Thursday, March 31, 2016

Sato Takeru, Arimura Kasumi, Nikaidou Fumi, Suda Masaki & Okada Masaki to star in new movie "Nanimono"

Sato Takeru will be taking the leading role in the new movie "Nanimono" (Who are you) based on the 2013 Naoki Award-winning novel by Asai Ryo which will be shown in cinemas from 15 October. At that time, Asai was the youngest male winner of the award. The movie which is directed by Miura Daisuke, features Sato along with four other actors i.e. Arimura Kasumi, Nikaidou Fumi, Suda Masaki and Okada Masaki as five university students who gather together to exchange information via Twitter while searching for jobs prior to their graduation. However, the facade that they put up in front of others where they pretend to encourage one another crumbles gradually as the ill feelings they have for their competitors start to surface especially when someone in the group finally manages to secure a job offer ahead of the others. Yamada Takayuki plays the senior of Sato Takeru's character and jokingly commented that he took on the movie because of the star-studded cast so he wanted to ride on their popularity.

Kawamura Genki, the producer of the film from distributor Toho, described the film's theme as somewhat similar to the acting industry where it's a world where the fittest survives. As such, he thinks that this will be very interesting for viewers as they watch the actors battle it out on screen. In preparation for the filming, the 5 actors who play university students underwent training by Toho's HR department in mid February on how to fill in application forms and take entrance tests for 30 minutes, attend panel interviews lasting for about 30 minutes and had a 50-minute discussion with university students who are in the midst of their job searches.

Filming began from 26 February.

Source: Nikkansports / Sanspo

Ashida Mana & Charlotte Kate Fox to star in FujiTV Spring 2016 drama "OUR HOUSE"

Ashida Mana and Charlotte Kate Fox will be the joint leads in the upcoming FujiTV Spring 2016 drama "OUR HOUSE" which will begin its run from April in the Sundays 9pm timeslot. The drama which is written by Nojima Shinji, features Ashida as the second eldest daughter in the family named Sakurako who takes care of things at home after her mother passed away six months ago. To her horror, her father Ban Souta who is a saxophone player (Yamamoto Koji), brings his newly-wed wife Alice (Fox) back from the US after his business trip despite not having dated her for a single day. This leads Sakurako to make plans to chase Alice out of their family. The children of the Ban family will be played by Kato Seishiro who is the eldest son, Terada Kokoro as the third son while newcomer Matsuda Serika who is said to be highly regarded by Nojima, plays the youngest daughter. Matsuda is a special student in the pioneer batch of child actors undergoing training in the actors' school Polar Star which is managed by Nojima who praised her for being a 4-year-old version of former actress Sakurai Sachiko. Co-stars also include Hamada Tatsuomi and Igarashi Hinata.

Among the cast members, some of them have worked together in the past such as Yamamoto and Ashida who acted in the NTV Spring 2010 drama "Mother" while Yamamoto's first signature role was in Nojima's drama "Hitotsu Yane no Shita" 19 years ago. On the other hand, Ashida last worked with Terada in the NTV drama "Ashita, Mama ga inai" 2 years ago.

Source: Nikkansports / Sanspo

Kataoka Ainosuke & Fujiwara Norika announce their marriage

Kataoka Ainosuke and Fujiwara Norika announced on 30 March that they had submitted their marriage registration at a Tokyo ward office on the same day. In the fax statement to the media, they also mentioned that they will be holding a marriage announcement press conference together on 31 March.

Kataoka and Fujiwara were first romantically linked in May last year when there were rumours of them cohabiting which were denied by him via his blog. Subsequently though, the rumours brought the longtime friends together and they announced in August the same year that they had started dating.

Kataoka had been previously romantically linked to another celebrity Kumakiri Asami since February 2013. However, at the time of his cohabiting rumours with Fujiwara, Kataoka revealed for the first time that he had already broken up with Kumakiri some time ago which was denied by the latter on TV. As such, this led Kataoka to declare that he had never two-timed in his life when he revealed that he was dating Fujiwara. On the other hand, Fujiwara was previously married to comedian Jinnai Tomonori from May 2007 until they divorced in March 2009.

Source: Oricon

Monday, March 28, 2016

Completion press conference of new movie "64 Rokuyon Zenpen / Kohen"

The completion press conference of new movie "64 Rokuyon Zenpen / Kohen" was held on 7 March which was attended by the director Zeze Takahisa, the author of the original novel Yokoyama Hideo and cast members Sato Koichi, Ayano Go, Eikura Nana, Nagase Masatoshi, Eita, Miura Tomokazu, Natsukawa Yui, Yoshioka Hidetaka, Ogata Naoto, Kubota Masataka, Nakamura Toru, Okuda Eiji, Sakaguchi Kentaro, Shiina Kippei and Takita Kenichi. The movie consists of two parts which will be shown in cinemas from 7 May and 11 June respectively.

The movie talks about an unsolved kidnapping case which took place in the year Showa 64 just when Japan was about to enter the Heisei era. Since then, the case became known as Rokuyon (64). Years after that, the investigation into the case takes an unexpected turn which leads to a clash between Sato's character as a police officer working in the PR department, the police force and prefectural police's journalist club.

Sato reflected on the filming process and said that it had been some time that he had exerted himself to this extent as each and every scene with his co-stars felt like a duel with them so he has high expectations of this movie. Before the filming began, Sato even told Eita not to hold back and that he will try to respond accordingly. Sato recounted that there was once when Eita was so into his acting that the latter's saliva flew onto his face and he joked that Eita's fans would have loved to be in his shoes then.

Source: Oricon

Completion screening event of new movie "Taiyo"

The completion screening event of new movie "Taiyo" was held on 7 March which was attended by cast members Kamiki Ryunosuke, Kadowaki Mugi, Furukawa Yuki and Furutachi Kanji. The movie which will be shown in cinemas from 23 April, was shot during winter in 2014 at Chichibu in Saitama Prefecture. When asked to reflect on the filming, Kamiki exclaimed that it was really freezing and he had to paste as many as 8 heat packs on his body until he started feeling hot. Nonetheless, he felt very satisfied with the end product as he had put in his best for the filming. On the other hand, Furukawa revealed that Kamiki didn't seem as cold as he claimed because the latter was the only one not wearing a bench coat and guessed that Kamiki must have been feeling hot because he was too agitated during an emotional scene. In response, Kamiki stressed that he was freezing for the rest of the time and that was the only time he felt hot.

During the event, whenever Kamiki and Furukawa looked at each other, there were screams from the audience mainly made up of women which led Furutachi to ask jokingly if he could be included in the exchange between the two actors.

Source: Oricon

Supporting cast announcement for new movie "Iya na Onna"

The supporting cast lineup for new movie "Iya na Onna" directed by Kuroki Hitomi was announced before the scheduled release date on 25 June. The film which marks Kuroki's directorial debut, is based on the same-titled bestseller novel by Katsura Nozomi, features Yoshida Yo and Kimura Yoshino as the joint leads. Yoshida plays the role of Ishida Tetsuko who is a serious lawyer and finds it difficult to interact with others while Kimura plays a clever fraudster Kotani Natsuko who is flashy and very sociable. Co-stars include Nakamura Aoi who plays Isozaki Ken, a rookie lawyer working at Tetsuko's law firm, Sasaki Nozomi, Furukawa Yuta, Hakamada Yoshihiko, Tanaka Rena, Orimoto Junkichi, Terada Minori, LaSalle Ishii and Nagashima Eiko.

Source: Oricon

Screening event and press conference of NHK drama "Nezumi, Edo wo hashiru 2"

The screening event and press conference of new NHK drama "Nezumi, Edo wo hashiru 2" was held on 8 March which was attended by the lead actor Takizawa Hideaki. The sequel which will be shown from 14 April at 8pm on Thursdays, consists of 8 episodes and is a continuation from the original drama series shown in 2014. Takizawa plays a thief in the late Edo era who robs the rich to give away to the poor. Although the filming had already been completed, Takizawa expressed his wish for a part 3 soon.

Besides Takizawa, there are new additions to the cast lineup including Aoyama Misato who plays Takizawa's younger sister in the drama and Ikeda Tatsuhiro along with Takashima Masahiro and Kyomoto Taiga. The actions scenes will be even more intense than those featured in Part 1 thus should be more entertaining and appealing to people of all ages.

Source: Oricon

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Endo Kenichi & Suda Masaki to return in the 2-part SP of TV Asahi drama series "Tamiou"

Endo Kenichi and Suda Masaki will be making a return as father-and-son in the two-part SP of TV Asahi's drama series "Tamiou" which will be shown in April at 11.15pm. The first part showing on 15 April will be based on the novel by Ikeido Jun where there will be multiple exchanges of souls thus leading to a huge confusion in the 2nd Muto Cabinet but the portion about the aftermath will be based on an original script. The second part to be shown on 22 April will be a spin-off featuring the past of Takahashi Issei's character Kaibara Mohei who is the secretary of the prime minister Muto Taizan played by Endo.

Ikeido was surprised when TV Asahi approached him about the SPs but still gave approval to use his novel and combine it with the original script. Besides Endo, Suda and Takahashi, the original cast from the drama series will appear in the SPs along with new additions such as Okura Koji, Kadowaki Mugi and Aibu Saki.

Endo commented that he felt that he had already given his all in the drama series and was surprised to be approached again for the SPs. However, after hearing about the viewers' feedback and requests for a sequel, he decided to take on the role again and vowed to make it even more interesting this time. As for Suda, he had been hoping to do this drama again and is thankful for the love that viewers have showered on them. He pledged to put in his best for the role even though he knows that it will be another physically demanding filming process this time.

Source: Oricon

Ando Sakura to join the cast of NTV Spring 2016 drama "Yutori desu ga nani ka"

Ando Sakura will be joining the cast of NTV's Spring 2016 drama "Yutori desu ga nani ka" written by Kudo Kankuro and starring Okada Masaki, Matsuzaka Tori and Yagira Yuya. The drama which begins its run from 17 April in the Sundays 10.30pm timeslot, features the three male leads as the first generation of around 30-guys (born in 1987) who had undergone the relaxed education system who are facing various issues in their respective lives. Ando plays the role of Akane who is of the same age of the male leads and excels in her career but is facing issues with her longtime boyfriend.

Ando remarked that it has been a while since she acted in a drama series so she was a bit nervous. However, being on the set of a Kudo drama and being able to hear the lines he wrote makes her feel very excited. She hopes that people of various generations will be able to enjoy the drama which is full of laughter along with the slightly serious theme.

Co-stars also include Yoshida Kotaro and Taiga.

Source: Oricon

Kadowaki Mugi & Suda Masaki to play lovers in the new movie "Nijuu Seikatsu"

Kadowaki Mugi who is starring in her first leading role in a movie through the upcoming "Nijuu Seikatsu" due to be shown in cinemas from 25 June, will be playing lovers with Suda Masaki in the film. The movie which is based on Naoki Award winner Koike Mariko, features Kadowaki as the heroine Tamaki who gets obsessed with trailing a stranger played by Hasegawa Hiroki and gradually starts behaving strangely. Lily Frankie also appears in this film as a mysterious professor who suggests that Tamaki start following a stranger.

Source: Oricon

Komatsu Nana & Suda Masaki to star in new movie "Oboreru Knife"

Komatsu Nana who won the Best Newcomer award in Nippon Academy Award last year, will be starring in her leading role in a movie when she appears as co-leads with Suda Masaki in the new movie "Oboreru Knife" (The drowning knife). The movie which is based on the same-titled manga by Asakura George and directed by Yamato Yuki, will be shown in autumn this year. Filming was completed in September last year at places such as Wakayama. This will be the second time which Komatsu and Suda are working together after the movie "Distraction Babies" which is due to be shown from 21 May.

Komatsu plays the heroine Natsume who used to be a teen model enjoying immense popularity but is forced to move to the countryside which causes her to be despondent about her life. On the other hand, Suda plays her schoolmate Kou who is the heir of a Shinto priest heir and appears unapproachable to everyone in school due to his whimsical attitude. The two of them form an unlikely bond which helps them to overcome their own issues.

Co-stars include Johnny's WEST member Shigeoka Daiki who likes Natsume while Kamishiraishi Mone plays Kou's childhood friend who has feelings for him.

Source: Nikkansports / Sanspo

Matsushita Nao to star in FujiTV Spring 2016 drama "Hayako-sensei, Kekkon surutte hontou desuka?"

Matsushita Nao will be starring in the upcoming FujiTV Spring 2016 drama "Hayako-sensei, Kekkon surutte hontou desuka?" (Teacher Hayako, is it true that you are getting married?) which will begin its run from April in the Thursdays 10pm timeslot. The drama which is based on the same-titled 4-column manga serialised via goo blogs from October 2009 and moved to Ameblog in March 2010, features Matsushita as Tatsuki Hayako, a 34-year-old primary school teacher who is not concerned about her single status so far but finds herself unwittingly joining her colleagues in a group which aspires to find marriage partners through arranged meetings and group dates thus leading her to think more about the meaning of romance, family and life.

Hayako has a rather frank personality who doesn't like to listen to other people's advice and prefers to find her own answers. In front of her students, Hayako is a very forgiving and kind teacher but in private, she has a huge appetite, loves drinking and muscle training and would not shy away from making strange faces or performing crude impersonations in front of others. As she is content with her life and work, Hayako is not in a hurry to get married and believes that she will get to doing that one day.

One day, Hayako happens to see a photo album of a person who her parents wanted to introduce her to through an arranged meeting but kept it in a drawer in the end without saying a thing as they pretended not to be too concerned whether their daughter is going to get married. Shortly after, Hayako's father Tatsushi (Bido Isao) falls ill and is hospitalised. Although Hayako suggests that her parents should close down their family business (a tofu shop) so that they can take it easy, she is surprised to see her mother Naoko (Matsuzaka Keiko) try her best to keep the shop going despite not being skilled in the art of making tofu and realises what it means to have a longstanding relationship where two people are bound by a strong bond. This leads her to think seriously about finding someone who can be such a couple with her and joins the konkatsu domei (alliance to get hitched) with her single female colleagues Kugayama Mika (Kanjiya Shihori), Narimasu Umeko (Sato Hitomi) and another male colleague Sendaki Rentaro (Yashima Norito). Co-stars also include Yamauchi Keiya and Tanokura Yuta who play Hayako's married colleagues.

The drama does not aim to be a manual to teach people how to get hitched but rather showcases how Hayako's clumsy efforts affect the people around her yet she still strives to achieve her goal despite suffering various setbacks along the way.

In order to prepare for the role, Matsushita cut her hair by 30cm which is the shortest she has had in 15 years since she was a senior high school student. As such, Matsushita is not used to seeing herself in this hairstyle as she has been having long hair since she made her debut. Nonetheless, she hopes that with this new hairstyle, this will prepare her for the role in this drama. Matsushita also revealed that she can identify with Hayako's circumstances especially since most people would have assumed while they were kids that they would get married once they became adults. However, in her case, she's satisfied with her current situation in work and thinks that marriage is somewhat far from her thoughts now.

Source: Sanspo / FujiTV

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Top 10 Most Ideal New Employees 2016 (Oricon)

This is an annual survey conducted to find out which celebrities are most favoured as "new employees" in a company:

Top 10 Male Ideal New Employees
1) Fukushi Sota

2) Suda Masaki

3) Kamiki Ryunosuke

4) Matsuzaka Tori

5) Hanyu Yuzuru

6) Miura Haruma

7) Yamazaki Kento

8) Nakajima Yuto (Hey!Say!JUMP)

9) Chiba Yudai

10) Nomura Shuhei

Top 10 Female Ideal New Employees
1) Arimura Kasumi

2) Tsuchiya Tao

3) Hirose Suzu

4) Takei Emi

5) Takahata Mitsuki

6) Kiritani Mirei

7) Matsuoka Mayu

8) Haru

9) Nounen Rena

10) Horikita Maki

Source: Oricon

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Yoshine Kyoko to be the heroine in FujiTV drama SP "Montage Sanokuen Jiken Kitan"

Yoshine Kyoko will be the heroine in the upcoming FujiTV drama SP "Montage Sanokuen Jiken Kitan" starring Fukushi Sota which will be shown this summer. The drama SP which is based on the same-titled manga by Watanabe Jun serialised between 2010 and 2015, features a young man Narumi Yamato (Fukushi) who gets embroiled in the unresolved 300 million yen robbery case which happened almost 50 years ago on 10 December 1968.

Yoshine plays the role of Odagiri Miki who is a childhood friend of Yamato and is two years younger than him. As her parents passed away when she was young, Miki is very independent and would not hesitate to lecture Yamato even though he is older. While Yamato is implicated in a murder case he did not commit and goes on the run, Miki uses her kendo skills learnt from her father played by David Ito to help Yamato overcome the crisis.

Source: Oricon

Kuriyama Chiaki & Ichihara Hayato to star in TV Asahi Spring 2016 drama "Fukigen na Kajitsu"

Kuriyama Chiaki and Ichihara Hayato will be starring in the upcoming TV Asahi Spring 2016 drama "Fukigen na Kajitsu" (The Fruit of Displeasure) which will begin its run from April in the Fridays 11.15pm timeslot. The drama which is based on Hayashi Mariko's sensational novel published 20 years ago, was made into a drama the following year and a movie version was also produced later. At the time of the novel's release in 1996, it raised eyebrows for its caption of the heroine asking why she was so happy to have sex with another man other than her husband. Since then, the social and employment environment for women has changed a lot thus affecting values towards love as well.

Kuriyama plays the role of a 32-year-old woman named Mizugoshi Mayako who has been married for 5 years and is frustrated with her husband for giving her the cold shoulder. While craving for attention from other men in a bid to break out from her boring life, Mayako meets a passionate music critic Kudo Michihiko who pursues her relentlessly despite her being married thus leading to Mayako sinking deeper into the forbidden relationship,

As this is the first time that Kuriyama is acting in a romance drama like this, she hopes to show a different side of herself to viewers. In the original novel, Mayako was somewhat calculating thus making her disliked by others but the 2016 version will show how she desires pure happiness and her struggle to get out of her unsatisfactory married life. On the other hand, Ichihara who has always been known for being passionate in his acting, commented that it's a totally different thing to be so devoted to a woman when he hardly had any opportunities to date someone like that in the past. As such, he is also eagerly anticipating how things will turn out for him in this drama.

Source: Oricon

Friday, March 18, 2016

Totsugi Shigeyuki to star in TV Tokyo's Spring 2016 drama "Hiru no Sentozake" in new drama timeslot

Totsugi Shigeyuki will be taking on the leading role in the upcoming TV Tokyo Spring 2016 drama "Hiru no Sentozake" (The sake at the public bath during the afternoon) which will be the first drama to be shown in the TV station's newly established drama timeslot at 12.20am on Saturdays from 9 April. The drama is based on the essays from Kusumi Masayuki who is the author of TV Tokyo's hit series "Kodoku no Gurume" and describes the somewhat "guilty yet thrilling feeling" of visiting the public bath and having a drink in broad daylight on a weekday afternoon. The drama will be shot on location at public baths and restaurants serving alcohol in Tokyo which were selected by the staff who searched for these places themselves.

Totsugi plays the lead character Utsumi Takayuki who is working as in the sales department of an advertising firm and is always at the bottom of his team when it comes to sales figures. His only enjoyment in life is to sneak away to visit public baths during the weekday afternoons and have a beer after that. Although he feels bad about doing this during working hours, the temptation to do that is always too strong so he ends up making excuses to explain his whereabouts during such indulgence outings. Totsugi commented that the biggest challenge for him in this drama is to go around showing his buttocks on screen every week and that he had been ordered by the director not to use bath towels to cover himself up so this is a first time experience for him.

Co-stars include Yagi Akiko who plays Utsumi's boss, Emoto Tokio who plays the top salesperson in Utsumi's team and Hirota Aika who plays an OL in the general affairs department. There will be guest stars in every episode.

Source: Oricon

Kawaguchi Haruna & Yamazaki Kento to work together in new movie "Isshukan Friends"

Kawaguchi Haruna and Yamazaki Kento will be working together for the first time in the new movie "Isshukan Friends" (Friends for a week" which will be shown from February 2017. The movie is adapted from the same-titled manga by Hazuki Maccha that was serialised in Gan Gan JOKER from 2011 to spring 2015. The sad love story features Kawaguchi as Fujimiya Kaori, a senior school student who loses memories with her friends whenever it is Monday. Yamazaki plays her classmate Hase Yuki who has been in love with her despite her forgetting him every week.

Filming began from 14 November last year in Tokyo and was wrapped up on 16 December. Despite working together for the first time, the lead actors revealed that they got along very well during the one-month filming. Kawaguchi commented that Kaori is a very difficult role to play because of her past trauma and illness that makes her insecure but she still has to show the positive side of her. She also praised Yamazaki for being a perfect fit for the role of Hase and this movie is indeed a very memorable project for her to date.

Source: Oricon

Yusuke Santa Maria to star in FujiTV Spring 2016 drama "Hi no Ko"

Yusuke Santa Maria will be taking on the leading role in the upcoming FujiTV Spring 2016 drama "Hi no Ko" (Sparks of Fire) which will begin its run from 2 April in the Saturdays 11.40pm timeslot. This is his first leading role in a drama in 9 years since the 2007 FujiTV drama "Konshuu, Tsuma ga uwaki shimasu" (This week, my wife is cheating on me).

"Hi no Ko" is based on the same-titled novel by Shizukui Shusuke and features Santa Maria as a man named Takeuchi Shingo who was named as the suspect in the murder case of a family and on his way to death roll when he suddenly finds himself acquitted. 2 years later, Takeuchi who has become a helper for the elderly, moves to the house beside Kajima Isao's (Ibu Masato) family and tries to befriend them with his smile and thoughtful gestures. At the same time, strange things start happening around the Kajima family. Even though Isao's daughter-in-law Yukimi (Yuka) views him with suspicion, the rest of her family including her husband (Okura Koji), mother-in-law (Asaka Mayumi) and daughter Madoka (Shono Rin) all view Takeuchi as a good guy. Unknown to the family, Kajima was the judge who had acquitted Takeuchi. As Isao's daughter grows increasingly isolated from her family who believes Takeuchi wholeheartedly, she tries to find out who he really is and what motive he has for getting close to her family. Sakoda Takaya plays Seki Konosuke, the lawyer who had defended Takeuchi in court during the trial while Kinami Haruka plays Sasaki Kotone whose family operates a Japanese restaurant and Sato Ryuta plays Ikemoto Toru, the elder brother of the victim in the murder case who wants to expose Takeuchi's true colours.

Santa Maria commented that it has been too long since he last had a leading role so he has forgotten how it feels like to be one. Despite the huge number of lines he has to memorise this time, he is all set to go and will try his best to portray his character who's cool like a blue flame in this drama.

Source: Oricon 1 / Oricon 2

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Maeda Atsuko to star in TBS late night drama "Busujima Yuriko no Sekirara Nikki"

Maeda Atsuko will be starring in the TBS late night drama "Busujima Yuriko no Sekirara Nikki" (The naked diary of Busujima Yuriko) which will begin its run from 20 April in the Wednesdays 12.10am timeslot. The drama which is Maeda's first leading role in a TBS production, features her as the heroine Busujima Yuriko who is a reporter in charge of following a big-shot politician around and has a very liberal attitude towards romance. When Yuriko was a child, her father's betrayal made her unable to trust men. As such, whenever she wants to have a boyfriend, she will always make sure that she is seeing at least two men at one time. She has a long-time boyfriend played by Watanabe Daichi who she can dump anytime and he knows that she's also involved with other men at the same time. Although Yuriko does not want to get involved with a married man, she finds herself increasingly drawn to another reporter played by Arai Hirofumi who is from a rival news agency and already married. As a result of this relationship, this creates an unexpected ending for Yuriko.

As there are many kissing and intimate scenes in the drama, Maeda was worried about censorship issues but also decided that it was interesting to break free of her idol image through this drama. Especially since Yuriko has a very different character from her, Maeda hopes to have a good time playing this character.

Co-stars also include Kataoka Tsurutaro, the politician who Yuriko is in-charge of reporting on, Yamazaki Ginnojo who is also a politician and Hashizume Jun who plays a politician secretary.

Source: Nikkansports / Sanspo / Oricon

Monday, March 14, 2016

Matsui Jurina to play the high school version of Nakatani Miki in TBS Spring 2016 drama "Watashi kekkon dekinain janakute, shinain desu"

SKE48 member Matsui Jurina will be appearing in the upcoming TBS Spring 2016 drama "Watashi kekkon dekinain janakute, shinain desu" as the high school version of the lead character played by Nakatani Miki. The drama which begins its run from April in the Fridays 10pm timeslot, marks Matsui's first appearance in a non-AKB48 group drama. As the senior high school version of the heroine Tachibana Miyabi, Matsui will appear in the flashback scenes when Miyabi recalls her bittersweet high school days when she was secretly in love with her classmate Sakurai Yosuke played by Tokui Yoshimi in the present. During that time, Miyabi was regarded as the Madonna in school with her looks and excellent results but at the age of 39, is a single and proud doctor who insists that she doesn't want to get married, not that she can't do it.

Although Matsui and Nakatani resemble each other in that they both have fair complexions, straight black hair which do not cover their foreheads, Matsui admitted that it was very pressuring to play Nakatani's younger version as she feels that the latter is very beautiful and that she can't match up at all. Besides, she is no longer a high school student so she feels bad about having to act "younger" than her age. As such, she tries to watch Nakatani's scenes so as to prepare herself for the filming and to show Miyabi's glittery high school days through her acting. Besides Matsui, Azuma Rion, her group mate in SKE48 will also play Miyabi's classmate in the same drama.

Source: Nikkansports / Oricon

Fukuyama Masaharu as the guest star in FujiTV drama SP "Sakurazaka Kinpen Monogatari"

Fukuyama Masaharu made an appearance in the FujiTV drama SP "Sakurazaka Kinpen Monogatari" written by comedian Baka Rhythm which was shown on 4 consecutive nights from 7th to 10th March at 11pm. In each episode, one of Fukuyama's famous hits was played. Besides this, Fukuyama also suggested appearing in the SP himself by having Baka Rhythm become a guest star in his radio show which was what the characters stuck in the massive traffic jam were listening to. He expressed his joy at being able to produce a mix of both genres through this drama SP.

Source: Sanspo

Shimizu Fumika to join the cast of NTV Spring 2016 drama "Sekai ichi muzukashii koi"

Shimizu Fumika will be joining the cast of upcoming NTV Spring 2016 drama "Sekai ichi muzukashii koi" starring Arashi's Ohno Satoshi which will be shown from April in the Wednesdays 10pm timeslot. She plays the role of Hori Mahiro, a newbie employee at the company owned by Ohno's character and a colleague of the heroine Shibayama Misaki played by Haru. Mahiro likes to gossip and is Miss "know-it-all" in the president's office planning department.

Shimizu commented that as of now, she still has no idea what kind of character Mahiro will turn out to be but hopes to spice things up in the drama.

Source: Sponichi

2016's Top 10 ranking of female celebrities who you want as a girlfriend (Oricon)

1) Ayase Haruka

2) Aragaki Yui

3) Arimura Kasumi

4) Ishihara Satomi

5) Hirose Suzu

6) Horikita Maki

7) Nagasawa Masami

8) Ueto Aya

9) Kitagawa Keiko

10) Honda Tsubasa

Source: Oricon

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Toda Erika to reprise her role as Amane Misa in new movie "Death Note 2016"

 Toda Erika will be making her return to the Death Note series when she reprises her role as Amane Misa in the upcoming movie sequel "Death Note 2016" due to be shown from 29 October. Toda made her movie debut in the first "Death Note" movie back in 2006 where she played Amane who was the only survivor that had used the Death Note then after giving up ownership of the Death Note and losing her memories of what happened. As such, Toda was very surprised and taken aback when she was offered the role again in the sequel especially since Light (Fujiwara Tatsuya) and L (Matsuyama Kenichi) had already died 10 years ago. In particular, she wondered how she should play Amane again after a 10-year gap as the latter has been an actress all this while and is expected to be in contact with the 6 Death Note holders in the sequel movie.

Toda commented that she felt very strongly about the previous Death Note movies which marked her debut on the big screen especially when she was just a newbie actress then. As such, she was very encouraged by the faith placed in her by getting her to play such an important role in such a big production. However, when she looked back at how she performed then, Toda said that she was so embarrassed by her acting but she had to watch the movies again in order to think of how she should play Amane now.

Source: Oricon

Kawaei Rina to play a killer in new movie "Death Note 2016"

Former AKB48 member Kawaei Rina will appear in the new movie "Death Note 2016" as a killer. The movie which will be shown this autumn, talks about what happens 10 years after the end of the last two Death Note movies when 6 Death Notes are scattered around on Earth. Kawaei plays Aoi Sakura who is one of the Death Note holders and can see a person's name just by looking at the face. In one of the scenes, Aoi will appear at crowded Shibuya where she will commit mass murders of ordinary people with her Death Note thus causing widespread panic.

Kawaei commented that she views this challenge interesting as she has to put on a frightening and cold expression as Aoi kills people and watches them fall to the ground one by one around her without giving a care. As such, this will be a big deviation from her usual chirpy and cute image in AKB48.

Source: Nikkansports / Sponichi

Matsumoto Jun to be the lead in TBS Spring 2016 drama "99.9 - Keiji Senmon Bengoshi"

Matsumoto Jun will be starring in the upcoming TBS Spring 2016 drama "99.9 - Keiji Senmon Bengoshi" (99.9 Lawyer specialising in criminal cases) which begins its run from 17 April in the Sundays 9pm timeslot where he will play a lawyer for the first time.

The 99.9 in the title refers to the general view that anyone implicated in a criminal case in Japan is 99.9% likely to be found guilty at the end. As such, the drama features a group of lawyers specialising in dealing with criminal cases who strive for that 0.1% in probability to help their clients and try to find the truth. Matsumoto commented that as the story is an original one, he was very intrigued by the fast pace of the plot and its theme. As such, he is looking forward to playing this lawyer role who causes problems to the people around him while pursuing justice for his clients. When asked if he is concerned about the ratings pressure since this Sundays 9pm timeslot has seen mega hits like "Hanzawa Naoki" and Shitamachi Rocket" in recent years, Matsumoto commented that he's just happy and honoured to be able to act in this drama and is not so concerned about the ratings pressure. In order to prepare for the role, Matsumoto cut his hair short. He will also be featured in cooking scenes in this drama as his character's hobby is cooking.

This will be Matsumoto's first appearance in a drama since 2014's FujiTV Winter drama "Shitsuren Chocolatier" and his first leading role in the TBS Sundays 9pm timeslot. Co-stars include Kagawa Teruyuki who plays his superior at work while Eikura Nana plays Matsumoto's colleague. When asked about working with Matsumoto for the first time, Kagawa praised his co-star and said that everyone who had worked with him before only had good things to say about him. As for Eikura who had worked with Matsumoto before, she pledged to work hard and make this drama an interesting one with her co-stars.

Source: Nikkansports / Sanspo / Yomiuri Hochi / Sponichi

Completion screening event of new movie "Boku dake ga inai machi"

The completion screening event of new movie "Boku dake ga inai machi" was held on 25 February which was attended by the director Hirakawa Yuichiro and cast members including Fujiwara Tatsuya, Arimura Kasumi, Oikawa Mitsuhiro, Ishida Yuriko, Sugimoto Tetta, Suzuki Rio and Nakagawa Tsubasa. The movie which opens in cinemas from 19 March, features Fujiwara as a manga artist Fujinuma Satoru who finds himself embroiled in a neverending cycle of revival when he shuttles between the present and past spanning the last 18 years of his life and tries to find out the truth behind a series of kidnapping and murder cases. Arimura plays Fujinuma's colleague at his part-time job Katagiri Airi.

In conjunction with the theme of returning to the past, the cast had their old photos shown to the audience. Arimura displayed her photo when she was in primary school where she was wearing plaids and had a dark complexion as she was always outdoors at that time. When asked what she would like to change about that photo, Arimura commented that she was fine with how she looked then but wanted to change her hairstyle.

As this is the first time that Fujiwara and Arimura worked together and that their characters in the movie had feelings for each other, Arimura commented that although she felt a bit intimidated by him at first because he is more senior than her, she couldn't help but laugh whenever she looked at him as he didn't put on any airs and made her feel relaxed. Fujiwara said with a forced smile that it got so bad till Arimura was laughing so much during the filming last summer even when he was trying to have a proper conversation with her.

Fujiwara commented that it was difficult to do the filming over and over again to show the revival process but he was satisfied with the finished product. Nakagawa who won the role to play Fujiwara's character as a child among 300 applicants, revealed that his dream is to become an actor like Fujiwara with good looks, a deep voice and acting which leaves an impression on others.

Source: Sanspo / Yomiuri Hochi / Sponichi

Friday, March 11, 2016

Completion screening event of new movie "Chihayafuru"

The completion screening event of new movie "Chihayafuru" was held on 24 February in Tokyo which was attended by cast members Hirose Suzu, Nomura Shuhei, Mackenyu, Kamishiraishi Mone, Shimizu Hiroya, Yamoto Yuya, Morinaga Yuki and the director Koizumi Norihiro. The movie which will be shown in two parts from 19 March and 29 April respectively, is based on the same-titled manga about a group of high school students giving their best in the sport of competitive karuta. Hirose commented that she was very glad to have met buddies for life through working on this movie while her co-stars praised her for being able to pull off the role despite being only 16 years old during the filming.

Source: Sanspo / Yomiuri Hochi

Tanihara Shosuke to star in TV Tokyo Spring 2016 drama "Doctor Chousahan ~ Iryo Jiko no Yami wo Abake ~"

Tanihara Shosuke will be starring in the TV Tokyo Spring 2016 drama "Doctor Chousahan ~ Iryo Jiko no Yami wo Abake ~" (Doctor Investigative Unit ~ Exposing the darkness of medical accidents ~) which will begin its run from April in the Fridays 8pm timeslot. Tanihara who celebrated his 20th anniversary as an actor last year, plays the role of the leader who is also a digestive system surgeon in a fictitious organisation "Iryo Jiko Chousa Iinkai" (Investigation committee of medical accidents) which is made up of doctors and lawyers who infiltrate hospitals and medical institutions suspected of being involved in medical accidents and tries to find out the truth behind the cases. This drama is especially timely as there was a new system set up in Japan last October to investigate medical accidents and how to prevent them.

This is the first time 18 years since Tanihara acted in a TV Tokyo drama when he appeared in the 1998 drama "Nanase Futatabi".

Source: Sanspo

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Top 5 CM celebrities for the Kanto region in 2015 (Video Research)

This ranking is based on the number of CM deals held by each celebrity in 2015 for CMs shown in the Kanto region. Numbers in brackets indicate their rankings in 2014. Note that for the third position, Arimura Kasumi was ranked higher than Ishihara Satomi despite having the same number of deals because the latter had a lower exposure volume in terms of CM broadcast time and the number of times when their CMs were shown on TV:

1) Hirose Suzu - 19 deals (5)

2) Yamamoto Mizuki - 18 deals (56)

3) Arimura Kasumi - 17 deals (8)

4) Ishihara Satomi - 17 deals (49)

5) Ayase Haruka - 16 deals (6)

6) Kiritani Mirei - 16 deals (61)

Source: Video Research

Top 10 celebrities with the most CM exposure in 2015 (Kanto region)

This ranking features the top 10 celebrities with the most CM exposure in terms of seconds for the Kanto region in the year 2015. Numbers in brackets are the rankings of the celebrity in 2014:

1) Hamada Gaku - 272,355 seconds (431)

2) Ueto Aya - 271,485 seconds (1)

3) Kiritani Kenta - 255,360 seconds (1067)

4) Matsuda Shota - 248,265 seconds (274)

5) Hirose Suzu - 231,990 seconds (118)

6) Ayase Haruka - 195,315 seconds (8)

7) Nishijima Hidetoshi - 192,600 seconds (4)

8) Arimura Kasumi - 184,420 seconds (72)

9) Higuchi Kanako - 177,770 seconds (33)

10) Dante Carver - 168,020 seconds (18)

Source: Video Research

Abe Hiroshi & Amami Yuki starring in new movie "Koisaika Miyamoto"

The filming set of new movie "Koisaika Miyamoto" directed by Yukawa Kazuhiko which will be shown in cinemas next year, was recently opened to the media. The movie is based on the novel titled "Family Restaurant" by Shigematsu Kiyoshi. Abe Hiroshi and Amami Yuki play a married couple in their 50s who are on the verge of divorce. This is the first time they are playing a married couple after having worked together twice previously playing lovers and an engaged couple. As such, Amami jokingly commented that they finally became a married couple after so many years.

On that day's filming, there was an intimate scene when Amami had to take the initiative to pounce onto Abe. Amami praised her co-star for being able to withstand her weight (she is 1.71m tall) using his stomach muscles and that he's very dependable due to his big build (he is 1.89m tall). Abe commented that working on this film felt as if he was in an action film because there were scenes when he had to be subjected to "physical abuse" such as forced to turn his neck many times. Yukawa praised his lead actors for making the story more believable and that they are at the right age now to show the reality facing the couple in the movie.

Source: Nikkansports / Sanspo

Monday, March 07, 2016

Ishihara Satomi wins the 2nd Cover Girl Taisho for two years in a row

Ishihara Satomi won the 2nd Cover Girl Taisho for two years in a row as she had appeared on the most number of covers for magazines published in 2015. The annual award is based on about 10,000 magazines sold via online bookstore and results of the actresses and female idols who appeared the most times on magazine covers are announced on 4 March which is Magazine Day in Japan. In the inaugural award for the year 2014, Ishihara also won the top award. This time, not only did she get the same title but also ranked No.1 in the fashion category and the 20s category.

Ishihara commented that she was surprised and happy to get the news and that she was honoured that she could appear in so many different types of magazines and show different facades of herself to everyone.

In the travel/local information magazine category, Arimura Kasumi was No.1 while in the comic magazine category, HKT48's Miyawaki Sakura got the top spot. As for the entertainment magazine category, Tsuchiya Tao won the title while in the photogravure category, Ono Nonoka was the winner. In the age category, Hirose Suzu was No.1 in the teens category while Koizumi Satoko got the 30s title.

Source: Oricon

Press conference and screening event of NHK Taiga fantasy drama "Seirei no Moribito"

The press conference and screening event of NHK Taiga fantasy drama "Seirei no Moribito" was held on 24 February which was attended by cast members Ayase Haruka, Takashima Reiko and child actor Kobayashi Kai. The drama which consists of three parts spanning 22 episodes, will be screened over three years until 2018. Part 1 which contains 4 episodes, will be shown from 19 March at 9pm on Saturdays.

Ayase plays the lead character of a female bodyguard tasked to protect the young prince of a fictitious kingdom where human beings and spirits co-exist in this adventure story. In preparation for the filming, Ayase went through six months of physical training but found herself unable to wield the heavy spear and couldn't stand properly on the sandy beach so she was quite discouraged on the first day of filming. As she needed to do many action scenes, she was so exhausted by the end of the day that she fell asleep as soon as she laid down. Nonetheless, Takashima praised Ayase for doing well in her action scenes and didn't use any doubles at all.

Source: Nikkansports 1 / Nikkansports 2 / Sanspo 1 / Sanspo 2

Sunday, March 06, 2016

Ito Hideaki & Kimura Yoshino to play a married couple in FujiTV Spring 2016 drama "Boku no Yabai Tsuma"

Ito Hideaki and Kimura Yoshino will be playing a married couple in the upcoming FujiTV & Kansai TV Spring 2016 drama "Boku no Yabai Tsuma" (My Dangerous Wife) which will begin its run from April in the Tuesdays 10pm timeslot. The drama written by Kuroiwa Tsutomu who had previously written scripts for adapted dramas such as "Strawberry Night" and "Youkoso, Wagaya e", is a psychological suspense story involving a married couple and how difficult and interesting it is for them to stay together forever. This will be the third time that Ito and Kimura are working together after the 2007 movie "Sukiyaki Western Django" and the 2014 WOWOW drama "Zainin no Uso".

Mochizuki Kohei (Ito) got married to his wife Maria (Kimura) who is a rich man's daughter and eventually left his salaryman job at an advertising firm to operate a cafe. Despite having married Maria out of love, he finds married life with her stifling now because she would keep her true thoughts to herself and be overly considerate towards him thus making him feel as if she's trying to control him. Kohei's increasing frustration leads him to hatch a murder plot with his lover Kitazato Anna (Aibu Saki) to kill his wife. However, before he can do anything, his wife is kidnapped thus upsetting his plans. To his horror, he gradually finds that Maria has a hidden side which he has not known all along and this in turn causes his life to be turned upside down.

Co-stars include Sato Ryuta who plays a police detective suspecting Kohei of being involved in the kidnapping, Asaka Kodai who plays a newbie police detective, Mashima Hidekazu who plays a mysterious man assisting Maria, Kimura Midoriko & Takahashi Issei who play a married couple obsessed with spying on what goes on in the Mochizuki family and Miyasago Hiroyuki who plays Kohei's ex brother-in-law and a private detective who wants to find the truth behind the kidnapping.

Source: Oricon

Winners at the presentation ceremony of the 39th Nippon Academy Award

Best Movie: Umimachi diary

Best Director: Koreeda Hirokazu (Umimachi diary)

Best Leading Actor: Ninomiya Kazunari (Haha to kuraseba)

Best Leading Actress: Ando Sakura (Hyakuen no Koi)

Best Supporting Actor: Motoki Masahiro (Nihon no Ichiban Nagai Hi)

Best Supporting Actress: Kuroki Haru (Haha to Kuraseba)

Best Animation Film: Bakemono no Ko

Best Foreign Movie: American Sniper

Best Script: Adachi Shin (Hyakuen no Koi)

Best Music: Sakanaction (Bakuman)

Best Art: Hanatani Hidefumi (Kainan 1890)

Best Cinematography: Takimoto Mikiya (Umimachi diary)

Best Lighting: Fujii Norikiyo (Umimachi diary)

Best Sound: Matsukage Nobuhiko (Kainan 1890)

Best Editing: Ozeki Yasuyuki (Bakuman)

Popularity Award: Momoiro Clover Z (Maku ga agaru) / Bakuman

Newcomer Award (no best award given out this year):
Arimura Kasumi (Biri Gal)
Hirose Suzu (Umimachi diary)
Fujino Ryoko (Solomon no Gishou)
Tsuchiya Tao (orange)
Yamazaki Kento (orange)
Shinohara Atsushi (Koibitotachi)
Noda Yojiro (Toire no Pieta)
Yamada Ryosuke (Ansatsu Kyoushitsu)

Source: Oricon

DAIGO & Kitagawa Keiko to hold their wedding on 29 April

DAIGO and Kitagawa Keiko will be holding their wedding at a hotel in Tokyo on 29 April i.e. the public holiday Showa no Hi which is expected to be attended by about 600 people. Besides their friends and associates in the entertainment circle such as Shimura Ken, L'arc en Ciel's hyde, Kimura Takuya and his wife Kudo Shizuka, Kanjiya Shihori who was the couple's cupid, people from the political arena are expected to be invited as DAIGO's grandfather Takeshita Noboru was a former prime minister. According to insiders, the couple has already sent the invitations to their guests. The date was selected because the couple happened to have a break in their schedules that day and that Takeshita was the last prime minister in the Showa era. Kitagawa's wedding dress and DAIGO's tuxedo will be designed by fashion designer Katsura Yumi while DAIGO's band BREAKERZ are expected to be performing at the wedding.

Source: Nikkansports / Sanspo

Friday, March 04, 2016

Eikura Nana & Kaku Kento rumoured to be dating

Eikura Nana and Kaku Kento are said to be dating as reported on 2 March. The two of them met while working on the TBS Autumn 2014 drama "N no tame ni" and started off as friends but started dating since last spring. They were also said to have gone overseas for a trip with other friends during Eikura's birthday on 12 February.

Rumours of Eikura and Kaku being spotted together started surfacing on the Internet since last summer when they were said to have gone on dates to Universal Studios Japan and restaurants in places such as Shimo Kitazawa and Naka Meguro.

When asked about the dating rumour, both actors' agencies denied that they were an item and that they are just good friends.

Source: Yomiuri Hochi / Oricon

Suda Masaki to appear in FujiTV Spring 2016 Gekku "Love Song"

Suda Masaki will be appearing in the FujiTV Spring 2016 Gekku "Love Song" which begins its run from April in the Mondays 9pm timeslot. The drama which stars Fukuyama Masaharu and Fujiwara Sakura, will be Suda's first appearance in a Gekku in 5 years since he last participated in the Winter 2011 drama "Taisetsu na koto wa subete kimi ga oshiete kureta". He plays the role of Amano Soraichi who is a childhood friend of Sakura (Fujiwara) and has been in love with her all this while. Suda who has always admired Fukuyama, expressed his excitement at being able to work with him this time and will do his best to play the role of Soraichi.

Source: Yomiuri Hochi

Newcomer Fujiwara Sakura to be the heroine in Spring 2016 FujiTV Gekku "Love Song"

20-year-old newcomer Fujiwara Sakura will be the heroine in the upcoming FujiTV Spring 2016 Gekku "Love Song" starring Fukuyama Masaharu which begins its rum from April in the Mondays 9pm timeslot. She was chosen out of 100 applicants in an audition for her pro musician background smokey vocals in contrast to her cute and young appearance. This will be the first time Fujiwara is appearing in a Gekku drama.

Fujiwara plays the heroine Sano Sakura who was raised in a orphanage and is not good at communicating with others. She works at the maintenance department of a company dealing in the maintenance and sale of large-sized vehicles and is frustrated at how her life has turned out. One day, she meets Fukuyama's character who used to be a musician and is a corporate counsellor which makes her open up to him gradually and fall in love with him.

Fujiwara commented that she knows nothing about acting but was elated to know that she was chosen during the audition. As such, she hopes to enjoy the experience and do her best.

Co-stars include Kaho who plays a sisterly figure to the heroine, Tanaka Tetsuji who is a former bandmate of Fukuyama's character, Uzaki Ryudo who operates a livehouse and Mizuno Miki who plays a woman secretly in love with Fukuyama's character.

Source: Sponichi

Baka Rhythm's 4-part drama SP "Sakurazaka Kinpen Monogatari" to be shown on FujiTV

Comedian, actor, and scriptwriter Baka Rhythm has written a 4-part drama SP titled "Sakurazaka Kinpen Monogatari" (Story of the sakura slope's vicinity) which will be shown via FujiTV on 4 consecutive nights from 7 March to 10 March at 11pm. The story features people riding in 4 cars which are stuck in a massive traffic jam that causes desirable and undesirable effects on their lives. The first part features Harada Taizo, Kashiwagi Yuki, Hakamada Yoshihiko while Part 2 features Ichihara Hayato, Katsuji Ryo and Namase Katsuhisa. Yamamoto Koji, Okura Koji, Nadagi Takeshi, Yamazaki Shigenori and Nomaguchi Toru will appear in Part 3 while Part 4 will star Kawaguchi Haruna and Nakamura Aoi.

Source: Sanspo