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Sunday, July 31, 2016

First episode satisfaction ranking for Summer 2016 dramas (TV Watcher)

This is the ranking compiled by TV Watcher where respondents were asked to give scores to the first episodes of the Summer 2016 dramas. The full score is 5 while anything above 3.7 is considered high satisfaction. Numbers in brackets indicate the score for the drama concerned:

1) Soshite, Dare mo inakunatta - NTV (3.88)

2) Keiji Shichinin 2 - TV Asahi (3.71)

3) Aogeba Totoshi - TBS / HOPE ~ Kitai Zero no Shinnyuu Shain - FujiTV (3.61)

5) Eigyou Buchou Kira Natsuko - FujiTV (3.59)

6) ON Ijou Hanzai Sousakan Toudou Hinako - FujiTV (3.53)

7) Ie uru onna - NTV (3.52)

8) Suki na hito ga iru koto - FujiTV (3.42)

9) Toki wo kakeru shoujo - NTV (3.35)

10) Yassan ~ Tsukiji Hatsu! Oishii Jikenbo ~ - TV Tokyo (3.33)

11) Onnatachi no tokusou zensen - TV Asahi (3.32)

12) Seiseisuru hodo, Aishiteru - TBS (3.20)

13) Hajimemashite, Aishiteimasu - TV Asahi (3.18)

14) Kami no shita wo motsu otoko - TBS (2.81)

Source: TV Watcher

10th Anniversary Game: Guess The Drama? Round 1 - UPDATED (LAST HINT)

Did you know the answer to the trial question? The photo is actually from "N no Tame Ni" and featured Eikura Nana and Kubota Masataka riding a bicycle together. Quite a number of you have guessed it correctly despite the fact that I deliberately chose a blurry version of the picture so it was not that easy to identify who the two people in the photo are. The version I posted here is a bit clearer as you can see the side profiles of the actors. Congratulations to those who got this trial question correct!

And now, here's the first round's question. Please listen to the 30-sec clip below and tell me the name of the drama where this BGM came from. The answer for Round 1 will be announced along with Round 2's question so I won't be responding individually to all players on whether your answer is correct or not. Please submit your answer to me via Facebook or Twitter direct/private message. If you can't make use of these channels for some reason, you can leave your answer as a comment in this post.

Even if you don't know the answer to this round, there's always the next round to attempt so don't be discouraged!

Good luck, have fun and looking forward to receiving your guesses soon!

UPDATE 1: 12 hours into this round, there's only one person who has provided the correct answer. As such, this player will get 5 points for this round.

Here is a hint to make this easier to guess so you will get 3 points if you get it correct:

Yamazaki Kento & Nikaidou Fumi played siblings in this drama.

Good luck in getting this round correct!

UPDATE 2: So far, only one player has scored 5 points while five other players have scored 3 points each. Here is the final hint for this round:

Tokyo Jihen 東京事変

Please submit your answers before 11.59pm tonight (GMT+8) in order to score 1 point for this round. Round 1's answer will be announced together with Round 2's question at midnight.

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Friday, July 29, 2016

Dorama World 10th Anniversary Game - Guess the drama?

Hi everyone, to celebrate Dorama World's 10th anniversary coming up next month, I will be organising this game called "Guess the drama?". If you've been following the blog since the forum days, you would probably remember what this was. At that time, we had this relay game where people would post screenshots from dramas for the rest to guess the title. The winner would then have the right to set the next round's question.

This time, I am going to do it slightly differently. I will be the one setting all the questions this time. Besides screenshots, I intend to use other materials such as sound clips of the drama's BGM or theme song, snippets of signature lines in the drama or keywords which relate to a particular drama. As such, I hope that this makes the game more challenging and fun to play.

Here is how the game will work:

- I will post the current round's question on the blog every day from 31st July (Sunday) at 12 midnight GMT +8 and announce it via Dorama World's Twitter and Facebook pages as well. There may be multiple questions posted within a day so do check the blog, Twitter and Facebook to get the latest updates. I am planning to post at least one question per day.

- If you know the answer to the question i.e. the name of the drama, simply drop me a private message via Facebook or Twitter. I did think of using the comments section on the blog and the other two social media platforms but that will mean the answers of those who replied earlier can be seen by others. To be fair to all, I will be the only one to see the answers. For the names of the drama, I will only accept the names in Japanese rather than translated names e.g. if the answer is Boku no Yabai Tsuma, please do not send the answer as My Dangerous Wife. If there are slight variations due to lengthened vowels in the name, that's acceptable e.g. Akutou vs. Akuto but other typo errors won't be acknowledged as correct answers. Answers will be accepted from the time it is posted until the time when the next round's question is released.
In the event that you can't send your answers via Facebook or Twitter because you don't have an account, I can accept your answer on an exceptional basis through a comment on the blog post.

- At the end of the entire game i.e. 19 August being the last day, I will tabulate the total number of correct answers by each player. As such, it is important that I know at least your online nickname so that I can identify you.

- The top three winners will get a prize from me. Yes, you read this right, a small token of appreciation from me for your participation! What I intend to give will be official merchandise of dramas or movies in my collection. When I have the winners' names, I will contact them individually to find out which item they prefer before sending the prize to them by post. I hope that I'll have something which is to your liking though!

As a pre-game warm-up, the first question is from the photo in this post. If you know which drama this photo comes from, please drop me a message via Facebook or Twitter from now until 11.59pm on 30th July. Looking forward to your entries and have fun!

Kitagawa Keiko to star in new WOWOW drama "Hippocrates no Chikai"

Kitagawa Keiko will be starring in the new WOWOW drama "Hippocrates no Chikai" (The Hippocratic Oath) which will be shown from 2 October in the Sundays 10pm timeslot. This will be her first attempt at playing a doctor in a medical-themed drama and her first leading role in a WOWOW drama. The drama is based on the same-titled novel by Nakayama Shichiri and focuses on forensic medicine.

Kitagawa plays the role of Tsugano Makoto, a medical intern who is working in the internal medicine department of a hospital when her respected mentor Professor Tsukuba (Furuya Ikko) recommends that she transfer to the forensic medicine department for an internship stint. Upon her transfer, Makoto realises that the atmosphere there is very different and she is shocked by her mentoring professor Mitsuzaki Tojiro's (Shibata Kyohei) eccentric character and aloof attitude. Just then, she receives a call from a young girl asking if they can perform an autopsy on a woman who was killed in a car accident caused by the girl's father. At the same time, a police detective Kotegawa Kazuya (Onoe Matsuya) approaches Mitsuzaki with the same request even though the police had deemed that there was nothing suspicious about the woman's death but Kotegawa decides to proceed with the autopsy request at the request of the man's family. Despite having reservations about Kotegawa's way of doing things, Makoto gradually realises how skillful he is and develops a newfound admiration for him. However, the autopsy brings a dark secret to light which causes Makoto to be embroiled into an unexpected situation.

Before she became an actress, Kitagawa had dreamt of becoming a doctor during her high school days as she wanted to be of use to others. While wearing the doctor's robe for the first time during the filming, she felt that it was a new challenge for her and she wanted to show how Makoto grows as a doctor as the story progresses.

Co-stars include Hamada Mari who plays the assistant of Mitsuzaki, Sato Megumi who plays Makoto's best friend as well as Aijima Kazuyuki and Kaneda Akio. Filming was completed in early April this year.

Sources: Sanspo / Yomiuri Hochi

Fukushi Sota to star in new movie "Chotto ima kara shigoto yametekuru"

Fukushi Sota will be starring in the new movie "Chotto ima kara shigoto yametekuru" (I will go to quit my job now) which will be directed by Narushima Izuru and due to be shown in cinemas in summer 2017. The movie is based on the same-titled novel by Kitagawa Emi which has sold more than 500,000 copies to date.

The movie features Kudo Asuka in the role of Aoyama Takashi, a young man who has just started his first full-time job and is so stressed by the tough sales targets set by his company and power harassment that he wants to commit suicide by jumping onto a railway track. However, in the nick of time, he is saved by a mysterious man named Yamamoto (Fukushi) who is very cheerful for no reason and keeps speaking Kansai-ben to him. Through their interaction, Aoyama starts to feel the positive energy from Yamamoto rub onto him.

As Fukushi is from Tokyo, he finds having to speak in Kansai-ben a huge challenge for him that his intonation mistakes were frequently pointed out since rehearsals started in March. As a result, the producer Ikeda Hiroyuki once thought of changing all of Yamamoto's lines to the standard speech instead. However, Fukushi made huge improvements by watching the manzai DVDs of the late Yokoyama Yasushi and Nishikawa Kiyoshi at the recommendation of the director and practising his lines repeatedly. Fukushi commented that he hopes that Yamamoto will be an encouraging presence to the young people who are struggling in society through this movie.

Co-stars also include Yoshida Kotaro who plays Aoyama's manager and keeps subjecting the latter to verbal abuse, Kuroki Haru who plays Aoyama's senior at work and Koike Eiko who plays a mysterious woman that knows Yamamoto's past.

Source: Yomiuri Hochi

Adachi Yumi announces the birth of her son

Adachi Yumi announced through her blog on 29 July that she had given birth to her second child i.e. a baby boy. In her statement, she revealed that her son weighed 2,900 grams at birth and that both mother and son are doing well. She expressed her gratitude to the people around her for their support to date and pledged to work hard with her husband as parents of two children.

Adachi was previously married to comedian Itoda Jun between 2005 and 2009 and their daughter was born in 2006. She the  remarried cameraman Kuwajima Tomoki in 2014 and announced her pregnancy in February this year.

Sources: Nikkansports / Sanspo

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Tsumabuki Satoshi to play a father for the first time in NHK drama SP "Kidnap Tour"

Tsumabuki Satoshi will be playing a father for the first time in the upcoming NHK drama SP "Kidnap Tour" which will be shown at 7.30pm on 2 August. The drama SP which is based on the novel by Kakuta Mitsuyo, features Tsumabuki as Takashi who is a penniless man living separately from his wife and daughter. In order to strike a "deal" with his wife Kyoko (Kinami Haruka), he goes on a trip with his daughter Haru (Toyoshima Hana) by "abducting" her. Through this trip, Takashi and Haru discover things they never knew about each other.

When asked about his first attempt at playing a father with a daughter in Primary 5, Tsumabuki commented that he thinks that he will be a father one day but to be able to experience now through this drama is a very amazing thing for him and the feelings a father would feel came rather naturally during the filming. On the other hand, Toyoshima admitted that she was expecting another actor or a comedian to play her father so she was surprised to hear that Tsumabuki was going to be her father in the drama and couldn't imagine him being like Takashi. However, once the filming got underway, she was impressed by how Tsumabuki blended into the role and thought that he did very well.

Co-stars include Kaho, Arai Hirofumi, Muro Tsuyoshi and Yachigusa Kaoru who play the people Takashi and Haru meet during their trip while Mitsushima Hikari plays Takashi's former girlfriend. In response to this, Tsumabuki said that he and Mitsushima have played siblings so many times but he is confident that they will look like a pair of ex-lovers this time.

Source: Oricon

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Kinami Haruka to play Takizawa Hideaki's wife in TBS Summer 2016 drama "Seiseisuru hodo, Aishiteru"

Kinami Haruka will be appearing from the 3rd episode of TBS Summer 2016 drama "Seiseisuru hodo, Aishiteru" as the wife of Takizawa Hideaki's character Miyoshi Kairi. To date, the drama had given the impression that Hashimoto Manami's character Haruka is Kairi's wife but in actual fact, Yuka is the one who is married to Kairi. In contrast with the original manga, the Yuka in the drama will deviate from the goody-two-shoes image projected in the manga. Kinami admitted that she probably won't be able to play a good person this time but it is still early days to know what Yuka will do to Kairi and Mia (Takei Emi) so she is also eagerly awaiting to see how things will turn out.

Source: Oricon

Abe Natsumi & Yamazaki Ikusaburo welcome the arrival of their first son

Abe Natsumi and Yamazaki Ikusaburo welcomed the arrival of their first son on 26 July and released a joint statement through his agency on the following day. In the statement, the couple revealed that they were very touched when their son was born and cried together. They pledged to raise their child well and asked for the support of everyone around them as they are inexperienced at being parents.

Abe and Yamazaki started dating after working together in the stage play "Arashigaoka" in 2011 and got married on 29 December last year. Abe announced her pregnancy in February this year.

Source: Oricon

Yuka & Aoki Munetaka hold their wedding at Meiji Shrine

Yuka and Aoki Munetaka who registered their marriage on 27 June, held their wedding at Meiji Shrine in Tokyo one month later on 27 July. Yuka was dressed in a pure white kimono dress while Aoki was in a hakama during their Shinto-style wedding which was attended by about 20 family members only.

On the same day, there were about 200 visitors to the shrine of which about 80 percent were foreigners. Upon seeing the couple appear on the shrine's grounds, many tourists tried to take pictures of them even though they might not have realised that the couple are celebrities. However, they were stopped by the security staff who raised their voices while warning the onlookers.

Source: Daily Sports

Aragaki Yui to star in TBS Autumn 2016 drama "Nigeru wa haji daga yaku ni tatsu"

Aragaki Yui will be starring in the upcoming TBS Autumn 2016 drama "Nigeru wa haji daga yaku ni tatsu" (Although it's embarrassing to run away, it is useful) which will begin its run from October on Tuesdays at 10pm. This is her first leading role in a TBS drama series for the first time in three and a half year years.

The love comedy is based on the same-titled manga by Umino Natsumi which won the 39th Kodansha Manga Award in 2015 while the script will be written by Nogi Akiko whose most recent work was "Juuhan Shuttai!". Aragaki plays the role of 25-year-old Moriyama Mikuri who left graduate school without a job and boyfriend and was recently fired from her contract job. While feeling despondent at not being needed anywhere, Mikuri is looking for a new opening when her father arranges for her to work as a housework assistant for a 36-year-old single man named Tsuzaki Hiramasa who is a company employee and used to be her father's subordinate. Mikuri slowly gains the trust of Tsuzaki but is about to lose her job again due to an incident so she suggests to the latter that he should hire her as a wife or else she will become unemployed. Even though they have no feelings for each other at first, they gradually start to develop a relationship while bound by a contract marriage.

Filming is due to begin in late August and the cast lineup will be announced later.

Sources: Nikkansports / Sanspo / Yomiuri Hochi

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Hirosue Ryoko, Ito Atsushi & Hamada Gaku to star in TV Tokyo drama SP "Boukyou"

Hirosue Ryoko, Ito Atsushi and Hamada Gaku will be starring in the upcoming TV Tokyo drama SP "Boukyou" (Homesickness) to be shown within this year which is based on the same-titled mystery novel by Minato Kanae that consists of six stories and was nominated for the 149th Naoki Award. The drama SP comprises of three stories i.e. "Mikan no Hana" (Tangerine flower), "Umi no Hoshi" (The sea's star) and "Kumo no Ito" (The cloud's thread) which are all set against the backdrop of islands in the Seto Inland Sea. As such, the drama SP will be shot entirely on set at Innoshima in Hiroshima which is the hometown of Minato.

In "Mikan no Hana", Hirosue plays a housewife who hates her elder sister for leaving behind her and their mother behind in their hometown so that she could become a novelist in Tokyo. One day, she comes to know a shocking truth from her elder sister. Hirosue commented that the climax scene when the sisters come face to face was especially memorable for her.

In "Umi no Hoshi", Ito plays a company employee who was raised single-handedly by his mother. When he grows up, he starts to find out the truth behind the disappearance of his father during his childhood.

As for Hamada, he plays the lead character who is a popular singer in "Kumo no Ito". However, he tries to conceal the fact that he came from an island especially since he had a hard time during his childhood due to a crime his mother committed. He returns to his hometown for the first time in 7 years but accidentally falls into the sea and goes into a coma.

Sources: Sanspo / Yomiuri Hochi

Fujiki Naohito reportedly welcomes the birth of his third child

According to a recent article from Josei Jishin, Fujiki Naohito is said to have welcomed the birth of his third child last month and was spotted with his wife and the baby while on an outing this month. In the article, it was mentioned that Fujiki drove his wagon car to a car park at Shibuya on 19 July just after noon which happened to be a very hot day with temperatures exceeding 30 degrees Celsius. Fujiki was seen dressed in short pants, a white knitted cap and a summer coat while carrying his baby from the car and his wife who is 6 years younger than him brought out the pram. However, his son and daughter who are 9 years old and 6 years old respectively, were not seen with them. Fujiki was said to be having a rest day so he went out with his family in Shibuya. As that day happened to be Fujiki's birthday, the couple were seen buying a lot of food from the supermarket and he was rubbing cheeks with the baby with a smiling face.

Apparently, Fujiki's third child was born just last month and he only made the announcement to his fanclub members but did not release the news to the media. It is not known if the baby is a boy or girl.

Fujiki has been one of the MCs for NTV's variety programme "Oshare Ism" since 2005 and was recently seen in the TBS Spring 2016 drama "Watashi kekkon dekinain janakute, shinain desu" along with Nakatani Miki. He also took on the leading role in the stage play "Shaku ni wa shaku wo" in May which was the last work of the late Ninagawa Yukio.

Source: Josei Jishin

Monday, July 25, 2016

Satisfaction ranking for Spring 2016 dramas (TV Watcher)

TV Watcher conducts a daily survey on at least 3,000 respondents per day on each episode of the dramas shown within a full season. In this ranking, it takes the average score tabulated from the scores for each episode. The maximum score a drama can get is 5.

In the Spring 2016 drama, a record number of 7 dramas achieved an average score of more than 3.7. However, only the No.1 drama i.e. Boku no Yabai Tsuma got an average score of above 4 as it achieved an above-4 score for 7 out of its 9 episodes. On a per episode basis, Juuhan Shuttai's Ep 9 got the highest satisfaction score of 4.23. No.2's 99.9 Keiji Senmon Bengoshi and No.3's Sekai Ichi Muzukashii Koi were caught in a tight race with a difference of just 0.014 separating them in the end. The number of dramas with a high satisfaction rating seems to suggest that viewers were quite happy with the Spring 2016 offerings on a whole.

Numbers in brackets indicate the average satisfaction score for each drama:

1) Boku no Yabai Tsuma - FujiTV (4.036)
2) 99.9 Keiji Senmon Bengoshi - TBS (3.953)
3) Sekai Ichi Muzukashii Koi - NTV (3.939)
4) Juuhan Shuttai - TBS (3.932)
5) Watashi kekkon dekinain janakute, shinain desu - TBS (3.882)
6) Good Partner Muteki no Bengoshi - TV Asahi (3.842)
7) Yutori desu ga nani ka - NTV (3.841)
8) Fukigen na Kajitsu - TV Asahi (3.800)
9) Totto Terebi - NHK (3.781)
10) Omukae desu - NTV (3.670)
11) Keishicho Sousa Ikka Kyukakari - TV Asahi (3.664)
12) Contrail - Tsumi to Koi - NHK (3.663)
13) Doctor Sousahan - TV Tokyo (3.650)
14) Keishicho Sousa Ikkacho - TV Asahi (3.564)
15) Love Song - FujiTV (3.356)
16) OUR HOUSE - FujiTV (3.322)
17) Hayako-sensei, Kekkon surutte hontou desuka? - FujiTV (3.277)

Source: TV Watcher

Most anticipated Summer 2016 dramas ranking (Yahoo! Japan)

This is a survey done by Yahoo! Japan between 5 July and 16 July where respondents were respondents were asked to choose which drama they looked forward most before the season started. Note that 70% of the respondents were male so dramas of certain genres tend to be more favoured as compared to those targeted at female audiences. It might also be worth noting that the difference between the Top 4 is actually quite small and they collectively account for about 40% of the votes.

Numbers in brackets indicate the number of votes received while the percentage represents the vote share:

1) Yamikin Ushijima-kun Season 3 - TBS (1,363 / 10.2%)

2) ON Ijou Hanzai Sousakan Toudou Hinako - FujiTV (1,306 / 9.7%)

3) Soshite, Dare mo inakunatta - NTV (1,302 / 9.6%)

4) Ie uru onna - NTV (1,255 / 9.3%)

5) Keiji Shichinin 2 - TV Asahi (906 / 6.7%)

6) Aogeba Totoshi - TBS (847 / 6.3%)

7) Suki na hito ga iru koto - FujiTV (846 / 6.3%)

8) Seiseisuru hodo, Aishiteru - TBS (711 / 5.3%)

9) Toki wo kakeru shoujo - NTV (694 / 5.2%)

10) Kami no shita wo motsu otoko - TBS (564 / 4.2%)

11) Denshichi Torimonochou - NHK (519 / 3.9%)

12) Onnatachi no Tokusou Saizensen - TV Asahi (451 / 3.4%)

13) Eigyou Buchou Kira Natsuko - FujiTV (419 / 3.1%)

14) Hajimemashite, Aishiteimasu - TV Asahi (394 / 2.9%)

15) HOPE ~ Kitai Zero no Shinnyuu Shain ~ - FujiTV (339 / 2.5%)

16) Otokomeshi - TV Tokyo (293 / 2.2%)

17) Isan Sozoku Bengoshi Kakizaki Shinichi - NTV (291 / 2.2%)

18) Juken no Cinderella - NHK (262 / 2.0%)

19) Shihei - TBS (184 / 1.4%)

20) Gurame! ~ Souri no Ryoriban ~ - TV Asahi (141 / 1.1%)

21) Yassan ~ Tsukiji Hatsu! Oishii Jikenbo ~ - TV Tokyo (125 / 0.9%)

22) Tokuyama Daigoro wo dare ga koroshita ka? - TV Tokyo (103 / 0.8%)

23) Koekoi - TV Tokyo (70 / 0.5%)

24) Love Love Alien - FujiTV (42 / 0.3%)

Source: Yahoo! Japan

Cast announcement for new WOWOW drama "Cold Case ~ Shinjitsu no Tobira ~"

The supporting cast lineup for new WOWOW drama "Cold Case ~ Shinjitsu no Tobira" was announced on 25 July. The drama starring Yoshida Yo which will be making its debut from 22 October in the Saturdays 10pm timeslot, consists of 10 episodes.

Nagayama Kento will be playing the role of 31-year-old Takagi Shinjiro who is an ambitious and arrogant sergeant and adopts a negative attitude towards being told to investigate unresolved cases right after he gets transferred to the department. While working with Ishikawa Yuri (Yoshida), he starts to change his mindset. Nagayama commented that he was feeling quite assured that things will work out well when he found out who his co-stars were. Although the five of them are very different, there is a lot of chemistry among them and he finds it interesting to act with his co-stars. In addition, as he is also the youngest child in the family like Yoshida, the two of them get along very well so they were able to show the chemistry as a pair of buddies working together.

Takito Kenichi plays the role of Tachikawa Daisuke, a lieutenant who is Yuri's colleague and has a frank character but short temper. He is living apart from his wife who has had enough of him. Takito commented that everything about this drama including the staff, cast and script is very good but he can't really see anything charming about his character. However, while filming the drama, he developed a liking for his character and hopes that viewers will like Tachikawa as well.

Mitsuishi Ken plays the role of Kaneko Toru, a lieutenant who had worked for many years at a police post so is very familiar with the local area. He is calm and makes use of his extensive experience to support the team and is nicknamed Neko-san. Mitsuishi revealed that his character is an only child who was actually headed on the wrong path once which coincided with his personal experience so he tried to tap on that to play his character.

Last but not least, the boss of Yuri's team i.e. Motoki Hidetoshi is played by Miura Tomokazu who is an inspector standing in for the section chief so everyone calls him "Dairi". Although he is a strict man, he cares for his subordinates. Miura commented that as the original drama series in the US lasted for 7 seasons, he thinks that it is a very good and popular drama. As such, he hopes that the Japan version will do as well and called upon viewers to support their hard work.

Source: Oricon

Hirosue Ryoko to play the role of Miyabi in TBS Summer 2016 drama "Kami no shita wo motsu otoko"

Hirosue Ryoko will be appearing from the 4th episode of TBS Summer 2016 drama "Kami no shita wo motsu otoko" due to be shown on 29 July at 10pm and plays the role of the mysterious onsen geisha Miyabi who the lead character Tomonaga Ranmaru has been searching for. To date, the name of the actress playing Miyabi has been indicated as a secret in the ending credits of the drama.

Ranmaru is able to detect the contents of anything he tastes including saliva and gastric juice thus he is unable to kiss any woman nor get into a relationship. However, when he kissed Miyabi on the night of his grandfather's wake, he was surprised to find that his ability to taste was rendered powerless and all he could remember was the feeling of happiness. As such, he wants to find Miyabi again to find the reason thus embarks on the journey to various onsen resorts to look for her.

Hirosue commented that she is honoured to be able to play a mysterious woman in this drama full of Tsutsumi Yukihiko's ideas and called upon viewers to continue watching in order to find out what will happen. It was also revealed that it was Tsutsumi's idea to keep her identity a secret during the first few episodes so as to keep the viewers in suspense.

Source: Oricon

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Top 10 celebrities appearing most in the news for the first half of 2016 (Oricon)

Oricon counted the number of times a celebrity appeared in articles on Yahoo! topics and LINE NEWS between 1 January and 30 June this year but there are a few exceptions in the counting method:
- Sports athletes and deceased celebrities
- Mention of the celebrity's group name only
- News related to criminal cases
- Mention of TV programmes bearing the person's name but the article is not about the person

* Number in brackets reflect the number of articles which the person appeared in. The main reasons/topics why the person was in the news appear behind the numbers.

1) Becky (442) - Alleged affair with Kawatani Enon, break from work and restarting her showbiz activities

2) Kawatani Enon (249) - Alleged affair with Becky

3) Nakai Masahiro (171) - SMAP's rumoured disbanding, his interview with Becky about her return to work and his charity visits to the areas hit by the Kumamoto earthquake

4) Kano Eiko (130) - Breakup with Kato Sari and alleged multiple girlfriends

5) DAIGO (112) - Marriage to Kitagawa Keiko and the release of his proposal song

6) Kato Sari (109) - Breakup with Kano Eiko

7) Kitagawa Keiko (97) - Marriage to DAIGO

8) Matsumoto Hitoshi (90) - Comments on various issues while on TV programmes

9) Sashihara Rino (83) - Winning the AKB48 election and comments while on TV programmes

10) Takahashi Minami (78) - Graduating from AKB48 and rumours of alleged romance

Source: Oricon

Cast announcement for TV Tokyo drama SP "Mohouhan"

Maehata Shigeko - Nakatani Miki (report writer; heroine of the story)

Tsukada Shinichi - Hamada Tatsuomi (the young boy who discovered the victim's body)

Arima Yoshio - Hashizume Isao (the victim's grandfather)

Takai Kazuaki - Mitsushima Shinnosuke (the elder brother embroiled into the case)

Takai Yumiko - Shimizu Fumika (the younger sister embroiled into the case)

Kurihara Hiromi - Yamamoto Yusuke (the classmate of Kazuaki)

Maehata Shoji - Sugimoto Tetta (Shigeko's husband)

Kida Takao - Yoshida Kotaro (the childhood friend of Yoshio)

Furukawa Machiko - Muroi Shigeru (Yoshio's daughter; her own daughter was the victim)

Itagaki Masako - Takahata Atsuko (the editor of the magazine which Shigeko works for)

Takegami Etsuro - Kishibe Ittoku (the police detective who is in charge of investigating the case)

Source: Oricon

Abe Hiroshi & Kagawa Teruyuki to work together in NHK drama "Sniffer Kyuukaku Sousakan"

Abe Hiroshi and Kagawa Teruyuki will be working together in the new NHK drama "Sniffer Kyuukaku Sousakan" (Sniffer The investigation officer with a sense of smell) which will begin its run from 22 October in the Saturdays 10pm timeslot. The drama is based on the 2013 Ukranian drama "THE SNIFFER" which achieved the highest drama ratings in Russia within the last five years, had been shown in more than 60 countries and won many awards at various TV drama festivals overseas. The Japanese remake version will feature new cases and characters which do not appear in the original.

Abe plays the role of Hanaoka Shinichiro, a police detective nicknamed Sniffer who relies on his strong sense of smell to solve cases while Kagawa plays his buddy Komukai Tatsuro who works with him to solve strange and difficult cases. Abe commented that he is in the midst of thinking of how to project his character who relies on his nose to conduct the investigation and he hopes to make this drama as interesting as possible. Although the Japanese version is a remake, he also hopes to make it as good as, if not better than the original even though it is going to be challenging. As for Kagawa, he jokingly said that the selling point of this drama is that Abe is going to be like a police dog who has a good sense of smell and can speak words like a human being who can solve cases quickly. Just imagining Abe going around sniffing like a police dog is bound to be hillarious and somewhat not in line with NHK's usual serious image but that is precisely the charming point of this drama.

Co-stars include Igawa Haruka who plays Suenaga Yuki, an otolaryngologist who is secretly in love with Hanaoka, Itaya Yuka who plays Katayama Emi, Hanaoka's ex-wife and Yoshiyuki Kazuko who plays Komukai's mother and is an original character in the Japanese version. There will be guest stars in each episode.

Filming begins from the end of July to October in the Kanto area.

Source: Oricon

Winners of the 4th Confidence Award Drama Prize (Spring 2016)

Best Drama: Juuhan Shuttai! (TBS)

Best Leading Actor: Okada Masaki - Yutori desu ga nani ka (NTV)

Best Leading Actress: Mitsushima Hikari - Totto Terebi (NHK)

Best Supporting Actor: Yagira Yuuya - Yutori desu ga nani ka (NTV)

Best Supporting Actress: Kimura Yoshino - Boku no Yabai Tsuma (FujiTV)

Best Script: Kudo Kankuro - Yutori desu ga nani ka (NTV)

Best Newcomer: Fujiwara Sakura - Love Song (FujiTV)

Source: Confidence Award Drama Prize

Friday, July 22, 2016

Kanno Miho to star in TBS Autumn 2016 drama "Suna no Tou ~ Shirisugita Rinjin"

Kanno Miho will be making her return to dramas for the first time in four years when she takes on the leading role in the TBS Autumn 2016 drama "Suna no Tou ~ Shirisugita Rinjin" (The Sand Tower ~ The neighbour who knows too much) which will be shown from October in the Fridays 10pm timeslot. She last appeared in the FujiTV Autumn 2013 drama "Kekkon Shinai" before she got married to Sakai Masato in April 2013 and gave birth to their first son last August.

Kanno plays the role of Takano Aki, a 38-year-old housewife who aspires to live in a high-rise condominium apartment and finally realises her dream with her husband who is a salaryman, son who is in senior high school and daughter who is in kindergarten. However, she finds that her new life is far from ideal as she meets a strange neighbour who causes a lot of trouble that leads to her isolation from the other housewives living in the same block and the gradual disintegration of her family. In addition, she also has to contend with jealousy, vanity, peer pressure and discrimination among the residents of the high-rise condominium through being pressured to pay 5,000 yen for a lunch or take part in events such as the Halloween celebration.

Filming begins in early September.

Sources: Sanspo / Sponichi

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Preview of "Kenja no Ai" (WOWOW)

Title: Kenja no Ai 賢者の愛 (The Sage's Love)
Official website: here
O.A. Start Date: 20 August 2016
Timeslot: Saturdays 10pm
Broadcast by: WOWOW
Original novel by: Yamada Amy
Cast: Nakayama Miho, Takaoka Saki, Ryusei Ryo, Asari Yosuke, Kusamura Reiko, Asaka Mayumi, Enoki Takaaki, Tanabe Seiichi, Asami Himeka, Uehara Miku, Kawashima Ririka, Kobayashi Rino, Uchida Kenji

"Kodoku no Gurume SP! Manatsu no Tohoku Miyagi Shucchouhen" to be shown on 3 August

"Kodoku no Gurume SP! Manatsu no Tohoku Miyagi Shucchouhen" will be shown on 3 August at 10pm . In this latest special, the lead Inokashira Goro who is played by Matsushige Yutaka will be joined by guest stars Mukai Osamu, Watanabe Ikkei, Denden and Yo Kimiko in his journey to find good food in the Tohoku region and Miyagi during his two-day-one-night business trip. Mukai will play the role of an employee at a company who liaises with Goro for an event while Watanabe plays Goro's friend. Denden and Yo will play the masters of two restaurants which Goro visits.

Source: Oricon

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Tamaki Hiroshi to star in TV Tokyo drama SP "Kyoaku wa nemurasenai Tokusou Kenji no gyakushuu"

Tamaki Hiroshi will be starring in the TV Tokyo drama SP "Kyoaku wa nemurasenai Tokusou Kenji no gyakushuu" (Great evil does not go to sleep The counterattack of the special investigation unit prosecutor) which is part of the special project to commemorate the TV station's move to Roppongi. This is the first leading role in a private network drama for Tamaki after he acted in the NHK morning drama "Asa ga kita". The drama SP is based on the novel titled "Baikoku" (Treason) written by Mayama Jin and is the first work from him to be made into a private network drama. The drama SP will be directed by Wakamatsu Setsuro while the script is written by Kaneko Arisa.

Tamaki plays the role of Tominaga Shinichi who is a public prosecutor new at the special investigation unit who takes part in an investigation involving a big-name politician's illegal donations case. With the sudden disappearance of his childhood friend, Tominaga also gets embroiled in a scandal involving a space exploration project. As he investigates further, he finds that both cases are related to the politician who he has been checking on. At the same time, a young researcher at JAXA named Hattanda Haruka who has to struggle with the conflicts between dreams and justice.

Tamaki recounted that when he first read the script, he thought that this is a very challenging drama. As this drama is presented by highlighting evil, this will get viewers to think of what justice really means. In addition, as Tominaga is a new member of the special investigation unit despite being experienced and already in his mid 30s, Tamaki thinks that it's important to show this side of his character.

The rest of the cast will be announced at a later date and the drama SP will be shown within 2016.

Sources: Oricon / Eiga.com

Sasaki Nozomi to join the cast of "ON Ijou Hanzai Sousakan Toudou Hinako" from the third episode

Sasaki Nozomi will be joining the cast of FujiTV Summer 2016 drama "ON Ijou Hanzai Sousakan Toudou Hinako" from the third episode which will be shown on 26 July. The case featured in this episode is about a series of murders at an European-style building rumoured to be haunted where the young female victims had a part of their bodies taken away by the murderer. Sasaki plays the role of Sato Tsuya who owns a laundry shop near the crime scene and helps to babysit her customer's daughter Haruka who happened to see someone suspected to be the murderer. Through the investigation, she comes to befriend Hinako (Haru) who is around the same age as her.

Sasaki commented that as she is joining the cast in the middle of the drama's run, Haru and the rest of the cast have been very welcoming towards her. As she also likes suspense and mystery stories, she hopes that viewers will enjoy watching this drama to find out who might be the culprit in the cases.

Source: Oricon

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Production press conference of TV Asahi Summer 2016 drama "Gurame! ~ Souri no Ryoriban ~"

The production press conference of TV Asahi Summer 2016 drama "Gurame! ~ Souri no Ryoriban ~" was held on 19 July which was attended by cast members Gouriki Ayame, Kohinata Fumio, Takito Kenichi, Takahashi Issei, Matsuo Yukimi, Shinkawa Yua, Miyake Hiroki and Naito Risa. The drama which begins its run from 22 July in the Fridays 11.15pm timeslot, features Gouriki playing a chef for the first time so she showed off the results of her training in the last month by serving the special Gurame! chicken plate which consisted of chicken saute, burdock salad and cold potato potage. In response to that, Kohinata who plays the prime minister in the drama praised her for the food and said that he was pleased to be able to taste her cooking before her future husband does. As Gouriki has to cook various dishes in the drama, there is a lot of time spent on preparing the food for those scenes. This also makes her feel hungry often due to the aroma of the dishes. Despite the training, Gouriki admitted that she is still far from being a good cook but has become better than when she first started learning.

On the other hand, Kohinata jokingly commented that although he and the current Prime Minister Abe Shinzo are of the same age, the latter has more hair on his head than him and he hopes that people won't mistake him for Higashikokubara Hideo who sports a similar hairstyle.

Sources: Sanspo / Yomiuri Hochi

Cast announcement of new movie "Mogura no Uta Hong Kong Kyousoukyoku"

The cast lineup for new movie "Mogura no Uta Hong Kong Kyousoukyoku" starring Ikuta Toma was announced on 18 July. The movie which is based on the same-titled manga by Takahashi Noboru and will be shown in cinemas from 23 December, features Ikuta as an undercover police officer Kikukawa Reiji who will be investigating a case in Hong Kong this time. The first movie released in February 2014 achieved box office sales of 2.2 billion yen. As for the sequel, it will be directed again by Miike Takashi and written by Kudo Kankuro. Filming was completed on 17 June.

In the cast lineup, Eita will be playing an elite police officer who doesn't know Reiji's true identity and treats him as an enemy. Reiji's investigation target who is the chairman of a gang will be played by Iwaki Koichi while his daughter is played by Honda Tsubasa. Nanao will play a Chinese mafia member who is out to kill Reiji. Tsutsumi Shinichi will play a gang leader who is impressed with Reiji and takes the latter as his sworn brother. Furuta Arata will be an expelled member of the gang who holds a grudge against Reiji and Tsutsumi's character while Kamiji Yusuke will play a killer belonging to the gang and Naka Riisa will be a police officer who has a thing for Reiji.

Source: Sanspo

Ninomiya Kazunari to star in new movie "Last Recipe ~ Kirin no shita no kioku ~"

Ninomiya Kazunari will be starring in the new movie "Last Recipe ~ Kirin no shita no kioku ~" (Last Recipe ~ The memories of the kirin's tongue~) which will be shown in autumn 2017. The movie which will be directed by Takita Yojiro, is based on the novel "Kirin no shita wo motsu otoko" (The man who has the kirin's tongue) by Tanaka Keiichi who is the director of FujiTV's cooking variety show "Ryori no Tetsujin".

The story is set in Manchuria during the 1930s and Japan during the 2000s where there are two men reputed to have the kirin's tongue i.e. someone with the perfect sense of taste who can recreate dishes by tasting them just once. Ninomiya plays the role of Sasaki Mitsuru who lives in the current era where he charges an exorbitant amount to recreate dishes for people who wants to eat something for the last time in their lives. In order to cope with the numerous cooking scenes in the movie which the director wants him to do personally rather than use stand-ins, Ninomiya has started taking cooking lessons from food critic Hattori Yukio's cooking school from mid July until filming starts in October. Although Ninomiya is left-handed, he has to learn how to use the knife with his right hand instead.

In the Manchuria part of the story, Nishijima Hidetoshi will take on the role of Yamagata Naotaro who also has the kirin's tongue while his wife Chizuru is to be played by Miyazaki Aoi. Takenouchi Yutaka will play Miyake Taizo, an army colonel who orders Naotaro to create the best full course meal for him which consists of 112 dishes. During the war, the recipes go missing. To recreate these legendary dishes, Mitsuru is engaged for the task so the movie will shuttle between the past and present repeatedly. In the current era, Mitsuru's buddy Yanagisawa Ken will be played by Ayano Go. Co-stars also include Oida Yoshi and Johnny's Jr Nishihata Daigo.

Sources: Sanspo / Yomiuri Hochi / Sponichi

Nounen Rena breaks her silence in FRIDAY interview and announces name change

After being out of the limelight for the past year, Nounen Rena finally broke her silence in an exclusive FRIDAY interview. Ever since she achieved instant fame through her leading role in the NHK morning drama "Ama-chan", Nounen had appeared in a number of dramas and movies but suddenly stopped her activities with rumours of her intention to leave her agency or quitting showbiz altogether.

In the 15 July issue of FRIDAY which features a 7-hour interview with Nounen's recent photos, she revealed that she will resume her showbiz career with the new name "Non" which is written in Hiragana. As to why she is not using her real name Nounen Rena, she said that she came up with the idea by coming up with a few options such as using the name "rena" or changing her surname and ended up choosing "non" since it is simple, sounds good and looks good as a emoticon. In the end, during her mother and younger sister's trip to Tokyo to visit her, they discussed this and supported her choice. Her mother even brought along the signature yuzu juice from their hometown in Hyogo to give away to her neighbours which made them very happy.

Nounen commented that her mother has always been a very optimistic person even as rumours swirled around about her daughter's reported move to break free from her agency or quit showbiz. Nounen was concerned that her mother might be worried for her but to her surprise, the latter only talked about happy things and sent cute pictures of dogs to her.

In the article, Nounen also talked about things such as the present she received from Koizumi Kyoko who played her mother in "Ama-chan" and revealed that she had been taking ballet lessons during her break.

In a separate Asahi Shimbun article, the lawyer who represents Nounen, revealed the reason why she wanted to change her name. As she had signed the contract with her agency under her real name Nounen Rena, she was concerned about the implications of using the same name to continue her career and decided to change her name. On the other hand, Nounen's agency said that they are still in negotiations with Nounen about the fulfillment of her current contract and subsequent renewal but there is no resolution as yet.

Sources: FRIDAY / Asahi Shimbun

Preview of "Eigyou Buchou Kira Natsuko" - Summer 2016

Title: Eigyou Buchou Kira Natsuko 営業部長吉良奈津子 (Sales director Kira Natsuko)
Official website: here
Official Twitter: here
O.A. Start Date: 21 July 2016
Timeslot; Thursdays 10pm
Broadcast by: FujiTV
Theme Song: Cheer Up! The Summer by Yamashita Tatsuro
Cast: Matsushima Nanako, Matsuda Ryuhei, DAIGO, Okada Yoshinori, Nakamura An, Adachi Rika, Shirasu Jin, Takagi Wataru, Ito Ayumi, Itao Itsuji, Matsubara Chieko, Ishimaru Kanji, Harada Taizo

Monday, July 18, 2016

Nakayama Miho to star in new WOWOW drama "Kenja no Ai"

Nakayama Miho will be starring in the new WOWOW drama "Kenja no Ai" (The Sage's Love) which will begin its run from 20 August in the Saturdays 10pm timeslot. The drama which consists of 4 episodes, is based on the same-titled novel by Yamada Amy which was a homage paid to Tanizaki Junichiro's "Chijin no Ai". This is the first time that she is playing a baddie role in her acting career.

Nakayma plays the lead character Takanaka Mayuko who is an editor and was betrayed by her first love Ryoichi (Tanabe Seiichi) and best friend Yuri (Takaoka Saki) 20 years ago. After Ryoichi and Yuri got married and gave birth to their son, they got Mayuko to name the baby who chose the name Naomi who is the lead character in "Chijin no Ai". Unknown to the couple, Mayuko plots a long-running revenge against them by cultivating Naomi (Ryusei Ryo) into the type of man she likes and makes the latter so emotionally attached to her that he cannot give her up. Once Naomi reaches the age of 20, the two develop a physical relationship despite the fact the he is 25 years younger than her. Mayuko's parents will be played by Enoki Takaaki and Asaka Mayumi.

Filming is currently underway.

Sources: Nikkansports / Sanspo / Yomiuri Hochi

Kohinata Fumio & Fukatsu Eri to play a married couple in new movie "Survival Family"

Kohinata Fumio and Fukatsu Eri will be playing a married couple in the new movie "Survival Family" which will be shown in cinemas next year. The movie which is directed by Yaguchi Shinobu, was shot over two and a half months from September last year. The idea of the movie was conceptualised after the director saw the massive blackout in the northern part of US in 2003. Co-stars include Tokito Saburo, Fujiwara Norika, Ohno Takuro, Shison Jun, Watanabe Eri, Takuma Shin, Emoto Akira, Daichi Yasuo, Izumisawa Yuki and Aoi Wakana.

The movie describes how the Suzuki family living in Tokyo copes with a world where everything powered by electricity suddenly doesn't work anymore. However, the reason for this is not known and there is no information disseminated so they do not know how long the situation is going to last. As a result, the head of the family Yoshiyuki (Kohinata) decides to lead his family out of Tokyo and head for the suburbs by riding bicycles.

As part of the filming, Kohinata and Fukatsu had to apply dirt on their faces and use oil on their hair to show the fact that their characters couldn't wash their hair. As such, director Yaguchi commented that this is probably one of the few Japanese films where the actors have to get that dirty on screen. In order to show the survival theme, the actors also had to go through tough scenes such as being brought down by a pig weighing more than 100kg and swimming in a freezing river. Kohinata who had to go naked on screen, commented that the director is one who doesn't compromise and joked that he is reliable yet detestable at times. Fukatsu also echoed by saying that the director always had tough demands on them.

Sources: Nikkansports / Sanspo

Preview of "Yuriko-san no Ehon - Rikugun Bukan Onodera Fuufu no Sensou -" (Drama SP)

Title: Yuriko-san no Ehon - Rikugun Bukan Onodera Fuufu no Sensou - 百合子さんの絵本 - 陸軍武官・小野寺夫婦の戦争 - (Yuriko-san's picture book - The war of military officer Onodera and his wife - )
Official website: here
O.A. Date: 30 July 2016, 9pm
Broadcast by: NHK
Cast: Yakushimaru Hiroko, Kagawa Teruyuki, Kato Go, Yoshida Kotaro

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Production press conference & screening event of FujiTV Summer 2016 drama "Eigyou Buchou Kira Natsuko"

The production press conference and completion screening event of FujiTV Summer 2016 drama "Eigyou Buchou Kira Natsuko" was held on 14 July which was attended by Matsushima Nanako, Harada Taizo, Matsuda Ryuhei, DAIGO, Ito Ayumi, Itao Itsuji, Ishimaru Kanji and child actor Takahashi Konosuke. The drama which begins its run from 21 July in the Thursdays 10pm timeslot, features Matsushima as the lead character Kira Natsuko who used to be a capable CM director but took 3 years off work for marriage and childbirth. Upon returning to work, she finds that she is not able to go back to her previous job in the creative department and is assigned the post of being the director of the sales development department. While coping with the problems that crop up at work, she has to manage her family commitments.

Matsushima who is also a mother of two, revealed that she switches to her working mode when travelling to work and putting makeup and costumes for her characters. Even though she may be concerned about her children at times, she tries to concentrate at work when it's time to do so and revert to her role as a mother once the filming ends. Matsushima praised her young co-star Takahashi for being very adorable and endearing as he would tell her many times daily how much he likes her. As such, it feels as if she has a young lover on set so it's making the filming process more enjoyable for her. When Takahashi was asked during the event what he likes about Matsushima, he said that it is because she is beautiful which led Harada who plays Matsushima's husband to chip in and said that he feels the same way too.

In the drama, there is a flashback scene which describes how Kira Natsuko met her husband so he had to carry her in his arms when she fainted due to heatstroke. Matsushima commented that she never expected to be carried in this way at her age. In response, Harada revealed that Matsushima had rejected the idea at first but he asked to go ahead with it so they were able to film that scene in the end. Harada also commented that he was so thrilled about acting with Matsushima for the first time

DAIGO who is acting in a FujiTV drama for the first time, said that as he has to play a serious character this time, he will have to stop making jokes as he usually does. He also revealed that he gave copies of his wedding song titled "KSK" to his co-stars but was met with surprise responses from Matsushima who asked him what "KSK" is and Matsuda who didn't realise that DAIGO had released a CD. As such, DAIGO said that he needs to work harder as a musician so that more people would know about him.

Sources: Oricon / Yomiuri Hochi / Sponichi

Matsumoto Jun & Arimura Kasumi to play lovers in new movie "Narratage"

Matsumoto Jun and Arimura Kasumi will be working together in the new movie "Narratage" which is due to be shown in autumn next year. The movie which will be directed by Yukisada Isao, is based on the same-titled novel written by Shimamoto Rio in 2005 when she was just 20 which was one of the nominees for the 18th Yamamoto Shugoro Award and sold 350,000 copies to date. The title of the novel refers to the acting technique of having one character in the role of storyteller or the act of inserting bits of explanation into a narrative and in this case, the story is told by the heroine played by Arimura as she reflects on her character's senior high school days. Filming which is largely done in Toyama, began in early July and expected to be wrapped by mid August.

Matsumoto plays the role of a senior high school teacher Hayama Takashi while Arimura plays his student Kudo Izumi. Due to their relationship, Izumi had to suppress her feelings for Hayama although she had been holding a torch for him. Years later when Izumi is an university student, she is asked to go back to the acting club of her senior high school to help out and reunites with Hayama which marks the beginning of their forbidden romance. Although Matsumoto and Arimura had worked together in the drama "Shitsuren Chocolatier" before as siblings, this is the first time that they are collaborating in a movie where they will have to take on intimate scenes.

Yukisada said that since he read the novel 10 years ago, he has been eager to adapt it into a movie. As such, he is happy to be able to get Matsumoto and Arimura to play the lead characters who are wavering in love and hopes to make this film into a signature romance movie. Matsumoto commented that although people may have different feelings and approaches regarding love, he believes that the moment when people's hearts are moved by others is something which everyone can identify with so he hopes to present the heart-wrenching love story to the audience with his co-star. As for Arimura, she believes that it will be an exciting experience for her this summer as she is filming in a new place and hopes to be able to convey the wholehearted love a woman feels for a man through this movie.

Sources: Oricon / Nikkansports / Sponichi

Fujiwara Tatsuya & Ito Hideaki to star in new movie "22 Nenme no Kokuhaku - Watashi ga satsujihan desu -"

Fujiwara Tatsuya and Ito Hideaki will be starring in the new movie "22 Nenme no Kokuhaku - Watashi ga satsujinhan desu -" (Confession in the 22nd year - I am a murderer) which is due to be shown in early summer 2017. The movie which is based on the 2012 South Korean film released in 2012, will be directed by Irie Yu and adapted to incorporate Japanese elements. This is the first time that Fujiwara and Ito are working together.

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

Fujiwara commented that he had worked with the director and since they are about the same age, he thought that it was a good experience for him. As such, to be able to work with him again this time, he feels that it is extremely memorable and hopes to do his best to make this a success. As for his first collaboration with Ito, he hopes that they can build a good relationship while playing characters who are at odds with each other. Meanwhile, Ito also praised the director for being a detailed person when filming each scene and he hopes to be able to reflect the helplessness felt by his character who can't catch the murderer before the case reaches the statute of limitations.

Irie revealed that preparations for the movie took about two and a half years and the script was edited 37 times which shows the amount of effort put in to increase the quality of the movie. As for his leads, he expressed anticipation at seeing how they will bring their respective characters to life and pledged to work hard with the cast and staff during this summer.

Filming began from 12 July and is expected to be wrapped up in early September.

Sources: Oricon / Sanspo / Sponichi

Preview of "Kensou no Machi, Shizuka na Umi" (Drama SP)

Title: Kensou no Machi, Shizuka na Umi 喧騒の街、静かな海 (The noisy street, the quiet sea)
Official website: here
O.A. Date: 18 July 2016 10pm
Broadcast by: NHK
Cast: Dean Fujioka, Terao Akira, Kubota Sayu, Kimura Midoriko, Wada Masato, Ichikawa Yui, Nakamura Yuri, Mizuhashi Kenji, Mikura Mana

Friday, July 15, 2016

Preview of "Yamikin Ushijima-kun Season 3" - Summer 2016

Title: Yamikin Ushijima-kun Season 3 闇金ウシジマくん Season 3 (Loanshark Ushijima-kun Season 3)
Official website: here
O.A. Start Date: 17 July 2016
Timeslot: Sundays 12.50am
Broadcast by: TBS / MBS
Original manga by: Manabe Shohei
Theme song: Sudachi by Karasu
Cast: Yamada Takayuki, Ayano Go, Mitsumune Kaoru, Nakamura Tomoya, Sasaki Kokone etc.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Yamashita Tatsuro to sing the theme song for FujiTV Summer 2016 drama "Eigyou Buchou Kira Natsuko"

Yamashita Tatsuro will be singing the theme song for FujiTV Summer 2016 drama "Eigyou Buchou Kira Natsuko" which will begin its run from 21 July in the Thursdays 10pm timeslot. This is the first time in 20 years that Yamashita has sung a theme song for a drama starring Matsushima Nanako since her breakthrough role in the NHK morning drama "Himawari" in 1996 which featured the theme song "DREAMING GIRL".

The new song "CHEER UP! THE SUMMER" written by Yamashita specially for the drama will be released in September and his first single release in 3 years. Yamashita commented that the song is a summer tune for adults and he's happy to be writing a theme song for Matsushima's drama. Matsushima also commented that she was thankful for Yamashita's song which is a perfect match for summer and will make the drama more exciting for viewers

The chief producer Makino said that the refreshing feel of Yamashita's vocals and Matsushima's screen presence are a perfect match so he praised this collaboration to be the best this summer. He also hopes that this song will become an encouragement to all women like Kira Natsuko who refuse to bow down to difficulties they face in their lives.

Source: Oricon

Kichise Michiko announces her second pregnancy

Kichise Michiko announced through her agency's official website that she is currently 6 months' pregnant and due to give birth in autumn. In her statement, Kichise commented that she is finally pregnant with her second child and is eagerly awaiting the day when she can meet the child. In addition, she revealed that she and the baby are both doing well and that she's glad to be able to make the announcement now. She ended the statement by asking for the continued support of everyone around her. Kichise's agency said that they waited till she is in a stable stage of her pregnancy before they could make the announcement and she will come back to work after childbirth depending on her condition.

Kichise married her husband who is 10 years older than her in December 2010 and gave birth to their first daughter in July 2013.

Sources: Oricon / Sponichi

Tsuchiya Tao to star in love-comedy film "Tori Girl!"

Tsuchiya Tao will be starring in the new love-comedy movie "Tori Girl!" (Bird Girl) which will be shown in cinemas next year. The movie which is based on the same-titled novel by Nakamura Kou and directed by Hanabusa Tsutomu, talks about a group of university students who put in their all to take part in a Tori Ningen Contest i.e. human-powered flight machines at Lake Biwa.

Tsuchiya plays the lead character Toriyama Yukina who made it to a science university after repeating for a year. Upon starting school, she joins the club aiming to take part in the Tori Ningen Contest because she has fallen in love at first sight with a senior who is also in the club. While preparing for the contest, she tries to achieve their dream of flying with her beloved and handsome senior and another senior who behaves like a delinquent. To date, Tsuchiya has acted in many good student roles but this time, her character will be someone who doesn't mince her words and just speaks whatever comes to her mind. Due to the amount of lines, Tsuchiya commented that this is the first time that she has to memorise so many lines in a script but she will put in her best to play this character.

With regard to choosing Tsuchiya for the role, Nakamura said that he visualised her as being the best fit to play the heroine who is healthy, able to cycle well, not put on a pretense in front of others, behave like an old man at times and charm the science stream guys at the same time.

Filming begins from the middle of July to August with the climax scene to be shot at the end of August during the actual "Tori Ningen Contest 2016". Tsuchiya who graduated from a sports university and is known for athletic, will be riding a human-powered propeller during the contest for the first time so she is busy with training on a road bike while preparing for the filming.

Source: Oricon

Completion press conference of new movie "Ikari"

The completion press conference of new movie "Ikari" was held on 11 July which was attended by Watanabe Ken, Tsumabuki Satoshi, Miyazaki Aoi, Matsuyama Kenichi, Ayano Go, Hirose Suzu, Pierre Taki, Miura Takahiro, Takahata Mitsuki, Hara Hideko, Moriyama Mirai, the director Lee Sang-il, original novel's author Yoshida Shuichi and the producer Kawamura Genki. The mystery movie talks about how people gradually lose trust in their families, friends and loved ones in the current era where SNS and mobile communications are so developed and how they explore the theme of trust as a result of a murder case.

Tsumabuki plays the role of an elite salaryman Fujita Yuma who lives with his boyfriend Onishi Naoto (Ayano) in the movie. In order to look convincing as a pair of lovers, Tsumabuki and Ayano revealed that they had been living together during the filming period. Tsumabuki commented that it is rare to find someone of the same wavelength as him when it comes to how to act in a movie so he was grateful to be able to meet someone like Ayano. As part of the preparations for the movie, the two of them also went to Shinjuku Nichome where there are many gay bars so to portray their characters' relationship in a realistic manner. Ayano responded by saying that it had been a precious experience to work with Tsumabuki in this manner and he felt like they have become as close as family during that period.

Source: Oricon

Cast announcement for hybrid movie "Eiga Youkai Watch Soratobu Kujira to Double Sekai no Daibouken Danyan"

The third "Youkai Watch" movie titled "Eiga Youkai Watch Soratobu Kujira to Double Sekai no Daibouken Danyan" which is due to be shown from 17 December will be a hybrid one i.e. featuring both anime + real-life characters. In the cast lineup announced on 9 July, Yamazaki Kento, Saito Takumi, Takei Emi, Hamabe Minami, Kuroshima Yuina, Sawabe Yu and Endo Kenichi will be appearing in the movie as real-life characters to which they expressed surprise initially since they all thought that they were approached to be voice actors for the movie. However, details about their characters' names and how these characters fit into the story will only be made known at a later date. The lead character Keita will be played by 10-year-old child actor Minamide Ryoka.

The producer of this movie Hino Akihiro revealed that the idea to create such a hybrid movie was due to the intention to do something different this time and was conceptualised by their CG team. However, to ensure that the children who have been watching the anime version all this while would accept the new movie, they decided to do a hybrid between both genres rather than dive straight into a real-life adaptation. Hino also expressed his apology for making some of his cast members do weird actors in this movie even though they are in the league of leading actors and actresses.

Yamazaki commented that he is very happy to be taking part in such a popular movie and hopes that the audience will like both genres at the same time. On the other hand, Endo jokingly said that although he has a frightening face, his appearance time is limited so he thinks that the children won't be scared by him. Last but not least, Takei said that she has experienced the popularity of the Youkai Watch characters before since they collaborated in a CM in the past so she hopes that this movie will enjoy the same amount of support and that the viewers will enjoy watching this film.

Source: Oricon

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

The cast announcement press conference for NHK's 2017 Taiga drama "Onna Joushu Naotora" was held at its Tokyo HQ on 12 July which was attended by the lead Shibasaki Kou and fellow cast members Suda Masaki, Nanao, Shunputei Shota, Onoe Matsuya, Asaoka Ruriko and Abe Sadao. The drama will begin its run from 8 January next year.

Suda and Nanao who are making their first appearances in a Taiga will be playing Ii Naomasa and Tsukiyama-dono (Sena), the first wife of Tokugawa Ieyasu respectively. Shunputei will play Imagawa Yoshimoto while his son Ujizane is played by Onoe and his Ujizane's mother Jukei-ni will be played by Asaoka. Abe plays the role of Tokugawa Ieyasu.

Here is the list of other cast members who did not attend the press conference but will be taking part in this drama:

Ketsuzan - Ichihara Hayato
Ono Genba - Inoue Yoshio
Sana - Hanafusa Mari
Matsushita Jokei - Wada Masato
Koten - Komatsu Kazushige
Takase - Takahashi Hikaru

Source: Oricon

Preview of "Hajimemashite, Aishiteimasu" - Summer 2016

Title: Hajimemashite, Aishiteimasu (First time meeting you, I love you)
Official website: here
Official Twitter page: here
O.A. Start Date: 14 July 2016
Timeslot: Thursdays 9pm
Broadcast by: TV Asahi
Theme Song: Riyuu by Makihara Noriyuki
Scriptwriter: Yukawa Kazuhiko
Cast: Ono Machiko, Eguchi Yosuke, Hayami Mokomichi, Sakai Maki, Yo Kimiko, Fuji Tatsuya

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Hira Takehiro announces his marriage

Hira Takehiro announced his marriage to a non-celebrity on 11 July through his agency's official website on the following day. In his statement, Hira revealed that he had met his wife 3 years ago and that she is of the same age as him and is working in the publishing industry. They started dating last year with the intention of getting married so it was a natural progression for them to move on to the next stage of their lives. Hira also commented that he will work hard to strike a balance between family and work commitments and called for everyone's support. As for details of his wife, he called for everyone's understanding that he wished to protect her privacy by not revealing her name and photo especially since she is still working after marriage.

Hira who is the son of actor Hira Mikijiro, can be seen in the ongoing NHK Taiga "Sanadamaru" as Takeda Katsuyori and is active in both dramas and stage plays.

Source: Oricon

BUMP OF CHICKEN to sing the theme song for TBS Summer 2016 drama "Aogeba Totoshi"

Rock band BUMP OF CHICKEN will be singing the theme song for TBS Summer 2016 drama "Aogeba Totoshi" which will begin its run from 17 July in the Sundays 9pm timeslot. The song titled "Aria"  is the first drama theme song from the band since "firefly" which was released in September 2012 for the FujiTV drama "Iki mo dekinai natsu".

The band commented that they are very honoured to have received this offer and have put in their best to produce this theme song. As they were also supported by the people around them during their schooling days while pursuing their music dream, they could identify with the drama's story and is eagerly looking forward to its broadcast. The producer of the drama Sato Yoshihiro commented that when he heard the completed song, he was impressed by the delicate vocals and powerful melody so he was very glad to be able to engage the band to produce this song and is confident that the song will be able to reflect the bittersweet days of youth as depicted in the drama.

Source: Oricon

Production press conference of TV Tokyo Summer 2016 drama "Yassan ~ Tsukiji Hatsu! Oishii Jikenbo ~"

The production press conference of TV Tokyo Summer 2016 drama "Yassan ~ Tsukiji Hatsu! Oishii Jikenbo ~" was held at the outdoor rooftop of new Tsukiji facility Uogashi on 13 July which was attended by cast members Ihara Tsuyoshi, Emoto Tasuku, Itaya Yuka, Yamamoto Maika and Satomi Kotaro. The drama which begins its run from 22 July, features Ihara as the lead character Yassan who has no money and place to live but has a strong love for food and teams up with fellow homeless and unemployed Takao (Emoto) to solve cases in the Tsukiji market.

Ihara revealed that he had not been working for the last three months before filming started and went on a diet to reduce his weight from 84.5kg to 76kg. In order to build up his muscles, he will be drinking protein beverages from now on along with his daily exercises of running, weight training and push-ups. During the filming, Ihara does not need to wear make-up and is always dressed in a T-shirt so he's very happy about this since there is little preparation time needed before filming which is done mainly at Tsukiji Market which is due to move in November.

Satomi revealed that he had worked in Tsukiji about 60 years ago so if he had not become an actor, he would have inherited his relative's shop and be troubled over the move to Toyosu by now. As for Emoto, his younger brother Tokio is also starring in a TV Tokyo Summer 2016 drama "Otokomeshi" which is about food too and revealed that they are on good terms and meet up often. As both dramas are shown on the same day, Emoto called upon viewers to watch both dramas so as to support them.

Source: Oricon