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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Endo Kenichi, Oosugi Ren, Taguchi Tomorowo, Terajima Susumu, Matsushige Yutaka & Mitsuishi Ken to star in TV Tokyo Winter 2017 drama "Byplayers ~ Moshimo rokunin no meiwakiyaku ga sharehouse de kurashitara ~"

Six of Japan's most indispensable supporting actors will be sharing the limelight in TV Tokyo's upcoming Winter 2017 drama "Byplayers ~ Moshimo rokunin no meiwakiyaku ga sharehouse de kurashitara ~" (Supporting actors ~ what if 6 famous supporting actors live in a sharehouse ~) which will be shown in the Fridays 12.12am timeslot from January 2017. The six of them are (in alphabetical order) Endo Kenichi, Oosugi Ren, Taguchi Tomorowo, Terajima Susumu, Matsushige Yutaka and Mitsuishi Ken and they will be appearing as themselves in this almost-like-reality drama which features six middle-aged men living in a sharehouse together for three months.

The six of them were first selected in a feature article published in 2002 that named them as the six supporting actors which supported Japan's movie scene. Since then, they have talked about doing a movie together but it was only until now that they finally got the chance to do so in a drama. This drama will be written and directed by Matsui Daigo whose latest film "Azumi Haruko wa yukue fumei" which will be screened soon. The six of them will be showing their principles and preferences as actors as well as offer a look into their lifestyles through this drama. Matsui commented that to be able to assemble such a wonderful cast will definitely make this drama very interesting and encouraged viewers to watch this late night drama while enjoying some alcohol.

The setting of the drama describes how the six of them receive a request from an internationally-known director that they live together for three months so as to get closer to one another for the filming of a blockbuster drama which will be shown overseas. They will have to work out schedules for tasks such as doing housework and preparing the breakfast menu and squabble over every little thing possible. Actually, the six of them had some issues with one another due to a work project 10 years ago and their relationships get even rockier when they hear that the lead of their drama has left the project and discover the secret behind the drama offer to them.

Comments from the cast as follows:

Endo Kenichi - Although we have worked with one another before, this is the first time that all of us are assembled together. It is a very enjoyable filming process since we are all on good terms with one another and I think we will make a good team with Oosugi, our senior, being at the centre of the group.

Oosugi Ren - We've always said that we wanted to get together but it took more than 10 years for this to come true. I look forward to seeing the kind of chemical reaction among us who have very different personalities and hope to showcase the power of the Japanese middle-aged actors through this drama.

Taguchi Tomorowo - I thought it was a prank when I heard that we were finally going to realise our wish after all these years. We are all colleagues in the same line but also rivals, seniors and juniors so it is like a dream collaboration to do this drama. I would like to thank the staff for making this possible and will work hard to make sure that I do not lag behind by the other actors.

Terajima Susumu - It has been such a long time since we got together so I'm looking forward to this very much.

Matsushige Yutaka - It will be fun talking about our health issues and retirement plans during the filming breaks.

Mitsuishi Ken - I'm shivering from the excitement at being able to realise our dream of working together ever since I was included in this group more than 10 years ago. At the age of 55, this is such an exciting time for me and I'm really looking forward to the filming.

Sources: Nikkansports / Sponichi 1 /  Sponichi 2 / Oricon

Spin-off drama of NTV Autumn 2016 drama "Jimi ni sugoi! Kouetsu Girl Kouno Etsuko" to be shown via Hulu

The spin-off drama of NTV Autumn 2016 "Jimi ni sugoi! Kouetsu Girl Kouno Etsuko" will consist of three episodes and be shown via Hulu from 30 November. Its title will be "Jimi ni sugoi! Kouetsu Girl Kouno Etsuko...ga inai suiyoubi" (Plain but cool! The Wednesday when Proofreading Girl Kouno Etsuko is not around).

The spin-off drama will feature Wada Masato and Eguchi Noriko who play Yoneoka Mitsuo and Fujiiwa Rion respectively and are members of the proofreading department which Kouno Etsuko (Ishihara Satomi) also belongs to. The story describes how Yoneoka and Fujiiwa work on the proofreading of a novel in the quiet proofreading department office when Etsuko is on annual leave and the novel's content becomes real-life footage in their minds which are criticised endlessly by the two proofreaders as the dramatisation progresses.

Upon hearing the news of the spin-off drama, Wada revealed that he was shocked because there are only two episodes left to the finale of the drama and surprised that he will be one of the leads in it. Likewise for Eguchi, she was grateful to be given this chance but revealed that they had to start working on the filming on a very short notice. When asked about the selling point of the spin-off drama, they said that it will be interesting to see how the members of the proofreading department take on characters in the novel's story featured within the drama.

The first episode titled "Koi no Rankiryuu" (Love's turbulence) is currently available for viewing on Hulu. The second episode titled "Hanayome wa nido shinu" (The bride dies twice) will be released at noon on 7 December while the third episode "Ikebukuro de Fukurokoji" (Dead-end street at Ikebukuro) will be released as the same time on 14 December.

Sources: Sponichi / Oricon

Takahata Mitsuki & Sakaguchi Kentaro deny dating rumours

Takahata Mitsuki and Sakaguchi Kentaro are rumoured to be dating as reported on 29 November. The two of them worked together in two dramas this year i.e. NHK's morning drama "Toto Nee-chan" and FujiTV Winter 2016's "Itsuka kono koi wo omoi dashite kitto naite shimau" and were said to have started dating at least six months ago.

When asked about the news, Takahata's agency denied that they are an item and said that they are merely friends. Sakaguchi's agency also echoed the same and stated that she is just one of his close friends.

Sources: Nikkansports 1 / Nikkansports 2 / Oricon

Sato Ryuta to play Nagano Mei's uncle in new movie "Hirunaka no Ryuusei"

Sato Ryuta will be playing Nagano Mei's uncle in the new movie "Hirunaka no Ryuusei" which will be shown in cinemas from 24 March 2017. The movie is based on the same-titled manga by Yamamori Mika which was serialised in "Magaret" from 2011 and 2014 and had sold more than 2 million copies to date.

The film features Nagano as the lead character Yosano Suzume, a senior high school student who transfers from the suburbs to a school in Tokyo because her parents are working overseas and she moves to stay with her uncle. Although Suzume has never fallen in love with anyone, she experiences her first love when she gets caught in a love triangle with her form teacher Shishio Satsuki played by Miura Shohei and her classmate Mamura Daiki played by GENERATIONS' Shirahama Alan. Sato plays the role of Kumamoto Yukichi who is like a father to Suzume while she is in Tokyo.

Sato commented that this is the first time he has worked with Nagano and the time passed by so quickly. He felt that she was a perfect fit for her character and expressed his wish to work with her again in future.

Filming started in early October and took two months to be completed.

Source: Oricon

Shimazaki Haruka to play Tsutsumi Shinichi's daughter in NTV Winter 2017 drama "Super Salaryman Saenai-shi"

AKB48 member Shimazaki Haruka who will be graduating from the group this year, will be appearing in the upcoming NTV Winter 2017 drama "Super Salaryman Saenai-shi" which begins its run from January 2017 in the Saturdays 9pm timeslot. This will be her first appearance in a drama after her graduation.

The drama which is based on the manga "Chuunen Superman Saenai-shi" by the late Fujiko F Fujio, features Tsutsumi Shinichi in the role of Saenai, a 52-year-old ordinary salaryman who holds a middle management role in his company and has a fierce wife Enko (Koizumi Kyoko). One day, a strange old man gives Saenai a super suit which will enable him to transform into a super hero who can maintain peace. Although Saenai keeps rejecting the old man's offer, he has no choice but to accept it when Enko forces him to deliver their daughter's bento to school before her lunch break. Due to the powers of this suit, Saenai goes to solve various cases even during office hours whenever he senses something happening. Shimazaki plays the role of Haneko who is the daughter of Saenai and Enko and a senior high school student going through a rebellious phase who treats her father coldly.

Shimazaki commented that Haneko is always in a bad mood in the mornings and treats her father in such a hostile manner which reminded her of how she used to behave when she was much younger. She expressed anticipation about the impending start of the filming and can't wait to see how the drama turns out. As for being able to act in a drama right after graduating from AKB48, Shimazaki revealed that although she doesn't think that she is a good actress yet, she wants to do her best for the sake of those who gave her such an opportunity and show her gratitude even though she may still be lacking in some areas.

Source: Oricon

Nagano Hiroshi & Shiraishi Miho announce their marriage

V6's Nagano Hiroshi and Shiraishi Miho got married on 29 November thus making him the second V6 member to do so after Inohara Yoshihiko married Seto Asaka in 2007. The couple first got to know each other when Shiraishi appeared as a guest on Nagano's NHK programme "Hare, Tokidoki Farm!" and started dating about two and a half years ago. The couple was first reported to be dating in the Nov 2014 issue of "Josei Seven". According to insiders, Shiraishi is not pregnant now and there are no plans yet for a wedding.

Nagano announced his marriage first through a statement in the regular newsletter mailed to members of V6's fanclub. Although he did not mention Shiraishi's name in the statement, he broke the news about his impending marriage through this channel as he wanted to inform the fans first. Later in the day, the couple released a joint statement via fax through Johnny's Jimusho where they announced to the media that they had registered their marriage on 29 November which is ii niku no hi (the day of good meat). As Nagano is known for being a gourmet and had released several food guides to date, it was believed that the date was chosen by him. The couple pledged to build a bright and happy family while continuing to work hard in their careers and asked for everyone's continued support in future.

Nagano also followed up with a posting on his blog "Gurume de gurume" on Johnny's Web where he mentioned his marriage without naming Shiraishi. He thanked his fans for their support and stated that he hopes to continue working hard in future.

Later the same night, V6 appeared on NTV's music show "Best Hit Kayousai 2016" when Nagano was congratulated by the host Sakurai Sho, his fellow members and colleagues from the same agency such as TOKIO, Arashi and Kanjani 8. After performing V6's songs, they tossed Nagano in the air as a form of celebration.

Sources: Nikkansports 1 / Sponichi  / Nikkansports 2 / Yomiuri Hochi 1 / Yomiuri Hochi 2 / Daily Sports

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Karina to star in FujiTV Winter 2017 drama "Kirawareru Yuuki"

Karina will be starring in the upcoming FujiTV Winter 2017 drama "Kirawareru Yuuki" (The courage to be disliked) which will be shown from January in the Thursdays 10pm timeslot. The detective drama is based loosely on the bestseller series by psychotherapist Alfred Adler which had sold more than 1.8 million copies to date and features Karina as the lead character Andou Ranko who is a 32-year-old single police detective. Although she is very capable at her job and has solved many difficult cases to date, she can't get used to the organisation structure and is a loner who doesn't listen to others' advice and does things the way she wants to. Due to her attitude, she becomes disliked by her colleagues in the police force which is predominantly made up of men. NEWS member Kato Shigeaki plays Aoyama Toshio, Ranko's new partner transferred to her department and is the exact opposite of her because he cares too much about other people's opinions and tries hard not to be disliked by others. He dislikes Ranko immensely due to her wilful behaviour. Shiina Kippei plays the role of Daimonji Tetsuto who is a psychology professor who tells Aoyama about the existence of Adler's psychology theories thus helping him to understand how to co-exist with Ranko.

Karina recounted that when she read Adler's book, she had the impression that psychology is a difficult topic but she discovered that it will be easier on herself if she can think of herself in a different way so the book did influence her in a positive way. She hopes to put in her all for this drama and make a good drama along with the help of her co-stars and staff members.

Sources: Sanspo / Oricon

Odagiri Jo in Taiwan for the premiere of movie "Zoku Shinya Shokudou"

The premiere of movie "Zoku Shinya Shokudou" was held at Taipei, Taiwan, on 28 November which was attended by the director Matsuoka Joji and actor Odagiri Jo. The movie is due to be screened in Taiwan from 30 December.

More than 100 fans and members of the press gathered at the airport to welcome Matsuoka and Odagiri and the two also met with more than 100 reporters from more than 50 media companies for interviews. Here is the Q & A of Matsuoka and Odagiri during the interview:

Q: Odagiri-san, you had been to Taiwan 7 years ago?
Odagiri: It was quite a tight schedule 7 years ago so I only remembered eating and drinking here. However, I felt refreshed this time due to various things, had delicious food, enjoyed the nice view from my hotel room so I have enjoyed Taiwan a lot and grew to like here.

Q: Director, when was the first time you came to Taiwan and how did you feel about here?
Matsuoka: I came for the first time in 1991 so that's already 25 years ago. No matter when I came here, I always had the same feeling that this place is so suitable for me. Although I don't have time to go this time, I visited Jiufen and the hot springs before. The streets, food and atmosphere are all to my liking.

Q: Every time, various guests and actors appear in "Shinya Shokudou" so if there is going to be a sequel, is there any particular actor who you would like to see in the cast?
Matsuoka: If I have to choose a Taiwanese actor, that would be Chang Chen. When I watched the movie "A Brighter Summer Day", I was very impressed by his acting.

Q: If there is a sequel of "Shinya Shokudou", which actor would you like to work with?
Odagiri: Erm...if you are talking about now, then Park Geun-hye would be good (laughs). Since she's very much talked-about now, I think it might be interesting.

Q: Is there any dish which you think is delicious during your current trip? Have you tried the betel nuts?
Matsuoka: I tried the betel nuts when I first came to Taiwan. I actually thought that Taiwanese were prone to fighting as I saw a lot of red liquid on the roads but later realised that this was the saliva spat out after eating betel nuts. After trying it, I found that it boosted my blood circulation when I was tired.
Odagiri: Last night, I saw the news about me having ate the betel nuts before 7 years ago but since then, I have not tried it again.

Q: What dish would you use to describe each other?
Odagiri: I would probably be a light dish?
Matsuoka: Yeah, maybe a soup. Although it has a simple taste, it also has a deep stock base.
Odagiri: The director is probably a fish dish...
Matsuoka: Didn't we eat that just yesterday!

Q: What is the selling point of this movie?
Odagiri: I think that this is a movie which shows you daily life that can happen anywhere and is a heartwarming story. Although this is set in Japan, it is something that can also possibly happen in Taiwan. Through food, everyone has different thoughts and memories about them which I'm sure everyone can identify with. Please support this movie which will make you feel good.
Matsuoka: Be it in Japan or Taiwan, life rarely goes smoothly for everyone. As such, through the characters in this movie, the film is also a warm encouragement to them and everyone watching it. This time, the movie will probably make you hungrier than before and I hope that you will enjoy watching it.

After the movie's screening, the viewers asked Matsuoka and Odagiri questions about various topics such as the restaurant operated by Master named Meshiya.

Q: If you are at Meshiya, what would you ask for?
Odagiri: Since I've stopped eating beef and pork now, I would like to ask Master to make a hamburger from chicken and fish which is full of flavours.

Q: What is the difference between acting in the drama and movie versions?
Odagiri: The style of acting differs for dramas and movies but in "Shinya Shokudou", since the way of filming is like that of a movie, I did not have to change the way I acted.

Q: What kind of difficulties did you encounter when making this movie?
Matsuoka: As this is a sequel, there is a fair bit of pressure but we made it in the end.

During the final phototaking session, Matsuoka and Odagiri posed with the 500 viewers in the background.

Source: Nikkansports

ASKA arrested again for alleged consumption of stimulants

ASKA (real name Miyazaki Shigeaki) was arrested again for alleged consumption of stimulants on 28 November after being brought to the Metropolitan Police Department for voluntary questioning from his home. He had been sentenced to 3 years in prison, suspended for 4 years when he was found guilty of the same offence back in September 2014. As the current offence supposedly took place during his suspended sentence period, he is liable for a heavier sentence this time especially since he pledged to stay away from drugs in front of the judge just 2 years and 2 months ago.

The case first began on 25 November when ASKA called the police to complain that his house had been bugged. Upon arrival at ASKA's place, the police conducted a search in his and his wife's presence but could not find anything suspicious to indicate so. However, they noticed that ASKA was behaving strangely thus asked him to go for a voluntary urine test. On 27 November, he tested positive for stimulants consumption. The police conducted a search of his house in front of his family members on 29 November.

News of ASKA's impending arrest first surfaced in the media after 2pm on 28 November but he denied the news by posting four times on his blog. He returned to his house around 6.30pm by taxi and had attempted to leave his house in his Mercedes Benz car but was unsuccessful due to the 200-or-so reporters who had gathered outside. After returning to his house, three police cars arrived at 8pm and the policemen escorted ASKA to the car. However, due to the media frenzy, it took the police 10 minutes to move out of the 200m-long road and they were also tailed by some reporters who followed on their motorbikes. Some people were knocked down or had their legs injured due to the crowding and the local residents complained to the police about the disturbance caused.

Upon receiving news that his partner had been arrested again, CHAGE released a statement on 29 November via his official website and apologised for the disturbance and inconvenience caused. He also felt sorry to the fans for this and said that he is sad and regretful when he knew that ASKA might have made the same mistake again. However, CHAGE admitted that he was at a loss right now due to this matter so he will have to spend some time for reality to sink in and apologised for causing worry to everyone.

Sources: Sponichi / Nikkansports / Oricon

Hoshino Gen cancels performance on NTV's "Best Artist 2016" due to illness caused by fatigue

Hoshino Gen announced via his official website and Twitter on 29 November that he will not be appearing on NTV's annual music programme "Best Artist 2016" on the same night. The statement revealed that Hoshino became sick due to fatigue so it was decided that he could not perform up to standard and had to quit from the show at the last minute. He also apologised for disappointing the viewers who are looking forward to the performance and everyone for causing worry and inconveniences but asked for understanding of his situation.

"Best Artist" is NTV's year-end signature music show which is broadcast live via Makuhari Messe for four hours from 7pm. Hoshino has been busy with various projects such as filming for TBS Autumn 2016 drama "Nigeru wa haji daga yaku ni tatsu", NHK's "LIFE! ~ Jinsei ni sasageru konto ~", NHK Taiga drama "Sanadamaru" and Nippon Housou radio show "Hoshino Gen no All Night Nippon" and is due to appear on the NHK Kouhaku Utagassen on New Year's Eve. This is not the first time that Hoshino had to take a break from work due to illness as he was also absent from his radio show on 19 September this year.

Sources: Sanspo / Yomiuri Hochi / Sponichi / Oricon

Top 10 karaoke songs to liven up the year-end parties (Oricon)

Oricon conducted a survey on 1,000 people in their teens to 50s where they chose karaoke songs which they felt would liven up the year-end parties if they learn the choreography and perform it:

1) Memeshikute - Golden Bomber

2) Koi suru Fortune Cookie - AKB48

3) Love Machine - Morning Musume

4) Heavy Rotation - AKB48

5) A.RA.SHI - Arashi

6) UFO - Pink Lady

7) Choo Choo TRAIN - EXILE

8) Joifuru - Ikimonogakari

9) Seishun Amigo - Shuuji to Akira

10) Matsuken Samba - Matsudaira Ken

Source: Oricon

Top 10 female singers/groups who had made a breakthrough in 2016 (Oricon)

Oricon conducted a survey on 1,000 people in their teens to 50s where they chose the female singer/group who they felt had made a breakthrough in 2016:

1) Keyazakizaka46

2) Oohara Sakurako

3) Suiyoobi no Campanella

4) BABYMETAL

5) Fujiwara Sakura

6) Little Glee Monster

7) Jiyoung

8) Flower

9) Aoi Eir

10) Nama Hamu to Yaki Udon

Source: Oricon

Winners of the 41st Hochi Movie Awards (2016)

Best Movie: Yu wo wakasu hodo no atsui ai

Best Director: Lee Sang-il (Ikari)

Best Leading Actor: Miura Tomokazu (Katsuragi Jiken)

Best Leading Actress: Miyazawa Rie (Yu wo wakasu hodo no atsui ai)

Best Supporting Actor: Ayano Go (64 Rokuyon / Ikari / Rip van Winkle no Hanayome)

Best Supporting Actress: Sugisaki Hana (Yu wo wakasu hodo no atsui ai)

Best Newcomer: Iwata Takanori - Shokubutsu Zukan / Nakano Ryota (director) - Yu wo wakasu hodo no atsui ai

Best Foreign Movie: Creed

Special Award: Kimi no na wa (director Shinkai Makoto)

Source: Yomiuri Hochi

Monday, November 28, 2016

Top 10 movies box office ranking for the weekend of 26th & 27th Nov

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

1) Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (350)

2) Kimi no na wa (296)

3) Museum (331)

4) Shippu Rondo (285)

5) Gekijouban Kancolle (61)

6) Kono sekai no katasumi ni (68)

7) Death Note Light up the NEW world (342)

8) Jack Reacher NEVER GO BACK (343)

9) Satoshi no Seishun (159)

10) Oboreru Knife (153)

Source: Eiga.com

First-day-screening event of new movie "Shippu Rondo"

The first-day-screening event of new movie "Shippu Rondo" was held at Marunouchi TOEI 1 on 26 November which was attended by the director Yoshida Teruyuki and cast members Abe Hiroshi, Okura Tadayoshi, Oshima Yuko, Muro Tsuyoshi, Hamada Tatsuomi and Shison Jun. The event was also broadcast live to 209 cinemas nationwide.

The movie which is based on the same-titled novel by Higashino Keigo, features Abe as a researcher who is tasked to find a biochemical weapon buried somewhere in a ski resort with the help of the resort's patrol staff (Okura) and a snowboarder (Oshima). Abe "complained" that the director likes ad-libs which made them unsure how to react at initially. He recounted that during the first scene with Okura, there was silence for about a minute but the director simply would not shout "cut". Although Abe thought that such scenes would not make it to the final version of the movie, he was surprised to find them included after all. He also emphasized that the charm of the snowy mountains and action scenes are worth checking out in the movie.

Muro who plays a mysterious man also out to find the biochemical weapon, had to film a scene where he was trailling behind Okura and Oshima on skis. Okura recounted that Muro had managed to ski properly during the rehearsals but suddenly fell down at the end. Oshima then teased Muro for doing it on purpose and said that he really fitted his character because they are both strange people. In response, Muro said that the scene was a NG since both Oshima and Okura had burst out laughing after seeing him fall.

Source: Eiga.com

Kusanagi Tsuyoshi & Mizuhara Kiko in Bangkok for the filming of FujiTV Winter 2017 drama "Uso no Sensou"

Kusanagi Tsuyoshi and Mizuhara Kiko were in Bangkok from 19th to 21st November for the filming of their new FujiTV Winter 2017 drama "Uso no Sensou" which is due to begin its run from January in the Tuesdays 9pm timeslot. The first scene was filmed at a go-go bar in the middle of Bangkok's entertainment district where Kusanagi's character who is a fraudster, works together with his buddy (Mizuhara) to cheat a fellow Japanese. The filming did not start off on a good note due to the hot weather with temperatures exceeding 30 degrees Celsius at night and three rain showers lasting more than an hour on the first day alone. Despite so, Kusanagi said that he had gotten used to the weather and environment and jokingly said that he didn't want to go back to Japan. In the scenes filmed in Bangkok, Kusanagi had to speak Thai which made Mizuhara marvel at how good he was at it that even the locals could understand what he was saying.

It was also announced that Ichimura Masachika will be joining the cast of the drama as the lead character's biggest rival who is the chairman of a large company. Ichimura and Kusanagi last worked together in the 2004 movie Hotel Venus and became close friends so Ichimura agreed to the offer upon hearing that he could work with the latter again.

Sources: Nikkansports / Sanspo / Sponichi

Kuroki Meisa announces her second pregnancy; due to give birth in summer next year

Kuroki Meisa announced via her Twitter on 26 November that she is currently pregnant with her second child, confirming reports earlier the same morning by the media. She revealed that she will be entering a stable stage of her pregnancy soon and is grateful for the understanding and support of everyone around her as she and her family prepares for the arrival of a new family member. Meanwhile, her husband Akanishi Jin also posted on his Twitter and said that he was especially happy this time to be able to make the announcement from his end as compared to last time when Kuroki was pregnant with their first daughter. He also expressed thanks to everyone for their congratulatory messages. Acording to insiders, Kuroki is currently four months pregnant and due to give birth in summer next year.

Akanishi and Kuroki got married in February 2012 and she subsequently gave birth to their first child in September the same year. Although they did not hold a wedding ceremony and banquet at that time, they held a wedding party in February this year.

Sources: Nikkansports / Sanspo / Modelpress

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Preview of "Copyface ~ Kesareta Watashi ~" - Autumn 2016

Title: Copyface ~ Kesareta Watashi ~ コピーフェイス ~ 消された私 ~ (Copyface ~ The me who was erased)
Official website: here
O.A. Start Date: 18 November 2016
Timeslot: Fridays 10pm
Total number of episodes: 6
Broadcast by: NHK
Cast: Kuriyama Chiaki, Sato Ryuta, Tamaoki Reo, Terada Minori, Tajima Reiko, Ashina Sei, Tsurumi Shingo, Maeda Aki

Winners of the Yamaji Fumiko Movie Awards (2016)

The 40th Yamaji Fumiko Movie Award: Lee Sang-il (director of "Ikari")

The 39th Yamaji Fumiko Meritorius Award: Ashizawa Akiko (director of "Mohican Kokyou ni kaeru" / "Creepy Itsuwari no Rinjin")

The 33rd Yamaji Fumiko Cultural Award: Shinkai Makoto (director of "Kimi no na wa")

The 30th Yamaji Fumiko Actress Award: Miyazaki Aoi (Ikari)

The 28th Yamaji Fumiko Newcomer Actress Award: Matsuoka Mayu (Neko nanka yondemo konai / Chihayafuru Shimo no Ku)

The 32nd Yamaji Fumiko Welfare Award: Sasaki Akira (Futari no Kougenkyou)

The 32nd Yamaji Fumiko Cultural Association Special Award: Takahashi Keiko (actress)

Sources: Yamaji Fumiko Movie Awards / Eiga.com

Friday, November 25, 2016

Kunimura Jun wins best supporting actor and popular star award at South Korea's 37th Blue Dragon Film Awards

Kunimura Jun became the first non-Korean actor to win an award at the Blue Dragon Film Awards. During the presentation ceremony for the 37th edition of the awards held on 25 November, he got not one, but two awards i.e. best supporting actor and popular star for his performance in the Korean movie "Gokseong" (The Wailing). He was only the second foreign actor to be nominated in the film awards' history.

"Gokseong" is a suspense horror movie set in a rural village where Kunimura plays a stranger speaking Japanese who recently arrived there and lives on his own in the mountains by the village. Soon after, a mysterious sickness starts spreading among the villagers which causes violent murderous outbreaks and subsequent death. Police officer Jong-goo (Kwak Do-won) meets a mysterious young woman Moo-myeong who informs him about the Japanese stranger's involvement with the deaths but she disappears later. After hearing a local hunter's eyewitness account of the stranger having eaten an animal in the mountains while being nearly naked and his eyes glowing in red, Jong-goo gets the help of another officer, a Japanese-speaking priest and a shaman Il-Gwang (Hwang Jung-min) to investigate the stranger.

When "Gokseong" was shown during the Cannes Film Festival this year, it attracted a lot of attention and was a box office hit in South Korea with close to 7 million cinema visits. At the Busan International Film Festival held in October, Kunimura's talk event attracted so many movie fans that they spilled out of the event venue.

"Gokseong" will be shown in Japan from 11 March 2017.

Sources: Oricon / Wikipedia

Handover ceremony for NHK Taiga dramas "Sanadamaru" & "Onna Joushu Naotora"

The handover ceremony for NHK Taiga dramas "Sanadamaru" and "Onna Joushu Naotora" was held on 25 November which was attended by the respective leads Sakai Masato and Shibasaki Kou. In the customary gift exchange section, Sakai prepared Fuyu persimmons from Wakayama Prefecture where his drama was set in while Shibasaki prepared a kite from Hamamatsu City, Shizuoka, in return. Upon receiving the kite, Sakai joked that he will fly it in Yoyogi Park near NHK. Shibasaki also expressed her thanks for the beautiful persimmons which look too good to be real.

As her senior in Taiga dramas, Sakai replied that she can rest during weekends when Shibasaki asked if he got the weekends off. He didn't have any specific advice for her other than she must eat well so as to have the energy to handle the tough filming. Sakai also jokingly remarked he didn't have time to meet the people he should and had to keep calling his friends not to abandon him because his year of "missing-in-action". In response, Shibasaki said that she is experiencing this right now and called out to her friends as well to "wait" for her.

Sakai also "complained" that the scripts for "Sanadamaru" took a long time to be ready in a dig at the scriptwriter Mitani Koki for being too slow although he enjoyed the filming after all. He also expressed his envy to Shibasaki because he heard that the scripts for "Naotora" were prepared at a fast pace so the filming can probably be done much faster without much hitches.

Shibasaki commented that unlike Sanada Yukimura who was very famous nationwide, her character Naotora was little known even to the locals at Hamamatsu City so she hopes that the drama will make people more aware of Naotora and be a source of inspiration to women who are striving to make their mark in society.

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

Nakatani Miki reportedly dating German viola player Thilo Fechner from Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra

Nakatani Miki is dating German viola player Thilo Fechner who belongs to the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra as reported on 24 November. According to Nakatani's agency, Fechner who is 8 years older than Nakatani, was born into a family of musicians in Berlin and is also a member of Vienna State Opera's orchestra and the ensemble group The Philharmonics. He had taken part in a Vienna Philharmonic concert held on 1st and 2nd October which was conducted by Ozawa Seiji and Indian conductor Zubin Mehta. Nakatani and Fechner was introduced to each other by a mutual friend and hit it off quickly because of her love for classical music. It is believed that they have been dating for about one month only. In the 24th November issue of "Josei Seven", it was reported that Nakatani was caught on a date with a foreigner which was said to be Fechner. At the moment, Nakatani is currently filming the TBS drama "IQ246 ~ Karei naru Jikenbo" showing at 9pm on Sundays while Fechner is due to perform in Tokyo and Sendai again in December.

Source: Sankei Sports

Top 10 female celebrities with the most desired figures as chosen by women (Oricon)

Oricon conducted a survey on 500 women in their teens to 50s where they selected the female celebrities who they felt had the most desired figures:

1) Nanao

2) Rola

3) Fukada Kyoko

4) Nagasawa Masami

5) Nakamura An

6) Shinohara Ryoko

7) Yonekura Ryoko

8) Eikura Nana

9) Kojima Haruna

10) Hasegawa Jun

Source: Oricon

Winners of GQ Japan Men of the Year 2016

Here are the winners of this year's GQ Men of the Year:

Ozawa Seiji (conductor)

Kikkawa Koji (actor and musician)

Suda Masaki (actor)

Trendy Angels (Manzai comedians)

Mashu Baker (Judo wrestler)

Iizuka Shota / Kiryu Yoshihide / Aska Cambridge / Yamagata Ryota (sprinters)

Watanabe Ken (actor)

And here is the list of winners from 2013 to 2015:

2013
Sakai Masato (actor)
Kudo Kankuro (scriptwriter)
Hayashi Osamu (preparatory school lecturer)
Asai Ryou (writer)
YMO (musicians)
Sato Koichi (actor)
Miura Kazuyoshi (soccer player)
Bakusho Mondai (comedians)

2014
Ul-fuls (musicians)
Suzuki Toshio (producer)
Sono Sion (movie director)
Sakagami Shinobu (actor / TV host)
Oguri Shun (actor)
Hotei Tomoyasu (guitarist)
Gekidan Hitori (comedian)

2015
Goromaru Ayumu (rugby player) - Sportsman Award
Yoshida Kotaro (actor) - Legend Award
Matsuoka Shuzo (tennis player / sports commentator) - Icon Award
Suzuki Ryohei (actor) - Breakthrough Award
Hakase Taro (musician) - Achievement Award
Matayoshi Naoki (comedian / writer) - Inspiration Award

If you would like to see the feature and interview videos of all the winners from 2013 to 2016, please visit this website.

Source: GQ Japan

Watanabe Ken, Kitagawa Keiko & Nikaidou Fumi to star in TBS New Year drama SP "Shiawase no Kioku"

Watanabe Ken will be starring in the upcoming TBS New Year drama SP "Shiawase no Kioku" (Memories of happiness) which will be shown at 9pm on 8 January. The drama SP which is an original story by Oishi Shizuka, features Watanabe as a good-for-nothing father who chalked up huge debts due to his failed business thus leading to his divorce and walking out of his family 5 years ago. However, he returns suddenly to his home without notice which causes confusion and disruption to the lives of his ex-wife (Asou Yumi) and two daughters (Kitagawa Keiko & Nikaidou Fumi). Especially for his elder daughter who had supported the family in her father's absence, she is especially resistant to her father's presence while his younger daughter is secretly happy about it.

Filming is already in progress and co-stars include Chiba Yudai, Miura Takahiro, Yamazaki Shigenori and Sugawara Daikichi.

Source: Sponichi

Stage play "Kinema to Koi" cancels performances due to influenza outbreak among its cast members

The stage play "Kinema to Koi" featuring Tsumabuki Satoshi as its lead which is currently being performed at Theatre Tram will have some of its performances cancelled due to an influenza outbreak among its cast. The performances cancelled are the 7pm session on 24 November, 7pm on 25 November, 1pm and 6pm sessions on 26 November. Besides Tsumabuki who is ill due to the influenza bug, his co-stars Ogawa Tamaki and Mikami Ichiro are also unwell. As the three of them play important characters in the play, it was deemed impossible for the performances to proceed as scheduled so they had to be cancelled.

The theatre management apologised on its website for the inconveniences caused to everyone who had bought tickets for the affected sessions and will announce the refund procedure after 27 November when the performance run resumes.

The romantic comedy play is the latest production by popular stage director Keralino Sandrovich which was inspired by the movie "The Purple Rose of Cairo" by Woody Allen. The setting of the play was moved to a fictitious town in Japan and the performances recently had all seen full-house sessions where some had to stand to watch. Sandrovich also posted an apology on his Twitter for the cancellation and that his actors also felt bad about it. However, he asked for the understanding of all who had bought tickets to the play and said that they will look into the possibility of whether it is possible to do a rerun in future with the same cast lineup.

Source: Sponichi

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Award ceremony of Vogue Japan Women of the Year 2016

The award ceremony of "VOGUE JAPAN Women of the Year 2016" was held at Akasaka Prince Classic House. Other than Tokyo Governor Koike Yuriko who could not attend due to work, the other winners Kimura Yoshino (actress), Takahata Mitsuki (actress), Ando Sakura (actress), Takada Akane (ballet dancer), Kaneto Rie (swimmer), Watanabe Naomi (comedian) and Murata Sayaka (writer) appeared at the ceremony. Model Fukushi Rina was presented with the Rising Star of the year award.

Source: Vogue Japan

Winners of the 8th TAMA Movie Awards (2016)

Movies which were screened between October 2015 and September 2016 were eligible for entry and the winners were decided by the TAMA Eiga Forum Committee. The prize giving ceremony was held on 19 November:

Best Movie
Over Fence
Danchi

Special Award
Distraction Babies
Jogging Wataridori

Best Actor
Miura Tomokazu (Katsuragi Jiken / 64 Rokuyon)
Odagiri Jo (Over Fence / FOUJITA)

Best Actress
Koizumi Kyoko (Fukigen na Kakko)
Aoi Yu (Over Fence / Kishibe no Tabi /  Kazoku wa tsurai yo)

Best New Director
Maeda Shiro (Fukigen na Kakko)
Koizumi Norihiro (Chihayafuru Kami no Ku / Chihayafuru Shimo no Ku)

Best New Actor
Wakaba Ryuya (Katsuragi Jiken)
Murakami Nijiro (Distraction Babies / Natsumi no Hotaru / Sayounara)

Best New Actress
Matsuoka Mayu (Chihayafuru Shimo no Ku / Neko nanka yondemo konai)
Komatsu Nana (Distraction Babies / Kurosaki-kun no iinari ni nante naranai / Bakuman / Hero Mania Seikatsu)

Sources: Natalie / TAMA Film Festival

2016's Top 10 female fashion icons as chosen by women (Oricon)

500 women in their teens to 50s were asked to choose who among the female celebrities they consider to be fashion icons via an Internet poll conducted by Oricon:

1) Rola

2) Kyary Pamyu Pamyu

3) Mizuhara Kiko

4) Amuro Namie

5) Fujita Nicole

6) Kiritani Mirei

7) Nakamura An

8) Nishiuchi Mariya

9) Peko

10) Sato Arisa

Source: Oricon

Lineup for 2016 NHK Kouhaku Utagassen announced

Main host: Takeda Shinichi (NHK announcer)

Akagumi host: Arimura Kasumi

Shirogumi host: Aiba Masaki (Arashi)

Numbers in brackets indicate the number of times to date (including this year) which the artist/group has appeared on Kouhaku:

Akagumi
AI (2)
Ayaka (8)
E-girls (4)
Ikimonogakari (9)
Ishikawa Sayuri (39)
Ichikawa Yukino (1)
Utada Hikaru (1)
AKB48 (9)
Ootake Shinobu (1)
Keyakizaka46 (1)
Kouzai Kaori (19)
Sakamoto Fuyumi (28)
Shiina Ringo (4)
Shimazu Aya (3)
Takanashi Mariko (4)
Tendou Yoshimi (21)
Nishino Kana (7)
Nogizaka46 (2)
PUFFY (1)
Perfume (9)
Matsuda Seiko (20)
Mizumori Kaori (14)
miwa (4)

Shirogumi
Arashi (8)
Itsuki Hiroshi (46)
X JAPAN (7)
Kanjani 8 (5)
Kiritani Kenta (1)
KinKi Kids (1)
Go Hiromi (29)
Sandaime J Soul Brothers (5)
THE YELLOW MONKEY (1)
SEKAI NO OWARI (3)
Sexy Zone (4)
TOKIO (23)
AAA (7)
Hikawa Kiyoshi (17)
V6 (3)
Fukuda Kouhei (3)
Fukuyama Masaharu (9)
Hoshino Gen (2)
Miyama Hiroshi (2)
Yamauchi Keisuke (2)
Yuzu (7)
RADWIMPS (1)
RADIO FISH (1)

Source: Oricon

Top 10 favourite mama-celebrities of 2016 (Oricon)

Oricon conducted a survey on 1,000 people from their teens to 50s to find out which mama-celebrities (female celebrities who have children) are their favourites:

1) Kinoshita Yukina

2) Kimura Yoshino

3) Hokuto Akira

4) Moritaka Chisato

5) Yamaguchi Moe

6) Fujimoto Miki

7) Tsuji Nozomi

8) Shinohara Ryoko

9) Watanabe Marina

10) Gal Sone

Source: Oricon

ViVi's Top 10 handsome men of 2016 ranking

Fashion magazine ViVi released the results of their top 10 handsome men ranking for 2016 which was derived from a poll of 15,000 readers via the Internet and their smartphone app where they chose 5 male celebrities who they felt are handsome and ranked them. Points were then assigned to the choices where 5 points were given to No.1 and 1 point was given to No.5.

Note that the numbers in brackets indicate the number of points received by the celebrities:

1) Nakagawa Taishi (5,788)

2) Suda Masaki (5,144)

3) Kubota Masataka (4,987)

4) Tosaka Hiroomi (4,753)

5) Yamashita Tomohisa (4,702)

6) Mackenyu (4,592)

7) Sakaguchi Kentaro (4,348)

8) Iwata Takanori (4,175)

9) Nomura Shuhei (4,157)

10) Miura Shohei (3,997)

Source: ViVi

Abe Sadao & Fukada Kyoko to star in TBS Winter 2017 drama "Gekokujou Juken" as a married couple

Abe Sadao and Fukada Kyoko will be playing a married couple in the upcoming TBS Winter 2017 drama "Gekokujou Juken" (The exam to overthrow those above you) which will begin its run from January 2017 in the Fridays 10pm timeslot. The drama which is based on the non-fiction novel published in 2014 by Sakurai Shinichi, talks about how a father who only has junior high qualifications tries to prepare his daughter for entry into a top school with his own efforts instead of sending her to a cram school.

Abe plays the role of Sakurai Shinichi who comes from a family where every generation had junior high qualifications only. After marrying his wife Kanako (Fukada) who also graduated from junior high only, Shinichi is working as a salesman in a real estate company. Due to his lack of education qualifications, he encounters many difficulties and setbacks in his life. As such, he decides to make sure that his only daughter Kaori (Yamada Mikuu) who is in Primary 5, doesn't go through the same hardship as he did and takes action to prepare her for the junior high entrance exam of the top junior high school for a period of 500 days while juggling his work despite Kanako's reservations and objections about doing this.

Abe who did not know that the novel was based on the author's own story, said that it is not just a tale about preparing for the entrance exam and that it will be very interesting and full of passion like a sports-themed drama. With regard to Yamada who was selected from 250 hopefuls during an audition, Abe praised her for being quick to catch on and thinks that it will be fun to play a family with her and Fukada.

In order to pray for the success of the drama and that all those taking their entrance exams can be successful, the trio went to Yushima Tenmangu on 17 November which is famous for its knowledge god to pray and wrote their wishes on the ema tablets.

Other co-stars include Kaname Jun who plays Tokugawa Naoyasu, Shinichi's ex-classmate who has the complete opposite background as he graduated from University of Tokyo, Kazama Shunsuke who plays Shinichi's junior at work named Narasaki Tetsuya, Kobayashi Kaoru who plays Sakurai Kazuo i.e. Shinichi's father who is a carpenter, Koshiba Fuuka who plays Kaori's form teacher, Wakadanna (Shonan no Kaze), Minagawa Sarutoki, Okada Koki and Kawamura Yosuke.

Sources: Sanspo / Sponichi / Oricon / Eiga.com

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Top 10 Intelligence Queen Ranking 2016 (Oricon)

Oricon conducted a survey in October involving 1,000 respondents from their teens to 50s on who they consider as a beauty with brains for this intelligence queen ranking:

1) Kikukawa Rei

2) Kitagawa Keiko

3) Takata Mayuko

4) Yoshinaga Sayuri

5) Dan Mitsu

6) Ichikawa Saya

7) Inoue Mao

8) Haruka Christine

9) Triendl Reina

10) Takeuchi Mariya

Source: Oricon

Abe Hiroshi to appear in Japanese-Chinese joint production movie "KU-KAI" as Abe no Nakamaro

Abe Hiroshi will be appearing in the Japan-China joint production movie "KU-KAI" which features Sometani Shota and Chinese actor Huang Xuan as the leads. He will be playing the role of Abe no Nakamaro who was a Japanese scholar, administrator, and waka poet in the Nara period and sent to China's Tang Dynasty as an envoy. While there, Nakamaro passed the civil-service examination and took up an administrative position before being promoted. When he tried to return to Japan later, the ship to take him back sank not long into the journey, forcing him to remain in China for several more years. His second attempt to go home failed again because the ship he was traveling in was wrecked and ran aground off the coast of Vietnam, but he managed to return to China. Following the An Lushan Rebellion, it became unsafe for him to return to Japan so Nakamaro spent the rest of his life in China until he died. In total, he spent about 50 years of his life in China.

Abe commented that he is honoured to be playing such an outstanding man who was even trusted by Emperor Xuanzong. As such, he will be acting as Nakamaro with the utmost respect and sincerity towards the latter. Abe also remarked that this is the first time that he has participated in a movie with such a big production scale when there were days when they spent the whole day on just one scene. As such, he expressed respect and gratitude for being able to work with the director Chen Kaige.

Besides Abe and Sometani, Matsuzaka Keiko is also acting in this movie which will be shown in 2018.

Sources: Eiga.com / Wikipedia

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Yamazaki Kento & Hirose Arisu to star in real-life adaptation movie of "Hyouka"

Yamazaki Kento and Hirose Arisu will be starring in the real-life adaptation movie of "Hyouka" which will be shown in cinemas next year. The film is based on the same-titled debut novel by mystery writer Yonezawa Honobu that sold more than 2.5 million copies and had been made into a manga and TV anime series previously. This will be the third time that Yamazaki and Hirose are working together.

Yamazaki plays the role of Oreki Houtarou who is a Year 1 senior high school student and lives by the mantra of "If I don't have to do something, I won't, but if I have to, I'll do it quickly" so as to "save energy". At the order of his elder sister, he joins the classic literature club in school so as to prevent it from being shut down. While there, he meets Chitanda Eru (Hirose) who comes from a family of wealthy farmers and is energetic and inquisitive about everything and they set up a newly-reformed classic literature along with Fukube Satoshi and Ibara Mayaka, who are Houtarou's friends since junior high. The four of them then try to unravel the truth behind "Hyouka" which is a compilation of classic literature published 33 years and their school festival which has a long-running history.

Filming was done in the Kanto region and Takayama City, Gifu Prefecture where the story is set at.

Sources: Sanspo / Eiga.com

Asou Kumiko announces the birth of her second child

Asou Kumiko announced through her agency on 21 November that she had given birth to her second child i.e. a baby boy on 15 November. In her statement, Asou revealed that both she and her son are doing well and her family will be even more lively now with the newest member's arrival. As for when she will go back to work, it will depend on her condition and family situation. According to her agency, she will be focusing on movies upon her return.

Asou married Iga Daisuke, a stylist in December 2007 and gave birth to their first daughter in May 2012.

Sources: Nikkansports / Sanspo

Top 10 movies box office ranking for the weekend of 19th & 20th Nov

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

1) Kimi no na wa (296)

2) Museum (331)

3) Jack Reacher NEVER GO BACK (343)

4) Death Note Light up the NEW world (342)

5) Satoshi no Seishun (159)

6) Inferno (346)

7) Oboreru Knife (153)

8) Eiga Mahou Tsukai Puri Kyua! Kiseki no Henshin! Kyua Morufun! (212)

9) Kido Senshi Gundam THE ORIGIN IV Unmei no Zenya (15)

10) Kono sekai no katasumi ni (68)

Source: Eiga.com

Tabe Mikako & Takahashi Issei to star in FujiTV Christmas drama SP "Watashi ni unmei no koi nante arienaitte omotteta"

Tabe Mikako and Takahashi Issei will be starring in the upcoming FujiTV / Kansai TV Christmas drama SP "Watashi ni unmei no koi nante arienaitte omotteta" (I didn't think that it would be possible to have the love of my life) which will be shown at 9pm on 20 December. This is the first time in 18 months that Tabe is taking on the leading role in a drama since last year's "Do S Deka" and her first direct collaboration with Takahashi in this love story written by Oshima Satomi and directed by Hatano Takafumi.

Tabe plays the role of Shirono Riko who is a romance simulation game programmer. However, she does not pin any hopes on a real-life romance and would rather spend her time planning the ideal romance through the love scenarios in the games to fulfill her fantasies. One day, she is asked by Kurokawa Soichiro (Takahashi), the president of a mobile app company who approaches to design a new game. Despite being perfect in terms of looks and career, Kurokawa does not understand women and even insults Riko during the project meeting which leads to them becoming enemies. Just then, Kurokawa who is troubled over his secret love for his subordinate Momose, asks Riko for help and teach him about romance which she agrees to on the spur of the moment. While moulding him into the perfect guy in her romance simulation games and bringing Kurokawa and Momose together, Riko discovers that she has already fallen for Kurokawa.

Tabe commented that her character is looking for things in men which are hardly found in reality so Riko is not actually resistant to the idea of romance but rather thinks of love and her life as separate things which don't mix well. However, Riko is actually someone who craves for pure love so she hopes to be able to convey her feelings in this drama. Takahashi revealed that he had worked with Tabe before in the past although their characters did not have any direct interaction. As such, he always thought of her as a cool beauty but found out that she is actually a cute and feminine person. He also called upon the viewers to watch the drama SP to see the cheerful side of Riko and the silly side of Kurokawa as they fumble their way on the path of love which will be enjoyable to watch during Christmas.

Sources: Sanspo / Oricon

Monday, November 21, 2016

First-day-screening event of new movie "Satoshi no Seishun"

The first-day-screening event of new movie "Satoshi no Seishun" was held at Marunouchi Picadilly 1 on 19 November which was attended by the director Mori Yoshitaka and cast members Matsuyama Kenichi, Higashide Masahiro, Lily Frankie and Emoto Tokio and professional shogi player Habu Yoshiharu. The movie which is based on the non-fiction novel by Osaki Yoshio that had won the 13th Shincho Gakueisho, features Matsuyama as the lead character Murayama Satoshi who devoted his whole life to shogi and died at the young age of 29 while battling nephrosis and cancer.

In order to look like the real Murayama who put on weight due to his illness, Matsuyama increased his weight by nearly 20kg and managed to lose the weight towards the end of the filming. Upon seeing that Matsuyama had regained his previous figure, Lily revealed that he actually liked the larger-sized Matsuyama which led the latter to comment that even his wife Koyuki said the same thing. However, if he were to maintain that weight, he could only become a sumo wrestler or play Murayama forever. Lily joked that he can just alternate between those two roles which led Matsuyama to say that he can't do that until his children reach adulthood.

Habu who was Murayama's biggest rival when the latter was live, appeared as a guest during the event and presented Matsuyama and Higashide who played Habu in the movie with the first level shogi license. The two actors expresed their joy at receiving the license and said that it was a honour to be able to show the beautiful ways the shogi players lived to pursue their passion. When asked about his impression of the two actors, Habu commented that he was happy to see Murayama again through the acting of Matsuyama but admitted that he was a bit embarrased about himself appearing in the movie since it's usually people who had already passed away to appear in such films. As such, he was glad to be able to see this movie while he is still alive.

In the movie, there is a line where Murayama said that the only thing that his shogi teacher (Lily) taught him was drinking and playing mahjong. As such, before the filming started, Matsuyama suggested that they should play mahjong once so Lily arranged for Arai Hirofumi and Pierre Taki who were unrelated to the movie to play mahjong together. Lily also joked that during the filming, they teased Matsuyama for giving off the vibe of a virgin despite being a father of three. However, Matsuyama did not mind this nickname at all and even vowed to get the title back from Emoto who was regarded as a level above him in this regard.

Sources: Nikkansports / Sanspo / Sponichi / Eiga.com / Oricon

Kimura Fumino announces her marriage to her acting teacher

Kimura Fumino announced her marriage to her acting teacher on 17 November. The couple chose to register their marriage on 11 November and have no plans yet to hold a wedding. Kimura is not pregnant at the moment and will continue working as an actress.

Kimura's husband who is in his late 30s, started coaching her in acting from 5 years ago during workshop sessions organised by her current agency. At that time, Kimura had just resumed her career after taking a break due to atopic dermatitis and lack of opportunities and joined her agency six years ago. From then, she started learning about acting from the basics and grew to develop a strong relationship with her acting teacher before starting to date from three years ago.

Kimura posted her statement on her Instagram account where she confirmed her marriage. She revealed that she had been looking downwards and feeling negative about herself until she met her husband who gave her courage and is like a sun to her. Kimura also thanked everyone for their well wishes and pledged to continue working hard as an actress.

Sources: Nikkansports 1 / Nikkansports 2 / Sanspo

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Matsuzaka Toori to star in NTV Winter 2017 drama "Shikaku Tantei Higurashi Tabito"

Matsuzaka Toori will be starring in the NTV Winter 2017 drama "Shikaku Tantei Higurashi Tabito" (Detective of Sight Higurashi Tabito) which will begin its run from January next year in the Sundays 10.30pm timeslot. The drama series follows on the heels of the drama SP also starring Matsuzaka which was shown in November 2015. Tsutsumi Yukihiko who directed the SP, will continue to be the director for the drama series.

The drama which is based on the novel "Tantei Higurashi Tabito" by Yamaguchi Kouzaburo, features Matsuzaka in the leading role of Higurashi Tabito who was involved in an incident when he was young and lost all his five senses except for his sight. Since then, Higurashi relies on his sight to solve various cases by observing other people's feelings and clues left behind. Co-stars include the heroine played by Tabe Mikako who is a nursery teacher, Tabito's buddy played by Hamada Gaku, Tabito's doctor Kitaoji Kinya and child actor Sumida Moeno.

Matsuzaka commented that the previous SP did not manage to describe Tabito's past but the drama series will touch on that and show how he interacts with the people around him and changes as a result. He is looking forward to working with the same team again. As for Tabe, she is excited about the mysteries left unresolved in the SP which will be explained in the drama series.

Source: Nikkansports

Nagatomo Yuto & Taira Airi reported to get married in January next year

National soccer player Nagatomo Yuto and actress Taira Airi are set to get married in late January next year as reported on 19 November. The couple were first reported to be dating in June this year where Nagatomo admitted to reports in weekly magazines about their relationship and referred to Taira as his amore. Taira then followed up with a post on her blog and revealed that the couple was dating with marriage in mind.

According to Taira's agency, the couple are indeed making marriage plans but the dates have not been confirmed. It is believed that Taira will be heading to Italy after marriage and suspend her work for the time being as Nagatomo is currently playing for Inter Milan. The couple are said to have gone through the engagement ceremony in autumn this year.

Sources: Nikkansports / Sanspo

Completion screening event of new Hulu drama "Daishou"

The completion screening event for the first two episodes of new Hulu drama "Daishou" was held in Tokyo on 16 November which was attended by cast members Oguri Shun and Takahashi Tsutomu. The filming for all six episodes of the drama had been completed so Oguri called upon fans to watch the entire drama at one go which will be quite enjoyable even though the story is rather intense and extreme.

Oguri plays a lawyer Keisuke in the drama who is driven to the edge by his childhood friend Tatsuya (Takahashi) who has been a psychopath since he was a child and subjected Keisuke through a lot of misery. When they reunite again as adults, Tatsuya engages Keisuke to represent him as he is caught for robbery and murder. With regard to his meek role here, Oguri remarked that he had been getting a lot of strong characters recently so it was tough to play this character who had many unimaginable things happen to him so it felt as if Keisuke had to take tranquilisers in order to continue living.

As for working with his buddy Takahashi who he had lived with for a while when they were younger, Oguri revealed that he was very happy to work with Takahashi again after such a long time and even more thrilled when the latter was confirmed earlier than him to participate in this drama. Takahashi responded by saying that Oguri is such a good guy for praising him like this and that his friend has become such a big star now compared to the days when they slept in a small room together.

In accordance with the theme of the drama, the two actors were put through a psychological test to see how psychopathic they were. Although they both claimed that they were not this type, Oguri got high scores in 4 out of 5 aspects which led Takahashi to joke that he sort of got the same feeling about his friend. Oguri argued that he had read several books about psychopaths during the preparation for the drama's feeling but there was nothing in his behaviour to suggest the same traits.

The first two episodes will be available for viewing via Hulu on 18 November and the subsequent episodes will be released every Friday. Both the US and Japan will get to watch the drama at the same time but Oguri commented that he thinks that the people in the US might not watch this though.

As Oguri's wife Yamada Yu is expecting their second child due to be born early next year, Oguri was asked how he feels about becoming a father of two. He commented that there is not much change although he won't know until it happens. Takahashi then joked that Oguri had promised to give him a room in his house but till date, that had not materialised.

Sources: Sanspo / Eiga.com

Promotional campaign launch event of new movie "Shippu Rondo"

The promotional campaign launch event of new movie "Shippu Rondo" was held in Tokyo on 17 November where a 2-storey bus wrapped with the promotional poster will begin its tour within the capital from 17 November for a period of one week. The movie is based on the same-titled novel by Higashino Keigo and features Abe Hiroshi in the leading role of Kuribayashi who is a researcher tasked to find a biochemical weapon hidden at the ski resort and is assisted by a patrol member played by Okura Tadayoshi and a snowboarder played by Oshima Yuko.

Cast members Abe, Oshima, Okura and Muro Tsuyoshi appeared at the event where Abe expressed amazement at seeing how big the poster was and embarrassment at seeing his face plastered on the bus. He remarked that although he thinks that this will be a good promotional method, he also called out to the drivers not to be too distracted and cause accidents while looking at the bus.

As the movie was shot at Nozawa Onsen's ski resort in Nagano Prefecture in February this year, artifical snow was created at the event to coincide with the movie's location setting and the cast even had a tape-cutting ceremony to launch the bus. Upon seeing this, Abe said that they should probably go on a bus parade in Ginza like the Olympic athletes. He also remarked that the biggest selling points of this movie are its speedy storyline and amazing scenes at the snow mountains which will allow the audience to laugh and be entertained.

Despite being at the onsen resort, Abe did not go to the public bath as told by the staff since this would cause the tourists to be overly excited at seeing him and create a disturbance to others. As such, he always had to use the onsen bath in his room. However, upon hearing that Oshima went to the onsen every day without a care, he was filled with regret and wished that he could have gone ahead with his plan instead.

In one of the scenes when Muro's character was tailing Oshima's character, she remarked jokingly that Muro deliberately fell down at the back so as to attract attention. Okura who was at the front in the scene with Oshima, chipped in to say that Muro didn't have any issues during the rehearsal which led the latter to defend himself that it was a show of him being too immersed in acting and was not done on purpose.

The movie will be shown in cinemas from 26 November.

Sources: Sponichi / Oricon / Eiga.com

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Kurashina Kana & Miura Shohei to star in TV Asahi Winter 2017 drama "Ubai Ai, Fuyu"

Kurashina Kana and Miura Shohei will be starring in the TV Asahi Winter 2017 drama "Ubai Ai, Fuyu" (Seizing love by force, Winter) which will begin its run from January in the Fridays 11.15pm timeslot. The drama will be produced by the staff which made 2016's "Fukigen na Kajitsu" and is an original story written by Suzuki Osamu.

Kurashina plays the role of Ikeuchi Hikari who works at a design company. Although she was not raised in a rich family, she is a gusty and clever woman who is engaged to a rich guy and her junior at the same company Okugawa Kouta (Miura). Kouta quit his previous job when he found out that he got it through his family's connections and went to work at Hikari's company. Just when things seem to be going well for Hikari, she reunites with her former boyfriend who she used to love a lot and begins an intense affair with him even though he is married and she is engaged. As a result of this, Kouta becomes very jealous and becomes a different person when he realises that Hikari is drifting away from him.

Kurashina commented that as she has very little experience acting in love stories, she feels rather embarrassed about playing a woman caught between two men. However, she hopes to get over this uncomfortable feeling and show the dilemma of Hikari's feelings for both men and be able to handle the intimate scenes in the drama. As for Miura, he remarked that his character this time is very different from his usual image so he will try his best to go up to the maximum level allowed in broadcasting standards. He is eagerly anticipating to see how he will look like as he shows how Kouta changes due to the jealousy consuming him from within. Besides the two of them, the other characters include Hikari's former boyfriend, his wife, Kouta's colleague who likes him and Kouta's over-protective mother where the cast will be announced at a later date.

Suzuki said that the viewers will be surprised many times as the story heads towards unexpected directions in this high-speed drama about fighting for love. Although there is no justice when it comes to this, the characters may find true love at the end of the drama.

Filming begins in the middle of December.

Sources: Nikkansports / Sanspo / Oricon

Ikematsu Sousuke to star in TV Tokyo Winter 2017 drama "Gin to Kin"

Ikematsu Sousuke will be starring in the TV Tokyo Winter 2017 drama "Gin to Kin" (Silver and Gold) which will begin its run from January in the Saturdays 12.20am timeslot. The drama which is based on the same-titled manga by Fukumoto Nobuyuki, features Ikematsu as the lead character Morita Tetsuo who finds that nothing is working out for him and becomes addicted to gambling. He meets an underworld fixer Hirai Ginji who values money over everything and learns from him on how to cheat many greedy and evil gentlemen of large amounts of money and destroy them mentally in the process.

Ikematsu revealed that he felt overwhelmed by the power from the original manga and hopes that the long time devoted to this drama (12 episodes of 30 minutes each) will allow viewers to find out who Morita Tetsuo is, what he is disappointed in, who he meets, what he is thinking and what he is up against. Fukumoto revealed that this manga is the first among his works other than the mahjong manga which had won critical praise and he has met fans who say that the manga is their No.1 favourite. Besides having Ikematsu play the role of Morita and another actor playing the role of Hirai which will be announced at a later date, Fukumoto said that he is thankful for them appearing in this drama and glad that this miracle has come to him.

Filming began from early November.

Sources: Sanspo / Yomiuri Hochi / Oricon