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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Premiere event of new movie "Aibou Gekijouban IV Shuto Crisis Hitojichi wa 50-mannin! Tokumei Kakari Saigo no Ketsudan"

The premiere event of new movie "Aibou Gekijouban IV Shuto Crisis Hitojichi wa 50-mannin! Tokumei Kakari Saigo no Ketsudan" was held at Roppongi Hills on 24 January which was attended by cast members Mizutani Yutaka, Sorimachi Takashi, Nakama Yukie, Oikawa Mitsuhiro, Yamaguchi Mayu, Kitamura Kazuki Kaga Takeshi, Suzuki Anju, Kawahara Kazuhisa, Yamanaka Takashi, Yamanishi Atsushi, Jinbo Satoshi, Ono Ryo, Katagiri Ryuji and Ishizaka Koji. The movie will be shown in cinemas from 11 February. About 2,000 people gathered at the 9 screening halls to watch the movie ahead of the public release.

Mizutani commented that ever since the Aibou series began in 2000, they had the dream of making a movie version which to date, has been realised four times. In particular, this latest film assembles many regular cast members including his 2nd generation buddy Oikawa and 4th generation buddy Sorimachi along with the guest stars so he was confident that this meant the birth of a new chapter in the "Aibou" series. Mizutani was also glad and relief that his latest buddy Sorimachi had a Aibou movie to his name since his three former buddies all appeared in the movies. Upon hearing this, Sorimachi joked that he would be quite resentful if he was the only one without a Aibou movie to his name especially if a 5th generation buddy comes into the series to replace him.

One of the major scenes in the movie was shot in Kokura Kita Ward of Kitakyushu City in Fukuoka Prefecture where they had to seal off a main street and involved 3,000 extras. However, filming had to be suspended twice due to the rain so it was a tough thing to re-assemble the extras and make preparations for the filming. In response to this, Mizutani thanked the locals for their help especially since the story was set in Tokyo. He also said that regardless of how the movie turns out to be, those who liked it will bask in the happiness of having seen a good film for at least one week while those who didn't would have reason to complain about it for the same period of time. As such, he called upon to find out for themselves which category would the film fall under.

Oikawa who makes his re-appearance in the movie as the second generation, expressed joy at being able to appear in the movie and interacting with Sorimachi's character. As for Kitamura who is appearing in the Aibou series for the first time, he revealed that he had been seeing Mizutani's works since he was a kid so it was a dream come true to be able to act with him although he would have preferred playing his buddy. Upon hearing this, Ishizaka who plays the father of the 3rd generation buddy Kai Tooru (Narimiya Hiroki), joked that Kitamura could be "upgraded" from a guest star to the 5th generation buddy in future.

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

Kiritani Mirei to star in FujiTV Spring 2017 drama "Hito wa mitame ga 100 percent"

Kiritani Mirei will be starring in the new FujiTV Spring 2017 drama "Hito wa mitame ga 100 percent" (A person is 100 percent about her appearance) which will begin its run from April 2017 in the Thursdays 10pm timeslot. The drama which is based on the same-titled manga by Okubo Hiromi, features a group of women working in the scientific field who are so caught up with their work that they forget how it is to pay attention to their attention thus earning them the nickname "Joshi Modoki (JSM)" (fake women).

Kiritani plays the lead character Jonouchi Jun who is a researcher working in a paper manufacturing company and has been pouring all her energy into her work that she totally ignores what it means to dress up like a woman and care for her looks. As such, she has had little luck with men all along. However, when she realises that she is in danger of becoming a JSM, she gets together with her fellow female researchers to make an effort in changing their appearances and make themselves more beautiful.

Kiritani commented that although she thinks that being neat and clean is more important than appearance, she hopes to be able to convey the original manga's concept of how looks are important to women. As for the author Okubo, she expressed anticipation at seeing Kiritani play the lead character and seeing her wear a researcher's white robe. According to the staff, the drama will feature some original stories and characters who do not appear in the drama.

Source: Oricon

Top 10 male celebrities who women want to go to an onsen with (Oricon)

Oricon conducted a survey on 400 women from their teens to 40s on who they would like to go to an onsen (hot spring) with. Below are the overall top 10 ranking and the top 10 rankings based on age groups:

Overall Top 10
1) Aiba Masaki
2) Sakurai Sho
3) Ohno Satoshi
4) Hoshino Gen
5) Nakai Masahiro
6) Katori Shingo
7) Kusanagi Tsuyoshi
8) Domoto Tsuyoshi
9) Ninomiya Kazunari
10) Tamamori Yuta

Top 10 for women in their teens
1) Aiba Masaki
2) Ohno Satoshi
3) Sakurai Sho
4) Koyama Keiichiro
5) Ninomiya Kazunari
6) Tamamori Yuta
7) Suda Masaki
8) Tegoshi Yuuya
9) Shigeoka Daiki
10) Hoshino Gen

Top 10 for women in their 20s
1) Aiba Masaki
2) Sakurai Sho
3) Katori Shingo
4) Ohno Satoshi
5) Nakai Masahiro
6) Domoto Tsuyoshi
7) Kusanagi Tsuyoshi
8) Saito Takumi
9) Matsuzaka Toori
10) Hoshino Gen

Top 10 for women in their 30s
1) Sakurai Sho
2) Tamaki Hiroshi
3) Hoshino Gen
4) Nakai Masahiro
5) Aiba Masaki
6) Sakaguchi Kentaro
7) Ohno Satoshi
8) Ooizumi Yo
9) Fukuyama Masaharu
10) Fukushi Souta

Top 10 for women in their 40s
1) Hoshino Gen
2) Aiba Masaki
3) Sakurai Sho
4) Saito Takumi
5) Nakai Masahiro
6) Kusanagi Tsuyoshi
7) Inagaki Goro
8) Yamashita Tomohisa
9) Matsumoto Jun
10) Yamazaki Kento

Sources: Oricon 1 / Oricon 2

Top 10 movies box office ranking for the weekend of 28th & 29th January 2017

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

1) Doctor Strange (350)

2) Kiseki Ano hi no sobito (156)

3) Kimi no na wa (296)

4) Koisaika Miyamoto (314)

5) Hamon Futari no Yakubyougami (302)

6) Shinjuku Swan II (334)

7) Honnouji Hotel (282)

8) Chinmoku Silence (342)

9) Kono sekai no katasumi ni (68)

10) The Magnificent Seven (291)

Source: Eiga.com

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Namase Katsuhisa to be back in new TRICK spin-off drama SP this spring

Namase Katsuhisa will be reprising his role as Yabe Kenzo in a new spin-off drama from the hit drama series TRICK" for the first time in four years. This time, the drama SP titled "Keibuho Yabe Kenzo ~ Jinkou Zunou VS Jinkou Zumou ~" (Lieutenant Yabe Kenzo ~ Mechanical brain VS Artificial hair ~) will be shown via au's mobile video service "Video Pass" and TV Asahi Douga. There were two Yabe Kenzo drama SPs made and shown by TV Asahi in 2010 and 2013. In the new SP, his partner will still be played by Ikeda Tetsuhiro.

With regard to having a new drama SP in four years, Namase said that in his career, Yabe is a character which he had a lot of fun playing and he always thought that there was more to explore about him. As such, he is always ready to play Yabe as long as there is an offer from the TV station and looks forward to display the signature traits of Yabe to the fullest this time too.

Co-stars include Hakamada Yoshihiko who plays a genius scientist Deep Manabu at odds with Yabe and has developed a new form of artificial intelligence to solve difficult cases. Yabe will be investigating a series of murder cases taking place at an onsen ryokan isolated due to a landslide and find the serial killer nicknamed Yami no Gyouji (the sumo referee of darkness) who is supposedly responsible for the murders by making use of the artificial intelligence technology.

Source: Oricon

Completion screening event and press conference of NTV / WOWOW / Hulu drama "Zenigata Keibu"

The completion screening event and press conference of NTV / WOWOW / Hulu drama "Zenigata Keibu" was held at NEW PIER HALL at Takeshiba on 25 January which was attended by Suzuki Ryohei, Maeda Atsuko and Miura Takahiro. During the event, Kurita Kanichi who is the voice actor for Lupin Sansei in the anime version, also made a surprise appearance.

Suzuki plays the role of police inspector Zenigata while Maeda Atsuko will playing a young police detective named Sakuraba Natsuki and Miura Takahiro will be playing her colleague Kunkida Shintaro who work together with Zenigata to solve cases.

With regard to playing Zenigata, Suzuki said that there was little room to be creative about this character as he had to look like Zenigata as soon as he appeared. As such, he tried to make an effort in how he spoke and practised many times to find the best way after referring to the styles of the voice actors in the anime such as Yamadera Koichi and the late Naya Goro. Maeda revealed that Suzuki practised till his voice was hoarse so she was really impressed with how far he went to portray his character. Miura also echoed the view and said that Suzuki would practise in the waiting room before the filming at the top of his voice which he found interesting to watch.

The drama is the first joint project by NTV, WOWOW and Hulu which will kick off with the SP to bw shown via NTV on 10 February. Following that, there will be four episodes shown via Hulu while WOWOW will show another four episodes from 19 February on Sundays at 10pm.

Sources: Eiga.com / Oricon

Oricon's interview of Yukawa Kazuhiko

Oricon conducted an interview with scriptwriter Yukawa Kazuhiko who is famous for his dramas such as 2011's "Kaseifu no Mita", 2012 morning drama "Jun to Ai", 2015's "Gisou no Fuufu" and 2016's "Hajimemashite, Aishiteimasu" who is making his directorial debu with the movie "Koisaika Miyamoto" starring Abe Hiroshi and Amami Yuki. The following is an extract from this interview which touches on his movie and his take on the drama scene these days:

- Initially, Yukawa did not have the intention to be the director for the movie "Koisaika Miyamoto" as he was only going to write the script for it. However, while writing the script, Yukawa wanted to include some pop elements into the story and found that the script became somewhat difficult to direct as a result. Although he did not volunteer at first, Yukawa was thinking deep down that he was the only one who could direct such a movie. After a number of directors were suggested, there was still no decision made so the producer suggested to Yukawa that he direct the movie himself. Upon hearing this, Yukawa was very excited that the opportunity had finally come his way.

- Yukawa entered the entertainment industry with the aim of becoming a movie director. However, due to circumstances when he first started out as an assistant director of a production company, there was no chance of him realising his dream. Nonetheless, he got the opportunity to write scripts and since then, there has been no looking back for him with never-ending offers. Even as he is an established scriptwriter now, he still wondered at times what he was doing when his original dream was to become a director.

- As a scriptwriter, Yukawa doesn't seem himself as a writer of literary works but rather he is just the designer of a story. When he was still an AD, he would make modifications to the script without permission and had "arrogantly" thought that it would be better for him to write the script since it would save him time to modify it. He was glad that what he wrote was liked by everyone although it took him a long 30 years before he finally got the chance to realise his dream as a director.

- Yukawa is known for being a scriptwriter who loves to give advice on the set to the cast and crew. He joked that it's probably due to his wish to become a director so he did that to fulfill his desire of directing. In actual fact, this is because he has a certain image of his script which he doesn't want to be distorted due to misinterpretation so that's why he became known as a "naggy scriptwriter" even though his intention is for the good of his work.

- Reflecting on his first collaboration with Abe, Yukawa said that the actor is exactly who he imagined to be: serious about his acting. Abe is one who knows how to act in the best way to deliver the greatest performance and ignores everything else. As such, Yukawa feels that Abe's concentration when it comes to acting is indeed a beautiful sight to behold and he has learnt a lot from the latter too. As Abe has to play a "little man" this time, Yukawa found it very amusing to see someone who is as tall as Abe try to look convincing as a man who is like a scaredy cat and lacks guts.

- This movie marks the 4th time that Yukawa is working with Amami and he deliberately chose her to play an ordinary housewife in the movie since he feels that this is the role which is most unsuitable for her. Although it was a risky attempt on his part, he remembered fondly in the drama "Gisou no Fuufu" where Amami played the character of a woman who was approached by her gay first love (Sawamura Ikki) to pose as his wife and how she was spewing with venom deep down and had to keep putting on a smile in front of others. This made Yukawa feel that she looked very cute in that drama. Besides, people are used to seeing Amami play strong characters so he wanted to show the weak side of her  as a housewife who is so tired, dragging her feet along in life and can't be bothered about her husband. It also seems that Amami has grown to like playing less-than-perfect characters so Yukawa hopes to explore this unchartered territory in future so that there can be endless possibilities for her.

- The drama scene was said to have enjoyed a resurgence in the Autumn 2016 season thanks to the popularity of dramas like "Nigeru wa haji daga yaku ni tatsu". In response to this, Yukawa commented that the TV stations have finally realised that what used to work in the past doesn't guarantee success now. In the case of "NigeHaji", a story like this would not be realistic enough if it was done a  few years ago but in the current times, the relationship between the lead couple has become more believable. Time have changed but at the moment, there seems to be a saturation situation in the drama scene so in order to break free, the challenge of creating new characters must continue in order to break free of the current situation.

- Yukawa felt that "NigeHaji" was successful in a few ways i.e. Hoshino Gen's theme song "Koi", the popularity of the Koi dance, the engaging story and Aragaki Yui's cuteness. It was a drama which conveyed the insecurities and loneliness of the young people today so it was a refreshing take on current issues. It is best to uncover the underlying issues facing the people of today rather than go back to past success examples and aim to replicate the same thing now.

- On the other hand, for dramas like "Doctor X" which has achieved high ratings to date, Yukawa feels that there must be something different in future sequels although he thinks that it's not wrong to stick to the same tried-and-tested formula which had worked well to date. However, it is still important to convey the issues of today and get people thinking which will then make the drama scene more vibrant than it is now.

- On the topic of "outsiders" like comedian Baka Rhythm becoming scriptwriters and delivering critically-acclaimed works like "Kuroi Juunin no Onna", Yukawa said that as long as the story is interesting, it doesn't matter who writes it. Although people may think that these outsiders are stealing the jobs from professional scriptwriters, Yukawa doesn't see it this way since each scriptwriter has to write at least 10 episodes for one season's drama so the more people there are to share the workload, the better it will be. However, he discouraged writing scripts together with acting in the same work as this seems to suggest to the viewers that the scriptwriter is just trying to boost his or her name value without devoting full attention to the script.

Source: Oricon

Sakaguchi Kentaro to appear in the new movie "Narratage"

Sakaguchi Kentaro will be appearing in the new movie "Narratage" starring Matsumoto Jun and Arimura Kasumi which will be shown in cinemas from October this year. The movie which will be directed by Yukisada Isao, is based on the same-titled novel written by Shimamoto Rio in 2005 when she was just 20 which was one of the nominees for the 18th Yamamoto Shugoro Award and sold 350,000 copies to date. Matsumoto plays the role of a senior high school teacher Hayama Takashi while Arimura plays his student Kudo Izumi. Due to their relationship, Izumi had to suppress her feelings for Hayama although she had been holding a torch for him. Years later when Izumi is an university student, she is asked to go back to the acting club of her senior high school to help out and reunites with Hayama which marks the beginning of their forbidden romance. Sakaguchi plays the role of Ono Reiji, an university student who is Izumi's boyfriend and gets jealous over her love for Hayama.

Sakaguchi commented that he accepted the offer after reading the script which describes Ono as a very sensitive guy who has a somewhat twisted way of showing his feelings. As such, he was intrigued by this difficult role and decided to take on the challenge.

Sources: Oricon / Eiga.com

Suzuki Kyoka & Seto Koji to star in new TV Tokyo drama SP "Touga no Hito"

Suzuki Kyoka and Seto Koji will be starring in the new TV Tokyo drama SP "Touga no Hito" (The Winter Bud Person) which is based on the novel by Naoki Award winner Osawa Arimasa and will be shown in spring this year. The suspense drama features Suzuki as Maki Shizuri, a former police detective who is grappling with guilt after accidentally causing the death of her partner Maeda during an investigation. She meets Maeda's song Nakamoto Kisato (Seto) who is trying to investigate his father's death and finds out something surprising from him which leads them to join forces to uncover the truth.

Suzuki commented on her character that it was a tough one month filming period as she had to put herself into the shoes of Shizuri and bear with the emotional burden she was carrying. It even surprised her to see that she had immersed herself so much into the role that she was frowning unconsciously. As such, she hopes that her acting will show how Shizuri goes on this journey of self-redemption and how she becomes stronger to protect the people she loves. As for Seto, he pointed to the fact that this drama is not just a mystery drama but also includes the love between people who are far apart in terms of age and hopes that the viewers will enjoy watching the gradual progression of their characters' relationship.

Source: Eiga.com

First-day-screening event of new movie "Shinjuku Swan II"

The first-day-screening event of new movie "Shinjuku Swan II' was held at TOHO Cinemas Shinjuku on 21 January which was attended by the director Sono Sion, producer Yamamoto Mataichiro and cast members Ayano Go, Asano Tadanobu, Fukami Motoki, Kaneko Nobuaki, Kamiji Yusuke and Hirose Arisu. The movie which is based on the manga by Wakui Ken, will feature the lead character Shiratori Tatsuhiko (Ayano) facing off with Taki Masaki, the president of "Wizard" in Yokohama this time.

Ayano thanked the audience for their love for the first movie which led to the production of the sequel. When asked to reflect on his 2016, Ayano said that it was a year when he had to run at full steam with the help of everyone around him. As he is always worried about missing out the happiness around him, he tries to live each moment to the fullest. However, he feels that this movie is something which makes him hopeful about happiness in the future and hopes that it will bring the same feeling to all who watch it.

As for his collaboration with Asano, Ayano said that his co-star has so much power and screen presence that during the scenes when they clashed , he felt a fear as if he had a gun pointed to his head. In response to this, Asano said that he felt secure working with Ayano since they had collaborated before in a NHK work and praised Ayano for being very good at his action scenes.

Source: Eiga.com

First-day-screening event of new movie "Chinmoku - Silence -"

The first-day-screening event of new movie "Chinmoku - Silence -" was held at TOHO Cinemas Scala-Za on 21 January which was attended by cast members Kubozuka Yosuke, Asano Tadanobu, Komatsu Nana, Issey Ogata and Tsukamoto Shinya. The movie which is based on the novel by the late Endo Shusaku and directed by Martin Scorsese, was the realisation of the director's dream for 28 years. The story is set during the Edo era at Nagasaki where there was a crackdown on Christianity. Andrew Garfield plays a young missionary who witnesses what happens and describes how the locals such as Kijiro (Kubozuka) try to maintain their faith amid the circumstances.

Asano praised Kubozuka for doing a very good job at playing Kijiro which the latter also responded by saying that he can't help but copy his signature line at home. Kubozuka also revealed that the scenes showing him display a lot of emotion such as sobbing were deliberately edited out by the director which he felt was probably good in helping to promote his acting in Hollywood.

In line with one of the themes in the movie about the weak, Kubozuka began his message by saying that the newspapers may not report what he said but he still hoped to convey how he felt to everyone in the audience. Due to the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in 2011, many people became the weak and there were many others in a similar situation after that due to various reasons. However, the government was quick to splurge the tax money on other countries instead of helping those in need within Japan. In addition, despite the dangers of nuclear power plants, the government is still trying to restart them. As such, Kubozuka hopes that even if they are in such a world, everyone will still be able to find their own answers as to how they want to live going forward. He also commented that even though he likes happy movies, a movie like this with such a heavy theme is important  and he hopes that everyone will be able to see it and believe that there will be a better tomorrow ahead. In response to his heartfelt message, the audience responded with a loud round of applause.

Sources: Oricon / Eiga.com

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Japan premiere of new movie "Guko Roku"

The Japan premiere of new movie "Guko Roku" was held at Shinjuku Picadilly on 22 January which was attended by the director Ishikawa Kei and cast members Tsumabuki Satoshi, Mitsushima Hikari, Koide Keisuke, Usuda Asami, Matsumoto Wakana, Nakamura Tomoya, Mashima Hidekazu, Hamada Mari and Hirata Mitsuru. The movie which is based on the same-titled novel by Nukui Tokuro, features Tsumabuki as the lead character Tanaka who tries to find out the truth behind the massacre of a family and discovers frightening facts about those related to the case.

Tsumabuki and Mitsushima who worked together several times before, had developed such a deep mutual understanding of each other's acting style to the extent that Tsumabuki said that he didn't need to talk too much to her beforehand about how he was going to play his character. Meanwhile, Mitsushima who plays Tanaka's younger sister Mitsuko arrested for child neglect, revealed how she was feeling uneasy because she couldn't tell initially what kind of movie the director was trying to make so she didn't know how to play her character. However, her fears were put to rest when she emailed Tsumabuki and he replied with an assuring message that it will be an interesting movie in the end and even said "I love you" to her (in a brotherly manner). Upon seeing the message, Mitsushima replied with a "I love you" message too which shows how close the two actors are in real life. She also revealed that she was reprimanded once in the past by Tsumabuki when she showed up at a movie's meet-the-fans event looking grumpy which made him remark that she should behave more like an adult at such events.

"Guko Roku" will be screened in cinemas from 18 February.

Source: Eiga.com

Beat Takeshi to star in new TV Tokyo drama SP "Hagoku"

Beat Takeshi will be starring in the new TV Tokyo drama SP "Hagoku" (Jailbreak) which will be shown within 2017. The drama SP which is based on the same-titled novel by the late Yoshimura Akira, is the first real-life adaptation in 32 years. The last real-life adaptation was produced by NHK in 1985 featuring the late Ogata Ken and focused on the prisoner rather than the warden.

In this drama SP set in 1942, Takeshi will be playing a prison warden named Urata Susumu who works at Kosuge Prison in Tokyo and has no purpose in life other than stop his prisoners from escaping ever since his wife died during an earthquake. One day, he is informed that a former inmate at Kosuge named Sakuma Kiyotaro who used to respect him a lot and was sent to another prison in Akita to serve his life sentence had escaped. 3 months later, Sakuma comes to Urata's house and reveals that he was subjected to inhumane treatment at the Akita prison and wants to launch a lawsuit against them. However, Urata tells on Sakuma which results in the latter being caught and sent to the prison in Abashiri, Hokkaido. Subsequently, Urata gets transferred to Abashiri to become the chief warden and meets Sakuma there again.

Although Takeshi is an experienced actor and director, he revealed that he tried to do exactly what the director asked for and felt nervous about acting in this drama which had the theme of what it means to live.

Filming began in the middle of January.

Sources: Sanspo / Oricon / Eiga.com

Happy Lunar New Year!


Wishing everyone a very happy Lunar New Year! May you enjoy prosperity, health and good luck in everything during the year of the Rooster!

Updates to the blog may be slightly less frequent over these few days because of the festivities going on so I'll be catching up gradually after the holidays. ^__^

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Top 10 actors and actreses in Next Break Ranking 2017 (Oricon)

Oricon conducted a survey on 1,000 respondents in their teens to 50s where they selected the actor and actress who they felt would scale new heights in 2017. Here are the lists of the top 10 actors and actresses who were chosen:

Top 10 actors
1) Hoshino Gen

2) Muro Tsuyoshi

3) Otani Ryohei

4) Sakaguchi Kentaro

5) Kudo Asuka

6) Ikematsu Sousuke

7) Yamazaki Kento

8) Nakagawa Taishi

9) Iwata Takanori

10) Takeuchi Ryoma

Top 10 actresses
1) Sakurai Hinako

2) Kamishiraishi Mone

3) Yamamoto Mizuki

4) Nakajo Ayami

5) Shimizu Fumika

6) Kawaei Rina

7) Kimura Fumino

8) Adachi Rika

9) Mano Erina

10) Komatsu Nana

Source: Oricon

Winners of the 59th Blue Ribbon Awards (2016)

Best Movie: Shin Godzilla

Best Director: Katabuchi Sunao (Kono sekai no katasumi ni)

Best Leading Actor: Matsuyama Kenichi (Chinyuuki /  Satoshi no Seishun)

Best Leading Actress: Ootake Shinobu (Gosaigyou no Onna)

Best Supporting Actor: Lily Frankie (Onna ga nemuru toki / Umi yori mo mada fukaku / Nijuu Seikatsu / Himitsu THE TOP SECRET / SCOOP! / Otousan to Itou-san / Satoshi no Seishun)

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

Best Newcomer: Okamura Izumi (Gymnopedies ni midareru)

Special Award: Kimi no na wa

Best Foreign Movie: Rogue One Star Wars Story

Top 10 Japanese movies (in alphabetical order)
Ikari
Kimi no na wa
Gosaigyou no Onna
Satoshi no Seishun
Shin Godzilla
SCOOP!
Nagai Iiwake
Yu wo wakasu hodo no atsui ai
Rip van Winkle no Hanayome
64 - Rokuyon -

Top 10 Foreign movies (there are 11 listed here as two movies ranked at No.10 had the same score)
The Martian
Carol
Suicide Squad
Zootopia
Spotlight
Trumbo
Sully
Bridge of Spies
The Danish Girl
The Revenant
Rogue One Star Wars Story

Source: Cinema Today

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Winners of the 26th Tokyo Sports Movie Awards (2016)

Best Movie: Kono sekai no katasumi ni

Best Director: Anno Hideaki & Higuchi Shinji (Shin Godzilla)

Best Leading Actor: Miura Tomokazu (Katsuragi Jiken)

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

Best Supporting Actor: Ayano Go (Ikari) / Suda Masaki (Distraction Babies etc.)

Best Supporting Actress: Hirose Suzu (Ikari)

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

Best Foreign Film: Sully

Special Credit Award: the late Koyama Shigeru

Source: Cinefil

Fukikoshi Mitsuru & Hirota Reona divorce for the second time in December 2016

Fukikoshi Mitsuru and Hirota Reona ended their marriage for the second time in December last year as reported in the 24 January issue of "Shuukan Josei". Hirota married Fukikoshi for the first time in December 1994 with her son from a previous marriage and subsequently gave birth to their daughter. However, the couple split for the first time in December 2005 and reconciled 7 years later in December 2012 before they went their separate ways again. Hirota is currently the president of the agency which manages Fukikoshi and is reportedly dating actor Takahashi Hiromu from the same agency who is said to be living together with her.

According to the interview published in the magazine, Hirota admitted that the divorce did take place in December last year but she was not having an affair with Takahashi. She followed up with a tweet on Twitter that Takahashi had been staying in her house for the past 7 years and has been taking care of the household stuff and doing editing work for the agency so he is like an important family member to her.

Hirota revealed that the reason why she had married Fukikoshi a second time in 2012 was for the sake of their daughter who was entering a school which was said to favour students with a "complete family" and for work reasons. However, Fukikoshi had not lived with her and her daughter since then and that she won't let him into her house because of his smoking habit. Nonetheless, they will continue to work together as usual with her managing his career.

Sources: Sanspo / Shuukan Josei Prime

Production press conference of TV Asahi Winter 2017 drama "Ubai Ai, Fuyu"

The production press conference of TV Asahi Winter 2017 drama "Ubai Ai, Fuyu" was held on 16 January which was attended by cast members Kurashina Kana, Miura Shohei, Otani Ryohei and Mizuno Miki. Filming has been completed up to episode 5 to date.

The drama features Kurashina as the heroine who has a fiance played by Miura but reunites with her former boyfriend who is already married (Otani) and begins an extramarital affair with him. Mizuno plays the wife of Otani's character who is obsessively in love with him. Kurashima remarked that as the filming progressed, the biggest challenge was how to come to terms with the feelings of her character who had to be prepared to make certain sacrifices if she wanted to do what she wanted even though it might not be the right thing to do. In addition, as the script was full of intense and heartstopping moments, it felt like a very stimulating work to her. Miura echoed her view and said that he was very excited about playing his character who was consumed by jealousy and do very drastic things.

In relation to the story's theme, the cast were asked if there was anything which they felt jealous about recently. Miura cited the example of seeing his fiance (Kurashina) and her ex (Otani) hugging while Mizuno joked that it was when her "husband" was kissing Kurashina.

Sources: Nikkansports / Sanspo

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Preview of "Senju Crazy Boys" (Drama SP)

Title: Senju Crazy Boys 千住クレイジーボーイズ
Official website: here
O.A. Date: 15 February 2017 at 10pm
Broadcast by: NHK
Cast: Tsukamoto Takashi, Koike Teppei, Higa Manami, Smiley Kikuchi, Ayuba Sarasa, Tatsumi Tomoaki, Tsuji Osamu, Okumura Tadashi, Shinagawa Toru, Kitamura Yukiya

Screening event of new NHK drama "Senju Crazy Boys"

The screening event of new NHK drama SP "Senju Crazy Boys" was held at NHK's HQ on 19 January which was attended by cast members Tsukamoto Takashi, Koike Teppei, Higa Manami and Kitamura Yukiya.  The drama SP which will be shown at 10pm on 15 February, features Tsukamoto as the lead character Keigo who used to be a popular comedian but is in his 30s now with his life in the doldrums. He moves to stay with his comedian buddy Yuki (Koike) who lives at Kita Senju in Tokyo and interacts with a variety of colourful characters there such as single mother Nobara (Higa) and former gangster-turned-barber Nomachi (Kitamura) while trying to restart his comedian career.

When asked about his impression of Kita Senju where they did all the filming at, Tsukamoto recounted that the area used to be known for being crowded with gangsters and scary people but it turned out to be a place full of warmth and has its own rules and policies. As for Koike who is working with Tsukamoto for the first time, the two of them had to act in a manzai skit on the first day of the filming but they acted so naturally as if they have been a comedic duo for ages.

Higa whose character in the drama is rather headstrong, was revealed to love her hometown Okinawa so much that she would get worked up if people joked or made fun of it. Tsukamoto said that there was a scene in the drama where Nobara was scolding Keigo for making fun of Okinawa which Koike echoed that Higa behaves the same way in real life. In response, Higa jokingly told them off and wanted them to stop making fun of her hometown.

Sources: Eiga.com / Sponichi

Completion screening event of new movie "Karera ga honki de amu toki wa"

The completion screening event of new movie "Karera ga honki de amu toki wa" was held at Marunouchi Picadilly on 18 January which was attended by the director Ogigami Naoko and cast members Ikuta Toma, Kiritani Kenta, Kakihara Rinka, Mimura, Kadowaki Mugi and Tanaka Misako. The movie which will be shown in cinemas from 25 February, describes the 60-day period of how a transgender woman Rinko (Ikuta) and her lover Makio (Kiritani) live together with the latter's niece Tomo (Kakihara) who has never experienced what it means to be loved after she is abandoned by Makio's sister.

When asked to comment on the role of Rinko, Kiritani said that he could see that Ikuta went through a lot to make his acting convincing because he not only had to portray a transgender woman's feelings but also pay attention to the mannerisms and physical appearance. However, Ikuta's efforts paid off as Kiritani praised him for looking more beautiful as Rinko as the days went by. In response to the praises from his co-stars, Ikuta remarked that he will probably never get another role to play a woman again so that was why he decided to take up the offer. However, it was a fulfilling experience to learn how to play a woman and he felt a natural surge of maternal instinct during the filming as he immersed himself fully into the role. Although Ikuta thought that he might get a father's role now that he is in his 30s, he was surprised to be getting a "mother's role" first so he was very thankful to his co-star Kakihara for helping him feel like a real mother.

On the other hand, Kiritani revealed that it was important for the movie to show the beautiful side of Rinko which everyone in the story had a part to play in. In the past, he usually tried to make himself stand out as much as possible when acting so it was a totally different feeling this time to be making someone stand out more than him.

It was also announced that the movie will be competing in the 67th Berlin International Film Festival's Panorama Category and be screened as a special film in the Generation Category. The director, Ikuta, Kiritani and Kakihara will be representing the cast and crew to go to Berlin for the screening.

At the end of the event, Ikuta mentioned actress Lily who was part of the cast but passed away in November last year as a source of courage for him when he lacked confidence in playing Rinko. However, Lily kept assuring him that he was doing fine. As such, Ikuta called upon the audience to give a round of applause to Lily who couldn't be with them to witness this.

Sources: Eiga.com / Modelpress

Screening and talk event of NTV Winter 2017 drama "Shikaku Tantei Higurashi Tabito"

The first-episode-screening and talk event of NTV Winter 2017 drama "Shikaku Tantei Higurashi Tabito" was held at NTV's HQ on 18 January which was attended by the lead actor Matsuzaka Toori and director Tsutsumi Yukihiko. The drama which began its run from 22 January, is shown at 10.30pm on Sundays.

During the event's Q & A session, one of the fans in the audience suddenly asked Matsuzaka and Tsutsumi what they wanted to do at that moment. Tsutsumi replied that he was craving for gyoza while Matsuzaka commented that he felt like drinking beer. He also revealed that his co-stars are people who love to drink so he hopes to be able to go for a drinking session with them soon. In response to this, Tsutsumi said that they had a year-end's party during a filming break thanks to Matsuzaka's insistence that they should hold the party.

When asked how he prepared himself to play a detective who lost his senses except sight, Matsuzaka said that he had to be conscious of this fact by doing things such as not reacting when people called out to him from his back and that his co-stars had helped him a lot during the process. Tsutsumi also apologised to the fans that the version of episode 1 which they saw was actually unfinished and there were some edits which needed to be made before the actual broadcast.

Source: Nikkansports

Kanjani 8's Maruyama Ryuhei to star in new movie "Dorobo Yakusha"

Kanjani 8's Maruyama Ryuhei will be taking on his first leading role in a movie when he appears in the new film "Dorobo Yakusha" (Thief Actor) directed by Nishida Masafumi who wrote the script for NHK morning drama "Toto Nee-chan". The movie is due to be shown in November this year.

Maruyama plays the role of Onuki Hajime, a welder who used to be a thief and is living a happy life with his girlfriend now. One day, he happens to meet his former partner in crime Norio and is forced to break into the residence of a picture book author to steal. Although he makes it successfully into the house, he gets discovered by various people and has to assume different identities such as the houseowner, picture book author and editor in order to prevent being exposed and arrested by the police.

Nishida and Maruyama met while working on the 2012 stage play "BOB" where Nishida felt that the latter has a charming side which is relatively unknown to others due to his image on variety shows so he decided to offer him the role in this movie. Maruyama commented that Nishida is good at hiding magical surprises in his script and has the power to make ordinary people exude their own charm. With regard to acting in this comedy of "cheating people", he hopes to put in his all to show how his character tries to deceive and be led around by others at the same time.

Source: Eiga.com

Monday, January 23, 2017

Esumi Makiko announces her retirement from showbiz amid infidelity rumours

Esumi Makiko made a shocking announcement about her immediate retirement from showbiz on 23 January via a fax statement issued by her lawyer. Coincidentally, reports of her alleged infidelity and her living apart from her husband for the past two years are to be published in some female weekly magazines tomorrow to which she flatly denied in her statement.

In her statement, Esumi clarified that the man who she had met as reported in the articles to be released was actually someone she had entrusted her money to for investments. The meeting between them was purely a bid on her part to retrieve her investments and she denied that there was no romantic relationship between them. As such, she reserves the right to sue against those which are publishing such baseless reports.

As for the part regarding living apart from her husband, Esumi admitted that this is true but emphasized that this was for the sake of conveniences in their respective lifestyles and that their relationship is definitely not on the rocks. As such, there are no plans for a divorce.

With regard to her intended retirement from showbiz, Esumi acknowledged that this is true and expressed her thanks to be able to work in the entertainment world for the past 30 years. However, with the birth and growth of her children, she hopes to stop in her steps and make some choices for herself and her children at this stage thus leading to her decision to leave showbiz.

Esumi was a professional volleyball player after she graduated from senior high school but was forced to quite due to an injury. She later became a model and made her debut as an actress in 1995 through the movie "Maboroshi no Hikari". A year later, she married photographer Kirishima Rowland but they divorced 9 months later. In 2003, Esumi remarried FujiTV's general director Hirano Shin and gave birth to their daughter and son respectively in 2005 and 2009. In March 2014, Esumi left Ken-On, her agency for the last 18 years and set up her own agency Inquirer.

Although the full report about Esumi has not been published yet, Josei Jishin has shed some light on the situation leading up to her retirement announcement. On 19 January, the editorial department sent a series of questions to Esumi asking if she is having an affair who is referred to as A. According to the magazine, they had taken photos of her and A spending more than 6 hours together at a highrise apartment unit in Tokyo last December. A was caught in August last year for an investment scam and subsequently sentenced for violating the Financial Instruments Transactions Act. However, instead of receiving a response from Esumi about this matter, the editorial department received a fax statement from her lawyer in the evening of 20 January which mentioned her retirement from showbiz. When the reporters went to interview Esumi's husband Hirano about the alleged affair, he acknowledged that he knew about A and even admitted to living separately from Esumi since two years ago.

More details about this are expected to be revealed when the full report is published in the 24 January issue of Josei Jishin.

Sources: Josei Jishin / Oricon / Sanspo

Matsukata Hiroki passes away due to cerebral lymphoma

Matsukata Hiroki succumbed to cerebral lymphoma on 21 January at the age of 74 while hospitalised in a Tokyo hospital. The first sign of his health troubles first surfaced on 23 February last year when various media agencies reported that he was said to be suffering from a cerebral tumour. Due to the need for long term recuperation, he quit from the Yume Concert which was supposed to run from 1 March to 8 June last year and his play "Tooyama no Kin-san to Onna Nezumi" was also cancelled. It was only till later when it was known that he was actually suffering from cerebral lymphoma and had been heading in and out of the hospital all this while due to the administration of cancer medicine which caused cerebral infarction from time to time.

Matsukata was the eldest son of period drama star Konoe Juushirou and actress Mizukawa Yaeko and has a younger brother Meguro Yuki who is also an actor. Although Matsukata wanted to become a singer initially, he entered Toei in 1960 when he was in the last year of high school and secured his first leading role in his debut movie "Juunanasai no Gyakushuu Bouryoku wo buttsubuse" the same year. Since then, he has appeared in many dramas, movies and variety programmes. Matsukata was previously married to actress Nishina Akiko and the couple's son and daughter Masaki and Hitomi are also active in showbiz. He also has another son Meguro Daiju from a previous marriage who is an actor.

In accordance to Matsukata's wishes, his agency announced to the media that his funeral will only involve his family members and close associates. In addition, offerings and condolence money will not be accepted. As for the farewell ceremony, details will be released at a later date after discussions with all parties involved.

Sources: Sponichi Annex / Nikkansports / Sanspo / Sponichi

Top 10 movies box office ranking for the weekend of 21st & 22nd January 2017

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

1) Kimi no na wa (296)

2) Honnouji Hotel (282)

3) Shinjuku Swan II (333)

4) Chinmoku Silence (342)

5) The Accountant (272)

6) Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (353)

7) Kono sekai no katasumi ni (68)

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

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

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

Source: Eiga.com

Preview of "Okaasan, Musume wo yamete ii desuka?" - Winter 2017

Title: Okaasan, Musume wo yamete ii desuka? お母さん、娘をやめていいですか?  (Mother, can I quit being your daughter?)
Official website: here
O.A. Start Date: 13 January 2017
Timeslot: Fridays 10pm
Total number of episodes: 8
Broadcast by: NHK
Theme Song: "Little Doll" by Sarah Àlainn
Cast: Haru, Saito Yuki, Yagira Yuuya, Terawaki Yasufumi, Asou Yumi, Dan Mitsu, Ishii Anna, Oozora Mayumi

Hirosue Ryoko & Moriyama Mirai to play siblings in new WOWOW drama SP "Inagakike no Moshu"

Hirosue Ryoko and Moriyama Mirai will be playing siblings in the new WOWOW drama SP "Inagakike no Moshu" (The chief mourner of the Inagaki family) which will be shown at 10pm on 18 March. The drama is based on the winning work by Koyama Goro in the 9th WOWOW Original Taisho which aims to uncover outstanding original scripts, raise new-and-upcoming scriptwriters and dramatise the winning works.

The drama features the lead character Inagaki Chuuta, a primary two student who has social phobia. Upon seeing how his father makes a mess of his grandfather's funeral as the chief mourner of the family, Chuta starts to worry if he will do the same when he has to do the same at his parents' funeral. In addition, his aunt Kyoko (Hirosue) and uncle Shuuji (Moriyama) are both single and living with Chuuta's family so Chuuta wants to do something to make them get married as soon as possible or else they will both fail as chief mourners as well. Chuuta's father Koutaro will be played by Sato Takashi while the role of Chuuta will be played by child actor Kanari Yuuri who was selected through an audition.

Source: Eiga.com

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Completing screening event of new movie "Survival Family"

The completion screening event of new movie "Survival Family" was held on 16 January which was attended by the director Yaguchi Shinobu and cast members Kohinata Fumio, Fukatsu Eri, Izumisawa Yuki and Aoi Wakana. The movie which is based on an original script by the director, describes how the Suzuki family cope with a massive blackout in the world where they have to live without the necessities and luxuries in the modern world such as TV, fridge, smartphone, computer, train, car, gas and water supply. The movie will be shown in cinemas from 11 February.

When asked to reflect on the filming which took place during the midst of winter two years ago, Kohinata who plays the head of the family, remarked that they were literally a dirty family in the film since they could not shower. Aoi echoed his view and said that she was really embarrassed to be appearing in such a stage. During the two-and-a-half months filming from September 2015, most of the scenes were done outdoors with hardly any CG used. As for Fukatsu, she commented that there were times when they felt so weak like a candle light in the wind but they managed to pull together and got newfound energy to cope with the tough filming. Izumisawa related that there was a scene where they had to eat cat canned food where the contents were replaced with something else. However, the director asked him to eat one more can which had the real thing and even reassured him that it was fine to do so. After the filming, Fukatsu had a taste of the food and said that it was edible although it was slightly salty. Upon hearing this, the director said that she is most likely able to survive if the situation in the movie does happen in real life because she is so tough and able to eat anything to keep on living.

Kohinata then related that he is scared of bugs but was forced to eat the larva of the swallowtail in one scene which he already thought was horrible. However, the worst was yet to come as he felt like he was about to die when he had to get into the freezing Tenryu River on 29 November. As he couldn't hold it in anymore, he had to ease himself in the river and immediately felt warmer after that. Upon hearing this, the audience burst into laughter but his co-stars all tried to ignore him when he asked if they would do the same thing in this situation.

When asked about other tough scenes like the one in the river, Fukatsu revealed how the family had to keep running after a 100-kg pig and she wondered at one stage why she was doing such a tiring thing. Kohinata was thrown off the pig's bag when he was riding it and hurt his back so badly that it was hurting so much when he was sneezing that night.

Sources: Sanspo / Eiga.com

Oguri Shun & Yamada Yu welcome the arrival of their second baby

Oguri Shun and Yamada Yu welcomed the arrival of their second baby recently as announced by Yamada via her Instagram account on 21 January. In the handwritten statement, Yamada mentioned that although it will be tough being a mother of two children, the family is grateful for the safe arrival of their latest member and will work hard together to lead a happy life. However, there were no details on the gender nor the date of birth of the baby. One day earlier, Yamada's agency K-Dash broke the news first during their New Year's party at XEX DAIKANYAMA.

Oguri and Yamada got married on 14 March 2012 and their first daughter was born in 2014. They announced Yamada's second pregnancy in September last year.

Sources: Nikkansports / Yomiuri Hochi / Oricon

Nakamura Aoi announces his marriage to his girlfriend of 6 years

Nakamura Aoi announced via his blog on 21 January that he has married his girlfriend. In his entry titled "Announcement", he apologised for the sudden notice and revealed his marriage to his girlfriend who he has dated for the past six years and that she is not a celebrity. Although he did not give any details on his wife, he commented that she has been supporting him behind the scenes all this while and they decided to get married on their 6th anniversary since they started dating. Nakamura pledged to work harder in future as an actor and asked for everyone's support going forward.

According to insiders, Nakamura's wife is currently not pregnant and there are no plans yet for a wedding.

Nakamura entered showbiz in 2005 by winning the Grand Prix award in the 18th Junon Super Boy Contest and made his debut as a leading actor through the stage play "Teien ni Shisu" the following year. Since then, he has been seen in many movies and dramas such as "Hyakuhachi", "BECK", "Hanazakari no kimi tachi e ~ Ikemen Paradise ~ 2011" and "Seiseisuru hodo, Aishiteru".

Sources: Nikkansports / Sanspo / Sponichi / Oricon

Filming of TBS Winter 2017 drama "Quartet" in Karuizawa done under freezing conditions

The filming of TBS Winter 2017 drama "Quartet" at Karuizawa in Nagano Prefecture was concluded on 16 January which coincided with a strong cold wave bringing temperatures down to -16 degrees Celsius and heavy snowfall. Despite the tough conditions, the cast seemed to enjoy the filming as Matsu commented that her concentration is better when the weather is cold while Mitsushima whose hometown is in warm Okinawa exclaimed how she loves the cold and snow. The cast also including Takahashi Issei and Matsuda Ryuhei, were in Karuizawa between 14 and 16 January for the filming of episode 3 which is due to be broadcast on 31 January. In addition, most of the filming was done outdoors and had to be suspended due to the snowfall.

Although it had been a good 22 years since the 1995 NHK drama "Kura" where Matsu had to film in such snowy conditions, she revealed that she doesn't use heat packs in the daytime and keeps them for the late night shoots. With regard to the cold wave, she expressed that she was OK with it especially since this is exactly the same type of atmosphere as projected in the drama. As for Mitsushima, she said that she loves the cold so much and doesn't use heat packs at all. She even teased the staff members for being all wrapped up like wild animals.

The filming of the drama is expected to last till the end of February and will be done in Tokyo and Karuizawa.

Source: Sanspo

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Winners of the 6th Confidence Award Drama Prize (Autumn 2016)

Best Drama: Nigeru wa haji daga yaku ni tatsu

Best Leading Actor: Matsuoka Masahiro (Kaseifu no Mitazono)

Best Leading Actress: Aragaki Yui (Nigeru wa haji daga yaku ni tatsu)

Best Supporting Actor: Hoshino Gen (Nigeru wa haji daga yaku ni tatsu)

Best Supporting Actress: Ishida Yuriko (Nigeru wa haji daga yaku ni tatsu)

Best Script: Nogi Akiko (Nigeru wa haji daga yaku ni tatsu)

Best Newcomer: Otani Ryohei (Nigeru wa haji daga yaku ni tatsu)

Source: Confidence Award


New omnibus movie "Blue Hearts ga kikoeru" to be screened from 8 April 2017

The new omnibus movie "Blue Hearts ga kikoeru" based on the same-titled song from legendary band THE BLUE HEARTS which disbanded in 1995, will be shown at cinemas from 8 April. The film consists of six stories based on different interpretations of the song and is directed by six directors. The lead actors for the stories include Ono Machiko, Ichihara Hayato, Saito Takumi, Nagase Masatoshi, Yuka and Toyokawa Etsushi. Although the film was at risk of not being able to be screened due to the problems at the production company, there was a cloud funding exercise on Makuake from 7 December which raised a certain amount of funds thus enabling the film's screening to be finalised. The fund raising exercise will run till 15 February.

Ono who stars in the story "Hammer (48-oku no Bruce)" directed by Iizuka Ken, revealed that she accepted the offer even before she finished reading the script and is full of praise for the script. As for Ichihara who stars in the science fiction story "Hito ni yasashiku" directed by Shimoyama Ten, commented that he enjoyed the filming as which gave him the chance to experience a futuristic environment very different from his own life and called upon everyone to keep a lookout for the action scenes.

Saito who stars in the story "Love Letter" by Iguchi Noboru, expressed thanks to everyone who supported the movie and said that it felt as if their hard work had paid off. While filming the movie, he was glad to have experienced and learnt what it means to do something for someone. As for Nagase who co-stars with Mizuhara Kiko in "Jounetsu no Bara" directed by Kudo Shinichi, he commented that the film met with difficulties like a difficult labour but thanks to everyone, the film is finally able to meet everyone so he hopes that many people can get to see this.

Yuka who stars in "Shounen no Uta" directed by Shimizu Takashi, had worked together with the director back in the 2005 movie "Rinne" and expressed joy to be able to participate in this movie. Last but not least, Toyokawa who stars in Lee Sang-il's "1001 no Violin", recounted that he had to wear protective gear and had strong and cold winds blown at him and his co-star Miura Takahiro during the filming near the Fukushima No.1 nuclear power plant.

Source: Eiga.com

Friday, January 20, 2017

First-day-screening event of new movie "Honnouji Hotel"

The first-day-screening event of new movie "Honnouji Hotel" was held at TOHO Cinemas Roppongi Hills on 14 January which was attended by the director Suzuki Masayuki and cast members Ayase Haruka, Tsutsumi Shinichi, Hamada Gaku, Hirayama Hiroyuki, Taguchi Hiromasa, Takashima Masahiro, Kondo Masaomi and Kazama Morio who were all dressed in Japanese traditional clothing.  When asked about how it felt to be wearing a formal kimono, Ayase stammered at first and said that she was happy to be wear this since it felt like an extension of the New Year but she also felt embarrassed. In response to this, Tsutsumi teased his co-star for being excited as if it was still the New Year holidays even though she should be more serious on the first-day-screening event.

When asked to reflect on the filming of the movie which took place last summer, Ayase recounted that she had been stung by flies and gnats on 8 spots while she was at temples and in the midst of bushes that it was too itchy for her to sleep at night. It got so bad that she scratched herself until she bled. As for Tsutsumi, he revealed what Taguchi, Hamada and he had taken the same Shinkansen train to get to the filming venue but it just so happened that he was in another carriage while Taguchi and Hamada sat together. However, by the time they got to Okayama, Tsutsumi was wondering why his co-stars were not getting off the train and actually ran on the platform to check on them when he saw them in a drunken state. After Tsutsumi knocked on the window, Taguchi managed to get out of the train in time but Hamada actually rode the train all the way to Hiroshima which made the audience gasp in amusement.

Sources: Sanspo / Eiga.com

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Preview of "Ubai Ai, Fuyu" - Winter 2017

Title: Ubai Ai, Fuyu 奪い愛、冬 (Seizing love by force, Winter)
Official website: here
Official Twitter: here
O.A. Start Date: 20 January 2017
Timeslot: Fridays 11.15pm
Broadcast by: TV Asahi
Theme song: MAGIC by AAA
Opening theme: Koesou na kisetsu kara by Aimer
Cast: Kurashina Kana, Miura Shohei, Ootani Ryohei, Akimoto Saika, Darenogare Akemi, Nishime Shun, Mister Chin, Kimura Midoriko, Miyake Hiroki, Sakakibara Ikue, Mizuno Miki

The lookalike actors and actresses in Japanese showbiz (Oricon)

Oricon published a special feature about actors and actresses who look alike and how the newer actors and actresses get a boost to their name awareness and popularity as a result of looking like their seniors in the same industry. Below are the examples cited in the article.

Personally, I don't think all the pairs mentioned here look that alike to each other e.g. Nikaidou Fumi actually looks more similar to Miyazaki Aoi but the last two pairs gave me the feeling of "now that you mention it, they do look alike". Hope that you'll enjoy reading this and feel free to share your views on these lookalikes or suggest other pairs who may not be featured here.


Fukushi Souta vs. Nakagawa Taishi


Ootomo Karen vs. Hirose Suzu


Takenouchi Yutaka vs. Ootani Ryohei


Higa Manami vs. Hirose Arisu


Yamamoto Mizuki vs. Hotta Akane


Kawaguchi Haruna vs. Taketomi Seika


Nakatani Miki vs. Shibasaki Kou


Nikaidou Fumi vs. Yamamoto Maika


Mukai Osamu vs. Tanaka Kei


Yoshida Kotaro vs. Lily Frankie


Iura Arata vs. Dean Fujioka

Source: Oricon

Winners of the 71st Mainichi Eiga Concurs (2016)

Japanese Movie Grand Award: Shin Godzilla

Japanese Movie Excellence Award: Kono sekai no katasumi ni

Foreign Movie Best One Award: Sully

Best Director: Nishikawa Miwa (Nagai Iiwake)

Best Scriptwriter: Mukai Kousuke (Satoshi no Seishun)

Best Leading Actor: Motoki Masahiro (Nagai Iiwake)

Best Leading Actress: Tsutsui Mariko (Fuchi ni tatsu)

Best Supporting Actor: Kagawa Teruyuki (Creepy Itsuwari no Rinjin)

Best Supporting Actress: Ichikawa Mikako (Shin Godzilla)

Sponichi Grand Prix Newcomer Award: Maiguma Katsuya (Ken to Kazu) / Nakajo Ayami (Setoutsumi)

Tanaka Kinuyo Award: Matsubara Chieko

Best Photography: Saito Kouichi (64 Rokuyon Zenpen / 64 Rokuyon Kohen)

Best Art: Hayashida Yuji & Sakushima Eri (Shin Godzilla)

Best Music: Kotoringo (Kono sekai no katasumi ni)

Best Sound: Shiratori Mitsugu (Satoshi no Seishun)

Documentary Movie Award: Sakura no ki no shita

Animation Movie Award: Kimi no na wa

Oofuji Noburo Award: Kono sekai no katasumi ni

TSUTAYAxFilmarks Movie Fan Award - Japanese Movie: Kimi no na wa

TSUTAYAxFilmarks Movie Fan Award - Foreign Movie: Zootopia

Special Award: Shimamura Tatsuo (CEO of Shirogumi)

Source: Natalie