Sunday, March 31, 2013

Takizawa Hideaki's commemoration event for release of his two photobooks

Takizawa Hideaki held a commemoration event on 30 March for his two new photobooks "TACKEY TRIP 29" and "TACKEY TRIP 30" which contains photos of his trips to Cambodia and Hawaii when he was 29 and to Tahiti and Micronesia when he was 30. Takizawa who turned 31 on 29 March revealed that he had a big birthday celebration held by his fans and staff and commented that when he was in his 20s, there were parts of himself he preferred to conceal but since he entered his 30s, he was fine with showing off his true self. In addition, when asked about his changes after becoming older, Takizawa said that he used to be shy when meeting new people but has now become more comfortable about talking to strangers.

On the night before his birthday, Takizawa was at the karaoke with his working partner Imai Tsubasa and other staff members till early morning where they sang about 20 to 30 songs of Tackey and Tsubasa. Takizawa said that the party was organised by Imai and it felt like they were holding a concert without the MC portion.

Source: Nikkansports

Friday, March 29, 2013

EXILE to sing theme song for "35-sai no Koukousei"

EXILE will be singing the theme song for NTV's spring 2013 drama "35-sai no Koukousei" which stars Yonekura Ryoko and will begin its run from 13 April at 9pm on Saturdays. The song titled "Flower Song" is written by the group's vocalist ATSUSHI. The release date for the song is still undecided.

ATSUSHI commented that the song is meant to describe the darkness within the hearts of senior high school students and how they are affected by the school caste trend. He described everyone as flowers and how they would come to bloom in various colours when spring comes with the hope that it would encourage people to think more positively and try their best to shine in their own way.

Source: Yomiuri Hochi

Osawa Takao to appear as guest in first episode of "Galileo"

Osawa Takao will be the guest star for the first episode of "Galileo" starting on 15 April at 9pm on Mondays on FujiTV. This is the first time he is acting with the drama's lead Fukuyama Masaharu. Osawa will play the role of Renzaki, the chief of an up-and-coming religious group where an executive member was found to have fallen to his death as a result of Renzaki's mental wish transmitted to the victim. Fukuyama's role Yukawa will aim to find out the truth behind this strange happening.

Source: Sanspo

Ninomiya Kazunari on thanksgiving tour for "Platina Data"

Ninomiya Kazunari embarked on a thanksgiving tour in 5 cities over 3 days and traveled a total of 4,200 km in order to thank supporters nationwide for helping his movie "Platina Data" cross more than 1.1m cinema visits and total takings of above JPY 1.35bn since it was screened from 16 March. The five cities were chosen after a barcode downloading contest where cinema-goers had to download the codes at 309 cinemas nationwide and the place with the most downloads was Fukuoka's T Joy Hakata which was the last stop of this tour. Ninomiya held a total of 18 greeting sessions for 8,500 fans in Tokyo (Shinjuku), Sapporo, Niigata and Osaka (Umeda) before reaching Hakata where he was met with cheers from 7,000 people who had gathered at JR Hakata station. He greeted the fans from a 3-storey high terrace and spoke Hakata-ben to them. Ninomiya also revealed that when Arashi comes to Fukuoka, they would usually eat ramen so he was glad to receive a 100-bowls free ramen coupon from the cinema. Besides the coupon, Ninomiya also got a straw rice bag when he was in Niigata and 450 takoyaki when he was in Osaka.

Source: Sanspo

2PM to sing theme song for TBS spring 2013 drama "TAKE FIVE ~ Oretachi wa ai wo nusumeru ka"

K-pop group 2PM will be singing the theme song for new TBS spring 2013 drama "TAKE FIVE ~ Oretachi wa Ai wo nusumeru ka ~" starring Karasawa Toshiaki which begins its run from 19 April at 10pm on Fridays. The song "GIVE ME LOVE" marks the first time that the group is singing the theme song for a Japanese drama. The date for the song's release has not been decided yet but 2PM is expected to show the PV for the first time during their first Tokyo Dome concert on 20 April which is one day after the drama's first episode broadcast.

Source: Nikkansports

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Tsumabuki Satoshi, Oguri Shun, Eita & Miura Haruma in new Uno CM

Tsumabuki Satoshi, Oguri Shun, Eita and Miura Haruma will appear in the new Uno Whip Wash CM to be shown on TV from 29 March. In the new CM, the four of them will be drenched in water while washing their faces and telling the male viewers not to think lightly of what they use to wash their faces. The filming was done with 9 cameras shooting from 9 different angles at the same time from which the best scenes were selected and put into a 15-sec clip. In addition, the CM will be shown with a layout as if it's a YouTube video. On the official YouTube channel for Uno, fans can select the unreleased scenes from the filming to create their personalised CM clip based on their preferences and share it through Facebook or Twitter.

Source: Yomiuri Hochi

SPYAIR to sing theme song for TBS spring 2013 drama "Sennyuu Tantei Tokage"

SPYAIR, a four-member rock band, will be singing the theme song for TBS spring 2013 drama "Sennyuu Tantei Tokage" which stars Matsuda Shota and begins its run from 18 April at 9pm on Thursdays. The song titled "Niji" (Rainbow) will be released as a single on 29 May.

The band started off its activities in Nagoya before making their major debut as a five-member band in 2010. However, one of their members left late last year and they managed to grab a Oricon Top 10 Singles Chart title this year with their new single Sakura Mitsutsuki released on 13 March.

Source: Yomiuri Hochi

Premium screening event of movie "Petal Dance"

The premium screening event of movie "Petal Dance" was held on 28 March at Space FS Shiodome which was attended by cast members Miyazaki Aoi, Fukiishi Kazue, Ando Sakura and Kutsuna Shiori. The road movie which is scheduled to be shown in cinemas from 20 April, describes how a group of ladies decide to take a new step in life after going on a trip. When asked about what they would like to try doing, Miyazaki said that she has been talking about surfing for years but would finally like to try it this year. As for Fukiishi, she said that she would like to find a sport which she can do for the rest of her life now that she's already 30 and wants to stop going to the gym.

Source: Sanspo

Mizukawa Asami to star in her first leading role in the stage play "Gekidou"

Mizukawa Asami will star in her first leading role in a stage play titled "Gekidou" (Turmoil) as reported on 27 March. She will play the role of Kawashima Yoshiko, a Manchurian princess who was later adopted at the age of 6 by Kawashima Naniwa and later became a female spy of the Japanese military who dressed as a man during the Manchurian Incident and World War II. Although Mizukawa did play the heroine role in the 2005 stage play "Hohei no Honryou", she only appeared in a small number of scenes so this will mark her first formal entry into stage plays. According to the production crew, the reason why Mizukawa was selected was due to her varied images and ability to express different types of emotions. As she will turn 30 this July, it is expected that she will be able to show off a new charm through this stage play which will run from 23 August to 2 September at Shin Kokuritsu Gekijou.

Source: Sanspo

Tamaki Hiroshi's first stage play "Hotel Majestic" ends its run

Tamaki Hiroshi completed the last performance of his first stage play "Hotel Majestic" at Nagoya's Meitetsu Hall on 27 March. The play had been on a three-week run since its first performance on 7 March at Shin Kokuritsu Gekijou in Tokyo. When Tamaki was presented with flowers by his co-star and the audience clapped in appreciation, he was seen to have tears in his eyes. Being the first time he had acted in a stage play, Tamaki recalled that he had spent a total of 2 months including rehearsals for this play and he was very energised and encouraged by the applause he got directly from the audience. He was very glad to have spent the time on this play and thanked everyone for their support.

Source: Sanspo

PR event for new TBS variety show "Ima, kono kao ga sugoi!"

The PR event for new TBS variety show "Ima, kono kao ga sugoi" was held on 27 March at TBS' Akasaka HQ which was attended by Arashi's Sakurai Sho along with 800 members of the public. As part of the promotion for the new programme which begins its run from 11 April at 10pm on Thursdays, there will be projection mappings of the hosts Sakurai and comedian Ariyoshi Hiroiki on display from now till 2 April between 6.30pm and 8.30pm every day. The programme which aims to invite people active in various fields to be its guests and find out how they manage to be successful in their genres, will welcome guests such as Aragaki Yui in its first episode.

Source: Sanspo

Completion screening of "Tantei wa BAR ni iru 2"

The completion screening of movie "Tantei wa BAR ni iru 2" was held on 27 March which was attended by cast members Ooizumi Yo, Matsuda Ryuhei, Ono Machiko and Watabe Atsuro. The movie which will be shown in cinemas from 11 May, continues for the first part screened in September 2011. As the press conference was held at the rooftop of Toei's HQ building where the wind was blowing strongly, Ooizumi couldn't help but "complain" that they should have stayed indoors for the photoshoot where it was warmer.

Source: Sanspo

Watari Tetsuya to appear in NTV spring 2013 drama "35-sai no Koukousei"

Watari Tetsuya will work together with Yonekura Ryoko again in the NTV spring drama "35-sai no Koukousei" which begins its run from 13 April at 9pm on Saturdays. The two of them last acted together in the 2008 drama "Koori no Hana" but did not have many scenes together. Last year, they met for a meal through a mutual friend and talked about wanting to work together again if given the opportunity.

Watari will play Asada Yukinobu, the superintendent of schools, who fires principals who are seen to be worthless and incapable and has a nickname Kaiser. He is the only one who knows about Baba Ayako's (Yonekura) past, why she has to enter high school again at the age of 35 and also offers some much-needed advice to Baba when she tries to solve the problems in school. Watari began his filming on 26 March.

Source: Nikkansports

KinKi Kids' Doumoto Tsuyoshi designs maternity health record book cover for Nara City

The Nara City government revealed on 28th March that it will be issuing new maternity health record books to expectant mothers from April with a new cover designed by KinKi Kids' Doumoto Tsuyoshi. The cover features a baby in yellow clothes stretching his hands towards a globe. Doumoto who comes from Nara City, has been a special ambassador for the city and reportedly said in an article that when he starts a family in future, he hopes to raise his children in Nara. After reading that article, Nakagawa Gen, the mayor of Nara City, approached Doumoto in July last year to design the book cover.

Source: Nikkansports

Preview of Kasukana Kanojo 幽かな彼女 - Spring 2013

Title: Kasukana Kanojo 幽かな彼女
Official site: here
O.A. Start Date: 9 April 2013
Timeslot: Tuesdays 10pm (1st episode starts at 10.10pm)
Broadcast by: FujiTV / Kansai TV
Scriptwriter: Furuya Kazunao

Kamiyama Akira (Katori Shingo)
Akane (An)
Kawai Chiho (Maeda Atsuko)
Hayashi Kunihiko (Kitayama Hiromitsu)
Oohara Misao (Hamada Mari)
Yoshioka-san (Sato Jirou)
Kubouchi Mitsuru (Hayashi Yasufumi)
Hino Mamoru (Harumi Shihou)
Iwana Seiji (Takashima Masahiro)
Kirisawa Izumi (Maya Miki)

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Most Ideal Boss Ranking 2013

This is an annual survey conducted by Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance on students who are about to graduate and start working this spring in a bid to find out who their ideal bosses are.

Top 10 Most Ideal Male Boss
1) Ikegami Akira (Journalist)
2) Abe Hiroshi (Actor)
3) Ichiro (Baseball player)
4) Sekine Tsutomu (Comedian / Host)
5) Tadokoro George (Singer-songwriter / Comedian / Host)
6) Karasawa Toshiaki (Actor)
Sasaki Norio (Coach of Japan's National Female Soccer team)
8) Yamaguchi Tomomitsu (Comedian / Host / Singer / Actor)
9) Akashiya Sanma (Comedian / Host / Actor)
Yamanaka Shinya (Professor of Kyoto University's Center for iPS Cell Research and Application and 2012 Nobel Prize Winner for Physiology or Medicine)

This is the third year that Ikegami had won the No.1 title although he had cut back on his TV appearances over the past year. Nonetheless, whenever he appeared on news programmes, he would always be able to explain difficult news concepts to the viewers in a simple-to-understand manner thus earning him a knowledgeable image over the years. Abe keeps his No.2 spot thanks to his movies this year while Ichiro makes a comeback to this ranking for the first time in two years.

Top 10 Most Ideal Female Boss
1) Amami Yuki (Actress)
2) Esumi Makiko (Actress / Host)
3) Maya Miki (Actress)
4) Matsushima Nanako (Actress)
5) Kanno Miho (Actress)
6) Shinohara Ryoko (Actress)
7) Nakama Yukie (Actress)
8) Kichise Michiko (Actress)
Takahashi Minami (AKB48 member)
10) YOU (Actress / Singer / Model)

Amami grabs the No.1 spot for four consecutive years especially with strong support from the female survey respondents. The top 4 have actually remained the same as last year and one common trait among them is that they are seen to have leadership skills which are needed for a boss. Another surprise this year was Takahashi who shared No.8 with Kichise and she is actually the youngest person in the top 10.

Source: Oricon

Preview of "Onna Nobunaga"

Title: Onna Nobunaga
Official site: here
Official Facebook page: here
Broadcast by: FujiTV
Timeslot: 5 April and 6 April (9pm)
Original novel by: Sato Kenichi
Scriptwriter: Hashimoto Hiroshi
Cast: Amami Yuki, Uchino Masaaki, Koyuki, Iseya Yuusuke, Nagasawa Masami, Tamayama Tetsuji, Sato Jirou, Suzuki Kazuma, Kaku Kento, Michishima Shinnosuke, Yamaji Kazuhiro, Yamashita Shinji, Mitani Koki, Suzuki Fuku, Fubukoshi Mitsuru, Takeuchi Riki, Hiraizumi Sei, Takahata Atsuko, Nakamura Shido, Fujiki Naohito, Sato Koichi, Nishida Toshiyuki

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

"Biblia Koshodou no Jiken Techou" scores 8.1% for finale

"Biblia Koshodou no Jiken Techou" earned itself the dubious honour of the No.1 Gekku drama with the lowest single episode rating as its last episode shown on 25 March scored a low of 8.1%. The previous title holder was spring 2009 drama "Konkatsu!" starring Nakai Masahiro which got 8.8% for its last episode. "Biblia" started with a rating of 14.3% for its first episode and was in the 10% to 12% range from the second episode onwards. However, due to the last episode's low rating, the average rating of the drama became 11.3% by the end of the season.

Source: Sponichi Annex

Production press conference of drama SP "Onna Nobunaga"

The production press conference of FujiTV drama SP "Onna Nobunaga" was held on 26 March which was attended by Amami Yuki, Uchino Masaaki, Koyuki, Iseya Yuusuke, Nagasawa Masami, Tamayama Tetsuji and Fujiki Naohito. The drama SP will be shown on 5th and 6th April at 9pm and is based on the novel by Naoki award winner Sato Kenichi which assumed that Oda Nobunaga was actually a woman in disguise. Amami plays the female version of Nobunaga in this SP with Koyuki playing Nouhime, the wife of Nobunaga. Uchino plays Akechi Mitsuhide who had all along been known as a  rebel but will be Nobunaga's greatest confidante in this story. Tamayama Tetsuji plays Asai Nagamasa while Nagasawa acts as Nobunaga's younger sister Oichi. As this was the first time that Nagasawa and Iseya appeared together in public ever since rumours of them dating after working on this SP came out, there were many reporters who came to cover the event but the two of them stood far apart from each other and did not comment on the rumours at all.

Source: Sponichi / Sponichi

KAT-TUN's Nakamaru Yuuichi graduates from Waseda University's Human Sciences e-learning course

KAT-TUN member Nakamaru Yuuichi graduated from Waseda University's Human Sciences e-learning course and attended the graduation ceremony held on 26 March at the university's campus in Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo, at 10am while wearing a hakama. Nakamaru had enrolled in the course in April 2008 and is the first Waseda University graduate in Johnny's Jimusho while juggling his career and taking lessons at home or workplace through his computer. For his graduation thesis, he wrote a 37,000-word piece about the localisation of black music which got a A+ grade. After the ceremony, Nakamaru commented that he was glad that he finally made it to this day especially since it had taken him six years after senior high school graduation to sign for the degree course and complete it successfully. However, the only regret he had was that since he did not have to attend classes on campus, he couldn't make any new friends as a result.

Source: Sanspo

Yoshizawa Hisashi and Kiriyama Maki got married on 3 March

Yoshizawa Hisashi and Kiriyama Maki announced through their respective agencies on 26 March that they had registered their marriage earlier this month on 3 March. Yoshizawa commented that it had been his dream to form a family so he's very happy about getting married. As both his wife and he are working in the entertainment world, they can understand each other's problems and irregular schedules so he hopes that that they will be able to spend the rest of their lives together while holding hands with each other. As for why the announcement came much later than the marriage registration, Yoshizawa revealed that they decided to wait till his stage play and filming schedule was over before revealing the good news to everyone.

Source: Sanspo

Feb 2013 Most Popular Celebrities (Video Research)

Video Research does this survey twice a year (February and August) to find out who are the most popular celebrities. Although they publish the top 50 list for both male and female celebrities, I am going to post the top 20 here only so if you are interested to see the full list, please go to the respective sites through the hyperlinks above. Note that figures in brackets refer to the percentage score the celebrity got:

Top 20 most popular male celebrities
1) Abe Hiroshi (58.9%)
2) Akashiya Sanma (51.7%)
3) Ichiro (51.2%)
4) Fukuyama Masaharu (49.2%)
5) Ishizuka Hidehiko (48.7%)
6) Kuwata Keisuke (46.5%)
7) Ooizumi Yo (46.4%)
8) Kitano Takeshi (45.0%)
9) Watanabe Ken (44.8%)
10) Tadokoro George / Taka And Toshi (44.6%)
12) Ikegami Akira (44.2%)
13) Abe Sadao (44.1%)
14) Mr. Children (43.5%)
15) Samaazu (43.2%)
16) Yuzu / Aiba Masaki (42.1%)
18) Shofukutei Tsurube (41.4%)
19) Sekine Tsutomu / Nishida Toshiyuki (41.1%)

Top 20 most popular female celebrities
1) Ayase Haruka (54.7%)
2) Asada Mao (53.3%)
3) Amami Yuki (53.3%)
4) Becky (44.2%)
5) Kanno Miho (43.5%)
6) Matsushima Nanako (43.0%)
8) Yoshinaga Sayuri (41.6%)
9) Fukatsu Eri (40.4%)
10) Ueto Aya / Horikita Maki (40.2%)
12) Nakama Yukie (39.8%)
13) Esumi Makiko (39.6%)
14) Ikimonogakari / Aragaki Yui (39.3%)
16) Sawa Homare (38.8%)
17) Takeuchi Yuko (38.4%)
18) Yuka (37.7%)
19) Shinohara Ryoko (37.2%)
20) Yanagihara Kanako (37.0%)

Aibu Saki to head to California for short-term studies

Aibu Saki announced her plan to go to California next month for short-term studies as reported on 25 March. As this year is the 10th year since her debut and she had all along been interested in English since her senior high school days, Aibu decided to go for further studies at a Californian university from mid April and is due to return in August. According to insiders, Aibu got the Pre-2 level certificate for the Test in Practical English Proficiency when she was in high school and had aimed to be an English teacher before entering showbiz. As such, even after becoming an actress, Aibu would go on a holiday with her family to a English-speaking country every year and even told her agency that she aims to become an English teacher in future. She started taking English lessons again last year and this overseas study trip is part of the course requirements. Since Aibu will return in August, there are no problems for her to take on a role in the autumn 2013 drama season and she may return to Japan for a short while if there are any CM shoots during this period.

Source: Yomiuri Hochi

Asano Atsuko & Asano Yuuko back in drama SP "Dakishimetai! Forever"

Asano Atsuko and Asano Yuuko will be back to reprise their roles in the FujiTV drama SP "Dakishimetai! Forever" since they last worked together 14 years ago in the 1998 drama "Dakishimetai!". The drama SP which is the fourth so far for this series, features the two ladies at the age of 54 and how they are doing 14 years after the end of the last SP in 1999. Filming is scheduled to begin in April.

The original drama in 1998 was shown in FujiTV's Thursdays 10pm timeslot and scored an average rating of 18.5%. At that time, it was very popular for the leads' fashion and actions in the drama. In the latest installment, Asano Yuuko who plays the role of Hayakawa Natsuko, goes to look for her single friend Ikeuchi Asako (Asano Atsuko) after she finds out about her husband (Iwaki Koichi) having a lover and illegitimate child. However, as fate would have it, Asako's new boyfriend happens to be the lawyer hired by the other woman and this causes the friendship between Natsuko and Asako to suffer. Motoki Masahiro will also appear in this SP as a makeup artist who admires Asako but he won't be seen at all since only his voice will be heard in the SP.

Source: Sanspo

Romaji lyrics of "Yin Yang" by Kuwata Keisuke (Theme song of "Saikou no Rikon")

Title: Yin Yang
Artist: Kuwata Keisuke
Lyrics and Melody by: Kuwata Keisuke

otoko no jinsei wa
yume miru ibara michi
ano koro wa seventeen
onna nyaubu na ore
are kara ikudo mo shuuraba wo mita yo

hitome de hore nuite
inochi wo kaketa koi
akogare no daiyamondo ringu
muri shite kacchatte
ikashita kuruma de mukae ni itta yo

Everyday, I'm so lonely
kanashiki yo no sadame
Don't you know 'bout my story?
namida nijinmu sake to me baby
mitsuida ageku ni suterareta no sa

doshaburi ame no naka
kaminarisama ga naku
okiniiri no Old blue jeans
zubunure otoko naki
karada no shin made chijikomacchau

Yin Yang...

Everynight, I'm so lonely
"kirei na bara nya toge" da
Don't you go. Please don't leave me.
amai wana ni hamacchai Love you baby
kawai oshiri ni moteasobarete

tadareta ai no kizu
taiyo wa moetsukita
mayonaka no rhythm and blues
kodoku na mune ni hibiku yo
tooku de kiteki ga wakare wo tsugeta

Monday, March 25, 2013

Press conference of NHK drama "Kogure Shashinkan"

The press conference for NHK BS Premium drama "Kogure Shashinkan" was held on 25 March which was attended by cast members Kamiki Ryuunosuke, Narumi Riko, Matsushita Yuki and Ishiguro Ken. The drama is scheduled to begin its run from 31 March at 9pm and will continue at 10pm on Sundays for the remaining episodes. Kamiki plays the eldest son of a family who moves into an old building which used to be a photo shop and begins solving mysteries from supernatural photos.

Source: Nikkansports

Completion press conference of "Chuugakusei Maruyama"

The completion press conference of movie "Chuugakusei Maruyama" was held on 25 March which was attended by Kusanagi Tsuyoshi, Hiraoka Takuma, Sakai Maki, Nakamura Tooru, Endo Kenji and the director Kudo Kankuro. The movie is scheduled to be shown in cinemas from 18 May and features Hiraoka as a junior high school boy Maruyama with a vivid imagination who meets a single father Shimoi (Kusanagi) new to the housing estate he lives in and grows up as a result of his interaction with Shimoi.

Source: Nikkansports

Amano Kousei & Hinagata Akiko get married

Actor Amano Kousei and actress Hinagata Akiko got married according to a fax statement from Amano's agency on 25 March. The statement which was issued in their names, revealed that the couple met through work and dated for four and a half years before getting married on 25 March.

Hinagata was previously married to a CM director 11 years older than her from 1998 to 2003 and has a daughter born in May 2000. She met Amano while working on a drama in 2007 and they were first caught dating by the tabloids in July 2010.

Source: Sanspo

Romaji lyrics of Kami Hikouki 紙飛行機 by Kobukuro コブクロ (Theme song of "Kekkon Shinai")

Title: Kami Hikouki (Paper Aeroplane)
Artist: Kobukuro
Lyrics and Melody by: Kobuchi Kentarou

tokimeki no kaze ga fuitara
sono kimochi ori tatande
kowagarazu ni tobashite goran
shinjite koi wa kami hikouki

[kotoshi, deau hito koso unmei no hito. koi wa shinchou ni.] to
tashika kyounen mo onaji uranai
miakita yabo na adobaisu
hana de warai nagara ki ni shiteru

tokimeki no kaze ga fuitara
sono kimochi ori tatande
kowagarazu ni tobashite goran shinjite koi wa kami hikouki

donna renai no kaidokusho mo oteage na hodo muri de waraenu joukyou
kimi wa motto kakoku na episoodo
narabete boku wo nagusameru tomo yo kyou wa nomou ka ogoru yo!

shiawase ga aruite kitemo utsumuite icha surechigau
egao to iu hana no kaori wasurenu sora ni haru wa kuru kara

Ah kasane sugita kimochi omotasugite wa kaze ni norenu
And I love you so...

daijoubu tachi naorenai hodo naita ano hi no koto mo
itsushika wasurerareta kara mata nita you na koi ni ochiteru
tokimeki no kaze ga fuitara  sono kimochi oritatande
kowagarazu ni tobashite goran shinjite koi wa kami hikouki
anata no mune ni todoke kami hikouki

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Inagaki Goro offers congratulations to Kanno Miho during pre-screening event of "Sakura, Futatabi no Kanako"

The pre-screening event of movie "Sakura, Futatabi no Kanako" was held on 24 March which was attended by the cast Hirosue Ryoko, Inagaki Goro, Fukuda Mayuko, Takada Sho, Enami Kyoko and the director Kurimura Minoru. The movie is scheduled to be shown in cinemas from 6 April. At the end of the event, Inagaki was asked about his ex-girlfriend Kanno Miho's impending marriage to Sakai Masato and he offered his congratulations to them with a smile. Inagaki also revealed that he got to know the news through the media and was surprised when he found out that Kanno's husband-to-be is Sakai. He said that if there's an opportunity for him to meet them, he would congratulate them in person.

In this new movie, Inagaki plays the husband of Hirosue but when asked about if he's getting married anytime soon, Inagaki said that this is not likely to happen soon and he hopes that the day will come for him sometime in future. Hirosue praised Inagaki for being great husband material and that he threw away his usual image as Inagaki Goro for this role.

Source: Nikkansports

Review of "Ashita wo akiramenai...Gareki no naka no shinbunsha"

Watching this drama SP was somewhat unplanned. Although I heard about this last year, I couldn't get my hands on this or find it online then. It was only until a year later and coincidentally, on the 2nd anniversary of the 3.11 earthquake and tsunami crisis that I happened to watch this on the new Japanese channel "Hello! Japan". And boy, this was a really good drama SP and it's been ages since I saw something which was so gripping. Maybe it had to do with the fact that I had been watching a lot and reading a lot about the anniversary events that day but this drama SP really showed what a life-changing event a natural disaster can be and how people continue to strive on despite the hardship.

The focus of this story is on Kahoku Shinbunsha which publishes The Kahoku Shimpou for the Tohoku Region. Its headquarters are located in Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture, and the company is also involved in the sporting, cultural and publishing businesses. Kahoku Shimpou was established in 1897 and has offices in the prefectures within the Tohoku region with 555 employees as of December 2012. 11 March 2011 was probably going to be any other day for the people working in Kahoku Shimpou but little did they know that the biggest earthquake and tsunami would hit their area so badly. Faced with loss of power (unable to print their newspapers and had to depend on another newspaper's printing facilities), lack of information (no access to Internet and phone lines were down) and some of their distribution centres and personnel working in the coastal areas swept away by the tsunami, everyone in Kahoku Shimpou had to try their best in overcoming the challenges and continue to publish their newspaper so that people in Tohoku could know what was happening. Subsequently, they released a non-fiction book depicting what happened and that formed the basis of this documentary-style drama SP.

Given that this drama SP is based on a true event, there are scenes of the tsunami in the form of videos and photos taken by TV stations, the rescue teams and the local citizens instead of the usual re-enactment method used in dramas and movies when depicting such disaster scenes. It was really painful to see the extent of the damage and how terrifying it must have been to witness this first-hand. All of a sudden, it felt like the whole disaster was being replayed in front of you and it was difficult to look at some of the scenes because they made me feel so sad. I think it was great that this drama SP chose not to over-dramatise the efforts of those in Kahoku Shimpou and made them seem like heroes which is probably not what the original book aimed to project. Rather, it came across as these were ordinary people who continued to put out the newspaper despite the crisis and they wanted to do it not only because they were duty-bound to do so as part of their jobs but also they saw the need to disseminate information to people who were helpless because they didn't know what was happening and how bad the situation was. They certainly didn't think they would get praised for that and it was great to see that the drama SP mentioned a reader's letter complimenting them for what they did because it helped to maintain something "normal" in her life despite the "abnormal" circumstances.

There are many actors in this SP but they aren't the usual leading-man and leading-lady type except for probably Watabe Atsuro who played the chief editor of Kahoku Shimpou. However, this didn't mean that the acting was lacking in any way because there are so many strong supporting actors and actresses who really pulled their weight to make their characters come to life no matter whether they had little or a lot of airtime. To be frank, a lot of dramas these days choose to focus on the cast's ability to draw in ratings rather than their acting skills or suitability for the roles or the most crucial thing i.e. story so it was a refreshing change to see how this SP was "going against the trend" by getting people who seemed to lack that "glittering star factor" but they are all capable actors who could fit into their roles seamlessly.

Last but not least, the fact that this SP did not drag on and on was a life-saver. I've become really impatient at dramas which extend the story unnecessarily for some unknown reason but this SP moved on quickly and steadily without the need to focus on wringing tears out of the viewer by extending the post-disaster scenes for no reason. I really like the succinct handling of the material which was well-managed and gave equal weightage to all aspects of the disaster. No wonder the drama SP won multiple awards which I say should be reflective of its quality. Do catch it if you can!

It's been ages since I gave such a favourable rating to any drama or movie so don't be surprised to see the high score here:

And my ratings for this drama SP...

Story: 10 out of 10 (Since this is a documentary-style story, it benefits from the minimal dramatic effects and comes across as a strong description of human faith and courage against the trying circumstances.)

Acting: 10 out of 10 (There are so many actors involved in this SP but they all pulled their weight and played their characters so well that nobody really outshined or became outshined by others.)

Theme song: 7 out of 10 (There wasn't a theme song but the BGM did quite well in conveying the seriousness of the material)

Visual effects / Scenery: 10 out of 10 (Coupled with videos and photos taken by Kahoku Shimpou and those who suffered from the crisis, it made the whole story come to live. Sadly, because the disaster zones are still very much in the state as they were when the crisis took place - recovery and restoration efforts are slow, this means that the drama could be shot on location)

Teamwork / Chemistry: 10 out of 10 (Despite the many characters featured in the story, they all had a chance to shine and made their characters link to one another in a seamless manner which is quite unusual to see in most dramas these days where the limelight would be solely on the leads.)

First-day-event of "Bokutachi no Koukan Nikki"

The first-day-event of movie "Bokutachi no Koukan Nikki" (Our diary exchange) was held on 23 March which was attended by cast members Koide Keisuke, Ito Atsushi, Nagasawa Masami, Kimura Fumino, Kawaguchi Haruna, Muro Tsuyoshi and the director Ucchan Nanchan's Uchimura Teruyoshi. This is Uchimura's first movie in 7 years. During the event, Nagasawa was asked by the media about her rumoured relationship with Iseya Yuusuke but kept mum about it.

Source: Sanspo

First-day-screening of "Daijoubu Sangumi"

The first-day-screening of movie "Daijoubu Sangumi" was held at TOHO Cinemas Roppongi Hills on 23 March which was attended by the original novel's author cum lead actor Ototake Hirotada, TOKIO's Kokubun Taichi and Eikura Nana. The movie is based on Ototake's experience as a primary school teacher and he plays himself in the film. During the event, Ototake joked that there was a "forbidden" love story between him and Kokubun in the movie to which the latter commented in jest that that's something not OK for this film (daijoubu means OK in Japanese). On the other hand, Kokubun and Eikura who last worked together in the FujiTV summer 2006 "Dandori" had played the roles of a teacher and student but have to become lovers in this film. In response to this, Kokubun said that he felt bad all the time as if he had done something wrong while Eikura said that she felt shy  whenever they had scenes together.

Source: Sanspo

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Ichikawa Ebizo and Kobayashi Mao's second child born

Ichikawa Ebizo and Kobayashi Mao welcomed the arrival of their second child on 22nd March as announced through Ichikawa's agency on the following day. According to the statement, Kobayashi had given birth to their son weighing 2,982 grams. Ichikawa commented that his late father Ichikawa Danjuro who passed away recently, was eagerly anticipating the birth of his grandson but couldn't see the baby in time. As such, he and his wife will love the baby even more in place of Danjuro. Ichikawa also revealed the news of his son's arrival to the audience during the afternoon performance of his kabuki play in Tokyo.

Ichikawa and Kobayashi got married in March 2010 and she gave birth to their first daughter in July 2011.

Source: Sanspo

Preview of "Helter Skelter"

Title: Helter Skelter
Official website: here
Official Twitter: here
Official Facebook page: here
Director: Ninagawa Mika
Original manga by: Okazaki Kyoko
Scriptwriter: Kaneko Arisa
Theme song: evolution by Hamasaki Ayumi
Ending theme: The Klock by AA=
Cast: Sawajiri Erika, Oomori Nao, Terajima Shinobu, Ayano Go, Mizuhara Kiko, Arai Hirofumi, Suzuki An, Terashima Susumu, Aikawa Sho, Kubozuka Yosuke, Harada Mieko and Momoi Kaori

"Nakuna, Hara-chan" manga artist to appear in last episode of the drama

Bibuo, the manga artist responsible for all the drawings in NTV Winter 2013 drama "Nakuna, Hara-chan" will be appearing in the last episode of the drama on 23 March. He will play the role of Ohashi's son who always gets talked about by the part-timers working in Funamaru Suisan. Bibuo revealed that he didn't tell anyone about his drama appearance and joked that nobody would notice it if he does not say a thing.

As this is his first drama appearance, Bibuo was understandably nervous but he was encouraged by Nagase Tomoya's comment that he did well. Bibuo also said that it was great that his work became well-known through this drama as he wasn't doing very well in the past with few job offers coming his way. As a result of the drama's fame, he started to get illustration jobs and hopes to be able to launch his own manga series soon.

At the same time, the scenario book which contains all the manga drawings and is titled "Nakuna, Hara-chan Scenario BOOK" will be released on 21 March which is rare because such books don't get published until the drama is over. The scriptwriter Okada Yoshikazu said that viewers will be able to relive the moments of the drama and find new ways to enjoy the story through this scenario book. He also called upon viewers not to forget Hara-chan even after the drama ends.

Source: Oricon

Utada Hikaru to make her return with a regular radio programme

Utada Hikaru who is currently taking a break from her music career, will be hosting a radio show for the first time in 13 years. She will take charge of an one-hour programme titled "KUMA POWER HOUR with Utada Hikaru" which is aired on the third Tuesday of the month at 10pm via Inter FM. The programme has a different host each week including AI and Iseya Yuusuke. Utada will introduce the music she comes across in her daily life and the first broadcast will be on 16 April.

Utada also announced this piece of news through her Twitter where she said that Inter FM approached her with the offer promising that she will only have to do this show once a month. However, Utada still feels nervous about this since it has been 13 years since she hosted a regular radio programme.

Source: My Navi News

AI to make her acting debut in "Yakou Kanransha"

Singer AI will be making her acting debut in the TBS Winter 2013 drama "Yakou Kanransha" as a special guest. She sings the theme song "VOICE" of the drama and had asked for an opportunity to take part in the drama's filming. AI will play the role of Uemura, a colleage of Endo Mayumi (Suzuki Kyoka), who calls out to the latter when she is talking to a police detective. AI revealed that she was very nervous about that scene even though she only had one line and she took care to rehearse it in order to prevent her Kagoshima dialect accent from appearing.

Source: Oricon

Nishikido Ryo & Aragaki Yui are dating?

According to the 22nd March issue of FRIDAY, Aragaki Yui and Nishikido Ryo are reportedly dating. The magazine's reporters apparently caught Aragaki going to Nishikido's apartment with her dog and Nishikido going to her place with a spare key and carrying lots of stuff at a frequency of about twice a week. According o the report, the two first worked together in the summer 2011 drama "Zenkai Girl" and became closer later after an unexpected reunion. The two of them are said to be living just four minutes away from each other.

Source: Cyzo Woman

I just extracted part of Cyzo's report which contained the key facts. There was a lot of speculation and rumours e.g. about Nishikido's infamous playboy ways and references to how Johnny's Jimusho seemed to have allowed them to date by letting them stay near each other or even pulling Arashi's Ninomiya Kazunari into the picture. In any case, since these aren't certified true and may cause undue worry or negative feelings, I thought it was best to skip these points and stick to the basic facts i.e. FRIDAY caught them living near each other and they were seen going to each other's apartments. If they are indeed in a relationship, we'll just have to wish them all the best!

Sakai Masato & Kanno Miho to get married in early April

Sakai Masato and Kanno Miho are set to get married in early April after a whirlwind romance of a few months only. According to insiders, the couple first worked together in the movie "Ooku ~ Eien [Emonnosuke Tsunayoshi Hen]" when filming started in January 2012. Since then, Sakai was said to have begun courting Kanno aggressively but it was only until late last year when their movie was shown in December that they finally started dating. As news of them being romantically-linked to each other have never been out in the press so far, this marriage announcement comes as a total surprise.

In the movie which can be said to be their "matchmaker", Kanno played the 5th generation shogun Tokugawa Tsunayoshi in a reversal tale about Ooku where Sakai was the chief of Ooku who was secretly in love with the female shogun. Although Sakai's image has been that of a "soushokukei actor" (soushokukei usually refers to people who are not too keen about romance and and is passive about relationships), it was said that he made his feelings known to Kanno quite early on although she did not agree to being an item with him then. Last autumn, when the two reunited for a series of promotional events for their movie, Kanno was said to have begun viewing Sakai differently. Sakai even "openly" declared his feelings for her during a screening in October by saying that Kanno was like a tree and he was like a vine who needed to be around her. Sakai also praised Kanno for being very beautiful and possessed a dangerous scent which attracted him. However, nobody realised that he was telling the truth then and thought he was just referring to the relationship of their characters. Soon after the movie was released in December, the two of them started dating and in just three months, decided to get married. The reason why April was chosen is due to the fact that Kanno finished the filming of her autumn drama "Kekkon Shinai" last December and Sakai also completed the filming of his "Legal High" SP which is due to be shown on 13 April so the couple have a break in their schedules for April.

When asked about the impending marriage, Kanno's agency confirmed that preparations are in progress while Sakai's agency also confirmed the report.

Source: Sanspo

Wow, another marriage announcement two days in a row! I'm especially happy for Kanno Miho who has not only once expressed her wish to get married and have kids. She has been linked to Inagaki Goro for a long long time in a on-and-off and off-and-on relationship and hasn't been rumoured to be dating anyone since the breakup. I remember reading an interview of her when "Kekkon Shinai" was about to begin its run where she said that her parents were classmates and got married when they were very young so she had aspired to be like them. However, as she grew older, she realised that it wasn't possible to get married young anymore and she didn't know what was wrong with her or her relationships. It sort of fitted the situation which Chiharu of "Kekkon Shinai" was in and it seemed like this bothered her quite a bit. Now that she's finally found someone and I think they do look very good together, here's wishing them all the best and that they'll be happy always!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Past scenes of "Last Hope" to be shown online before the finale

FujiTV will show the 100 most important scenes from their Winter 2013 drama "Last Hope" via their website between 22 March 5pm and 26 March 8pm with the intention of helping viewers to catch up on the story before they view the last episode on 26 March at 9pm. The 100 videos will be uploaded to the site on an hourly basis for viewers to access.

The website to access the videos is here.

Source: Sanspo

Talk event for movie "Wara no Tate"

Osawa Takao and director Miike Takashi attended the talk event for their movie "Wara no Tate" on 21 March in Tokyo where they had a chat over food and drinks with fans who gathered for the event. The movie is due to be shown in cinemas from 26 April. Surprisingly, Miike didn't drink alcohol during the event and chose to drink plain water instead. When Osawa was asked by the audience if he felt happy, he was stunned for a brief moment before he said that he didn't know what it meant to be happy but he is satisfied to be able to walk around and see movies as and when he likes.

When asked about his co-star Matsushima Nanako, Osawa gave a disclaimer that he didn't want anyone to misunderstand his comments but he felt that she was a man rather than a woman. During filming, Osawa saw how Matsushima didn't care how she looked and was game to do all the action scenes herself like the other actors did so he felt that she was behaving more like a guy.

Source: Yomiuri Hochi

Special screening of movie "Daijoubu Sangumi"

The special screening of movie "Daijoubu Sangumi" was held on 20 March which was attended by the novel's author cum lead actor Otodake Hirotada and TOKIO's Kokubun Taichi as well as 500 Primary 5 students from Tokyo Gakugei University Koganei Elementary School and the university's students who are taking the teaching course. The novel by Otodake is based on his experience as a primary school teacher for three years despite his physical disabilities. When Kokubun made his entrance into the stadium of the primary school where the screening was held, the primary school students were ecstatic to see him but he actually heard some of them comment that he wasn't as tall as they expected so he got a shock at their frankness when he heard that. When asked about his primary school days, Kokubun revealed that he was a troublemaker and would always be disliked by his classmates although he had the intention of being good friends with them. When both Otodake and Kokubun were asked about who they thought was an ideal teacher type, Kokubun replied that someone like Otodake who could interact frankly with children would be good while Otodake cracked a joke that someone like the sexy idol Dan Mitsu would be nice to have as a teacher. In response to that, the adults at the venue laughed while the primary school students didn't seem to know what the joke was about.

Source: Sanspo

Charity screening of "Fune wo Amu"

The charity screening of movie "Fune wo Amu" was held at Space FS Shiodome on 20 March which was attended by lead actors Matsuda Ryuhei and Matsuzaki Aoi. They were joined by special guests Prince Akishinomiya and Princess Kiko during the screening who praised the actors for their performance. The screening was also attended by 23 senior high school students from Fukushima Prefecture who was encouraged by the Prince to be positive about their future and live well like Majime (Matsuda) in the movie.

Source: Sanspo

Domoto Koichi celebrates 1000th performance of long-running musical "SHOCK"

KinKi Kids' Domoto Koichi celebrated the 1000th performance of his long-running musical SHOCK at Teigoku Gekijou on 21 March. This makes him the fourth person to perform the same musical 1,000 times and he achieved this record in the shortest time of 12 years and 5 months ever since SHOCK started in 2000. After the performance and during the curtain call, Domoto greeted the audience and thanked everyone for their support all these years. In addition, his partner Domoto Tsuyoshi and senior from Johnny's Jimusho Higashiyama Noriyuki also came to congratulate his feat.

SHOCK began as MILLENNIUM SHOCK in November 2000 and features a group of young people who go through a lot of problems to produce the best show in New York. It has been performed at Teigoku Gekijou and Fukuoka's Hakata Za all this while and tickets are always sold out.

Source: Yomiuri Hochi

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Production press conference of "Onna Rule Shiawase ni naru tame no 50 no okite"

The production press conference of drama "Onna Rule Shiawase ni naru tame no 50 no okite" was held on 20 March at Yoyogi Daiichi Taiikukan which was attended by Tominaga Ai, Sakai Wakana, Nose Anna, Isoyama Sayaka and Nakamura An. The drama is shown via NOTTV which is a broadcaster on the smartphone platform and will begin its run from 8 April at 11pm on weekdays. Tominaga who makes her acting debut, plays the role of Risa who is a cameraman and finds a new boyfriend. However, Tominaga jokingly said that although Risa will find a new boyfriend to love, she is in love with her own son. When asked about her own views on love, Tominaga said that she doesn't want to think too much since love is something which can't be built upon in an orderly manner.

Source: Sanspo

Sato Ryuta to appear as his "Detarame Hero" character in "Otasukeya Jinpachi"

Sato Ryuta will appear in the last episode of winter 2013 drama "Otasukeya Jinpachi" as his character in the upcoming spring drama "Detarame Hero". 'Otasukeya Jinpachi" is shown in the same timeslot as "Detarame Hero" at 11.58pm on Thursdays via NTV and the latter will begin its run from 4 April. Sato commented that it was great to work with the lead Miyagawa Daisuke and invited him to appear in his drama as well.

Source: Yomiuri Hochi

Production press conference of "Toshokan Sensou"

The production press conference of movie "Toshokan Sensou" was held on 19 March which was attended by V6's Okada Junichi, Eikura Nana, Ishizaka Koji, Tanaka Kei and Fukushi Sota. The science-fiction movie which is based on the novel by Arikawa Hiro and due to be shown in cinemas from 27 April, features a books team under the Self Defence Forces which strives to ensure freedom in reading books in a future Japan where there is censorship of books. Being the first time that they worked time, Okada and Eikura revealed episodes of their interaction which seemed to suggest that they found it hard to hit it off despite playing lovers in the movie. Okada commented that he would always see Eikura eating senbei or she would sometimes come and tell him what she ate the previous date which he didn't know how to react to. On the other hand, Eikura said that Okada looked rather intimidating to her so she found it hard to approach him and talk.

During the event, there was a game where Eikura had to decide on who she liked most to pat her hair while the men stood behind her (her character found the feeling of this action unforgettable since that's something which a guy she used to like did to her) found it hard to forget. Although Okada was her lover in the movie, Eikura ended up choosing the director Sato Shinsuke in the end.

Source: Sanspo

Production press conference of "Sodom no Ringo ~ Roto wo koroshita musumetachi"

The production press conference of WOWOW drama "Sodom no Ringo ~ Roto wo koroshita musumetachi" was held on 19 March which was attended by Terajima Shinobu, Kimura Fumino, Mizobata Junpei, Ishibashi Anna and Nomura Shuhei. The drama which begins its run from 23 March, will be shown over four weeks at 10pm on Saturdays. The story is based on a real case of a woman who is involved in a series of murders related to marriage fraud but with an fictional twist where the woman (Terajima) deliberately goes for plastic surgery to make herself ugly as she believes that being pretty will only bring about fake love.

Source: Sanspo

Hana Arashi Campaign kicks off on FujiTV

Arashi attended the announcement press conference of the "Hana Arashi Campaign" on 18 March which is aimed at promoting FujiTV's upcoming programmes in spring. The promotional campaign will run from 26 March which is the day when Aiba Masaki's winter 2013 drama "Last Hope" airs its last episode until 17 April which is when Sakurai Sho's new spring drama "Kazoku Game" will begin its run. In conjunction with the campaign, there is a sakura tree outside FujiTV which is decorated with pink LED lights. The public will be able to activate the lighting on the tree through a designated smartphone app. Matsumoto Jun who tried the application, commented that the lighting turned out to be more beautiful than he had expected.

Source: Yomiuri Hochi

Mukai Osamu & Oshima Yuko to appear in "Gekijouban SPEC ~ Close"

Mukai Osamu and AKB48 member Oshima Yuko will be appearing the final installment of the highly popular SPEC series which is due to be shown in cinemas this autumn. The movie titled "Gekijouban SPEC ~ Close" will feature the two as a mysterious man and woman always dressed in white. As the storyline is kept secret and only known to a few people including the director Tsutsumi Yukihiko and scriptwriter Nishihagi Yumie, Mukai and Oshima were practically filming their scenes without knowing the entire story.

SPEC is a series about Public Safety investigators from the Metropolitan Police Department played by Toda Erika and Kase Ryo who fight against people with special powers called SPECs. Mukai had appeared in the  ending scene of the last SPEC movie without showing face so it is not known if he is going to be an ally or enemy of the lead characters. Mukai commented that all along, he had been a viewer of the series so he was sad to see it ending soon but as an actor involved in the last movie, he is eagerly awaiting how it would turn out. On the other hand, Oshima said that she was very excited to enter the SPEC world and wondered if she will have any SPEC powers.

The final movie will be split into two parts "Zen" and "Kou" which will be screened one after another. While filming for the movie took place since the end of last year, it became clear that there was too much material to be squeezed into one film so the decision was made to have two parts instead.

Other than the regular cast of Toda, Kase, Ryu Raita and Arimura Kasumi, past SPEC holders including Asano Yuuko and Kamiki Ryuunosuke will be back along with new additions to the cast including Kashii Yuu, EXILE's KENCHI and Endo Kenichi.

Source: Sponichi

Nakao Akiyoshi & Naka Riisa to get married; expecting first child in autumn

Nakao Akiyoshi and Naka Riisa announced their impending marriage through a fax statement by Nakao's agency on 21 March. The date of their marriage registration has yet to be decided. On the other hand, it was also made known that Naka is currently three months' pregnant and will be giving birth in autumn this year.

The fax statement mentioned that the couple first met in the 2009 movie "Toki wo kakeru shoujo" and worked together again in the NHK drama "Tsurugame Jousanin". They started dating after the drama wrapped up filming last October. In the statement, they said that although they first met four years ago, they had been good friends before they began dating. The couple said that they believe that they would be able to build a happy family with each other and thus decided to get married. They are not living together at the moment and plans for the wedding are still undecided.

Source: Yomiuri Hochi, Oricon

This comes as a total shocker, really. Although Nakao and Naka were reported to have had an overnight date in November last year, it came as a surprise to see them get married and with a baby on the way. When the news came out last year, they denied being an item but it seems like they were already dating back then. Although the dekichatta-kon is pretty unexpected, this is still good news after all so congratulations to the couple!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Nakama Yukie to star in NHK spring 2013 drama "Shima no Sensei"

Nakama Yukie will star in the NHK spring 2013 drama "Shima no Sensei" (Island Teacher) which will begin its run from 25 May at 9pm on Saturdays. The drama which consists of 6 episodes, features Nakama as Natsumura Chihiro, a teacher who returns to her hometown on an island for the first time in 20 years to teach. Chihiro had a hard life during her junior high days due to her family issues and suffers a setback when teaching in a Tokyo school so she decides to go back to the island to teach and reset her life. Due to the small number of students on the island, the primary and junior high schools are combined into one where Natsumura comes into contact with students who get placed into foster care at the island because they were being bullied in city schools and stopped turning up for lessons.

Filming is set to begin soon and expected to last till early June at the Amami islands and studios in Tokyo.

Source: Yomiuri Hochi

Arai Yoshifumi & Nikaidou Fumi reportedly dating?

Arai Hirofumi and Nikaidou Fumi are reportedly to be dating for the past one and a half years since they first worked on the movie "Himizu" shown in January 2012. The couple who are 16 years apart, updated their Twitter accounts after the news first broke but did not mention anything about the rumour.

Arai who is going to attend a talk event for his new movie "Bocchan" on 31 March, is expected to be asked about his relationship with Nikaidou. On the other hand, Nikaidou is currently acting in her first stage play "Hakkenden" at Theatre Cocoon until 31 March.

Source: Sponichi Annex

Koura Kengo to appear in movie "Kiyoku Yawaku"

Koura Kengo will appear in the movie "Kiyoku Yawaku" starring Nagasawa Masami and Okada Masaki as a 15-year-old senior high school student. The movie which is due to be shown from 26 October, is based on the shoujo manga by Ikuemi Ryou which features Nagasawa and Okada as Seto Kanna and Akazawa Roku who fall in love while bearing the scars of a tragic past. Koura's role is Haruta Kazue, a childhood friend of Kanna who passed away due to a traffic accident when he was 15 and on his way to meet Kanna. As a result of Haruta's death, it affected Kanna in a big way.

Koura has two movies "Yokomichi Younosuke" and "Sennen no Yuuraku" which are currently showing in cinemas with two other movies "Kenchou Omotenashika" due to be shown in May and "Bushi no Kondate" in December. This time, he has to play someone 10 years younger than his actual age so Koura commented that he was eagerly expecting to say lines which he would never say at his current age in order to portray the feeling of being in love through the movie.

Source: Yomiuri Hochi