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Friday, June 30, 2017

Preview of "Kanna-san!" - Summer 2017

Title: Kanna-san! カンナさーん!
Official website: here
Official Instagram: here
Official LINE: here
Official Twitter: here
O.A. Start Date: 18 July 2017
Timeslot: Tuesdays 10pm
Broadcast by: TBS
Original manga by: Fukaya Kahoru
Theme Song: Kira Kira feat. Kanna by AI
Cast: Watanabe Naomi, Kaname Jun, Yamaguchi Sayaka, Kudo Asuka, Triendl Reina, Jirou, Kawahara Eito, Toyama Toshiya, Asaka Mayumi, Saito Yuki, Sato Ryuta (first episode's guest) etc.

Aiba Masaki & Matsumoto Jun to sing with Domoto Koichi during music programme "THE MUSIC DAY Negai ga kanau natsu"

Due to the absence of KinKi Kids' Domoto Tsuyoshi who is currently hospitalised for sudden hearing loss, Arashi's Aiba Masaki and Matsumoto Jun will be joining Domoto Koichi for KinKi Kids's performance slot on NTV music programme "THE MUSIC DAY Negai ga kanau natsu" to be shown live from Makuhari Messe between 1pm and 11pm on 1 July. The three of them will be singing the song "Aisareru yori aishitai" which is also the theme song of the 1997 drama series "Bokura no Yuuki Miman City" that will return as a SP this summer. KinKi Kids, Aiba and Matsumoto will all appear in the SP.

According to the announcement, it was Koichi who approached Aiba and Matsumoto to sing with him and the two of them agreed to it immediately. Koichi is also expected to give a solo performance of the song "Anniversary" as a gesture of thanks to fans for KinKi Kids' 20th anniversary.

Source: Oricon

Ayano Go to return in TBS Autumn 2017 drama "Kounodori 2"



Ayano Go will be returning to reprise his role in the TBS Autumn 2017 drama "Kounodori 2" which will be shown from October this year in the Fridays 10pm timeslot. The cast from the original series shown in 2015 i.e. Matsuoka Mayu, Yoshida Yo, Sakaguchi Kentaro, Hoshino Gen, Seino Nana, Asano Kazuyuki, Eguchi Noriko and Oomori Nao will also be joining him in the sequel which is set two years after the end of the first series.

The drama based on the manga by Suzunoki Yuu is set in the gynecology department of a hospital and features Ayano as the lead character Kounotori Sakura, a gynecologist who goes about his work in a cool manner but cares for his patients as well. He also has a hidden side to him as a talented pianist by the name of BABY.

With regard to the sequel, Ayano expressed his joy especially since his co-stars are all of the leading actors and actresses level and it's rare to assemble such a star-studded cast. To meet the higher expectations of the viewers this time, they will try their best to produce a strong drama. He also revealed that he already got the news of the sequel's production about three or four months after the drama ended but it took that long before they could make the sequel due to scheduling conflicts of the cast members. However, Ayano felt that this gap could actually turn out for the better as they have all grown and improved in their careers within this period.

As for having to play the piano in the drama, Ayano said that he practised at home for a year after buying a piano but hasn't been playing since the drama ended. As such, when he tried to play the piano again recently, he found that he had pretty much lost his skills and has to start from scratch again by training under pianist Kiyozuka Shinya.

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

Taiga to star in "Yutori desu ga nani ka" spin-off drama "Yamagishi desu ga nani ka"

Taiga will be starring in the 4-episode spin-off drama from the SP sequel "Yutori desu ga nani ka Junmai kinjo junjo hen" written by Kudo Kankuro which will be shown via Hulu after the SP is shown via NTV on 2nd and 9th July. The spin-off drama titled "Yamagishi desu ga nani ka" features Taiga as the yutori monster Yamagishi Hiromu and his love story with a new heroine Sudou Fuyumi (Satsukawa Aimi). The three lead actors from the SP i.e. Okada Masaki, Matsuzaka Toori and Yagira Yuuya will also appear in the spin-off drama.

In the spin-off drama, Yamagishi is invited to the TV station as a representative of the yutori generation to assist in the creation of the script for the drama "Yutori desu ga nani ka". While going through an intensive interview into his life, he and the drama's assistant producer Fuyumi begin an unexpected romance.

Taiga commented that he never expected that Yamagishi would be thrust into the spotlight like this as the lead and hoped that the viewers can check out the spin-off drama to see a different side of Yamagishi which was never featured in the main drama. On the other hand, Kudo who has never written a script for an Internet drama prior to this, said that Yamagishi may be seen as a baddie in the main story but is actually a lovable and silly guy who gets to show off his charms in the spin-off drama. As such, he hoped that viewers will watch it after viewing the SP on TV.

Source: Eiga.com

Hongo Kanata to star in FujiTV Autumn 2017 drama "Rabuho no Ueno-san season 2"

Hongo Kanata will be returning as the lead in the upcoming FujiTV Autumn 2017 drama "Rabuho no Ueno-san season 2" (The love hotel's Ueno-san) which will be shown via FujiTV-on-demand (FOD) first before its TV broadcast. The drama is based on the same-titled manga that is currently serialised in "Gekkan Comic Flapper" and features Hongo as the lead character Ueno who works in a love hotel and gives advice to people who are troubled by love and having issues in their relationships. The character Ueno-san is said to be based on the author Ueno's own experience who also worked at a love hotel before.

In the sequel, it continues showcasing how Ueno-san gives sadistic advice to men and women who are troubled in love and what happens to Ichijo (Masaki Reiya) after he confesses his feelings to the woman he loves. Co-stars from the previous season including Osawa Hikaru, Imoarau Kakaricho, Soutaro and Asaoka Megumi will also make their return in the sequel.

With regard to the sequel, Hongo said that he never expected that this would come so soon and he's very happy about it especially since this is the first work he had participated in which got good reviews thus leading to the sequel. As such, he's very excited about the filming and hopes to take his portrayal of Ueno-san to new heights.

Source: Eiga.com

Sagara Itsuki to be the guest star in the 2nd episode of NTV Summer 2017 drama "Nou ni sumaho ga umerareta"

Sagara Itsuki will be the guest star in the 2nd episode of NTV Summer 2017 drama "Nou ni sumaho ga umerareta" starring Ito Atsushi which will begin its run from 13 July in the Thursdays 11.59pm timeslot. This will be her first collaboration with Ito since they last played a married couple in the 2016 NHK morning drama "Toto Nee-chan".

The science-fiction drama is based on the book "Shin Kikaku Konshin no kikaku to hassou no te no uchi subete misemasu" by Suzuki Osamu which talks about the secrets behind the planning of hit TV programmes. Ito plays the lead character Orimo Keita who is a 34-year-old salaryman placed on the retrenchment list by his employer which is an apparel company. He is divorced and raising his 9-year-old daughter on his own. Having the power to see the messages sent and received by other people in his brain, he makes use of this to solve various problems, help others and become a better person while being embroiled in these troublesome issues at the same time. Shinkawa Yua will play the heroine Ryuuko who teaches him how to use the smartphone in his brain.

Sagara plays the role of Souma Miwa who works for a rival brand now and used to be Orimo's subordinate when they were working in the Osaka branch. A chance reunion marks the start of Souma's aggressive advances towards Orimo but it turns out that she has other men waiting in the sidelines.

Sagara said that as the cast had met up for meals after the end of the morning drama, it didn't feel like a long time since she last met Ito and that she felt secure having him around even though she didn't join the filming of this drama from the start. As for her character, Sagara said that it felt weird to be playing Miwa who twists Orimo around her little finger but the filming turned out to be fun and easy to do as she was familiar with Ito. However, the filming period was too short so she didn't get a chance to say goodbye properly to Ito who expressed his wish to work with Sagara again in future.

Source: Oricon

Shida Mirai to star in new Tokai TV / FujiTV Summer 2017 drama "Utsubokazura no Yume"

Shida Mirai will be starring in the new Tokai TV / FujiTV Summer 2017 drama "Utsubokazura no Yume" (The dream of the nepenthes) which comprises of 8 episodes and will begin its run from 5 August in the Saturdays 11.40pm timeslot. The drama is based on the same-titled novel by Nonami Asa, features Shida as the lead character who behaves like the nepenthes that doesn't move on her own and makes use of her prey's desires to achieve her aims. This will be her first leading role in a drama for the first time in seven years.

Shida plays Saito Miyufu (Shida) who was raised as an innocent and simple girl in Nagano but is chased out after her mother passed away and her father brings his lover home. Just then, her late mother's cousin Kashimada Naoko (Ootsuka Nene) invites her to come and live with her in Tokyo for the time being. Upon reaching Naoko's place, Mifuyu is shocked by the riches in the Kashimada household and begins to feel indignant about her fate which leads her to begin finding a way to survive thus leading her to become a woman like the nepenthes. Other characters include Naoko's friend Fukumoto Hitomi (Kokusho Sayuri) who tries to keep up a pretense even though she is suffering from financial difficulties, Yoshioka Keisuke (Matsumoto Toshio from EXILE) who is the person-in-charge of a NPO where Naoko helps out at, Naoko's husband Yuutarou (Haba Yuuichi) who expresses an interest in Mifuyu when she comes to stay with them and Yuutarou's mother Hisako (Matsubara Chieko).

Shida commented that this is the first time she is playing such a character so she hopes to be able to discover a new side to herself and show this to the viewers. As for her character, she described Mifuyu as someone who is a lonely woman and desires to attain happiness.

Sources: Sanspo / Oricon

Top 10 actresses who made a breakthrough in the first half of 2017 (Oricon)

The following survey was done by Oricon Monitor Research involving 1,000 respondents from their teens to 50s between 14 June and 20 June:

1) Yoshioka Riho

2) Tsuchiya Tao

3) Nagano Mei

4) Sugisaki Hana

5) Haru

6) Kimura Fumino

7) Taira Yuna

8) Nakajo Ayami

9) Kamishiraishi Mone

10) Kawaei Rina

Source: Oricon

Preview of "Hello Harinezumi" - Summer 2017

Title: Hello Harinezumi ハロー張りネズミ (Hello Hedgehog)
Official website: here
Official Instagram: here
Official Line: here
Official Twitter: here
O.A. Start Date: 14 July 2017
Timeslot: Fridays 10pm
Broadcast by: TBS
Original manga by: Hirokane Kenshi
Music by: SOIL&"PIMP"SESSIONS
Cast: Eita, Fukada Kyoko, Morita Go, Nakaoka Souichi (Lotti), Katayama Moemi, Aoi Yu, Lily Franky, Yamaguchi Tomoko

Nagano Mei to be the heroine for new NHK morning drama "Hanbun, Aoi."


Nagano Mei was revealed to be the heroine for the 98th morning drama "Hanbun, Aoi." during a press conference held at NHK's HQ in Shibuya on 20 June. The drama which consists of 156 episodes, will be shown from 2 April to 29 September 2018 on Mondays to Saturdays at 8am. Filming will begin in autumn this year.

The drama which is based on Kitagawa Eriko's original script, features the heroine Nireno Suzume who lost hearing in her left ear due an illness she had when she was a child and describes her turbulent life and the process of building an electrical appliances manufacturing company over half a century from 1971 to the present era which will be set in Gifu, her birthplace, and Tokyo. Kitagawa revealed that she wrote the story with the feeling of reliving her life once more (she is also deaf in her left ear) and that she was born in the same year as the morning dramas began in 1961. In addition, she was the one who approached NHK with the story's proposal.


Nagano made her debut in a movie in 2009 and took on her first heroine role in the 2015 movie "Oremonogatari!!" and her first leading role in a TV drama series through the 2016 drama "Koe Koi". This year, she has appeared in various movies such as "Hirunaka no Ryuusei", "Teiichi no Kuni", "Peach Girl", "PARKS" and "Mix". Nagano was selected for the heroine's role in the morning drama through an audition involving 2,366 applicants.

Nagano commented that her character's never-say-die attitude is what she identifies with since she was in junior high and she doesn't think that it is a negative thing to play a hearing-impaired heroine. In addition, the optimistic and cheerful sides of Suzume resemble her own character traits so she is confident of playing this character. As for landing this huge role, she expressed joy at being able to appear in a morning drama which is watched by many people every day including her grandfather.

Sources: Sponichi / Oricon / Sanspo / Nikkansports

Thursday, June 29, 2017

TOKIO to sing the theme song for TBS Summer 2017 drama "Wanitokagegisu"

TOKIO will be singing the theme song for new TBS Summer 2017 drama "Wanitokagegisu" starring Arita Teppei and Honda Tsubasa which will begin its run from 19 July in the Wednesdays 11.56pm timeslot. The drama is based on the same-titled manga by Furuya Minoru which was serialised in "Young Magazine" between 2006 and 2007.

Arita plays the lead character Tomioka Yuuji who works as a security guard and has never dated before or had any experience in sex. In order to bid farewell to his life so far, he sets out to make new friends. However, his meeting with a homeless middle-aged guy who calls himself a nomad in life (Mitsuishi Ken) marks the beginning of a series of accidents which change his life drastically such as receiving threatening letters predicting his death in a year's time. At the same time, Tomioka gets embroiled in another case due to the arrival of two new colleagues i.e. Hanabayashi Yuudai (Kaku Kento) and Amekawa Isamu (Yoshimura Kaito). Other co-stars include Fuchikami Yasushi and Murakami Jun while the heroine Hada Azusa who aspires to be a novelist, will be played by Honda Tsubasa.

The theme song titled "Kumo" will be TOKIO's 53rd single and is a rock number written by Nagase after they received the offer to sing the theme song and he read the original manga. The producer Tawada Yutaka said that the pure love story between Tomioka and Hada brings to mind TOKIO's debut single "LOVE YOU ONLY" so he decided to approach the band to write and sing the theme song for the drama. Nagase commented that he was moved by how the lead character Tomioka tries to change himself although in a clumsy way so he wanted to make sure that Tomioka will look cool whenever the song is played in the drama and show his beautiful feelings in the most dramatic way.

Source: Sponichi

Completion screening event of new WOWOW drama "Miyazawa Kenji no Shokutaku"

The completion screening event of new WOWOW drama "Miyazawa Kenji no Shokutaku" was held on 15 June which was attended by the director Minorikawa Osamu and cast members Suzuki Ryohei and Ishibashi Anna. The drama begins its run from 17 June in the Saturdays 10pm timeslot.

The drama is based on the same-titled manga by Uonome Santa, features Suzuki as young Miyazawa, a poet and author of children's literature, known for his famous works such as "Ginga Tetsudo no Yoru" and "Ame nimo makezu" who had the image of being simple and eccentric but will be painted as a humourous, curious and innocent person. Through his love for food and classical music, the drama will be a touching tale about Miyazawa and the people around him. After leaving his home in Hanamaki, Iwate in the 10th year of the Taisho era (1921), Miyazawa returns home for the first time in 8  months when he makes the croquette he tasted in Tokyo for his family and realises the importance of sharing your happiness with others. Ishibashi plays his younger sister Toshi.

Suzuki commented that he is so confident about the quality of this drama which will make people recall it fondly even 5 to 10 years down the road. From the first episode onwards, there will be simple and delicious dishes featured as such the croquette along with Miyazawa's love for classical music. As for working with Ishibashi who is his junior from the same agency, Suzuki said that although she has a cute and pretty image, she is actually quite competitive and hates to lose when it comes to acting so this is rather close to Toshi's character. In response, Ishibashi said that she felt like Suzuki is like her true elder brother who chatted a lot with her and taught her many things. Suzuki also commented on Yamazaki Ikusaburo who plays his buddy Fujiwara and a music teacher in this drama who kept playing the piano and singing songs like those from "Les Miserables" while on the set and they were all so impressed by his performances.

Sources: Nikkansports / Sponichi / Oricon / Eiga.com

Shinoda Mariko to appear in new movie "Vigilante" as a scheming wife

Shinoda Mariko will be appearing in the new movie "Vigilante" directed by Irie Yu which will be shown in cinemas from 9 December. Filming has been in progress since January this year and is expected to wrap up in July.

The movie is set in Fukaya City, Saitama Prefecture which is Irie's hometown and is an original script written by him. The three actors Oomori Nao, Suzuki Kosuke and Kiritani Kenta will play brothers where the eldest Ichiro (Oomori) disappeared since senior high while Jiro (Suzuki) owns a printing company and is the chief of the local vigilance committee and Saburo (Kiritani) manages a prostitution business. Due to the death of their father who they detested, the trio reunite thus setting off a chain of events which will turn their lives upside down. Shinoda will play the role of Jiro's wife Shindo Miki who appears to be a virtuous wife on the surface but has a sly character and uses her good looks to twist men around her little finger. She treats Jiro like her child and manipulates him to get power and the inheritance left behind by her father-in-law.

As Shinoda is acting in a Irie movie for the first time, she revealed that when she first read the script, she was very shocked and enthralled by the story. She views this as a new challenge in her acting career and hopes that everyone will enjoy watching the movie when it is released in cinemas.

Source: Eiga.com

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Japan premiere event of new movie "Gintama"

The Japan premiere event of new movie "Gintama" was held on 28 June which was attended by the director Fukuda Yuichi and cast members Oguri Shun, Hashimoto Kanna, Suda Masaki, Okada Masaki, Nagasawa Masami, Arai Hirofumi, Nanao, Muro Tsuyoshi, Elisabeth, Nakamura Kankuro, Yagira Yuuya, Yoshizawa Ryo, Hayami Akari, Yasuda Ken and Sato Jiro who appeared in summer yukatas to meet the 1,500-strong audience. The movie will be shown in cinemas from 14 July.

When asked about any interesting episodes which happened during the filming, Suda revealed that Oguri treated them to delicious food and they even sang a Gintama-themed song which was included in the opening of the movie. Suda also said that Hashimoto had many scenes which were unimaginable for an idol to do such as picking her nose or vomitting, she did them happily even though she was quite embarrassed at the same time.

Nakamura who plays Kondo Isao, said that he was almost naked for most of the filming during summer last year so it wasn't too hot for him. However, as he was wearing a gown during the filming breaks, everyone started teasing him that he looked like a AV actor. Oguri also chipped in to say that when he first met Nakamura on the set, he was half-naked and supposed to be covered by bees which made Oguri so impressed by his courage.

On the other hand, Arai and Nanao "complained" about their action scenes being cut out from the movie to which Fukuda said that he tried his best when filming the action scenes. However, the cast continued their wave of "criticism" by saying that he kept checking Twitter and food blogs and had ambiguous standards on what was considered a OK scene. Fukuda also revealed that there was once when Domoto Tsuyoshi blew up at him for allegedly sleeping while he and Oguri was doing a fighting scene and questioned Fukuda if he knew what had just taken place.

Sources: Eiga.com / Oricon

Supporting cast line-up of new movie "Namiya Zakkaten no Kiseki" announced

The supporting cast line-up of new movie "Namiya Zakkaten no Kiseki" starring Yamada Ryosuke and Nishida Toshiyuki was announced. The movie which is based on the same-titled novel by Higashino Keigo that had sold more than 5 million copies, is set in modern Japan in the year 2012. Yamada plays the lead character Atsuya who grew up at an orphanage. After doing some evil deeds with his childhood friends Shota and Kohei, he hides at an abandoned house which used to be a general store named Namiya that was known for being a place where people could come to seek advice for their troubles. While at the house, Atsuya finds a letter written by someone 32 years ago in 1980 asking for advice on a problem in the post box and starts to interact with this person through mail on the behalf of the store's owner Namiya Yuji (Nishida). Gradually, the secret behind the store is unravelled through the mail correspondence. Kanichiro will be playing the role of Kohei in this movie.

Kobayashi Kaoru plays the role of Matsuoka Takeo who is a fishmonger and has a son who aspires to become a musician instead of taking over the family business. Suzuki Ryio plays the younger version of popular singer Seri while Yamashita Rio plays Eiko who is troubled about her mother's death and her background. Tezuka plays the only baddie in the movie Kariya who is the current director of the orphanage which Atsuya came from while musician PANTA plays the former director Minatsuki Yoshikazu. Yoshiyuki Kazuko plays Tamura Hideyo, the aunt of Harumi (Ono Machiko).

The movie will be shown in cinemas from 23 September.

Source: Eiga.com

Kanno Miho to appear in NHK morning drama "Hiyokko" from Week 14 onwards

Kanno Miho will be appearing in the ongoing NHK morning drama "Hiyokko" from week 14 onwards i.e. 3 July to 8 July which makes it her second consecutive appearance in a morning drama since the previous season's "Beppin-san". She will be playing the role of a top actress Kawamoto Setsuko who started her career as a child actor and meets the heroine Mineko (Arimura Kasumi) at Suzufuritei as a customer. When Mineko helps Setsuko by chance, this marks the beginning of their unlikely friendship.

The scriptwriter Okada Yoshikazu said that he had wanted his trusted comrade Kanno to take on the role of Setsuko so he approached her about it quite some time ago. However, she was already scheduled to take part in "Beppin-san" then. Nonetheless, Okada still wanted her to play Setsuko so he was glad that she could take on the role especially since the relationship between Setsuko and Mineko is a very important element in the second half of the story. Kanno commented that she had worked with Okada many times to date but this is probably the most gentle story from him to date and she is honoured and very happy to be able to participate in this drama and work with the cast and staff.

Sources: Oricon / Sponichi

KinKi Kids' Domoto Tsuyoshi hospitalised for a week due to sudden hearing loss

KinKi Kids' Domoto Tsuyoshi has been hospitalised due to sudden hearing loss as revealed by his partner Domoto Koichi during the live broadcast of TV Tokyo's music show "TV Tokyo Ongakusai 2017" shown on 28 June. The duo was scheduled to perform during the show but Tsuyoshi had to be absent as he is undergoing treatment.

According to Johnny's Jimusho, Tsuyoshi complained of issues in his left ear since 20 June and went to a hospital for treatment where he was diagnosed with sudden hearing loss. As such, he began his hospitalisation stay from the evening of 27 June and is expected to be there for a week. In view of this, Tsuyoshi will also be absent from the live broadcast of NTV's "THE MUSIC DAY Negai ga kanau natsu" taking place on 1 July while Koichi will appear as planned. Details of Koichi's performance are not available yet as they are still making plans for this change. As for their 20th anniversary concert "KinKi Kids Party! ~ Arigatou 20nen~", taking place at Yokohama Stadium on 15th and 16th July, it is believed that the duo can perform as planned.

According to Koichi who apologised for his partner's last-minute absence, Tsuyoshi's condition is generally fine although it was recommended that he should be hospitalised just to play safe and that he wasn't in the condition to sing. The duo had planned to celebrate their 20th anniversary with a special performance but the plan had to be changed due to Tsuyoshi's illness. In return, Tsuyoshi called Nagase Tomoya from TOKIO on the day before the show and asked Nagase to stand in for him and sing with Koichi which the latter agreed to immediately.

Before Koichi and Nagase sang, Nagase apologised for taking over Tsuyoshi's place at the last minute and asked them to "bear with him". The two of them then proceeded to sing the song "Zenbu dakishimete" which was met with rave reviews on Twitter expressing thanks to Nagase for standing in at such short notice.

Sources: Oricon 1 /  Oricon 2 / Nikkansports

Top 10 female celebrities who look the best in a summer yukata (Oricon)

Oricon conducted a survey on 1,000 of its members in their teens to 50s where they chose female celebrities who they felt look the best in a summer yukata:

1) Aragaki Yui

2) Ishihara Satomi

3) Arimura Kasumi

4) Kitagawa Keiko

5) Ayase Haruka

6) Yoshinaga Sayuri

7) Nakama Yukie

8) Hirose Suzu

9) Igawa Haruka

10) Dan Mitsu

Source: Oricon

Top 10 male celebrities who look the best in a summer yukata (Oricon)

Oricon conducted a survey on 1,000 of its members in their teens to 50s where they chose male celebrities who they felt look the best in a summer yukata:

1) Fukushi Souta

2) Fukuyama Masaharu

3) Saito Takumi

4) Sakurai Sho

5) Aiba Masaki

6) Kimura Takuya

7) Abe Hiroshi

8) Tamaki Hiroshi

9) Nishijima Hidetoshi

10) Suda Masaki

Source: Oricon

Preview of "Gomen, Aishiteru" - Summer 2017

Title: Gomen, Aishiteru ごめん、愛してる (Sorry, I love you)
Official website: here
Official Instagram: here
Official Line: here
Official Twitter: here
O.A. Start Date: 9 July 2017
Timeslot: Sundays 9pm
Broadcast by: TBS
Original drama: KBS 2004 drama "Mianhada, Saranghanda" (미안하다 사랑한다) / I'm sorry, I love you
Theme Song: "Forevermore" by Utada Hikaru
Cast: Nagase Tomoya, Yoshioka Riho, Sakaguchi Kentaro, Ohnishi Ayaka, Daichi, Yamaji Kazuhiro, Kusamura Reiko, Rokkaku Seiji, Lee Soo-hyuk, Ikewaki Chizuru, Nakamura Baijaku, Ootake Shinobu

Utada Hikaru to sing the theme song for TBS Summer 2017 drama "Gomen, Aishiteru"

Utada Hikaru will be singing the theme song for TBS Summer 2017 drama "Gomen, Aishiteru" starring TOKIO's Nagase Tomoya which will begin its run from 9 July in the Sundays 9pm timeslot. The song titled "Forevermore" will be Utada's second release since she joined Epic Record Japan in March this year and it will be released on the streaming portals from 28 July. The last time Utada wrote and sang a drama's theme song was "Hanataba wo kimi ni" for last year's NHK morning drama "Toto Nee-chan".

Nagase plays the lead character Okazaki Ritsu who was abandoned by his mother Reiko (Ootake Shinobu) when he was a child. One day, when Ritsu gets embroiled into an incident that causes him to suffer a life-threatening injury, he decides to meet Reiko for the last time and do something for her out of filial piety because he doesn't know when his life will end. However, when he sees how much she loves her son Satoru (Sakaguchi Kentaro) who is a idol pianist and the happy and rich life she has compared to him who is wallowing in the low rungs of society, Ritsu vows to take revenge on her. At the same time, he falls for a woman Mita Rinka (Yoshioka Riho) who helps him by chance but he is sad to find out that she is in love with his half-brother who is Rinka's childhood friend.

Sources: Nikkansports / Sponichi / Eiga.com

Comeback event of new FujiTV Summer 2017 drama "Code Blue Doctor Heli Kinkyuu Kyuumei Third Season"

The comeback event of new FujiTV Summer 2017 drama "Code Blue Doctor Heli Kinkyuu Kyuumei Third Season" was held on 16 June which was attended by the main cast members Yamashita Tomohisa, Aragaki Yui, Toda Erika, Higa Manami, Asari Yousuke and Shiina Kippei. The drama series began in the summer of 2008 with a SP and season 2 shown in Winter 2010 so the new season will describe what happens to the 5 main characters 7 years later after Season 2. Season 3 begins its run from 17 July in the Mondays 9pm timeslot.

In the latest installment, Aizawa Kousaku (Yamashita Tomohisa) who had left the emergency centre at Shohoku, is working as a neurosurgeon now and busy with operations every day. Shiraishi Megumi (Aragaki Yui) continues to work as a flight doctor at Shohoku which is facing a manpower crunch and is already the staff leader of the flight doctors team. Hiyama Mihoko (Toda Erika) left Shohoku and becomes a gynaecologist at a perinatal medical centre while Saejima Haruka (Higa Manami) is doing well as a flight nurse. Last but not least, Fujikawa Kazuo (Asari Yousuke) is working as an emergency centre doctor specialising in plastic surgery and supports Shiraishi's team as well.

Yamashita revealed that he was very happy to be able to do this drama again after 7 years and the realisation sank in as soon as they filmed the titleback clip and was hit by the winds from the helicopter. In addition, they had met people who actually became flight doctors and nurses after watching their dramas so there is an additional level of responsibility he feels now as he acts in this latest sequel.

On the other hand, the actresses lamented how the gap of 7 years had taken a toll on them. Toda revealed that when she filmed a scene of her alighting from the helicopter and had to go around it and start running, she felt like age had caught up on her as her knee joints were creaking. Aragaki also complained how she was breathless when she was running towards the helicopter so she had started doing warm-ups and more exercise to avoid showing this on screen. Yamashita then echoed their views that the filming is very tough on them mentally and physically this time but this will probably make them stronger at the end of the filming process.

Higa also made a surprise revelation that Aragaki is actually afraid of heights and that she actually looks quite cute when she looks terrified and tries to suppress her fear. Toda also chipped in to say that Aragaki would grab onto her when they are riding the helicopter but Toda was shocked to see how much Aragaki's palms were wet with sweat. Upon hearing this, Aragaki sheepishly admitted that she does rely a lot of them to cope with her fear during those helicopter scenes.

Ever since the last drama series ended, Asari had organised gatherings for the Code Blue Club members. However, as Shiina is a new addition to the cast line-up this time, he "complained" that he hasn't been invited to the Code Blue Club gatherings yet which made Asari feel sorry about this and promised to include him next time.

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

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Public premium screening of new Internet movie "Moto, Rakugoka ~ Hanashi ga heta na moto hanashika no hanashi ~"

The public premium screening of new Internet movie "Moto, Rakugoka ~ Hanashi ga heta na moto hanashika no hanashi ~" (Former comic storyteller ~ The story of a former storyteller who is poor at telling a story ~) was held on 27 June which was attended by the lead actor Emoto Tasuku and Peace's Matayoshi Naoki who conceptualised the story. Emoto plays the lead character Nakamura who quit from being a professional rakugo story teller to become a salesman.

During the event, Emoto was asked by the media if his wife Ando Sakura had already given birth. He confirmed that their baby was already born but did not want to give details on the baby's gender or date of birth. When asked who the baby looks after, Emoto said that the baby looks like the both of them and is so cute. Ando was also said to be doing well after childbirth while Emoto's father Emoto Akira was very happy about the birth of his grandchild. Emoto and Ando got married in March 2012.

On the other hand, Matayoshi who was recently rumoured to be dating Dan Mitsu, denied the news and said that he doesn't even have her contact details.

Sources: Sponichi / Nikkansports / Sanspo

Kubozuka Yosuke announces the arrival of his second child

Kubozuka Yosuke announced the arrival of his second child in an English message posted on his Instagram account on 27 June. He revealed that his wife PINKY who is a reggae dancer, gave birth to their daughter on 20 June which was about 10 days before the expected due date and expressed his thanks to her, her doctor, the midwife, their family, crew and God for their support. According to the message, it was a difficult labour for PINKY as the entire process laster 33 hours. Kubozuka was full of praise for his daughter who he described as being so cute to the extent of him very surprised. PINKY also updated her blog where she revealed that Kubozuka had already chosen the name Amato for their daughter (Kanji characters not announced though) and she thanked everyone for their love and well wishes.

Kubozuka was previously married to his ex-wife from May 2003 to July 2012 and their son was born in October 2003. He married PINKY last December and announced her pregnancy in March this year.

Sources: Sponichi / Oricon

Monday, June 26, 2017

Top 10 movies box office ranking for the weekend of 24th & 25th June 2017

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

1) 22 Nenme no Kokuhaku Watashi ga satsujinhan desu (328)

2) Beauty and the Beast (372)

3) Hirugao (312)

4) Hacksaw Ridge (252)

5) Kodomotsukai (250)

6) Gekijouban Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei Hoshi wo yobu shoujo (59)

7) Itsumata, Kimi to Herijunzailai (189)

8) Uchuu Senkan Yamato 2202 Ai no senshitachi Dai Nisho Hasshin Hen (20)

9) King Arthur (326)

10) Hanaikusa (353)

Source: Eiga.com

Supporting cast line-up announced for new NHK morning drama "Warotenka"

The supporting cast line-up for new NHK morning "Warotenka" starring Aoi Wakana was announced during a press conference at NHK Osaka on 16 June which was attended by Aoi, Matsuzaka Toori, Suzuki Kyoka, Hirose Arisu, Ohno Takuro, Maeno Tomoya and Fujii Takashi. The drama will begin its run from 2 October at 8am on Mondays to Saturdays where the Osaka arc will follow the Kyoto arc from week 4 (23 October onwards). Filming for the Osaka arc will begin in early July.

The drama is set during the late Meiji era to post-World War II period at Osaka featuring the lead character Fujioka Ten (Aoi) who is modelled on Yoshimoto Sei, the founder of Yoshimoto Kogyo and a female show promoter. Fujioka was born into a family managing a drug wholesale business in Kyoto and meets Kitamura Fujiyoshi (Matsuzaka)who is the son of a family in the rice dealing business at Osaka. When they fall in love, Fujioka goes against her parents' wishes to marry Kitamura who is a big lover of comedy. Subsequently, after her husband's family goes bust, she unwittingly becomes the owner of a vaudeville theater with her husband. This then leads to her becoming the first person in Japan to make comedy into a business and transforming Osaka into a capital of comedy.

Suzuki will be playing the role of Kitamura Tsueko who is Fujiyoshi's mother and Ten's mother-in-law. After her husband passed away, she had to take on the family's rice dealing business while being troubled over her son's passion for comedy. When Ten enters the Kitamura family, Tsueko is bent on being harsh and demanding towards Ten thus making the latter's life very different. With regard to her character, Suzuki said that this is the first time that she is playing a mother-in-law and to make things worse, Tsueko is very calculating and very much a miser. However, she also sees this as an interesting trait in Tsueko's character although her young daughter-in-law will probably not feel the same way. As such, she will try her best to play this character especially since she had not appeared in a morning drama after being the heroine in the 1991 work "Kimi no na wa".

As for the other characters, Hirose will play Ririko, Ten's rival in love while Ohno will play a comedian modelled after Yokoyama Entatsu and Maeno will play his comedic duo partner Kiisu. Fujii will play Manjoume Kichizo, a struggling comedian who is reputed to be not funny at all. The child actors featured in the childhood arc of the story will feature Arai Miu, Suzuki Fuku and Maeda Oushiro.

Sources: Nikkansports / Yomiuri Hochi / Sponichi / Oricon

Nishida Toshiyuki & Terao Akira to star in new TV Tokyo drama SP "Kohaku"

Nishida Toshiyuki and Terao Akira will be starring in the new TV Tokyo drama SP "Kohaku" (Amber) which will be their first collaboration since the 2012 "Shoe Shine Boy". The drama SP which is based on the same-titled novel by Asada Jiro, features Nishida as Yoneda Katsumi, a police detective who is about to retire and Terao as Arai Toshio, a fugitive and an unresolved case which happened 25 years ago. One day, Yoneda happens to come across a booklet about a cafe by the name "Kohaku" which reminds him of an arson-cum-murder case that happened in Kichijoji 25 years ago. Yoneda then travels to Kohaku which is at Uozu in Toyama Prefecture, where he meets the master of the cafe Arai and his regular customer Hirai Sachiko. Coincidentally, the three of them have huge secrets to hide which are about to be revealed as they come to know one another better.

Nishida commented that the script written by Okada Yoshikazu was very good and he was glad to have acted to his heart's content. Although he had appeared in works with Terao before, this was the first time when their characters interact directly so it was like a dream come true for them to act together. In particular, he was glad to be able to work with a good actor like Terao which made him very satisfied. On the other hand, Terao said that he had always wanted to act together with Nishida who is of the same age as him as they had never acted opposite each other before so he was interested to find out how it would be like. As such, when this SP gave him the chance to realise his wish, he was very happy about the experience during the filming.

"Kohaku" will be shown this autumn.

Sources: Eiga.com / Oricon

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Aiba Masaki & Matsumoto Jun to appear in NTV drama SP "Bokura no Yuuki ~ Miman City 2017"

Arashi's Aiba Masaki and Matsumoto Jun will be appearing in the upcoming NTV drama SP "Bokura no Yuuki ~ Miman City 2017" starring KinKi Kids which will be shown on 21 July at 9pm. The drama SP is the sequel of the 1997 drama and marks the 20th anniversary of KinKi Kids' CD debut. At that time, Aiba and Matsumoto who were 14 years old, made their first appearance in a drama through this work. As the two of them have been doing mainly leading roles in recent years, this will be a rare chance to see them in supporting roles.

In the original science-fiction drama, Yamato (Koichi) and Takeru (Tsuyoshi) were part of a group of underage youths who lived a micro-organism outbreak which killed all the adults in a town named Makuhara and struggled to survive in the aftermath. Aiba played Akira who was a member of a delinquent group while Matsumoto played Mori, a teenager who dreamt of reuniting with his elder sister. In the SP set 20 years after the drama, Akira and Mori will return as adults to reunite with Yamato and Takeru.

Aiba commented that he is honoured to be able to participate in this 20th anniversary commemorative work and had fond memories of the drama as he just entered Johnny's Jimusho then and was struggling to learn how to act. Through the filming, he managed to learn the joys of being able to act in and produce a drama while looking at the KinKi Kids members. As for Matsumoto, he described the drama as a memorable work for him and said that he had learnt a lot from KinKi Kids at that time. He pledged to work hard in the SP so as to make a small contribution towards the success of this sequel.

It was also announced that in conjunction with the impending broadcast of the SP, the 10-episode drama series will be available for viewing via Hulu from 1 July. The DVD and Blu-ray versions of the drama will also be released for sale from 19 July.

Sources: Nikkansports / Sanspo / Oricon 1 / Oricon 2

Nakajima Kento, Taira Yuna & Chinen Yuri to star in new real-life adaptation movie "Miseinen dakedo kodomo janai"

Sexy Zone's Nakajima Kento, Taira Yuna and Hey!Say!JUMP's Chinen Yuri will be starring in the new real-life adaptation movie "Miseinen dakedo kodomo janai" (Although I'm underage, I am not a kid) which is based on the same-titled manga by Minami Kanan published in Sho-Comi Flower Comics as the first commemorative work marking their 50th anniversary. The movie will be shown in cinemas from 23 December this year. Filming will be done between August and September.

Taira plays the role of Oriyama Karin who is an innocent girl from a rich family and in the first year of senior high school. On her 16th birthday, the birthday present given by her parents is a marriage partner Tsurugi Nao (Nakajima), a third-year student in the same school who also happens to be her first love and the most popular guy in school. However, Nao's intention is for the Oriyama family's fortune thus Karin is stuck in a one-sided love marriage. Just then, Ebina Izuzu (Chinen), a first-year student who is a rich guy and in love with Karin, comes to know about her secret marriage to Nao and presses the latter to divorce Karin.

Nakajima commented on his character that Nao is a guy with two clear different faces where he treats Karin coldly but can sometimes be gentle and warm towards her so he hopes to be able to show this difference in his acting. As for working with Chinen, he said that it had been 9 years since they worked together in the 2008 drama "Scrap Teacher ~ Kyoushi Saisei ~" so he's very excited about being rivals with Chinen this time in the movie. On the other hand, Chinen said that since they last worked together when they were both in junior high, he is also looking forward to playing rivals with Nakajima now that they are adults. With regard to working to Taira, they only acted together for one day in the movie "Shinobi no Kuni" so they will have more time to interact with each other this time and he hopes that their acting will be able to make the viewers feel tingly.

Taira commented that this will be the first time that she will be wearing a wedding dress in a movie and she never expected herself to be doing that at the age of 18. As such, when she was doing the costume meeting which coincided with her elder sister Airi's own wedding, she couldn't help but imagine how her future wedding will be like. As for being in a love triangle with two vastly different guys, Taira said that this is precisely what's interesting about the story and can't wait for the filming to start.

Sources: Nikkansports / Sanspo / Eiga.com / Oricon

Friday, June 23, 2017

Kobayashi Mao passes away due to breast cancer

Kobayashi Mao passed away on 22 June at the age of 34 due to breast cancer. She leaves behind her husband Ichikawa Ebizo and two children i.e. Reika who is 5 years old and Kangen who is 4 years old.

Kobayashi was first diagnosed with the illness back in October 2014 during a medical check-up and had been battling it quietly before her husband Ichikawa Ebizo had to reveal his wife's condition in June last year amid media speculations. At that time, she was already in such a serious condition that surgery was not an option. 3 months after the revelation, Kobayashi started her own blog to share her thoughts and experience while undergoing treatment. During this period, Kobyashi had been going in and out of the hospital as her condition was rather unstable. On 22 April this year, she went through surgery where it was found that the cancer had spread to her jaw. After being discharged from the hospital on 29 May, she had been undergoing treatment at home and mentioned in her blog entry on 4 June that she had a fever of 39 degrees Celsius. Unfortunately, despite her valiant efforts in trying to overcome the illness, her condition still did not improve in the end.

Kobayashi entered showbiz in 2002 when she was still a student at Sophia University after appearing in the NTV programme "Koi no karasawagi" with her elder sister Kobayashi Maya who is a freelance announcer now. She became the weather forecaster in FujiTV's "Mezamashi Doyoubi" from 2003 and appeared in a number of dramas such as 2005 FujiTV drama "Slow Dance", 2006 FujiTV drama "Unfair", 2006 TBS drama "Oishii Propose" and "Taiyou no Uta". She then became the newscaster on NTV's "NEWS ZERO" from 2006 and met her husband Ichikawa during an interview in December 2008. The couple started dating in June 2009 before getting married in March the following year. Their daughter was born in 2011 while their son was born in 2013.

In the morning of 23 June, Ichikawa updated his blog where he said that today is the day when he cried the most in his life and asked for the media gathered outside his house to leave as it was causing a disturbance to his neighbours. He also revealed that he would be holding a press conference later in the afternoon.

After completing his daytime performance "Ichikawa Ebizo Dai Yonkai Jishu Kouen ABKAI 2017 ~ Ishikawa Goemon Gaiden ~" at Theatre Cocoon Bunkamura, Ichikawa held a press conference at 2.37pm to break the news that his wife had passed away at home the previous night. He revealed that while at work yesterday, he got a LINE message from his mother-in-law about Kobayashi's worsening condition and rushed home to see her. Although she had been unable to speak yesterday, she managed to say "I love you" to her husband before she breathed her last. Ichikawa also explained why he decided to hold the press conference because there were so many media personnel gathered outside his place so he had to make a proper announcement earlier than when he and his family had planned to do so.

When asked how his children are coping, Ichikawa revealed that Reika had been sticking to her mother and slept by her side yesterday so he thought that she understood what was happening. As for Kangen, he appeared to understand but not entirely and kept touching his mother's face and feet. Although he doesn't think that he will be able to make up fully for the loss of their mother, he pledged to do his best for his children.

Sources: Sanspo / Nikkansports 1 / Yomiuri Hochi / Nikkansports 2 / Nikkansports 3

Top 25 bestselling DVDs in the first half of 2017 (Oricon)

Numbers in brackets indicate the number of copies sold:

1) ARASHI LIVE TOUR 2016 - 2017 Are You Happy? - Arashi (334,897)

2) Clip! Smap! Complete Singles - SMAP (268,069)

3) Hey!Say!JUMP LIVE TOUR 2016 DEAR. - Hey!Say!JUMP (195,608)

4) CONCERT TOUR 2016 I SCREAM - Kis-My-Ft2 (176,775)

5) Kanjani's Entertainment - Kanjani 8 (143,559)

6) HiGH & LOW THE LIVE - Various Artists (142,035)

7) EXILE ATSUSHI LIVE TOUR 2016 "IT'S SHOW TIME!!" - EXILE ATSUSHI (109,837)

8) namie amuro LIVE STYLE 2016-2017 - Amuro Namie (83,243)

9) GENERATIONS LIVE TOUR 2016 SPEEDSTER - GENERATIONS from EXILE TRIBE (74,244)

10) AAA Special Live 2016 in Dome - FANTASTIC OVER - - AAA (73,611)

11) Music Video Tour 2010 - 2017 - Hoshino Gen (73,278)

12) Shin Godzilla (71,529)

13) NEWS LIVE TOUR 2016 QUARTETTO - NEWS (70,544)

14) HiGH & LOW THE MOVIE (62,423)

15) Johnny's WEST 1st Dome LIVE 24 (Nishi) kara kansha todokemasu - Johnny's WEST (55,854)

16) Suiyoubi doudeshou Shikoku Hachijuuhakkasho III Nihon Zenkoku Ehagaki no Tabi 2 (54,177)

17) Resident Evil: The Final Chapter [First press limited edition] (51,743)

18) BIG BANG 10 THE CONCERT:0.TO.10 - THE FINAL - BIG BANG (45,642)

19) HiGH & LOW THE RED RAIN (43,212)

20) Okaasan to issho Memorial Plus ~ Ashita mo kitto daiseikou ~ (39,922)

21) Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (39,860)

22) Nigeru wa haji daga yaku ni tatsu DVD Box (34,602)

23) Born in the EXILE ~ Sandaime J Soul Brothers no Kiseki ~ [first press limited edition DVD] - Sandaime J Soul Brothers from EXILE TRIBE (34,129)

24) Minions (33,393)

25) KYOSUKE HIMURO LAST GIGS - Himuro Kyosuke (33,384)

Source: Oricon

Top 25 bestselling CD albums in the first half of 2017 (Oricon)

Numbers in brackets indicate the number of copies sold:

1) SMAP 25 YEARS - SMAP (1,159,997)

2) Thumbnail - AKB48 (632,615)

3) Encore - back number (527,551)

4) THE JSB WORLD - Sandaime J Soul Brothers from EXILE TRIBE (451,728)

5) Umaretekara hajimete mita yume - Nogizaka46 (377,481)

6) Ambitions - ONE OK ROCK (332,098)

7) Yuzu Iroha 1997 - 2017 - Yuzu (290,584)

8) MUSIC COLOSSEUM - Kis-My-Ft2 (234,226)

9) Ballad Selection - KinKi Kids (157,931)

10) THE KIDS - Suchmos (146,547)

11) ALL SINGLeeeeS ~& New Beginning ~ - GReeeeN (145,387)

12) NEVERLAND - NEWS (140,835)

13) WAY OF GLORY - AAA (135,299)

14) E.G.CRAZY - E-girls (133,445)

15) Kakumei no oka - SKE48 (126,720)

16) MADE - BIG BANG (122,246)

17) Fantome - Utada Hikaru (104,322)

18) La La Land OST - Various Artists (94,773)

19) 24K Magic - Bruno Mars (91,588)

20) LOVE, PEACE & FIRE - Superfly (85,876)

21) KOICHI DOMOTO [ENDLESS SHOCK] Original Soundtrack 2 - Domoto Koichi (81,525)

22) CHUBBY GROOVE - INABA / SALAS (80,994)

23) BORN TO BE WILD - EXILE THE SECOND (80,247)

24) FIVE - SHINee (76,867)

25) Oh! Suketora!! Yuuri!!! on ICE / Original Skate Song COLLECTION - Various Artists (76,441)

Source: Oricon

Top 25 bestselling CD singles in the first half of 2017 (Oricon)

Numbers in brackets indicate the number of copies sold:

1) Negaigoto no mochigusare - AKB48 (1,350,963)

2) Shoot Sign - AKB48 (1,080,326)

3) Influenza - Nogizaka46 (997,519)

4) Fukyouwaon - Keyakizaka46 (742,748)

5) I'll be there - Arashi (434,037)

6) Boku igai no dare ka - NMB48 (319,748)

7) Nagurigaki BEAT - Kanjani 8 (308,583)

8) OVER THE TOP - Hey!Say!JUMP (299,849)

9) Give Me Love - Hey!Say!JUMP (282,652)

10) Bagutte iijan - HKT48 (267,065)

11) Chi, Ase, Namida - Boudan Shounendan (257,621)

12) INTER (TONIGHT / Kimi no iru sekai / SEVEN WISHES - Kis-My-Ft2 (226,966)

13) Senakagoshi no Chance - Kame to Yamapi (205,034)

14) Seishun Tokei - NGT48 (189,441)

15) Michishirube - Busaiku (181,940)

16) PICK IT UP - Kis-My-Ft2 (174,484)

17) EMMA - NEWS (165,034)

18) Hikari no Atorie - Mr.Children (156,863)

19) ROCK THA TOWN - Sexy Zone (143,700)

20) Can't Get Enough / Hanahirake - V6 (139,244)

21) God's S.T.A.R. - QUARTET NIGHT (137,068)

22) Futarisezon - Keyakizaka46 (132,588)

23) HAPPY - Sandaime J Soul Brothers from EXILE TRIBE (110,033)

24) Koi - Hoshino Gen (109,719)

25) COLORS / Taiyo to tsuki no kodomotachi - V6 (98,525)

Source: Oricon

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Preview of "Blanket Cats" - Spring 2017

Title: Blanket Cats ブランケットキャッツ
Official website: here
O.A. Start Date: 23 June 2017
Timeslot: Fridays 10pm
Broadcast by: NHK
Total number of episodes: 7
Original novel by: Shigematsu Kiyoshi
Theme song: Soft Landing by Yano Akiko
Cast: Nishijima Hidetoshi, Kichise Michiko, Shimazaki Haruka, Karata Erika, Sakai Miki and Miho Jun

Production press conference of NHK drama "Blanket Cats"

The production press conference of NHK drama "Blanket Cats" was held at the TV station's HQ on 14 June which was attended by cast members Nishijima Hidetoshi, Kichise Michiko and Shimazaki Haruka as well as the first episode's guest star Renbutsu Misako. The drama which is based on the short novel by Shigematsu Kiyoshi, features Nishijima as the lead character Shiina Shuusuke who owns a furniture shop and lives with the 7 cats left behind by his late wife. Through searching for new owners for his cats with his childhood friend Fujimura Misaki who is the director of a nearby animal hospital, this brings warmth to the lives of the people they meet during the process.

As they had to film with cats, it was a very tough process initially and the cast revealed that there were scenes in the first episode alone which had to be filmed 30 times. However, things got better from the second episode onwards which could be due to the cats being used to the filming. Nishijima revealed that it was amazing that the cats responded in the same way as depicted in the script as if the cats had read the script and knew how to react. Although Nishijima tended to appear in many suspense and action works where he hardly smiled, his co-stars revealed that his interactions with the cats turned out to be full of warmth so it will definitely bring a smile to the viewers as they watch the drama. Renbutsu who only appeared in the first episode, said that she didn't know that cats were so tough to deal with as they did not listen to instructions.

The drama which consists of 7 episodes, will begin its run from 23 June in the Fridays 10pm timeslot.

Sources: Eiga.com / Oricon

DAIGO & Kawaei Rina to appear in new movie "Uso wo aisuru onna"

DAIGO and Kawaei Rina will be appearing in the new movie "Uso wo aisuru onna" starring Nagasawa Masami and Takahashi Issei directed by Nakae Kazuhito which will be shown in cinemas next year. In this love story with a tinge of mystery, Nagasawa plays Kawahara Yukari, a career woman working at a major beverage manufacturer who has been living with her medical intern boyfriend Koide Kippei (Takahashi) for the past 5 years and has plans to marry him soon. One day, Kippei collapses due to a subarachnoid hemorrhage and slips into a coma. To Yukari's surprise, when the police comes knocking on her door, she finds out that everything she has known about Kippei is a lie as his name, occupation, driving licence and family register are all fake. While trying to find out what kind of man she has loved, she heads to his supposed hometown on an island in the Setouchi Inland sea where she gets help from a private detective Kaibara Takumi played by Yoshida Kotaro to investigate the truth.

DAIGO will be playing Kimura (nickname Kimu) an unsociable hacker who is the subordinate of Kaibara and assists in the investigation on Kippei. He will be wearing a long wig and keeping a beard for the first time and revealed that he was worried whether he could blend into his role but was assured by the director and Nagasawa that he looked OK.

As for Kawaei, she will be playing Kokoha who is an university student dressed in Gothic and Lolita fashion and follows Kippei around like a stalker. Kawaei revealed that there is a scene where Nagasawa slapped her and joked that she was honoured that her first slap to date was from Nagasawa. There will be a scene where she kicks Yoshida Kotaro so she is eagerly anticipating how it will turn out in the movie.

Source: Eiga.com

Yoru no Honki Dance to sing the theme song for FujiTV Summer 2017 drama "Seshiru no Mokuromi"


Rock band Yoru no Honki Dance will be singing the theme song for FujiTV Summer 2017 drama "Seshiru no Mokuromi" starring Maki Youko which will begin its run from 13 July in the Thursdays 10pm timeslot. The song titled "TAKE MY HAND" will be released on 9 August.

The drama which is based on the same-titled novel by Yuikawa Kei, marks Maki's first leading role in a drama in 2 years. The name Cecile in the title comes from the French novel Bonjour Tristesse by Françoise Sagan where a young girl with good looks plots something sinister as she grapples with the struggles and troubles of being a woman.

The story features Maki as the lead character Nao who is a housewife and has not been paying much attention to her appearance for a long time as she is caught up with taking care of her husband and son who is in the first year of junior high school. By chance, she is scouted to become a readers' model by a fashion magazine Vanity where she comes face to face with jealousy, the need to keep up appearances and rivalry in this industry. Through her interaction with various women in different life situations, she undergoes a transformation both externally and psychologically. Co-stars include Kichise Michiko who plays Hamaguchi Yukako, the No.1 charismatic model grappling with loneliness, Ito Ayumi who is Okita Eri, a single freelance writer worried about her future and is the one who scouted Nao as well as Itaya Yuka who plays the chief editor of Vanity named Kurosawa Junko and Hasegawa Kyoko as Yasunaga Maiko who used to be the No.2 model at Vanity and is a commentator appearing on TV programmes now.

Yoru no Honki Dance is a four-member band from Kyoto which was formed in 2008 and made its major debut in March 2016. This will be the first time that the band is singing a theme song for a drama series. The aggressive rock song was inspired by the drama's content. The band commented that it is honoured and surprised to be given the chance to sing the theme song and are looking forward to their song being played to the public when the drama airs.

Sources: Sanspo / Yomiuri Hochi

Hayami Akari & Tanaka Tetsushi to appear in TV Tokyo Summer 2017 drama "Dead Stock Michi e no Chousen"

Hayami Akari and Tanaka Tetsushi will be appearing in the upcoming TV Tokyo Summer 2017 drama "Dead Stock Michi e Chousen" starring Murakami Nijirou which begins its run from 21 July in the Fridays 12.52am timeslot. The drama is an original horror story set at the new HQ building of TV Tokyo in Roppongi after it moved from Kamiya-cho in 2016. As a result of the move, Tsuneda Riku (Murakami), a newbie assistant director, gets assigned to work at the unconfirmed materials centre which stores a huge volume of footage yet to be organised and disposed of. While feeling disappointed at the gap between his ideals and reality, Riku accidentally finds an old video tape containing footage of supernatural phenomena. At the instigation of his senior Saori who is a director, Riku is forced to continue filming the supernatural happenings in order to make it into a complete programme but this causes him to go through a frightening and unbelievable experience.

Hayami will be playing the role of Nikaidou Saori who is a newbie director and works together with Riku on the filming of the supernatural happenings. Hayami commented that as she is not too comfortable with horror stories, she was truly frightened when she read the script. However, there is more to horror in the story as it also talks about human nature and includes comedic elements so she is eagerly anticipating the start of the filming. As for her character, Hayami described as someone who is headstrong and firm in her desire to leave the unconfirmed materials centre but is also delicate like an ordinary woman.

As for Tanaka, he will be playing the role of Sayama Satoru, a veteran director. He described the story as one which includes a lot of Japanese occult elements that will scare the viewers and make them sad and laugh at times. There are also nostalgic parts in the story which is a charm point of the drama and he called upon everyone to look forward to Murakami and Hayami's performances as well.

Tsutsui Mariko and Nakamura Yuko will also be participating in this drama.

Sources: Eiga.com / Oricon

Top 10 actors who made a breakthrough in the first half of 2017 (Oricon)

The following survey was done by Oricon Monitor Research involving 1,000 respondents from their teens to 50s between 14 June and 20 June:

1) Takahashi Issei

2) Sakaguchi Kentaro

3) Yamazaki Kento

4) Takeuchi Ryoma

5) Otani Ryohei

6) Chiba Yuudai

7) Kudo Asuka

8) Nakagawa Taishi

9) Narita Ryo

10) Kaku Kento

Source: Oricon

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Preview of MBS / TBS Summer 2017 drama "Maji de koukai shimasu"

Title: Maji de koukai shimasu マジで航海します。(I'm serious about sailing)
Official website: here
Official Twitter: here
O.A. Start Date: 2 July 2017 (MBS) / 4 July 2017 (TBS)
Timeslot: Sundays 12.50am (MBS) / Tuesdays 1.28am (TBS)
Broadcast by: MBS & TBS
Theme Song: "Ho wo agero" by BOYS AND MEN
Cast: Iitoyo Marie, Takeda Rena, Sakurada Dori, Yuhi, Izawa Yuki, Ikemoto Keita, Okada Koki, Iwaido Seiko, Nukumizu Yoichi & Horibe Keisuke

Supporting cast line-up of TBS Summer 2017 drama "Maji de koukai shimasu" announced

The supporting cast line-up of MBS / TBS Summer 2017 drama "Maji de koukai shimasu" starring Iitoyo Marie and Takeda Rena has been announced. The drama is an original story featuring first-year university students Sakamoto Marin (Iitoyo) and Ishikawa Tsubame (Takeda) who aspire to become ship navigation officers and undergo an one-month training. Besides having to cope with the tough training and sea-sickness, the girls are also caught in a reverse harlem situation where 80 percent of the students in the course are men. Marin is oblivious to her surroundings but has a strong passion for boats and refuses to give up while Tsubame repeated a year to get into the maritime systems engineering course which she still regrets to this day. However, as a result of her interaction with Marin, she slowly undergoes a change in her mentality.

Sakurada Dori will be playing Yagi Yamato, a shy guy who is a freshman in Kanto Shosen Daigaku like Marin and takes a liking to Tsubame while Yuhi from BOYS AND MEN will be playing Narumi Shinta who is a freshman from Kobe Kainan Daigaku and takes pride in his muscular build. Izawa Yuki will be playing Kogure Kensuke who is a 25-year-old married guy and quit his job at a MNC to become a freshman at Kainan Daigaku. Ikemoto Keita will play Yamada Shota who is a freshman at Shosen Daigaku and is very knowledgeable about ships and the sea. Horibe Keisuke will be playing Yokoyama Kazuya who is a senior officer and in charge of training the students while Nukumizu Yoichi will be playing Hayashida Yonosuke, the captain of Miraimaru where the students are trained. Rounding up the cast are Okada Koki who plays Sekine Keiji, the junior first engineer on the ship and Iwaido Seiko who plays Fujiwara Akane, a junior first navigating officer.

BOYS AND MEN will be singing the theme song "Ho wo agero!" (Raise the sail) which was specially written for this drama.

Source: Oricon

Kimura Takuya causes pileup traffic accident due to inattention

Kimura Takuya got into a traffic accident at 4.45pm on 20 June as reported on 21 June. According to Chofu Police Station and insiders, Kimura was driving his Hummer and waited at the downward-sloping junction of 2-chome, Sengawa-cho, Chofu City in Tokyo when he bumped into a motorbike in front of him thus causing it to ram into the back of another car. Kimura, the male motorcyclist, the woman driver and two children who were in the car were all unhurt. According to Kimura, he was absorbed in his thoughts and didn't notice that he had let go of the brake thus causing the accident. He was alone in his car and there were no signs of him having drunk any alcohol. The day of the accident was his off day and there was nobody else in the car with him. Investigations are underway to find out the cause of the accident.

In the same night on 20 June, Johnny's Jimusho released a fax statement to the media explaining the circumstances of the accident. Soon after it happened, Kimura called the police and went through the necessary procedure as instructed by the police officers who arrived at the scene. The agency also apologised to the victims affected by this accident and for the worry and inconvenience caused to fans and their working partners.

Sources: Nikkansports 1 / Nikkansports 2 / Sanspo 1 / Sanspo 2

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

DISH// to sing the theme song for FujiTV Summer 2017 drama "Bokutachi ga yarimashita"

DISH// will be singing the theme song for the new FujiTV Summer 2017 drama "Bokutachi ga yarimashita" starring Kubota Masataka which begins its run from 18 July in the Tuesdays 9pm timeslot. The drama is based on the same-titled manga by Kaneshiro Muneyuki and Araki Hikaru serialised in "Young Magazine" which had recently ended its run in April this year. However, the drama will have a different ending from the manga. Kubota plays the lead character Tobio who is a second year student at Boke Senior High School and does things with minimal effort only. One day, he happens to see his friends being beaten to a pulp by students from the high school opposite Boke which is known for being a hotspot for delinquents. With the intention of playing a trick on those students, Tobio plots a small prank. However, on the day he and his friends are supposed to take action, a large scale explosion takes place which causes Tobio and his friends to become suspects for this crime. Faced with a situation which has gone out of hand, the group makes their escape as they struggle to come to terms with the reality facing them.

The theme song titled "Bokutachi ga yarimashita" was written by OKAMOTO'S Okamoto Shou so the members of OKAMOTO'S joined DISH// during the recording of the song. They will be performing the song live for the first time during a concert held at Osaka on 28 June featuring the two bands.

Source: The Television

Monday, June 19, 2017

Top 10 movies box office ranking for the weekend of 17th & 18th June 2017

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

1) 22 Nenme no Kokuhaku Watashi ga satsujinhan desu (328)

2) Beauty and the Beast (372)

3) Hirugao (312)

4) Kodomotsukai (250)

5) Gekijouban Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei Hoshi wo yobu shoujo (59)

6) King Arthur (326)

7) Hanaikusa (353)

8) Chotto ima kara shigoto yametekuru (285)

9) LOGAN (359)

10) Meitantei Conan Karakurenai no Love Letter (354)

Source: Eiga.com

Inagaki Goro, Kusanagi Tsuyoshi & Katori Shingo to leave Johnny's Jimusho in September 2017

Johnny's Jimusho announced on 18 June that former SMAP members Inagaki Goro, Kusanagi Tsuyoshi and Katori Shingo will be leaving the company with effect from 8 September when their current contracts end. On the other hand, the two remaining members Nakai Masahiro and Kimura Takuya will be renewing their contracts for another year. It was revealed in the statement that the trio made their intentions known to management on 1 June and the decision was subsequently acknowledged by the board of directors. Details of their future plans will be announced once they are finalised. The president Johnny Kitagawa also provided his comments on the issue along with the statement which is a rare occurence where he said that although the trio has decided to embark on a different path, his consideration and feelings for them will not change no matter where they are in future. On the other hand, the trio has not released any statement to date with regard to their impending departure.

Although Nakai was part of the group which wanted to leave the agency in January 2016, he did not leave with the rest as expected which was considered a surprise. According to various insiders, Inagaki, Kusanagi and Katori are expected to join the new agency which their former female manager had set up recently. Some of the staff members who had worked under the manager in the past will also follow their footsteps in leaving Johnny's Jimusho. As for the TV programmes and CMs which the trio are currently appearing in, it is expected that these may end sometime in mid September. Nonetheless, programmes such as NHK's "Bura Tamori" where Kusanagi is the narrator, are widely expected to continue without any changes.

Sources: Nikkansports 1 / Nikkansports 2 / Nikkansports 3 / Sanspo / Yomiuri Hochi