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Monday, February 29, 2016

Takenouchi Yutaka & Matsuyuki Yasuko to work together in TV Asahi Spring 2016 drama "Good Partner Muteki no Bengoshi"

Takenouchi Yutaka and Matsuyuki Yasuko will be working together in the TV Asahi Spring 2016 drama "Good Partner Muteki no Bengoshi" (Good Partner The Invincible Lawyer)  which begins its run from April in the Thursdays 9pm timeslot. This will be Takenouchi's first appearance in a TV Asahi drama in nine and a half years since he starred in the autumn 2006 drama "Kazoku ~ Tsuma no Fuzai Otto no Fuzai ~". Takenouchi and Matsuyuki are playing a married couple again since they worked in the movie "at home" screened last year. The script will be written by Fukuda Yasushi who also wrote dramas such as "DOCTORS ~ Saikyou no Meii", "Umizaru" and "HERO".

The drama is set in Jinguji Law Firm which specialises in dealing with corporate law cases. Takenouchi plays a lawyer named Sakisaka Kento who is handsome, capable, passionate about his work and regarded as the ace in the law firm. Despite his success in his career, the same cannot be said for his family life as he is a single father raising his only daughter Mizuki following his divorce from his ex-wife Natsume Yoshie played by Matsuyuki who is a rival lawyer in the same law firm. They can usually work well together but when it comes to their family issues, they end up arguing and calling each other "Papa" and "Mama" as if they were still married. Their colleagues are played by Sugimoto Tetta, Kaku Kento, Yamazaki Ikusaburo, Babazono Azusa, Okura Koji, Okamoto Azusa while the boss will be played by Kunimura Jun.

Source: Oricon / Sanspo

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Hashimoto Ai & Miyazaki Aoi to act as mother-and-daughter in new movie "Birthday Card"

Hashimoto Ai and Miyazaki Aoi will be working together for the first time in the new movie "Birthday Card" which is due to be shown in cinemas from October this year. The film is an original story which features Hashimoto as the lead character Kiko who lost her mother Yoshie (Miyazaki) due to cancer at the age of 10. Despite so, Kiko receives a birthday card every year from Yoshie who had written them in advance as the latter could not live long enough to see her daughter grow up.

Filming of the movie took place last summer during which Hashimoto had given her views that it was unnatural for Kiko not to be rebellious during her teenager years. On the other hand, Miyazaki went on an intensive diet to look like Yoshie who was seriously ill and ended up being so weak that she couldn't even open a car door.

Co-stars include Yusuke Santa-Maria who plays Kiko's father while Suga Kenta plays her younger brother.

Source: Sponichi

Adachi Yumi announces her 2nd pregnancy; due to give birth this summer

Adachi Yumi announced through her official blog on 24 February that she is currently pregnant with her second child and due to give birth in summer. In the statement, Adachi revealed that she is 5 months into her pregnancy and will continue with her work for as long as her health condition allows. Her husband and elder daughter are both thrilled by the impending arrival of a new family member. The whole family hopes for a smooth pregnancy and delivery and will try to raise the child well.

Adachi was previously married to comedian Itoda Jun of the duo Speed Wagon and they have a 9-year-old daughter. She then married cameraman Kuwajima Tomoki who is 14 years older than her in 2014.

Source: Nikkansports / Sanspo

Friday, February 26, 2016

Winners of the 30th Japan Gold Disc Award 2016

Artist of the Year
Japanese Music: Arashi
Western Music: The Beatles

Best Asian Artist: Tohoshinki

Best Enka Artist: Hikawa Kiyoshi

New Artist of the Year
Japanese Music: [Alexandros]
Western Music: Sam Smith
Asian Music: EXO

Best New Enka Artist: Kumamushi

Album of the Year
Japanese Music: Japonism - Arashi
Western Music: The Beatles 1 - The Beatles
Asian Music: Present - SUPER JUNIOR-D&E

Single of the Year
Bokutachi wa tatakawanai - AKB48

Song of the Year by download figures
Japanese Music: Torisetsu - Nishino Kana
Western Music: I really like you - Carly Rae Jepsen
Asian Music: BANG BANG BANG KR Version - BIG BANG

Special Award
Love Life-related music releases

Source: Oricon

Sunday, February 14, 2016

2016 Top 10 ranking of most desired male celebrities who you want as a boyfriend (Oricon)

Numbers in brackets indicate the rankings last year:

1) Aiba Masaki (3)

2) Sakurai Sho (8)

3) Fukuyama Masaharu (1)

4) Kubota Masataka (-)

5) Ohno Satoshi (7)

6) Dean Fujioka (-)

7) Domoto Tsuyoshi (-)

8) Yamashita Tomohisa (-)

9) Okada Junichi (-)

10) Nishijima Hidetoshi (4)

Source: Oricon

Some observations from this year's list:
- Aiba-kun has suddenly become so sought-after??? Not that I think he doesn't deserve the title but there should have been some reason for the spike in his popularity among the ladies.

- Matsumoto Jun and Ninomiya Kazunari from Arashi are out of the top 10. For Matsumoto, I assume that it's because he's supposed to be "taken" by Inoue Mao but Nino...I can't really fathom what could be the cause.

- Seems like Horikita Maki's marriage did some good to boosting Sakurai Sho's position this year because there was so much talk about them last year until she suddenly married Yamamoto Koji. Meaning Sakurai is now back on the market, at least officially.

- Seems like Fukuyama Masaharu is still pretty popular among the ladies despite him being off the market. Same goes for Nishijima Hidetoshi who is still in the top 10 this year.

- Kubota Masataka and Dean Fujioka were quite popular and in the limelight last year till now so no surprise about them being in the top 10.

- What surprises me more is Domoto Tsuyoshi's entry in the top 10. Hmm...why??? And Yamashita Tomohisa?

- Okada Junichi's rumoured relationship with Miyazaki Aoi doesn't seem to be affecting his appeal to the ladies.

Okada Masaki, Matsuzaka Tori & Yagira Yuya to star in NTV Spring 2016 drama "Yutori desu ga nani ka"

Okada Masaki will be taking on the leading role in the upcoming NTV Spring 2016 drama "Yutori desu ga nani ka" (So what if I've had a relaxed education) which will begin its run from April in the Sundays 10.30pm timeslot. The drama which is written by Kudo Kankuro, features Okada, Matsuzaka Tori and Yagira Yuya as three young men in their late 20s who are the first generation that had gone through the "yutori (relaxed) education system" and depicts their struggles in the competitive society.

The yutori education system started in 2002 where there were various reforms such as introducing a 5-day school week and reduction in lesson hours in a bid to reduce the academic pressure on students. People who are now in their late 20s are termed as the first batch of students who had gone through the yutori system and the three actors (Okada - 26 years old, Matsuzaka - 27 and Yagira - 25) are all part of this generation.

Okada plays Sakama Masakazu, a salaryman who has been working at the same food manufacturing company for seven years since he graduated but finds himself being transferred to various departments until he ends up at an izakaya chain owned by his company. He comes from a family which manages a brewery and lives with his mother, elder brother, sister-in-law and younger sister. Matsuzaka plays Yamaji Kazutoyo who is a teacher at a primary school and finds himself stuck between his school management's expectations and complaints from parents. He is caught in a fix when a female university student who has come to become an intern at his school suddenly confesses her love for him. Yagira plays Michigami Maribu who was called a genius and made it to a top-notch junior high school as the top student but for some reason, failed to make it to university and is always job-hopping. He has a wife who is older than him and a newborn daughter to support while trying for the 11th time to make it to university.

Okada expressed joy at being able to work with Matsuzaka and Yagira who are about the same age as him and that he was invited to participate in another Kudo Kankuro work this time. Kudo who is making his first attempt at writing a societal drama, hopes to showcase the dilemma faced by these characters who went through a relatively relaxed education system but finds that the real society awaiting them after graduation is less relaxed and forgiving towards them than they had thought.

Source: Sponichi

SPEED's Imai Eriko to stand for election in this summer's Upper House election

SPEED member Imai Eriko announced that she will be a proportional representation candidate under the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan (LDP) flag in the upcoming Upper House election this summer during a press conference at the LDP's headquarters on 9 February. While introducing herself to the media, Imai also used sign language.

When asked about her reason to stand for election, Imai cited her 11-year-old son who has a hearing disability as the main reason. While meeting other mothers and children who are in the same situation as them, she wanted more people to know about the struggles they face and aspires to give hope to the children by creating a society which is more aware about their problems and supportive towards them. She wishes that when her son grows up, he will come to feel that being born in Japan is a good thing and she hopes to work towards this goal from now on.

Imai commented that discrimination against those with disabilities stems from ignorance about them thus she hopes to increase awareness in this area first. Subsequently, when society as a whole is more aware of the struggles facing families raising children with disabilities, there can be better policies designed to meet their needs. For example, there are many students with hearing disabilities who enter university but find it difficult to continue thus there is a need for more people trained in sign language to help them. During major disasters, there is also a need for people who know sign language to pass on instructions and information to those who cannot hear. As for why she decided to run under the LDP flag, she mentioned that she was invited by Santo Akiko who is also from the LDP and that she identified with the latter's character and ideals.

Imai comes from Naha City in Okinawa Prefecture and is one of the main vocalists in SPEED. She expects to continue with her music career even if she is elected.

Source: Sponichi / Sankei News

Watanabe Ken undergoes surgery for stomach cancer; due to return to work from 17 March

Watanabe Ken announced through a personally-written fax statement released by his agency on 9 February that he had undergone an endoscopic surgery for stomach cancer after the condition was detected during a medical checkup. He expressed relief at the fact that the cancer was detected early and revealed that he is currently recuperating but hopes to prepare for his return to stage soon.

It was reported that Watanabe's decision to go for a medical checkup was due to his wife Minami Kaho's advice. Subsequently, his daughter An recommended a clinic to him where he went for the check-up in early February and had the surgery on the 8th. Watanabe also updated his Twitter account on the same day of the announcement where he thanked his wife and daughter for urging him to go for the checkup and making the arrangements for him.

Although Watanabe was scheduled to perform in the Broadway musical "The King and I" from 1 March to 17 April in the Lincoln Center, he will only return to work from 17 March as he needs to recuperate during this period.

Watanabe was diagnosed with acute myelocytic leukemia in 1989 and suffered a relapse in 1994.

Source: Sponichi 1 / Sponichi 2 / Sponichi 3

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Matsuda Shota to star in drama and movie adaptations of manga "Dias Police - Ihou Keisatsu -"

Matsuda Shota will be starring in the drama and movie adaptations of manga "Dias Police - Ihou Keisatsu -" which will be shown via TBS in its midnight slot this coming spring (timeslot undecided yet) and screened in cinemas this summer respectively. The manga which was serialised in manga magazine "Morning" between 2006 and 2009, features the lead character Kubozuka as the sole police officer working in a self-governing society in Tokyo made up of foreigners who had entered the country illegally. He sets out to investigate various problems such as organ trafficking and forced labour in order to help the weak.

Matsuda who had been a fan of the manga, aspired to play the lead character if it was ever adapted into a drama or movie so is very happy to be a part of this production and hopes that this will become a signature work of his. There were some minor changes made to Kubozuka's image such as his afro hairstyle being changed to a more stylish one and his jeans being changed to jersey-type material.

Filming for the drama ended in December last year while the filming for the movie is in progress.

Source: Yomiuri Hochi

Kiritani Kenta announces the birth of his second child

Kiritani Kenta announced the birth of his second child through his official website on 11 February. In his statement, Kiritani described the birth as the arrival of the second angel in his family which was such a happy event as if he was able to grasp the spring breeze. He pledged to work hard in his acting career and expressed thanks to everyone around him.

Kiritani got married to his wife who is 5 years younger than him in April 2014 and their first child was born in the same year. However, he did not divulge any details about his children including their gender and birth dates.

Source: Nikkansports / Sanspo

Otomo Kohei to be guest star in episode 5 of TBS Winter 2016 drama "Watashi wo hanasanai de"

 Otomo Kohei will be making a guest appearance in the 5th episode of TBS Winter 2016 drama "Watashi wo hanasanai de" which is to be shown on 12 February. He will play a former rockabilly singer who is the owner of a second-hand clothes shop and the first person to treat Kyoko (Ayase Haruka) and Tomohiko (Miura Haruma) kindly since they left Youkou Gakuen to live at the Cottage. This will be Otomo's first drama appearance since he turned 60 this year.

When asked to describe his character, Otomo said that the identity of being a rockabilly singer was meant to reflect his character's inability to fit in with the norms of society and he was regarded as somewhat like an outcast which in turn enabled him to view others with no prejudice. Upon knowing that Kyoko and Tomohiko are different from him, he is able to regain his composure and treat them in a normal way.

As for his impression of the two actors, Otomo who had not met Miura before, said that the latter is a very serious person so he wanted to liven up the atmosphere by cracking jokes. He was thankful for the fact that Miura responded quite favourably to the jokes. As for Ayase, he had met her before by chance in the past and was particularly struck by how innocent she could be. During that encounter, Otomo had told her about him being of the same age as her mother and revealed that he used to be part of a band named Hotdog. To his surprise, Ayase called her mother immediately in front of him and asked the latter if she knew about Otomo's band which surprised him greatly.

Source: Cinema Cafe

Fujiwara Tatsuya & Narumi Riko to star in NHK drama SP "Kaitei no Kimi e"

Fujiwara Tatsuya and Narumi Riko will be starring in the NHK drama SP "Kaitei no Kimi e" (To you who lies at the bottom of the sea) which will be shown on 20 February at 7.30pm. The drama SP which is 73-minutes long, features Fujiwara as the lead character Maehara Shigeo, who feels as if he has been at the bottom of the freezing sea since he was bullied in junior high school even though it has been 15 years since he graduated. When he gets notification of an alumni party to be held, Shigeo goes to the party and threatens to blow himself up with a handheld detonation device in his hand. Narumi will play Maho, the heroine whose younger brother is also being bullied, will help Shigeo to open up and face his painful past and the side effects brought about by that.

As part of the preparations for the drama SP and the campaign for people to give more thought to stopping bullying, people who had been bullied before were interviewed and their input was used to increase the realistic feel of this story. In the SP, Shigeo is unable to hold a permanent job so he can only work part time and would feel panicky when he sees people in school uniforms due to his psychological trauma. Fujiwara praised the scriptwriter Sakurai Tsuyoshi for his script which made it easy for him to identify with Shigeo's problems and visualise the impact of being thrown into the sea for more than 10 years and being unable to get out of it. As such, he feels that this drama SP will be a signature work for him and is happy to be able to work with Narumi and the crew in this production.

In a scene where both Fujiwara and Narumi had to dive into the sea, the filming was done in October thus it was pretty cold for them. In particular, Fujiwara had to jump in first before Narumi could follow suit thus he had to force himself to do it even though he was afraid of heights and had to jump into the sea from a high point. In addition, the freezing sea made things worse and there was no room for a rehearsal nor retake. As such, he was particularly impressed with Narumi who went through the scene without any complaints and issues and joked that he was led along by her instead of the other way around.

Source: Cinema Cafe

Kawaguchi Haruna to play Chiba Yudai's wife in TBS Winter 2016 drama "Kazoku no Katachi"

Kawaguchi Haruna will be playing Chiba Yudai's wife in the TBS Winter 2016 drama "Kazoku no Katachi" and make her first appearance from the 4th episode to be shown on 7 February. In the drama, Chiba plays Irie Haruto, the junior of Katori Shingo's character at a stationery manufacturer, and has been hiding the fact that he is already married to Akane (Kawaguchi). Due to an undisclosed reason, the couple has yet to hold a wedding ceremony. In episode 5, they will be holding a wedding which was shot at a church in Tokyo on 2 February.

Kawaguchi commented that as this is the first time she is acting in a wedding scene and dressed in a long bridal gown, she was quite emotional about it and hope that she will be able to do the same when she gets married for real. As she only joined the filming halfway as a guest star, Kawaguchi revealed that she felt relaxed about it especially with Katori taking the effort to care for everyone on the set. With regard to her collaboration with Chiba who she has worked with many times to date, she praised Chiba for being very cute but she would prefer a man with a wilder feel when it comes to her ideal guy.

Source: Cinema Cafe

Takenouchi Yutaka to return in the drama SP sequel of "Suteki na Sentakushi"

Takenouchi Yutaka will be reprising his role in the drama SP sequel of "Suteki na Sentakushi" which is due to be shown this spring via FujiTV. The original drama series shown in autumn 2014 was written by comedian Baka Rhythm and featured Takenouchi as Edawakare, a talkative and nosey taxi driver who could drive his passengers to the past when they could make different decisions to change their lives. In this sequel, Edawakare goes to a hot spring town by chance and meets various guests staying at the hot spring ryokan there where he will get involved in their issues and cause trouble for himself. In contrast to the drama series where only one passenger was featured in each episode, the drama SP will feature multiple passengers at the same time. Baka Rhythm who won the Ichikawa Shinichi Script Award's encouragement prize for this drama's script, will be writing the script for the SP.

Co-stars in the SP will include regulars from the drama series including Baka Rhythm who plays the manager of the cafe "choice" frequented by Edawakare, Minamisawa Nao and Seino Nana who play waitresses at the cafe and a regular customer played by Masu Takeshi.

Source: Cinema Cafe

Saturday, February 06, 2016

Matsuyama Kenichi to play a genius shogi player in new movie "Satoshi no Seishun"

Matsuyama Kenichi will play a genius shogi player in the new movie "Satoshi no Seishun" (The Youth of Satoshi) directed by Mori Yoshitaka which will be screened in autumn this year. The movie which is based on a non-fiction novel by Osaki Yoshio about a genius shogi player Murayama Satoshi who passed away at the young age of 29 years old in 1998 due to bladder cancer. Despite being regarded as the genius in West Japan and rivals with Habu Yoshiharu in East Japan, Murayama couldn't realise his dream of rising to the Meijin rank due to his early demise.

As Murayama suffered from kidney nephrosis since he was a child, he was constantly hospitalised. His father then suggested that his son learn shogi which led to the latter starting to dream of being a Meijin one day. Due to his illness, Murayama put on weight gradually thus leading to his big build. Despite his health condition, Murayama poured everything into his shogi career and was still talking about shogi while on his deathbed.

In order to look like Murayama, Matsuyama started to increase his food intake since last summer by eating every few hours and put on a lot of weight. In addition, he started to visit the Tokyo Shogi Kaikan in order to improve his shogi skills and even let his hair and nails grow longer. As a result, even Murayama's teacher Mori Nobuo Shichidan said that Matsuyama bore a striking resemblance to his late student. Matsuyama commented that when he read the book on Murayama, he had wanted to act as the latter and was especially touched by how he used his life to pursue his passion. It was especially difficult for him to portray the inner world of Murayama who was battling his illness so in order to know more about Murayama, Matsuyama went to visit his grave in Hiroshima and met with his parents and teacher Mori Nobuo before interviewing patients who had the same condition. As such, with his preparations to portray Murayama as accurately as possible, Matsuyama was confident about making a strong impression on everyone who watch this movie.

The novel's author Osaki revealed that the first time he was approached about the movie adaptation was 10 years ago and he was convinced by the production crew's passion and perseverance after all these years of hard work. He was especially impressed with Matsuyama's efforts in changing his image to play the role and is eagerly anticipating about seeing Murayama on screen for the first time in 17 years.

Filming began from last month and is expected to end in the middle of this month. Further cast announcements will be made at a later date.

Source: Sponichi / Oricon

Completion screening event and press conference of new movie "Everest Kamigami no Itadaki"

The completion screening event and press conference of new movie "Everest Kamigami no Itadaki" was held on 4 February which was attended by cast members Okada Junichi, Abe Hiroshi, Ono Machiko, Sasaki Kuranosuke, Pierre Taki, Komoto Masahiro, Kazama Shunsuke and the director Hirayama Hideyuki. The movie which will be shown in cinemas from 12 March, is based on the bestselling novel by Yumemakura Baku which features a group of men who aspires to conquer Everest at 8,848 metres above sea level in freezing conditions of minus 50 degrees Celsius. This movie is the first Japanese film to be shot at 5,200 metres above sea level on location at Everest over 10 days.

When asked about the filming at Everest, Okada revealed that as he had to climb at the front of the pack with Abe and Ono following behind him, he had to put up a front and not show his weakness in front of them. As the staff and cast had to measure the oxygen level in their blood twice each day, Okada decided to cheat a little by breathing in a lot of oxygen before taking the measurement test so as to pretend that he was not suffering from the thin oxygen level at the high altitude. This was to avoid being told to descend from the mountain if he developed altitude sickness especially since there was no double for him thus he didn't want to disrupt the filming. Upon hearing this, Abe said that he didn't realise that Okada did it and revealed with a smile that he did the same which made the audience laugh. In response, Ono said that she didn't resort to such tricks and was surprised to know that the two actors had resorted to this.

Due to the tough conditions, Okada and Abe said that they lost about 3 to 4kg after the trip but Ono turned out to be the only one who put on 3kg. When asked about this, she commented that she didn't really know what happened but as she ate full meals every time and drank a lot of milk tea to replenish the water lost, Ono gathered that this was how she put on the weight. This led Okada to praise her as the toughest actress in Japan now to be able to survive such tough conditions.

Source: Sponichi / Oricon

Murakami Hiroaki, Gouriki Ayame & Jinnai Takanori to appear in TV Tokyo drama SP "Soushitsu no Girei"

Murakami Hiroaki, Gouriki Ayame and Jinnai Takanori will be appearing in the upcoming TV Tokyo drama SP "Soushitsu no Girei" (The rite of loss) based on the late Matsumoto Seicho's novel. This will be the second time that the trio is working together since the drama SP "Kuroi Gasshuu Kusa" shown in March last year which is also based on another Matsumoto Seicho novel.

This drama SP which is expected to be shown in spring this year, features Murakami as Otsuka Kyosuke, a police inspector at Shizuoka Prefectural Police who will not stop at investigating something he is interested in while Gouriki plays Tamura Misaki. a newbie police officer and Jinnai plays Suda Kohei, a police officer from Tokyo who is a lone wolf and doesn't work well with others.

Murakami commented that his combination with Gouriki feels more like a father-and-child pair of detectives and cited the depth of Matsumoto Seicho's stories and the interaction among the three detectives as a key selling point of this drama SP. As for Gouriki, she said that in the last SP, her character was more of a follower who listened to her superior all the time but this time, she will be playing a more active role in the investigation. Jinnai revealed that there was a scene which they shot at a lake where they had to bear with the attacks of mosquitoes and not let it affect them while the filming was going on.

In this drama SP, the story begins with a medical seminar held in Shizuoka Prefecture where a doctor from Tokyo is found murdered. At the same time, another doctor who attended the same seminar was also killed in Tokyo. As Otsuka feel that there is a link between the cases, he goes to Tokyo with Tamura to investigate the murders along with Suda.

Source: Nikkansports / Cinema Cafe

Top 100 best actors and actresses as rated by "Shukan Gendai" in 2015

The following is a top 100 best actors and actresses ranking as released by "Shukan Gendai" in their 17th/24th January issue last year. How the results were derived were from assessments from four judges i.e. Usui Hiroyoshi, a professor at Sophia University who teaches media theory, Kusakabe Goro, a former movie producer at Toei, Nakamori Akio who is a critic and Yamada Mihoko who is a broadcast programme writer as well as points assigned for criteria such as the awards won to date and ratings of their works. Numbers in brackets refer to the number of points given to the actor/actress.

Much as I do not really agree with the positions of some actors in this ranking and the number of people who share the same positions are a tad too many (thus affecting the credibility of this ranking), I thought that the results might be of interest to the readers here so decided to share the ranking:

Best 50 Actors
1) Tsutsumi Shinichi (97)
2) Kagawa Teruyuki (93)
3) Fujiwara Tatsuya (92)
4) Yakusho Koji (90)
5) Asano Tadanobu (89)
6) Omori Nao / Sakai Masato (87)
8) Sato Koichi (86)
9) Watanabe Ken (82)
10) Hamada Gaku (81)

11) Moriyama Mirai (80)
12) Kitaoji Kinya (77)
13) Kamiki Ryunosuke / Hasegawa Hiroki (74)
15) Okada Junichi (71)
16) Yamada Takayuki / Toyokawa Etsushi (70)
18) Nakai Kiichi (69)
19) Nishijima Hidetoshi / Miura Tomokazu (68)

21) Nishida Toshiyuki (66)
22) Mizutani Yutaka (65)
23) Saito Takumi (63)
24) Motoki Masahiro (60)
25) Ikematsu Sosuke / Oguri Shun (59)
27) Oizumi Yo (58)
28) Karasawa Toshiaki (56)
29) Fukuyama Masaharu (55)
30) Ibu Masato (52)

31) Sanada Hiroyuki / Abe Sadao (49)
33) Abe Hiroshi / Sato Takeru (45)
35) Higashide Masahiro (44)
36) Ihara Tsuyoshi (43)
37) Endo Kenichi / Yagira Yuya / Kamikawa Takaya (40)
40) Kohinata Fumio / Matsuyama Kenichi (39)

42) Shibata Kyohei (38)
43) Takenaka Naoto (37)
44) Osawa Takao (35)
45) Sasaki Kuranosuke (34)
46) Uchino Seiyo (31)
47) Takenouchi Yutaka / Tsumabuki Satoshi (30)
49) Eguchi Yosuke (28)
50) Tamaki Hiroshi (24)

Best 50 Actresses
1) Mitsushima Hikari (95)
2) Terajima Shinobu (94)
3) Inoue Mao (92)
4) Miyazawa Rie (91)
5) Aso Kumiko (88)
6) Matsu Takako (87)
7) Ono Machiko (86)
8) Nikaido Fumi (84)
9) Aoi Yu (83)
10) Ayase Haruka (81)

11) Ishida Yuriko (80)
12) Yonekura Ryoko (78)
13) Takahata Atsuko (76)
14) Otake Shinobu (75)
15) Kuroki Haru (73)
16) Kanjiya Shihori (72)
17) Ando Sakura (71)
18) Koizumi Kyoko / Maki Yoko (70)
20) Yoshitaka Yuriko (69)

21) Fukatsu Eri / Ishihara Satomi (68)
23) Kanno Miho (66)
24) An (65)
25) Ikewaki Chizuru (63)
26) Yoshida Yo / Ueto Aya (60)
28) Kikuchi Rinko (59)
29) Nagasaku Hiromi (56)
30) Hashimoto Ai (54)

31) Yakushimaru Hiroko (50)
32) Suzuki Sawa / Arimura Kasumi / Tabe Mikako (49)
35) Adachi Yumi (48)
36) Kimura Midoriko (45)
37) Shinohara Ryoko (43)
38) Hirosue Ryoko (42)
39) Miyazaki Aoi / Nakatani Miki / Kuroki Hitomi (40)

42) Suzuki Kyoka (38)
43) Takaoka Saki (37)
44) Nakama Yukie (35)
45) Kimura Tae (32)
46) Kuriyama Chiaki (30)
47) Sawajiri Erika (26)
48) Nounen Rena (25)
49) Nagasawa Masami (23)
50) Takanashi Rin (21)

Source: Shukan Gendai

Completion screening event of WOWOW drama "Megabank Saishu Kessen"

The completion screening event of new WOWOW drama "Megabank Saishu Kessen" was held on 4 February which was attended by the cast Shiina Kippei, Kiritani Kenta, Ishibashi Ryo, Ogawa Tamaki and Otozuki Kei. The drama which will begin its run from 14 February in the Sundays 10pm timeslot, is based on the novel by Hatano Sho.

Shiina plays the role of a skillful dealer who works in a megabank that finds itself saddled with huge debts due to the fall of Japan's national bonds and teams up with Kiritani's character who is a member of the general affairs department to complete the largest merger deal to date.

During the event, there was a small celebration for Kiritani who celebrated his 36th birthday on the same day. A cake bearing a sketch of him was brought onto stage and the audience popped crackers for him. Kiritani admitted that he did see the words "surprise" and "cake" on the rundown sheet and wondered if it was for him but he didn't know about the crackers so was pleasantly surprised.

Source: Oricon

Friday, February 05, 2016

Kuroki Haru to star in TBS Spring 2016 drama "Juuhan Shuttai"


Kuroki Haru will be taking on her first leading role in a drama series when she appears in the upcoming TBS Spring 2016 drama "Juuhan Shuttai" which will begin its run from April in the Tuesdays 10pm timeslot. The title of the drama is a jargon term used in the publishing business which means a reprint due to great reviews. The drama which is based on the same-titled manga by Matsuda Naoko currently being serialised in "Gekkan! Spirits", features Kuroki as Kurosawa Kokoro, a former national judo athlete who gave up her dream of taking part in the Olympics due to an injury. She becomes a newbie editor at a weekly manga magazine's editorial department and tries to resurrect the sluggish industry with her perseverance and guts. In order to look convincing in her judo scenes, Kuroki has been undergoing intensive training since autumn last year.

Co-stars include Odagiri Jo, Sakaguchi Kentaro and Matsushige Yutaka.

Sources: Sanspo / Sponichi

Tanaka Rena announces her marriage

Tanaka Rena announced her marriage through her agency on 5 February. According to her agency, Tanaka's husband is a 40-year-old doctor who she met through friends and started dating since last summer. In her statement, Tanaka revealed that they had submitted their marriage application on the same day and commented that she was attracted to her husband's honest character and mild temperament. She also commented that she would like to build a warm family with him who understands her well and continue working hard on each project that comes her way. Tanaka ended the signed statement by thanking everyone for their support so far and asked for the same going forward.

Tanaka made her debut in the 1998 Suntory beverage CM "Nacchan" and acted in her first movie "Ganbatte Ikimasshoi" the same year. She can be seen in the ongoing NHK drama "Itooshikute".

Source: Oricon

Kitagawa Hiromi announces her marriage

Kitagawa Hiromi announced her marriage on 2 February which was also her 35th birthday to her boyfriend of 2 years. According to her agency, the couple met through friends and started dating soon after. They selected Kitagawa's birthday which also happened to be an auspicious day for marriage and went to a ward office in Tokyo together to submit the marriage application. There are no plans for a wedding yet and Kitagawa is not pregnant now and will continue her acting career as usual.

Kitagawa made her debut in 1998 as a Unichika Summer Campaign girl and has been seen in various dramas including 2005 TV Tokyo drama "Joou" where she took on the leading role. She is also a regular member of variety and news shows such as FujiTV's "Mezamashi Terebi".

In her statement, Kitagawa praised her husband for being a gentle and honest person who she could be at ease with and hopes to spend her future with him. She also pledged to do even better in her career from now on and called for everyone's continued support in future.

Sources: Sanspo / Sponichi

Higashide Masahiro, Ikematsu Sosuke & Suda Masaki to star in sequel movie "Death Note 2016"

The new sequel movie in the "Death Note" series i.e. "Death Note 2016" directed by Sato Shinsuke, will be screened in autumn this year and features Higashide Masahiro, Ikematsu Sosuke and Suda Masaki as the leads. The original Death Note movies shown in 2006 were the first in Japanese film history to be made into two parts and featured Fujiwara Tatsuya and Matsuyama Kenichi in the leading roles of Yagami Light and L.

In the sequel movie, it takes place 10 years after the end of the movie where there will be a battle over the ownership of six volumes of the Death Note scattered at different locations on Earth. Higashide plays Mishima, an assistant inspector who is the leader of a team set up to deal with Death Note-related cases and knows a lot about what happened 10 years ago, Ikematsu plays Ryuzaki who is the successor of L while Suda plays a terrorist Shion who idolises Kira (Yagami Light) and gets involved in the battle over the ownership of the Death Notes.

Higashide commented that he is very happy to be able to participate in the movie especially since he had read the manga and watched the original movies 10 years ago. Ikematsu said that although he was prepared for negative remarks about his character which can be said to be born from Matsuyama's very successful and popular character, he hopes that his performance will exceed expectations. Suda also revealed that he hoped that their movie will be even better than the original movies.

Source: Nikkansports / Sanspo / Yomiuri Hochi

The 87th Drama Academy Awards (Autumn 2015) - Best Drama Theme Song

Overall Ranking Top 3
1) Christmas Song - back number (5-ji kara 9-ji made Watashi ni koishita obosan)
2) Sora ga mata kuraku naru - RC Succession (Okashi no Ie)
3) Anata ga koko ni ite dakishimeru koto ga dekiru nara - miwa (Kounodori)

Voters Ranking Top 5
1) Christmas Song - back number (5-ji kara 9-ji made Watashi ni koishita obosan)
2) MUGEN ROAD - Sandaime J Soul Brothers from EXILE TRIBE (HIGH&LOW)
3) No.1 by Nishino Kana (Okitegami Kyoko no Biboroku)
4) AAO by Kis-My-Ft2 (Seishun Tantei Haruya)
5) Anata ga koko ni ite dakishimeru koto ga dekiru nara - miwa (Kounodori)

TV Reporters Ranking Top 5
1) Christmas Song - back number (5-ji kara 9-ji made Watashi ni koishita obosan)
2) Samurai Song - Kanjani 8 (Samurai Sensei)
3) Girl A - Alexandros (Siren Keiji x Kanojo x Kanzen Akujo)
4) Anata ga koko ni ite dakishimeru koto ga dekiru nara - miwa (Kounodori)
5) MUGEN ROAD - Sandaime J Soul Brothers from EXILE TRIBE (HIGH&LOW) / Sora ga mata kuraku naru - RC Succession (Okashi no Ie) / What You Want - JUJU (Gisou no Fuufu) / Kuroi Shizuku - Superfly (Mutsu ~ Mieru no Me)

Judges Ranking Top 5
1) Sora ga mata kuraku naru - RC Succession (Okashi no Ie)
2) Anata ga koko ni ite dakishimeru koto ga dekiru nara - miwa (Kounodori)
3) Hanataba - Nakashima Mika (Otona Joshi)
4) Christmas Song - back number (5-ji kara 9-ji made Watashi ni koishita obosan)
5) Kuroi Shizuku - Superfly (Mutsu ~ Mieru no Me)

Source: The Television

The 87th Drama Academy Awards (Autumn 2015) - Best Supporting Actress

Overall Ranking Top 3
1) Nanao - Siren Keiji x Kanojo x Kanzen Akujo
2) Yoshida Yo - Kounodori
3) Kimura Fumino - Siren Keiji x Kanojo x Kanzen Akujo

Voters Ranking Top 5
1) Nanao - Siren Keiji x Kanojo x Kanzen Akujo
2) Takanashi Rin - 5-ji kara 9-ji made Watashi ni koishita obosan
3) Yoshida Yo - Kounodori
4) Matsuoka Mayu - Kounodori
5) Uchida Rio - Okitegami Kyoko no Biboroku

TV Reporters Ranking Top 5
1) Nanao - Siren Keiji x Kanojo x Kanzen Akujo
2) Kimura Fumino - Siren Keiji x Kanojo x Kanzen Akujo
3) Yoshida Yo - Kounodori
4) Matsuoka Mayu - Kounodori
5) Morikawa Aoi - Prison School

Judges Ranking Top 5
1) Nanao - Siren Keiji x Kanojo x Kanzen Akujo
2) Yoshida Yo - Kounodori
3) Ono Machiko - Okashi no Ie
4) Kimura Fumino - Siren Keiji x Kanojo x Kanzen Akujo
5) Mamoru Asana - Prison School

The 87th Drama Academy Awards (Autumn 2015) - Best Supporting Actor

Overall Ranking Top 3
1) Kikkawa Koji - Shitamachi Rocket
2) Yamashita Tomohisa - 5-ji kara 9-ji made Watashi ni koishita obosan
3) Kamiki Ryunosuke - Samurai Sensei

Voters Ranking Top 5
1) Yamashita Tomohisa - 5-ji kara 9-ji made Watashi ni koishita obosan
2) Okada Masaki - Okitegami Kyoko no Biboroku
3) Kitayama Hiromitsu - Siren Keiji x Kanojo x Kanzen Akujo
4) Kamiki Ryunosuke - Samurai Sensei
5) Arioka Daiki - Okitegami Kyoko no Biboroku

TV Reporters Ranking Top 5
1) Kikkawa Koji - Shitamachi Rocket
2) Kamiki Ryunosuke - Samurai Sensei
3) Yasuda Ken - Shitamachi Rocket
4) Koizumi Kotaro - Shitamachi Rocket
5) Tatekawa Danshun - Shitamachi Rocket

Judges Ranking Top 5
1) Sawamura Ikki - Gisou Fuufu
2) Kikkawa Koji - Shitamachi Rocket
3) Nakamura Aoi - Mutsu ~ Mieru Me ~
4) Yasuda Ken - Shitamachi Rocket
5) Hoshino Gen - Kounodori

The 87th Drama Academy Awards (Autumn 2015) - Best Leading Actress

Overall Ranking Top 3
1) Ishihara Satomi - 5-ji kara 9-ji made Watashi ni koishita obosan
2) Aragaki Yui - Okitegami Kyoko no Biboroku
3) Amami Yuki - Gisou no Fuufu

Voters Ranking Top 5
1) Ishihara Satomi - 5-ji kara 9-ji made Watashi ni koishita obosan
2) Aragaki Yui - Okitegami Kyoko no Biboroku
3) Amami Yuki - Gisou no Fuufu
4) Inoue Mao - Hana Moyu
5) Shinohara Ryoko - Otona Joshi

TV Reporters Ranking Top 5
1) Ishihara Satomi - 5-ji kara 9-ji made Watashi ni koishita obosan
2) Aragaki Yui - Okitegami Kyoko no Biboroku
3) Amami Yuki - Gisou no Fuufu
4) Inoue Mao - Hana Moyu
5) Shinohara Ryoko - Otona Joshi

Judges Ranking Top 5
1) Amami Yuki - Gisou no Fuufu
2) Aragaki Yui - Okitegami Kyoko no Biboroku
3) Ishihara Satomi - 5-ji kara 9-ji made Watashi ni koishita obosan
4) Inoue Mao - Hana Moyu
5) Karina - Kekkon shiki no zenjitsu ni / Sakuma Yui - Transit Girls

Source: The Television

The 87th Drama Academy Awards (Autumn 2015) - Best Leading Actor

Overall Ranking Top 3
1) Abe Hiroshi - Shitamachi Rocket
2) Ayano Go - Kounodori
3) Matsuzaka Toori - Siren Keiji x Kanojo x Kanzen Akujo

Voters Ranking Top 5
1) Ayano Go - Kounodori
2) Abe Hiroshi - Shitamachi Rocket
3) Nishikido Ryo - Samurai Sensei
4) Iwata Takanori - HIGH&LOW
5) Matsuzaka Toori - Siren Keiji x Kanojo x Kanzen Akujo

TV Reporters Ranking Top 5
1) Abe Hiroshi - Shitamachi Rocket
2) Matsuzaka Toori - Siren Keiji x Kanojo x Kanzen Akujo
3) Ayano Go - Kounodori
4) Nishikido Ryo - Samurai Sensei
5) Kamikawa Takaya - Angel Heart

Judges Ranking Top 5
1) Abe Hiroshi - Shitamachi Rocket
2) Ayano Go - Kounodori
3) Hamada Gaku - Tsuri Baka Nisshi
4) Odagiri Jo - Okashi no Ie / Matsuzaka Toori - Siren Keiji x Kanojo x Kanzen Akujo / Nishijima Hidetoshi - Mutsu ~ Mieru Me ~ / Matsushige Yutaka - Kodoku no Gurume / Mukai Osamu - Isan Sozoku

Source: The Televison

The 87th Drama Academy Awards (Autumn 2015) - Best Drama

Overall Ranking Top 3
1) Shitamachi Rocket (TBS)
2) Kounodori (TBS)
3) Siren Keiji x Kanojo x Kanzen Akujo (FujiTV)

Voters Ranking Top 5
1) 5-ji kara 9-ji made Watashi ni koishita obosan (FujiTV)
2) Okitegami Kyoko no Biboroku (NTV)
3) HIGH&LOW ~ THE STORY OF S.W.O.R.D ~ (NTV)
4) Kounodori (TBS)
5) Shitamachi Rocket (TBS)

TV Reporters Ranking Top 5
1) Shitamachi Rocket (TBS)
2) Siren Keiji x Kanojo x Kanzen Akujo (FujiTV)
3) Kounodori (TBS)
4) Samurai Sensei (TV Asahi)
5) 5-ji kara 9-ji made Watashi ni koishita obosan (FujiTV)

Judges Ranking Top 5
1) Shitamachi Rocket (TBS)
2) Kounodori (TBS)
3) Gisou no Fuufu (NTV)
4) Okashi no Ie (TBS)
5) Siren Keiji x Kanojo x Kanzen Akujo (FujiTV) / Transit Girls (FujiTV)

Winners of the 89th Kinema Junpo Best Ten (2015)

Best Japanese movie director: Hashiguchi Ryosuke (Koibitotachi)

Best Japanese movie script: Hashiguchi Ryosuke (Koibitotachi)

Best Leading Actress: Fukatsu Eri (Kishibe no Tabi / Kiseijuu Kanketsuhen)

Best Leading Actor: Ninomiya Kazunari (Haha to Kuraseba)

Best Supporting Actress: Kuroki Haru (Haha to Kuraseba / Maku ga agaru / Solomon no Gishou Parts 1 and 2)

Best Supporting Actor: Motoki Masahiro (Nihon no Ichiban Nagai Hi / Tenkuu no Hachi)

Best Female Newcomer: Hirose Suzu (Umimachi diary)

Best Male Newcomer: Shinohara Atsushi (Koibitotachi)

Best Foreign movie director: George Miller (Mad Max: Fury Road)

Best Japanese Movie: Koibitotachi

Best Foreign Movie: Mad Max: Fury Road

Best Cultural Movie: Okinawa Urizun no Ame

Best 10 Japanese movies
1) Koibitotachi
2) Nobi
3) Happy Hour
4) Umimachi diary
5) Kishibe no tabi
6) GONIN Saga
7) Kono kuni no sora
8) Solomon no Gishou Parts 1 and 2
9) Haha to Kuraseba
10) Kimi wa Iiko / Rolling

Best 10 Foreign movies
1) Mad Max: Fury Road
2) American Sniper
3) The Strange Case of Angelica
4) Birdman
5) The Assassin
6) History of the Arkanar Massacre
7) Whiplash
8) Winter Sleep
9) Inherent Vice
10) Still Life

Source: Kinema Junpo

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Nominees from Japan in the 10th Asian Film Awards (2016)

Best Film: Koibitotachi

Best Director: Koreeda Hirokazu (Umimachi Diary)

Best Actor: Nagase Masatoshi (An)

Best Actress: Ayase Haruka (Umimachi Diary)

Best Supporting Actor: Asano Tadanobu (Kishibe no Tabi)

Best Supporting Actress: Tsuchiya Anna (Gonin Saga) / Ueno Juri (The Beauty Inside - Korean film)

Best Newcomer: Fujino Ryoko (Solomon no Gishou Part 1 and Part 2)

Best Screenplay: Ujita Takashi & Kurosawa Kiyoshi (Kishibe no Tabi)

Best Editing: Ozeki Yasuyuki (Bakuman)

Best Cinematography: Sasakibara Yasushi & Yamamoto Yoshiaki (Gonin Saga)

Best Original Music: Otomo Yoshihide (Kishibe no Tabi)

Best Costume Design: Miyamoto Masae (Kakekomi Onna to Kakedashi Otoko)

Best Production Design: Harada Tetsuo (Kakekomi Onna to Kakedashi Otoko)

Best Visual Effects: Onoue Katsuro (Shingeki no Kyojin)

Best Sound: Watanabe Shinji (Bakuman) / Nishiyama Toru (Zane - Sunde wa Ikenai Heya -)

Source: The 10th Asian Film Awards

Winners of the Elandor Awards 2016

Producer Award (Movie): Nasuda Jun (Biri Gal)

Producer Award (Drama): Sakurai Ken (Massan)

Producer Encouragement Award (Movie): Sato Gen (Hyakuen no Koi)

Producer Encouragement Award (Drama): Asano Futoshi & Saito Hiroyuki (Tsuri Baka Nisshi ~ Shinnyu Shain Hamasaki Densuke ~)

Elandor Newcomer Award
Emoto Tasuku
Arimura Kasumi
Suda Masaki
Tsuchiya Tao
Tamayama Tetsuji
Yoshida Yo

Sources: Sanspo / Elandor Awards

Fukuyama Masaharu to star in FujiTV Spring 2016 drama "Love Song"

Fukuyama Masaharu will be starring in the new FujiTV Spring 2016 drama "Love Song" which is due to begin its run from April in the Mondays 9pm timeslot. This will be his first appearance in a drama since he got married to Fukiishi Kazue last September.

Fukuyama plays a 44-year-old former professional guitarist who tries to regain what he had lost in the past after meeting a woman who has to deal with loneliness in her life. It will be his first attempt at playing a musician in a drama and he is expected to perform songs with a guitar in this drama. His last appearance in a Gekku drama was Spring 2013's "Galileo".

Source: Sankei Sports

Monday, February 01, 2016

Insert song of "Watashi wo hanasanai de" to be released via online streaming

The insert song "Never Let Me Go" featured in the ongoing TBS Winter 2016 drama "Watashi wo hanasanai de" has been released via online streaming portals as of 29 January. The song sung by Julie Shortreed, is an original composition with lyrics written by Shortreed herself and was featured in the first episode where the child actors of Kyoko (Ayase Haruka) and Tomohiko (Miura Haruma) were dancing to the music in an empty classroom. Following the broadcast, the TV station was swarmed with queries about the song thus leading to the release via online streaming.

Shortreed is a singer who has a Canadian father and Japanese mother and has been a model, composer and singer ever since she came to Tokyo to work. She began her music career officially from 2010 and has been heard in various CM songs. Her most recent works were her songs in the movie "Umimachi diary" and the anime "Tokyo Ghoul".

Source: Oricon