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Sunday, May 29, 2016

Takei Emi & Takizawa Hideaki to star in TBS Summer 2016 drama "Seiseisuru hodo, Aishiteru"

Takei Emi and Takizawa Hideaki will be working together for the first time in the upcoming TBS Summer 2016 drama "Seiseisuru hodo, Aishiteru" (Loving you without reservations) which will begin its run from July in the Tuesdays 10pm timeslot. The drama which is based on the same-titled manga by Kitagawa Miyuki, features Takei as the heroine Kurihara Mia who works in the PR department of a company and meets the vice-president of her company Miyoshi Kairi unknowingly when he helps her during a business trip. Later, when Kairi is sent to Mia's department for training, she is assigned to be his mentor. Despite the fact that Kairi is already married, the two of them come to fall for each other as they work together. Co-stars include Nakamura Aoi who plays Miyazawa Ryo, Kairi's rival in love and a capable salesperson from a competitor, Mizusawa Erena who plays Mia's housemate Masaki Akari and an employee of a publisher, Triendl Reina who is also Mia's housemate and a model named Miyama Chiaki who has a possessive streak when it comes to love and Takahashi Mitsuomi who plays Mia's ex-boyfriend.

Sources: Sanspo / Yomiuri Hochi / Sponichi / Oricon

Higashiyama Noriyuki to be back in the sequel of "Keiji Shichinin" this summer

Higashiyama Noriyuki will be back in the sequel of TV Asahi drama "Keiji Shichinin" (7 Police Detectives) this summer in the Wednesdays 9pm timeslot. His co-stars including Kitaoji Kinya, Takashima Masahiro, Kataoka Ainosuke, Suzuki Kosuke, Kurashina Kana and Yoshida Kotaro will be back as well in the new installment.

"Keiji Shichinin" was first aired in summer 2015 featuring the 7 actors who play 6 detectives and 1 pathology professor belonging to the 12th section of the Metropolitan Police Department's 1st department which is jokingly known as the graveyard for police detectives. They work together to solve various difficult cases using their expertise in different areas. In the sequel though, the key characters have been transferred to different departments to work in but are grouped together in a new unit to handle some unique cases.

Filming will begin in early June.

Source: Oricon

Nanao to act in FujiTV Summer 2016 Gekku "Suki na hito ga iru koto"

Nanao will be acting in the upcoming FujiTV Summer 2016 Gekku "Suki na hito ga iru koto" which will begin its run from July in the Mondays 9pm timeslot. This will be her first appearance in a Gekku drama.

In the drama, Kiritani Mirei plays the heroine Sakurai Misaki who is a patissier working part-time at a seaside restaurant managed by three brothers played by Miura Shohei, Yamazaki Kento and Nomura Shuhei. Nanao plays the role of Takatsuki Kaede, a pianist returning from boston who used to be a classmate of Misaki and will be her rival in love. Despite having played various evil or bad woman roles in dramas such as "First Class" and "Siren", this will be her first time playing a gentle and ideal type of woman.

Source: Oricon

Cast announcement press conference of 2017 NHK Taiga drama "Onna Joushu Naotora"

The cast announcement press conference of 2017 NHK Taiga drama "Onna Joushu Naotora" (The female castle lord Naotora) was held on 26 May which was attended by the lead Shibasaki Kou, Sugimoto Tetta, Zaizen Naomi, Maeda Gin, Kobayashi Kaoru, Miura Haruma, Takahashi Issei, Yagira Yuya, Kanjiya Shihori and Muro Tsuyoshi. The drama will be written by Morishita Yoshiko who was responsible for the NHK morning drama "Gochisousan" while the narrator will be Nakamura Baijaku.

The drama features Shibasaki as the only daughter of the Ii family in the present-day Shizuoka Prefecture during the Warring States era who was given a male name Naotora despite her gender. Naotora's parents will be played by Sugimoto and Zaizen while her fiance will be played by Miura who appeared as a child actor in the 2006 Taiga "MUSASHI" in 2003 and "Komyo ga Tsuji" in 2006. Yagira who makes his first appearance in a Taiga drama, will be playing the head of a bandit group who is a newly-created character that didn't exist in history. As for Takahashi, he had been seen in four previous Taiga dramas i.e. "Genroku Ryouran" in 1999, "Shinsengumi!" in 2004, "Fuurin Kazan" in 2007 and "Gunshi Kanbee" in 2014.

Other actors in the cast include Ukaji Takashi, Fukikoshi Mitsuru, Kariya Shunsuke, Denden and Kakei Toshio.

Sources: NHK / Oricon / My Navi

Real-life adaptation movie of "Hagane no Renkin Jutsushi" to be made

There will be a real-life adaptation movie of "Hagane no Renkin Jutsushi" (Fullmetal Alchemist) to be made which features Hey! Say! JUMP's Yamada Ryosuke as the lead character Edward Elric. The movie which is based on Arakawa Hiromu's bestselling same-titled manga serialised since 2001 and had sold more than 70m copies to date, features the Elric brothers Edward (Ed) and Alphonse (Al) who embark on a journey to find the Philosopher's Stone so as to regain their bodies lost when performing a forbidden alchemy ritual to bring their mother back to life. As a result, Ed has mechanical limbs to replace his lost right arm and left leg. As for Al, his soul is attached to a huge metal armour since he has lost his entire body. The movie which is directed by Sori Fumihiko, will be shot in Italy from June before continuing in Japan and is expected to be wrapped up at the end of August.

The list of the cast is as follows:

Edward Elric - Yamada Ryosuke
Winry Rockbell - Honda Tsubasa
Roy Mustang - Dean Fujioka
Lust - Matsuyuki Yasuko
Maes Hughes - Sato Ryuta
Riza Hawkeye - Renbutsu Misako
Maria Ross - Natsuna
Shou Tucker - Oizumi Yo
Tim Marcoh - Kunimura Jun
General Hakuro - Kohinata Fumio
Envy - Hongo Kanata
Gluttony - Uchiyama Shinji
Cornello - Ishimaru Kenjiro

Source: Oricon

Comments: Frankly speaking, I'm not very thrilled at seeing a Hagaren adaptation especially considering the action scenes and the amount of CG needed. It brings to mind the bad memories I had with "Shingeki no Kyojin". In fact, it seems like there is this belief among critics that adaptations set primarily in Japan and features Japanese characters tend to do better overall e.g. Death Note. On the other hand, if the source material is based on another country and features non-Japanese characters, it is generally more difficult to replicate the feel and atmosphere. In Shingeki's case, the European feel of the story's setting and the deliberate changing of the characters' names from German-sounding to Japanese Katakana ones were pointed out as some of the major reasons why the films did not do well.

With every real-life adaptation, there is bound to be disagreement over who plays which character. By the looks of this lineup, it seems more like a selection of the more popular actors rather than those who may look more like the actual characters. For example, in the case of Mustang who is one of my favourite characters, I thought that Oikawa Mitsuhiro would be more suited to show the narcissistic side of the character. In fact, the author of the manga had actually mentioned before that he had Oikawa in mind when designing Mustang. Not that I have anything against Dean Fujioka though. As for Yamada, his image of Kindaichi Hajime sticks too much in my mind that I have trouble visualising him as Ed. Winry is supposed to have a long ponytail but Honda who has been sporting short hair all this while? Sato Ryuta as Hughes? Natsuna as Ross? I'm quite baffled by why they were chosen but anyway, hopefully they will prove me wrong. The only person who I'm quite confident of is Matsuyuki Yasuko who plays Lust.

There are some very obvious omissions in the cast list i.e. Al and Sloth. I know Al appears in an armour most of the time so they will probably take care of that via CG but surely there must be someone who plays Al before he lost his body. Sloth is also important due to her significance to the Elric brothers but there's no mention of this character. Too many questions to be answered so I'm quite apprehensive as to how this will work out.

Jinnai Takanori to be director for new movie "Kofuku no Alibi ~ Picture ~"

Jinnai Takanori's first directorial attempt in 9 years will be the upcoming film "Kofuku no Alibi ~ Picture ~" (The Alibi of Happiness ~ Picture ~) which is due to be shown from this April. His last two films as director were "Rockers" in 2003 which talks about his own band and 2007's "Smile Seiya no Kiseki" which has an ice hockey theme.

The new film which is about the key ceremonial occasions of one's life such as birth, marriage and death, was first conceptualised by Jinnai five years ago and he approached Kiyasu Kohei, who is known for his works such as "Kirishima, Bukatsu yamerutte yo", to write the script. Many of his actor friends were roped in to join the cast including Nakai Kiichi, Yanagiba Toshiro, Daichi Yasuo, Sato Jiro, Yamazaki Shigenori, Kinami Haruka, Asari Yosuke, Watanabe Dai, Kimura Tae and Seino Nana.

Sources: Yomiuri Hochi / Nikkansports

Friday, May 27, 2016

Winners of the 25th Japan Movie Critics Award (2015)

Best Movie: Bakuman

Best Director: Ohne Hitoshi (Bakuman)

Best Leading Actor: Asano Tadanobu (Kishibe no Tabi)

Best Leading Actress: Tabe Mikako (Piece of Cake)

Best Supporting Actor: Ito Atsushi (Biri Girl)

Best Supporting Actress: Mitsushima Hikari (Kakekomi Onna to Kakedashi Otoko)

Best Newcomer (Komori Kazuko Award): Fujino Ryoko (Solomon no Gishou)

Best Newcomer (Minami Toshiko Award): Yamada Ryosuke (Grasshopper) / Itagaki Mizuki (Solomon no Gishou)

Best New Director: Matsunaga Daishi (Toire no Pieta)

Selection Committee Special Award: Hamaguchi Ryusuke (Happy Hour)

Golden Glory Award (Mizuno Haruo Award): Kusamura Reiko, Nishina Akiko and Hamada Mitsuo

Diamond Award (Yodogawa Nagaharu Award): Yamada Yoji & Yoshinaga Sayuri

Best Editing: Ito Nobuyuki (Tenkuu no Hachi)

Best Script: Manabe Katsuhiko (Solomon no Gishou)

Best Movie Music: Ikenaga Shoji (Misono Universe)

Best Cinematography: Machida Hiroshi (FOUJITA)

Source: Oricon

Haru to star in FujiTV Summer 2016 drama "ON Ijou Hanzai Sousakan Toudou Hinako"

Haru will be starring in her first leading role in a private network drama when she appears in the FujiTV Summer 2016 drama "ON Ijou Hanzai Sousakan Toudou Hinako" (ON Abnormal crimes investigator Toudou Hinako) which will be shown from July in the Tuesdays 10pm timeslot. The drama which is based on the novel series "ON Ryouki Hanzai Sousahan Toudou Hinako" by Naito Ryo, features Haru as a newbie police detective Toudou Hinako who has an amazing memory that allows her to draw the crime scenes in great detail and tries to solve some bizarre cases that come her way. She is seen as a weirdo by others because she eats everything with shichimi and shows an extraordinary amount of interest in murderers while trying to hide her emotional trauma with a cheerful facade. Unknown to others, the shichimi bottle is a memento left behind by her late mother which has the words "Susume, Hina-chan" (go ahead Hina-chan). Through working on the cases, it also causes some changes to her life.

Filming begins in the beginning of June.

Haru has been busy since she finished her morning drama "Asa ga kita" and can be seen in "Sekai ichi muzukashii koi" now. She will also embark on a national tour with Uchino Seiyo as they are the leads in a stage play. With regard to her tight schedule, Haru commented that she will try her best in her first leading role and first attempt at playing a police detective and thinks that it will be a tough but fun experience.

Sources: Sanspo / Sponichi

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Sasaki Nozomi to appear in the upcoming drama SP "Yo ni mo Kimyou na Monogatari Spring 2016"

Sasaki Nozomi will be appearing in one of the segments in the upcoming drama SP "Yo ni mo Kimyou na Monogatari Spring 2016" which is due to be shown on 28 May. The story titled "Bijinzei" (Beauty Tax) is set in a fictional world where beautiful people are to pay the 20% beauty tax for the advantages they get through their looks. Sasaki plays a beautiful woman who does not want to pay the tax yet enjoys the "honour" of being a certified beauty recognised by the government.

Sasaki had been ranked in the top 100 beautiful faces of the world ranking by TC Candler for six years in a row thus was chosen to play this character. When offered the role, Sasaki commented that she found the script very interesting but she is not too keen on the idea of being taxed for being beautiful.

Sources: Sanspo / Sponichi

Nagano Mei to star in TV Tokyo Summer 2016 drama "Koe Koi"

Nagano Mei will be starring in her first leading role in a drama when she appears in the upcoming TV Tokyo Summer 2016 drama "Koe Koi" (Voice Love) which begins its run from July in the Fridays 12.52am timeslot. The drama is based on the same-titled popular manga which has been downloaded 12 million times via the app "comico".

Nagano plays the heroine Yoshioka Yuiko who receives a call from her class committee chairman Matsubara-kun as she is down with flu early in the new school semester. Through the phone, Nagano is attracted to Matsubara-kun's voice despite not having met him yet. However, the next day when she goes to school, she is shocked to see him wearing a paper bag and wonders why while being increasingly drawn to him.

Source: Yomiuri Hochi

Ueno Juri & TRICERATOPS' Wada Sho announce their marriage

Ueno Juri and rock band TRICERATOPS' vocalist Wada Sho announced their marriage on 26 May through a fax statement released by their agencies. In the statement, they revealed that marriage was a natural progression in their relationship and they are very happy. The couple pledged to support each other and progress together in life. It was also mentioned that the couple started dating in the autumn of 2015 but have yet to move in together. Plans for a wedding are not confirmed yet and there will be no marriage announcement press conference.

On the same day, Ueno also uploaded a photo of her and her husband on her Instagram account. She revealed that the people around her were concerned about her relationship status and expressed her joy at being able to make the announcement at long last. Ueno commented that she was glad to be able to find a good partner and hoped that everyone will keep supporting them.

Ueno and Wada were first reported to be dating in April this year which the couple did not not deny. It was said that Ueno who had made it known that she is a big fan of TRICERATOPS, met Wada when she attended the band's concerts and was introduced by a mutual friend. Wada's father Wada Makoto is an illustrator while his mother Hirano Remi is a culinary expert.

Source: Sponichi Annex / Oricon

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Matsushima Nanako to star in FujiTV Summer 2016 drama "Eigyou Buchou Kira Natsuko"

Matsushima Nanako will be starring in the FujiTV Summer 2016 drama "Eigyou Buchou Kira Natsuko" (Sales Director Kira Natsuko) which will be shown from July in the Thursdays 10pm timeslot. This is her first drama series since 2013's "Kyuumei Byoutou 24 Ji Series 5". The script will be written by Inoue Yumiko who is known for dramas such as "Hirugao" and "Lucky Seven SP".

Matsushima plays the role of Kira Natsuko who got married and gave birth to her child just before she turned 40 years old and used to be a popular creative director at an advertising agency. After taking a three-year break from the workplace, she returns to work as the director of the sales department and has to struggle with juggling work and family commitments while coping with subordinates who she can't get along with. As a result of hiring a babysitter to take care of her child, her relationship with her husband suffers as a result.

In reality, Matsushima has 2 daughters who are 12 and 8 years old respectively and is also balancing work with family. With regard to her character, Matsushima commented that this drama has come at a timely juncture since it reflects the current social situation where many woman return to work after giving birth. She hopes that her character will be an encouragement to all women especially the working mothers.

Filming will begin in early June.

Sources: Nikkansports / Sanspo / Sponichi

Tsumabuki Satoshi & Mizuhara Kiko to star in new movie "Okuda Tamio ni naritai Boy to Deau otoko subete kuruwaseru Girl"

Tsumabuki Satoshi and Mizuhara Kiko will be starring in the new movie "Okuda Tamio ni naritai Boy to Deau otoko subete kuruwaseru Girl" (The Boy who wants to become Okuda Tamio and the Girl who drives all the men she meets crazy) which is currently being filmed and due to be wrapped up next month. The movie which is due to be shown in cinemas next year and directed by Ohne Hitoshi, is based on the same-titled manga by Shibuya Chokkaku which was serialised in "Shukan SPA!".

Tsumabuki plays the role of a magazine Kooroki who aspires to live like singer-songwriter Okuda Tamio while Mizuhara plays Akari who works at an apparel maker's promotions department. After Kooroki falls in love with Akari at first sight and they start dating, she starts to show the bewitching side of her and messes up the lives of the men around her. In reality, Tsumabuki and Okuda have become close friends since they appeared in the Sapporo Black Label CM together. In addition, as he has read the manga before, he had hoped to act in the adaptation. Okuda also allowed his songs to be used in the movie when the director happened to bump into him while drinking. On the other hand, Mizuhara commented that although her character has a dangerous feel, she also hopes to show the charming side. She also revealed that she had been on a simulated date with the director to take about 300 photos for the editorial project in the movie.

Co-stars include Matsuo Suzuki, Arai Hirofumi, Ando Sakura and Lily Frankie.

Sources: Nikkansports / Sponichi

Friday, May 20, 2016

Koizumi Kotaro & Kawaguchi Haruna to star in new NHK drama "Juken no Cinderella"

Koizumi Kotaro will be starring in his first leading role in a NHK drama when he appears in the upcoming "Juken no Cinderella" starting from 10 July in the Sundays 10pm timeslot. His co-star Kawaguchi Haruna is also making her first appearance in a NHK drama.

Koizumi plays Igarashi, a charismatic private tutor who used to be No.1 in Japan but lost his job. He is diagnosed with a terminal illness and said to have just one year left to live. Igarashi meets a senior high school girl Maki (Kawaguchi) who is struggling to make ends meet by taking on multiple part-time jobs and comes to him for help in her supplementary exam so that she can graduate from high school successfully. Igarashi who has lost his passion for teaching, decides then to prove everyone wrong by promising to turn Maki's grades around to the extent that she can qualify for University of Tokyo.

Co-stars include Tomita Yasuko who plays Maki's mother Chieko who can't seem to express her love for her daughter, Yamaguchi Sayaka, Yamada Yuki, Matsuo Satoru, Kawahara Kazuma, Endo Nina, Harada Kana, Kojima Kazuya and Hakamada Yoshihiko.

Sources: Yomiuri Hochi / Oricon

Tokushige Satoshi announces the birth of his first daughter

Tokushige Satoshi announced the birth of his first daughter through a fax statement released by his agency Ishihara Promotion on 20 May. Although he did not mention when she was born, it was mentioned that the baby girl weighed 3,500 grams. Tokushige revealed that he was away in Kyoto for the filming of a period drama but was glad and touched to be able to make it in time to witness the birth of his daughter. He pledged to work even harder in his acting career from now on as a father of one.

Tokushige announced on 3 February last year that he had married his senior high school classmate in December 2014.

Source: Daily Sports / Sponichi Annex

Thursday, May 19, 2016

"Yo ni mo Kimyou na Monogatari" Spring SP to make its return in late May

FujiTV will be showing "Yo ni mo Kimyou na Monogatari" Spring SP on 28 May at 9pm which will feature Nishijima Hidetoshi, Kubotaka Masataka, Matsushige Yutaka and Takahashi Issei in its cast lineup.

Nishijima will be starring in the story "Kayoi no Guntai" (Commuting Army) which is based on the same-titled novel by Tsutsui Yasutaka. This is his first leading role in a drama since his first son was born at the end of April and his first appearance in the "Yo ni mo Kimyou na Monogatari" series in 12 years. Nishijima plays the role of a company employee who is told to commute to the army instead of to the office and take part in battles between 9am and 5pm. He gradually starts to enjoy this arrangement but a shocking thing happens in the end. Filming of the battle scenes were done in Susono City, Shizuoka, which Nishijma felt were quite elaborate even though they only took up a small portion of the airtime.

As for Kubotaka, he is acting in the series for the first time. He will appear in the story "Yume miru kikai" (The dreaming machine) based on the same-titled manga by Morohoshi Daijiro where he plays a young man who aspires to become a manga artist but with limited success. When his mother collapses suddenly, he comes to realise that she was a machine. Along with his girlfriend played by Ishibashi Anna, he discovers more shocking truths.

Matsushige and Takahashi will be joint-leads in the story "Quiz no Ossan" (The Quiz Middle-aged Man) where the latter plays a man who wins a prize of answering quiz questions for one whole year after taking part in a TV quiz show. As such, he ends up living with a mysterious middle-aged man (Matsushige) who would bombard him with quiz questions every day.

Source: Sanspo / Modelpress

Higashiyama Noriyuki & Matsu Takaako to star in TBS drama SP "Futsuu ga Ichiban Sakka Fujisawa Shuhei Chichi no Hitogoto"

Higashiyama Noriyuki and Matsu Takako will be playing a married couple in the upcoming TBS drama SP "Futsuu ga Ichiban Sakka Fujisawa Shuhei Chichi no Hitogoto" (Being ordinary is the best - Writer Fujisawa Shuhei - A word from Father) which is due to be shown in early July this year. The drama SP is a human drama based on the books titled "Fujisawa Shuhei Chichi no Shuuhen" (Fujisawa Shuhei Father's surroundings) and "Chichi Fujisawa Shuhei to no Gurashi" (Life with my father Fujisawa Shuhei) which were written by Endo Nobuko who is the daughter of the late Naoki Award-winning writer Fujisawa Shuhei. This will be the first time that Higashiyama and Matsu are working together where Higashiyama will play Fujisawa while Matsu will play his wife Kosuge Kazuko. The producer Ishii Fukuko revealed that it took a long wait of 3 years before she could get both Higashiyama and Matsu to act in this production.

The drama SP talks about Fujisawa's dream of becoming a writer using his real name Kosuge Tomeji and began working as a reporter from 1963. However, with the passing of his wife, he lived with his daughter Nobuko and his mother Takie. Later, he married Kosuge Kazuko and became a Naoki Award winner in 1973. The story is written from his daughter Nobuko's perspective.

Higashiyama commented that he had always wanted to act in something based on Fujisawa's works and is very honoured to play the writer himself. He would have wanted the respected director Ninagawa Yukio to watch his performance in this drama SP but it is a pity that this would not be possible. Nonetheless, he will bear in mind the words of advice Ninagawa had for him in the past and work hard with his co-star.

Source: Yomiuri Hochi / Sanspo / Oricon

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Cast announcement press conference for NHK morning drama "Beppin-san"

The cast announcement press conference for NHK morning drama "Beppin-san" starring Yoshine Kyoko due to start its run from October was held on 16 May at NHK Osaka. It was revealed then that Kanno Miho will be playing the heroine's mother while Namase Katsuhisa will be the father. This is Kanno's first appearance in a drama series as a regular cast member since she gave birth to her first son with Sakai Masato last August.

During the press conference, a reporter wanted to ask about how Kanno felt about appearing in a NHK drama like her husband who is starring in the current Taiga "Sanadamaru". However, as there was already a ban on questions about private life matters, the host tried to block the question but Kanno responded smilingly with a witty reply by quoting a signature line from the Taiga drama i.e. "Damare, Kowappa!" (Shut up, kid!).

When asked about her role as the heroine's mother, Kanno revealed that her character will pass away quite early in the drama i.e. when the heroine is 9 years old. However, as she will also be the narrator for the morning drama, she will still be able to stay with the viewers throughout the entire duration of the drama. Kanno is not new to NHK morning dramas as she was one of the leads in the 1995 drama "Hashiranka!". She had also appeared in the 2001 drama "Chura-san". As such, she feels that time has passed by so quickly since "Hashiranka!" was already from 20 years ago.

Nakamura Tamao will be playing the heroine Bando Sumire's grandmother while Renbutsu Misako plays her elder sister. Koura Kengo will play Sumire's childhood friend, Nakura Jun will be the head clerk of Sumire's father's company. Her buddy will be played by Momota Kanako from Momoiro Clover Z.

However, the actor playing Sumire's husband will only be announced at the end of the month before filming commences.

Source: Nikkansports / Sanspo / Sponichi

Ninagawa Yukio passes away due to multiple organ failure caused by pneumonia

Director Ninagawa Yukio passed away on 12 May at the age of 80 due to multiple organ failure caused by organ failure. His funeral hosted by his daughter photographer Ninagawa Mika, was held at Aoyama Funeral Hall on 16 May which was attended by a total of 1,344 people including fans. Celebrities who attended the funeral included Suzuki An, Aoi Yu, Matsumoto Jun, Ninomiya Kazunari, Kagawa Teruyuki, Hasegawa Hiroki, Takahata Mitsuki, Matsuzaka Tori, Asaoka Ruriko, Miyamoto Amon, Mori Shinichi, Fujiki Naohito, Ikuta Toma, Okamoto Kenichi, Ichimura Masachika, Shinohara Ryoko, Tsuruta Mayu, Onoue Matsuya, Yamamoto Kansai, Watanabe Ken, Yokota Eiji, Katsura Yumi, Harada Mieko, Kamikawa Takaya, Tabe Mikako, Ishibashi Renji, Kitamura Kazuki, Natsuki Mari, Iura Arata, Saito Takumi, Abe Hiroshi, Uchino Seiyo, Kimura Takuya, Miyazawa Rie, Kimura Yoshino, Nishioka Tokuma, Mizobata Junpei and Maeda Atsuko.

5 actors who were especially close to Ninagawa i.e. Hira Mikijiro, Otake Shinobu, Yoshida Kotaro, Fujiwara Tatsuya and Oguri Shun took turns to read their condolence messages. Hira said that he was thankful to Ninagawa for helping him to lead a fruitful life on stage and he had worked hard to earn words of praise from the latter. He commented that he won't say goodbye to Ninagawa as they will meet someday soon. As for Otake, she revealed her gratitude and thanks to Ninagawa and remembered fondly his smiling face whenever she did well in her acting. Yoshida commented that Ninagawa had a peaceful and beautiful face as if he was sleeping. Fujiwara and Oguri who were the favourite disciples of Ninagawa, took turns to reveal their thoughts about their beloved mentor. Oguri said that he was happy to be part of the Ninagawa Theatre Group and hoped that Ninagawa would come into his dreams to scold him at times. When it was Fujiwara's turn, he was sobbing and said that he would most likely have been scolded if Ninagawa saw him. He was sad and regretful that they didn't get to work more together but was glad that Ninagawa helped him transform as an actor since they first met in 1997 and thanked him for the 19 years they spent together.

During the final address to those who were present for the funeral, Ninagawa Mika thanked everyone for coming despite their busy schedules and recounted how her father was fighting to the last minute and always said that he could die anytime without regrets. However, when she found a script for a play which he intended to produce, she realised that he must have wanted to do that play too. Although her father would not see another new work again, she hoped that all of them will continue to work hard and forge ahead.

Source: Sponichi 1 / Sponichi 2 / Sponichi 3 / Sponichi 4

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Fukuyama Masaharu & Fukiishi Kazue finds female intruder in their apartment

It was reported on TBS News today that Fukuyama Masaharu and Fukiishi Kazue had an unwelcome visitor in their apartment in Shibuya Ward, Tokyo earlier this month. According to the report, Fukiishi had returned home on 6 May around 8.30pm when she bumped into a woman she did not know in her apartment. The woman who was said to be in her 50s, escaped before the police could arrest her. When interviewed about this, Shibuya Police Station confirmed the news and said that they are looking into how the woman could have broken into the apartment and her reason for doing so.

Source: Nikkansports

Monday, May 16, 2016

Higashide Masahiro & An welcome the arrival of their twin girls

Higashide Masahiro and An announced the arrival of their twin baby girls through a joint statement released by her agency on 16 May. In the statement, they revealed that the babies were born a bit earlier than the expected due date but both mother and daughters are doing well. However, they did not reveal the birth date nor the weight of the babies. They pledged to become parents who their children would not be ashamed of and asked for the advice and guidance of everyone around them as they try their best to raise their children.

Meanwhile, An's father Watanabe Ken also posted on his Twitter that he received news of his grand-daughters' arrival and are glad to know that they are all doing well. Although the babies will be spending some time in the hospital for now and be discharged later, he hopes that the new parents will be able to spend some quiet and peaceful days with their babies from now on. He also revealed that he is eagerly anticipating to see how his daughter and son-in-law would be as parents and said that Higashide seemed to be quite panicky since the babies arrived earlier than expected.

Sources: Nikkansports / Sanspo / Sponichi

Mitsushima Hikari divorces her director husband; currently dating Nagayama Kento

It was reported on 16 May that Mitsushima Hikari and her director husband Ishii Yuya had filed for divorce at the beginning of the year. The couple met when Mitsushima was the female lead for his 2010 movie "Kawa no soko kara konnichiwa" and got married in October the same year. According to Mitsushima's agency, they were informed of the news after the divorce was finalised.

At the same time, reports of Mitsushima being an item with actor Nagayama Kento who is also the younger brother of Eita, were published on the same day. It was said that they had been good friends in the past but only started dating recently. With regard to the news, Nagayama's agency commented that they were told about the relationship by him not long ago and asked for everyone to look upon them favourably from now on.

Mitsushima first achieved a breakthrough in her acting career through the 2009 movie "Ai no Mukidashi" and has starred in many dramas such as NTV's "Woman" which won her various leading actress awards. She was the female lead in two consecutive seasons' dramas i.e. FujiTV Summer 2014's "Wakamonotachi 2014" and TBS Autumn 2014's "Gomen ne Seishun". On the other hand, Nagayama got his first leading role in a movie in 2010 through "Soft Boy" and won the Best Newcomer award in the Nihon Academy Awards. He has appeared in various dramas and movies and can be seen currently in the TBS drama "Juuhan Shuttai!"

Source: Nikkansports / Sponichi / Modelpress

Thursday, May 12, 2016

The 88th Drama Academy Awards (Winter 2016) - Best Theme Song

Overall Ranking Top 3
1) 365 Nichi no Kami Hikouki - AKB48 (Asa ga kita)
2) Ashita e no Tegami - Teshima Aoi (Itsuka kono koi wo omoi dashite kitto naite shimau)
3) Motto - aiko (Dame na watashi ni koishite kudasai)

Voters Ranking Top 5
1) UNLOCK - KAT-TUN (Kaitou Yamaneko)
2) 365 Nichi no Kami Hikouki - AKB48 (Asa ga kita)
3) Ashita e no Tegami - Teshima Aoi (Itsuka kono koi wo omoi dashite kitto naite shimau)
4) Gravity - Kis-My-Ft2 (MARS ~ Tada, kimi wo aishiteru ~)
5) Motto - aiko (Dame na watashi ni koishite kudasai)

TV Reporters Ranking Top 5
1) Ashita e no Tegami - Teshima Aoi (Itsuka kono koi wo omoi dashite kitto naite shimau)
2) 365 Nichi no Kami Hikouki - AKB48 (Asa ga kita)
3) Motto - aiko (Dame na watashi ni koishite kudasai)
4) No more - EXILE ATSUSHI + AI (Naomi to Kanako)
5) UNLOCK - KAT-TUN (Kaitou Yamaneko) / I want u to love me - Alexandros (Onna Kudoki Meshi Season 2)

Judges Ranking Top 5
1) 365 Nichi no Kami Hikouki - AKB48 (Asa ga kita)
2) Ashita e no Tegami - Teshima Aoi (Itsuka kono koi wo omoi dashite kitto naite shimau)
3) Koigokoro - MACO (Tokyo Sentimental)
4) Motto - aiko (Dame na watashi ni koishite kudasai)
5) UNLOCK - KAT-TUN (Kaitou Yamaneko) / No more - EXILE ATSUSHI + AI (Naomi to Kanako) / Kokoro no mama ni - Shimatani Hitomi (Itooshikute) / Friends - Rebecca (MARS ~ Tada, kimi wo aishiteru ~) / Kimi ga ii - Softly (Onna kudoki meshi Season 2)

Source: The Televison

The 88th Drama Academy Awards (Winter 2016) - Best Supporting Actress

Overall Ranking Top 3
1) Takahata Atsuko - Naomi to Kanako
2) Miyazaki Aoi - Asa ga kita
3) Ueno Juri - Kazoku no Katachi

Voters Ranking Top 5
1) Ueno Juri - Kazoku no Katachi
2) Hirose Suzu - Kaitou Yamaneko
3) Takahata Mitsuki - Itsuka kono koi wo omoi dashite kitto naite shimau
4) Minami Kaho - Specialist
5) Miyazaki Aoi - Asa ga kita

TV Reporters Ranking Top 5
1) Takahata Atsuko - Naomi to Kanako
2) Miyazaki Aoi - Asa ga kita
3) Takahata Mitsuki - Itsuka kono koi wo omoi dashite kitto naite shimau
4) Yoshida Yo - Naomi to Kanako
5) Uchida Yuki - Naomi to Kanako / Matsui Reina - Niche-sensei

Judges Ranking Top 5
1) Takahata Atsuko - Naomi to Kanako
2) Naka Riisa - Nigeru Onna
3) Takahata Mitsuki - Itsuka kono koi wo omoi dashite kitto naite shimau
4) Yoshida Yo - Naomi to Kanako
5) Miyazaki Aoi - Asa ga kita / Uchida Yuki - Naomi to Kanako

Source: The Televison

The 88th Drama Academy Awards (Winter 2016) - Best Supporting Actor

Overall Ranking Top 3
1) Tamaki Hiroshi - Asa ga kita
2) Dean Fujioka - Dame na watashi ni koishite kudasai
3) Dean Fujioka - Asa ga kita

Voters Ranking Top 5
1) Kubota Masataka - Rinshou Hanzai Gakusha Himura Hideo no Suiri
2) Narimiya Hiroki - Kaitou Yamaneko
3) Tamaki Hiroshi - Asa ga kita
4) Nishijima Takahiro - Itsuka kono koi wo omoi dashite kitto naite shimau
5) Nishida Toshiyuki - Kazoku no Katachi

TV Reporters Ranking Top 5
1) Tamaki Hiroshi - Asa ga kita
2) Dean Fujioka - Dame na watashi ni koishite kudasai
3) Dean Fujioka - Asa ga kita
4) Takahashi Issei - Itsuka kono koi wo omoi dashite kitto naite shimau
5) Kubota Masataka - Rinshou Hanzai Gakusha Himura Hideo no Suiri / Sakaguchi Kentaro - Itsuka kono koi wo omoi dashite kitto naite shimau / Yamazaki Ikusaburo - Otousan to yobasete

Judges Ranking Top 5
1) Tamaki Hiroshi - Asa ga kita
2) Dean Fujioka - Dame na watashi ni koishite kudasai
3) Dean Fujioka - Asa ga kita
4) Kondo Masaomi - Asa ga kita
5) Emoto Tasuku - Asa ga kita

Source: The Televison

The 88th Drama Academy Awards (Winter 2016) - Best Leading Actress

Overall Ranking Top 3
1) Haru - Asa ga kita
2) Fukada Kyoko - Dame na watashi ni koishite kudasai
3) Hirosue Ryoko - Naomi to Kanako

Voters Ranking Top 5
1) Haru - Asa ga kita
2) Fukada Kyoko - Dame na watashi ni koishite kudasai
3) Hirosue Ryoko - Naomi to Kanako
4) Horikita Maki - Higanbana ~ Keishicho Sousa Nanaka
5) Ayase Haruka - Watashi wo hanasanai de

TV Reporters Ranking Top 5
1) Haru - Asa ga kita
2) Fukada Kyoko - Dame na watashi ni koishite kudasai
3) Arimura Kasumi - Itsuka kono koi wo omoi dashite kitto naite shimau
4) Hirosue Ryoko - Naomi to Kanako
5) Ayase Haruka - Watashi wo hanasanai de

Judges Ranking Top 5
1) Haru - Asa ga kita
2) Hirosue Ryoko - Naomi to Kanako
3) Fukada Kyoko - Dame na watashi ni koishite kudasai
4) Arimura Kasumi - Itsuka kono koi wo omoi dashite kitto naite shimau
5) Kiritani Mirei - Sumi ka Sumire

Source: The Televison

The 88th Drama Academy Awards (Winter 2016) - Best Leading Actor

Overall Ranking Top 3
1) Koura Kengo - Itsuka kono koi wo omoi dashite kitto naite shimau
2) Kamenashi Kazuya - Kaitou Yamaneko
3) Katori Shingo - Kazoku no Katachi

Voters Ranking Top 5
1) Kamenashi Kazuya - Kaitou Yamaneko
2) Katori Shingo - Kazoku no Katachi
3) Kusanagi Tsuyoshi - Specialist
4) Kubota Masataka - MARS ~ Tada, Kimi wo aishiteru ~
5) Fujigaya Taisuke - MARS ~ Tada, Kimi wo aishiteru ~

TV Reporters Ranking Top 5
1) Koura Kengo - Itsuka kono koi wo omoi dashite kitto naite shimau
2) Kamenashi Kazuya - Kaitou Yamaneko
3) Kusanagi Tsuyoshi - Specialist
4) Nagase Tomoya - Fragile
5) Endo Kenichi - Otousan to yobasete

Judges Ranking Top 5
1) Nagase Tomoya - Fragile
2) Yoshida Kotaro - Tokyo Sentimental
3) Watabe Atsuro - Otousan to yobasete
4) Katori Shingo - Kazoku no Katachi / Kusanagi Tsuyoshi - Specialist / Endo Kenichi - Otousan to yobasete

Source: The Televison

The 88th Drama Academy Awards (Winter 2016) - Best Drama

Overall Ranking Top 3
1) Asa ga kita (NHK)
2) Naomi to Kanako (FujiTV)
3) Itsuka kono koi wo omoi dashite kitto naite shimau (FujiTV)

Voters Ranking Top 5
1) Kazoku no Katachi (TBS)
2) Kaitou Yamaneko (NTV)
3) Rinshou Hanzai Gakusha Himura Hideo no Suiri (NTV)
4) MARS ~ Tada, Kimi wo aishiteru ~ (NTV)
5) Specialist (TV Asahi)

TV Reporters Ranking Top 5
1) Asa ga kita (NHK)
2) Naomi to Kanako (FujiTV)
3) Itsuka kono koi wo omoi dashite kitto naite shimau (FujiTV)
4) Dame na watashi ni koishite kudasai (TBS)
5) Specialist (TV Asahi)

Judges Ranking Top 5
1) Asa ga kita (NHK)
2) Naomi to Kanako (FujiTV)
3) Tokyo Sentimental (TV Tokyo)
4) Chikaemon (NHK)
5) Itsuka kono koi wo omoi dashite kitto naite shimau (FujiTV) / Dame na watashi ni koishite kudasai (TBS)

Source: The Television

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Sawamura Ikki to star in new WOWOW drama "Kibougaoka no Hitobito"

Sawamura Ikki will be starring in the new WOWOW drama "Kibougaoka no Hitobito" (The people of Hope Hill) which will begin its run from 16 July in the Saturdays 10pm timeslot. The drama which consists of 5 episodes, is based on the same-titled novel by Shigematsu Kiyoshi and the script will be written by Okada Yoshikazu. Sawamura plays the role of Tajima Toru who lost his wife to cancer and moves to her hometown at Kibougaoka with his daughter and son who are in the second year of junior high and Primary 3 respectively. This will be his first appearance in a Shigematsu adaptation.

Source: Sanspo

Sunday, May 08, 2016

Iriyama Noriko & Shison Jun to star in the remake of "Kimi wa Petto"

Iriyama Noriko and Shison Jun will be starring in the remake of "Kimi wa Petto" produced by FujiTV and due to be shown in a midnight slot. The new drama series which will consist of 16 episodes, is based on the manga by Ogawa Yayoi which has sold 4.2 million copies to date. Iriyama will play the role of Sumire, a highly educated and beautiful woman who starts to live with a young man named Momo through an unusual encounter.

The original drama series made in 2003 featured Koyuki in the role of Sumire and Arashi's Matsumoto Jun as Momo. Subsequently, there was a 2011 remake in South Korea featuring Jang Geun Seok and Kim Haneul.

Sources: Sanspo / Oricon

MAX's NANA announces her marriage on 8 May

MAX member NANA announced on 8 May that she has gotten married on the same day. Her husband is a dancer named CHINO who is 6 years older than her and the couple submitted their marriage application in the morning. NANA is not pregnant at the moment. There are no plans for a wedding.

According to insiders, the couple first met 15 years ago when CHINO was the choreographer and back dancer for MAX and soon started dating. It was only until 2 years ago that the couple began to think about marriage. During MAX's concert on 7 May, she had mentioned to the fans that she will be aiming to get married within the year.

MAX started as a four-member dance group in 1995. At present, only three members i.e. NANA, MINA and LINA are still active as REINA is still on parenting leave. MINA got married in 2002 so this leaves LINA as the only single member in the group.

Sources: Nikkansports / Sanspo

Saturday, May 07, 2016

First-episode satisfaction survey for Spring 2016 dramas (Data News)

This survey was conducted in 7 prefectures in Kanto involving 3,000 people from the ages of 20 to 79 with half of them male and the other half female. The satisfaction score in brackets is given on the basis of the first episode only:

1) Watashi kekkon dekinain janakute, shinain desu (3.90)

2) Keishicho Sousa Ikka 9 Kakari (3.83)

3) Boku no Yabai Tsuma (3.76)

4) 99.9 Keiji Senmon Bengoshi / Good Partner (3.72)

6) Sekai Ichi Muzukashii Koi (3.59)

7) Juuhan Shuttai! (3.57)

8) Omukae desu (3.53)

9) Contrail ~ Tsumi to Koi ~ (3.47)

10) Doctor Chousahan ~ Iryo Jiko no Yami wo Abake ~ (3.45)

11) Love Song (3.34)

12) Yutori desuga nani ka (3.18)

13) OUR HOUSE (3.13)

14) Hayako-sensei, Kekkon surutte hontou desuka? (2.83)

Source: PR Times

Kamenashi Kazuya & Tsuchiya Tao to play a married couple in new movie "P to JK"

Kamenashi Kazuya and Tsuchiya Tao will be playing a married couple in the new movie "P to JK" (P & JK) which will be shown next spring. The actors are working together for the first time. The movie is based on the manga by Miyoshi Maki and serialised in monthly manga magazine "Bessatsu Friend" that has sold more than 2.1 million copies to date.

Kamenashi plays a 26-year-old police officer Kota while Tsuchiya plays a 16-year-old senior high school student Kako who meet at a go-kon i.e. group date when she impersonates an university student. They hit it off quickly but Kota decides to distance himself from Kako once he finds out about her true age. However, when Kako gets injured while trying to protect him, Kota is touched by her feelings for him and immediately proposes to her. This is met with strong objection by Kako's father who only relents on the condition that they have to keep the marriage a secret until she graduates from high school. This is no easy feat as they have to lie to the people around them such as Kako having to put Kota's senior high school picture as the wallpaper on her mobile phone and him having to lie that Kako is his younger sister when the purikura they took together is seen by others.

Filming begins in June.

Source: Sanspo / Yomiuri Hochi

Sometani Shota & Kikuchi Rinko expecting their first child

Sometani Shota announced through his official website on 7 May that his wife Kikuchi Rinko is currently pregnant with their first child. In the joint statement signed by the couple, they revealed that Kikuchi is 5 months' pregnant now so they have decided to share the good news once her condition has stabilised. They expressed their joy about their growing family and asked for everyone's support as they continue to work hard in their careers.

Sometani and Kikuchi announced their marriage on New Year's Day 2015.

Source: Nikkansports / Sanspo

Friday, May 06, 2016

Kase Ryo & Toda Erika reported to be dating since last year

Kase Ryo and Toda Erika are said to be dating as reported on 5 May. The actors first worked together in the SPEC series between 2010 and 2013 and were recently seen together in the WOWOW drama SP "Kono machi no Inochi ni" shown on 2 April.

According to insiders, Kase and Toda only started getting closer after they reunited for the first time in 2.5 years for the filming of the WOWOW drama SP last year. During the press conference and completion screening of "Kono machi no Inochi ni" on 20 March this year, they both revealed that they could trust each other and work well together despite playing characters with a different type of relationship this time.

When the two of them were filming "SPEC", Kase was seeing actress Ichikawa Mikako while Toda was dating actor Ayano Go. After breaking up with Ayano, she was reported to be seeing Katsuji Ryo but they separated later. When asked about their relationship, both Toda's and Kase's agencies commented that this is their private matter and will leave things to them but did not deny the rumours.

Source: Nikkansports

Nagase Tomoya, Kamiki Ryunosuke, Kiritani Kenta & Seino Nana to perform as rock band for "METROCK"

Nagase Tomoya, Kamiki Ryunosuke, Kiritani Kenta and Seino Nana will be performing as the band "HELLS" as the opening act for the upcoming 2-day outdoor rock festival METROCK to be held on 21 May in Tokyo. The four of them are featured in the Kudo Kankuro movie "TOO YOUNG TO DIE" as members of the band from hell and will be performing live in front of an audience for the first time. Tickets to the rock festival have already been sold out. The movie is due to be shown in cinemas from 25 June after being postponed once earlier this year.

In preparation for the performance, the four of them have been practising intensively and are set to sing the movie's insert song. Other than Kamiki, the rest of them will appear on stage in their hell make-up which Nagase hopes will make a deep impression on the audience. Nagase will be the vocalist while Kamiki plays the guitar, Seino plays the bass and Kiritani plays the drums. The soundtrack CD of the movie is set to be released on 22 June.

Source: Sponichi / Sanspo

Kitagawa Keiko to star in NTV Summer 2016 drama "Ie uru onna"


Kitagawa Keiko will be starring in the upcoming NTV Summer 2016 drama "Ie uru onna" (The woman who sells houses) which will begin its run from July in the Wednesdays 10pm timeslot. This will be her first drama series since she got married to DAIGO. In preparation for the filming and to have a change in image, Kitagawa cut her hair short after her wedding ceremony on 29 April.

The drama which is written by Oishi Shizuka, features Kitagawa as a 30-year-old super saleswoman named Sangenya Machi who is working in a real estate company and helps her clients to solve their private issues while handling the sale and purchase of their houses. Despite being the type not to pander to her clients, making her clients hungry at times and even resorting to lies such as other people having signed contracts to purchase the houses, she still manages to close her deals and her clients are all satisfied with their purchases at the end.


Sources: Yomiuri Hochi 1 / Yomiuri Hochi 2

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Nishijima Hidetoshi announces the birth of his first son

Nishijima Hidetoshi released a statement through his agency on 3 May to announce that his first son was born at the end of April. In his statement, Nishijima revealed that both mother and son are doing well and expressed his gratitude to everyone who had been supportive of his family. He also pledged to work hard and asked for the continued support of everyone.

Nishijima got married in 2014 to his wife who is 16 years younger than him.

Source: Oricon

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Aibu Saki announces her marriage

Aibu Saki issued a statement through her agency on 3 May in which she announced her marriage to her boyfriend on the same day. In the handwritten statement sent to the media via fax, Aibu revealed that she had met her husband through mutual friends which led to them becoming an item. At the end of last year, he proposed to Aibu which she accepted. She commented that her husband is someone who has been very patient with her all this while and hopes that the two of them will build a happy and loving family from now on.

Aibu was rumoured to have marriage plans last summer as reported in some weekly magazines to which she commented that she did have the intention to do so one day but denied that it would be around that time.

Sources: Oricon / Sponichi Annex

Monday, May 02, 2016

Kiritani Mirei to star in FujiTV Summer 2016 Gekku "Suki na hito ga iru koto"

The production press conference of FujiTV Summer 2016 Gekku "Suki na hito ga iru koto" (Having someone I like) was held online via YouTube, LINE LIVE and Twicast on 1 May which was attended by cast members Kiritani Mirei, Yamazaki Kento, Miura Shohei and Nomura Shuhei. The love comedy which will be shown from July in the Mondays 9pm timeslot, is set at a seaside restaurant where Kiritani's character who aims to be a patissier, goes to work part-time and spends a summer with three handsome brothers played by Miura, Yamazaki and Nomura.

Kiritani plays the role of Sakurai Misaki who hopes to open her own job and works hard at being a patissier to the extent that she has even forgotten the feeling of falling in love and kissing a guy. One day, she is suddenly fired from her job and unsure of what the future has in store of her. Coincidentally, she bumps into Shibasaki Chiaki (Miura) who used to be her first love during their senior school days. Upon hearing what happened, Chiaki offers to let Misaki work part-time at their family's restaurant in Shonan.

Misaki realises later that Chiaki has two younger brothers also living at the restaurant. Toma (Nomura), the youngest brother who is attending cooking school and aims to be a chef, is a playboy while Kanata (Yamazaki), the second brother is a talented chef who doesn't recognise Misaki's skills as a patissier and the two of them are always at odds with each other.

According to FujiTV, more than 600,000 tuned in to the live broadcast online while the photo of the cast posted on Twitter gathered more than 100,000 reactions (40,000 retweets and 64,000 likes) in just two hours. There are plans for videos of the press conference to be released at a later date.

Source: Oricon

Is it just me or do you also think that the setting of this story resembles 2002's Lunch no Joou?

Heroine: Takeuchi Yuko
4 brothers: Tsutsumi Shinichi, Eguchi Yosuke, Tsumabuki Satoshi and Yamashita Tomohisa
Strictly speaking, Tsutsumi only appeared in the beginning and end of the drama so we can consider the family to have three brothers only.
Place: Family-run restaurant
Season: Summer
How the heroine comes to the family-run restaurant: Brought in by the eldest brother

Hmm...just a coincidence???