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Friday, September 30, 2016

Cast announcement press conference of new NHK 2017 morning drama "Hiyokko"

The cast announcement press conference of new NHK 2017 morning drama "Hiyokko" was held at the TV station's headquarters in Tokyo on 26 September where the lead actress Arimura Kasumi who plays the heroine Yatabe Mineko appeared with 10 of her co-stars. The drama which is the 69th morning drama to date, starts from 1964 after the Tokyo Olympics and describes how Mineko who was born in a big farming family in the northwestern part of Ibaraki Prefecture, goes to Tokyo to work after her father suddenly disappears. Sawamura Ikki will be playing Mineko's father while Kimura Yoshino will be playing her mother. Mineko's childhood friends will be played by Sakuma Yui and Izumisawa Yuki who are currently busy learning the Ibaraki dialect. Furuya Ikko will be Mineko's grandfather while Ging Nang BOYZ' Mineta Kazunobu will be playing her uncle. C0-stars also include Hada Michiko, Shibata Rie, Toyama Toshiya and Matsuo Satoru.

The script is written by Okada Yoshikazu who created 2001's "Chura-san" and 2011's "Ohisama". Filming is due to begin in November and the drama which consists of 156 episodes will be shown from 3 April to 30 September. Arimura is the first actress to be chosen as the heroine for a morning drama without going through an audition since Yoshitaka Yuriko was picked to star in 2014's "Hanako to Anne".

Sources: Nikkansports / Sponichi / Oricon

Street promotion campaign of TV Asahi drama SP "Sogeki"

In conjunction with the impending broadcast of TV Asahi drama SP "Sogeki" at 9pm on 2 October, Ono Machiko appeared at the front of JR Yurakucho Station on 26 September where she gave out flyers to the passerbys and called out to them to watch the drama. Ono who was dressed in a long-sleeved checked shirt and pants, revealed that this was the first time she had given out flyers in public. Minutes after she started doing this, Sato Koichi who was also dressed casually, appeared to join Ono which made the female passerbys react with surprise. Even though the staff did get permission to give out flyers before this unannounced event, the sudden appearance of the two actors caused people to gather around them so they left as soon as all the flyers were given out. Ono commented that she thought initially that people would not take the flyers she gave out but was relieved that the process was smoother than expected. Sato who was in Nagano for work on the previous day, revealed that he had heard about the event from the staff and decided to make a surprise appearance to support Ono. As he also had no experience giving out flyers, he found that it was a fresh attempt to do this for a drama's promotion.

The staff prepared 100,000 flyers for the promotion campaign as 1% in terms of the viewership base is 100,000 people on average. Since the beginning of September, the distribution of the flyers have been done by various staff members such as the scriptwriter Hokimoto Shinya and the theme music's composer KOSEN.

Source: Oricon

Thursday, September 29, 2016

"Doctor X" exhibition to be held at Tobu Department Store's Ikebukuro branch from next month

In conjunction with the impending broadcast of TV Asahi Autumn 2016 drama "Doctor X 4 ~ Gekai Daimon Michiko" from 13 October at 9pm on Thursdays, the first "Doctor X" exhibition will be held at the exhibition space on the 8th floor of Tobu Department Store's Ikebukuro branch from 27 October to 8 November. The exhibition showcases panels summarising the past installments of the "Doctor X" series, footage of important scenes, clothes worn by Daimon Michiko, photos of the cat Ben Casey reared at Kamihara Meii Shoukaijo and photo spots where visitors can take pictures at. During the exhibition period, there are quiz spots located at various places within the department store where you earn stamps for answering the questions correctly. If you manage to answer everything, you will get a special postcard as a reward. Admission is free.

Source: Oricon

First-day-screening event of new movie "Nakimushi Piero no Kekkonshiki"

The first-day-screening event of new movie "Nakimushi Piero no Kekkonshiki" was held at Cinema Shinjuku on 24 September which was attended by the director Minorikawa Osamu, cast members Shida Mirai, Ryusei Ryo and Araki Yuko as well as WHITE JAM who performed the movie's theme song "Sakanaide ~ Nakimushi Piero no Kekkonshiki Ver.~" live. The movie which is based on the non-fiction story by Mochizuki Miyuki, features Shida as a clown apprentice named Kanami who meets a guy named Yosuke (Ryusei) who has forgotten what it means to smile since he has kidney disease. The two begin a romantic relationship but just as they are about to get married, Kanami finds out that Yosuke only has days to live.

When asked about which scene in the movie she likes the most, Shida recounted that there was a scene where Ryusei had carried her on his back and she felt safe and secure as if her father was carrying her because Ryusei has really broad shoulders. In response, Ryusei commented that he wasn't sure if he should be happy about the compliment which likened him to a father. Shida also commented after the screening that the movie made her feel warm at heart and hopes that it will bring the same positive vibe to all those who watch it. As the film was shot in August last year, Shida and Ryusei both said that it had taken quite a long time for the movie to be finally screened so they were extremely relieved and happy about it.

Sources: Oricon / Sanspo / Sponichi

Ishihara Satomi experiences proofreading at Sports Nippon for her NTV Autumn 2016 drama "Jimi ni sugoi! Kouetsu Girl Kouno Etsuko"

Ishihara Satomi visited the editorial centre of Sports Nippon where she experienced proofreading as part of her preparation for the upcoming NTV Autumn 2016 drama "Jimi ni sugoi! Kouetsu Girl Kouno Etsuko" which will begin its run from 5 October in the Wednesdays 10pm timeslot. Ishihara commented that she was very nervous about visiting the editorial department of a newspaper company since this is not a place usually open for public access. During her visit, she was mentored by the proofreading section's manager Doi Hiroaki who advised her that the first step in proofreading is to read through the entire piece first and check on the parts which do not seem right. He also shared the tips to get quicker and better at proofreading which made Ishihara marvel that this is how the proofreaders come up with a perfect version of the newspaper every day. Ishihara commented that after the experience, she has come to realise that proofreading is a job where accuracy has to be achieved within a time limit and hopes that viewers will come to realise the appeal behind this job through the drama.

Source: Sponichi

Production press conference of TV Tokyo drama SP "Boukyou"

The production press conference of TV Tokyo drama SP "Boukyou" was held on 24 September which was attended by Minato Kanae, the author of the original novel and cast members Hirosue Ryoko and Ito Atsushi. The drama SP consists of three stories namely "Mikan no Hana", "Umi no hoshi" and "Kumo no Ito" set at islands in the Seto Inland Sea which feature Hirosue, Ito and Hamada Gaku as the leads respectively.

Filming was done at Innoshima in Hiroshima Prefecture which happens to be Minato's hometown. Minato commented that even though she is supposed to be very familiar with Innoshima, she couldn't help but marvel at how nice her hometown is while paying a visit to the crew and staff who were filming there. Despite the poor weather conditions as they filmed during the rainy season and plans were affected by typhoons too, Hirosue enjoyed herself during the process and revealed that the locals had come to play extras in the drama. However, it is not confirmed if the Innoshima residents can actually watch this drama because it is dependent on the local TV stations to buy the broadcast rights so Hirosue called upon the related personnel to try to make it happen. As for Ito, he joked that his story might be successful because the younger version of his character was played by Kato Seishiro and said that the rainy conditions probably coincided with his character's emotional state and cleared up towards the end of the story. With the number of rainy days they encountered during the filming, Ito was concerned that he might be labelled as a "ame-otoko" for bringing in the rain to which Minato chipped in to say that it was very coincidental that they happened to be there at a time when Innoshima had the most amount of rain in the last few decades. Ito concluded with a comment that he wishes that the drama will make people feel hopeful and optimistic after watching it.

When asked how their lives would turn out if they were born on an island, Hirosue said that her hometown in Kochi feels almost like an island to her and there were only two private television stations in the prefecture. However, since she had always aspired to join showbiz since she was a child, she thinks that she would have still headed down the same path as she did even though there were no auditions held in Kochi then. As for Ito, he revealed that he was born in Chiba and entered a theatre group at the age of 3. If he had been born on an island, he might have remained there and worked in a different job by now. During this segment, Hirosue said that she had been a fan of Ito when he was a child actor playing Chibi Norida in the FujiTV programme "Tonneruzu no Minnasan no okage desu" which made Ito very happy even though he hardly remembered what he did then.

The theme song of the drama "Kougen" is written and sung by Yamazaki Masayoshi who also appears in "Kumo no Ito" as Hamada's senior.

Sources: Oricon / Nikkansports / Sponichi

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Shibasaki Kou to star in TV Asahi drama SP "Koori no Wadachi"

Shibasaki Kou will be starring in the TV Asahi drama SP "Koori no Wadachi" (The Ice Rut) which will be broadcast as the its Osaka affiliate ABC's 65th anniversary drama SP on 5 November at 9pm. The drama SP which was written specially by Naoki Award-winner Sakuragi Shino, features Shibasaki as a newbie police detective Daimon Mayu whose only family is her father who is about to die and doesn't know her mother's face nor name. In the snowy winter at Kushiro City in Hokkaido, she investigates a series of murder cases with her senior played by Sawamura Ikki. During the process, Mayu also meets an elderly lady (Miyamoto Nobuko) at the skating rink she frequents and a female president of a seafood processing company.

The cast and crew spent a total of 20 days in February this year at Kushiro where the temperatures were below freezing point. In order to play her role convincingly and experience the loneliness which Mayu feels, Shibasaki went to the extent of not bringing her manager along for the filming. This was also the longest time she had spent in a single location for filming to date and she found that it was unusually stimulating since she could keep to a routine of waking up, doing stretches and going for filming every day while at Kushiro. Sawamura also echoed her view that the continuous filming allowed them to concentrate fully but the bitter cold made him feel like his ears were about to fall off after walking for just 10 minutes in the middle of the day when the temperature was below freezing.

Source: Sanspo

Screening event of new movie "Yamikin Ushijima-kun Part 3" in Osaka

The screening event of new movie "Yamikin Ushijima-kun Part 3" was held at Osaka on 24 September which was attended by the director Yamaguchi Masatoshi, Yamada Takayuki, Hongo Kanata, Shiraishi Mai, Mogami Moga, Kakei Miwako, Sakimoto Hiromi and Yabe Kyousuke. Since the movie was released on 22 September, the cast and director have been on a nationwide tour to meet audiences. Due to the tight schedule, Yamada commented that he almost lost count of the number of days they had been on the promotional tour and revealed that they will head all the way to Fukuoka. As they had done a number of such events to date, the actors were quite at ease and were talking among themselves or butting in when others were talking during the event. In response to comments from fans being sad about the impending end of the "Yamikin" series when the last movie is screened from 22 October, Yamada said jokingly that they shouldn't view this negatively and must bear with what is to come.

When asked about their impression of Osaka, Mogami commented that the locals seem to talk loudly and had cheered at least 1.5 times louder than they were in Tokyo. Yamada who is a well-known lover of idols, asked Shiraishi if she experiences the same type of cheers while she appears in Nogizaka46 to which she answered in the affirmative.

Source: Oricon

Kamiki Ryuunosuke awarded with amateur rank by Japan Shogi Association

Kamiki Ryuunosuke attended the prize giving ceremony for the 5th J:COM Cup Sangatsu no Lion Kodomo Shogi Taikai on 24 September as a presenter as he is playing the lead character who is a 17-year-old professional shogi player in the two-part movie adaptation of manga "Sangatsu no Lion" by Umino Chika. The movies will be shown in cinemas from 18 March and 22 April 2017.

Kamiki presented the champion's title to Ito Seigo, a second year junior high student from Saitama who had emerged victorious among 1,300 primary and junior high students taking part in the competition. In addition, Ito also earned the right for the sound of his shogi playing to be recorded and used in the scenes where Kamiki's character is playing shogi.

During the ceremony, Kamiki was presented with the amateur rank by the Japan Shogi Association for his shogi skills which had greatly improved as a result of the filming. As he was not informed of this beforehand, Kamiki was surprised by the gesture and felt happy but pressurised by the award. The president of the association Tanigawa Koji revealed that the shogi players who had coached Kamiki before the filming praised him for his skills and high level of concentration and that he had managed to defeat professional players with an advantage given. With the recommendation of his coaches, it was then decided that Kamiki be awarded with this rank. Tanigawa also expressed hope to see Kamiki continue playing shogi even after the filming ends. Kamiki commented that he had to start playing shogi from scratch which was very tough but he was very happy that his hard work was recognised through the award and pledged to continue learning more about shogi in future.

Sources: Oricon / Nikkansports / Sanspo

Shimizu Fumika to join the cast of TV Asahi Autumn 2016 drama "Kaseifu no Mitazono"

Shimizu Fumika will be joining the cast of TV Asahi Autumn 2016 drama "Kaseifu no Mitazono" starring TOKIO's Matsuoka Masahiro which will begin its run from 21 October in the Fridays 11.15pm timeslot. She will play the role of his colleague Hanada Emiri. As this is Shimizu's first collaboration with Matsuoka, she commented that she is very curious to find out about how Mitazono and Matsuoka himself is like and declared jokingly that her character is probably the most normal person in the drama. Shimizu revealed that although the title may suggest that the drama is just a comedy, there are elements of mystery, thrill and warmth in the story and is eagerly awaiting to see how the story will develop and end.

Co-stars in the drama also include Yo Kimiko, Shibamoto Yuki, Hotta Akane and Hirata Atsuko who all play housekeepers working in the same agency as Mitazono and they will gather at the agency's office in every episode to gossip about their employers and share the latter's secrets.

Source: Oricon

Matsuoka Masahiro to be dressed as a woman in TV Asahi Autumn 2016 drama "Kaseifu no Mitazono"

Matsuoka Masahiro will be dressed as a woman for most of his appearance in the upcoming TV Asahi Autumn 2016 drama "Kaseifu no Mitazono" which begins its run from 21 October at 11.15pm on Fridays. This will be his first time dressing as a woman in a drama series even though he has done it before in variety shows. Matsuoka commented that the most difficult things for him when dressed as a woman is how to use the eyelash curler and his shoulders feeling stiff due to the bra straps. As such, he finally realises how difficult his female co-stars have it through this experience and asked for more preparation time from the staff this time. In addition, he remarked that when he first finished putting on the make-up and wearing female clothes, he was shocked to see himself resembling his own mother and was amused by this because it felt like she was staring back at him in the mirror. Although he doesn't know if his appearance can be considered beautiful as a woman, he did notice that the male staff were murmuring around him. Last but not least, he felt that female actions were especially hard to pick up e.g. how a woman speaks and when he touches his face like a woman, he would inevitably cause some of the make-up to drop off every time so he needs a touch-up very often.

Matsuoka plays the role of Mitazono Kaoru who is actually a male housekeeper but dresses as a woman for some reason. Due to his height (more than 1.8m) and large frame with muscles on his chest, people can't help but take a second look at his appearance. Despite being a man, his skills at doing household chores and cooking are excellent. At the households where he is dispatched to, Mitazono observes and spies on what is going on within the families and sets out to dig out the dirt within in a bid to destroy the dysfunctional families and direct them onto the path of restoring their relationships.

The drama's theme song "Ai! wanna be with you..." will be sung by TOKIO with the lyrics written by Nagase Tomoya and melody composed by the band. Filming is already in progress.

Sources: Oricon / Nikkansports

"Yuusha Yoshihiko" to return with new drama series this autumn; past series to be shown free online

The new installment in the "Yuusha Yoshihiko" series titled "Yuusha Yoshihiko to Michibikareshi Nananin" will be shown via TV Tokyo from 7 October. To commemorate the occasion, the past installments of the series will be streamed for free online until 11.59pm on 7 October. Note that this service is only available to people residing in Japan.

The "Yuusha Yoshihiko" series began in the summer of 2011 with the first part "Yuusha Yoshihiko to Maou no Shiro" which consisted of 12 episodes. In autumn 2012, "Yuusha Yoshihiko to Akuryo no Kagi" which consisted of 11 episodes was shown on TV. These 23 episodes will be available for viewing from now via TV Tokyo's campaign site and its official YouTube channel. Despite the low budget for the drama series, it has acquired a significant following to date with its unique brand of comedy and unique guest star lineup. Other sites which are also showing the past series include TVer, GYAO and Nico Nico Channel.

Source: Oricon

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Nomura Shuhei & Kuroshima Yuina to star in real-life adaptation movie "Sakurada Reset"

Nomura Shuhei and Kuroshima Yuina will be starring in the real-life adaptation movie of "Sakurada Reset" which is based on the youth mystery novel series published between 2009 and 2012 by Kouno Yutaka. This will be the first collaboration between Nomura and Kuroshima and the movie which will be split into two parts, will be shown in spring 2017.

The story is set in a town named Sakurada where about half of the residents have special powers. Nomura plays the lead character Asano Kei who has the ability to maintain his memories and never forget what he has experienced while Kuroshima plays Haruki Misora who has the ability to turn the world's clock back by a maximum of three days i.e. the power to reset. Together, the two of them can change things happening at present if they combine their powers. However, there is one thing which the duo are unable to change i.e. the death of their classmate Souma Sumire (Taira Yuna). 2 years ago, Souma died as a result of the reset power being used and the clash between the government's management agency which wanted to keep the powers of the Sakurada residents in check. Since then, Kei has been under the constant supervision of the management agency. After meeting a number of Sakurada residents with various powers, Kei and Misora start to wonder if they can resurrect Souma with the help of these residents. Co-stars also include Kentaro, Tamashiro Tina and Tsunematsu Yuri.

The edited novel version will be released over 7 consecutive months with Volume 1 going on sale from 24 September and the subsequent volumes will be published on the 25th of each month.

Nomura commented as the movie consists of two parts, he has a lot of lines to memorise and the fact that his character has a special power means that it is going to be a big challenge for him this time. Nonetheless, he will try his best during the two months of filming and called upon fans to look forward to the movies which he believes will turn out very well. Meanwhile, Kuroshima said that she had been playing mostly cheerful and energetic girls to date but this time, her character is a lot more subdued without much emotions so she hopes to be able to convey the character's traits in the movie. As for working with Nomura, she said that his presence is very assuring and she hopes to rely on him going forward.

Sources: Yomiuri Hochi / Eiga.com / Oricon

Kanna Chise to sing the theme song for NTV Autumn 2016 drama "Jimi ni sugoi! Kouetsu Girl Kouno Etsuko"

Kanna Chise who won the Grand Prix at the 39th Horipro Talent Scout Caravan in 2014, will be singing the theme song for NTV Autumn 2016 drama "Jimi ni sugoi! Kouetsu Girl Kouno Etsuko" starring Ishihara Satomi which begins its run from 5 October in the Wednesdays 10pm timeslot. This will be Kanna's first drama theme song since her debut in March this year. The theme song titled "Heaven's Door ~ Hi no ataru basho" will be released as a single on 9 November. Her debut single was used as the theme song for the movie "Boku dake ga inai machi" starring Fujiwara Tatsuya.

Since Kanna won the Grand Prix title, she had been going through voice training and held roadside performances over the period of one year before she made her debut. With regard to her being chosen to sing the theme song this year, Kanna expressed her worry and pressure but stressed that she would try her best to make the song a success for the sake of everyone who has supported her so far since this is a hard-to-come-by opportunity for her.

Source: Yomiuri Hochi

Totsugi Shigeyuki & Ichikawa Yui welcome the arrival of their first son

Totsugi Shigeyuki and Ichikawa Yui welcomed the arrival of their first son as announced by their agencies on 25 September. Although details of the baby's birth date and weight were not mentioned, both mother and son are doing well. In the joint statement released by the couple, they revealed that they were crying because they were touched when their baby was born and are grateful that the delivery was smooth. According to insiders, Ichikawa was admitted to a hospital in Tokyo since last week and Totsugi was present when the baby was born. As for Ichikawa's return to work, it will depend on her childcare plans and health condition.

Totsugi and Ichikawa met while working on a drama and got married in September last year after dating for 14 months.

Sources: Sanspo / Yomiuri Hochi

Kanjani 8's Nishikido Ryo to star in new movie "Hitsuji no Ki"

Kanjani 8's Nishikido Ryo will be starring in the new movie "Hitsuji no Ki" which will be directed by Yoshida Daihachi and due to be shown in 2018. Filming is expected to begin in October and this will be his first movie in two and a half years since "Eight Rangers 2" in 2014.

The movie which is based on the same-titled manga by Yamagami Tatsuhiko and Igarashi Mikio, describes how former offenders of serious crimes are allowed to live at a seaside town but face conflicts with the local residents after various cases happen after their arrival. The manga had won the 2014 Agency for Cultural Affairs' Excellence Award in the Media Arts Awards.

Nishikido plays the role of Tsukisue Hajime, an employee in the city government at Uobukashi City which is located beside the sea and is tasked to be the person-in-charge of taking in the former offenders. Kimura Fumino plays the character Aya who was Tsukisue's ex-classmate and returns to her hometown. The six former offenders who were murderers will be played by Kitamura Kazuki who plays an arrogant man working on a fishing boat Sugiyama Katsushi, Yuka who plays a sexy welfare worker Ota Rieko, Ichikawa Mikako who plays a meticulous and shy cleaner Kurimoto Kiyomi, Mizusawa Shingo who plays a timid hair stylist Fukumoto Hiroki, Tanaka Min who plays a quiet man working at a laundry shop Ono Katsumi and Matsuda Ryuhei who plays an innocent and curious courier deliveryman Miyakoshi Ichiro.

Nishikido commented that he is looking forward to the start of the filming since this is the first time he is working with the director and co-stars and he hopes to do his best to play Tsukisue. Although the lead character in the manga is the old city mayor, the director decided to change this setting and put Tsukisue as the lead character who will have to deal with the former murderers who come to live in the city.

Sources: Sanspo / Oricon

Kataoka Ainosuke & Fujiwara Norika hold their wedding ceremony in Kyoto


Kataoka Ainosuke and Fujiwara Norika held their wedding ceremony at a shrine in Kyoto City at 11.15am on 23 September where they were dressed in traditional wedding clothes. The couple appeared at the torii in front of the shrine and smiled to the reporters and members of the public who congratulated them on their wedding. 20 family members including Kataoka Hidetaro i.e. Kataoka's foster father and his wife and 2 daughters, Kataoka's real younger sister, Fujiwara's parents and relatives attended the wedding which took place in the main hall.

The couple is due to hold their wedding banquet at Teikoku Hotel on 28 September which was also when they held their marriage announcement press conference in March this year. According to Shochiku, many kabuki actors and celebrities will be invited to the banquet.


Sources: Nikkansports / Sanspo

Monday, September 26, 2016

First-day-screening event of new movie "Sanada Juuyuushi"

The first-day-screening event of new movie "Sanada Juuyuushi" was held at Marunouchi Picadilly on 22 September which was attended by the director Tsutsumi Yukihiko and cast members Nakamura Kankuro, Matsuzaka Toori, Oshima Yuko, Kato Masaya, Ootake Shinobu, Nagayama Kento, Kato Kazuki, Aoki Ken, Arai Atsushi, Suruga Taro, Takahashi Mitsuomi, Ishigaki Yuma, Murai Ryota and Mochizuki Ayumu. The movie describes how the lead character Sarutobi Sasuke (Nakamura) leads 10 warriors to resurrect the Toyotomi clan against the 200,000 troops led by Tokugawa Ieyasu by supporting the commander Sanada Yukimura (Kato).

Nakamura commented during the event which was attended by 800 people that he was very grateful that the movie is finally ready to be seen by viewers. He recounted that the filming was done in the middle of winter with a very tight schedule so it was a tough period for both the staff and cast. However, to be able to finish the film and show it to the world, he was thankful for this and felt as if it was a day when flowers bloomed.

As for Tsutsumi who was also responsible for the stage play version of this story first performed in 2014, he expressed his joy that they were able to produce a movie version with the help of everyone. He also called upon the viewers to see both the movie and the latest version of the stage play going on at the same time because both are equally interesting.

When asked about which character is the most charming in the movie, Oshima who plays the character Hotaru chose Ootake who plays Yodo-dono and explained that she felt very happy while spending time with the latter and found it interesting to observe Ootake's sleeping face. In response, Ootaka was pleased and said that she thought initially that Oshima may find her too intimidating and stay away from her but they became close as Oshima kept coming to talk to her. As for the actors who were expecting Oshima to choose one of them, they expressed their "disappointment" at not being chosen with Nakamura commenting that Hotaru doesn't even care a bit about Sasuke.

Sources: Sanspo / Sponichi / Oricon / Eiga.com

Inaba Yu to join the cast of NTV Autumn 2016 drama "Rental Kyuuseishu" as a mysterious woman

Inaba Yu will be appearing in the NTV Autumn 2016 drama "Rental Kyuuseishu" which begins its run from 9 October in the Sundays 10.30pm timeslot as a man dressed like a woman. He plays the role of a mysterious woman named Kaoru who appears at the coin laundry shop which Momochi Reiko (Shida Mirai) frequently goes to and often gives encouragement to the latter when she needs it.

In order to prepare for the filming, Inaba shaved some parts of his body and tried to observe how the women around him talk and behave. He commented that it was a new feeling to play a woman and hopes that the viewers will enjoy his performance. When Inaba read the script, he could identify with the theme of people needing help but being unable to say it out aloud at times so he will try to be that pillar of support for Shida's character in the drama. With regard to choosing Inaba to play Kaoru, the producer Fukui Yuta said that it was because of his looks which could be mistaken as a beautiful woman and Inaba's image being masculine and yet gentle at the same time.

Source: Oricon

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Nakama Yukie to star in new WOWOW drama "Rakuen" showing in January 2017

Nakama Yukie will be starring in the new WOWOW drama "Rakuen" (Paradise" based on the same-titled novel by Miyabe Miyuki which will consist of 6 episodes and be shown from January 2017. The novel describes what happens 9 years after the end of the story in the novel "Mohouhan" also by Miyabe. This will be Nakama's first appearance in a WOWOW drama and her first attempt at acting in a Miyabe adaptation.The script will be written by Shinozaki Eriko who was also responsible for another WOWOW drama "Hippocrates no Chikai" and NHK morning drama "Mare". Nakama will play the role of Maehata Shigeko, a freelance writer who had suffered a trauma due to the case in "Mohouhan" and is faced with another murder case this time where she seeks to find out the truth. In preparation for the filming which lasted for two months from June this year, Nakama cut her long hair by 20cm so as to fit the image of Shigeko.

In "Rakuen" which takes place 9 years after the Doizaki couple killed and buried their then-15-year-old daughter under their house, Shigeko gets a weird request from a housewife who wants to find out if her 12-year-old son really has supernatural powers as he claimed. From the picture which the boy drew, Shigeko sees a striking resemblance to the Doizaki case and decides to undertake the investigation. Just then, the boy dies of a traffic accident thus leading Shigeko to wonder if there is more than meets the eye.

Nakama commented that the story is very well-paced and there are a number of mysteries waiting to be resolved which will lead viewers to the truth at the end. As such, she hoped that viewers can watch the entire drama and see what the message behind the title is. As for Miyabe, she said that she had always enjoyed Nakama's movies and dramas so she is very happy to see her being the lead for 'Rakuen" which has some supernatural elements. Miyabe commented that she will be eagerly anticipating the broadcast as she wants to see how the fantasy parts of the story will be presented in the drama.

Sources: Nikkansports / Sanspo / Oricon

Completion screening event of new movie "Yu wo wakasu hodo no atsui ai"

The completion screening event of new movie "Yu wo wakasu hodo no atsui ni" (A love that's hot enough to make water boil) was held on 20 September which was attended by the director Nakano Ryota and cast members Miyazawa Rie, Matsuzawa Toori, Sugisaki Hana, Shinohara Yukiko, Suruga Taro and Ito Aoi. Odagiri Jo was absent from the event as he was overseas for filming.

The movie which is Nakano's first commercial film, features Miyazawa as a mother who is told by the doctor that she is critically ill with terminal cancer and only has two more months to live. Instead of wallowing in self pity, she decides to take action in helping her family prepare for the aftermath of her impending departure by searching for her husband Kazuhiro (Odagiri) who had been missing for a year, resurrecting the family business of a public bath named Sachi no Yu and helping her only daughter (Sugisaki) to stand up against those people who bully her at school.

Miyazawa commented when she read the script, she was impressed with how good it is and that she would regret it if she didn't take on the role. As a result of the hard work from everyone from the cast to the staff, they were finally able to present the result to everyone so she was touched and felt like crying. As Miyazawa is of the same age as Nakano, she felt that she was even more obligated to support him as an actress and praised him for his debut work. Nakano revealed that Miyazawa had told him before that since the script and cast lineup are so good, there was no way that the movie would be boring. However, if Nakano did not do a good job, Miyazawa "threatened" to set him on fire. As such, Nakano called upon the audience to tell Miyazawa if they found the movie to be good. Miyazawa also said that the movie emphasizes that life and health are not to be taken for granted and hopes that the audience will probably see each day differently in a more positive light after watching the film.

As for Sugisaki who plays Miyazawa's daughter in the movie, she revealed that she was honoured yet very nervous to be working with the latter. Thankfully, Miyazawa gave Sugisaki the confidence and assurance that she needed by talking to her so Sugisaki was very grateful for what she did and hoped to be able to call her Mother again.

The movie will be screened in cinemas from 29 October.

Sources: Nikkansports / Oricon / Eiga.com

Production press conference of TV Tokyo drama SP "Kyoaku wa nemurasenai Tokusou Kenji no gyakushuu"

The production press conference of TV Tokyo drama SP "Kyoaku wa nemurasenai Tokusou Kenji no gyakushuu" was held on 21 September which was attended by the cast members Tamaki Hiroshi, Aibu Saki and Nakadai Tatsuya. The drama SP which will be shown on 5 October at 9pm, is based on the novel titled "Baikoku" by Mayama Jin and features Tamaki as the lead character Tominaga Shinichi who is a public prosecutor tasked to find out the truth behind am illegal political donations case and a case about a space exploration project. Aibu plays his childhood friend Hattanda Haruka who works as a researcher in JAXA while Nakadai plays an influential politician Tachibana Yohei.

As this is Tamaki's first attempt at playing a public prosecutor, he said that most people tend to associate prosecutors as heroes of justice so he hopes to be able to present this side as well as the internal struggles his character faces in the pursuit for the truth. As for Aibu, she expressed her worry initially when she got the role because she had been playing bad women roles in the last three years or so who got involved in affairs or cheated on the men. As Haruka is a very innocent and pure character, she wondered if she would be able to look convincing as such a good person which the script describes Haruka to be. Luckily, she managed to get over her insecurities with the help of everyone around her and felt that it was good that she could play this character after all.

Nakadai whose character is at odds with Tamaki and Aibu's characters, described his younger co-stars as good actors who were coming at him at full force which made him feel that he was overpowered at times. In response, Aibu revealed that she was under a lot of pressure since this was the first time she had worked with Nakadai and there were scenes when she had to confront him. As for Tamaki, he tried to act in a simple manner and commented that he felt honoured to be acting opposite Nakadai.

Sources: Nikkansports / Sanspo / Yomiuri Hochi / Oricon / Eiga.com

Completion screening event of new movie "HiGH & LOW THE RED RAIN"

The completion screening event of new movie "HiGH & LOW THE RED RAIN" was held on 21 September which was attended by the leads EXILE's TAKAHIRO, Sandaime J Soul Brothers' Tosaka Hiroomi and Saito Takumi who play the three Amamiya brothers Takeru, Masaki and Hiroto. The movie which is due to be shown in cinemas from 8 October and is directed by Yamaguchi Yudai, is the second installment under the "HiGH & LOW" project produced and planned by EXILE's HIRO. The first movie was screened in July this year.

Saito who plays the eldest brother and was standing between TAKAHIRO and Tosaka, remarked that he had the privilege of standing between these two guys due to his seniority as the big brother and told the female fans in the audience that his "brothers" smelled nice which made them squeal in delight. He recounted that he felt quite stressed when HIRO told him that Saito was chosen for the role because he looked cool and had a strong screen presence when standing next to his two brothers. In response, TAKAHIRO said that he was worried if he could play Saito's younger brother as he was also in awe of the latter which led Saito to said that it should be the other way round. On the other hand, Saito and Toosaka who have been close friends said that they wanted to work together someday and was glad that this day came earlier than expected. The three of them even started a LINE chat group to get closer to one another where they discussed things such as the situation for their location shooting in the Philippines.

The movie's premiere screening in Taiwan will be held on 29 September where TAKAHIRO and Toosaka will appear at to greet the fans personally.

Sources: Sponichi / Oricon / Eiga.com

Handover ceremony for NHK morning dramas "Toto Nee-chan" & "Beppin-san"

The handover ceremony for NHK morning dramas "Toto Nee-chan" and "Beppin-san" was held on 20 September at NHK Osaka where the lead of the current drama i.e. Takahata Mitsuki passed over a silver baton to Yoshine Kyoko who stars in the latter that will begin its run from 3 October. Since Japan won a silver medal in the 4x100m relay in this year's Olympics, it was then decided that the ceremony would feature a passing-of-baton segment between the two female leads for the first time.

During the exchange of presents segment, Takahata gave Yoshine a fountain pen while the latter gave her a book cover which bears an embroidery design since her character in the morning drama is good at sewing. Yoshine expressed her happiness in receiving the pen which she can use to write on her script and letters for the important people in her life. As for Takahata, she was pleased to be given such a practical gift which bears her name and said that she will be able to use it immediately when she receives her next script. As Takahata had experience working with NHK Osaka when she appeared in the 2013 morning drama "Gochisousan", she advised Yoshine to be prepared for difficulties during the filming period and rely on the Osaka staff if need be so that she can perform to her fullest potential. Since Takahata has experience working with the Tokyo and Osaka staff, she also advised Yoshine to go around with her fellow co-stars to have fun since the actors will have to stay in Osaka together for the filming as compared to in Tokyo when everyone goes home after work.

The last episode of "Toto Nee-chan" will be shown on 1 October.

Sources: Nikkansports / Sponichi / Oricon

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Ishiguro Ken to be the main guest in Ep 1 of TBS Autumn 2016 drama "IQ246 ~ Karei naru Jikenbo~"


Ishiguro Ken will be the main guest in the first episode of TBS Autumn 2016 drama "IQ246 ~ Karei naru Jikenbo~" which will begin its run from 16 October in the Sundays 9pm timeslot. This is the fourth time that he will be working together with Oda Yuji since they first appeared in the 1993 FujiTV drama "Furikaereba yatsu ga iru" as rival doctors. Subsequently, they worked together in the 2000 movie "White Out" and 2002 TBS drama "Mayonaka no Ame".

This time, Ishiguro will be a creative director named Saotome Shin who will be engaged in an intellect battle with Houmonji Sharaku (Oda) as the two men are introduced to each other during a meal at a mutual friend's place. Later, they meet again when Saotome's company is broken into and his subordinate is found dead at the crime scene. However, Houmonji senses something fishy with the case and sets out to find the truth.


Oda commented that in the 1993 drama, Ishiguro had played the good guy while he was the bad guy but this time round, the tables have been overturned so he's eagerly anticipating to seeing how the battle between their characters will turn out since Saotome is equally clever as Houmonji. Especially since both of them are already quite experienced by now, he doesn't feel nervous about acting with Ishiguro and thinks that the relaxed mood between them will bring good results too. On the other hand, Ishiguro expressed his joy at working with Oda who he described as a person serious about his acting and is used to his working style after all these years.

Sources: Sanspo / Oricon

Spin-off drama SP of NHK morning drama "Toto Nee-chan" to be shown in November

The spin-off drama SP of NHK morning drama "Toto Nee-chan" will be shown on 19 November at 7pm via BS Premium. The drama SP which is titled "Toto Nee-chan Mou Hitotsu no Monogatari Fukusuke Ningyo no Himitsu" (Another Story The Secret of the Fukusuke doll), will be set in the pre-war era at the food catering shop "Moritaya" and focus on the family of Morita Soukichi (Pierre Taki), Teruyo (Hiraiwa Kami), their eldest daughter Tomie (Kawaei Rina) and her husband Hasegawa (Hamano Kenta). After the war, Hasegawa and Tomie return to the Morita household with their son Matsukichi and catch up with one another about their current situations. However, Tomie seems to be troubled over something as she had heard from Mariko (Sagara Itsuki) that she had seen someone resembling Hasegawa in Ginza. As such, Tomie is wondering if Hasegawa has cheated on her and tries to find out the truth. In the end, she ends up stumbling upon the secret behind Moritaya's guardian god "Fukusuke Ningyo" and the past of the late Matsu (Akino Yoko). Co-stars also include Ando Tamae, Niizuma Seiko, Kondo Koen and Sugisaki Hana.

The script of the drama SP will be written by Okazaki Satoko and reviewed by Nishida Masafumi who is the scriptwriter of "Toto Nee-chan".

Source: Oricon

Hasegawa Hiroki to play Kindaichi Kousuke in NHK drama SP "Gokumontou"

Hasegawa Hiroki will be playing Kindaichi Kousuke, the fictitious detective created by Showa era mystery novel author Yokomizo Seishi, in the upcoming NHK BS Premium drama SP "Gokumontou" (Hell's Gate Island) which will be shown on 19 November at 8pm. "Gokumontou" which features a series of murders which take place on a remote island in Setouchi, was first published as a novel in 1947 and had been adapted as two movies and four dramas to date.

In order to replicate the remote island setting featured in the novel, the staff and crew went to Sado Island in Niigata Prefecture for the filming where they had to bring various equipment there which are typically used in movies. Co-stars in this drama SP include Naka Riisa, Koichi Mantaro, Furuta Arata and Okuda Eiji.

Source: Oricon

Kagawa Teruyuki to appear in NHK E TV's "Kagawa Teruyuki no Konchuu Sugoize! ~ Tonosamabatta ~"

Kagawa Teruyuki will be appearing in the upcoming NHK E TV's educational programme "Kagawa Teruyuki no Konchuu Sugoize! ~ Tonosamabatta ~" (Kagawa Teruyuki's insects are superb! ~ The migratory locust ~" which will be shown on 10 October at 9am. Kagawa has always been very interested in insects and had openly declared before that he wishes to do a programme on insects to be shown on NHK E TV. Finally, he gets his wish granted this time which will allow him to talk about insects for a good 30 minutes.

In the programme, Kagawa wears a mantis costume to play "Kamakiri-sensei" where he goes in search of the migratory locust which appears during autumn and is difficult to catch. Not only will he "battle" it out with the locust, he will also be suspended from a crane and attempt a jump from a height.

Kagawa revealed enthusiastically that what fascinates him so much about insects is how they live according to their instincts. In this current era where many people including children hide behind the facades of their mobile phones to hide their weak self, he wants to let these people see how insects live as he always gets inspiration on how to live his life through these little creatures.

Source: Oricon

TOKIO named as special ambassadors for Tokyo 2020 Olympics / Paralympics Flag Tour

TOKIO has been named the special ambassadors for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics / Paralympics Flag Tour as announced by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government on 21 September. The band took part in the kick-off event held on the same day to mark the start of the flag tour which will begin from the three prefectures hit by the March 11 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis i.e. Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima before touring 62 wards, cities and towns within Tokyo. The ambassadors are tasked to take part in various events such as presenting the flags to the mayors and chiefs of the wards, cities and towns. This is the first time that TOKIO is participating in an Olympic-related project.

TOKIO's leader Joshima Shigeru commented that they are very honoured to be given this wonderful task. Meanwhile, Yamaguchi Tatsuya who had been to the Rio Olympics earlier this year for reporting said that he is already very excited about the passion and lively atmosphere he saw in Brazil that will come to Tokyo in 2020. Nagase Tomoya commented that he had always wanted to see the Olympics in Tokyo and is glad that his dream can come true in 2020. As for Kokubun Taichi, he hopes that the Tokyo Olympics will become one which everyone can reflect on as a wonderful event while Matsuoka Masahiro said that he hopes that the athletes who have been working hard all this time will be able to take part in the Tokyo Olympics without any regrets. Nagase also commented that although the five of them have an average age of 41 years old and are not that good in sports, they have confidence in livening up the atmosphere for this flag tour.

Coincidentally, the naming ceremony was held on the same day of TOKIO's debut 22 years ago in 1994. Joshima revealed that they had done a toast with fruit juice in the resting room earlier and were marveling about how coincidental it was to have the ceremony take place on the same day of their debut.

Besides TOKIO, the governor of Tokyo Koike Yuriko, Olympic athletes Miyake Yoshinobu (weightlifting), Kotani Mikako (synchronised swimming), Matsuda Takeshi (swimming), Miyake Hiromi (weightlifting), Yoshimura Maharu (table tennis), Arai Hirooki (athletics), Paralympic athletes Taguchi Aki (shooting), Negi Shinji (wheelchair basketball), Sato Keiichi (triathlon),  Seryu Monica (canoeing), Hangai Shizuka (judo), Masaki Kento (judo) and next-generation athletes Mukae Ayaka (fencing) and Toyoda Mamiko (para-badminton) also attended the ceremony.

Sources: Sanspo / Oricon

Takahata Atsuko's TBS drama "Ihin Seirinin Tanizaki Aiko" not to be produced and shown this year

Takahata Atsuko who appears as the lead in the annual TBS/MBS drama series "Ihin Seirinin Tanizaki Aiko" will not be reprising her role this year as MBS confirmed that there are no plans to produce this year's edition even though the series had been an annual affair for the TV station since 2010. In the series, Takahata had played Tanizaki Aiko who works in the business of handling things left behind by the dead and the story talks about the links and bonds between these items and the family members of the deceased. Part 5 was shown in July last year which had an average rating of 8.6% and 11.7% in the Kanto and Kansai regions respectively.

According to the TV station, there are no plans to make the drama in the first place this year and that there are no scenes already shot i.e. the drama was not axed suddenly. MBS revealed that all along, TBS was the one who initiated the order to them for the production of the drama but this year, there were scheduling conflicts with Takahata thus they will not be making Part 6 within this year. As for future plans to produce Part 6, MBS said that there is no intention at the moment to proceed but if there's a change in the situation, they will review the circumstances and make a decision then.

Source: Nikkansports

Hamada Gaku to star in TV Tokyo drama SP "Tsuri baka nisshi Shinnyuu shain Hamasaki Densuke"

Hamada Gaku will be starring in the TV Tokyo drama SP "Tsuri baka nisshi Shinnyuu shain Hamasaki Densuke" which continues from the same-titled drama series shown last year. The drama SP whose broadcast date has not been confirmed yet, will be set in Ise Shima in Mie Prefecture and the first in the drama version to be shot there. Filming is currently in progress.

Hamada commented that he is having fun with the fishing scenes and hope to be able to produce something which will be as good as the original manga and movie versions. In this SP, Hamada will reprise his role as the salaryman Hamasaki Densuke who is obsessed with fishing and working in his company for the second year, Most of the staff and cast will be the same as the drama series so he is happy to be working with them again. Hamada also expressed how much he was in awe of Nishida Toshiyuki's combination with the late Mikuni Rentaro and revealed that before the filming started, he and Nishida practised their lines together and he was glad that it didn't take them too long to regain their chemistry. While in Shima for the filming, Hamada revealed that the local fishermen and residents were very supportive of them. In addition, they had night drinking sessions and he was especially happy to be drinking with Nishida and the staff.

As for Nishida who returned to work in June after undergoing surgery for cervical subluxation and cholecystitis and recuperating for four months, he thought that he could not recover in time for the filming. During his hospitalisation stay, Hamada came to visit him which provided him with a lot of emotional strength so he is especially glad to be able to make it for the filming in good condition.

Co-stars in this SP include Hirose Arisu and Fukikoshi Mitsuru.

Source: Oricon

Tsuchiya Tao & Katayose Ryota to star in real-life adaptation movie of "Ani ni aisaresugite komattemasu"

Tsuchiya Tao and Katayose Ryota of GENERATIONS from EXILE will be starring in the real-life adaptation movie of popular manga "Ani ni aisaresugite komattemasu" (I am troubled because my elder brother loves me too much) by Yagami Rina. In this movie directed by Kawai Hayato which will be shown in summer 2017, Tsuchiya plays the lead character Tachibana Setoka while her elder brother Haruka is played by Katayose and her first  love Serikawa Takamine is played by Chiba Yudai. The manga has released 4 volumes to date and accumulated sales of more than 400,000 copies.

Setoka is a senior high school student who is unpopular with guys and has 12 failed confessions of love to date. Fortunately, she is doted on by her cool elder brother Haruka. One day, Haruka comes to know that his younger sister is actually not related to him by blood but chooses to keep it as a secret. Just then, Setoka's first love Serikawa who is a rich medical intern now and has a malicious tongue, reappears after they've not met for a few years and the two of them become close again. Soon after, Setoka suddenly experiences newfound popularity with several guys and faces the dilemma of who to choose for the first time in her life. Details of the three other suitors vying for Setoka's affection will be announced at a later date.

Tsuchiya admitted that she is nervous about playing Setoka especially since many people may wonder about choosing her to play this character. However, she hopes to be able to do well with the support of the director, staff and her co-stars and called upon everyone to look upon her warmly. As for Katayose who is appearing in his first movie, he said that he was worried about his acting skills but will try his best to play Haruka in his own way. As for Chiba who is older than the two leads, he said that both Tsuchiya and Katayose are so cute and he finds them really adorable.

Sources: Eiga.com / Oricon 1  / Oricon 2

Completion screening event of new movie "SCOOP!"

The completion screening event of new movie "SCOOP!" was held on 18 September which was attended by the director Ohne Hitoshi and cast members Fukuyama Masaharu, Nikaidou Fumi, Yoshida Yo, Takito Kenichi and Lily Frankie. The movie which is based on the 1985 movie "Tousatsu 1/250 byo" directed by Harada Masato and due to be shown in cinemas from 1 October, features Fukuyama as a cameraman Toujou Shizuka who had his heyday but works for a tabloid now and gets teamed up with a newbie reporter played by Nikaidou. Together, the two of them uncover various sensational stories while ironing out their differences and come across a case which may have far-reaching consequences.

About 800 fans came to attend the event where the director commented that the movie contains various elements such as action, showbiz scandals and sexiness and said that it is an interesting movie which is representative of Japan. As Fukuyama plays a paparazzi reporter in the movie, many of his lines were full of dirty jokes and he tried to add in things on his own which were not mentioned in the script. For example, there was a scene where he rubbed against Yoshida's body so he thanked her for being quick enough to respond to these last-minute changes to the scenes. In response, Yoshida praised Fukuyama for being a natural at saying those dirty jokes and even exclaimed that she was excited to meet him again since it had been a while since the filming ended.

The dirty jokes phenomenon seemed to have spread among the cast members where Yoshida revealed that Lily Frankie actually brought adult toys which were in the shape of eggs to the set and gave them away as "presents" which the crew mistook as an edible snack. Nikaidou also chipped in that whenever there were scenes of women with nice figures, Lily Frankie would always be around for some reason.

Ohne revealed that this is his most interesting movie to date and viewers can only see such a Fukuyama in this movie. To prepare for the filming, Fukuyama started to wear leather jackets one month before the filming started and he was never recognised by the public when he went out in the same image as Shizuka in the movie. There was once when Lily Frankie went out for a meal with Fukuyama on a day when they were filming and the latter suddenly suggested going to the Skytree which made Lily panic as this would probably cause a public disturbance. Surprisingly, nobody recognised Fukuyama and he even went to a nearby sports goods shop where the owner suggested to Fukuyama that he should go to become an actor since he looked very masculine. Somehow, this made Fukuyama a bit sad because he thought that since he had done a Taiga before, most people should have known who he was.

As Fukuyama who is regarded as the No.1 man who can't be caught by the paparazzi becomes the one chasing after celebrities in the movie, the staff went to tabloids such as FRIDAY and FLASH to learn from their editorial teams on how to tail people and take pictures. They were even shown materials obtained while following a big-name actress. In the end, Fukuyama developed a keen interest in knowing how the paparazzi works which could possibly come in handy in preventing them from catching him in future.

Sources: Nikkansports / Sanspo / Yomiuri Hochi / Eiga.com

First-day-screening event of new movie "Over Fence"

The first-day-screening event of new movie "Over Fence" was held at Theatre Shinjuku in Tokyo on 17 September which was attended by the director Yamashita Nobuhiro and cast members Aoi Yu, Matsuda Shota, Mitsushima Shinnosuke, Kitamura Yukiya and Matsuzawa Takumi. Unfortunately, the lead actor Odagiri Jo was absent as he was away in Cuba for the filming of another movie "Ernest". In place of him was a real-size photo panel which was carried by Mitsushima onto the stage. Matsuda revealed that he was the one who suggested making this panel and the staff promised that it would look nice since the movie was filmed in 4K but he joked that the image quality looked too coarse to be considered nice.

Matsuda also read an apology letter from Odagiri who said sorry for being unable to attend the first-day-screening event which is unheard of in the industry. However, he called upon everyone to take this in the positive light and said that having the lead absent might bring some novelty to the standard first-day-screening events so he believes that he is leading the charge for a change. This led everyone to burst out laughing to which Matsuda commented that Odagiri must be happy that his message had the intended effect. Odagiri also mentioned an interesting incident while they were in Hakodate for the filming where he was at a restaurant and ordered kani miso soup and the owner gave him another bowl of simple miso soup as a free gift. so he was wondering what he should do with two bowls of miso soup. As for his thoughts on the movie, Odagiri commented that there were times when things didn't make sense to him but he still felt happy during the filming and was impressed by how well it had turned out. Aoi revealed that Matsuda had been practising how to read Odagiri's letter while they were at the backstage and was relieved for him that this had gone well without hitches.

Aoi also echoed the view that she likes simple stories about happiness and said that she had learnt a lot from Odagiri during the process. She also joked that the audience can see Odagiri's photo panel that they made the film on a relatively tight budget so she called upon them to spread the word and promote the movie.

The movie which is based on the same-titled novel by the late Sato Yasushi, describes how a lonely man who was divorced tries to restart his life. The film will be shown in various film festivals with the first being at the Busan International Film Festival in October.

Sources: Eiga.com / Nikkansports / Sanspo / Sponichi

First-day-screening event of new movie "Ikari"

The first-day-screening event of new movie "Ikari" was held at TOHO Cinemas Nichigeki 2 in Yurakucho, Tokyo, which was attended by the director Lee Sang-il and cast members Watanabe Ken, Moriyama Mirai, Matsuyama Kenichi, Ayano Go, Hirose Suzu, Miyazaki Aoi and Tsumabuki Satoshi. During the event, there was a Q & A session for the audience who asked the director and cast questions. One female fan asked Watanabe about the charm of the director which led him to jokingly ask if she was a movie critic. He then answered that different directors have different ways of doing things but in Lee's case, he's not only concerned about how you act but also the result arising from your chosen way of performing. As such, Lee is very thorough about capturing such moments on screen. Lee echoed Watanabe's view and said that he prefers to ask how actors feel rather than dictate how they should do things so if the actors can't adapt to this style, they may find it hard to work with him.

Another fan asked Tsumabuki about what is the most important thing to him after quoting a line in the film that there are too many things which are important. Although he did not mention his wife Maiko's name, Tsumabuki answered that the bonds with the people in his life including family, friends and colleagues give birth to good things in life which make it possible to keep living. As such, he thinks that it is especially important to have frank interactions and share feelings with one another. Ayano then poked fun at Tsumabuki that besides people, love is also equally important which led the audience to laugh.

Miyazaki commented that she was sad about not being able to see Watanabe again anytime after they had built up a close bond while acting in the Chiba part of the film. She also expressed her gratitude about being able to play his daughter and taking the lead which made her feel at ease. In response, Watanabe also praised Miyazaki and promised to keep in touch with her.

In commemoration of the film's release, there was a kagamibiraki ceremony where the cast toasted the audience. At the last minute, Watanabe asked Tsumabuki to take the lead in toasting which made the latter remark that he had been asked to do this many times to date. In the end, he still led the toast which marked the completion of the event.

Sources: Eiga.com / Nikkansports

Cast announcement for TV Tokyo Autumn 2016 drama "Sennyuu Sousa Idol Deka Dance"

The cast announcement for TV Tokyo Autumn 2016 drama "Sennyuu Sousa Idol Deka Dance" starring Nakamura Aoi was made on 16 September. Besides Nakamura who is part of the 5-member idol group Deka Dance, Daito Shunsuke, Morinaga Yuki, Yokohama Ryusei and Tachibana Yudai will play his fellow members in the group. Taito's character is a former fraudster and womaniser while Morinaga plays a former child actor. Yokohama's character has communication issues and is a former hikikomori and Tachibana is a naive guy who sings very well. Co-stars also include Kondo Yoshimasa, Nomaguchi Toru, Aoyama Misato and Fukuchi Momoko.

The drama will begin its run from 8 October in the Saturdays 12.20am.

Source: Sanspo

Top 20 songs streamed on Google Play Music in summer 2016

Interested to know which songs were most popular in Japan this summer? Google Play Music released a list of the top 20 songs streamed on its portal between 1 June and 31 August:

1) Wataridori - Alexandros
2) Yasashisa de afureru you ni - Flower
3) Torisetsu - Nishino Kana
4) Tomo yo ~ kono saki mo zutto... - Ketsumeishi
5) CAN'T STOP THE FEELING! - Justin Timberlake (Original song from DreamWorks Animation's "Trolls")
6) Anata suki na tokoro - Nishino Kana
7) Work from Home feat. Ty Dolla Sign - Fifth Harmony
8) R.Y.U.S.E.I. - Sandaime J Soul Brothers from EXILE TRIBE
9) Mirai - Kobukuro
10) Silent Majority - Keyakizaka46
11) Umi no koe - Kiritani Kenta
12) Minna ga Minna Eiyuu - AI
13) Robinson - Spitz
14) Koioto to Amazora - AAA
15) What Do You Mean? - Justin Bieber
16) This is what you came for feat. Rihanna - Calvin Harris
17) Sorry - Justin Bieber
18) I Really Like You - Carly Rae Jepsen
19) NEW - AAA
20) Himawari no Yakusoku - Hata Motohiro

Source: Sanspo

Friday, September 23, 2016

"Boku no Ojisan" screened as opening film for the 9th Shitamachi Comedy Film Festival in Taito

The new movie "Boku no Ojisan" which is due to be shown in cinemas from 3 November, was screened as the opening film for the 9th Shitamachi Comedy Film Festival in Taito on 17 September. The movie which is based on the same-titled children's book by the late Akutagawa Award-winning Kita Morio, features Matsuda Ryuhei as the lead along with Onishi Riku who plays his nephew. Also at the screening event held at Taito Ward Asakusa Public Hall to greet the audience was the scriptwriter Suto Yasushi.

Matsuda plays the role of the "Ojisan" i.e. uncle who is full of excuses, lies on his bed all the time to read manga and leads a sloppy lifestyle. The movie is from the viewpoint of his nephew Haruyama Yukio (Onishi). One day, Ojisan falls in love at first sight with 4th-generation Hawaiian-Japanese Inaba Eri (Maki Youko) and he unexpectedly chases after her to her home in Hawaii.

During the 2-week filming in Hawaii, Onishi had a good time at the beaches but Matsuda revealed that he chose to laze around in his room even though he was invited to go along just like the character of Ojisan. As the day of the opening screening was also the world premiere of the movie, Matsuda commented that he was very happy to see that the audience enjoyed the film and he was pleased to hear their laughter while waiting backstage. As for Onishi, he expressed his joy at being able to take on such a meaty role even though this was only his second movie to date.

Co-stars in this movie include Totsugi Shigeyuki, Terajima Shinobu, Kudo Kankuro and Toda Erika.

Source: Eiga.com

Screening event of new NHK drama "Unmei ni, Nita Koi"

The screening event of new NHK drama "Unmei ni, Nita Koi" (A love like destiny) was held at NHK's headquarters in Shibuya, Tokyo on 16 September which was attended by the leads Harada Tomoyo and Saito Takumi as well as the scriptwriter Kitagawa. The drama which begins its run from 23 September at 10pm on Fridays, consists of 8 episodes and is Kitagawa's first NHK drama. Kitagawa commented that as she had done many dramas on private networks to date, she thought that it would be an easy job this time as well but she was asked to make many amendments to the script. As such, she said that this must have been the No.1 script to date which she had spent the most time refining. In addition, she praised the staff and cast for being serious and conscientious about getting each scene right and perfect so the viewers will be able to see the effort put in after watching this drama.

The drama describes how Sakurai Kasumi (Harada) who had met a boy during her childhood and they had exchanged promises to meet again. However, the promise remains as a secret deep within Kasumi as she grows up to become a 45-year-old single mother who is struggling to survive in her job at a laundromat. Just then, she meets a designer Ozawa Yurin (Saito) who she falls in love with. Kasumi then starts to wonder if Yurin's appearance was a coincidence or whether he was the boy she met as a child. Being in very different circumstances, their relationship path is destined to be bumpy as the people around them are also affected by their love for each other.

Co-stars include Yamaguchi Sayaka who plays Shirai Maho, the wife of a major furniture manufacturing company's president and has an affair with Yurin.

Source: Oricon

BLUE ENCOUNT to sing the theme song for NTV Autumn 2016 drama "THE LAST COP / Last Cop"

Rock band BLUE ENCOUNT's new song titled "LAST HERO" which is due to be released on 23 November, will be the theme song for the upcoming NTV Autumn 2016 drama "THE LAST COP / Last Cop" starring Karasawa Toshiaki and Kubota Masataka. The drama which begins its run from 8 October in the Saturdays 9pm timeslot, features Karasawa as a Showa-era passionate police detective Kyogoku Kosuke who wakes up from a 30-year coma and works with his Heisei-era counterpart Mochizuki Ryota (Kubota) to solve various difficult cases.

The producer of the drama Toda Kazuya revealed that he had heard BLUE ENCOUNT's songs and decided to make the offer to the band as he felt that their songs were very catchy and full of passion. In that sense, they were somewhat like Kyogoku's character so he felt that the band's music was a perfect match for the drama with its fast pace and a tinge of sadness. The band's vocalist Tanabe Shunichi commented that they were honoured to be given the chance but they were also troubled at first as to what kind of song to write for the drama. In the end, they managed to come up with something which they feel is the coolest to date in the band's history and is eagerly anticipating the start of the drama.

Source: Oricon

Winners in the TV drama category of the Japan Commercial Broadcasters Association Award 2016

The Japan Commercial Broadcasters Association (JBA) announced the winners for its JBA Award 2016 on 15 September. In the TV drama category, WOWOW's drama SP "Kono Machi no Inochi" starring Kase Ryo, Toda Erika and Tanaka Yuko won the best drama award. As for the excellence awards, they were won by TBS' "Shitamachi Rocket", TV Asahi's "Tamiou", TV Tokyo's "Tsuri baka Nisshi Shinnyuu Shain Hamasaki Densuke", BS Japan's "Kayou SP Yamamoto Shugoro Ninjou Jidaigeki Meotochou", Chukyo Terebi Housou's "Chukyo TV SP Drama Mothers 2015 ~ 17-sai no Jitsu haha ~" and Kansai Terebi Housou's "Osaka Kanjousen Hitoeki goto no Ai Monogatari Daisankai Taisho Eki Atarashii Umi no Shutsugen".

Source: Oricon

Miura Haruma reported to be dating dancer Sugawara Koharu

Miura Haruma and dancer Sugawara Koharu are reportedly dating, according to media reports on 21 September. The couple is said to have started dating recently and were seen at various locations together. Miura and Sugawara met when he appeared in Sugawara's radio show to promote his stage play in the middle of last month and he was said to have taken the initiative to woo her after that meeting. Prior to this, Miura had first seen Sugawara's dance performance in singer Miura Daichi's music video Unlock in February last year and was impressed with her that he got an acquaintance to introduce him to her. He was also at her performance in February this year where he commented that he was thankful to Sugawara for giving inspiration for his acting through her dancing when he was having issues.

Sugawara is a dancer known internationally and had been a back dancer for artistes such as Rihanna, SMAP and Amuro Namie. She had also taken on choreography jobs for artistes such as Girls' Generation and Koda Kumi and was previously seen in a TDK commercial with Stevie Wonder. Besides being a dancer, she also takes on modelling, CM jobs and holds dance workshops in Japan and overseas.

When asked about the news, Miura's agency did not deny it and said that they will leave it to Miura to handle this since this is his private matter. On the other hand, Sugawara is said to be in San Francisco at the moment according to her last post via Instagram on 21 September.

Sources: Nikkansports / Sanspo

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Haru to star in new NHK drama "Okaasan, Musume wo yamete ii desuka?"

Haru will be starring in the new NHK drama "Okaasan, Musume wo yamete ii desuka?" (Mother, can I quit being your daughter?) which will begin its run from 13 January in the Fridays 10pm timeslot. She will be caught in a love triangle with her mother played by Saito Yuki and the daughter's boyfriend who is played by Yagira Yuuya. Terawaki Yasufumi will be playing Haru's father in the drama.

The drama which consists of 8 episodes, is written by Inoue Yumiko and describes how the mother Akiko and daughter Mizuki are like best friends and lovers. The nature of their relationship does bother Mizuki's father Koji but he is too busy with work to do anything about it. Just then, when the family is planning to build a new house, they meet Matsushima who is assigned to be in charge of their construction project. At first, both Akiko and Mizuki hit it off with Matsushima which leads Akiko to encourage Mizuki to date him. However, once Mizuki starts going out with Matsushima, she realises how she had been tightly controlled by her mother all this while and attempts to break free from this unhealthy relationsip between them. When Akiko realises what is going on, she resorts to extreme measures i.e. seducing Matsushima in order to get her beloved daughter back.

Haru commented that the theme of a mother-and-daughter relationship is something which everyone can relate to and she is eagerly anticipating to work with her co-stars. In the drama, her character will change gradually so she hopes to be able to do the same through the filming.

Sources: Sanspo / Oricon