Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Yamada Takayuki starring in new movie "Kyoaku"

Yamada Takayuki will be starring in the movie "Kyoaku" which begins its run in cinemas from 21 September. The movie is directed by Shiraishi Kazuya, a disciple of famous director Wakamatsu Koji who passed away suddenly last October and is based on a true story about how a reporter (Yamada) finds out about a murder case which the police aren't even aware of and develops a warped mentality while chasing after the truth. Pierre Taki plays an insider to the case while Lily Frankie takes on his first baddie role as a former gang leader who is also the mastermind of the case.

Source: Sponichi

Sakurai Sho to star in FujiTV spring 2013 drama "Kazoku Game"

Arashi's Sakurai Sho will be starring in the upcoming FujiTV spring 2013 drama "Kazoku Game" which will be shown in the newly-restored Wednesdays 10pm timeslot. He plays a weird and unconventional home tutor who has a 100% success rate in getting his students into Todai and helps a student in the second year of junior high to cope with the senior high school entrance exams as well as solve the problems in the family at the same time. The drama is actually a remake of the 1981 novel by Honma Yohei which won the Subaru Literature Award and had featured the late Matsuda Yuusaku and singer Nagabuchi Tsuyoshi in a 1983 movie and 1985 drama SP adaptation respectively.

The Wednesday 10pm timeslot used to feature hit-name dramas like "Shomuni" and was revived to be a drama timeslot again as part of FujiTV's programming changes from April onwards. Sakurai commented that he used to have a home tutor when he was in junior high and senior high so he is thankful for the help then and recalled how he used to feel nervous about facing his tutor.

Source: Sanspo

Himuro Kyosuke to sing theme song for "Wara no Tate"

Himuro Kyosuke who celebrates his 25th anniversary as a singer, will be in-charge of the theme song for upcoming movie "Wara no Tate" which begins its run in cinemas from 26 April. The movie directed by Miike Takashi and starring Osawa Takao and Matsushima Nanako, will mark the first time in 9 years since Himuro sang a theme song for a movie. The song "NORTH OF EDEN" describes the complicated emotions of SP officers in the movie who have to escort a murderer from Fukuoka to Tokyo as part of their work despite their anger against him for killing a young girl. After Miike wrote a letter to Himuro to ask him to do the theme song, the latter wrote the lyrics after reading the script and recorded the song last November in Los Angeles.

Source: Sanspo

Sunday, January 27, 2013

First-day screening of "Tsuya no Yoru"

The first-day screening event of "Tsuya no Yoru" was held on 26 January at Marunouchi's TOEI 1 which was attended by cast members Abe Hiroshi, Maki Youko, Nonami Maho, Kutsuna Shiori and Nagayama Kento. The movie is based on the novel by Naoki Award winner Inoue Areno and is probably the last for Nonami before she becomes a mother as she is currently 5 months' pregnant.

Source: Sanspo

First-day screening of "Strawberry Night"

The first-day screening event of "Strawberry Night" was held on 26 January which was attended by cast members Takeuchi Yuko, Nishijima Hidetoshi, Osawa Takao, Namase Katsuhisa, Koide Keisuke, Maruyama Ryuuhei, Ukaji Takashi and Takashima Masahiro. It had been three years since the series started off as a FujiTV drama SP in 2010 and continued with a full season drama between January and March 2012. The movie marks the end to the series and the cast commented how the entire series had been important to them and how close they have gotten after these years. After the event, the cast headed to Nippon Housou's Imagine Studio for the recording of "Takeuchi Yuko no All Night Nippon GOLD" where she took on the role of main radio personality for the first time. The radio show will be aired on 1 February.

Source: Sanspo

Saturday, January 26, 2013

New blog - Shoku / Shisou / Seikatsu

Hi everyone, I just started a new blog which will focus on things outside of the J-culture world. If you are keen, please check it out at .

Looking forward to seeing you there as well!

Ishihara Satomi as new CM character of mobile phone app LINE

Ishihara Satomi appeared at the announcement event of smartphone communication app LINE on 25 January as its new CM character. The app is widely popular worldwide and recently crossed the 100 million users mark recently. Ishihara revealed that she is an avid user of LINE which is especially useful when keeping in touch with friends who are overseas or having group chats. In the CM, she plays a new member of a theatre group who uses LINE to get closer to her fellow members. Co-stars in the CM include Oikawa Mitsuhiro, Nagayama Kento and Kinami Haruka and the CM will be shown on TV from 26 January.

Source: Sponichi

Open rehearsal for Matsuyama Kenichi's "Tooi Natsu no Gogh"

The open rehearsal of Sports Nippon News Agency's 60th anniversary commemorative stage play "Tooi Natsu no Gogh" was held on 24 January where lead cast members such as Matsuyama Kenichi, Minami and Yoshizawa Yu made appearances. Matsuyama who is acting in a stage play for the first time, plays a cicada in this play and expressed how he found it difficult to portray a cicada and mimic the sounds it makes. When congratulated by the media for the birth of his second child, Matsuyama thanked those who were present and expressed his joy about this.

Source: Sponichi

The 24th Nippon Jewellery Best Dresser Award

The prize presentation ceremony for the 24th Nippon Jewellery Best Dresser Award was held on 24 January and here are the winners of various categories:

Teens: Kawashima Umika
20s: Gouriki Ayame
30s: Matsushima Nanako
40s: Nagasaku Hiromi
50s: Takahashi Keiko
60s: Yuki Saori
Men's: Higashiyama Noriyuki
Special Award: Uchimura Kohei (Olympic gymnastics gold medalist) / KARA (Korean female group)

Source: Nikkansports

NTV postpones broadcast of drama SP "Reverse ~ Keishichou Sousa Ikka Team Z"

NTV announced on 24 January that it will postpone the broadcast of its drama SP "Reverse ~ Keishichou Sousa Ikka Team Z" which was supposed to be shown at 9pm on 25 January. The reason was that the story resembled what happened in the Algerian hostage crisis where 10 Japanese citizens were killed thus it was deemed inappropriate to show the drama SP at this point in time. The drama SP starring Matsuzaka Tori and An features the two of them as members of a new team named Team Z within the Metropolitan Police Department who has to resolve a case where bombs are placed in the merchandise of a leading foodstuff company. There is no word yet on when the drama SP will be broadcast but the cast members and crew had been informed of the decision and were understanding about it.

Source: Nikkansports

Kuroki Meisa back in the public eye after eight months

Kuroki Meisa made her first public appearance for the first time in 8 months on 24 January since she got married to Akanishi Jin and gave birth to their daughter last September. She attended the event for US movie "Silver Linings Playbook" starring actor Bradley Cooper as a guest. Kuroki will resume her acting career early next month when she begins filming for the NHK Taiga drama "Yae no Sakura".

Source: Yomiuri Hochi

Production press conference of "Yurichika e Mama kara no dengon"

The production press conference for TV Asahi drama SP "Yurichika e Mama kara no dengon" was held on 24 January which was attended by cast members such as Tokiwa Takako, Tanabe Seiichi and Toake Yukiyo. The drama will be shown on 26 January at 9pm and features Tokiwa as a mother who's down with a terminal illness and tries to write a book for her young daughter. Tokiwa jokingly remarked that this is the second time in 2013 that she "died" because her other role in TBS drama "Tonbi" also passed away due to an accident. She recounted during the filming of this drama that she was slapped so hard by Toake who plays her mother that she thought that this was the worst slap she had suffered in her acting career.

Source: Sanspo

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Fukuyama Masaharu & Yoshitaka Yuriko back in "Galileo" this spring

Fukuyama Masaharu will be back to reprise his role as Yukawa Manabu in the latest installment of the Galileo series since the first drama series in 2007. The title of the new drama hasn't been decided yet but will be shown in the Gekku slot from April 2013. This time, Yukawa's partner will be changed from Shibasaki Kou to Yoshitaka Yuriko who also appears in the new Galileo movie "Manatsu no Houteishiki" (Midsummer's Formula) which will be released in cinemas on 29 June. Nonetheless, Shibasaki is still set to appear in Episode 1 where it's explained that her character Utsumi Kaoru introduces her junior Kishitani Misa (Yoshitaka) to Yukawa. Kishitani is an original character in the drama who doesn't appear in the novels unlike Utsumi. FujiTV stressed that Utsumi is still part of the Galileo family and may appear in other episodes beside the first.

Fukuyama jokingly commented that he had hoped to do a new Galileo drama much earlier but he signed on to do a one-year drama soon after the 2007 series (i.e. referring to NHK Taiga Ryomaden) so it took much longer than expected. The drama this time will feature four stories out of the eight titles under the Galileo novel series by Higashino Keigo which has achieved sales of more than 9.5 million copies to date. Co-stars also include Kitamura Kazuki who will play Yukawa's ex-classmate and police detective Kusanagi.

As for the upcoming movie, it features Yukawa going to a seaside town for a seminar on an underwater minerals development project where a man is found dead under weird circumstances. An will play the role of Narumi who holds the key to solving the mystery.

Source: Sanspo

Ueto Aya to star in new movie "Bushi no Kondate"

Ueto Aya will be starring in her first movie since she got married last September as announced on 23 January. She will play the lead in "Bushi no Kondate" (A Samurai's Menu) which is the second installment in the Bushi series (first movie was Bushi no Kakeibo starring Sakai Masato in 2010) and due to be shown in cinemas in December this year. Ueto plays the role of Oharu, a divorcee who gets married to Yasunobu (Koura Kengo) of the Funaki family in the Edo era who tries to support her husband to be independent and overcome problems through her excellent cooking skills. Filming will begin from March at Kanazawa City in Ishikawa Prefecture. In preparation for that, Ueto is going through cooking classes now and looks forward to the filming in Kanazawa. Co-stars include Nishida Toshiyuki and Yo Kimiko who play her in-laws.

Source: Sanspo

Kusanagi Tsuyoshi & Horikita Maki in stage play "Nito Monogatari"

SMAP's Kusanagi Tsuyoshi and Horikita Maki will be working together in the stage play "Nito Monogatari which will be performed at Tokyu Theatre Orb between 3 April and 30 April. The story is based on the novel "A Tale of Two Cities" by Charles Dickens set in London and Paris during the French Revolution and will be adapted to showcase the tragic love story between Kusanagi and Horikita's characters. Co-stars include Ozawa Yukiyoshi, Takahashi Keiko and Oosugi Ren.

Source: Sanspo

Mukai Osamu & Kuninaka Ryoko caught on overnight date?

Mukai Osamu and Kuninaka Ryoko are in the limelight again for an overnight date as reported in the 24th January issue of Josei Seven. According to the article, Kuninaka was caught using a spare key to enter Mukai's apartment early this month before Mukai returned home three hours later. It was said that the two spent the night at Mukai's apartment. With regard to this, Mukai's agency admitted that Kuninaka stayed at his place but stressed that there were other friends present. When asked about Mukai's relationship with Kuninaka, it said that he is already 30 years old so they have no intention of asking him about this issue (since he's already an adult). On the other hand, Kuninaka's agency declined comment.

The two had worked together in the Winter 2012 drama "Hungry!" and were first romantically linked when news of their dates in October 2012 first appeared in the media. However, Mukai had denied that they are an item when he appeared at a public event in December.

Source: Nikkansports

The 16th Nikkansports Drama Grand Prix (Autumn 2012)

Note that the number in brackets indicate the number of votes received:

Best Drama
1) PRICELESS (457)
2) Doctor X (212)
3) Aibou season 11 (120)
4) Taira no Kiyomori (75)
5) TOKYO Airport (71)

Best Leading Actor
1) Kimura Takuya - PRICELESS (548)
2) Mizutani Yutaka - Aibou 11 (235)
3) Sakai Masato - Ooku Tanjou (146)
4) Ikuta Toma - Osozaki no Himawari (130)
5) Matsuyama Kenichi - Taira no Kiyomori (107)

Best Leading Actress
1) Yonekura Ryoko - Doctor X (419)
2) Fukada Kyoko - TOKYO Airport (206)
3) Kanno Miho - Kekkon Shinai (176)
4) Kitagawa Keiko - Akumu-chan (152)
5) Natsuna - Jun to Ai (NHK)

Best Supporting Actor
1) Nakai Kiichi - PRICELESS (345)
2) Ishiguro Ken - Sousa Chizu no Onna (104)
3) Narimiya Hiroki - Aibou 11 (99)
4) Kishibe Ittoku - Doctor X (97)
5) Matsuda Shota - Taira no Kiyomori (70)

Best Supporting Actress
1) Karina - PRICELESS (434)
2) Uchida Yuki - Doctor X (129)
3) Fukada Kyoko - Taira no Kiyomori (79)
4) Tabe Mikako - Ooku Tanjou (77)
5) Maki Youko - Osozaki no Himawari (72)

Source: Nikkansports

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Katori Shingo & An in FujiTV Spring 2013 drama "Kasukana Kanojo"

SMAP's Katori Shingo and An will be starring in the FujiTV spring 2013 love-comedy drama "Kasukana Kanojo" which is due to start in April and shown in the 10pm Tuesdays timeslot. He plays the role of a junior high school teacher who can see spirits since he was a child while An plays the role of a former teacher who is now a ghost that lingers at his new apartment and helps him to solve problems in school.

Source: Sanspo

Miyazawa Rie & Fujiki Naohito in NHK drama "Kamisama no Boat"

Miyazawa Rie will be starring in the NHK drama "Kamisama no Boat" which will be shown over three weeks in March this year. This is the first time in 14 years that Miyazawa is acting in a lead role in a drama series. The story is based on the same-titled novel by Ekuni Kaori which has been dubbed as the most dangerous story due to the controversial theme of an obsessed woman who goes all out for love. Miyazawa plays the role of a married woman who falls for Fujiki Naohito, the owner of a musical instruments shop who is also married. However, due to an incident that causes him to be saddled with debt, he disappears without a word and Miyazawa's character finds herself pregnant with his child. She then begins a journey of more than 10 years to find her lover together with the daughter she gives birth to. Miyazawa's husband who is an university professor, will be played by Ishibashi Ryo.

Source: Sponichi

Sasaki Kuranosuke wins individual award at Kinokuniya Engekisho

Sasaki Kuranosuke won the individual award in the 47th Kinokuniya Engekisho held at Kinokuniya Hall on 22 January for his role in the play "Konbanwa, Otousan". The play was staged in October last year. Sasaki admitted that when he first started acting in stage plays during his university days, he had never heard of this award which is aimed to honour people who have done well in stage plays but he was glad that his performance was recognised.

Source: Yomiuri Hochi

Ikuta Toma to star in the movie "Mogura no Uta"

Ikuta Toma will star in the movie "Mogura no Uta" directed by Miike Takashi and written by Kudo Kankuro, as reported on 20 January 2013. The story is based on the same-titled manga by Takahashi Noboru which has released 33 volumes to date and is still being serialised in manga magazine"Big Comics Blitz". Ikuta plays Kikukawa Reiji, a police detective who infiltrates a yakuza organisation and is known for being a lecher while still maintaining his status as a virgin. Although most people would associate undercovers as cool guys, Reiji is different from the norm because he barely scrapped through the police academy and isn't known for being the intelligent type. In the movie, Reiji will have scenes such as being tied to the bonnet of a car while being naked. This will be the first time Ikuta is working with Miike but he has experience working with Kudo when he acted in his 2010 drama "Unubore Deka".

Source: Sanspo

NHK's new drama "Last Dinner"

NHK will be showing a new drama titled "Last Dinner" which is due to begin its run in March at 11.15pm on Saturdays. The drama consists of 8 episodes set in a restaurant where couples who are forced to separate due to circumstances come together for a last meeting here. The first episode features Tanaka Rena as Yuka who continues waiting for her boyfriend (Yamamoto Koji) even though he disappeared suddenly one year ago. The leads for the other episodes include Kimura Yoshino (Ep 2), Koura Kengo (Ep 3), Tomosaka Rie (Ep 4), Katase Rino (Ep 7) and Dan Rei (Ep 8). Singer Hirahara Ayaka will also appear in the drama and sing famous songs at the ending.

Source: Yomiuri Hochi

Takeuchi Yuko as radio personality for All Night Nippon GOLD

Takeuchi Yuko will make her debut as a radio personality in the 1 Feb broadcast of "Takeuchi Yuko no All Night Nippon GOLD" via Nippon Housou as part of the promotion campaign for her upcoming movie "Strawberry Night". The movie is scheduled to be screened in cinemas from 26th January thus she will be heading to the studio for the recording on the same day after the first-day screening event. In addition, her subordinates in the movie i.e. Nishijima Hidetoshi, Koide Keisuke and Ukaji Takashi will also be at the recording to support her. Although Takeuchi had appeared on radio dramas and as guests on radio shows before, this is the first time she is taking on the role of main personality in a radio show.

Source: Sanspo

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Screening event of "Made In Japan"

The screening event of NHK drama "Made In Japan" was held at the TV station's HQ in Shibuya on 17 January which was attended by key cast members Karasawa Toshiaki, Takahashi Katsumi, Yoshioka Hidetaka and Kunimura Jun. The drama is scheduled to begin its run from 26 January and based on an original script by Inoue Yumiko who is well-known for her work in dramas such as "Shiroi Kyoto".

Source: Yomiuri Hochi

Uchiyama Rina stars in drama SP "Joyu Reiko Honou no You ni"

Uchiyama Rina will take the lead role in the TV Tokyo drama SP "Joyu Reiko Honou no You ni" (Actress Reiko, Like Fire) which suffered a delay from autumn last year because the previous choice for the role (i.e. Ono Machiko) pulled out of the drama due to scheduling conflicts. The drama SP is due to be shown in March this year and features Uchiyama as the late actress Oohara Reiko who went through major life events like the failure of her plastic surgery, fighting breast cancer, abortion and two divorces. Uchiyama paid a visit to Oohara's grave recently and pledged to do her best for this drama. She also revealed to the press that she has no intention of impersonating Oohara but would rather focus on trying to convey her feelings during each significant life event. Filming begins at the end of this month and will be shown in a primetime slot spanning more than 2 hours.

Source: Yomiuri Hochi

Eguchi Yosuke & Hirosue Ryoko in drama SP "Norainu"

Eguchi Yosuke and Hirosue Ryoko attended the screening and talk event of TV Asahi drama SP "Kurosawa Akira Drama SP Norainu" on 14 January. The drama SP is scheduled to be shown at 9pm on 19 January and a remake of the same-titled movie by Kurosawa Akira. Eguchi plays a police officer whose gun gets stolen while Hirosue plays a jazz singer in the story.

Source: Nikkansports

Production press conference of "Nakuna, Hara-chan"

The production press conference of NTV Winter 2013 drama "Nakuna, Hara-chan" (Don't cry, Hara-chan) was held on 14 January which was attended by key cast members TOKIO's Nagase Tomoya, Kutsuna Shiori, Asou Kumiko and Kanjani 8's Maruyama Ryuhei. The drama is scheduled to begin its run from 19 January at 9pm on Saturdays and features Nagase as Hara-chan, a fictitious manga character drawn by Asou Kumiko's character who comes to life and gradually falls for her. During the event, there were 80 people who became adults this year during the Coming-of-Age ceremony. Nagase commented that he made his debut when he was 14 and he's already an actor for 20 years. He gave advice to the audience that although being an adult comes with certain restrictions and expectations on behaviour, the only thing which should be unrestricted in adulthood is romance so he encouraged them to go out and seek the love of their lives.

Source: Yomiuri Hochi

Eita & Kato Ai in NHK drama SP "Kyokuhoku Rhapsody"

Eita, Kato Ai and Kobayashi Kaoru wrapped up filming for the NHK drama SP "Kyokuhoku Rhapsody" on 14 January at Hokkaido's Kyowa-cho. The story features Eita as Imanaka, a doctor who works at a hospital in a fictitious town named Kyokuhoku in Hokkaido which is on the brink of bankruptcy and is based on the books titled "Kyokuhoku Claimer" and "Kyokuhoku Rhapsody" written by Kaido Takeru who is famous for "Team Batista no Eikou". Filming took place in various places within Hokkaido including Sapporo, Otaru and Niseko. The drama SP will be shown on 19th and 20th March at 10pm.

Source: Nikkansports

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Iura Arata & Kubozuka Yosuke back in new movie "The Extreme Sukiyaki"

Iura Arata and Kubozuka Yosuke will work together for the first time in 11 years since their last collaboration in the movie "Ping Pong". This time, they will star in the movie "The Extreme Sukiyaki" which is due to be shown this autumn as friends who meet for the first time in 15 years. Iura will play the role of Douguchi who just quit being a salaryman and Kubozuka plays the role of Ookawa. Both men were friends during their university days and meet again after a long time. They suddenly have this idea of going to find a place to eat sukiyaki by the sea and rope in their university friend Kyoko (Ichikawa Mikako) and Ookawa's girlfriend Kaede (Kurashina Kana) to embark on the journey.

Iura and Kubozuka became close friends after working on "Ping Pong" and had been hoping to work together again. As such, when the offer came along, they were both thrilled at the chance and believes that their chemistry will show through this movie. Filming will begin on 22 January and is due to be completed  by March.

Source: Yomiuri Hochi

Shiina Kippei in Matsumoto Seicho drama SP "Kanryuu"

Shiina Kippei stars in TBS' remake of Matsumoto Seicho's novel "Kanryu" which was shown on 14 January at 9pm. The story is included as the 6th story in the 1959 short stories compilation "Kuroi Gashuu" which had been made into a movie and drama before. Shiina plays Okino Ichiro, the branch manager of a bank, who gets embroiled in a love triangle with Ashina Sei who plays the owner of a ryotei and Ishiguro Ken who plays a director of the bank where Okino works in.

Source: Yomiuri Hochi

Special edition "Yae no Sakura" aeroplane in service

ANA announced the introduction of a special edition  "Yae no Sakura" aeroplane in its fleet at Haneda Airport on 14 January which was unveiled by the drama's lead Ayase Haruka. The Boeing 767 aeroplane will be in service until December this year on domestic flights within Japan. According to ANA, they decided to support the drama set in tsunami-hit Fukushima Prefecture through this method. Unfortunately, due to the heavy snowfall today, the aeroplane could not embark on its maiden journey to Osaka Airport at 1pm to which Ayase expressed disappointment.

Source: Sanspo

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Ayase Haruka at the opening of Yae museum in Fukushima

Ayase Haruka attended the opening ceremony of the "Handsome Woman Yae to Aizupaku Taiga Dorama Kan" which is a museum located in Yae's place of birth i.e. Aizu Wakamatsu City in Fukushima Prefecture on 12 January. The museum features a remake of Yae's birth family's house i.e. the Yamamoto residence, displays clothes worn in the Taiga drama "Yae no Sakura", simulations on how to use the Spencer rifle, images of the wartimes which Yae was in. It will be open till 14 January 2014 and admission ticket prices are at 500 yen for adults and 200 yen for children.

Source: Sanspo

Gouriki Ayame & Kutsuna Shiori in their Coming-of-Age kimonos

Gouriki Ayame and Kutsuna Shiori who both will mark their entry into adulthood this year, won't be able to take part in the Coming-of-Age ceremony on 14 January since they are both scheduled to work on that day. However, their agency Oscar Promotion made preparations for them to wear their Coming-of-Age kimonos ahead of time and released the pictures to the press. Gouriki commented that she feels as if she has made the first step into adulthood but will not forget the purity of a child's heart even as she continues to grow. Kutsuna who was born in Australia, said that she was happy to become an adult in Japan and hoped that she will do well in her 20s.

Source: Sanspo

Completion screening of "dinner"

The completion screening of FujiTV Winter 2013 drama "dinner" was held on 11 January which was attended by cast members Eguchi Yosuke, Yusuke Santa Maria, Kurashina Kana, Yashima Norito, Matsushige Yutaka, Shiga Koutarou, Hakamada Yoshihiko, Seki Megumi and Shibamoto Yuki. The drama is scheduled to begin its run from 13 January at 9pm on Sundays. Eguchi plays a genius chef who aims to create the perfect dish and ends up clashing with the chefs and owner of an Italian restaurant when he starts to work there.

Source: Sanspo

Friday, January 11, 2013

Top 10 bestselling music DVDs of 2012 (Oricon)

Figures in brackets indicate number of copies sold:

1) ARASHI LIVE TOUR Beautiful World - Arashi (714,125)

2) EXILE LIVE TOUR 2011 TOWER OF WISH ~ Negai no Tou ~  - EXILE (398,402)


4) Kanjani 8 Godai Dome TOUR EIGHT x EIGHTER - Kanjani 8 (192,025)

5) Tohoshinki LIVE TOUR 2012 ~ TONE ~ - Tohoshinki (171,409)

6) Kis-My-MiNT Tour at Tokyo Dome 2012.4.8 - Kis-My-Ft2 (157,038)


8) namie amuro LIVE STYLE 2011 - Amuro Namie (142,198)

9) GIFT of SMAP CONCERT 2012 - SMAP (132,667)

10) Live at AIR JAM 2011 - Hi-STANDARD (120,389)

Source: Oricon

Top 10 drama ratings for 2012 (single episode basis) - Oricon

Note that this takes into consideration the highest rating for a single episode of a drama series or the rating for an once-off drama SP so it will be different from the usual ratings ranking we see which is based on averages. Dates in brackets indicate the date when the episode or SP was shown:

1) Carnation (28 Jan 2012) - 25.0%

2) Ume-chan Sensei (11 Aug 2012) - 24.9%

3) Doctor X (13 Dec 2012 - Last episode) - 24.4%

4) 24 Jikan Terebi Drama SP Kuruma Isu de Boku wa Sora wo Tobu (25 Aug 2012) - 23.8%

5) Odoru Daisousasen THE LAST TV Salaryman Keiji to Saigo no Nanjiken (1 Sep 2012) - 21.3%

6) Aibou (21 Mar 2012 - Last episode) - 20.5%

7) PRICELESS (10 Dec 2012) - 20.1%

8) ATARU (15 Apr 2012) - 19.9%

9) Jun to Ai (1 Oct 2012) - 19.8%

10) Atsui Kuuki (22 Dec 2012) - 18.6%

Source: Oricon

Top 10 box office hits in 2012 (Oricon)

Note that this includes movies released in cinemas from December 2011 to November 2012.

1) BRAVE HEARTS Umizaru - JPY 7.33bn (Released on 13 July)

2) Terumae Romae - JPY 5.98bn (Released on 28 April)

3) Odoru Daisousasen THE FINAL Aratanaru Kibou - JPY 5.95bn (Released on 7 September)

4) Evangelion Shin Gekijouban: Q - between JPY 5.3bn and JPY 5.5bn (Released on 17 November)

5) Mission: Impossible / Ghost Protocol - JPY 5.38bn (Released on 16 December)

6) Ookami Kodomo no Ame to Yuki - JPY 4.22bn (Released on 21 July)

7) Bio Hazard V: Retribution - JPY 3.81bn (Released on 14 September)

8) Eiga Doraemon Nobita to Kiseki no Shima ~ Animal Adventure ~ - JPY 3.62bn (Released on 3 March)

9) Gekijouban Pocket Monster Best Wish - JPY 3.61bn (Released on 14 July)

10) Avengers - JPY 3.6bn (Released on 17 August)

Source: Oricon

2013 Most Anticipated Coming-of-Age celebrities (Oricon)

1) Kyari Pamyu Pamyu (Artiste / Model)

2) Gouriki Ayame (Actress)

3) Ishikawa Kasumi (Table tennis player)

4) Honda Tsubasa (Model / Actress)

5) Miyaichi Ryo (Soccer player)

6) Narumi Riko (Actress)

7) Kutsuna Shiori (Actress)

8) Sashihara Rino (Idol member of HKT48)

9) Miyaguni Ryosuke (Baseball player)

10) Shibasaki Gaku (Soccer player)

Source: Oricon

"Saikou no Rikon" starts the season with 13.5%

"Saikou no Rikon" which stars Eita, Ono Machiko, Maki Youko and Ayano Go, started the season with 13.5% for its first broadcast in the Kanto region on 10 January. The first episode was a 15-minute extended one.

Source: Sponichi

Screening & press conference for "Last Hope"

The screening and press conference for FujiTV Winter 2013 drama "Last Hope" was held at Omotesando Hills on 10 January which was attended by cast members Aiba Masaki, Tabe Mikako, Tanabe Seiichi, Koike Eiko, Sakuraba Nanami, Takashima Masahiro, Kohinata Fumio and Kitamura Yukiya. The drama is scheduled to begin its run from 15 January at 9pm on Tuesdays. Aibe plays a doctor for the first time in a drama and stressed that they have tried to inject as much reality as possible into scenes such as the conferences and surgeries. Kohinata praised Aiba for being energetic and commented that he had not seen the latter dozing off nor showing his tired expression even though they are filming over very long hours. In response to that, Aiba said that he was too nervous so he didn't dare to let his guard down. During the event, it was also announced that Arashi's new single "Calling" which is to be released on 6 March, will be the theme song of this drama.

Source: Sanspo / Nikkansports

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Koyuki gives birth to second child - UPDATED

Koyuki announced the birth of her second child with Matsuyama Kenichi on 10 January through a fax statement sent by her agency. In the statement, she revealed that their daughter was born on the same day and expressed joy at welcoming the arrival of their new family member. Matsuyama was able to witness the birth of their daughter as it happened to be his off-day from rehearsals for his play "Tooi Natsu no Gogh". The couple's first son was born on 5 January last year which makes both their children January babies.

Adding more information based on today's article:
1) She had given birth in Seoul, South Korea.
2) Apparently, she came to know about the post-birth maternity services in South Korea after she appeared on the NTV programme "Another Sky" which aired last June. As such, she decided to head there for the childbirth in order to make use of those services.
3) Services reportedly include a ward which is like a hotel room, 24/7 support from the nursing staff and massages to rectify the pelvic bones which had expanded during pregnancy and childbirth.
4) The full package reportedly costs JPY 100,000 for two weeks.

Source: Sponichi Annex / Sanspo

Screening & press conference for "Onna to Otoko no Nettai"

The screening event and press conference for WOWOW's new drama "Onna to Otoko no Nettai" was held on 10 January which was attended by its lead cast members Fujiwara Norika and Watabe Atsuro. The drama is due to begin its run from 20 January at 10pm on Sundays. When asked about the intimate scenes they had to do for this drama, Fujiwara commented that she had complete trust in Watabe and believed that those scenes would be something she could be proud of in her acting career so far. As for Watabe, he also complimented Fujiwara for being a charming person and that he hoped for more people to subscribe to WOWOW so that they can see it for themselves through this drama.

Source: Sanspo

Press conference for "Otome-san"

The announcement press conference for NTV's Winter 2013 drama "Otome-san" was held on 9 January which was attended by cast members Kuroki Hitomi, Aibu Saki, Ishida Junichi, Kaku Tomohiro, Suzuki Sawa and Daichi Yasuo. The story focuses on the strained relationship between Kuroki's character and her daughter-in-law played by Aibu who deviates from the usual meek stereotype to "torture" her mother-in-law.

Source: Sanspo

Production press conference for "Yakou Kanransha"

The production press conference for TBS Winter 2013 drama "Yakou Kanransha" was held at Yokohama City on 8 January which was attended by cast members Suzuki Kyoka, Ishida Yuriko, Miyasago Hiroyuki, Takahashi Katsunori, Natsuki Mari and Kanjani 8's Yasuda Shota. The drama which is based on Minato Kanae's novel, will begin its run from 18 January at 10pm on Fridays. The attention was naturally on Miyasago who made his return to work just weeks after he went through surgery for stomach cancer on 7 December. During the press conference, Miyasago assured everyone that he is doing well now and returned to filming on 30 December after he was discharged on the 22nd. He also expressed appreciation to the staff and co-stars for their consideration especially when he saw that they prepared more heaters and heat packs for him when it was very cold.

Source: Sanspo

YUI returns to singing with a new name and image

YUI who announced the suspension of her music career last year, has made her return to singing as early as in January this year, albeit with a different name and image. She is now performing under the name of "flower flower" and had sung at gigs involving other bands as well in Kobe on 7 January, Osaka on 8 January and Kyoto on 9 January. The concerts which saw audience sizes of about 100 people each, did not make special mention of YUI's appearance and it was never made known in advance that she is performing under a new name. YUI had also cut her hair short and sang 5 to 6 songs while playing an acoustic guitar at each of these performances. According to YUI's record company, she is expected to make her return to showbiz with a fresh debut after autumn this year.

Source: Nikkansports

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Mizushima Hiro to make his return to acting in "Kuroshitsuji"

Mizushima Hiro will make his return to acting in the new dark fantasy movie "Kuroshitsuji" since his last movie "BECK" which was released in September 2010. He plays the role of Sebastian Michaelis, a mysterious butler working at the Phantomhive household but is actually a devil in disguise. Sebastian is well-learned and knows a lot of things thus enabling him to work as a butler and solve complicated murder cases at the same time.

Mizushima had been taking a break from acting since "BECK" and agreed to take on this movie due to the producer Matsubashi Shinzo who persuaded him for more than one and a half years. Filming is due to begin in April so Mizushima is in preparations to go on a diet and train for the action scenes.

Source: Sanspo

Wishing & Coming-of-Age ceremony for "Biblia Koshodou no Jiken Techou"

The wishing ceremony for FujiTV's new Winter 2013 drama "Biblia Koshodou no Jiken Techou" and Coming-of-Age ceremony for its lead actress Gouriki Ayame was held on 8 January at Tokyo's Oomiyagu which was attended by Gouriki, EXILE's AKIRA and Takahashi Katsumi. Gouriki started to cry as she commented that it has always been her dream to star in a Gekku drama so being able to take on her first leading role in a primetime slot, somemore in the Gekku slot was something she had never imagined. As such, she thinks that this drama will become a memorable one for her since it also marks her entry into adulthood this year.

Filming for the drama began early December and Gouriki plays Shioriko, the owner of an antique bookstore in Kamakura, who solves the mysteries brought by her customers. The challenges for her are that she not only has to arm herself with knowledge about books but also say lines spanning as long as 14 pages. As such, Gouriki commented that in the first episode, it felt like she was doing all the talking.

AKIRA plays a part-time worker at Shioriko's bookstore while Takahashi plays a mysterious man who's knowledgeable about antique books. Co-stars also include Tanaka Kei, Triendle Reina, Yasuda Narumi and Matsuzaka Keiko. The theme song will be sung by EXILE's sister group E-Girls who will do a cover ofthe song "THE NEVER ENDING STORY" and it is due to be released as a single on 20 February.

Source: Sanspo

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Moriyama Mirai & Mitsushima Hikari in musical "Hyakumankai Ikita Neko"

The final rehearsal for the musical play "Hyakumankai Ikita Neko" (The cat who lived a million times) starring Moriyama Mirai and Mitsushima Hikari was held on 7 January at Geijutsu Gekijou Playhouse in Nishi Ikebukuro, Tokyo. The play is scheduled to be performed between 8 January and 27 January and is based on the same-titled picture book talking about a cat which doesn't know love (Moriyama) and how he changes after meeting another white cat (Mitsushima).

Source: Sanspo

Shiina Kippei & Tanaka Rena to star in stage play "Kyouju"

The press conference for stage play "Kyouju" (Professor) was held on 8 January which was attended by lead cast members Shiina Kippei, Tanaka Rena and Takahashi Issei. The play will be performed at Shibuya Theatre Cocoon between 7 February and 24 February and is based on an essay by Itsuki Hiroyuki about the life of a professor who specialises in the research of parasites. Shiina plays this professor who uses his own body to breed parasites for research and he commented that he will model his character based on Nobel prize winner Professor Yamanaka while acting in this play.

Source: Nikkansports

Oguri Shun & Yamada Yu hold wedding in Hawaii

Oguri Shun and Yamada Yu who registered their marriage on 14 March last year, held a wedding for their close friends and family members at Lana'i Island in Hawaii on 5 January (US time), as revealed through a joint statement released by the couple. Guests included Yamada's younger brother Shintaro, Arashi's Matsumoto Jun, Ikuta Toma, Koide Keisuke, Inoue Mao, Nishiyama Maki, Kinashi Noritaka and Shofukutei Tsurubei. Although the couple had already held a ceremony at Yamada's hometown in Okinawa last October, they decided to hold another one at Four Seasons Resort Lana'i at Manele Bay which was the destination of their trips together since they started dating in 2008. In order to make sure their guests could be free to attend the wedding on the same day, the couple then decided to hold it during the New Year holidays.

Source: Sanspo / Nikkansports

"Yae no Sakura" gets off to good start with 21.4%

2013 Taiga drama "Yae no Sakura" got off to a good start for its first episode shown on 6 January with a rating of 21.4% in the Kanto region and 19.2% in the Kansai region. In the Fukushima area where the drama's story is set in, ratings were as high as 30.7%. As a result, "Yae no Sakura" fared better than last year's "Taira no Kiyomori" which only got 17.3% in Kanto and 18.8% in Kansai.

Source: Sanspo

First episode screening of "Saikou no Rikon"

The first episode screening event for FujiTV Winter 2013 drama "Saikou no Rikon" was held on 6 January at Odaiba Cinema Mediage which was attended by key cast members Eita and Ono Machiko. Maki Youko was down with flu while Ayano Go had a slipped disc so the two of them were absent from the event. Eita and Ono revealed how they had become closer since filming started and that they call each other by their first names and walked up stage holding hands. Eita commented when he first met Ono at the script reading session, he knew right away that they can work well together.

It was also revealed during the event that Kuwata Keisuke will be singing the theme song for this drama titled "Ginga no Hoshikuzu" which is the first time in 2 years. The song will be included in his triple A-side single "Yin Yang" to be released on 13 March. During the ending credits of each episode, Eita, Ono, Maki and Ayano will all dance to this song in tuxedoes and dresses with high slits and every episode will feature a different type of dance.

Source: Sanspo

Shaku Yumiko injured while on location shooting for a NHK programme

Shaku Yumiko suffered a fracture to her leg while on location shooting at Niigata for a NHK programme on 5 January. She was scheduled to film scenes of attempting to do back country skiing for the programme "Shuutoken Special Yukiyama e GO! 2013 Tatsujin to Tanoshimu Fuyu no Meiho" but being a first-timer, Shaku fell down in the deep snow and suffered an injury which is expected to take two months to recover from. As a result, her left leg is now in a cast and she can't walk without crutches but her agency has confirmed that Shaku wants to continue working. Shaku also apologised for any inconveniences caused by her carelessness and injury.

Source: Sanspo

Abe Hiroshi at Coming-of-Age ceremony for 30-year-old people in Yokohama

Abe Hiroshi attended the Coming-of-Age ceremony held for 30-year-old people in Yokohama City on 5 January in collaboration with the promotion of his new film "Tsuya no Yoru" which will be screened from 26 January. Although the official age when people are considered as adults in Japan is 20, there is this view that people become "real" adults only when they turn 30 thus some cities hold a special ceremony for people at this age. Abe commented that he agrees with this view that people become true adults around 30 because they've experienced success and failure in their twenties and learnt how to compromise and bear with things by the time they reach 30. It is only then when they start to find their footing in life and realise their own strengths and weaknesses. Around 200 people in Yokohama City attended the event.

Source: Sanspo

Monday, January 07, 2013

Production press conference of "Karamazov no Kyoudai"

The production press conference of FujiTV Winter 2013 drama "Karamazov no Kyoudai" was held on 4 January which was attended by its key cast members Ichihara Hayato, Saito Takumi, Hayashi Kento and Yoshida Koutarou. The drama is scheduled to begin its run from 12 January at 11.10pm on Saturdays and is based on a long novel by Fyodor Dostoyevsky published in 1880. Saito, Ichihara and Hayashi play three brothers who are suspected of killing their father (Yoshida) and as the investigations progress, shocking truths about them are revealed along with social problems of present-day Japan being highlighted e.g. social gaps and political chaos.

Source: Sanspo

Arashi to be the main personality of "24 Jikan Terebi" for second year in a row

Arashi will take on the role of main personality for NTV's summer charity programme "24 Jikan Terebi" for the second year running as announced on 1 Jan 2013. This is the fourth year that they are doing it for this programme. The theme for this year will be "Nippon tte? ... ~ Kono kuni no katachi ~" (What is Japan? ~ This country's form" which aims to showcase the strengths and weaknesses of Japan today and offers an opportunity for everyone to think about how they want to reshape Japan.

Source: Yomiuri Hochi

Eita to star in leading roles for two dramas in the same season

Eita will be starring in  leading roles for two dramas in Winter 2013 which is relatively unheard of in the drama scene. One of the dramas will be FujiTV's offering "Saikou no Rikon" which is due to begin its run on 10 January where he plays a newly-divorced salaryman who still lives with his ex-wife (Ono Machiko) and happens to meet his ex-girlfriend (Maki Youko) who is facing marital problems as well. Another drama will be TV Tokyo's midnight offering "Mahoro Ekimae Bangaichi" which begins its run on 11 January at 12.12am on Fridays where Eita co-stars with Matsuda Ryuhei in this drama which continues from the movie "Mahoro Ekimae Tada Benriken" released last April. Besides the two leads, the movie's cast includiing Oomori Nao and Koura Kengo will also appear in the drama alongside with new additions Maki Youko and Usuda Asami.

Source: Sponichi

Ratings of TV programmes shown on New Year's Eve

The 63rd Kouhaku Utagassen shown on NHK scored ratings of 33.2% for Part 1 and 42.5% for Part 2 which was 2% lower and 0.9% higher respectively compared to the previous year. Ratings for the Kansai region showed a drop for both parts with Part 1 slipping 1.5% to 32.6% and Part 2 dropping 2.0% to 39.9%. On the other hand, among the private TV networks which aired special programmes in the same timeslot, NTV's "Downtown no Gaki no Tsukai ya arahen de" took the No.1 spot with 16.8% for its Part 1 and 16.5% for its Part 2. TBS showed "Oomisoka Sports Matsuri! KYOKUGEN 2012 Shijou Saidai no Genkai Battle" which got 11.9%.

Source: Yomiuri Hochi

Suenaga Haruka confirms her relationship with Izumi Hiroshi

Actress Suenaga Haruka has confirmed that she is dating 2004 Athens Olympics judo silver medalist Izumi Hiroshi through her blog on 1 January 2013. Suenaga commented that although this is a private matter, she wanted to let everyone know that she is in a serious relationship with Izumi and apologised for not letting her fans know earlier. The couple had been first romantically linked in September 2010 but Suenaga did not deny nor admit the rumours then.

Source: Sponichi

Kitajima Kosuke & girl next door's vocalist Chisa engaged and getting married soon

Olympic swimming medalist Kitajima Kosuke and girl next door's vocalist Chisa have announced their engagement as reported on 1 January 2013 through their respective agencies. The couple met two years ago through a common acquaintance and started dating not long after that. Before Kitajima went to London for the Olympics last year, he proposed to Chisa in July and the couple met both families in autumn after the Olympics. As Kitajima is now based in California, US, and Chisa will continue her singing career, it is expected that they will be based in two places for the time being but the marriage registration is expected to be completed within the year. During the Olympics last year, Chisa went to support Kitajima during his races. In return, he also attended the a-nation event held in Osaka during late August to see Chisa on stage. According to Kitajima's agency, he is expected to return to Japan soon to make an announcement on his future plans.

Source: Yomiuri Hochi

Matsuura Aya and w-inds' Tachibana Keita getting married within 2013?

Singer Matsuura Aya and w-inds' vocalist Tachibana Keita are said to be getting married within the year after a 10-year courtship. The two had made their debut in the same year i.e. 2001 and were first romantically linked in 2005 when Matsuura was caught by the tabloids for spending the night at Tachibana's place. It was also reported that the couple had shifted to a new apartment recently and are making preparations for their marriage. Matsuura has been taking a break from her singing career since she revealed that she was suffering from endometriosis in the summer of 2011 and last released a best hits album in conjunction with her 10th anniversary in showbiz in December 2011 and stopped updating her Twitter account since April 2012. In the meantime, Tachibana has been taking care of her while being busy with his group and solo singing career.

When asked about the rumours, both parties' agencies did not deny the report but also didn't want to comment on it.

Source: Nikkansports Articles 1 and 2

Happy New Year greetings!

A very happy new year to everyone! Although this is a very much-belated greeting as I was away for the past week, I would still like to thank you for supporting this blog and hope that you will continue to do so in the new year.

You will notice in the next few days that I will be trying to make up for the back-dated news so just in case why you are wondering why the "older" news are being posted here, that's because I'm trying to play catch-up. With the new Winter 2013 season coming up, we will definitely see more news about the new dramas and yes, of course, there's still the previews of the remaining dramas which I've not covered yet.

Happy reading and drama-watching, everyone!