Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Winners of the 20th Nikkansports Dorama Grand Prix (Autumn 2016)

Numbers in brackets indicate the number of votes received:

Best Drama
1) Nigeru wa haji daga yaku ni tatsu (261)
2) Sanadamaru (218)
3) Doctor X 4 ~ Gekai Daimon Michiko ~ (139)
4) Jimi ni sugoi! Kouetsu Girl Kouno Etsuko (59)
5) Aibou season 15 (51)

Best Leading Actor
1) Sakai Masato - Sanadamaru (344)
2) Mizutani Yutaka - Aibou season 15 (120)
3) Oda Yuji - IQ246 ~Karei naru Jikenbo ~ (114)
4) Matsuoka Masahiro - Kaseifu no Mitazono (93)
5) Abe Hiroshi - Sniffer Kyuukaku Sousakan (71)

Best Leading Actress
1) Aragaki Yui - Nigeru wa haji daga yaku ni tatsu (368)
2) Yonekura Ryoko - Doctor X 4 ~ Gekai Daimon Michiko ~ (229)
3) Ishihara Satomi - Jimi ni sugoi! Kouetsu Girl Kouno Etsuko (150)
4) Yoshine Kyoko - Beppin-san (82)
5) Amami Yuki - Chef ~ Mitsuboshi no Kyuushoku ~ (60)

Best Supporting Actor
1) Hoshino Gen - Nigeru wa haji daga yaku ni tatsu (218)
2) Ooizumi Yo - Sanadamaru (171)
3) Uchino Seiyo - Sanadamaru (59)
4) Suda Masaki - Jimi ni sugoi! Kouetsu Girl Kouno Etsuko (46)
5) Dean Fujioka - IQ 246 ~ Karei naru Jikenbo ~ / Kagawa Teruyuki - Sniffer Kyuukaku Sousakan (42)

Best Supporting Actress
1) Nagasawa Masami - Sanadamaru (175)
2) Ishida Yuriko - Nigeru wa haji daga yaku ni tatsu (157)
3) Matsushima Nanako - Suna no Tou ~ Shirisugita Rinjin ~ (58)
4) Takeuchi Yuko - Sanadamaru (49)
5) Uchida Yuki - Doctor X 4 ~ Gekai Daimon Michiko ~ (45)

Source: Nikkansports

B'z sings the theme song for TBS Winter 2017 drama "A LIFE ~ Itoshiki Hito ~"

B'z was revealed to be the artist singing the theme song for TBS Winter 2017 drama "A LIFE ~ Itoshiki Hito ~" starring Kimura Takuya during the ending credits of the first episode shown on 15 January. The song titled "Still Alive" was specially written for the drama and is the first time in 17 years since the duo wrote a theme song for Kimura's drama. The previous song was "Konya tsuki no mieru oka ni" for the 2000 TBS drama "Beautiful Life".

B'z revealed that they started producing the song after receiving the offer and had gone through a number of discussions with the staff before they finally decided on something which was satisfactory to everyone. As such, they hope that the song will be a positive and welcomed enhancement to the drama.

Source: Oricon

Press conference to announce new cast members of NHK Taiga fantasy drama "Seirei no Moribito Saishusho"

A press conference was held on 15 January to announce the new cast members for 3-part NHK Taiga fantasy drama "Seirei no Moribito Saishusho" which is the concluding installment in the series. The event was attended by Ayase Haruka, Higashide Masahiro, Kaga Takeshi, Watanabe Ikkei, Itagaki Mizuki, Mera Yoshikazu, Hanafusa Mari and Takeda Tetsuya. Filming is still in progress.

The finale series will be shown from November this year which features Watanabe, Mera, Takeda and Hanafusa as the new members of the cast while Kaga takes over the role originally played by Hira Mikijiro who passed away suddenly last October. Besides them, Dragon Ash's Furuya Kenji will also be a new addition to the cast lineup.

Watanabe revealed that he suffered a back injury as a result of the action scenes he had to take on in this drama. Although he used to be part of the theatre group Gekidan Shinkansen and was used to a lot of big movements then, he is more active in TV dramas now so doesn't have to do that many action scenes. However, he told himself that he couldn't back down from this challenge and decided to press on despite the difficulties. As for Kaga, he expressed his wish to be able to convey the same sincerity and uniqueness of Hira's acting through his performance and called upon viewers to support the drama.

Season 2 "Seirei no Moribito Kanashiki Hakkaigami" will be shown from 21 January onwards in the Saturdays 9pm timeslot.

Sources: Nikkansports / Sanspo / Oricon

Usuda Asami & OKAMOTO'S Okamoto Reiji announce their marriage

Usuda Asami and rock band OKAMOTO'S drummer Okamoto Reiji announced their marriage via fax statements released by their respective agencies on 14 January. According to Okamoto's agency, the couple started dating in the last two years even though they actually became friends 6 years ago and will not be revealing the date when they submitted their marriage application.

In the joint statement, the couple pledged to support each other and continue to work hard in their careers. At the end of the statement, they asked for the continued support of everyone around them.

At present, there are no plans for a wedding and Usuda is currently not pregnant.

Sources: Sanspo / Oricon

Suzuki Ami gives birth to her first son

Suzuki Ami gave birth to her first son at 8.15pm on 12 January who weighed 3,228 grams and announced the good news through her agency the following day. In her statement, Suzuki expressed her thanks to everyone who had supported her all this while and pledged to protect and raise her child well from now on. She is expected to return to work in April this year.

Suzuki was scheduled to appear on a LINE LIVE talk show at 7pm on 12 January but announced the cancellation at 1pm that same afternoon via Twitter by only saying that she was unwell.

Suzuki got married to her husband who is 7 years younger than her in July last year and announced that she was three months' pregnant at that time.

Sources: Nikkansports / Oricon

Monday, January 16, 2017

Top 10 movies box office ranking for the weekend of 14th & 15th January 2017

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

1) Honnouji Hotel (282)

2) Kimi no na wa (296)

3) Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (353)

4) Gekijouban Doubutsu Sentai Juuouja VS Ninninja Mirai kara no message from Super Sentai (322)

5) Eiga Youkai Watch Soratobu Kujira to Double Sekai no Daibouken Danyan (360)

6) Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (368)

7) Fantastic Beasts and where to find them (350)

8) Kono sekai no katasumi ni (68)

9) Boku wa ashita kinou no kimi to deeto suru (305)

10) Kaizoku to yobareta otoko (360)


Excellence award winners for the 40th Nippon Academy Awards (2016)

Unlike other movie awards which tend to refer to those in the running as nominees, the Nippon Academy Awards gives them excellence awards instead and chooses the best among them which will be announced during the prize giving ceremony. Effectively, this means that every nominee actually gets to be presented with an excellence award although there is only one in each category to be crowned the best. In this list announced for the 40th Nippon Academy Awards, Ikari is the biggest "winner" with 12 awards in 11 categories (newcomer category not counted).

The prize giving ceremony will be held on 3 March and hosted by Nishida Toshiyuki who is the vice chairman of the organising committee and has done this for four years in a row and Ando Sakura who was the best leading actress last year.

Films must meet the following criteria in order to be considered for entry:
- Shown in commercial cinemas within the Tokyo area between 16 December 2015 and 15 December 2016 for a fee
- Screenings must be held more than thrice a day and shown for more than 2 weeks
- Films must be longer than 40 minutes

Here is the list of excellence award winners for each category:

Best Movie
Kazoku wa tsurai yo
Shin Godzilla
Yu wo wakasu hodo no atsui ai
64 Rokuyon Zenpen

Best Animation
Kimi no na wa
Koe no katachi
Kono sekai no katasumi ni
Rudolf to Ippai Attena

Best Director
Anno Hideaki / Higuchi Shinji (Shin Godzilla)
Shinkai Makoto (Kimi no na wa)
Zeze Takahisa (64 Rokuyon Zenpen)
Nakano Ryota (Yu wo wakasu hodo no atsui ai)
Lee Sang-il (Ikari)

Best Leading Actor
Ayano Go (Nihon de Ichiban Warui Yatsura)
Okada Junichi (Kaizoku to yobareta otoko)
Sato Koichi (64 Rokuyon Zenpen)
Hasegawa Hiroki (Shin Godzilla)
Matsuyama Kenichi (Satoshi no Seishun)

Best Leading Actress
Ootake Shinobu (Gosaigyou no Onna)
Kuroki Haru (Rip van Winkle no Hanayome)
Hirose Suzu (Chihayafuru - Kami no ku -)
Miyazaki Aoi (Ikari)
Miyazawa Rie (Yu wo wakasu hodo no atsui ai)

Best Supporting Actor
Takehara Pistol (Nagai Iiwake)
Tsumabuki Satoshi (Ikari)
Higashide Masahiro (Satoshi no Seishun)
Moriyama Mirai (Ikari)
Lily Frankie (SCOOP!)

Best Supporting Actress
Ishihara Satomi (Shin Godzilla)
Ichikawa Mikako (Shin Godzilla)
Sugisaki Hana (Yu wo wakasu hodo no atsui ai)
Hirose Suzu (Ikari)
Miyazaki Aoi (Birthday Card)

Newcomer Awards
Sugisaki Hana (Yu wo wakasu hodo no atsui ai)
Takahata Mitsuki (Shokubutsu Zukan Unmei no Koi, hiroimashita)
Hashimoto Kanna (Sailorfuku to kikanjuu - Sotsugyou -)
Iwata Takanori (Shokubutsu Zukan Unmei no Koi, hiroimashita)
Sakaguchi Kentaro (64 Rokuyon Zenpen / 64 Rokuyon Gohen)
Sakumoto Takara (Ikari)
Chiba Yuudai (Dono, Risoku de gozaru!)
Mackenyuu (Chihayafuru - Kami no Ku - / Chihayafuku - Shimo no Ku -)

Source: Oricon

Main cast of TBS Winter 2017 drama "Quartet" to sing the theme song under unit name Doughnuts Hole

The main cast of TBS Winter 2017 drama "Quartet" i.e. Matsu Takako, Mitsushima Hikari, Takahashi Issei and Matsuda Ryuhei will be forming an unit by the name of Doughnuts Hole and sing the theme song for the drama which is written by Shiina Ringo. The song titled "Otona no Okita" features the four of them singing and playing their respective musical instruments. At the end of the each episode during the credits section, the specially-created music video featuring the cast will be played.

Shiina commented that it is a honour for her to participate in this song and that she had made sure that they get to play their musical instruments when she was writing the melody. She also praised the actors for singing well and hopes that everyone will enjoy the song together with the drama.

Source: Natalie

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Oguri Shun & Nishijima Hidetoshi to star in FujiTV Spring 2017 drama "CRISIS Kouan Kido Sousatai Tokusouhan"

Oguri Shun and Nishijima Hidetoshi will be working together in the upcoming FujiTV Spring 2017 drama "CRISIS Kouan Kido Sousatai Tokusouhan" which will be shown from April in the Tuesdays 9pm timeslot. This will be their first collaboration in a private network drama which was conceptualised 5 years ago by writer Kaneshiro Kazuki who worked together with Oguri in the drama "BORDER".

The drama features Oguri in the leading role of Inami Akira who belongs to the secret team within the police force named Kouan Kido Sousatai Tokusouhan (special investigation unit of the public security department's riot squad). The team is tasked to handle the "dirty jobs" of the country and government and consists of police officers who have unspeakable pasts and secrets which they have to struggle with while handling the critical issues facing the country on a daily basis such as terrorism, new religious groups, military spies and drug peddling organisations. Nishijima plays his colleague Tamaru Saburo who also belongs to the same team. Inami is always resorting to unthinkable measures to overcome the criminals while Tamaru is the exact opposite and the epitome of calmness. In order to prepare for the action scenes in the drama, the two actors started to learn silat since a year ago.

Oguri revealed that a long time ago, he and Nishijima were talking about acting together in an interesting production with action scenes so this drama is like a dream come true for them. As the theme is something hardly seen in primetime dramas, Oguri was already quite keen to participate in this production even though it looked like there would be a lot of difficulties making this idea materialise. With regard to the action scenes, Oguri said that he will try his best to rise up to the challenge while Nishijma complimented his co-star for being a natural leader in pulling everyone else along. Despite the toughness of the filming, Nishijima also commented that this will in turn make the drama even more enjoyable to watch so they are all very proud to be able to participate in this drama.

Sources: Sanspo / Oricon /

Completion screening event of new movie "Isshukan Friends"

The completion screening event of new movie "Isshukan Friends" was held on 12 January which was attended by the director Murakami Shosuke and cast members Kawaguchi Haruna, Yamazaki Kento, Matsuo Takashi, Uesugi Shuhei, Takahashi Haori, Totsugi Shigeyuki and Furuhata Seika. The movie which will be shown in cinemas from 18 February, is based on the same-titled shoujo manga that had sold more than 1.5 million copies to date. Kawaguchi plays a senior high school girl Kaori who has an illness which causes her to lose her memories every Monday and Yamazaki plays her classmate Yuki who has to confess his love to her every week so that she can remember him.

Kawaguchi recounted that playing this character was very difficult because she had to show the subtle differences in her character's expressions and actions as time went by. In response to this, Yamazaki who is working with Kawaguchi for the first time, he praised his co-star for being able to switch between her onscreen and offscreen modes with ease. Kawaguchi chipped in to say that Yamazaki is a gentle, handsome and interesting guy but can sometimes be a bit silly so that explains why he is so popular with girls.

Kawaguchi also revealed that the cast enjoyed their filming a lot and became close by going out for activities such as eating udon from the convenience stores and gathering around the heated stoves to chat. However, for Totsugi who plays the form teacher, he commented that he felt quite out of place among his younger co-stars who are in their 20s and joked that he felt it difficult to blend in with them.

Sources: Sponichi / Oricon /

Theme songs for new adaptation movie of "Sangatsu no Lion" announced

The theme songs for the two-part adaptation movie of "Sangatsu no Lion" have been announced. For part 1 which will be shown in cinemas from 18 March, the theme song titled "Be Noble" will be sung by Boku no Lyric no Bouyomi, a 18-year-old singer and rapper who made his debut in 2015 when he was still in senior high school. He wrote the song specially for the movie which aims to reflect the struggles of the lead character Rei (Kiriyama) as he tries to find a place where he truly belongs to.

As for Part 2 which will be shown from 22 April, the theme song "Haru no Uta" originally by Spitz will be covered by Fujiwara Sakura which is said to be the song which the author Umino Chika had been listening to when she conceptualised the story. Fujiwara commented that she had been a fan of the manga so it was a dream come true for her to be able to cover the song.


Screening event of new movie "Koisaika Miyamoto" in Osaka

The screening event of new movie "Koisaika Miyamoto" was held at TOHO Cinemas Umeda in Osaka on 12 January which was attended by the director Yukawa Kazuhiko and the leads Abe Hiroshi and Amami Yuki. The movie which is based on the novel by Shigematsu Kiyoshi, features Abe and Amami as a couple who had a shotgun marriage 27 years ago and are experiencing the empty nest syndrome after their child moves out. When the husband finds out that his wife has hidden a completed divorce application form, he is shocked and tries to understand why things have come to this stage. The movie will be shown in cinemas from 28 January.

Although the movie is a heartwarming story about a couple married for many years, the screening was held at Osaka which has the third highest divorce rate in Japan after Okinawa and Miyazaki. When asked to comment about this trend by the MC, Amami jokingly said that she would like to abstain from commenting since she is not even married yet. As for Abe, he recounted that the last time he worked together with Amami was 15 years ago when they played lovers in a period drama but their characters' fates were very tragic then because he ended up being executed while she starved to death. Even though they've not worked together since then, they do bump into each other at times since they visit the same sports club. The actors also thanked the audience for coming to the event despite the cold weather and called upon everyone to support the movie. Amami said that couples should definitely come to watch this but single women like herself can also enjoy the film as well.

Sources: Nikkansports / Yomiuri Hochi

Completion screening event of FujiTV Winter 2017 drama "Kirawareru Yuuki"

The completion screening event of FujiTV Winter 2017 drama "Kirawareru Yuuki" was held at Cinema Mediage in Odaiba on 12 January which was attended by cast members Karina, Kato Shigeaki and Shiina Kippei. The detective drama is based loosely on the bestseller series by psychotherapist Alfred Adler which had sold more than 1.8 million copies to date and features Karina as the lead character Andou Ranko who is a 32-year-old single police detective. Although she is very capable at her job and has solved many difficult cases to date, she can't get used to the organisation structure and is a loner who doesn't listen to others' advice and does things the way she wants to. Due to her attitude, she becomes disliked by her colleagues in the police force which is predominantly made up of men. NEWS member Kato Shigeaki plays Aoyama Toshio, Ranko's new partner transferred to her department and is the exact opposite of her because he cares too much about other people's opinions and tries hard not to be disliked by others. He dislikes Ranko immensely due to her wilful behaviour. Shiina Kippei plays the role of Daimonji Tetsuto who is a psychology professor who tells Aoyama about the existence of Adler's psychology theories thus helping him to understand how to co-exist with Ranko.

Karina recounted that when she first received the offer, she was unsure how psychology theories would fit into a detective drama so she was excited and worried at the same time. As for Kato who knew about the original book, he was very intrigued and surprised by how the content was integrated into the script.

Karina and Shiina last worked together in the 2006 movie "Rinne" so this will be the first time in 10 years they are working together. Karina remarked that as she was around 21 or 22 years old and just starting out as an actress then, she remembered how kind Shiina was towards her. He then chipped in to say that she had matured a lot after all these years.

As for Karina and Kato, it is the first time that they are working together. With regard to his co-star, Kato said that there were times when she put on a really cold and expressionless face which made him feel as if he was being looked down on. However, Karina was quick to point out that this was because she had to play such a character. Kato then revealed that Karina had actually said that he is a troublesome person because he always cleans his bathroom mirror and tap after bathing. In response, Karina admitted readily to this and said that Kato is such a meticulous person that she finds it a hassle if he were to ask of her to do the same.

Sources: Nikkansports / Sponichi /

Saturday, January 14, 2017

The 1st Dorama World Awards 2016 - Winners in the Best Drama category

Finally, here is the last category to be announced i.e. Best Drama!

In terms of the voting pattern, it does look like the dramas shown later in the year had a slight advantage initially probably because it is human nature to remember something which happened nearer in time. As such, it took some time before the dramas from Winter 2016 and Spring 2016 to start amassing votes from their supporters. In addition, none of the dramas from the top 5 came from the summer which seems to suggest that the offerings in that season did not really impress the voters.

Without further ado, let's take a look at the top 5 dramas of 2016 as voted by you!

At No.5, we have two dramas i.e. 99.9 Keiji Senmon Bengoshi and Juuhan Shuttai! which were tied at 72 points. Coincidentally, both dramas were shown during the spring season where the former was the ratings winner while the latter was a favourite among critics and picked up some awards.

Juuhan Shuttai! actually looked like a promising bet for the top spot at the beginning of the voting period and was giving No.3 a run for its money as they kept switching places. However, the drama failed to get many votes compared to the others in the top 5 from the second week onwards thus it had to settle for No.5.

As for 99.9, it didn't really make an impression at first until the number of votes started to pick up in the second week. It was rather late by then to climb further upwards but still managed to squeeze into the top 5.

No. 3 Nigeru wa haji daga yaku ni tatsu - 74 points

NigeHaji actually had a blazing start and looked like the sure-win for this category as seen by the many guesses which placed their bet on this title. However, it had a similar issue like Juuhan Shuttai! where the votes sort of dried up towards the end. Coupled with the phenomenal influx of votes for No.1 in the second week of the voting period,  the gap was too big to be closed so NigeHaji ended up being ranked No.3.
At first, nobody probably expected NigeHaji to become the much-talked-about hit of the year because its first episode's rating was just 10.2% but it was more than doubled to 20.8% by the time it finished its run. This goes to show that hit dramas can slowly build up their momentum even if they do not start off strong.
Personally, I don't quite like such romance comedies based on manga as they usually tend to be quite fluffy and unrealistic so I wasn't keen on this drama in the first place. Nonetheless, I did watch the digest versions which TBS put up generously on their YouTube channel and think that it is not as bad as I thought. Despite so, given the nature of the genre, this is probably something which won't go down well with me.

No.2 Kaitou Yamaneko - 90 points

In the first few days of the voting, this drama hardly made an impression but its supporters turned out in full force suddenly in the middle of the voting period and helped it grab the top spot easily. As such, it looked almost certain that Kaitou Yamaneko was going to beat NigeHaji which was seen as the hot favourite. However, the eventual No.1 rose up the ranks so quickly in the second week and earned so many points that it was not possible for this drama to overcome the deficit.
As I've not watched this drama, I am not in a position to comment on it but it will be nice to hear from you guys why you voted for this.

And the title of Best Drama goes to Doctor X 4 ~ Gekai Daimon Michiko ~ with 172 points!

As seen from the strong support by the voters, it's pretty obvious that Doctor X is such a huge favourite that it had beaten the most-talked about drama this autumn i.e. NigeHaji. As Daimon's catchphrase puts it, she never fails so it's not surprising that the drama is the No.1 in terms of ratings and has received pretty good reviews. Support for the drama was slow at first but just like what happened in the Best Actress and Best Theme Song categories, the votes for the drama in this category came in fast and furious that it just swept all the supposed sure-wins off the No.1 spots.

And for those who are interested to know which dramas I voted for, they all did not make it to the top 5 but here is the list:

No.1 Boku no Yabai Tsuma
No.2 Kaseifu no Mitazono
No.3 Chef ~ Mitsuboshi no Kyuushoku ~
No.4 Naomi to Kanako

I think I have said enough about how much I liked Boku no Yabai Tsuma in my earlier posts but just to put it in a nutshell, the story's twists and turns and great acting from the cast made this the most memorable work I watched in 2016. Kaseifu no Mitazono had an interesting story and great acting from Mabo although I would have preferred it not to have an ending like Kazoku Game where you still did not know the background of the lead character. Chef was a feel-good drama with a positive message which was accentuated by Amami Yuki's charismatic performance. Last but not least, Naomi to Kanako was generally good for its suspense element despite the loopholes in its story but it was still better than I expected.

Now that all winners have been announced, I would like to thank all of you for your participation and support in this event. Whether the winners were who or what you chose, I hope that you had fun in the process. Keep watching the dramas in 2017 and we'll pick our favourites again at the end of the year!

Friday, January 13, 2017

The 1st Dorama World Awards 2016 - Winners in the Best Leading Actor category

The voting situation for the Best Leading Actor category was rather unpredictable as a number of actors took turns to hog the top spot so it was difficult to tell who might win the title until the last few days. It seemed that supporters were taking turns to vote in tandem so there were days when there was a concentration of votes for one actor before another wave of votes for a different actor came in the next day. As such, unlike what happened in the best leading actress where the winner was literally unbeatable, the competition here seemed comparatively more intense as there was no clear winner until the end.

Without further ado, here is the list of the top 5 winners in this category!

No.5 Matsuoka Masahiro - Kaseifu no Mitazono (38 points)

This drama was the last I watched in 2016 and it really exceeded my expectations in more ways than one. To be honest, I wasn't expecting too much from the story and wanted to watch this just for the sake of Mabo. If you know the Mabo in TOKIO and seen his dramas in this past, you would never have thought that he could pull this off because he always has a very masculine and cool image. I admit that I doubted him too. However, he looked so convincing as Mitazono not just in terms of appearance (he has such nice-looking legs and a great figure!) but also in terms of mannerisms and way of speech. Mitazono spoke in such a refined manner which didn't seem too out of place as Mabo had immersed himself fully into the role. Of course, his ability to switch between serious and comedic modes was pretty impressive. Barring the fact that his face just doesn't cut it as a woman, I thought that he had gone through a pretty convincing transformation for the sake of this drama.
Mabo didn't start off as a strong contender for the top 5 at first so I wasn't expecting him to make it into the list. However, for those who voted for him, I gather that they must have waited till they finished the drama so that's why the votes were concentrated in the second week of the voting period. And yes, he was my top pick among all the leading actors in 2016!

No.4 Ohno Satoshi - Sekai ichi muzukashii koi (39 points) 

Similarly in Ohno's case, the votes for him came in at a pretty slow pace at first before there was a surge in the second week. As such, I also thought at one point that he might not make it to the top 5 but he managed to squeeze in to grab No.4 with just one point more than Mabo.
As I've only watched one episode of this drama, I can't really tell how well he did. However, since this is Ohno's first romantic comedy, I thought that it will be a refreshing change in his acting career so this could be why he has won the favour of those who voted for him.

No.3 Kamenashi Kazuya - Kaitou Yamaneko (85 points)

Kamenashi looked like he was about to grab the No.1 spot when there was a huge inflow of votes for him in the middle of the voting period. However, the eventual No.1 and No.2 turned the tables in the last few days thus making it a two-way fight in the end.
I haven't watched this drama so I am not in a position to comment on his performance. For those who have voted for him, perhaps you can let me know what you liked about his acting here?

No.2 Matsumoto Jun - 99.9 Keiji Senmon Bengoshi (101 points)

Matsujun started off pretty strong at the beginning of the voting period and had a steady flow of votes unlike most of his competitors in this category. However, No.1 pulled ahead in the last minute thus pushing Matsujun down to No.2 on the last day. If Matsujun had received a few more votes then, the final outcome might have been different.
Likewise, I haven't watched this drama yet so I can't comment on how he performed. Much has been said in the media about how conscientious and hardworking he was when acting in this drama so I guess his effort did pay off in the end by contributing to the good ratings and generally favourable comments about this drama.

And here we have the final winner: Abe Hiroshi - Sniffer Kyuukaku Sousakan with 115 points!

Actually, Abe started off very strongly in the first few days of the voting but somehow lost steam in the middle when Kamenashi and Matsumoto surged ahead and took turns hogging the top spot. However, Abe's supporters launched a remarkable comeback towards the end and managed to bridge the huge gap in points before winning the title.
I haven't started watching this drama yet but I've always enjoyed Abe's works. As such, I will leave it to his supporters to tell me why you chose to vote for him.
Just saying though, if I had watched this drama before the voting period ended, I might have voted for him as well since Abe rarely disappoints. ^__^

And for those who are interested to know who else I voted for besides Mabo, there is only one other actor who I ranked as No.2:

Ito Hideaki - Boku no Yabai Tsuma

Although Ito didn't make it to the top 5, I thought he put up a very different and interesting performance in this drama partly due to his good chemistry with his co-star Kimura Yoshino. For a long while, Ito had been projecting this passionate, rash and righteous image thanks to the success of his Umizaru series. Then again, you are sometimes a victim of your own success because it was getting so difficult for him to produce equally memorable like Senzaki Daisuke to show the world that he can act. However, in this drama, his character who thought that he was smart, ended up being twirled around his scheming wife's little finger so it was a refreshing change to see him being reduced to such a pitiful state. Towards the end of the drama when the story made him become a bit wiser to his wife's true nature, the "intellectual battle" between him and Kimura was rather interesting to watch too. Frankly speaking, if his co-star was not that powerful, it might not have brought out the best from Ito but I thought that he still put up a fairly decent performance here.

Please feel free to share your comments about the winners here or via the Facebook page!

Darenogare Akemi to star in spin-off drama of TV Asahi Winter 2017 drama "Ubai Ai, Fuyu"

Darenogare Akemi will be starring in the live spin-off drama of TV Asahi Winter 2017 drama "Ubai Ai, Fuyu" which is to be shown via Internet TV station "AbemaTV". This will be the first live drama shown via AbemaTV.

"Ubai Ai, Fuyu" is a romance drama written by Suzuki Osamu which features Kurashina Kana as the lead Ikeuchi Hikaru who is caught in a love triangle with her fiance Okugawa Kouta played by Miura Shohei and her married ex-lover Moriyama Shin played by Otani Ryohei. Darenogare plays Onoue Reika who is Kouta's childhood friend and former girlfriend.

In the spin-off drama titled "Mouchoi, Ubai Ai with Nama Dorama", Reika will be expressing her character's feelings towards Kouta and jealousy directed towards Hikaru. Each episode of the spin-off drama will last between 5 and 10 minutes and be shown from 21 January at 8pm on Saturdays.

Source: Sponichi

SEKAI NO OWARI members Saori & Nakajin announce their marriage and engagement respectively

SEKAI NO OWARI members Saori and Nakajin announced their marriage and engagement respectively on 12 January. Saori got married to actor Ikeda Dai who she met about 5 years ago through a mutual friend and is currently not pregnant. There are no plans yet for a wedding. On the other hand, Nakajin got engaged to his girlfriend who he started dating in 2013 and is due to get married in the near future. At present, the members of SEKAI NO OWARI are living together so Saori and Nakajin will continue shuttling between the band's current house and their spouses' places.

In her statement, Saori revealed that she had dated Ikeda for five years and he has always supported her music career and gave a lot of thought to her health. She pledged to build a warm family with her husband and continue improving as a member of SEKAI NO OWARI. Meanwhile, Ikeda also released a statement where he revealed that he had been attracted to Saori's full dedication to her work and hopes to continue supporting her in future as he continues to work hard as an actor.

As for Nakajin, he revealed that he had been dating his girlfriend who is not a celebrity for four years and she had supported him whenever he was troubled. He expressed his hope that they can overcome any difficulties in future together and will work harder as a member of the band.

Sources: Sanspo / Sponichi

Dean Fujioka to star in new movie "Kekkon" as a marriage fraudster

Dean Fujioka will be starring in the new movie "Kekkon" (Marriage) which is based on the 2012 novel by Naoki Award-winning author Inoue Areno. The movie which is due to be shown in summer this year, features Fujioka as a fraudster Koumi Kenji who dupes women into believing that he will marry them and cheats them of their money by taking on a variety of names and identities. During the process, he is assisted by his buddy Sengoku Ruriko (Shuuko) who was almost cheated by Koumi in the past. In order to find out the truth, Koumi's victims launch an investigation which leads them to Ruriko where they subsequently find out the real motive of Koumi.

Fujioka commented that as this character is unlike what he has played to date, he feels quite uneasy but hopes to work hard to make his character convincing. As for Shuuko, she commented that her character Ruriko is so much in love with Koumi that it feels sad so she hopes to show the complex mix of emotions of her character in this movie.

Filming begins this month.

Sources: Nikkansports / Sanspo /

Hakamada Yoshihiko admits to infidelity report in "Shuukan Shinchou"

Hakamada Yoshihiko admitted to having an affair with another woman as reported in the 12 January issue of "Shuukan Shinchou" and confirmed that he is currently living apart from his wife at the moment. According to the report, Hakamada who has married to celebrity Kawanaka Ai since 2010 and have a daughter, started living apart from his wife in the summer of 2014 and got to know his lover in September 2015.

With regard to the report about his affair, Hakamada apologised in a written statement for his thoughtless act having caused disturbance and inconveniences to everyone and expressed his remorse for what he did. He apologised to his lover but expressed his wish to mend ties with his wife and daughter with the utmost sincerity.

In response to the news about her husband's infidelity, Kawanaka posted on her blog and apologised for the controversy over this matter. She commented that Hakamada himself must be feeling the worst right now. From now on, the two of them will discuss about their future with their daughter's happiness in mind. As such, she called upon everyone to give them time and space to do so while ensuring that she and her daughter can continue to lead peaceful lives before signing off with her husband's surname.

Sources: Oricon / Nikkansports

Thursday, January 12, 2017

The 1st Dorama World Awards 2016 - Winners in the Best Leading Actress category

The voting situation for this category can be said to be full of twists and turns. During the first few days, No.2 and No.5 were locked in a tight race for the top spot until No.3 came in to make it a three-way fight. However, the unexpected thing happened in the second week of the voting when No.1 suddenly rose up the ranks with such momentum that the rest of the field could never catch up.

Without further ado, let's meet the top 5 winners in this category!

No.5 Ishihara Satomi - Jimi ni sugoi! Kouetsu Girl Kouno Etsuko (46 points)

Ishihara started off quite well at the beginning of the voting period but lost speed very quickly as well. Frankly speaking, I was sort of expecting that it will be a two-way fight between her and No.2 since there were a lot of comparisons between them and the performance of their dramas which were aired in the same season. What's interesting too is that many of the people who voted for Ishihara did not include No.2 in their top 5 list.
I haven't watched Ishihara's performance in this drama yet so I can't really comment on how she fared. To be honest, when Ishihara first started out as an actress, I thought that she was really "jimi" and didn't really stand out among her peers. However, she went through an amazing transformation in recent years, not just in terms of her appearance and image which are now seen as fashionable and trend-setting but also in her acting which I think shows a new degree of maturity. That's not to say that she was bad in the past but it probably took her a bit of time to find her strengths and build upon those traits to make her become who she is today.

No.4 Mitsushima Hikari - Totto Terebi (50 points)

As compared to her peers in the top 5, Mitsushima's ascent in the ranking was slowly but surely. Although she did not shoot up at once, the constant and steady flow of votes across the entire voting period contributed to her performance.
Likewise, I haven't watched her performance in this drama yet but I've always liked Mitsushima's acting although the dramas I've seen her in tend to be the emotionally-heavy ones for some reason. That's why I'm very excited to see her bright side come up in the new drama "Quartet". Having to play a person who exists in real life Kuroyanagi Tetsuko, I believe that there is a fair bit of difficulty to look convincing but it looks like the blog's readers liked what they saw from Mitsushima as seen from the votes.

No.3 Kuroki Haru - Juuhan Shuttai! (78 points)

I haven't seen any of Kuroki's works other than the drama SP "Oriental Kyuukou Satsujin Jiken" but I struggle to remember what her role in that SP was. I attribute this partly due to the fact that the drama SP had so many actors in the cast. Likewise, I haven't watched this drama yet to give an accurate assessment of how she fared. However, she has actually won the Best Leading Actress for her role here in the 89th The Television Dorama Academy Award so this probably means that she did well enough in this drama.
In terms of the voting pattern, Kuroki didn't look like a serious contender in the first few days because No.2 was practically hogging a lot of the votes. However, just like Mitsushima, Kuroki started to receive a steady flow of votes later which helped her to climb up to No.3. Alas, it was still not enough to pull down No.2 while No.1 was practically unreachable.

No.2 Aragaki Yui - Nigeru wa haji daga yaku ni tatsu (90 points) 

I'm sure many of you thought that Aragaki was a shoo-in for this category especially seen from the number of guesses who chose her as the winner. In fact, she did look like she was going to grab this easily, thanks to the huge support for her right from Day 1 of the voting period. However, unexpected things do happen even when you think you are sure to win because No.1 came in like a flash and swept the title off Aragaki's hands with such great momentum that the eventual point gap between the two was impossible to bridge.
My "interaction" with Aragaki can be considered fairly limited but there were two dramas which I thought she made an impression on me i.e. "My Boss My Hero" where she played Nagase Tomoya's classmate and love interest and "Legal High" where she appeared with Sakai Masato. I think I'm quite neutral about her. However, she did look very endearing and adorable in NigeHaji even though I've only watched the digest versions so far.

And the winner is Yonekura Ryoko - Doctor X 4 ~ Gekai Daimon Michiko ~ with a whooping 173 points!

Actually, in the first week of the voting period, there were hardly any votes towards Yonekura as Aragaki, Ishihara and Kuroki were locked in a three-way battle. By the time we got to the second week, things literally changed overnight where there was a steady supply of votes for Yonekura which seemed to suggest that her supporters had waited till for a while before submitting their votes. As such, the tables were overturned and Yonekura never looked back as she marched her way to the top just like her sassy character in this drama.
Now that I think about it, I have been watching Yonekura's dramas for such a long time. The first time when she made an impression on me was back in 2001 when she appeared in "Love Revolution" and I thought that she did well opposite the more experienced Esumi Makiko although her character in that drama irked me at one point when she was obsessed with Oshio Manabu's character who didn't love her. Subsequently, I watched quite a lot of the dramas where she played evil or scheming women which I must say that she had the screen presence to tackle those roles. Surprisingly, I sort of stopped watching her dramas ever since she began work on the Doctor X series which I wouldn't say was deliberate but it just so happened this way for one reason or another. Perhaps I can go and search for the earlier seasons of Doctor X to see why the series could last this long?

And if you are keen to know who I chose, here is the list! And yes, they both did not make it to the top 5 this time:

No.1 Amami Yuki (Chef Mitsuboshi no Kyuushoku)
Actually, I do wonder if this drama had not been aired on the same day as Doctor X (Chef was shown at 10pm while Doctor X was shown at 9pm), would it have enjoyed a bit more success? Watching this drama was by chance actually since the cable TV station Waku Waku Japan was showing it but I found myself enjoying this more than I imagined. I credit that to Amami who was so vivacious, positive and inspiring even though there were some predictable elements in the story.

No.2 Haru (ON Ijou Hanzai Sousakan Toudou Hinako)
As I mentioned previously, this drama felt like a gathering of psychos. In order to stand out among them, Haru managed to show a good blend of ordinary and extraordinary in her character. On one hand, she looked emotionless and unfeeling while the next, you could see the emotions within her which were seemingly suppressed in order to look normal and fit into society. There were a few scenes when I felt shivers from watching Haru. In this regard, her performance in this drama was really mind-blowing for me.

So how do you feel about the winners list in this category? Be sure to share your views here or via the Facebook page!

Premium screening event of TBS Winter 2017 drama "A LIFE Itoshiki Hito"

The premium screening event of TBS Winter 2017 drama "A LIFE Itoshiki Hito" was held at the Japan Medical Association's grand auditorium on 11 January which was attended by cast members Kimura Takuya, Takeuchi Yuko, Matsuyama Kenichi, Kimura Fumino, Nanao, Oikawa Mitsuhiro and Asano Tadanobu. 400 guests including medical personnel gathered for the screening where Kimura commented that the drama hopes to convey their respect towards the medical personnel who are working in Japan. The drama will begin its run from 15 January in the Sundays 9pm timeslot.

In preparation for the filming, Kimura went to observe a real operation and said that the experience helped him to appreciate the reality of what it means to be working in the medical field. As for Asano who plays Kimura's rival in the drama, he commented that they went through a lot of discussions so as to decide how to act in the drama. Matsuyama revealed that he is very honoured to be working with Kimura and Asano who he had always looked up to and pledged to work hard to make this drama a success.

The cast also revealed how Matsuyama behaves like a curious interviewer on the set who asks his co-stars a variety of questions. Oikawa commented that Matsuyama asked him before if there was a likelihood that there would be a sequel for "Hanzawa Naoki". In response, Matsuyama commented that he finds it especially interesting to "interview" Kimura on the set since the latter's answers are interesting but Kimura poked fun at Matsuyama for asking questions as if he's an outsider even though he's part of the cast.

Sources: Sponichi / / Oricon

Production press conference of TV Tokyo Winter 2017 drama "Byplayers Moshimo rokunin no meiwakiyaku ga sharehouse de kurashitara"

The production press conference of TV Tokyo Winter 2017 drama "Byplayers Moshimo rokunin no meiwakiyaku ga sharehouse de kurashitara" was held on 11 January which was attended by the cast members Oosugi Ren, Taguchi Tomoroo, Terajima Susumu, Matsushige Yutaka and Mitsuishi Ken. Endo Kenichi was absent due to other work arrangements so a panel board of his photo was brought to the press conference's venue.

The six actors have been active in many Japanese dramas and movies to date but this is the first time that they are acting together. However, the actors commented that they are taking things very easy this time and the filming feels more like a gathering of middle-aged men. Oosugi who is the oldest among them, said that they he didn't have to display leadership qualities while Terajima commented that the people around them seem to be more hyped up about their collaboration as compared to the actors themselves. Matsushige chipped in to say that they all get along very well and have great teamwork.

As the filming is done primarily at Tateyama City in Chiba Prefecture, the actors go out for meals every night after the filming ends instead of heading back to their hotel rooms. Oosugi revealed that he can't really recall what they talked about during those gatherings but the atmosphere made them feel good and time passed quickly every time. Taguchi joked that they were all speaking at the same time without really listening to one another. Matsushige also revealed that they would split the tab down to the last yen for such gatherings and try to keep the budget to 3,000 yen per person because the very first restaurant they went to turned out to be very expensive while Taguchi teased Mitsuishi for complaining about that expensive bill till today.

Sources: Sanspo / Sponichi

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The 1st Dorama World Awards 2016 - Winners in the Best Supporting Actor category

As compared to the supporting actress category, the top 2 actors in this category were literally playing musical chairs among themselves during the two-week period while the rest of the competition hardly had a chance of overtaking them. The point difference among most of those being for was very small so the ranking results were rather volatile on a day-to-day basis. Despite so, the top 2 maintained a healthy lead from the start and never looked back.

However, the results could have changed drastically if the disqualified votes were included. The same issue happened here where voters simply put the names of the actors and did not specify which drama's role they were voting for so it was not possible to ascertain what they were voting for.

Although some of my favourite actors are in the top 5, it just so happened that I have not watched the dramas that they appeared in so that was why I did not vote for them. As for those I voted for, they were all not in the top 5.

Let's meet the winners of this category then!

No.5 Yamazaki Kento - Suki na hito ga iru koto (24 points)

Among the top 5 in this category, Yamazaki is the youngest and has the least experience in acting. Despite so, he's been doing pretty well as an upcoming actor and taking on lead roles in a number of significant projects. Although I watched this drama, it was more so for the Shonan Coast scenery rather than the story and cast. Perhaps it was the predictable script that made Yamazaki's acting appear equally predictable and bland to me but going by the votes he received, his supporters liked him well enough to place him as No.1 on their lists.

No.4 Otani Ryohei - Nigeru wa haji daga yaku ni tatsu (25 points)

Otani narrowly edged out Yamazaki to grab the No.4 spot which was pretty surprising, considering that his name had not surfaced as one of the key contenders for the top 5 until the second week.
Otani is being touted as the next Dean Fujioka i.e.a reverse import actor who made it big outside of Japan before returning to their home country. There have also been comparisons between him and Takenouchi Yutaka as people say that they look rather alike.
To be honest, I don't watch that many Korean dramas and coincidentally, I've not watched any of his Korean dramas before. He did appear as a guest on 1n2d too but I simply cannot recall when that was or what he did. I haven't watched NigeHaji yet so I can't really comment on how he fared in that but his character did come across as a suave and polished suitor for the heroine's affections and give the male lead a run for his money.

No.3 Odagiri Jo - Juuhan Shuttai! (33 points)

Odagiri got off to a pretty good start during the first two days of the voting until he was overtaken by No.1 and No.2. Likewise, I haven't watched this drama yet so I can't assess his performance. For those who voted for him, perhaps you can share with me why you chose to support him?
Although Odagiri had been the lead for a number of dramas in the past, it seems like he's been taking on quite a number of supporting roles as well in recent years. Personally, I don't mind whether he's in a leading or supporting role since I will be content with seeing him in dramas from time to time.

No.2 Kagawa Teruyuki - 99.9 Keiji Senmon Bengoshi (54 points)

Compared to No.1 getting off to a good start very quickly, Kagawa's votes grew at a comparatively gradual pace and was on top for a few days until it conceded the lead. Nonetheless, I'm sure that many would agree that he is a versatile actor and can handle both serious and comedic roles very well. Although I've not watched this drama yet, I've read many media reports praising his performance in this drama.
Unfortunately, Kagawa lost a few votes along the way as there were people who voted for him but did not specify the drama. Since he was in this drama and "Sniffer" in 2016, it was not possible to tell which role was being voted for. If those votes were valid, it might have turned the tables and helped Kagawa secure the win since the point difference between him and No.1 was not that big anyway.

And here is the winner of this category: Hoshino Gen - Nigeru wa haji daga yaku ni tatsu who got 72 points!

I think that most people would agree that Hoshino enjoyed a huge surge in name awareness and popularity last autumn thanks to this drama and his theme song. From the beginning, he got a significant share of the votes which helped him stay in the top ranks throughout the voting period. At one point though, Kagawa Teruyuki looked like he was about to snatch the No.1 spot from Hoshino but the latter managed to sweep up some late votes to win the title. 
Unfortunately, Hoshino also lost some votes along the way because some voters did not specify if they were voting for his role here or in "Sanadamaru". As such, there was a likelihood that he could have won this more easily and with a larger margin.

In case you are wondering who I voted for, I only chose three actors:

No.1 Hayashi Kento (ON Ijou Hanzai Sousakan Toudou Hinako)
No.2 Sato Ryuta (Naomi to Kanako)
No.3 Endo Kenichi (Chef Mitsuboshi no Kyuushoku)

Personally, I thought that ON had a pretty good story with a solid cast but there was this nagging feeling in my mind that the characters in the drama were weird in their own ways. As a friend puts it, it's like a gathering of "psychos"! ^__^  Hayashi's character may seem like a mild-mannered and demure man on the surface but his raging emotions within were conveyed in such a way that it sort of made me shudder at certain points. In that sense, I thought he was great in showing the gap between his character's external image and internal mind.
Likewise for Sato who usually appears as good-natured or goofy characters, his transformation into this abusive husband who gets "eliminated" very early in the story was simply mind-blowing. He did come across as really detestable and frightening at the same time. Unfortunately, the other character he played in the drama was somewhat bland which I attribute partly to the story's setting.
Last but not least, Endo's fierce looks make him look like a mismatch with his character who designs and cooks school lunches in a primary school. Although there was no romantic link between him and Amami Yuki in the drama, I liked the progression of their relationship from that of disdain and distrust to belief in each other's abilities and appreciating each other for who they are. The display of their chemistry on screen towards the end of the drama also contributed to my liking of Endo's acting here.

So how do you feel about the winners in this category? Please share your thoughts with me through the comments section or via the Facebook fanpage!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

The 90th Kinema Junpo Best 10 Japanese movies of 2016 (Judges' choice)

1) Kono sekai no katasumi ni

2) Shin Godzilla

3) Fuchi ni tatsu

4) Distraction Babies

5) Nagai Iiwake

6) Rip van Winkle no Hanayome

7) Yu wo wakasu hodo no atsui ai

8) Creepy Itsuwari no Rinjin

9) Over Fence

10) Ikari

Source: Kinema Junpo

Top 10 movies box office ranking for the weekend of 7th & 8th January 2017

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

1) Eiga Youkai Watch Soratobu Kujira to Double Sekai no Daibouken Danyan (360)

2) Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (353)

3) Kimi no na wa (296)

4) Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (368)

5) Fantastic Beasts and where to find them (350)

6) Kaizoku to yobareta otoko (360)

7) Mogura no Uta Hong Kong Kyousoukyoku (309)

8) Boku wa ashita kinou no kimi to deeto suru (305)

9) Kizumonogatari III: Reiketsu-hen (118)

10) Kono sekai no katasumi ni (68)


Fukuyama Masaharu & Yakusho Koji to star in new Koreeda Hirokazu movie

Fukuyama Masaharu and Yakusho Koji will be starring in a new but yet untitled movie directed by Koreeda Hirokazu. Filming begins at Hokkaido in mid January and is expected to wrap up in March. The movie will be shown in cinemas from September this year.

The movie is based on Koreeda's original script about the psychological drama between an elite lawyer played by Fukuyama who values winning over everything and a murderer played by Yakusho. The story which is from Shigemori's (Fukuyama) perspective, talks about how he takes on the case of Misumi (Yakusho) who is on trial for murder despite the low odds of winning the case. As he interacts with Misumi, Shigemori starts to realise how unconvincing Misumi's motive for killing is and stands to wonder if the latter is the true murderer. In order to write the script for the movie, Koreeda went to interview various legal personnel such as lawyers and prosecutors and even held a mock trial to go through the story's setting.

As this is Fukuyama's first attempt at playing a lawyer and working with Yakusho, he revealed that he has been very nervous about this and hopes to be able to deliver a good performance and meet up to Koreeda's expectations. The director commented that he had been looking for another chance to work with Fukuyama since their first collaboration "Soshite Chichi ni naru" and the latter had suggested doing a story which Koreeda was interested in.

As for Yakusho who is working with Koreeda for the first time, he commented that he was feeling tense after seeing how the director handled the pre-filming preparation and hopes to enjoy the filming experience with Fukuyama and the other co-stars. Koreeda revealed that the trigger for offering the role to Yakusho came from a New Year card received from the latter which had the message that "it's high time that they work together". Although Koreeda had not deliberately avoided working with Yakusho because he was in awe of the actor, he wanted to be well-prepared before inviting Yakusho to work with him.

Sources: Sponichi /

The 1st Dorama World Awards 2016 - Winners in the Best Supporting Actress category

Competition in this category turned out to be rather intense with no actress having a clear advantage throughout the two-week voting period. As such, the No.1 slot looked like a game of musical chairs as the person holding on to the slot kept changing almost every day. As you can see from the number of points gained by the top 5 mentioned here, the difference separating them is very small. What this probably also suggests is that the quality of the supporting actresses was very even across the field so there was nobody in particular who stood out above the rest.

What was a bit of a pity is that many voters did not specify the name of the drama which the actress appeared in so these votes had to be disqualified since it was not possible to ascertain which role the vote was for. For actors and actresses who had appeared in multiple dramas throughout 2016, this was a very big issue during the voting period which I repeatedly called upon everyone to take note of. Unfortunately, this problem persisted right till the end so it was really a waste to see those null votes which could have made a difference in the final results.

Without further ado, let's meet the five winners in the Best Supporting Actress category!

No.5: Koike Eiko - Sekai ichi muzukashii koi (34 points)

Koike played the capable secretary Muraoki Maiko who was like a mother and romance advisor to her boss played by Ohno Satoshi as he fumbled his way to winning the heart of his leading lady Haru. Her performance in this drama had also won her accolades such as the best supporting actress awards in the 20th Nikkansports Drama Grand Prix (Spring 2016) and 89th The Television Dorama Academy Award.
Koike used to be a top gravure idol until she started acting in 1997 with her first appearance in the 5th episode of drama "Odoru Daisousasen" starring Oda Yuji. Since then, she has been gradually moving up the ranks as a capable and versatile supporting actress in a variety of dramas such as serious-themed works like WOWOW's "Shokuzai" and "Gonin no Junko", comedies like "Yuusha Yoshihiko to Maou no Shiro" and "Legal High" or even NHK Taigas and morning dramas like "Massan" and "Yoshitsune".

No.4: Ishida Yuriko - Nigeru wa haji daga yaku ni tatsu (35 points)

Given the popularity of NigeHaji, you might have expected Ishida Yuriko who plays the heroine's aunt in the drama to be ranked higher in this category. Actually, if you look at the votes she received, all of them placed her at No.1. However, as explained above, the voting pattern for this category was such that there was a wide pool of actresses to select throughout the entire year so the points were spread out quite thinly. As such, Ishida only had one point more than No.5's Koike.
As the various drama awards for the autumn season have not been announced yet, it remains to be seen if Ishida will be able to pick up some awards for her performance in this drama.

No.3: Kimura Yoshino - Boku no Yabai Tsuma (36 points)

She was my top pick for this category but unfortunately, she didn't manage to snatch the title in the end. I know many people were wondering why she would be classified as supporting actress when she practically hogged the limelight in the drama but that's the way it's done in Japan where there is usually just one lead actor or actress. In this drama's case, Ito Hideaki was the sole lead actor so Kimura would fit under the category of supporting actress.
Actually, when Kimura first started out as an actress, I didn't like her at all especially her performance in the drama "Overtime". Perhaps it had to do with the fact that her character in that drama was the type I hated to see i.e. the seemingly weak and clingy woman who stopped the lead couple from getting together. However, she got better as she built up her career and I've grown to like her more as the years go by.
If you haven't watched this drama yet, I strongly recommend this because Kimura's performance here is definitely worth checking out.

No.2: Ueno Juri - Kazoku no Katachi (43 points)

I haven't watched this drama yet so can't really comment much on Ueno's performance here. I'll probably have to rely on you guys to tell me how she did. Actually, Ueno had been in the top 3 for most of the voting period until she was overtaken on the very last day. As such, you can see that there is only a two-point difference between her and the eventual winner.
Ueno is one of my favourite actresses and I really enjoyed her performance in dramas like "Nodame Cantabile" and "Last Friends". It would be nice to see her be more active in the drama scene, even in supporting roles.

And the winner of this category is Eikura Nana for her performance in 99.9 Keiji Senmon Bengoshi!

Eikura got a mixed bag of results actually as the people who voted for her placed her in positions ranging from No.1 to No.3. As such, she did not really surge up the ranking right from the start and her eventual win was a bit of a surprise personally. I was thinking that Ishida Yuriko might have the advantage of her drama being shown more closer to the voting period. In the end, Eikura got a number of crucial No.1 votes which helped her grab the title eventually.
I haven't watched this drama yet so I can't really tell how she did. My experience with Eikura was somewhat similar to Kimura Yoshino because I didn't really like Eikura when she started out as an actress. To be honest, I thought she was rather awkward because she was trying to be cute at times but her tall and slim figure made her look somewhat out of place. However, I think age really helps an actress to become better and more mature in her way of portraying a character. In particular, I thought that her newfound maturity and ability to show the emotional progression of her character was finally noticeable in the drama "N no Tame Ni" so I've grown to like her a lot more than before.

And for those who may be interested in who I voted for, here is my choice:

No.1 Kimura Yoshino - Boku no Yabai Tsuma
No.2 Takahata Atsuko - Naomi to Kanako
No.3 Mizukawa Asami - Watashi wo hanasanaide
No.4 Matsushima Nanako - Suna no Tou ~ Shirisugita Rinjin ~
No.5 Shimizu Fumika - Kaseifu no Mitazono

As you can see, only Kimura from my list made it to the top 5. I was actually struggling between her and Takahata but eventually gave my top vote to Kimura. Takahata is a fine actress but I hope what happened with her son wouldn't keep her away from dramaland too long. Mizukawa had an important role but with limited airtime and yet she managed to make her character look really pitiable and detestable at the same time. Matsushima performed really well towards the end of the drama and was literally overpowering Kanno Miho in many ways. Last but not least, Shimizu who does look a lot like Aoi Yu from certain angles, impressed me with her versatile acting. Not long ago, I had just seen her in a serious role but she was really adorable and very good in "Kaseifu no Mitazono". Too bad I was the only one who voted for her. ^__^

So what do you think about the winners in this category? Please share your views with me through the comments section or via the Facebook fanpage!