist of three episodes and be shown via Hulu from 30 November. Its title will be "Jimi ni sugoi! Kouetsu Girl Kouno Etsuko...ga inai suiyoubi" (Plain but cool! The Wednesday when Proofreading Girl Kouno Etsuko is not around).

The spin-off drama will feature Wada Masato and Eguchi Noriko who play Yoneoka Mitsuo and Fujiiwa Rion respectively and are members of the proofreading department which Kouno Etsuko (Ishihara Satomi) also belongs to. The story describes how Yoneoka and Fujiiwa work on the proofreading of a novel in the quiet proofreading department office when Etsuko is on annual leave and the novel's content becomes real-life footage in their minds which are criticised endlessly by the two proofreaders as the dramatisation progresses.

Upon hearing the news of the spin-off drama, Wada revealed that he was shocked because there are only two episodes left to the finale of the drama and surprised that he will be one of the leads in it. Likewise for Eguchi, she was grateful to be given this chance but revealed that they had to start working on the filming on a very short notice. When asked about the selling point of the spin-off drama, they said that it will be interesting to see how the members of the proofreading department take on characters in the novel's story featured within the drama.

The first episode titled "Koi no Rankiryuu" (Love's turbulence) is currently available for viewing on Hulu. The second episode titled "Hanayome wa nido shinu" (The bride dies twice) will be released at noon on 7 December while the third episode "Ikebukuro de Fukurokoji" (Dead-end street at Ikebukuro) will be released as the same time on 14 December.

Sources: Sponichi / Oricon

Takahata Mitsuki & Sakaguchi Kentaro deny dating rumours

Takahata Mitsuki and Sakaguchi Kentaro are rumoured to be dating as reported on 29 November. The two of them worked together in two dramas this year i.e. NHK's morning drama "Toto Nee-chan" and FujiTV Winter 2016's "Itsuka kono koi wo omoi dashite kitto naite shimau" and were said to have started dating at least six months ago.

When asked about the news, Takahata's agency denied that they are an item and said that they are merely friends. Sakaguchi's agency also echoed the same and stated that she is just one of his close friends.

Sources: Nikkansports 1 / Nikkansports 2 / Oricon

Sato Ryuta to play Nagano Mei's uncle in new movie "Hirunaka no Ryuusei"

Sato Ryuta will be playing Nagano Mei's uncle in the new movie "Hirunaka no Ryuusei" which will be shown in cinemas from 24 March 2017. The movie is based on the same-titled manga by Yamamori Mika which was serialised in "Magaret" from 2011 and 2014 and had sold more than 2 million copies to date.

The film features Nagano as the lead character Yosano Suzume, a senior high school student who transfers from the suburbs to a school in Tokyo because her parents are working overseas and she moves to stay with her uncle. Although Suzume has never fallen in love with anyone, she experiences her first love when she gets caught in a love triangle with her form teacher Shishio Satsuki played by Miura Shohei and her classmate Mamura Daiki played by GENERATIONS' Shirahama Alan. Sato plays the role of Kumamoto Yukichi who is like a father to Suzume while she is in Tokyo.

Sato commented that this is the first time he has worked with Nagano and the time passed by so quickly. He felt that she was a perfect fit for her character and expressed his wish to work with her again in future.

Filming started in early October and took two months to be completed.

Source: Oricon

Shimazaki Haruka to play Tsutsumi Shinichi's daughter in NTV Winter 2017 drama "Super Salaryman Saenai-shi"

AKB48 member Shimazaki Haruka who will be graduating from the group this year, will be appearing in the upcoming NTV Winter 2017 drama "Super Salaryman Saenai-shi" which begins its run from January 2017 in the Saturdays 9pm timeslot. This will be her first appearance in a drama after her graduation.

The drama which is based on the manga "Chuunen Superman Saenai-shi" by the late Fujiko F Fujio, features Tsutsumi Shinichi in the role of Saenai, a 52-year-old ordinary salaryman who holds a middle management role in his company and has a fierce wife Enko (Koizumi Kyoko). One day, a strange old man gives Saenai a super suit which will enable him to transform into a super hero who can maintain peace. Although Saenai keeps rejecting the old man's offer, he has no choice but to accept it when Enko forces him to deliver their daughter's bento to school before her lunch break. Due to the powers of this suit, Saenai goes to solve various cases even during office hours whenever he senses something happening. Shimazaki plays the role of Haneko who is the daughter of Saenai and Enko and a senior high school student going through a rebellious phase who treats her father coldly.

Shimazaki commented that Haneko is always in a bad mood in the mornings and treats her father in such a hostile manner which reminded her of how she used to behave when she was much younger. She expressed anticipation about the impending start of the filming and can't wait to see how the drama turns out. As for being able to act in a drama right after graduating from AKB48, Shimazaki revealed that although she doesn't think that she is a good actress yet, she wants to do her best for the sake of those who gave her such an opportunity and show her gratitude even though she may still be lacking in some areas.

Source: Oricon