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Thursday, July 27, 2017

Preview of "Henkan Koushounin - Itsuka, Okinawa wo torimodosu -" (Drama SP)

Title: Henkan Koushounin - Itsuka, Okinawa wo torimodosu -" 返還交渉人 - いつか、沖縄を取り戻す - (Restoration Negotiator - Someday, we will get back Okinawa)
Official website: here
O.A. Date: 12 August 2017 at 9pm
Broadcast by: NHK
Original novel by: Miyagawa Tetsushi
Cast: Iura Arata, Toda Naho, Omi Toshinori, Sano Shiro, Oosugi Ren and Ishibashi Renji

Top 10 summer movies' box office ranking between 1 June 2017 and 23 July 2017 (Oricon)

Oricon compiled the box office figures for the summer movies shown between 1 June 2017 and 23 July 2017 and came up with the top 10 bestselling movies' ranking as below. Numbers in brackets indicate the accumulated box office takings up to 23 July and the release dates of the movies are indicated after this:

1) Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (JPY 4.84bn) - 1 July

2) 22 Nenme no Kokuhaku - Watashi ga satsujinhan desu - (JPY 2.345 bn) - 10 June

3) Hirugao (JPY 2.236bn) - 10 June

4) Shinobi no Kuni (JPY 1.787bn) - 1 July

5) Gintama (JPY 1.708bn) - 14 July

6) Mary to Majo no Hana (JPY 1.543bn) - 8 July

7) Gekijouban Pocket Monster Kimi ni kimeta! (JPY 1.229bn) - 15 July

8) Cars Crossroad (JPY 800m) - 15 July

9) Despicable Me 3 (JPY 751m) - 21 July

10) Ani ni aisaresugite komattemasu (JPY 740m) - 30 June

Source: Oricon

Top 10 celebrities appearing most in the news for the first half of 2017 (Oricon)

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

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

1) Shimizu Fumika (226) - Her retirement, affair with KANA-BOON's Iida Yuma and the publication of her tell-all book

2) Suda Masaki (181) - The dramas and movies which he appeared in and his alleged romance with Honda Tsubasa

3) Hoshino Gen (180) - His drama "Nigeru wa haji daga yaku ni tatsu", TV appearances and the release of his new song

4) Nakai Masahiro (166) - SMAP's disband, his joint appearance with Katori Shingo on "SmaStation" and his alleged romance with a dancer

5) Arimura Kasumi (159) - Her drama "Hiyokko" and her posts on Instagram

6) Sashihara Rino (153) - The AKB48 election and her appearances on variety programmes

7) Kimura Takuya (148) - SMAP's disband and the drama and movie which he appeared in

8) Matsumoto Hitoshi (146) - Comments on various issues while on TV programmes

9) Buruzon Chiemi (136) - Her TV appearances and acting debut as well as other celebrities who try to dress up like her

10) Hirose Suzu (135) - The movies which she appeared in and her alleged romance with Narita Ryo

Source: Oricon

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Kato Masaya to be the guest star in Ep 3 of TBS Summer 2017 drama "Kanna-san!"

Kato Masaya will be the guest star in Ep 3 of TBS Summer 2017 drama "Kanna-san!" which will be shown on 1 August. He will be playing the role of Nick Nanba who is a charismatic and mysterious figure in the fashion industry. Nanba used to be the chief editor of an international magazine and a perfectionist who had also worked with various fashion brands to create popular products. For some reason, he takes an interest in Kanna (Watanabe Naomi) and it is not known if he will be an ally or enemy of hers.

Kato who will be appearing in flashy clothing such as a pink scarf and sunglasses, revealed that his character is supposed to be able to speak multiple languages due to his career in various countries so he hoped to be able to show the character's key traits through his acting. He also hoped that viewers will enjoy watching his performance in this drama. As for working with Watanabe for the first time, he praised her for being very expressive in terms of body language and is eager to find out how the relationship between Nanba and Kanna will develop in future.

Source: Oricon

Mizuno Miki announces the arrival of her first child

Mizuno Miki announced the arrival of her first child via her Instagram account on 26 July where she uploaded a photo of the feet of her and her baby. In her message, Mizuno thanked everyone for their concern and consideration during her pregnancy and their help during her childbirth. She also expressed her gratitude to her husband who was with her when the baby was born.

Mizuno mentioned that she has become prone to crying at the smallest things ever since she became a mother and is touched by how she sees her baby is bursting with so much energy with each passing day. As such, she hopes to become a reliable mother and be able to accompany her child through life's every step.

Mizuno met her husband i.e. actor-illustrator Karahashi Mitsuru in March last year and started dating the following month. The couple got married on her 42nd birthday on 28 June after dating for three months.

Sources: Sanspo / Nikkansports / Sponichi

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

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

The first-day-screening event of new movie "Gintama" was held at Marunouchi Picadilly on 14 July which was attended by the director Fukuda Yuichi and cast members Oguri Shun, Suda Masaki, Hashimoto Kanna, Yagira Yuuya, Yoshizawa Ryo, Muro Tsuyoshi, Nagasawa Masami, Okada Masaki and Sato Jiro. The movie which is based on the same-titled manga by Sorachi Hideaki, is set in a parallel world at Edo where aliens from space called Amanto have conquered Earth. Oguri's character Sakata Gintoki works as a freelancer who still believes in honouring the samurai spirit despite the waning influence of the samurais and the story describes his adventures with his friends.

When the event began, Muro and the director were having a great time talking which led Oguri to stop them because he appeared too quiet in contrast. Oguri was concerned that the media would start speculating that he was having problems in his private life so he appeared so lethargic and stressed that this was absolutely not true because the duo were too chatty.

When Yagira and Yoshizawa were asked how they felt about working together, there was silence for a while before Yoshizawa commented that Yagira has become his soulmate. However, the next moment, he asked Yagira for his contact details so the two of them were fidgeting with their mobile phones on stage as they did that.

Okada was then asked by Oguri whether he was more emotionally involved in "Gintama" or his other movie "Jojo no Kimyou na Bouken" which is also going to be shown soon. At first, Okada joked that he preferred "Jojo" but later corrected his answer that it is "Gintama". Despite so, the director viewed him with suspicion and wondered if he was telling the truth which made the audience laugh at this exchange.

Before the beginning of the event, a life-sized Elisabeth figure was trying to get onto the stage with much difficulty until the staff members helped it out. As the cast got heated up in their talk, Fukuda turned his attention to Elisabeth who was standing beside him and commented that it was moving very well today. This led to a voice coming out from Elisabeth which complained about the heat and lamenting that it should have declined the offer. Upon hearing this, the cast were very keen to find out who was actually inside the figure costume and the audience guessed correctly that it was Yamada Takayuki. Despite so, Yamada initially refused to admit that he was inside and subsequently went on a barrage of "complaints" about how he couldn't climb the stairs to the stage and see in front while dressed as Elisabeth. When Fukuda tried to pry open Elisabeth's mouth to show Yamada's face, he tried to resist this which made Suda comment that it was scary to see a hand come out of Elisabeth's mouth. Oguri then chipped in to say that he wouldn't have accepted such an offer to appear in such a costume during this summer heat if it came his way and praised Yamada for doing this. In response, Yamada said that he felt an obligation to do something for the promotion of the movie since he did his voice acting for Elisabeth in a cool room within minutes while the cast had to wear kimonos and fight in the summer heat. Till the end of the event, Yamada never showed his face to the audience and played Elisabeth throughout except for showing a bit of his legs when he raised the hem of the costume as he was coming down from the stage.

Source: Eiga.com

First-day-screening event of new movie "Sekai wa kyou kara kimi no mono"

The first-day-screening event of new movie "Sekai wa kyou kara kimi no mono" was held at Shibuya Cinepalace on 15 July which was attended by the director Ozaki Masaya and cast members Kadowaki Mugi, Miura Takahiro, Hirukawa Yu, Makita Sports and YOU. The movie is an original story featuring Kadowaki as the lead character Konuma Mami who has been shutting herself at home since she was in senior high school and spends all her time on manga and copying illustrations. At the recommendation of her father Eisuke (Makita Sports), she goes to work at a gaming company where she finds bugs in their products. One day, she helps to draw the illustrations in the game managed by her colleague Yabe Ryotaro (Miura Takahiro) and is recognised for her talent so she is asked to take on the job of drawing character illustrations. Mami develops feelings for Ryotaro and decides to face up to her own issues through her illustration work.

Kadowaki described the movie as a reflection of the director's character and expressed her relief and joy at seeing the film being ready to meet the public especially since she had fallen ill before the filming and caused some inconveniences as a result. When asked to comment on her character, Kadowaki said that Mami is rather different from her as she spent a lot of her time on her own during senior high school but was training for her runs day and night rather than be at home. She also spent her time at the video rental shop where she would rent movies based on their titles in alphabetical order so as to learn acting but later realised that this was an unproductive way. On hindsight, Kadowaki said that she should have watched the movies based on the directors' names rather than search by their titles.

When asked what he would be doing if he wasn't an actor, Miura admitted that he doesn't like to stand out and is still rather uncomfortable in front of the camera so he felt that he would be happy to spend his life in a small flower shop. Upon hearing this, Makita teased him and asked if he was feeling ill.

As for Makita who plays Mami's meddling father, he said that there was a scene where he had to keep sending LINE messages to his daughter who read them but did not reply. When he finally got replies, he was so happy that he almost cried just like his character. In response, Kadowaki said that she couldn't reply as much as she wanted since she had to stay in character.

Source: Eiga.com

First-day-screening event of new movie "Kokoro ga sakebitagatterunda"

The first-day-screening event of new movie "Kokoro ga sakebitagatterunda" was held at TOHO Cinemas Shinjuku on 22 July which was attended by the director Kumazawa Naoto and cast members Nakajima Kento, Yoshine Kyoko, Ishii Anna and Kanichiro. The story set in a high school at Chichibu, Saitama, features Sakagami Takumi (Nakajima), a senior high school student poor at interacting with others gets appointed to become a member of the local interaction committee along with his classmate Naruse Jun (Yoshine). Jun is unable to speak due to a traumatic experience in the past and would suffer stomachaches if she attempts to speak to others. Initially, the two are unsure of how to deal with each other but through working on a musical performance for the committee, they gradually become closer. Ishii plays Takumi's ex-girlfriend Nitou Natsuki while Kanichiro plays Tasaki Daiki who is the pitcher of the school's baseball team and suffered an injury to his knee.

When asked about the highlight of the movie, Nakajima cited the musical scene where the actors sang and danced. On the other hand, Yoshine struggled to come up with a particular scene and stressed that everything in the movie was worth paying attention to.

In line with the theme of the movie i.e. you will definitely become stronger when you fall out of love, the cast were asked about what makes them stronger. Nakajima gave the answer of positive thinking where he uses positive words to strengthen his mental stage while Ishii cited her co-stars as having given her strength. As for Kanichiro, he said that sleeping for 12 hours is his key to being stronger which led Nakajima to tease him that he can get to the US in that amount of time.

Sources: Oricon / Eiga.com

Fan event of new movie "Hagane no Renkin Jutsushi"

The fan event of new movie "Hagane no Renkin Jutsushi" was held at Shinjuku Picadilly on 12 July which was attended by the director Sori Fumihiko and cast members Honda Tsubasa, Hongo Kanata and Sato Ryuta. About 500 fans gathered for the event.

The movie which is based on Arakawa Hiromu's bestselling same-titled manga serialised since 2001 and had sold more than 70m copies to date, features the Elric brothers Edward (Ed) and Alphonse (Al) who embark on a journey to find the Philosopher's Stone so as to regain their bodies lost when performing a forbidden alchemy ritual to bring their mother back to life. As a result, Ed has mechanical limbs to replace his lost right arm and left leg. As for Al, his soul is attached to a huge metal armour since he has lost his entire body. Hey! Say! JUMP's Yamada Ryosuke plays Edward in the movie.

Honda who plays the heroine Winry, spoke about the movie's promotional events at the 26th Anime Expo in Los Angeles, US on 3 July and the 18th Japan Expo held in Paris, France on 7 July where they got a warm reception from the local audiences. Sori revealed that they are still in the final stages of preparing the film for the release on 1 December while Hongo who plays Envy in the movie, jokingly said that he was so jealous that they got the chance to go to France even though he would love to do the same. Honda also revealed that she was under a lot of pressure when she got the role although she was happy about it at the same time and worried if she might look convincing as Winry. Upon hearing the loud applause from the audience, Honda said that she was relieved that her image as Winry was well-received.

It was also announced that as a special gift to those who go to watch the movie on the first day, they will be able to get a new installment in the Hagaren series by Arakawa which ended 7 years ago. Hongo who has been a fan of the manga, said that it was such good news to get not just one piece of illustration but a whole book so he will try to watch the movie twice to get two copies i.e. one for reading and the other for keeping in his collection.

Sources: Eiga.com / Nikkansports

Preview of "Plage ~ Wakeari bakari no Sharehouse ~" - Summer 2017

Title: Plage ~ Wakeari bakari no Sharehouse ~ プラージュ ~ 訳ありばかりのシェアハウス ~ (Plage ~ A sharehouse full of people with special circumstances ~)
Official website: here
Official Instagram: here
O.A. Start Date: 12 August 2017
Timeslot: Saturdays 10pm
Broadcast by: WOWOW
Total number of episodes: 5
Original novel by: Honda Tetsuya
Cast: Hoshino Gen, Naka Riisa, Majima Hidekazu, Nakamura Yuri, Shibukawa Kiyohiko, Sugashikao, Ishida Yuriko



Production press conference of TV Asahi Summer 2017 drama "Aino Kekkon Soudanjo"

The production press conference of TV Asahi Summer 2017 drama "Aino Kekkon Soudanjo" was held at Roppongi Hills Arena on 24 July which was attended by cast members Yamazaki Ikusaburo, Takanashi Rin, Kaga Takeshi, Maeda Bibari, Nakao Masaki and Yamaga Kotoko. The drama begins its run from 28 July in the Fridays 11.15pm timeslot. The drama which is based on the same-titled manga by Katou Yagi and Yagi Jun which was serialised between 2010 and 2016, is set in a legendary matchmaking agency where you have to pay 2 million yen to become a member but will be guaranteed a 100% success rate in finding your ideal marriage partner.

Yamazaki plays the role of the agency's manager Aino Shingo who is cold, pretentious and speaks harshly to his clients at times. Being a former assistant professor specialising in ethology, Aino is very well-versed in the behaviour of animals and insects and has a hobby of collecting such figures. He will stop at nothing to ensure that his clients find their perfect match by using his knowledge in his counselling sessions. On the other hand, Takanashi plays his assistant named Sister Elisabeth who wears a nun's outfit and has the tendency of falling in love with handsome clients. She is constantly mocked by Aino for having the brains of an insect but she always manages to help him cover up for his blunders at work.

At the beginning of the event, Yamazaki appeared on stage while singing the drama's theme song "Congratulations" and joined his co-stars in throwing balls signed by the cast to the audience. Yamazaki who is referred to as the prince of the musical world, commented on his character as someone who is very charming and thinks that he is really cool but actually gets laughed at by the people around him. As he has never played a character of this type before even in musicals, he is looking forward to creating a new world with his character with the songs, dance, piano playing and flashy costumes in this drama.

Takanashi who is working with Yamazaki for the first time, revealed that when she first met him, she was struck by how much he looks like a prince in pictures especially since he was holding a rose stalk with his mouth during the photoshoot. In response, Yamazaki said that he doesn't do such things normally and was only doing it because he was instructed to. Takanashi also commented that during a scene at the amusement park, he looked very suitable while riding a white horse. During the filming, he is the one who makes the atmosphere very lively which has also allowed her to be free to show her true self.

Sources: Eiga.com / Oricon

Monday, July 24, 2017

Top 10 movies box office ranking for the weekend of 22nd & 23rd July 2017

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

1) Despicable Me 3 (359)

2) Gintama (334)

3) Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (365)

4) Gekijouban Pocket Monster Kimi ni kimeta! (364)

5) Cars Crossroad (345)

6) Mary to Majo no Hana (365)

7) Shinobi no Kuni (332)

8) Mahou Shoujo Ririkaru nanowa Reflection (73)

9) Kokoro ga sakebitagatterunda (286)

10) No Game No Life Zero (61)

Source: Eiga.com

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Production press conference of new movie "Sekai de ichiban nagai shashin"

The production press conference of new movie "Sekai de ichiban nagai shashin" was held at Tokoname City in Aichi Prefecture on 12 July which was attended by the director Kusano Shougo and cast members Takasugi Mahiro and Takeda Rina. The movie will be shown in early summer next year.

The film is based on the same-titled novel by Honda Tetsuya and will be shot on location at the Chita Peninsula in Aichi Prefecture this summer. The novel is based on a real story featuring the lead character Hironobu (Takasugi) who finds a strange camera in the recycling shop owned by his grandfather which is said to take the longest panorama pictures in the world. The camera was developed by the late Yamamoto Shinichi and is able to take a 360 degree panorama shot. One of the photos taken using this camera measured 145m and is the Guinness record holder for being the longest photo in the world. Since that day, Hironobu's uneventful life takes on new colours. Takeda Rina will be playing Hironobu's cousin Atsuko.

Takasugi revealed that he had done some research on the Chita Peninsula as soon as he knew about the filming location and is looking forward how the beautiful scenery will complement the story. He is especially excited about checking out the sunflower fields there. When asked to comment about his character, Takasugi described Hironobu as someone who lacks self-confidence and doesn't dare to try anything nor say whatever is on his mind. The part about Hironobu being shy is one of the traits which he can identify with since he's also like that in real life.

As for Takeda, she described Atsuko as someone who is vastly different from her own character as Atsuko is very mature and cheerful. As such, she will try her best to play this role and work hard with Takasugi to make a good movie.

Source: Oricon

Miyano Mamoru to be the voice actor for Nagai Kei's IBM in new movie "Ajin"

Miyano Mamoru will be appearing in the new movie "Ajin" starring Sato Takeru as the IBM (Invisible Black Matter) of the lead character Nagai Kei. The movie will be shown in cinemas from 30 September.

"Ajin" was first seralised in the manga magazine "good! Afternoon" from 2012 and has released 9 volumes to date which has accumulated sales of more than 5.4 million copies. The anime movie version was screened in November 2015 while the TV anime series was shown from January 2016. The title "Ajin" refers to a group of people who look like ordinary humans but will not die even if they sustain life-threatening injuries.

In the movie version, Sato plays Nagai Kei who is a 26-year-old medical intern although the manga's setting is that Kei is a 17-year-old senior high school student. One day, he gets knocked down by a truck but is shocked to see his body recovering instantaneously on its own which makes him realise that he is an Ajin. As a result, Kei is kept under custody at the Ajin Research Institute where he is subjected to inhumane tests by the researchers. Just then, a Ajin terrorist Sato (Ayano Go) comes to rescue Kei but this is actually with the intention of getting Kei to join him in a mass massacre to take revenge against the non-Ajins. Kei then has to fight Sato and his accomplices even though he is the weakest Ajin who has yet to master how to control his power and IBM well.

Miyano who played Nagai in the anime version, said that "Ajin" had been a memorable piece of work for him. As such, he was very excited and happy about being able to participate in the real-life adaptation movie and be the voice of Nagai's IBM even though he was also surprised by the offer. Under the instructions of the movie's director, he had a lot of fun during the recording where he did several versions so he's looking forward to see which ones will be selected for the final version of the movie.

Source: Eiga.com

Preview of "Utsubokazura no Yume" - Summer 2017

Title: Utsubokazura no Yume ウツボカズラの夢 (The dream of the nepenthes)
Official website: here
O.A. Start Date: 5 August 2017
Timeslot: Saturdays 11.40pm
Broadcast by: Tokai TV / FujiTV
Total number of episodes: 8
Original novel by: Nonami Asa
Theme Song: "MIDNIGHT" by SPYAIR
Cast: Shida Mirai, Ootsuka Nene, Kokusho Sayuri, Matsumoto Toshio, Hyunri, Haruta Junichi, Uesugi Shuhei, Maki Emi, Kawashima Ririka, Maeda Oushiro, Yoshimoto Miyoko, Haba Yuuichi, Matsubara Chieko

Uchida Rio to star in new FujiTV Summer 2017 drama "Shougi Meshi"

Uchida Rio will be starring in the upcoming FujiTV Summer 2017 drama "Shougi Meshi" (Shougi Food) which will begin its run from 2 August in the Wednesdays 2.40am timeslot. The 8-episode drama is based on the same-titled manga by Matsumoto Nagisa which is being serialised in "Gekkan Comic Flapper". This will be streamed via the FujiTV On Demand (FOD) portal first from 31 July before its TV broadcast.

Uchida plays the role of Touge Nayuta who is the first female professional player in history and the story talks about how she picks and eats delicious food which gives her the energy to win her shougi matches against the male players while aiming to earn the rank of Meijin.

Uchida who has experience playing shougi with her grandfather since she was in primary school, caught the eye of the staff for her eating scenes in the 2016 TV Tokyo drama "Otokomeshi". The staff felt that she looked like she was enjoying everything she was eating in the drama so decided to offer the role to her. Amid the shougi boom these days, Uchida expressed her joy at being able to act in such a drama which combines food and shougi especially since she's someone who derives great pleasure in eating delicious food that will give her added power and motivation especially when she's working.

Sources: Sanspo / Oricon

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Yamamoto Koji to star in new NHK drama series "Ueki Hitoshi to Nobosemon"

Yamamoto Koji will be starring in the new NHK drama series "Ueki Hitoshi to Nobosemon" which consists of 8 episodes and will begin its run from 2 September in the Saturdays 8.15pm timeslot. The story is based on the book "Nobosemon yaken" written by Komatsu Masao about the late Ueki Hitoshi who was a big star during the Showa era. Komatsu was Ueki's assistant and driver for 4 years before he himself became an actor and comedian. The word "nobosemon" is a Hakata dialect word which refers to people who are easily passionate about and absorbed in the things they love.

Yamamoto will be playing Ueki while Komatsu (Matsuzaki Masaomi) will be played by Shison Jun. Yamauchi Takaya will be playing Hana Hajime who was the leader of jazz band The Crazy Cats and Tani Kei will be played by Hamano Kenta. Yuka will be acting as Ueki's wife Tomiko and Ito Shiro will be acting as Ueki's father Tetsujou. Other co-stars include Takeda Reina, Nakajima Ayumu, Denden, Sakai Maki, Tomita Yasuko and Katsumura Masanobu.

Back in 1962, Ueki's song "Sudarabushi" became a smashing hit which led to himself and The Crazy Cats to become very much sought-after performers on TV and in movies. Due to his increasingly busy schedule, Ueki hired Matsuzaki, a young man who came from Hakata to Tokyo, to be his driver and assistant. While following Ueki around, Matsuzaki observed up close how the big stars of that era were passionate about their work where they gave their all and were not afraid to look stupid as comedians and created cool music when they were musicians. However, Ueki himself was having doubts about doing such work which required him to fool around and wondered if there was any value in doing this. At the same time, Matsuzaki was treated very nicely by Ueki's family and even called Ueki "Otousan" as his own father had passed away when he was young. Matsuzaki then aspired to become a performer himself as he worked with his teacher Ueki over the years.

Sources: Oricon / Sanspo

Friday, July 21, 2017

Takenouchi Yutaka to star in new NHK drama "Kono koe wo kimi ni"

Takenouchi Yutaka will be starring in the new NHK drama "Kono koe wo kimi ni" (This voice is for you) written by Oomori Mika which consists of 8 episodes and will begin its run from 8 September in the Fridays 10pm timeslot. This is Takenouchi's first leading role in a NHK drama. Co-stars include Asou Kumiko, Mimura, Shibata Kyouhei, Horiuchi Keiko, Matsuoka Mitsuru, Ohara Sakurako, Shuri, Totsuka Shota, Nagase Tasuku, Hiraizumi Sei, Nishina Akiko, Katagiri Hairi and Sugimoto Tetta.

The story features Takenouchi as the lead character Honami Takashi who is a 46-year-old professor teaching mathematics at an university but lacks speaking skills thus is not very popular with his students. His wife Nao (Mimura) is fed up with him and leaves home with their child. At this juncture, he is told by the faculty dean to attend a speaking class where he gets into an argument with the lecturer Ezaki Kyoko (Asou) as he thinks that she is haughty and not capable of teaching him anything while she thinks of him as a boring guy. Although Kyoko's superior Sakura (Shibata) intervenes to stop the argument, Takashi still leaves the class. A few days later, Takashi happens to bump into Kyoko unexpectedly at a recitation session.

Oomori commented that she had always wanted to write a story about reading aloud sessions since her mother had been a volunteer at such events and she had always loved to hear stories there. In this time and age where communication is mostly done through methods that do not allow the voice to be used to convey one's intentions and feelings, she felt that it was good to focus on this topic since reading aloud requires the speaker to use his or her voice and heart to send a message to those listening.

Takenouchi commented that everyone would have thought of wanting to restart their lives at one point so when he read the script, he felt that although it is impossible to restart, it is actually possible to change our lives no matter what age you may be at. To do that though, there is a need to take that first step towards something new which takes a tremendous amount of courage. As such, he hopes that this drama will give a much-needed encouragement to those who want to make changes in their lives.

Sources: Eiga.com / Oricon

Winners of Nikkansports Sports Drama Grand Prix (Spring 2017)

There were 2,930 valid responses for this voting and numbers in brackets indicate the number of votes received for the drama or actor/actress:

Best Drama
1) Boku, Unmei no hito desu (1166)
2) Kizoku Tantei (703)
3) Reverse (203)
4) Chiisana Kyojin (125)
5) Hiyokko (107)

Best Leading Actor
1) Kamenashi Kazuya - Boku, Unmei no hito desu (1,025)
2) Aiba Masaki - Kizoku Tantei (726)
3) Fujiwara Tatsuya - Reverse (281)
4) Hasegawa Hiroki - Chiisana Kyojin (183)
5) Oguri Shun - CRISIS Kouan Kido Sousatai Tokusouhan (167)

Best Leading Actress
1) Sawajiri Erika - Haha ni naru (609)
2) Arimura Kasumi - Hiyokko (455)
3) Amami Yuki - Kinkyuu Torishirabeshitsu 2 (437)
4) Haru - Anata no koto wa sorehodo (313)
5) Shibasaki Kou - Onna Joshu Naotora (284)

Best Supporting Actor
1) Yamashita Tomohisa - Boku, Unmei no hito desu (1,020)
2) Takito Kenichi - Kizoku Tantei (330)
3) Namase Katsuhisa - Kizoku Tantei (184)
4) Mitsushima Shinnosuke - Boku, Unmei no hito desu (174)
5) Tamamori Yuuta - Reverse (150)

Best Supporting Actress
1) Kimura Fumino - Boku, Unmei no hito desu (904)
2) Nakayama Miho - Kizoku Tantei (327)
3) Takei Emi - Kizoku Tantei (206)
4) Nanao - Boku, Unmei no hito desu (179)
5) Toda Erika - Reverse (149)

Source: Nikkansports

Winners of the 8th Confidence Award Dorama Prize (Spring 2017)

Here are the winners of the 8th Confidence Award Drama Prize for the Spring 2017 season:

Best Drama: Reverse

Best Leading Actor: Oguri Shun (CRISIS Kouan Kido Sousatai Tokusouhan)

Best Leading Actress: Tabe Mikako (Tsubaki Bunguten Kamakura Daishoya Monogatari)

Best Supporting Actor: Higashide Masahiro (Anata no koto wa sorehodo)

Best Supporting Actress: Koike Eiko (Haha ni naru)

Best Script: Okudera Satoko & Shimizu Yukako (Reverse)

Best Newcomer: Araki Yuuko (CRISIS Kouan Kido Sousatai Tokusouhan / Hyakumanen no onnatachi)

Source: Confidence Award Drama Prize

Preview of "Bokura no Yuuki Miman City" (Drama SP)

Title: Bokura no Yuuki Miman City ぼくらの勇気 未満都市
Official website: here
Official Facebook: here
Official Twitter: here
O.A. Date: 21 July 2017, 9pm
Broadcast by: NTV
Theme song: "Aisareru yori aishitai" by KinKi Kids
Insert song: "Kaze no nai machi" by Takigawa Takeru
Cast: Domoto Koichi, Domoto Tsuyoshi, Aiba Masaki, Matsumoto Jun, Yada Akiko, Kohara Yuki, Michieda Shunsuke, Hayami Akari, Chiba Yuudai, Kuze Seika, Iida Kisuke, Yamaguchi Makiya, Yamauchi Takaya, Mukai Osamu

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Production press conference of TV Tokyo Summer 2017 drama "Keishicho Zerogakari ~ Seikatsu Anzenka Nandemo Soudanshitsu ~ SECOND SEASON"


The production press conference of TV Tokyo Summer 2017 drama "Keishicho Zerogakari ~ Seikatsu Anzenka Nandemo Soudanshitsu ~ SECOND SEASON" was held on 16 July which was attended by cast members Koizumi Kotaro, Matsushita Yuki, Adachi Yumi, Oosugi Ren, Ishimaru Kanjiro, Kinoshita Takayuki, Totsuka Junki and Kishi Asuka. The drama begins its run from 21 July in the Fridays 8pm timeslot.

The drama features Koizumi as Kobayakawa Fumihiko, a naive superintendent who is oblivious to his surroundings and Matsushita as Terada Torami, a foul-mouthed veteran police detective. The two of them work with other detectives seen as worthless by the organisation (thus earning the name Zerogakari because anything multipled by zero is still zero) to solve various difficult cases. Regulars from the first season who will be returning in the sequel include Adachi who plays Honjo Yasuko, an admin officer who insists on working only between 9am and 5pm, emphasizes productivity and has a venomous tongue, TKO's Kinoshita who plays Sakuraba Yusaku, a hardworking detective who cannot climb up the hierarchy despite his efforts and Oosugi who plays the section chief Kameyama Yoshio tasked to spy on Kobayakawa secretly.

Koizumi commented that the teamwork they have in this drama is different from what he has experienced so far as everyone is in sync with one another and they can add ad-libs as and when they like as long as the director feels that it doesn't affect the story. However, upon learning that the scriptwriter Yoshimoto Masahiro was also at the event, Koizumi apologised for changing the lines during the filming and quickly tried to make amends by saying that he likes Yoshimoto's script. This made his co-stars tease him for switching his stand so quickly.

As part of the event, the actors also participated in a 20-min crime prevention campaign parade at Suginami where they walked for about 600m from the ward office to JR Asagaya Station in the sweltering 35 degrees Celsius heat. Koizumi greeted the people who alighted at the station and asked if they knew who he is and that he wasn't doing a street rally like what politicians do.

Oosugi revealed during the event that he has started his own Instagram account recently at the recommendation of Kinoshita and Adachi but it is only accessible to his 7 followers who are his family members, staff members, Kinoshita and Adachi. Although he has only uploaded 6 photos to date, he doesn't rule out the likelihood of opening the account for public viewing during the broadcast of this drama.

Sources: Nikkansports / Sanspo / Yomiuri Hochi / Oricon

Kuroneko Chelsea to sing the theme song for new movie "Katte ni furuetero"

Rock band Kuroneko Chelsea will be singing the theme song for new movie "Katte ni furuetero" starring Matsuoka Mayu which will be shown in cinemas from 23 December. The film which is based on the same-titled novel by Watanuki Risa, describes how the lead character Yoshika (Matsuoka), a 24-year-old single OL, has never had a boyfriend and imagines her first love to be her imaginary boyfriend "Ichi" (One). However, when she receives her first love confession from her colleague "Ni" (Two), this marks the beginning of her agony over whether she should choose to stick with her imaginary boyfriend or date someone for real. Watanabe Daichi from Kuroneko Chelsea will be playing the role of Ni while DISH//'s Kitamura Takumi will be playing Ichi. Co-stars also include Ishibashi Anna, Furutachi Kanji and Katagiri Hairi.

The song titled "Baby You" was announced to be the theme for the movie during Kuroneko Chelsea's performance at the outdoor music festival JOIN ALIVE 2017 on 16 July which was held in Iwamizawa, Hokkaido. Watanabe commented that to be able to make the theme song for a movie which he acted in was an invaluable experience. Although he hasn't seen the completed movie with the song played at the end, Matsuoka who already went through the screening praised him for the song so he's happy that they came up with a good song.

Source: Eiga.com

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Preview of "Dead Stock Michi e no Chousen" - Summer 2017

Title: Dead Stock Michi e no Chousen デッドストック未知への挑戦 (Dead Stock The challenge towards the unknown)
Official website: here
Official Instagram: here
Official Twitter: here
O.A. Start Date: 21 July 2017
Timeslot: Fridays 12.52am
Broadcast by: TV Tokyo
Opening theme song: "Different Man" by AKLO x JAY'ED
Ending theme song: "Moor" by UA
Cast: Murakami Nijirou, Hayami Akari, Tanaka Tetsushi

Completion screening event of TV Tokyo Summer 2017 drama "Dead Stock Michi e no Chousen"

The completion screening event of TV Tokyo Summer 2017 drama "Dead Stock Michi e no Chousen" was held at its old HQ building in Kamiya-cho, Tokyo, on 13 July which was attended by cast members Murakami Nijirou and hayami Akari as well as the chief director Gonno Hajime. The drama 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. Tanaka Tetsushi will be playing the role of Sayama Satoru, a veteran director.

As there is always talk about supernatural happenings when filming horror works, Murakami revealed that he actually thought that something like this happened to him on the first day of the filming as he was shocked to see a strange stain on his copy of the script but the others didn't have it. Later, he discovered that it was just a stain due to his script being wet.

Hayami who had been unwell since three days ago, apologised with her hoarse voice and joked that this must be because she had been cursed for acting in a horror story. She also revealed that there was a scene shot at a famous haunted place where she had to carry a doll which led to her having a severe headache and stiff neck the following day. In response to this, Murakami and Gonno said that this must be because of Hayami who tends to "attract" the spirits because she seems to be the only one to suffer the effects of these supernatural incidents even though Murakami is also there for the filming. Hayami chipped in to reveal that this could be true because she always saw things which others couldn't since she was a child and would fall sick if she was shocked by what she saw.

Source: Eiga.com / Nikkansports

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Yuzu to sing the theme song for new movie "Saiki Kusuo no Sainan"

Yuzu will be singing the theme song for new movie "Saiki Kusuo no Sainan" starring Yamazaki Kento which will be shown in cinemas from 21 October. The song titled "Koi, hikemashita" was written by Kitagawa Yujin after reading the manga with the image of the lead character who has a supernatural power but yearns to lead an ordinary life. The release date of the song is yet to be confirmed and it will be played in the trailers showing at cinemas from 14 July. This will be the first theme song for a real-life adaptation movie from Yuzu since the song "Hidamari" for 2014 movie "Gin no Saji Silver Spoon"

The movie which is based on the same-titled popular manga by Aso Shuichi, features Yamazaki in the role of a senior high school student named Saiki Kusuo who possesses a strong supernatural power that constantly gets him into trouble.

Sources: Sanspo / Eiga.com

Top 10 movies box office ranking for the weekend of 15th & 16th July 2017

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

1) Gekijouban Pocket Monster Kimi ni kimeta! (360)

2) Gintama (333)

3) Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (365)

4) Cars Crossroad (344)

5) Mary to Majo no Hana (365)

6) Shinobi no Kuni (332)

7) No Game No Life Zero (61)

8) Ani ni aisaresugite komattemasu (251)

9) Power Rangers (282)

10) 22 Nenme no Kokuhaku Watashi ga satsujinhan desu (328)

Source: Eiga.com

Preview of "Shimokitazawa Diehard" - Summer 2017

Title: Shimokitazawa Diehard 下北沢ダイハード
Official website: here
Official Twitter: here
O.A. Start Date: 21 July 2017
Timeslot: Fridays 12.12am
Broadcast by: TV Tokyo
Cast: Furuta Arata, Koike Eiko, Jinbo Satoshi, Yoshizawa Ryo, Murasugi Seminosuke, Sakurai Yuki, Yanagi Yurina, Takahashi Hitomi, Mitsuishi Ken, Kawaei Rina, Robert Akiyama, Ikeda Tetsuhiro, Asou Kumiko, Nomaguchi Tooru, Nishida Naomi, Ueki Natto, Ogawa Tamaki, Sakai Wakana, Shison Jun, Yamanishi Atsushi

Monday, July 17, 2017

Supporting cast line-up of new movie "Owatta Hito" announced

The supporting cast line-up of new movie "Owatta Hito"starring Tachi Hiroshi and Kuroki Hitomi has been announced. The movie is based on the same-titled novel by scriptwriter Uchidata Makiko and will be directed by Nakata Hideo. It will be shown in cinemas next year.

The story features Tachi as the lead character Tashiro Sousuke who worked in a major bank and looked like he was on the path to success when he got transferred to a subsidiary and is about to retire without any achievement to his name. However, having been so focused on work over the past few decades, Sousuke desires to continue working or else he won't be able to continue living without a purpose. Without any special skills, he can't find anything in particular to do. Upon seeing this, his wife Chigusa (Kuroki) who works as a hairdresser and his daughter jokingly suggest that Sousuke should find someone to date. Coincidentally, Sousuke indeed finds someone who he is interested but things do not turn out the way he wants and his life starts to take on an uncontrollable twist.

Hirosue Ryoko will be playing Hamada Kuri who works as the receptionist at a culture school which Sousuke is attending and writes fairy tales for children during her free time. As the both of them come from Iwate Prefecture and Kuri's attitude causes Sousuke to misunderstand that she has an interest in him, he is being twisted around her little finger even though she may not mean it consciously. Hirosue commented that this is a very difficult character for her as Kuri is neither Sousuke's mistress nor lover so she will have to strike a fine balance in Kuri's relationship with Sousuke. In addition, this is the largest age gap so far i.e. 28 years for her onscreen love interest. As for working with Tachi for the first time, she commented that he looks too cool for a man at retirement age and it's interesting to see him in such a comedic story. Since young, she has always loved his acting in "Abunai Deka" so to be able to see him act up close and personal and show his passion for acting was a very great experience.

Other co-stars include Usuda Asami who plays Yamazaki Michiko, the daughter of Sousuke and Chigusa and Taguchi Tomorowo who plays Aoyama Toshihiko, an illustrator.

Sources: Nikkansports / Eiga.com

Saito Takumi to be back in TV Tokyo drama SP "Saijou no Meii" this August

Saito Takumi will be back in the TV Tokyo drama SP "Saijou no Meii" this August which continues from the drama series in 2011 and drama SP in February last year. This time, Kusakari Masao will be joining the SP to play the mentor of the lead character Saijou Mikoto (Saito).

The drama which is based on the same-titled manga by Irie Kenzo and Hashiguchi Takashi, describes how the pediatrician Saijou Mikoto believes in saving children which will lead to saving their futures and tries his best to realise this vision of his. Kusakari plays a renowned pediatric surgeon Tezuka Yoshitomi who used to coach Saijou in the US but they will face off in a clash over their differing views in the SP which depicts the reality in the world of pediatric medicine now.

Saito commented that he had been eagerly anticipating the continuation of this series especially when he received comments through the drama's website and letters addressed to him from doctors and those aspiring to enter this field talking about how the pediatric medicine scene has improved or changed since the drama was aired. As for Kusakari, he praised the script of this drama which allowed him to enjoy the filming a lot.

Sources: Sanspo / Oricon

Production press conference of TBS Summer 2017 drama "Kanna-san!"

The production press conference of TBS Summer 2017 drama "Kanna-san!" was held on 13 July which was attended by cast members Watanabe Naomi, Kaname Jun, Kudo Asuka, Triendl Reina, Kawahara Eito and Saito Yuki. The drama begins its run from 18 July in the Tuesdays 10pm timeslot.

The drama is based on the same-titled manga by Fukaya Kahoru serialised in manga magazine "YOU" between 2001 and 2007 and features Watanabe as a fashion designer Kanna. Although she has a handsome husband Rei (Kaname), Kanna discovers that he is having an affair and she also has to cope with her difficult mother-in-law (Saito). At work, she is bullied by her unreasonable boss. Despite these daily challenges in life, Kanna tries her best to live positively for the sake of her beloved son Reon (Kawahara).

Watanabe commented even though her onscreen husband Rei is a scumbag for cheating on her, Kanna can't bring herself to hate him. In response, Kaname said that he is prepared to be disliked by the female viewers when he took on this role because Rei has three very much-hated traits in men i.e. having an affair, having a mother complex and being indecisive. As such, he joked that he has to watch his back when he goes out in case people take out their dislike for Rei on him.

As for landing her first leading role in a drama, Watanabe said that to be able to stand in the middle of the stage with her co-stars makes her very happy although she is well aware of the pressure and responsibility that comes with it. As such, she hopes to be able to do her best with everyone in Team Kanna even as she may be lacking in some areas.

With regard to child actor Kawahara who plays her son, Watanabe said that he may look like a pampered child at times but when it's time for the filming, she is impressed by how well and professionally he acts and feels like she can't match up to him even though he's just three years old. Saito also revealed that Kawahara would keep looking for Watanabe whenever she's not around as if they are really mother-and-son. Kawahara was visibly nervous on stage and gave short answers most of the time until he was asked about what he liked about Kanna-san i.e. Watanabe. He then answered that he likes her big size and how she eats a lot which made Watanabe exclaim that he must have been taught to say those answers.

As for Saito who plays a grandmother for the first time, she said that she is enjoying the filming with her daughter-in-law who looks like a cute walking doll, a handsome son and a cute grandson. Although the story is supposed to be a comedy, her character says a lot of lines with malice even though she herself may not be doing it on purpose.

Kudo who plays a kindergarten teacher, was praised by Watanabe for being very attentive to the children while filming in this hot weather and getting along well with them like a real teacher. Kudo explained that as he is the eldest in the family with 1 younger brother and 3 younger sisters, he is used to interacting with children as he sees them like his siblings when they were much younger. However, kids at the age of three or four tend to be quite a handful so it's also tough at times to deal with them.

Production press conference of FujiTV Summer 2017 drama "Bokutachi ga yarimashita"

The production press conference of FujiTV Summer 2017 drama "Bokutachi ga yarimashita" was held on 13 July which was attended by cast members Kubota Masataka, Nagano Mei, Arata Mackenyu, Mamiya Shotaro, Hayama Shono, Konno Hiroki, Kawaei Rina, Mizukawa Asami and Miura Shohei. The drama is due to begin 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.

Kubota who is turning 29 years old in August, said that it is tough for him to play a senior high school student at this age especially since most of his co-stars are very young and there's a 11-year age gap between him and the heroine (Nagano). On the other hand, Miura who is of the same age as Kubota, gets to play a police detective thus making the latter lament that he wanted to take on a police detective role while Miura said that it would be too much to ask him to wear a school uniform now at this age. Nonetheless, Arata was full of admiration for Kubota as he commented that he had always wanted to act with him and found that he could learn a lot of things by observing Kubota's acting up close.

As for Kawaei who plays a well-endowed senior high school girl in the drama, there are some kissing and intimate scenes with Kubota and Mamiya. Kubota admitted that he was feeling shy and nervous about it while Mamiya revealed that his scene was done between the gap of the bed and window after the two of them fell onto the ground.

Miura who is also playing a police detective in another FujiTV Summer 2017 drama "Keishicho Ikimonogakari", said that he actually was confused enough to bring his script from that drama to the filming set of this drama. When he was greeting the audience, he talked about Watabe Atsuro and animals which led his co-stars to realise his mistake and tease him for being confused again.

Sources: Nikkansports / Sanspo / Sponichi / Oricon 1 / Oricon 2

Top 10 most anticipated movies showing during the 2017 summer vacation (Oricon)

Oricon conducted a survey on 600 people to choose the movies they would like to watch the most during the 2017 summer vacation (1st July 2017 to 31st August 2017). Dates within the brackets indicate the Japanese release dates:

1) Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (1 July)

2) Gintama (14 July)

3) Shinobi no Kuni (1 July)

4) Kimi no suizou wo tabetai (28 July)

5) Despicable Me 3 (21 July)

6) Spider-Man: Homecoming (11 Aug)

7) Mary to Majo no Hana (8 July)

8) Jojo no kimyou na bouken Diamond wa kudakenai Dai Isshou (4 Aug)

9) Sekigahara (28 Aug)

10) Transformers: The Last Knight (4 Aug)

Source: Oricon

Japan premiere event of new movie "Tokyo Ghoul"


The Japan premiere event of new movie "Tokyo Ghoul" was held at Marunouchi Picadilly on 10 July which was attended by the director Hagiwara Kentaro and cast members Kubota Masataka, Suzuki Nobuyuki, Sakurada Hiyori, Aoi Yu, Ooizumi Yo, Ogasawara Kai, Shiraishi Shunya, Aida Shoko, Yanagi Shuntaro and Maeno Tomoya. The movie is based on the same-titled manga by Ishida Sui and features Kubota as the lead character Kaneki Ken while the heroine Kirishima Touka is played by Shimizu Fumika. In Tokyo where ordinary people and ghouls who look like humans but need to eat human flesh in order to survive live together. While on a date with a ghoul Rize (Aoi Yu), Kaneki is attacked by Rize which results in him being sent to hospital for surgery using her organs. When Kaneki recovers, he discovers that he has become a half-ghoul and must cope with the changes in his body while from keeping the truth from the people he loves and his friends and evading the pursuit of CCG i.e. Commission of Counter Ghoul, the government agency which deals with crimes related to ghouls.

Kubota who had attended the world premiere at Anime Expo 2017 in Los Angeles on 3 July and the European Premiere at Berlin, Germany on 7 July, said that he was very surprised and impressed by the warm reception from those who came for the screenings and the depth of their knowledge about Japanese culture. There were also about 40 cosplayers who came dressed as Kaneki during the events.

Ooizumi who plays CCG investigator Mado Kureo, revealed that he accepted the offer to play Mado because of the fact that the character is an investigator and he wanted a change from his usual casual and frivolous characters. However, he had not actually read the manga then and found that Mado was not the usual type of investigator he imagined. When the cast announcement was made, he heard many complaints that his looks and image were too far from Mado's although there were some encouraging views amid the criticism. Then again, when he heard that, he also didn't feel that good because nobody in real life would want to look like Mado which made everyone laugh upon hearing this.

During the event, Kubota received a surprise present from the manga's author Ishida Sui as the latter had drawn an illustration of Kubota in the image of Kaneki. This gesture surprised Kubota who was very touched and thanked Ishida for taking the time to draw this for him. Upon seeing Kubota's drawing, Ooizumi revealed that Ishida also drew a picture of him during the filming but it wasn't in Mado's image but rather how he appears in the HTB variety show "Suiyou doudeshou" shown locally in Hokkaido so it turned out to make him look quite silly. It was then announced that Ishida will be drawing illustrations for the rest of the cast members as well which will be distributed in coaster sizes to those who come and watch the movie from the first day of screening on 29 July. This was greeted by loud applause from the event participants in the audience.

Sources: Nikkansports / Sanspo 1 / Sanspo 2 / Yomiuri Hochi / Eiga.com / Natalie / Oricon

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Supporting cast line-up of new WOWOW drama "Kataomoi" announced

The supporting cast line-up of new WOWOW drama "Kataomoi" starring Nakatani Miki has been announced. The drama which consists of 6 episodes and will be shown in autumn this year, is based on the same-titled novel by Higashino Keigo. Nakatani plays the lead character Hiura Mizuki who is a woman with gender identity disorder. After a reunion dinner in the summer of 2017 with her friends in the American football team which she used to be the team manager for, Mizuki admits to her teammates that she had murdered someone and that she is living as a man named Kanzaki Mitsuru now and works at a club in Ginza. Faced with such a shocking revelation, Mizuki's friends try to find the truth behind her revelation in a bid to protect her. However, as they gradually unravel the truth, they are faced with the harsh truth and how to decide what's best for everyone. The meaning of "one-sided love" in the title will also be explained as the story progresses.

Kiritani Kenta will be playing Nishiwaki Tetsuro who is a sports instructor and had married Risako (Kuninaka Ryoko) who used to be the team's manager along with Mizuki and is working as a freelance cameraman now. Otani Ryohei plays Hayada Yukihiro who is working as a news reporter while Mizuki's former boyfriend Nakao Kousuke will be played by Suzuki Kousuke. The four of them were all Mizuki's friends back in university and met through the American football team.

Source: Oricon

Supporting cast line-up of new movie "Aku to kamen no ruuru" announced

The supporting cast line-up of new movie "Aku to kamen no ruuru" starring Tamaki Hiroshi and Araki Yuuko has been announced. Tamaki plays the lead character Kuki Fumihiro who was born into a rich family. The story begins at the time when Fumihiro was only 10 years old and came to know about the secret behind his birth and upbringing. His birth father who was the head of the household told him how he had raised his son with the aim of turning the latter into a personification of evil and "promised" to show him hell on his 14th birthday. However, one year before that, he was made to see hell first hand when Kaori, his father's adopted daughter and whom he liked, was raped in front of him. In order to protect his beloved, Fumihiro killed his father which meant that he was one step closer to the evil which his father wanted him to become. He then disappeared from Kaori's side and took on a new identity as Shintani Koichi who protects Kaori from the shadows over more than ten years. While doing so, he comes into contact again with the evil in the Kuki family which is now headed by Fumihiro's elder brother Mikihiko, a greater personification of evil. Araki will be playing Kaori in the movie and act as a hostess for the first time in her career.

Yoshizawa Ryo will be playing the terrorist Ito Ryosuke who recruits Fumihiro into the terrorist organisation JL while Mikihiko will be played by Nakamura Tatsuya. Emoto Akira will be playing Aida, the police detective who is hot on the heels of Fumihiko as a murder suspect and Mitsuishi Ken will be playing Sakakibara, a private detective who used to be hire by Fumihiro's father and is now helping Fumihiro.

The movie will be shown in cinemas next year.

Source: Eiga.com

Yamashita Tatsuro to sing the theme song for new movie "Namiya Zakkaten no Kiseki"

Yamashita Tatsuro will be singing the theme song for new movie "Namiya Zakkaten no Kiseki" starring Yamada Ryosuke and Nishida Toshiyuki which will be shown in cinemas from 23 September. The theme song titled "REBORN" will be released on 13 September and is Yamashita's first movie theme song in three years. In the original novel by Higashino Keigo, there is a song with the title "Saisei" (reborn) thus Yamashita was approached to create a song with this theme which will be played during the ending credits roll. Yamashita who had done more than 30 theme songs for dramas and movies to date, commented that this was one of the toughest assignment he received to date and he spent a longer time than usual i.e. 1.5 months just to complete the song before the movie began filming in January this year. The song will be a key element of the story featured when a young man from the past played by Hayashi Kento "hands over" this song to a singer in the present played by Kadowaki Mugi.

Source: Yomiuri Hochi

Watanabe Ken holds press conference to address his infidelity scandal in March 2017

Watanabe Ken held a press conference on 15 July to address his infidelity scandal which was exposed by Shuukan Bunshun in March this year. He spent about 28 minutes answering questions from the media and admitted that most of the content reported by Bunshun was correct. Watanabe also apologised for hurting the feelings of his family members especially his wife Minami Kaho and revealed that he had broken up with his lover, a jewellery designer, after the report was published.

Here are the key revelations and comments Watanabe made during the press conference:

- With regard to the delayed timing of his press conference, Watanabe said that he needed to get a grasp on the situation and think things through as well as consider the impact on his wife before he could hold a press conference. It was also crucial that he needed to consult related parties on work matters and how to handle the issue thus these factors resulted in him holding the press conference now. Watanabe apologised for the undesirable effects on all related parties and worry caused to his fans by his thoughtless and cowardly behaviour. He will be returning to the US for the filming of a movie and be back in autumn this year for the filming of NHK's 2018 Taiga "Segodon".

- Watanabe met his lover back in 2013 when he was doing the stage play "Horowitz to no kaiwa" in Osaka and a mutual friend introduced them to each other during a meal. However, he denied that they had a 3-year relationship as reported because it was an "on-and-off" relationship where they met up whenever he was in the US for work. In his words, he didn't make up his mind to end the affair so it just continued naturally as time went by. However, they had broken up after the scandal broke in March. He stated that this was the first and only affair during his marriage to Minami so far.

- When asked about details of the relationship and why he had continued the relationship with his ex-lover, Watanabe refrained from divulging the information as she is not a celebrity and he would like to avoid mentioning too much about these private matters. However, he did say that there was no intention of getting divorced and remarried to his ex-lover during the affair and that there was no monetary compensation involved when they broke up. As for the Tiffany ring he reportedly gave to her, Watanabe said that it was not meant as a proposal but rather a Christmas gift.

- Watanabe expressed his apology towards his wife Minami for the hurt he had caused her. As such, he would like to take his time in mending their relationship. When the scandal was exposed in March, Minami was undergoing treatment for breast cancer. At that time, he didn't think that there was anything he could say to her while she was still in shock so it took a bit of time before he could apologise and talk about this issue with her. Despite what happened, Watanabe said that he was touched how she still thought of him by consoling him that his achievements so far wouldn't be wiped away completely by such a thing.

- Even though Minami had expressed her support, the couple are still living apart from each other. Watanabe said that it was not possible for him to return home immediately in the aftermath of the scandal and that he had been living at a cottage in the mountains to make preparations for his work. The couple are still in contact with each other and Minami would visit him whenever she has time. If there is anything he needs from home, she would send it to his agency. Watanabe stressed that there was no such thing that his things were thrown out of their home and that she had sent the items properly to him via courier. As Minami has also resumed her work, they would need more time in future to work on their relationship.

- When asked if he would like to continue with their marriage, Watanabe said that although he was not in the position to say for sure, he hopes to be able to do so.

- As for how his children Dai and An responded to this matter, Watanabe said that he did speak to them about this especially since they are both adults and have their respective families. Although this matter will not mean an end to their relationships as parent-and-child, he will have to work on regaining their trust for the rest of his life. When asked if he can see his grandchildren these days, he stated that this depended on how his children feel about it so he doesn't have much of a say in this. He revealed that he had not been in contact with An since the time when he talked to her about the scandal some months ago so he was not sure how she has been recently.

- When asked to compare what happened in his previous marriage to the potential outcome of his current marriage, Watanabe said that the lawsuit over his previous divorce had to do with money so it resulted in a messy state of things. This time, there is no such issue so the key is that he and Minami will have to talk things out and decide on what they want for their marriage and future.

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

Preview of "Aino Kekkon Soudanjo" - Summer 2017

Title: Aino Kekkon Soudanjo あいの結婚相談所 (Aino's matchmaking agency)
Official website: here
Official Instagram: here
Official Twitter: here
O.A. Start Date: 28 July 2017
Timeslot: Fridays 11.15pm
Broadcast by: TV Asahi
Original manga by: Kato Yagi & Yagi Jun
Theme Song: " Congratulations" / "Ai no Data" by Yamazaki Ikusaburo
Cast: Yamazaki Ikusaburo, Takanashi Rin, Kaga Takeshi, Maeda Bibari, Nakao Masaki, Yamaga Kotoko

Completion screening event of new movie "Kimi no suizou wo tabetai"

The completion screening event of new movie "Kimi no suizou wo tabetai" was held at TOHO Cinemas Roppongi Hills on 6 July which was attended by the director Tsukikawa Sho and cast members Hamabe Minami, Kitamura Takumi, Oguri Shun and Kitagawa Keiko. The movie will be shown in cinemas from 28 July.

The movie which is based on the same-titled bestseller novel by Sumino Yoru which was ranked No.2 in the 2016 Honya Taisho, is set in two time frames. Hamabe and Kitamura will be playing the past of the leads while Oguri and Kitagawa will be playing characters in the current era. The story features the heroine Yamauchi Sakura (Hamabe) who is suffering from a serious illness in her pancreas and the only person who knows about her illness is the lead character "Boku" (I) who is Sakura's classmate (Kitamura). As the story shuttles between the past and present spanning 12 years, it talks about the death of people dear to you and how feelings are conveyed through something more than words. 12 years later, Boku (Oguri) becomes a teacher at his alma mater while Kitagawa plays Sakura's best friend Kyoko who is about to get married.

Hamabe commented that even though the title of the story is rather alarming, it actually is a sad story with deep meaning so she thinks that it is a movie worth watching with someone important to you. Oguri who watched the completed movie in the screening room, said that this was the first time he had cried so much while watching a movie he acted in. As such, he feels that this is a movie which will convey the innocence and purity of the story and cleanse the viewers' hearts. He also revealed that before he received the offer to act in this movie, he read the novel in one day during the filming of his other movie "Museum". Oguri recalled that he had to film scenes of him being illegally confined by the culprit so there was nothing else to do other than read during the breaks. However, he didn't expect to be brought to tears by the story and was crying so much in that room where he was confined in.

With regard to the scene where Kyoko had to read the letter from Sakura, Tsukikawa arranged for Kitagawa to read a blank piece of paper during the rehearsals so that the actual scene could be completed in one take. As such, when Kitagawa heard Hamabe's voice reading the letter, she was able to cry during the scene and couldn't stop even when Tsukikawa had shouted "cut".

As for Oguri, he said that it was tough having to write with his right hand on the blackboard even though he is actually left-handed. In order to make sure that his handwriting was legible, he practised writing with his right hand for one month. As for the biggest change for him in the past 12 years, Oguri jokingly said that he used to get a lot of roles where the characters were either plain or delicate emotionally but he's been playing strong people and heroes of late.

In line with the movie's theme of being touched across the span of 12 years, the cast's photos from 12 years ago were shown during the event. Hamabe provided a picture of when she was 4 and remarked that she was a crybaby then. As for Kitamura, he said that he was very cheerful back when he was 7 and joked that he became broody a few years later. Kitagawa showed a photo taken when she was 18 or 19 in the fashion magazine "Seventeen" while Oguri gave a photo of when he played Hanazawa Rui in the drama "Hana Yori Dango" and jokingly said that it was the period when he looked "sweetest" which led everyone to laugh.

Sources: Eiga.com / Sponichi / Oricon 1 /  Oricon 2

Yoshizawa Ryo, Araki Yuuko & Sugino Yosuke to star in new movie "Ano ko no, toriko"

Yoshizawa Ryo, Araki Yuuko and Sugino Yosuke will be starring in the real-life adaptation movie "Ano ko no, toriko" (I'm that girl's prisoner) based on the same-titled manga by Shiraishi Yuki which is serialised in comic magazine "Sho-Comi". The three of them play childhood friends Yori (Yoshizawa), Shizuku (Araki) and Subaru (Sugino) who pledged to become superstars when they were kids. However, after Yori moved to a place far away, he grows up to become a guy who is hardly considered as star material with his plain and bespectacled appearance. Upon knowing that Shizuku and Subaru have become a model and actor respectively, Yori resolves to meet Shizuku again by transferring to the senior high school where she studies at. He later becomes her assistant and by chance, gets roped in to appear in the CM which Shizuku is shooting. As a result, Yori shoots to fame as a mysterious young man and uncovers a new talent which he has never known. When Subaru and Shizuku are scheduled to act in a stage play together, Yori decides to confess his feelings to Shizuku after she finishes the first day of the performance. Unexpectedly, Yori hears Subaru's confession of love to Shizuku before he can do the same.

Yoshizawa commented that Yori's transformation from a dull and clumsy guy to a sought-after star is very interesting but he feels the pressure of showing the feelings of a guy in love. Especially since he feels that Sugino looks very charming, he will try his best to show Yori's growth and not lose out to Subaru in the movie. On the other hand, Araki said that this is a story which will make the hearts of girls twinge and provide some encouragement to those who are interested to enter showbiz. Last but not least, Sugino commented that Subaru is a very charismatic but unpredictable guy so he will put in effort to play this character and enjoy the filming process.

Filming will be done between 14 June and mid July while the movie will be shown in cinemas next year.

Sources: Eiga.com / Sanspo