Sunday, May 31, 2015

Cast announcement for drama adaptation of "Death Note"

The cast lineup for the upcoming NTV Summer 2015 drama "Death Note" was announced where Kubota Masataka will take the leading role of Yagami Light while his nemesis-cum-famous detective L will be played by Yamazaki Kento. As for Near who makes his first appearance in a Death Note adaptation, the character will be played by actress Yuki Mio who was on a short break from work after falling ill in February.

"Death Note" was a popular manga by Oba Tsugumi and Obata Takeshi which was serialised in "Shukan Shonen Jump" between 2003 and 2006. The movie adaptations in 2006 which achieved box office takings of more than JPY 8 billion, featured Fujiwara Tatsuya as Light and Matsuyama Kenichi as L. However, the story in this drama adaptation will be different from the original. For example, Light who was depicted as a genius in the manga and movie, will become an ordinary student with no aspirations or special talents in the drama who becomes a dark hero after getting the Death Note. As for L, he becomes someone who is hard to get close to and hates doing any unnecessary things. L's habit of eating lots of sweet stuff will also be removed from the drama's story. In the case of Near, the character becomes somewhat hard to distinguish as male or female and simply looks on from the sidelines as Light and L battle it out.

Kubota and Yamazaki who are both fans of the manga and movie, admitted that there is a lot of pressure for them as there are many hardcore fans like them. Kubota also revealed that when he got the offer to play Light, he sent an email to Fujiwara and received an encouraging reply from the latter.

Source: Oricon / Yomiuri Hochi / Sponichi


I love my Death Note, not just the manga but also the movies. To me, Fujiwara and Matsuyama are Light and L, no questions about it. 

With regard to the cast announcements, I'm very happy to see Kubota playing Light and think that he can nail it. I'm not too familiar with Yamazaki and Yuki so I'm neither thrilled or upset about them playing L and Near. Maybe it's my fixation with Fujiwara and Matsuyama that I find it difficult to imagine anyone else playing these characters. Maybe that's why I cringed when I saw Koike Teppei playing L in the Death Note Musical.

What irks me most is the changing of the drama's setting and storyline. If something ain't broken, there is no need to fix it. I understand if NTV wants to do something different from the 2006 version but still, this is a huge risk to take. That's why I think it's a double-edged sword to be too adventurous when it comes to adaptations.

I'll still check this out when it airs but honestly, I am not very hopeful about this drama's prospects.

"Toshokan Sensou" to have its drama SP shown this autumn

The drama SP of "Toshokan Sensou" which is titled "Toshokan Sensou BOOK OF MEMORIES" will be shown via TBS this autumn in conjunction with the release of the movie sequel "Toshokan Sensou THE LAST MISSION" on 10 October. "Toshokan Sensou" is based on a novel series by Arikawa Hiro which depicts the battles that the Library Task Force has to engage in so as to protect the freedom to read books. The drama SP will also mark the lead Okada Junichi's first appearance in a private network drama in four years.

In the drama SP, besides the movie cast of Okada, Eikura Nana, Tanaka Kei, Fukushi Sota, Kuriyama Chiaki and Ishizaka Koji, there will be new cast members i.e. Matsuzaka Tori who plays Tezuka Kei, the elder brother of Tezuka Hikaru (Fukushi), Nakamura Aoi who plays Asahina Shuji, the target of affection of Shibasaki Asako (Kuriyama) and Tsuchiya Tao who plays Nakazawa Marie, the childhood friend of Komaki Mikihisa (Tanaka). The SP's story talks about how Marie who is hearing-impaired, gets taken into custody for being in possession of a book recommended to her by Komaki and how the members in the Library Task Force try to save her.

Source: Oricon

Kataoka Ainosuke rumoured to be dating Fujiwara Norika?

Kataoka Ainosuke and Fujiwara Norika are rumoured to be dating, according to the 28th May issue of a women's weekly. In the article, it was reported that Fujiwara had gone to watch the kabuki performance which featured Kataoka on 21 May and even had a meal with Kataoka and his disciples. After that, they were said to have entered Fujiwara's apartment where Kataoka spent the night at.

In response to this report, Kataoka updated his blog with his announcement that the report was untrue and apologised to his fans for causing them worry. He also mentioned that he became good friends with Fujiwara three years ago but there is nothing more to their friendship.

Kataoka has been dating celebrity Kumagiri Asami since two years ago but has been rumoured recently to have broken up with her.

Source: Sponichi

Higashiyama Noriyuki to star in TV Asahi Summer 2015 drama "Keiji Shichinin"

Higashiyama Noriyuki will be starring in the TV Asahi Summer 2015 drama "Keiji Shichinin" which will be shown from July in the Wednesdays 9pm timeslot. He plays the role of Amaki Yu, a police detective who gets transferred to the 12th team in the Metropolitan Police Department's 1st Division which is commonly known as the grave for a detective and is a stickler for punctuality and persistent in his investigation work. However, he is a poor team player and often does things on his own without telling anyone. The unofficial leader of the team Samura Kosuke (Takashima Masahiro) is a professional at observing people while Yamashita Takumi (Kataoka Ainosuke) is an expert at information analysis. Nagasawa Keita (Suzuki Kosuke) is a lazy detective but has a strong sense of justice and Mizuta Tamaki (Kurashina Kana) is a cool detective who studied abroad. The team leader Katagiri Masatoshi (Yoshida Kotaro) and the forensic pathology professor Domoto Juntaro (Kitaoji Kinya) work with these detectives to solve various difficult cases.

Source: Yomiuri Hochi / Sponichi

Karasawa Toshiaki to star in TBS Summer 2015 drama "Napoleon no Mura"

Karasawa Toshiaki will be taking on the leading role in the upcoming TBS Summer 2015 drama "Napoleon no Mura" (Napoleon's Village" which will begin its run from July in the Sundays 9pm timeslot. The praying ceremony for the drama was held at Kamogawa City, Chiba Prefecture in late April where the cast members including Karasawa, Sawamura Ikki, Asou Kumiko, Yamamoto Koji and Muro Tsuyoshi also took part in the planting of crops in line with the theme of their drama.

The drama which is based on the 2012 book "Roma Houou ni kome wo tabesaseta otoko Kaso no mura wo sukutta super komuin wa nani wo shitaka?" (The man who let the Pope eat rice - What did the super civil servant do to save the depopulated village?) written by Takano Josen who works at the city office in Hakui, Ishikawa Prefecture, talks about how a super civil servant Asai Eiji (Karasawa) who works in the Tokyo Metropolitan Office decides to work at the agricultual and forestry department of Kagura Village in Seika City (fictitious) after seeing that the depopulated village has the potential to get back on its feet. However, this pits him against the handsome city mayor Fukumoto (Sawamura) and the department chief Yamada (Muro) who are bent on pushing for the abolishment of the village. Luckily, Asai gets support from his colleague Yukari (Asou) who works in the same department, a management consultant played by Yamamoto Koji and the village's Shinto priest (Issey Ogata) and tries to use various ideas to solve the problems in the village as he strongly believes in Napoleon's saying "Impossible n'est pas français." (there is nothing impossible).

Source: Sanspo / Yomiuri Hochi

Koizumi Kotaro to be the lead in new WOWOW drama "Shi no Zoki"

Koizumi Kotaro will be playing the lead role in new WOWOW drama "Shi no Zoki" which will be shown from 12 July in the Sundays 10pm timeslot and consists of 5 episodes. The drama which is based on the novel by Asano Ryo, features Koizumi as Numazaki Kyota, a director working in a TV programme production company who happens to discover a woman's corpse in a forest at Fuji. It is later found through the autopsy that the woman froze to death and one of her kidneys was extracted. At the same time, it is found that a couple sent to the Kyuai Kinen Hospital for treatment of their injuries had engaged in the trading of organs thus leading the hospital's director Ota Isamu (Ogi Shigemitsu) to report this to the police. As a result, Hino Seiichiro (Takeda Tetsuya), the surgeon who performed the organ transplant operation is summoned by the police for questioning. After hearing about Hino's case, Numazaki starts investigating if the body found in Fuji had anything to do with it. Co-stars also include Toyohara Kosuke and Konishi Manami.

Koizumi who is 36 years old this year, expressed his wish to have this drama become a turning point in his acting career. He commented that as the theme of this drama is rather heavy, there may be no clear answers as to who is right or wrong so he hopes that viewers can keep watching till the end in order to find out for themselves.


Takahashi Katsumi to play the lead in TV Tokyo Summer 2015 drama "Bokura wa playboys Jukunen Tanteisha"

Takahashi Katsumi will be playing the lead in TV Tokyo Summer 2015 drama "Bokura wa playboys Jukunen Tanteisha" (We are playboys The Middle Age Detectives Agency) which will begin its run from July in the Fridays 8pm timeslot. This is his first leading role in a private network drama in 2 years and the drama is based on the novel titled "Kanreki Tantei" by Naoki Award winner Fujita Yoshinaga.

Takahashi plays Iwase Koichiro, a former employee at a household appliances manufacturing company who is at home and joins a private detective agency "Playboys Tantei Jimusho" where all of its employees are men above the age of 55 and the boss is a former police detective. Iwase's colleagues come from a variety of backgrounds such as a taxi driver, doctor, former Olympic athlete who all have nothing related to detective work. As their clients are also limited to middle-aged men and women, the detective agency specialises in solving problems unique to people in this age group.

Takahashi admitted that he is nervous about playing the lead again but is also very happy about it. In addition, being able to work with his respected seniors in this drama is also something which he is looking forward to.


Screening event of new NHK drama "Chanpon tabeta ka?"

The screening event of new NHK drama "Chanpon tabeta ka?" (Have you eaten the chanpon?) was held on 21 May at NHK's HQ in Shibuya, Tokyo and was attended by the cast Suda Masaki, Sada Masashi, Hongo Kanata, Mamiya Shotaro, Izumisawa Yuki and Morikawa Aoi. The drama which is based on Sada's autobiography novel that will be published on the drama's first OA date, will be shown via NHK from 30 May in the Saturdays 10pm timeslot and consists of 9 episodes.

The story is set in the early 1940s at Tokyo where Suda plays a young violinist named Sano Masashi who leaves his hometown in Nagasaki to work in Tokyo, encounters various setbacks but manages to mature as an individual and overcome the odds with the support of the people around him. Suda commented that he had to learn various new things for the filming such as rakugo and playing the violin and he might not have the chance to do that or meet Sada if he did not take up the offer for this drama. Suda also mentioned how he enjoyed playing in a band as the story depicted his character forming a folk band with his senior high schoolmates and is even considering forming a band named "Chanpons" in real life after Sada encouraged him to do so.

This is the second time that Sada's autobiography is made into a drama (the previous drama was "Kasuteira" but Sada says that he doesn't know how the drama will end because it has a different storyline and is looking forward to watching this every week. He also praised Suda for being a good actor and is happy about the latter resembling him a little bit.


Saturday, May 30, 2015

First-day-screening event of new movie "Initiation Love"

The first-day-screening event of new movie "Initiation Love" was held on 23 May which was attended by the leads Matsuda Shota, Maeda Atsuko, Kimura Fumino and the director Tsutsumi Yukihiko. The movie which is based on the same-titled novel by Inui Kurumi, is set in the late 1980s at Shizuoka and Tokyo thus forming two stories Side A and B. In the Shizuoka story, Matsuda plays the role of Suzuki who is in a rocky relationship with Mayu (Maeda). After he is transferred to Tokyo for work, their relationship takes a turn for the worse and gradually breaks down.


Sunday, May 24, 2015

Tanaka Rena to join the cast of NHK Taiga "Hana Moyu"

Tanaka Rena will be joining the cast of current NHK Taiga "Hana Moyu" as announced on 22 May. She will play the role of Mori Yasuko (Gin-hime) who was the first wife of Mori Motonori, the last feudal lord of the Choshu Domain and make her first appearance from Episode 28 which will be shown on 12 July. The lead Fumi (Inoue Mao) will be Yasuko's eldest son Motoakira's tutor. The filming began from last week.

This is Tanaka's second appearance in a Taiga since 2012's "Taira no Kiyomori" where she played Yuragozen, Minamoto no Yoritomo's birth mother.

Source: Sanspo

Takei Emi to star in TV Asahi Summer 2015 drama "Age Harassment"

Takei Emi will be starring in the TV Asahi Summer 2015 drama "Age Harassment" which will begin its run from July in the Thursdays 9pm timeslot. The drama which is based on the same-titled novel published in 2008 by scriptwriter Uchidate Makiko, will also be her first drama script written in 10 years since 2005 TBS drama "Kegareta Shita".

Takei plays the role of newbie OL Yoshii Emiri who is young, beautiful and fawned over by the male employees in trading company Teito Bussan. However, she does not get sent to the textiles department as she wished and is posted to the general affairs department instead. As a result, she has to wear an uniform and do miscellaneous chores but she goes about her work with enthusiasm. On the other hand, Yoshii sticks out in her department for being unsociable as she is unwilling to have lunch with her seniors and doesn't join them for after-work gatherings. Coupled with the fact that she is seen as one who disrupts the balance in the team and gets unfair advantages because she's pretty, Yoshii becomes the target of bullying by her female seniors at work and tries to fight back in order to survive in the workplace.

Filming begins next month.

Source: Sanspo

Dean Fujioka to join the cast of FujiTV Summer 2015 drama "Tantei no Tantei"

Dean Fujioka whose acting activities are largely in Taiwan, will be making his debut in a Japanese drama when he appears in the upcoming FujiTV Summer 2015 drama "Tantei no Tantei" beginning its run from July in the Thursdays 10pm timeslot. Fujioka will play an investigator in the detective agency where Kitagawa Keiko's and Kawaguchi Haruna's characters also work in.

Fujioka comes from Fukushima Prefecture and made his debut as an actor at Hong Kong in 2005 after graduating from an American university. He is able to speak 5 languages i.e. Japanese, English, Chinese, Cantonese and Indonesian and is primarily based in Taiwan where he can be seen in various movies and dramas. With regard to his debut in a Japanese drama, Fujioka expressed his excitement at the challenge and hopes to be able to spice things up in the drama.

Source: Sanspo

Nakayama Emiri announces her pregnancy; due to give birth in autumn

Actress Nakayama Emiri announced via a fax statement released by her agency on 21 May that she is currently pregnant with her first child. According to the statement, Nakayama confirmed that she is due to give birth in autumn and looks forward to the arrival of her new family member. As for work plans, she will continue as long as her condition allows and thanked everyone for their support as she and her husband do their best in raising their child.

Nakayama married actor Iinuma Seiji in April 2010.

Source: Sponichi

EXILE's AKIRA to star in FujiTV Summer 2015 drama "HEAT"

EXILE member AKIRA will be taking on the lead role in the upcoming FujiTV Summer 2015 drama "HEAT" which begins its run from July in the Tuesdays 10pm timeslot. He plays the role of an elite salaryman working in a real estate company and is tasked with the acquisition of land in a small town. In order to get information about the town and its occupants, he hides his identity and becomes a member of the volunteer fire brigade. Through his work there, he realises the joy and importance of protecting people. According to Kansai TV which is producing this drama, this is the first time that they are producing a drama which focuses on a volunteer fire brigade as compared to a full-time firefighter. The Fire and Disaster Management Agency and Tokyo Fire Department will provide full support during the filming of this drama.

AKIRA was last seen in the role of a passionate teacher in the 2012 FujiTV drama "GTO". The production crew commented that if AKIRA's role in GTO was like a bright red fire, his character in the new drama would be like a blue flame with a cool exterior and hot on the inside.

Co-stars of this drama include Kuriyama Chiaki who is the leader of the fire brigade and Sato Ryuta who is a firefighter assigned to coach the fire brigade's members.

Source: Sponichi

Production press conference of new movie "Sugihara Chiune"

The production press conference of new movie "Sugihara Chiune" was held on 19 May in Tokyo which was attended by its cast members including Karasawa Toshiaki, Koyuki as well as Polish actors Borys Szyc and Agnieszka Grochowska. The movie which is due to be shown in cinemas from 5 December, features Karasawa in the role of Sugiura Chiune, a diplomat who saved the lives of about 6,000 Jews during WWII by issuing visas to them when he was the stand-in consul for Lithuania. The cast and crew were in Poland for about two months for the filming which will be wrapped up by August this year.

As the story of Sugiura was a real one, Karasawa said that he acted in this movie with the intention of letting others know about Sugiura's achievements. In order to prepare for the role, Karasawa read research materials on Sugiura and had to guess what the latter was thinking of when he did what he did at that time. As this is still a movie with the aim of entertaining the audience, there will be some portions which are dramatised and slightly different from the facts.

Koyuki who plays Sugiura's wife Yukiko and is currently 8 months' pregnant with her third child, appeared for the first time in public since her pregnancy announcement in March this year. She is due to give birth in July. Coincidentally, her character Yukiko also had three children so Koyuki commented that she could relate to her easily and tried to convey the strength and gentleness in her character.

According to the movie company, there are plans for premium screenings to be held for the movie in Poland and Lithuania. In addition, they have also received pre-sales offers from various countries in Europe even before the movie is completed.

Source: Sponichi 1 / Sponichi 2

Kadowaki Mugi & Hasegawa Hiroki work together in new movie "Nijuu Seikatsu"

Kadowaki Mugi takes on the leading role in the new movie "Nijuu Seikatsu" (Double Life" based on the suspense novel by Koike Mariko and is due to be shown in early summer 2016. She plays the role of Tamaki, a graduate student who is asked by her professor (Shinohara Yukiko) to try trailing someone as part of Tamaki's research for her thesis. However, when Tamaki starts to trail her married neighbour Ishizaka played by Hasegawa Hiroki, she finds herself being too immersed in the thrills of peeking into his private life especially after witnessing his trysts with his lover who also happens to be her professor.


Sunday, May 17, 2015

Official screening of "Umimachi diary" at the 68th Cannes International Film Festival

The official screening of the movie "Umimachi diary" at the 68th Cannes International Film Festival was held on 14 May where the cast Ayase Haruka, Nagasawa Masami, Kaho and Hirose Suzu as well as the director Koreeda Hirokazu walked on the red carpet before the screening. Ayase and Hirose were dressed in white-based dresses while Nagasawa and Kaho were wearing blue dresses. At the end of the screening, there was a standing ovation by the audience which made Koreeda very touched at the support shown for their film.

At the press conference in front of Japanese reporters, Koreeda revealed that he likes this film a lot and to be able to bring this to Cannes and be accompanied by the four actresses made him extremely happy. This is Koreeda's fourth time participating in Cannes since he won the judges' award for "Soshite Chichi ni Naru" two years ago. Although he is happy about being invited to the festival again, Koreeda also expressed his fear that he may subconsciously come to expect that this to be the norm thus tried to put in extra effort in this film so as to show the changes in the relationships between the four sisters  Ayase commented that she always had this impression that the festival was one where many movie lovers gathered and she was glad to be able to be here. Nagasawa said that the energy she experienced here makes her want to work even harder. Kaho expressed her happiness at meeting people from all over the world while Hirose commented that this was a rare experience for a 16-year-old and hoped that she would be able to come back again.


Morita Go to join the cast of FujiTV Summer 2015 drama "Risk no Kamisama"

V6's Morita Go will be joining the cast of FujiTV Summer 2015 drama "Risk no Kamisama" which is due to begin its run from July in the Wednesdays 10pm timeslot. This marks his first appearance in a private network drama since NTV's "Kuitan 2" shown 8 years ago and his collaboration with Tsutsumi Shinichi and Toda Erika. In this drama featuring Tsutsumi as a risk management consultant, Morita will play his trusted assistant who carries out his orders faithfully and is capable of everything including computer hacking, surveillance and tracking as well as infiltrating into companies to carry out investigations.

In recent years, Morita's focus has been on stage plays including the Miyamoto Amon production "Kinkakuji" in 2011 which was also performed in the US. He was also seen in the 2012 NHK Taiga "Taira no Kiyomori" as Taira no Kiyosada.

Source: Sanspo

First-day-screening event of new movie "Kakekomi Onna to Kakedashi Otoko"

The first-day-screening event of new movie "Kakekomi Onna to Kakedashi Otoko" was held at Marunouchi Picadilly on 16 May which was attended by the cast Oizumi Yo, Toda Erika, Mitsushima Hikari, Kimura Midoriko, Uchiyama Rina, Takeda Shinji and the director Harada Masato. The movie which is based on the period novel Tokeiji Hanadayori by Inoue Hisashi, talks about how a mediator Shinjiro helps the women who have marital problems to get divorces and rebuild their lives after they escape to the government-designated refugee centre at the temple Tokeiji.

Upon seeing the theatre being packed to capacity, director Harada thanked Oizumi for putting a lot of effort in the pre-release promotional run and expressed his wish to make a sequel if all goes well for this movie. In response, Oizumi and Toda both "complained" about the director taking too long to shout "Cut!" during the filming. In Oizumi's case, he had a scene where he was hanging from his neck and almost suffocated because the director simply wouldn't stop the filming. As for Toda, there was a scene where she had to carry Mitsushima on her back and climb up the stairs so she realised the feeling of being responsible for another person's life through that episode.

As Kiki Kirin couldn't be at the event on that day, she prepared a video message where she praised the movie for having such a good cast and crew that the viewers will feel that they got a good deal in the end since the movie would have cost at least 15 times more if it was made in Hollywood.


Completion screening of new WOWOW drama "Yume wo ataeru"

The completion screening event of new WOWOW drama "Yume wo ataeru" was held on 14 May which was attended by the leads Komatsu Nana and Kikuchi Rinko. The drama which will begin its run from 16 May in the Saturdays 10pm timeslot, features Komatsu as a young girl aspiring to be a star but getting caught in the desires of the showbiz world and having to grapple with her mother's (Kikuchi) excessive love and attention on her. Komatsu remarked that this is the first time that she had to raise her voice so much as her character gets into heated arguments with her mother and she was surprised by how loud she could speak. On the other hand, Kikuchi who is playing the mother from the age of 32 to 48, commented that it was the first time she had a mother's role with such a big daughter and she relished the challenge of doing so.

Kikuchi will be singing the drama's theme song titled "dISderEAm" under the name Rinbjo" which marks her first attempt in doing so. Kikuchi revealed that she had always wanted to sing the theme song for her works so when the offer to do so did come, it was like a dream come true for her.

Source: Sponichi

Matsushima Nanako to star in new TBS drama SP to mark the 70th anniversary of WWII's end

Matsushima Nanako will be starring in the yet untitled TBS drama SP to mark the 70th anniversary since the end of WWII which will be shown in August on two nights. The drama is produced by the crew responsible for the hit drama "Hanzawa Naoki". Filming began in Shizuoka from 15 May and will also be done overseas at locations such as Shenyang and Beijing in China for a month until the end of July. This is the first time in 15 years that Matsushima is acting in a TBS drama since "Hyakunen no Monogatari" in 2000.

Matsushima plays the role of Amano Kiyo who becomes a military nurse in order to serve her country and gets married to a man in the Manchurian expedition. However, as the war intensifies, Kiyo tries to survive in the tough times after her husband dies and she has to leave her son behind in order to continue with her work. During WWII, as many as 35,000 women served as military nurses and 1,120 of them passed away in the line of duty.

Source: Yomiuri Hochi /

Blue carpet event for new movie "Umimachi diary"

The blue carpet event for new movie "Umimachi diary" was held on 11 May at Tokyo which was attended by the cast including Ayase Haruka, Nagasawa Masami, Kaho, Hirose Suzu and Lily Frankie. The movie which is due to be shown in cinemas from 13 June, is also taking part in the 68th Cannes International Film Festival's competition category.

The film which is based on the manga by Yoshida Akio, features three sisters played by Ayase, Nagasawa and Kaho who welcome their half-sister (Hirose) into their house at Kamakura after their father passes away and shows the first year of them living together until they bond as a true family.

During the event which was attended by about 500 fans, Ayase tripped on her lines but was totally unaware of where she had gone wrong even when the audience burst into laughter. She even asked her co-stars what she had done before Nagasawa jokingly answered that her elder sister (referring to Ayase) was so nervous that she had mispronounced her words.

Source: Sponichi

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Fujiwara Tatsuya to star in new movie "Tankentai no Eiko"

Fujiwara Tatsuya will be starring in the new movie "Tankentai no Eiko" (The glory of the adventure team) which is due to be shown in cinemas this autumn. The movie which is based on Araki Gen's same-titled novel, features Fujiwara as an actor Sugisaki whose popularity is going downhill. In an attempt to give his acting career a much-needed boost, he takes part in a TV programme where he has to be the leader of an adventure team which is seeking the UMA (unidentified mysterious animal) named Yaga. Yusuke Santa Maria plays the producer who would do anything to make his programme interesting while Ozawa Yukiyoshi is the director who tends to make a mountain out of a molehill. Tanaka Yoji plays the cameraman who;s very hung up about professionalism, Kawamura Yosuke is the soundman and lighting man who is a UMA expert while Sano Hinako plays the AD who looks down on variety shows and Okayasu Shosuke plays the production team's guide at their shooting location.

As the filming was done over a long period of time at jungles and secluded spots in southern Japan and included some dangerous scenes such as falling from a cliff, Fujiwara recounted that the filming was so tough that he practically lost all memories of it. In addition, as Fujiwara was playing the leader of the adventure team, he had to appear in almost every scene which made him so tired that he was secretly hoping for Yusuke Santa Maria to stand in for him at times. However, Yusuke Santa Maria who wrapped up filming just two days before Fujiwara, was also in such a bad shape by then that he almost wanted to quit the movie. Meanwhile, Ozawa praised Fujiwara for leading the team with such great passion that they were able to overcome the tough conditions.

Filming was completed on 29 April.


Nikaido Fumi & Hasegawa Hiroki to star in new movie "Kono kuni no sora"

Nikaido Fumi and Hasegawa Hiroki are starring in the new movie "Kono kuni no sora" which is due to be shown in cinemas from 8 August this year. The film which is based on Tanizaki Junichiro's award-winning novel, was directed by Takai Yuichi and the script was written by Arai Haruhiko. In the movie set in Tokyo just before WWII was about to end, Nikaido plays the role of a 19-year-old Taguchi Riko who is about to get married. As she takes care of the household chores for her neighbour Ichige Takeo (Hasegawa) who had sent his family away to avoid the war, Riko finds herself drawn to him and discovers feelings that she had never known as a woman while grappling with the dilemma of Ichige pining for his wife and her upcoming marriage during the war. Co-stars include Kudo Yuki who plays Riko's mother, Okuda Eiji, Ishibashi Renji and Tomita Yasuko.


Monday, May 11, 2015

First-day-screening event of new movie "Nounai Poison Berry"

The first-day-screening event of new movie "Nounai Poison Berry" was held at TOHO Cinemas Nichigeki 2 on 9 May which was attended by the cast members Maki Yoko, Nishijima Hidetoshi, Furukawa Yuki, Songha, Yoshida Yo, Sakurada Hiyori, Kamiki Ryunosuke, Asano Kazuyuki and the director Sato Yuichi. The movie which is based on the comic by Mizushiro Setona, features Maki as a woman in her 20s having meetings with five emotions namely rational, positive, negative, impulsive and memory within her brain in order to decide on how to make her relationship with a younger boyfriend succeed. During the event, the cast were asked if they had any sad happenings in the past and Maki revealed that she had wanted to get the second button from her senior who was 2 years older in junior high but he was so popular that his buttons were gone before she even got to him. (In Japan, girls ask guys for the second button on their uniforms on the day of the graduation ceremony. If the guy agrees to give it to her, that means that the girl is the one he likes.)

Nishijima revealed during the event that he was a bit affected when Kamiki kept peeking at him when he was in the midst of filming. Even though the two of them do have a pretty wide age gap, they actually have worked about the same number of years in showbiz (Kamiki started as a child actor). In response, Kamiki said that he wanted to observe Nishijima's cool performance so that's why he was always peeking at the sidelines.


Sunday, May 10, 2015

Completion screening event of new WOWOW drama "Temisu no Kyukei"

The completion screening event of new WOWOW drama "Temisu no Kyukei" was held on 8 May which was attended by the cast members Naka Riisa, Kishitani Goro and Sugimoto Tetta as well as the director Gonno Hajime. The drama which begins its run from 10 May in the Sundays 10pm timeslot and consists of 4 episodes, is based on the novel by Daimon Takeaki and features Naka as the lead character Hoshi Rina, a prosecutor's assistant officer. Rina gets embroiled in a new case after her father's murderer claims that he was found guilty by mistake.

As this is the first time that Naka is acting as a prosecutor's assistant, she was worried how things would turn out since she had never wore suits in her works so far. However, the end result was rather satisfactory so Naka was relieved about it. When asked about her collaboration with veteran actors, Naka admitted that she was so nervous whenever she had NGs and would break out in cold sweat.

During the event, the cast were asked about the interests they pursued to which Naka replied that she is very interested in fashion. However, Kishitani teased Naka's fashion sense for being the same as a primary four student and she looked like Umezu Kazuo, a manga artist. musician and actor at times.

When asked about their filming process, both Kishitani and Sugimoto "complained" about the director's liking for changing their lines at the last minute. Sugimoto remarked that as this is a legal drama, they had to get each line correct so he memorised his lines fully before coming to the set. However, the director would inform him on the same day of the filming that he was changing some lines so he had to remember everything all over again.


The 24th Nihon Eiga Professional Award (2015)

Individual Awards

Best Movie: Hyakuen no Koi

Best Director: Take Masaharu (Hyakuen no Koi)

Best Leading Actor: Ikematsu Sosuke (Ai no Uzu / Umi wo Kanjirutoki / Otona Drop / Kami no Tsuki)

Best Leading Actress: Nikaido Fumi (Watashi no Otoko / Hotori no Sakuko)

Best New Director: Yamato Yuki (Otogibanashi mitai / Itsutsu kazoereba kimi no yume)

Best New Actress: Takeda Rina (Iya Monogatari Oku no Hito)

Most Talked About Award: Gekijoban Terekura Canon Hall 2013

Special Award: Shinagawa Toru

Top 10 movies
1) Hyakuen no Koi
2) Watashi no Otoko
3) Hotori no Sakuko
4) Ai no Uzu
5) Nononanananoka
6) Bokutachi no Kazoku
7) Umi wo kanjiru toki
8) Nishino Yukihiko no Koi to Bouken
9) Mizu no koe wo kiku
10) Otogibanashi mitai / Tokyo Nanmin


Kawaguchi Haruna to play Kitagawa Keiko's partner in FujiTV Summer 2015 drama "Tantei no Tantei"

Kawaguchi Haruna will be joining the cast of new FujiTV Summer 2015 drama "Tantei no Tantei" starring Kitagawa Keiko which begins its run from July in the Thursdays 10pm timeslot. She plays the role of Kotoha, a fresh graduate from school who couldn't find a permanent job and ends up joining a detective agency by chance where she works with Reina (Kitagawa) to solve cases. When asked about her impression of Kitagawa who she is working with for the first time, Kawaguchi commented that her co-star is like an elder sister and she admires Kitagawa a lot just like how Kotoha sees Reina in the drama. Kawaguchi also expressed her admiration for Kitagawa who has to do action scenes in the drama and how she is eager to do the same. On the other hand, Kitagawa revealed that the two of them talk about various topics such as beauty and fashion during the filming breaks and she feels as if Kawaguchi is really her little sister.

Source: Sanspo

Takenouchi Yutaka & Eguchi Yosuke star in new movie "Jinsei no Yakusoku"

Takenouchi Yutaka will be the lead in the new movie "Jinsei no Yakusoku" (Life's Promise) which will be shown in cinemas from January next year. He plays the role of the president of a IT company who returns to his hometown in Shin Minato, Imizu, Toyama Prefecture, after the death of his best friend. While back home, he meets up with his best friend's elder brother played by Eguchi Yosuke and the two clash over various things which lead to them resolving their differences eventually. This is the first time that they are working together.

Takenouchi and Eguchi were in Shin Minato recently for the filming of the climax scene in the movie supposedly to be during the local Hikiyama Matsuri which involved another 1,400 extras. Both of them had to join in the pulling of the 8-tonne floats used during the festival. The actors became good friends during the filming at Shin Minato over nice seafood and drinks. When asked about Eguchi who had to cut his hair short for the role, Takenouchi commented that Eguchi looked so convincing in his screen costume that he was mistaken as a local fisherman.

Source: Sponichi

Premiere event of new movie "Shinjuku Swan"

The Japan premiere event of new movie "Shinjuku Swan" was held at Kabukicho on 7 May which was attended by the cast members Ayano Go, Yamada Takayuki, Iseya Yusuke, Sawajiri Erika, Yamada Yu, Toyohara Kosuke, Kaneko Nobuaki, Fukami Motoki, the producer Yamamoto Mataichiro, the director Sono Shion and the scriptwriter Suzuki Osamu. The movie which will be shown in cinemas from 30 May, is based on the manga by Wakui En set in Kabukicho where scoutmen engage in a battle with one another. In line with the theme of the movie, the event was held at Kabukicho's Central Road where about 2,500 people had gathered.

Source: Sponichi

Ikuta Toma & Okada Masaki to work together in new movie "Himitsu THE TOP SECRET"

Ikuta Toma will be starring in the new movie "Himitsu THE TOP SECRET' which is due to be shown in cinemas next year. The film which is based on the same-titled manga by Shimizu Rieko, will be directed by Otomo Keishi who was responsible for the "Rurouni Kenshin" series. The story takes place in the 9th forensic pathology research office of the scienfic police department commonly known as "Daikyuu" where the first MRI scanner which can visualise the memories of a dead person's brain was invested. Daikyuu is instructed to investigate a strange case where there are few leads. Ikuta plays the person-in-charge of Daikyuu named Maki Tsuyoshi who is smart but has a hidden emotional trauma. Okada Masaki will play a newbie investigator Aoki Kazuyuki who joins Daikyuu. The two of them last worked together in the drama SP of "Hanazakari no Kimitachi e ~ Ikemen Paradise ~" in 2008. Co-stars also include Kuriyama Chiaki who plays a medical examiner and Omori Nao as a police detective.

Ikuta revealed that on the set, the cast and staff calls him "Shitsucho" (Chief) which makes him feel as if he has become a very important person. He hopes to show the aloofness in Maki and how he looks down on other people while expressing the themes of humans' weakness, desperation and hope through this movie. As for Okada, he said that this is the first time he is acting in a Otomo movie and is very excited and nervous about it.

Filming began from 27th April.

Source: Sponichi

Friday, May 08, 2015

Nikkansports Drama Grand Prix 2014 - Best Drama

Numbers in brackets indicate the number of votes received:

1) Shinigami-kun - TV Asahi (487)

2) Zeni no Sensou - FujiTV (461)

3) HERO 2 - FujiTV (270)

4) Second Love - TV Asahi (261)

5) Ouroboros - TBS (125)

6) Gomen ne Seishun! - TBS (120)

7) Massan - NHK (113)

8) Gunshi Kanbee - NHK (101)

9) Doctor X - TV Asahi (86)

10) Roosevelt Game - TBS (69)

Source: Nikkansports

Nikkansports Drama Grand Prix 2014 - Best Leading Actor

Numbers in brackets indicate the number of votes received:

1) Ohno Satoshi - Shinigami-kun (492)

2) Kusanagi Tsuyoshi - Zeni no Sensou (446)

3) Kimura Takuya - HERO 2 (283)

4) Kamenashi Kazuya - Second Love (263)

5) Okada Junichi - Gunshi Kanbee (156)

6) Ikuta Toma - Ouroboros (122)

7) Nishikido Ryo - Gomen ne Seishun! (117)

8) Tamayama Tetsuji - Massan (107)

9) Mizutani Yutaka - Aibou season 13 (75)

10) Karasawa Toshiaki - Roosevelt Game (65)

Source: Nikkansports

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Nikkansports Drama Grand Prix 2014 - Best Supporting Actor

Numbers in brackets indicate the number of votes:

1) Watabe Atsuro - Zeni no Sensou (442)

2) Suda Masaki - Shinigami-kun (325)

3) Oguri Shun - Ouroboros (264)

4) Tsutsumi Shinichi - Massan (163)

5) Matsushige Yutaka - HERO 2 (156)

6) Fukushi Sota - Kyouwa Kaisha Yasumimasu (128)

7) Saito Takumi - Hirugao (123)

8) Namase Katsuhisa - Second Love (119)

9) Takashima Masanobu - DOCTORS 3 (106)

10) Endo Kenichi - Doctor X (70)

Source: Nikkansports

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Nikkansports Drama Grand Prix 2014 - Best Supporting Actress

Numbers in brackets indicate the number of votes received:

1) Kimura Fumino - Zeni no Sensou (370)

2) Kiritani Mirei - Shinigami-kun (325)

3) Fukada Kyoko - Second Love (241)

4) Nakama Yukie - Hanako to Anne (226)

5) Kitagawa Keiko - HERO 2 (199)

6) Yoshida Yo - HERO 2 (182)

7) Mitsushima Hikari - Gomen ne Seishun! (178)

8) Oshima Yuko - Zeni no Sensou (166)

9) Kichise Michiko - Hirugao (67)

10) Maki Youko - MOZU (63)

Source: Nikkansports

Sakai Masato & Kanno Miho expecting their first child in autumn

Sakai Masato and Kanno Miho will be welcoming the arrival of their first child in autumn this year as announced by her agency on 5 May which also happens to be Children's Day in Japan. In Kanno's statement, she revealed that the couple are very happy about the new addition to their family and are making preparations for the baby as they approach the due date in autumn. Although there are no details on her pregnancy and due date, Kanno is said to be at least 5 months' pregnant by now. Her work activities from now on will depend on her condition. On the other hand, Sakai also released his statement expressing his joy and commented that he sees the baby as a gift from God entrusted to him and his wife. He also pledged to work harder in order to deliver better performances in future.

Sakai and Kanno met on the set of the movie "Ooku ~ Eien~" when filming began in January 2012 and only started dating at the end of the same year after the film was released in cinemas. The couple were first romantically linked in a Sankei Sports article on 22 March 2013 and later submitted their marriage application on 2 April. Since their marriage, Kanno has been restricting her work activities to CMs, events and magazine appearances while Sakai starred in the hit drama "Hanazawa Naoki" in summer 2013, is now seen in the NTV drama "Dr. Rintaro" and will be the lead for next year's NHK Taiga "Sanadamaru".

Source: Nikkansports / Sanspo

Beat Takeshi, Iseya Yusuke and Matsuzaka Tori to join the cast of new movie "Gekijouban MOZU"

Beat Takeshi, Iseya Yusuke and Matsuzaka Tori will be joining the cast of new movie "Gekijouban MOZU" starring Nishijima Hidetoshi which is due to be shown in cinemas from 7 November 2015. The movie which is a sequel to the drama series "MOZU" jointly produced by TBS and WOWOW in 2014, will be set six months after the end of the drama. Iseya will play the role of a crime planner named Takayanagi who works together with an assassin Gondo played by Matsuzaka to launch a series of terror attacks such as the bombing of a high-rise building and the Vietnamese embassy while carrying out a criminal plan under the name of Daruma who is played by Beat Takeshi. Daruma was depicted as a mysterious presence who appears in the dreams of various people and it is even not confirmed whether he is aliving person. His identity and the mystery surrounding his presence will be revealed in the movie.

When asked about his reason for taking on the role of Daruma, Beat Takeshi revealed that MOZU's story resembles the American suspense dramas which he likes and that because Nishijima is his radio programme fan and they have a common interest in mathematics, he believes that it will be a very enjoyable experience to take part in this movie. As for Nishijima, he worked together with Beat Takeshi in his 2002 movie "DOLLS" and is looking forward to their collaboration again. Iseya commented that he thinks that he sees the role of Takayanagi as a very challenging role for him while Matsuzaka is very excited about taking on an evil role this time.

Filming of the drama began in late March but due to restrictions on bombing and car action scenes in Japan, the cast and crew had to go to the Philippines in April for a month for the filming. They did 4 bombing scenes at a big Manila market and used a total of 1,500 bullets during the period.

Source: Yomiuri Hochi / Sponichi

Monday, May 04, 2015

Matsuyama Kenichi to star in NTV Summer 2015 drama "Do Konjo Gaeru"

Matsuyama Kenichi will be starring in the NTV summer 2015 drama "Do Konjo Gaeru" which will begin its run from July in the Saturdays 9pm timeslot. This will be his first leading role in a private network drama since NTV's winter 2009 drama "Zenigeba". The drama which is based on the comedic manga by Yoshizawa Yasumi and first made into an anime in 1972, talks about a junior high student Hiroshi who accidentally trips over a stone while walking in a park and flattens a frog named Pyonkichi that results in it being stuck to his T-shirt in 2D form. As a result, Hiroshi and Pyonkichi have to live together which result in a series of hillarious series.

However, the drama series which is the first real-life adaptation of the manga, will be an original story set 16 years after Hiroshi's first encounter with Pyonkichi when he becomes a 30-year-old man who's tired of life's struggles and has achieved nothing so far. Due to an incident, Hiroshi decides to do something to change his current situation. For the scenes with Pyonkichi on Hiroshi's T-shirt, they will be done by VFX.

Source: Yomiuri Hochi

Tamaki Hiroshi & Hirose Arisu to star in new movie "Seiro no Umi Tantei Mitarai no Jikenbo"

Tamaki Hiroshi and Hirose Arisu will be starring in the new movie "Seiro no Umi Tantei Mitarai no Jikenbo" which will be shown in cinemas next year. Tamaki will play the lead character Mitarai Kiyoshi while Hirose will play an editor who investigates a case with him which is an original character not seen in the "Mitarai Kiyoshi series" novels by Shimada Soji.

The film is going to be the first movie adaptation in the novel series and is set in Shimada's hometown in Fukuyama City, Hiroshima where Mitarai will investigate a case which happened in the Seto Inland Sea that is related to the tides. In the original novel, Mitarai investigated the case with his buddy Ishioka but the director Izumi Seiji decided to come up with a new character to replace him i.e. Hirose's character Miyuki.

The filming which started at the end of last month, is currently in progress at places such as Innoshima in Hiroshima Prefecture and expected to last till early June.

Co-stars include Ishida Hikari, Ogura Hisashiro, Kaname Jun, Tanimura Mitsuki and Yoshida Eisaku.

Source: Sanspo 1 / Sanspo 2

Nikkansports Drama Grand Prix 2014 - Best Leading Actress

Nikkansports is announcing the winners for their Drama Grand Prix 2014 daily from today and the first announcement is for Best Leading Actress.

Numbers in brackets indicate the number of valid votes received for the actor/actress/drama:

Best Leading Actress
1) Ayase Haruka - Kyouwa Kaisha Yasumimasu (341)

2) Yonekura Ryoko - Doctor X (293)

3) Charlotte Kate Fox - Massan (280)

4) Yoshitaka Yuriko - Hanako to Anne (164)

5) Ueno Juri - Arisu no Toge (149)

6) An - Hanasaki Mai ga damatte inai (146)

7) An - Date ~ Koi to wa donna mono kashira ~ (128)

8) Koizumi Kyoko - Zoku Saigo kara nibanme no koi (126)

9) Nakatani Miki - Ghost Writer (123)

10) Eikura Nana - N no tame ni (120)

Source: Nikkansports

Sunday, May 03, 2015

Toyokawa Etsushi's girlfriend gives birth to their first daughter

Toyokawa Etsushi and his girlfriend of 12 years recently welcomed the arrival of their first daughter as reported in the 30th April issue of "Josei Seven". The couple who are about to move to their new place in Kanagawa Prefecture which is near completion, was spotted pushing a baby car which their baby was lying in. According to people living in the same neighbourhood, the baby was born in February.

Toyokawa was married in 1997 and divorced his wife in 2005 after rumours of him dating his current girlfriend first surfaced in 2003. Toyokawa and his ex-wife have a daughter born in 1998 and a son born in 2000.

Source: Sanspo

Production press conference of NHK drama "Boku no tsuma to kekkon shite kudasai"

The production press conference of NHK BS premium drama "Boku no tsuma to kekkon shite kudasai" (Please marry my wife) was held on 30 April at NHK's headquarters which was attended by the cast Uchimura Teruyoshi, Kimura Tae and Izawa Masaki. The drama which will begin its run from 10 May in the Sundays 10pm timeslot, features Uchimura as an employee of a TV station's sales department who finds himself with just six months to live due to cancer and tries to find another man to marry his wife so that she can be taken care of after he dies. When asked to comment on how he felt about starring in a drama for the first time in 13 years, Uchimura said that this will probably be his signature work that will make him qualify as a full-fledged actor and this is the first time in his 50-years life that he is feeling very satisfied about his performance. Kimura commented that although it is a sad thing that her character's husband is dying, she hopes that this drama will bring some warmth and joy to the viewers. Isawa who plays their eldest son in the drama, made a surprise appearance at the event.

Source: Sanspo

Kitagawa Keiko to star in FujiTV Summer 2015 drama "Tantei no Tantei"

Kitagawa Keiko will be starring in the FujiTV Summer 2015 drama "Tantei no Tantei" (A Detective's Detective" which will be shown in the Thursdays 10pm timeslot from July. The drama which is based on the latest work by writer Matsuoka Keisuke, features Kitagawa as a detective who is on the hunt for an evil detective who had divulged information to the criminal who killed her younger sister. This will be Kitagawa's first role as a detective, her first attempt at hardcore action scenes and her first solo leading role in a FujiTV drama. Her last leading role in a drama series was the Autumn 2012 drama "Akumu-chan" from NTV.

In preparation for the filming, Kitagawa started kick boxing classes a month ago. She commented that she doesn't feel too intimidated at the thought of doing action scenes since she had experience in the TBS series "Bishoujo Senshi Sailormoon" which will be useful this time.

Source: Sankei Sports

Nonami Maho announces her second pregnancy

Actress Nonami Maho announced through her agency's website on 30 April that she is currently five months' pregnant with her second child and due to give birth in autumn. In her statement, she expressed her joy about being pregnant again especially since her daughter has hoped for a younger sibling. She pledged to take good care of her health in order to strike a balance between work and childcare and asked for everyone's support.

Nonami won the Toho Cinderella content in 1996 which led to her showbiz debut. She married actor Mikami Kensei on 9 December 2012 and gave birth to their first daughter on 29 June 2013.

Source: Sports Hochi

Matsuda Shota & model Akimoto Kozue dating?

Matsuda Shota and model Akimoto Kozue are said to be dating, according to media reports on 27 April. The two of them reportedly started dating in November late year and have been sighted going on meal dates and fashion events together. As both of them are the children of famous people i.e. Matsuda's the second son of late actor Matsuda Yusaku while Akimoto is the second daughter of former yokozuna sumo wrestler Chiyonofuji, news of their relationship have attracted a lot of media attention.

However, Matsuda's agency released a statement on the following day denying that the two of them are an item and said that Akimoto is just one of Matsuda's friends. Likewise, Akimoto's agency also commented that Matsuda is just a good friend of hers.

Source: Sponichi / Asahi