Monday, May 29, 2017

Eikura Nana & Yasuda Ken to play a married couple in new movie "Ie ni kaeruto tsuma ga kanarazu shindafuri wo shiteimasu"

Eikura Nana and Yasuda Ken will be playing a married couple in the new movie "Ie ni kaeruto tsuma ga kanarazu shindafuri wo shiteimasu" (My wife is always pretending to be dead when I return home) which marks the third time they are working together. The movie is based on a question raised by an user of Yahoo! Chiebukuro with the nickname K.Kajunsky in 2010 with regard to his wife's strange behaviour of pretending to be dead whenever he returns home. To date, the question had been viewed more than 4 million times and there are more than 1,700 answers posted. The content had also been made into an original song sung by Hatsune Miku and adapted to become a comic essay. The movie which was filmed last summer, will be shown in spring next year.

Yasuda plays a salaryman Jun who is shocked to find Chie, his wife of 3 years, (Eikura) slumped at the hallway of his house with blood flowing out of her mouth. Flustered by this sight, Jun tries to carry Chie out to seek treatment but finds out that what he thought was blood is actually ketchup and she feigned her death. Without an idea as to why she is doing this, Jun finds out that Chie keeps repeating this antic by trying different ways of "dying" such as being eaten by a crocodile, shot by a gun or having an arrow pierced through her head. Initially, Jun feels that Chie is being silly but gradually starts to worry that something is very wrong with her. Co-stars include Koide Keisuke and Nono Sumika who play another married couple aware of what is going on between Jun and Chie.

With regard to her character, Eikura commented that Chie is a person who uses unique words and expresses herself in a very different way but may be seen as clumsy by others. However, when her behaviour is viewed from the perspective of her relationship with her husband, viewers may find that there is logic in why she is doing those things. As for working with Yasuda again after the NHK morning drama "Hitomi" and movie "Watashi no Hawaii no arukikata", she admitted that she felt shy about playing a married couple with him even though they are quite familiar with each other. On the other hand, Yasuda said that he was glad to meet Eikura again after a long while. Although he cannot give the details, Yasuda hopes that the viewers will be able to develop their own ideas about the theme of marriage after watching this movie.

Meanwhile, K.Kajunsky revealed that he never thought that something happening in his home could become a movie one day so he's feeling surprised and embarrassed at the same time. However, he is worried whether his wife would be able to sit through the film although everyone other than her would probably enjoy watching it.

Sources: Nikkansports / Sanspo /

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Higashiyama Noriyuki to be back in TV Asahi Summer 2017 drama "Keiji Shichinin 3"

Higashiyama Noriyuki will be back to reprise his role in the TV Asahi Summer 2017 drama "Keiji Shichinin 3" along with regular cast members Takashima Masahiro, Kataoka Ainosuke, Kurashina Kana, Tsukamoto Takashi, Yoshida Kotaro and Kitaoji Kinya. The drama is the third installment in the series which first began in 2015 and will be shown in the Wednesdays 9pm timeslot.

At the end of the last season, Katagiri Masatoshi (Yoshida), the chief of the general affairs section, declared the disbanding of the Betsudou Sousatai even though he did mention that there is a big job waiting for the 7 of them. This time, with the increase in criminal activity in the Tokyo Waterfront area, Katagiri becomes the chief of the Juuichi Houmen Honbu Junbishitsu to lead everyone in resolving cases from this area which is becoming the new battleground for people interested in the gains that come with the area's development before 2020. In addition, the truth behind the deaths of Amagi's wife and daughter 12 years in the waterfront area will also come to light in the sequel.

Higashiyama commented that although he is happy to be given the chance to play the lead character again, he is even more thrilled by the fact that the drama has entered its third season which is rare in this time and era. After what they had built up in the first two seasons, he hopes that they can show off different sides of the characters this time. In addition, Higashiyama expressed anticipation and joy that they were able to gather everyone back for the sequel and is eagerly awaiting to see what sparks will fly between them.

Sources: Nikkansports / Oricon

Filming begins for new NHK morning drama "Warotenka"

The filming for new NHK morning drama "Warotenka" starring Aoi Wakana began on 19 May followed by a press conference attended by Aoi and Matsuzaka Toori at the Shochiku Studio in Kyoto on 25 May. The drama is set during the late Meiji era to post-World War II period at Osaka featuring the lead character Fujioka Ten who is modelled on Yoshimoto Sei, the founder of Yoshimoto Kogyo and a female show promoter. Fujioka was born into a family managing a drug wholesale business in Kyoto and meets Kitamura Fujiyoshi (Matsuzaka)who is the son of a family in the rice dealing business at Osaka. When they fall in love, Fujioka goes against her parents' wishes to marry Kitamura who is a big lover of comedy. Subsequently, after her husband's family goes bust, she unwittingly becomes the owner of a vaudeville theater with her husband. This then leads to her becoming the first person in Japan to make comedy into a business and transforming Osaka into a capital of comedy.

Matsuzaka who is appearing in his second morning drama to date, appeared in a strange-looking costume which was said to be the norm for comedians in that era. The last time he filmed "Ume-chan Sensei" was in Tokyo so filming in Osaka is an entirely different and refreshing experience for him. Nonetheless, as he had worked with some of the staff members before in "Ume-chan Sensei" and "Gunshi Kanbee", it also felt like a reunion for him when he came to the set for the filming.

Aoi commented that she usually has short hair but having to put on a long-haired wig and dress in such gorgeous and luxurious clothes made her very excited. Although they haven't completed many scenes yet, being all dressed up like this helped her ease into the momentum of the filming. She also revealed that she came down with flu on the first day of the filming probably due to her nervousness and promised to take care of herself better so that she can stay healthy during the filming period.

Filming is expected to continue in Shiga and Kyoto until 27 May before moving to NHK Osaka from 29 May. The drama will begin its run from 2 October at 8am from Mondays to Saturdays.

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

Galigali Galixon's scenes to be removed from new movie "Gintama" before its release in July

Comedian Galigali Galixon who was arrested for drink-driving, will have his scenes in the upcoming movie "Gintama" removed before the film is screened in cinemas from 14 July as announced by key investor TV Tokyo. The movie directed by Fukuda Yuichi and starring Oguri Shun, features Galixon in a small number of scenes. Following news of his arrest, meetings between the production committee members and distribution movie company Warner Brothers were held before a decision was made to exclude him from the movie with no change to the release date. Another actor will be chosen to play his role and the new scenes are to be inserted into the movie.

Sources: Sponichi / Oricon

Former KAT-TUN member Tanaka Koki arrested for possession of marijuana

Former KAT-TUN member Tanaka Koki was arrested by Shibuya Police Station on 24 May for possession of marijuana where he denied that the drugs belonged to him. According to the police station, Tanaka was caught in possession of the marijuana at 6.50pm that day. When the policemen on patrol drove near his car, they noticed that he tried to accelerate immediately to pass them which led to him being stopped for routine questioning at Dogenzaka. It was then discovered that there was a small amount of dried marijuana and paper used for inhaling it in the space between the driver's and front seat of his car. Tanaka testified to the police that he was driving around the area to look for a parking lot before meeting his friend and denied that he owned the drugs.

Tanaka entered Johnny's Jimusho in 1998 and made his debut with the group KAT-TUN in April 2011. However, his contract was terminated in September 2013 for his repeated violation of rules set by his agency such as engaging in music activities without permission. Since then, Tanaka has been the vocalist or rock band INKT which had just released its latest album "square" on 3 May. According to INKT's agency, the band and Tanaka himself will suspend their activities for the time being while investigations are underway. The band was supposed to be holding release events for the album such as at Aeon Mall in Suzuka, Mie, on 26 May and in the midst of its concert tours since 4 March. The 48 performances were supposed to be completed by July this year. All in-store events featuring the band at TOWER Records will also be cancelled.

Coincidentally, Tanaka had gone through a surprise urine test for stimulants last July on the BS Sky Perfect! TV programme "Tamura Atsushi no Chijouha de wa dame! Zettai!" where he was certified to be clean. This test was apparently initiated due to some tabloid reports then which hinted at Tanaka being a drug abuser thus leading to his friend Tamura suggesting the test to make things clear once and for all.

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

Maki Youko to star in new FujiTV Summer 2017 drama "Seshiru no Mokuromi"

Maki Youko will be starring in the new FujiTV Summer 2017 drama "Seshiru no Mokuromi" (Cecile's Plot) which will begin its run from July in the Thursdays 10pm timeslot. 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.

Maki who has a 8-year-old daughter in real-life, said that she can identify with the challenges faced by working mothers but hopes that she will be able to show via this drama that the people who look like they are living a good life stick to their own principles and live by their own means in different ways.

Sources: Sanspo / Nikkansports / Yomiuri Hochi / Oricon

Okada Junichi to star in new real-life adaptation movie "Chiri Tsubaki"

Okada Junichi will be starring in the new real-life adaptation movie "Chiri Tsubaki" (The wilting camellia) which is directed by Kimura Daisaku and based on the same-titled novel by Hamuro Rin. The filming which began on 15 May, is expected to be wrapped by early July and the movie will be shown in cinemas next year. Unlike most period movies, the filming was done entirely on location in Nagano, Toyama and Hikone so as to incorporate the beautiful scenery in the movie.

Okada plays the lead character Uryuu Shinbee who was expelled from a feudal domain because he exposed his superior's wrongdoing but the latter was not punished for his deed. 18 years later, he attempts to return to the domain at the wishes of his dying wife Shino (Asou Kumiko) who wants Shinbee to go back and help Sakakibara Uneme (Nishijima Hidetoshi) despite the fact that Sakakibara used to vy with Shinbee for Shino's affection and was a huge factor in leading to his expulsion. Co-stars include Kuroki Haru, Ikematsu Sousuke, Ogata Naoto, Suruga Taro, Yoshine Kyoko, Arai Hirofumi, Yagira Yuuya, Fuji Sumiko, Watanabe Dai and Okuda Eiji.

As preparation for the filming, Okada went through three months of sword fighting training. Although this is his 5th period movie to date, he hardly had to use the sword in action scenes for his earlier films so there was a need to go through intensive training this time.

Sources: Nikkansports / Sanspo / / Sponichi

Preview of "Papakatsu" - Spring 2017

Title: Papakatsu パパ活
Official website: here
O.A. Start Date: 26 June 2017
Release timing: Midnight on Mondays
Broadcast by: dTV & FujiTV on demand (FOD)
Total number of episodes: 8 (30 mins each)
Scriptwriter: Nojima Shinji
Theme Song: "Unchain My Heart" by Beverly
Cast: Watabe Atsuro, Iitoyo Marie, Kentaro, Kirishima Reika & Hashimoto Satoshi

Watabe Atsuro & Iitoyo Marie to star in dTV & FujiTV-on-demand's joint drama "Papakatsu"

Watabe Atsuro and Iitoyo Marie will be starring in the drama "Papakatsu" jointly produced by video streaming service dTV and FujiTV-on-demand (FOD) which consists of 8 episodes and will be released at midnight on Mondays from 26 June. The drama is a scandalous love story written by Nojima Shinji on the theme of papakatsu which refers to the trend of young women looking for men much older than them to date and get financial support from but with no sexual relationship between them. Nojima commented that many of such women involved in these relationships or seeking such partners are in financial difficulty due to their inability to pay their school fees or scholarships but there has been criticism over how it is a nicely-packaged way of describing compensated dating. Although the story is fictitious, Nojima hopes that the viewers can try putting themselves into the heroine's shoes and consider if they would make the same choices when faced with a similar situation.

The story describes how a 20-year-old university student Anri (Iitoyo) is chased out of her house when her mother has a new boyfriend. While spending every night at different Internet cafes, Anri comes to know about "papakatsu" and subsequently meets a 45-year-old university lecturer Wataru (Watabe). Anri then moves into the apartment which Wataru rents for her before finding out about a secret which he has been hiding from her. Co-stars include Kentaro, Kirishima Reika and Hashimoto Satoshi.

Watabe reflected on the filming and commented that it was a precious experience to be playing a character very unlike himself and he had to spend a lot of time understanding his character's feelings. In addition, he was glad to be able to take on such a project just before he turns 50 and had learnt a lot from his first participation in a Nojima work. On the other hand, Iitoyo said that her character is in a forbidden relationship with a man of the same age as her own father and hopes that people of her age group will be able to appreciate the different way of how such a romance is depicted by Nojima. She also commented that another highlight will be some romantic scenes which are bound to set hearts of the audience fluttering.

Sources: / Oricon

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Supporting cast line-up of FujiTV Summer 2017 drama "Code Blue ~ Doctor Heli Kinkyuu Kyuumei ~ THE THIRD SEASON" announced

The supporting cast line-up of FujiTV Summer 2017 drama "Code Blue ~ Doctor Heli Kinkyuu Kyuumei ~ THE THIRD SEASON" has been announced. The drama which will be shown in the Mondays 9pm timeslot from July 2017, began in the summer of 2008 with a SP and season 2 subsequently shown in Winter 2010 so the new season will describe what happens to the 5 main characters 7 years later after Season 2. In the latest installment, Aizawa Kousaku (Yamashita Tomohisa) who had left the emergency centre at Shohoku, is working as a neurosurgeon now and busy with operations every day. Shiraishi Megumi (Aragaki Yui) continues to work as a flight doctor at Shohoku which is facing a manpower crunch and is already the staff leader of the flight doctors team. Hiyama Mihoko (Toda Erika) left Shohoku and becomes a gynaecologist at a perinatal medical centre while Saejima Haruka (Higa Manami) is doing well as a flight nurse. Last but not least, Fujikawa Kazuo (Asari Yousuke) is working as an emergency centre doctor specialising in plastic surgery and supports Shiraishi's team as well.

Hey! Say! JUMP's Arioka Daiki, Narita Ryo and Araki Yuuko will be playing new medical interns who are assigned to the emergency centre for training to become future flight doctors while Baba Fumika will play an aspiring flight nurse. Arima's character Natori Souma is the only son and heir of a general hospital and this will be his first appearance in a Getsuku drama since Spring 2005's "Engine" starring Kimura Takuya. Araki and Baba were chosen for their roles after an audition. Shiina Kippei will play Tachibana Keisuke, the director of the emergency centre while Ando Masanobu will play Shinkai Hiroki, a neurosurgeon who is fighting with Aizawa for a posting to Toronto University to be a resident doctor in their top-notch neurosurgery department.

Sources: Sanspo  / Yomiuri Hochi / Oricon

Furuta Arata & Koike Eiko to star in TV Tokyo Summer 2017 drama "Shimokitazawa Diehard"

Furuta Arata and Koike Eiko will be starring in the upcoming TV Tokyo Summer 2017 drama "Shimokitazawa Diehard" which will begin its run from July in the Fridays 12.12am timeslot via TV Tokyo, TV Hokkaido, TV Aichi, TV Setouchi and TVQ Kyushu. As for TV Osaka, it will be showing the drama one week after the first O.A at 12.12am on Mondays. The comedic drama features the two of them as navigators for 11 stories written by 11 different scriptwriters with a common theme of someone's worst day in his/her life happening in Shimokitazawa. Furuta will play a regular customer of a bar managed by Koike's character where the two of them talk about the stories. The 11 scriptwriters who will be participating in this drama include Ueda Makoto, Enomoto Gurimu, Kiyasu Kohei, Saijo Mitsutoshi, Shiba Yukio, Nemoto Shuko, Hosokawa Toru, Fukuhara Mitsunori, Matsui Shu, Maruo Maruichiro and Miura Naoyuki.

Furuta commented that he was impressed with how TV Tokyo managed to come up with such a project involving 11 scriptwriters. As Shimokitazawa is a place known for its many small-sized theatres, Furuta who is actively involved in stage plays, revealed that he's in the area almost every day so he is so familiar with the shooting locations. Nonetheless, he would still like to be able to uncover new places in the area which can become hot spots after the drama is aired. In addition, he is looking forward to be able to go for drinks after the end of each filming day and called upon viewers to check out this drama as he has confidence in the quality of the stories.

As for Koike, she expressed her excitement at being offered the chance to take part in this challenging project and hope to be a nice spice to the vastly different 11 stories. Her impression of Shimokitazawa is that it is a place with a nice blend of old and new elements so she hopes that the drama will convey the unique atmosphere of the area and make more people interested in checking out the place. She is also looking forward to be able to work with Furuta in this drama.

Sources: / TV Tokyo

Emoto Tasuku to star in new real-life adaptation movie "Suteki na Dynamite Scandal"

Emoto Tasuku will be starring in the new movie "Suteki na Dynamite Scandal" (The splendid dynamite scandal) which is based on the essay compilation about the life of Suei Akira who is a writer and had been the chief editor of publishing house Byakuya Shobou. The movie which is directed by Tominaga Masanori, will describe the turbulent and eventful life of Suei to date such as how his birth mother committed suicide when he was a child after an extramarital affair with her neighbour, his resignation from the factory he worked at after senior high school and movin to Tokyo as well as how he set up the legendary erotic magazines "Weekend Super" and "Shashin Jidai" with photographer Araki Nobuyoshi in the 1980s.

Suei revealed that he had been approached by the director 5 years ago about the adaptation of his book which he didn't think would materialise given how many events had taken place in his messy life. However, it made him very happy that the project could proceed after all this time with such a fine cast and staff line-up.

Emoto who is playing Suei himself, said that while having to bear with this pressure of doing so, he was able to get through the filming which was done between March and April this year. In fact, he enjoyed himself so much that he couldn't remember much about what he did. Emoto revealed that before he met Suei in person, he always thought of him as a gentle middle-aged man but later found out that the latter had sharp eyes which seemed to be able to see through people. Likewise, the director Tominaga also had a similar strength in his eyes as if he was plotting something all the time in his mind. Although Emoto felt intimidated to be stared at by them, he still enjoyed the filming a lot.

The movie will be shown in cinemas in spring 2018. In conjunction with this, the original essay book published in 1982 will be reprinted for the 4th time on 26 May and released with Suei's two new books "Dynamite Jinsei Soudan" and "Kekkon".


Nakatani Miki to star in new WOWOW drama "Kataomoi" as a woman with gender identity disorder

Nakatani Miki will be starring in the new WOWOW drama "Kataomoi" (One-sided love) which is based on the same-titled novel by Higashino Keigo. The drama consists of 6 episodes and will be shown this autumn.

Nakatani plays the lead character Hiura Mizuki who is a woman with gender identity disorder. After a reunion dinner in the summer of 2017 with her friends in the American football team which she used to be the team manager for, Mizuki admits to her teammates that she had murdered someone and that she is living as a man named Kanzaki Mitsuru now and works at a club in Ginza. Faced with such a shocking revelation, Mizuki's friends try to find the truth behind her revelation in a bid to protect her. However, as they gradually unravel the truth, they are faced with the harsh truth and how to decide what's best for everyone. The meaning of "one-sided love" in the title will also be explained as the story progresses.

Nakatani commented although this is the first time she is acting in a Higashino work, the pressure is great because rather than volunteering to take on this role, she was given this heavy responsibility to play this difficult character. In order to look convincing as a man, Nakatani cut her hair by 15cm and even went through physical training for 2 months but she will also have to show the sadness of how Mizuki's efforts may end up in naught as she cannot become a man completely.

Higashino who has 5 works adapted by WOWOW to date i.e. "Shukumei", "Genya", "Bunshin", "Henshin" and "Kakkou no tamago wa dare no mono", said that he was surprised that there was finally someone who dared to take on this difficult topic featured in "Kataomoi" as it is something which the current society has yet to find answers to. As such, he hoped that the drama will bring more attention to this issue. He also praised Nakatani for having the courage to take on such a role and expressed his joy in seeing how she will play Mizuki.

Filming began from 6 May.

Sources: / Sanspo / Yomiuri Hochi / Oricon

Mackenyu announces his name change and transfer to a new agency

Mackenyu announced via his official Twitter on 22 May that he will be changing his stage name and transfer to a new agency. His new name will be Arata Mackenyu and he will be joining the agency Top Coat which has actors such as Kimura Yoshino, Sasaki Nozomi, An, Nakamura Tomoya, Matsuzaka Toori and Suda Masaki under its management. Soon after he posted the announcement at 12.03pm, he changed his name on his Twitter page and his profile on Top Coat was ready to be accessed.

Arata was born in Los Angeles, US, on 16 November 1996 and his father is actor Chiba Sonny. He learnt karate and apparatus gymnastics since he was a child and made his debut in the US as an actor before returning to Japan in 2014. He won the newcomer award in the 40th Nippon Academy Award for his performance in the two-part movie "Chihayafuru". Coincidentally, his new surname coincides with his role's name in the same movie (Wataya Arata) which led to fans speculating on the origin of the name.

Sources: Sanspo / Sponichi / Oricon

Cream Stew's Arita Teppei & Honda Tsubasa to star in TBS Summer 2017 drama "Wanitokagegisu"

Comedic duo Cream Stew's Arita Teppei will be taking on his first leading role in a drama series when he appears in the upcoming TBS Summer 2017 drama "Wanitokagegisu" which begins its run from July in the Wednesdays 11.56pm timeslot. The drama is based on the same-titled manga by Furuya Minoru which was serialised in "Young Magazine" between 2006 and 2007. The heroine Hada Azusa who aspires to be a novelist, will be played by Honda Tsubasa.

Arita plays the lead character Tomioka Yuuji who works as a security guard and has never dated before or had any experience in sex. In order to bid farewell to his life so far, he sets out to make new friends. However, his meeting with a homeless middle-aged guy who calls himself a nomad in life (Mitsuishi Ken) marks the beginning of a series of accidents which change his life drastically such as receiving threatening letters predicting his death in a year's time. At the same time, Tomioka gets embroiled in another case due to the arrival of two new colleagues i.e. Hanabayashi Yuudai (Kaku Kento) and Amekawa Isamu (Yoshimura Kaito). Other co-stars include Fuchikami Yasushi and Murakami Jun.

Arita revealed that he had always tried to avoid acting in dramas all this while but this time, he found himself accepting the offer without thinking too much about questions like why he was selected to be the lead. In addition, he could see that some parts in the drama resonated with his own situation so he hoped that the viewers will see him for who he is through the story. However, he felt a lot of pain in his body just after one day of filming which he attributed it to his heavy sense of responsibility as the lead even though the drama has a lot of comedic developments. Despite so, he is still enjoying the filming as the days go by. As for Honda, when she first heard that the lead actor is Arita, she was surprised but also thought that it would be interesting to work with him. Even for viewers who don't know the original manga, she feels that Tomioka's efforts in trying to change his lonely life and the struggles he face will make them empathise with and support him

Filming is already in progress.

Sources: Sponichi / Oricon

Friday, May 26, 2017

Supporting cast line-up of MBS / TBS Spring 2017 drama "Kaijuu Club Kuusou Tokusatsu Seishunki" announced

The supporting cast line-up of MBS / TBS Spring 2017 drama "Kaijuu Club Kuusou Tokusatsu Seishunki" has been announced. The drama will begin its run from 4th and 6th June respectively on the two channels at 12.50am and 1.28am respectively and consists of 4 episodes.

The story is set in the mid 1970s and features a group of young men who gather to devote their youth to the research of monsters which appear in special effects films. The lead character Ryouta will be played by Hongo Kanata.

Yokohama Ryuusei will be playing Katsuo, the youngest and only senior high school member in the club who has a lot of knowledge despite his young age and regarded as a threat to Ryouta's presence as the elite of the group. Yano Masato will play Ryouta's rival Shingo while Kato Ryo will be Yuusuke who does the sketches of the monsters. Yamaguchi Shogo will be Nishi, who utilises his knowledge of music in the group while Emoto Tokio will be Jo who is known for his logical thinking. The group's chief editor Captain who is regarded as the top otaku in the group, will be played by Drunk Dragon's Muga Tsukaji.

Komatsu Toshimasa will be playing the master of the cafe where the group's members gather for their meetings while Ano of Yurumerumo will play a cute waitress working there. Imagawa Aoi will play Ryouta's younger brother Satoru who looks at his elder brother's interest with disdain but somehow has the hidden urge to support him in his pursuits. Last but not least, Baba Fumika will play Ryouta's girlfriend Yuriko.

Sources: / Oricon

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Hirosue Ryoko to be the guest star in Ep 7 of FujiTV Spring 2017 drama "Kizoku Tantei"

Hirosue Ryoko will be the guest star in Ep 7 of FujiTV Spring 2017 drama "Kizoku Tantei" which will be shown on 29 May. This will be her first collaboration with the lead Aiba Masaki and her first appearance in a Getsuku drama since her guest appearance in the 3rd episode of "Galileo" on 29 Oct 2007.

Hirosue plays the role of Tokura Mitsue, the second wife of Tokura Kenichi, the president of a major electronic parts manufacturing company. Kenichi lost his wife 15 years ago and has been assisted by his secretary Hatade Masako (Moriguchi Yoko) at work and in private and his children are supportive of them getting married. However, Kenichi surprises everyone by getting married to Mitsue who used to be a hostess working in Ginza and he even commits suicide 6 months later. This leads Kenichi's children to believe that Mitsue is the murderer and she wants to take over the family fortune thus they approach the detective agency to engage Takatoku Aika's (Takei Emi) services to investigate the case.

Hirosue commented that she is very excited about being able to work with such a star-studded cast and was shocked when she got the offer to play this character. As for her impression of Aiba, she said that he usually has this refreshing and bright image but it will be fun seeing him as a cool noble and facing off with him in the drama.

Sources: Sponichi / Oricon

Seto Koji to appear in NTV Autumn 2017 drama "Saki ni umaretadake no boku" as an English teacher

Seto Koji will be appearing in the NTV Autumn 2017 drama "Saki ni umaretadake no boku" starring Sakurai Sho which will begin its run from October in the Saturdays 10pm timeslot. The drama is based on an original script by Fukuda Yasushi and features Sakurai as Narumi Ryosuke, a 35-year-old former elite businessman who is transferred by his company Kashimatsu Bussan to become the principal of a private senior high school named Kyoumeikan Koukou and turn its fortune around. The struggling school's results are on the lower end of the spectrum, its sports teams aren't doing well in competitions and its enrollment numbers are about to slide below the minimum level required to keep it afloat. Narumi knows nothing about education nor managing a school so he has to rely on his knowledge as a businessman to deal with the situation and introduce reforms in Kyoumeikan with the aim of boosting enrollment numbers, improve the quality of the teachers and students and make the school profitable again. He is met with strong resistance from the students who have never savoured success and the teachers who have no motivation to improve but tries to show them the reality and harsh truths of society through his first-hand experience. The heroine Mashiba Chihiro who is at loggerheads at first with Narumi but later gets inspired by him will be played by Aoi Yu while Narumi's girlfriend cum former colleague Matsubara Satoko will be played by Tabe Mikako.

Seto will play be playing Shimazu Tomokazu who is an English teacher at Kyoumeikan and an advocate and expert on the new teaching style i.e. active learning. Although Shimazu had studied in the UK and can speak like a native, he is very shy and keeps to himself so he is hardly noticeable among the students and teachers. Upon hearing about Shimazu's ingenious teaching style, Narumi is very excited about it and wants this to become one of the first things which the school should implement as part of its reforms. Shimazu is also secretly in love with his colleague Mashiba.

As part of preparations for the filming, Seto went to observe active learning lessons where he noticed that the students were actively taking part. As such, he could not help but think that if this learning method was in use when he was a student, he could have learnt more in a more enjoyable setting. As for his character in this drama, Seto commented that as Narumi and Shimazu will be aiming to change the school in the story, he hopes that this will provide a catalyst of change for the viewers and bring about a change in himself as well. Although there is always fear and worry about changing something or taking on a challenge, things may actually turn out to work out well.

Source: Oricon

First-day-screening event of new movie "Peach Girl"

The first-day-screening event of new movie "Peach Girl" was held at Marunouchi Picadilly on 20 May which was attended by the director Shintoku Koji and cast members Yamamoto Mizuki, Inoo Kei, Mackenyu and Nagano Mei. With regard to their movie being finally ready to meet the public, Inoo expressed his joy while Yamamoto commented that they spent a whole year preparing this movie and hoped that the fans will like it.

When asked if there was anything that they would like to say but could do so now, Yamamoto mentioned that there were some flashback scenes of Momo and Touji back in junior high where she had to wear a sailor-style uniform and play baseball but all these scenes were cut from the movie. When she asked the director about it, he said that the final result didn't turn out that convincing i.e. they didn't look like junior high students. As such, she "complained" that he should have realised it before they filmed the scenes and said that she felt sad about the cut scenes. Mackenyu also echoed the view that those scenes were very nice which led the director to promise to include them in the making-of footage when the DVD is released.


Premiere screening event of new movie "Chotto ima kara shigoto yametekuru"

The premiere screening event of new movie "Chotto ima kara shigoto yametekuru" was held on 21 May which was attended by cast members Fukushi Souta and Kudo Asuka as well as Kobukuro who sings the theme song "Kokoro" for the movie. During the event, Kobukuro performed the song "live" for the first time which also happened to be their first at a movie event in 9 years. Fukushi expressed his joy at being able to listen to Kobukuro's performance live as he has been a fan since he was a student and thanked them for the song which was very touching. Kudo revealed that his family members are also fans of the duo and his father keeps playing their songs the whole day.

Kobukuro were generous with their praise for the movie of which Kobuchi Kentaro who had worked as a company employee before, said that he could identify with the theme of the movie which was very realistic. As for Kuroda who comes from Osaka, he commented that Fukushi's first attempt at speaking Kansai-ben was pretty good. With regard to how they came up to the song, Kobuchi revealed that he was taking notes while watching the movie and completed the song about 5 minutes later after he finished it.

Fukushi mentioned that each person may develop different views about the movie after watching it but he hopes that they will be getting a positive vibe by the end of it in order to take their next step in life. Kudo also echoed the view that this is not just about working life but also how people are connected to one another and family love.

The movie will be released in cinemas from 27 May while the single will be released as Kobukuro's first single in 18 months on 24 May.

Sources: / Sponichi

Guest and supporting cast line-up of TV Tokyo Summer 2017 drama "Izakaya Fuji" announced

The guest and supporting cast line-up of TV Tokyo Summer 2017 drama "Izakaya Fuji" has been announced. The drama starring Nagayama Kento and Oomori Nao is set in an izakaya named Izakaya Fuji that exists in real-life at Naka Meguro and describes the life story of the owner of the place who was nicknamed Oyaji and passed away in 2014. Nagayama plays a struggling actor named Nishio Eiichi who keeps getting roles to play dead people. One day, in order to boost his spirits, he tries to find an izakaya which he saw on the Instagram account of a girl he likes and ends up at Izakaya Fuji which is filled with signature boards of the famous and has a strong Showa feel. What's more he finds actor Oomori Nao there (Oomori playing himself)! Through his interaction with the people there, Nishio gradually realises what is important to him in life. The dishes served at the bar will also be featured in the drama.

Shinohara Ryoko and Oosugi Ren will be the guests in the first two episodes of the drama. Shinohara commented that she used to frequent Izakaya Fuji 25 years ago and had fond memories of going to the owner couple for advice whenever she was troubled. In addition, it has been a while since we worked with Oomori and Nagayama so she feels reassured to reunite with them but would have loved to participate more in the filming. As such, being able to act in this drama allows her to reminisce about her 20s. As for Oosugi who appeared recently in the Winter 2017 drama "Byplayers" as himself, he remarked that the TV station seemed to have a tendency these days to ask actors to play themselves to the extent that he feels like having a name for his character now. As he will be required to show the lecherous side of himself in this drama, he hopes that viewers will enjoy watching his guest appearance.

As for the supporting cast, Tateishi Ryoko will play Takahashi Mitsuko, the lady boss of the izakaya while regular customers include Hirata Atsuko who plays Reiko, the manager of boutique Maharaja, and Suwa Taro who plays Sho-chan, the president of a construction company. Nishio's mother Tamami will be played by Yo Kimiko while Nakamura Genki will play Akiyama Kenji, Nishio's supervisor at his part-time workplace and Murakami Jun will play Kudo Shunsuke, Nishio's senior at work.

Sources: / Oricon

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Kuroshima Yuina & Kentaro to star in NHK real-life adaptation drama "Ashi Girl"

Kuroshima Yuina and Kentaro will be starring in the new NHK real-life adaptation drama "Ashi Girl" which will begin its run from 23 September in the Saturdays 6.05pm timeslot. The drama consists of 12 episodes and is based on the same-titled manga by Morimoto Kozueko.

Kuroshima plays the 16-year-old lead character Hayakawa Yui whose only strong point is her ability to run fast. She accidentally goes back into time to the Warring States era where she makes use of her ability on the battlefield to protect her beloved young prince. Through finding a goal to work towards to, Yui finds a new world waiting for her as she uses her power to change the person she loves and move the people she meets.

Source: Oricon

Supporting cast line-up of TBS Summer 2017 drama "Gomen, Aishiteru" announced

The supporting cast line-up of TBS Summer 2017 drama "Gomen, Aishiteru" starring TOKIO's Nagase Tomoya has been announced. 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.

Ikewaki Chizuru who has not acted in any drama series since 2003's "Ooku", will play Kawai Wakana who was raised in the same orphanage as Riku. Although she is an adult and has a 8-year-old son, she has the intellect of a 7-year-old child only due to an accident she met with during her childhood. In order to prepare for the filming, Ikewaki went to meet three people with similar high order brain dysfunctions to find out more about their lives.

Ohnishi Ayaka, will be playing a genius saxophone player Furusawa Touko who Satoru is in love with and showing off her own saxophone playing skills which she had learnt for 7 years since she was 13. Rokkaku Seiji will be playing a gossip tabloid reporter Kagami Shuhei who knows about Ritsu's birth secret and has an unknown reason for hating Reiko. Last but not least, Nakamura Baijaku will be playing Mita Tsuneo who is Rinka's father and Reiko's manager who used to adore her for her piano playing skills.

Sources: Sponichi / Oricon /

Kaho to star in new Amazon original drama series "Tokyo Vampire Hotel"

Kaho will be starring in the new Amazon original drama series "Tokyo Vampire Hotel" which will be directed by Sono Sion and shown exclusively via Amazon Prime Video from 16 June. The drama's cast lineup also includes Mitsushima Shinnosuke, Tomite Ami, Adachi Yumi and the director's wife Kagurazaka Megumi. Sion who had always wanted to do an original story about vampires and their right with human beings. Besides filming in the Nikkatsu studio in Tokyo, the location shooting was also done at the vampires' hometown in Transylvania and Turda both in Romania.

K (Kaho), a member of the orthodox vampire clan i.e. the Dracula family, lives at Hotel Requeim where young people gather underground to live on peacefully after witnessing the world being destroyed due to a nuclear explosion. The clan's arch rivals i.e. Corbin Family who call themselves Neo Vampires, include Yamada (Mitsushima), the Emperor Sisters (Adachi plays both roles) and Elizabeth Bathory (Kagurazaka) who need to keep killing human beings in order to survive. The two families fight over a mysterious 22-year-old girl Manami (Tomite) as K tries to protect her from harm.

Sources: Oricon /

Special event of new movie "Kodomotsukai"

The special event of new movie "Kodomotsukai" was held at Iino Hall on 17 May which was attended by the director Shimizu Takashi and cast members Takizawa Hideaki, Arioka Daiki and Kadowaki Mugi. The movie which is based on an original script, features Takizawa as a mysterious man who manipulates the spirits of children by entering into their hearts and taking control of their spirits. Three days after the children disappear, they will cause the mysterious deaths of the adults who meet them. Arioka plays a news reporter trying to investigate the truth while Kadowaki Mugi plays his girlfriend and is being manipulated by Takizawa's character.

In line with the theme of the movie, the hall was designed to look like a haunted house and the screen was suddenly turned off before showing a part of the movie. Takizawa then appeared with bright red lights showered on him and commented that he was pleased that the audience seemed to like their arrangements. This movie is somewhat like a challenge to him as this marks his first leading role in a movie and his first horror movie so he has been eagerly anticipating the release of the film.

When it was Arioka's turn to speak, he stumbled over his words which led his senior Takizawa to tease him about it. Arioka then commented that he had a deep impression of the shock he encountered after watching "Juon", another movie directed by Shimizu, so he was excited about being able to work with the latter. However, Takizawa poked fun at Arioka for lying again which led everyone to laugh at this remark.

During the second half of the event, Takizawa continued to play around with Arioka by "picking" on his comments. When Arioka was asked about his impression of Takizawa, Arioka said that he expected to get closer to his senior during the filming but he was too much in awe of Takizawa who had the scary aura of the kodomotsukai and couldn't get close to him at all. However, Takizawa said laughingly that Arioka was shy and just using him as an excuse because Arioka did not take the initiative to approach him at all. Kadowaki also echoed the same view and wondered how they could play lovers when they were so unfamiliar with each other.

"Kodomotsukai" will be shown in cinemas from 17 June.

Sources: Yomiuri Hochi / Sponichi / Oricon /

Top 10 movies box office ranking for the weekend of 20th & 21st May 2017

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

1) Beauty and the Beast (372)

2) Meitantei Conan Karakurenai no Love Letter (354)

3) Peach Girl (301)

4) The Fate of the Furious (355)

5) Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (347)

6) Kimi no Manazashi (177)

7) Arrival (198)

8) Teiichi no Kuni (291)

9) Tsuioku (293)

10) Tatara Samurai (281)


Monday, May 22, 2017

Takei Emi to star in TV Asahi Summer 2017 remake drama "Kurokawa no Techou"

Takei Emi will be starring in the TV Asahi Summer 2017 drama "Kurokawa no Techou" (The black leather notebook) based on Matsumoto Seicho's famous same-titled novel which will begin its run from July in the Thursdays 9pm timeslot. The novel which was serialised between 1978 and 1980 before it was published as a single book in 1980, describes how a contract bank employee Haraguchi Motoko is stuck with a huge debt of 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, news of her impending retrenchment reach her. 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. To date, there have been a number of drama adaptations of this novel where the most recent versions were in 2004 starring Yonekura Ryoko which had an average rating of 15.7% and the SP in 2005. At that time, Yonekura was 29 years old which was the same age as Motoko in the novel.

Takei who is starring in her first Matsumoto work, said that she felt very pressurised when she first got the news about being offered the role especially since the role of Motoko was regarded as the turning point in Yonekura's acting career. As Yonekura is her senior from the same agency, Takei had been invited to meals with her many times in the past and received a lot of acting advice. She pledged to do her best for this role and hope to do well enough to earn a passing mark from Yonekura and scale new heights in her career.

Filming will begin in mid June and co-stars will be announced on a later date.

Sources: Nikkansports / Sanspo / Yomiuri Hochi / Oricon

Cast of new movie "Sakamichi no Aporon" injured meets with boat accident after filming in Nagasaki

The cast of new movie "Sakamichi no Aporon" i.e. Hey! Say! JUMP's Chinen Yuri, Nakagawa Taishi and Komatsu Nana and some members of the crew sustained injuries due to a boat accident at Nagasaki on 14 May after finishing their filming for the day. Details of the accident were revealed on the following day via the movie's official website.

The statement revealed that there were 11 cast and staff members who boarded a marine taxi departing from Kuroshima around 9.30pm after wrapping up the filming for the day. However, the 12-tonne ship bumped into a breakwater about 100m away before it resumed its journey to Ainoura Harbour. 7 of them including the three actors were sent to a hospital for treatment of which two female staff members sustained serious injuries such as fractured ribs while the rest suffered bruises due to the impact. Filming was then suspended on the 15th but the movie is still expected to be completed by mid June. It was announced that the three actors went through a detailed check-up which found no abnormalities.

Investigations into the accident are ongoing.

In order to set everyone at ease, Nakagawa updated his blog on 16 May and mentioned that he is fine and did not suffer any injury. He apologised for any worry caused by this and confirmed that he will continue with the filming as scheduled. Nakagawa also said that there are many unexpected things in life like this incident but these, along with the happy and sad things in life, are what makes life interesting. He is thankful for everyone's concern and support and hopes to be able to complete this movie successfully with the team.

On the other hand, Komatsu also updated her Instagram account one day later where she confirmed that she was OK and apologised for causing concern.

Sources: Nikkansports / Sanspo / Yomiuri Hochi 1 / Sponichi / Oricon / Yomiuri Hochi 2

Ito Atsushi to star in new NTV Summer 2017 drama "Nou ni sumaho ga umerareta"

Ito Atsushi will be starring in the new NTV Summer 2017 drama "Nou ni sumaho ga umerareta" (There is a smartphone buried inside my brain) which will begin its run in the Thursdays 11.59pm timeslot from 6 July. The science-fiction drama is based on the book "Shin Kikaku Konshin no kikaku to hassou no te no uchi subete misemasu" by Suzuki Osamu which talks about the secrets behind the planning of hit TV programmes.

Ito plays the lead character Orimo Keita who is a 34-year-old salaryman placed on the retrenchment list by his employer which is an apparel company. He is divorced and raising his 9-year-old daughter on his own. Having the power to see the messages sent and received by other people in his brain, he makes use of this to solve various problems, help others and become a better person while being embroiled in these troublesome issues at the same time. Shinkawa Yua will play the heroine Ryuuko who teaches him how to use the smartphone in his brain.

Ito commented that although the story has a rather far-fetched setting, he hopes to convey the interesting side of it which viewers will probably enjoy. As he has no example to learn from when playing such a character, he will try to figure things out on his own. On the other hand, Shinkawa said that the story may seem unlikely but could happen in real-life so she hopes that viewers will feel engaged and continue watching the drama.

Sources: Sanspo / Yomiuri Hochi

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Uchida Yuki to star in new NHK drama SP "Koujin"

Uchida Yuki will be starring in the new NHK drama SP "Koujin" which is based on the first monster-themed novel by Miyabe Miyuki and expected to be shown sometime between January and February 2018. Co-stars include Hira Takehiro, Hiraoka Yuta and Yanagisawa Shingo, Maeda Aki, Maekawa Yasuyuki, Nakamoto Ken, Tsunogae Kazue, Nakahara Takeo, Shinagawa Toru, Tanaka Yoji, Kato Masaya, Shiba Toshio and Daichi Yasuo.

The story is set at a village in the bitterly cold Tohoku region 100 years after the end of the Sekigahara Battle where a monster suddenly appears and kills the villagers before burning it to the ground. A young man who managed to escape from the clutches of the monster with extensive injuries, runs to the village where Akane (Uchida) lives at. As the danger of being attacked by the monster increases, Akane collaborates with her fellow villagers Sakakida Soei (Hiraoka) and Kikuchi Mitsuhide (Yanagisawa) to take on the monster. However, her elder brother Soya Tadamasa (Hira) who is a high-ranking official in the shogunate, wants to control the monster for his own benefits. When the truth about the monster's birth is revealed, a horrific tale of the sins committed by human beings come to light.

Source: Oricon

Onoe Matsuya to star in TV Tokyo Summer 2017 drama "Saboriiman Kantarou"

Onoe Matsuya will be taking on his first leading role in a drama series when he appears as the lead of TV Tokyo Summer 2017 drama "Saboriiman Kantarou" (The playing truant salaryman Kantarou) which begins its run from July in the Thursdays 1am timeslot. The drama is based on the popular manga "Saboriiman Ametani Kantarou" by Hagiwara Tenten and features Onoe as Ametani Kantarou, a single and bespectacled salaryman working in a publishing company's sales department who is known by the people around him to be a capable worker and looks very cool on the surface. However, he is actually a desserts lover and he tries to hide this and satisfy his craving by playing truant during work at times in search of nice desserts on his own. Besides showing the delicious desserts which Kantarou will savour, VFX technology will also be in use to show the images in his brain when he gets high on his beloved desserts.

Onoe admitted that as he is also a desserts lover and would go to look for nice desserts on his own at times, being able to take on this role is like a dream come true for him. He is especially excited about being able to visit some of the famous Japanese and Western-style desserts in Tokyo which will be featured in the drama. As for taking on the leading role in a drama series, he is happy and thankful to be given the chance and hopes to show the gap between his character's serious image and his unconventional love for desserts through his acting. Ideally, he wishes that this drama will in turn increase the number of guys who love desserts.

Besides being shown on TV, the drama will be streamed via Netflix one week before each episode's scheduled broadcast on TV Tokyo.

Sources: Sanspo / Oricon /

Supporting cast line-up for Tokai TV & WOWOW Spring 2017 drama "Hanzai Shoukougun Season 2" announced

The supporting cast line-up for Tokai TV & WOWOW Spring 2017 drama "Hanzai Shoukougun Season 2" starting on 11 June at 10pm on Sundays via WOWOW has been announced. The drama is based on the three-part "Shoukougun" novel series by writer Nukui Tokuro where "Shissou Shoukougun" (Disappearance Syndrome) and "Yuukai Shoukougun" (Kidnap Syndrome) will form Season 1 while "Satsujin Shoukougun" (Murder Syndrome) will be made into Season 2.

Tamayama Tetsuji plays the role of Muto Takashi who is a former police detective using illegal methods to solve cases which are difficult to handle by the police while Tanihara Shosuke plays Muto's buddy and a police detective Kaburagi Wataru and Watabe Atsuro plays Tamaki Keigo who takes charge of the special missions given to Muto. While exploring the lives of these men, the topic of whether revenge is right or wrong is discussed in this suspense drama.

In Season 2, Kaburagi's past where his girlfriend was killed when he was still underage and his subsequent transformation into a professional killer to take revenge for her is revealed as he gets a new assignment to kill someone. Kimura Tae plays Kaburagi's old friend Yabuki Kyoko, a member of "Shounen hanzai wo kangaeru kai" which is a group that researches on youth crime and has a similar past as him (her boyfriend was killed when she was still underage). Itao Itsuji plays Makita Hirofumi, the leader of the group. The two of them will begin appearing in the last episode of Season 1 to be shown on 27 May.

Nomaguchi Toru will play Kajihara Tomoyuki who has a strong hatred for juvenile criminals as his son died due to the physical torture inflicted by his classmate. Tezuka Satomi plays a nurse Kojima Kazuko who is on the search for a donor as her son needs an organ transplant.


Friday, May 19, 2017

Japan premiere of new movie "22 Nenme no Kokuhaku - Watashi ga satsujinhan desu -"

The Japan premiere of new movie "22 Nenme no Kokuhaku - Watashi ga satsujinhan desu -" was held on 16 May 2017 which was attended by the director Irie Yu and cast members Fujiwara Tatsuya, Ito Hideaki, Kaho, Nomura Shuhei, Ishibashi Anna, Ryuusei Ryo, Saotome Taichi, Hirata Mitsuru, Iwaki Koichi and Nakamura Tooru. The film will be shown in cinemas from 10 June.

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.

Fujiwara reflected on his acting as the arrogant murderer where he actually reacted accordingly to the actions and feelings of his co-stars rather than lead them on with his madness. On the other hand, Ito commented that this was the toughest filming he went through to date in his career where he had to keep running around for three days and nights from the first day so he was always thinking of an excuse to quit regardless of whether it would be very troublesome to do so. Although this movie marks the first collaboration between the actors, they actually bump into each other a lot in private such as when they go to eat ramen or yakiniku at restaurants.

Nakamura who last worked with Ito in the "Umizaru" series more than 10 years ago, said that he was "taken off the ship" (his character who worked on the same navy ship as Ito's was shot dead in the story) against his own will but Nakamura still had a feeling that the "ship" would still become a big hit with Ito being at the helm. However, he was regretful about not being to stay on the "ship" till the end so he hopes to achieve success with Ito this time in this movie.

During the event, Fujiwara, Ito and Nakamura were having a lot of fun talking about what kind of "criminal" they are in line with the title of the movie. However, it went on longer than expected which led Nomura to butt in and said that they were too longwinded. This led the trio to get Nomura to wrap up the segment and they gave the latter the title of the criminal who did not listen to their entire conversation.

When it came to the question of asking the cast to reveal a secret for the first time, Ito revealed that when his son was born two years ago, Miura Tomokazu gave him a very expensive whiskey as a gift and included a letter which asked Ito to drink it with his son when he turns 20. However, Ito did not actually read that letter and drank some of it as soon as he returned home. When he told Miura about how delicious he thought the whiskey was, Miura commented that he must have not read the letter which led Ito to realise that he could have thrown it away. As he took about 4.5 minutes just to relate this story, Fujiwara teased Ito for being too long-winded and said that Ito could have just said one sentence that he did not read the letter. When it was Fujiwara's turn, he revealed how he started took in a stray cat from his neighbourhood recently and even brought it for vaccination before taking it home to become his pet. Although the cat used to belong to someone else, the moment when his wife saw that the house had a fierce dog there, she suggested that they bring the cat home as their pet instead of returning it to the original owner. In retaliation, Ito "scolded" Fujiwara for being even more long-winded than him as the latter took 1.5 minutes just to say such a simple story.

Sources: Nikkansports / Yomiuri Hochi / Oricon /

Dean Fujioka to appear in real-life adaptation movie "Soratobu Taiya"

Dean Fujioka will be appearing in the real-life adaptation movie "Soratobu Taiya" based on the bestseller novel by Ikeido Jun and features TOKIO's Nagase Tomoya as the lead. This will be the first collaboration between Nagase and Fujioka.

Nagase will be playing the lead character Akamatsu Tokurou who is the president of a transportation company. One day, an accident involving his company's truck happens where a tyre comes loose and causes a housewife's death. This results in a lack of trust and wave of criticism directed at his company for alleged maintenance faults. However, when Akamatsu investigates the truck's structure as he suspects a problem, he finds out that the truck's manufacturer Hope Jidosha is hiding a critical recall issue. In order to protect his company, employees, family and seek justice for himself, he takes on Hope Jidosha which tries to conceal the truth.

Fujioka will be playing Sawada Yuta who is the customer strategy section chief of Hope Jidosha and will face off with Akamatsu who wants to prove Hope's wrongdoing. Although he is reluctant to entertain Akamatsu's request for a re-investigation, Sawada himself has doubts about the original investigation and does his own checks where he is then caught between his sense of justice and his responsibility as an employee of Hope.

Nagase praised his co-star for having no airs and a high level of concentration when filming. In addition, Fujioka is very approachable and Nagase feels that they have many things in common. On the other hand, Fujioka also said that Nagase is a perfect fit for the character Akamatsu since they are both passionate men. In the movie, there will be a confrontation scene which does not appear in the novel which both actors feel will be meaningful and significant to the story. Other than this, the two of them hardly have any scenes together.

Filming wrapped up in the end of April and post-production works are expected to be completed in this autumn. The movie will be shown in cinemas next year.

Sources: Nikkansports / Sanspo / Sponichi /

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Aoi Yu & Lily Frankie to appear in TBS Summer 2017 drama "Hello Harinezumi"

Aoi Yu and Lily Frankie will be joining the cast of TBS Summer 2017 drama "Hello Harinezumi" starring Eita which will begin its run from July in the Fridays 10pm timeslot. The drama is based on the same-titled manga by Hirokane Kenshi, was serialised in "Shuukan Young Magazine between 1980 and 1989. Co-stars include Fukada Kyoko, Morita Go and Yamaguchi Tomoko. Although the manga was set in the Showa era, it will be adapted to be set in the modern Heisei era. Eita plays the role of private detective Nanase Goro who works in the investigation agency Akatsuka Tantei Jimusho in Shimoakatsuka in Itabashi Ward of Tokyo where he takes on any case no matter how troublesome or difficult it may be. Goro is a bit of a lecher and a busybody but he is also passionate and sincere.

Aoi plays the role of a mysterious and beautiful psychic Kawai Setsuko who will appear in the middle of the season to solve cases with Goro using her supernatural powers. Aoi commented that as she has many lines in the script, she is nervous about playing this character and hopes that she won't cause any trouble to her co-stars and the staff. In addition, as she is only joining the drama from the halfway mark, there are many things she still doesn't know about her character so she's relying on instructions from the director when it comes to her acting. On the other hand, Lily plays Minami, the owner of a publishing company who is actually an information vendor well-versed in matters of the underworld and helps Goro with his cases. He is also a journalist with a dark side and helps resolve problems quietly for big companies and the rich and famous.

Sources: Sanspo / Sponichi / Oricon /

Completion screening event of new movie "Mukoku"

The completion screening event of new movie "Mukoku" was held at Yomiuri Otemachi Hall on 15 May which was attended by the director Kumakiri Kazuyoshi and cast members Ayano Go, Murakami Nijiro, Maeda Atsuko, Fubuki Jun, Kobayashi Kaoru and Emoto Akira. The movie which is the first collaboration between Kumakiri and Ayano since the movie "Natsu no Owari" three years ago, will be screened in cinemas from 3 June.

The movie which is based on the same-titled novel by Akutagawa Award-winning writer Fujisawa Shu, features Ayano as Yatabe Kengo who holds the Godan rank in kendo but chooses to live a life filled with alcohol and works as a security guard at a train station's building due to an incident. One day, he happens to meet a senior high school student Hada Toru played by Murakami Nijiro who loves rap and is obsessed with writing rap lyrics. Kengo sees Toru's talent as a gifted kendo swordsman which inspires him to undergo training with the latter under a monk who holds the Hachidan where they later face off in the battle of destiny.

During the talk segment, the cast were asked on who they consider in their hearts to be their eternal rivals. Ayano who was the first to speak, jokingly cited his character Ken-san in the ongoing NTV Spring 2017 drama "Frankenstein no Koi" as the eternal rival of Kengo in this movie. When it was Murakami's turn, he mentioned his parents i.e. actor Murakami Jun and singer UA as his eternal rivals since they are both working in the same industry. Upon hearing this, Ayano said that he regretted fooling around and giving such an embarrassing answer. Meanwhile, Maeda said that when she was in AKB48, the people around her created many "rivals" for her but she actually felt that these people are important to her and is thankful for their presence. Ayano then butted in to say that he suddenly realised that he was standing in the centre today (the most popular member in AKB48 gets to stand in the centre) and apologised for "robbing" her of the centre position which she used to hog.

In order to prepare for the filming, Ayano went through two months of kendo and muscle training and even abstained from alcohol. As such, he was able to use his frustration built up over the period in a positive way during the filming. Maeda chipped in to praise her co-star for looking very cool during the kendo match scene. Murakami then revealed that he sprained his finger during their fight sequence and he was surprised by how quickly Ayano reacted by shouting for ice packs to be given to him once the scene was completed.

Sources: Sanspo / Nikkansports / Oricon /

Nakamura Shido announces that he is suffering from first stage pulmonary adenocarcinoma

Nakamura Shido announced through a handwritten statement on 18 May that he is suffering from the first stage of pulmonary adenocarcinoma. As a result, he will be undergoing surgery and will quit from a stage play which is due to be performed in June and July. For the afternoon performances of June's "Sugawara Denjute Narai Kagami Kurumabiki", Nakamura Hashinosuke will be standing in for Nakamura while the evening performances of "Shinshuu Kawanakajima Kassen Terutora Haizen" and "Kousukemochi" will be performed by Nakamura Kanjiro and Nakamura Kikaku respectively.

In Nakamura's statement, he revealed that he goes through an annual medical check-up and it was almost a miracle that his illness could be detected at such an early stage. According to his doctor, Nakamura is expected to recover fully after surgery. He pledged to fight his illness and return in a perfect condition and put up an even better performance for everyone. Nakamura apologised for the worry caused to everyone who has been supportive of him to date and will wrap up his outstanding work before he is hospitalised for the surgery. Much as he is reluctant to, he has to skip the kabuki performances in Hakata and Tokyo in the next two months and expressed his apologies to those who are eagerly anticipating these performances. At the end of the statement, Nakamura asked for some time to be given in the meantime as he goes through treatment and make a full recovery.

Source: Oricon

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Fukushi Souta to star in new NTV Summer 2017 drama "Aishitetatte, Himitsu wa aru"

Fukushi Souta will be starring in the upcoming NTV Summer 2017 drama "Aishitetatte, Himitsu wa aru" (I used to love, there is a secret) which will begin its run from July on Sundays (timeslot not confirmed yet. The original concept of this drama is by music producer Akimoto Yasushi who last produced the 2005 TV Asahi drama "Chakushin Ari" starring Kikukawa Rei that is unrelated to his AKB girl groups.

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.

Fukushi commented that this drama contains various elements such as romance and mystery and this is his first time acting in a mystery story so he hopes that viewers will look forward to watching this. As for working with Kawaguchi, he said that she is a perfect fit to play the cheerful Sawa and feels secure about working with her again. On the other hand, Kawaguchi expressed her anticipation at participating in this drama especially how her character develops in the story. As for Suzuki, she is eagerly anticipating working with her cute "son" and "daughter-in-law" in this drama.

Akimoto said that the key concept of the drama is how much you know about your lover. Everyone will have their own secrets but the extent of how much you can tolerate your own lover keeping secrets from you is something he would like the viewers to think about even if they have no romantic partner in their lives now.

Filming begins in early June.

Sources: Sanspo 1 / Sanspo 2 / Yomiuri Hochi / Oricon

Koizumi Kotaro & Matsushita Yuki reunite in TV Tokyo Summer 2017 drama "Keishicho Zerogakari ~ Seikatsu Anzenka Nandemo Soudanshitsu ~SECOND SEASON"

Koizumi Kotaro and Matsushita Yuki will be reprising their roles in the sequel to their TV Tokyo Winter 2016 drama "Keishicho Zerogakari ~ Seikatsu Anzenka Nandemo Soudanshitsu~" (Metropolitan Police Department Section Zero ~ Community Safety Department's Office for consultation regarding anything) which will be shown from July this year. The new installment titled "Keishicho Zerogakari ~ Seikatsu Anzenka Nandemo Soudanshitsu~SECOND SEASON" features Koizumi as Kobayakawa Fumihiko, a naive superintendent who is oblivious to his surroundings and Matsushita as Terada Torami, a foul-mouthed veteran police detective. The two of them work with other detectives seen as worthless by the organisation (thus earning the name Zerogakari because anything multipled by zero is still zero) to solve various difficult cases. Regulars from the first season who will be returning in the sequel include Adachi Yumi who plays Honjo Yasuko, an admin officer who insists on working only between 9am and 5pm, emphasizes productivity and has a venomous tongue, TKO's Kinoshita Takayuki who plays Sakuraba Yusaku, a hardworking detective who cannot climb up the hierarchy despite his efforts and Oosugi Ren who plays the section chief Kameyama Yoshio tasked to spy on Kobayakawa secretly. Other co-stars include Rokkaku Shinji, Kishi Asuka, Ishimaru Kenjiro and Kato Cha.

The drama's producer Matsumoto Taku revealed that when they finished filming the first series, the cast were eager to get together again for a sequel so they are all very happy that this has finally materialised. Koizumi also commented that he's happy to play Kobayakawa again and meet up with the members of Zerogakari in the sequel. Matsushita revealed that with new members added to the lineup, the Zerogakari will be back with a boost to its strength and hopes that the viewers will enjoy watching it.

Source: Sponichi