Sunday, August 28, 2016

Fukuyama Masaharu & Fukiishi Kazue expecting their first child

Fukuyama Masaharu and Fukiishi Kazue have announced on 28 August that they are expecting their first child. Fukuyama announced the news through his official fanclub's homepage while Fukiishi did the same on her agency's homepage. In the statement, it was mentioned that Fukiishi's condition is stable at the moment and the couple are filled with expectation and joy at what is to come. They asked for the support of everyone around them as they eagerly await the arrival of the baby. However, no details were shared on the stage of her pregnancy nor when the baby is due.

Fukuyama and Fukiishi got married on 28 September last year.

Sources: Nikkansports 1 / Nikkansports 2 / Sanspo

Further cast announcement for TBS Autumn 2016 drama "Nigeru wa haji daga yaku ni tatsu"

Moriyama Mikuri - Aragaki Yui

Tsuzaki Hiromasa - Hoshino Gen

Kazami Ryota - Otani Ryohei (Tsuzaki's junior in the company and rival in love who fights for Mikuri)

Numata Yoritsuna - Furuta Arata (Tsuzaki's colleague who is in love with him)

Tsuchiya Yuri - Ishida Yuriko (Mikuri's aunt)

Hino Shuji - Fujii Takashi (Tsuzaki's colleague)

Mikuri's parents - Ukaji Takashi & Tomita Yasuko

Mikuri's best friend - Mano Erina

Yuri's subordinates - Narita Ryo & Yamaga Kotoko

Sources: Sanspo / Oricon

Emoto Tasuku to star in TBS Autumn 2016 drama "Kokku Keibu no Bansankai"

Emoto Tasuku will be starring in the TBS Autumn 2016 late night drama "Kokku Keibu no Bansankai" (Police inspector Cook's dinner party) which will begin its run from October in the Wednesdays 12.10am timeslot. He plays the role of Kokku Hoshimitsu, a police detective who has the cooking skills of a professional chef and invites suspects to dinner where he tries to uncover the culprits for the cases he is investigating. Kokku feels strongly about how murder suspects can get away scot-free and continue eating their favourite foods so he recreates the food that the victims had eaten so as to help him find clues in seeking the real culprits.

Kojima Ruriko will be playing a newbie police detactive Nanase Azumi who works together with Kokku. This will be her first appearance in a drama. In addition, Kokku's rival Nekota Norio will be played by Enari Kazuki while Fuji Mariko will play the director of the criminal investigation department and thinks highly of him.

As this is Emoto's first leading role in a drama, he revealed that he didn't think he would ever play the leading role so he is quite uneasy and worried although he's also eagerly anticipating this. He also thinks that it will be a fun experience working with people he had never met before such as Kojima, Enari and Fuji. As for Kojima, she commented that she's feeling 85% worried and 15% excited about her drama debut and had aspired to be a police detective at one time. She hopes that she will be able to enjoy the filming experience 100% by the end. Enari revealed that he's been a fan of Emoto and hopes to put in his all with his co-stars and crew for this drama.


Further cast announcements for new movie "Koisaika Miyamoto"

Further cast announcements for new movie "Koisaika Miyamoto" directed by Yukawa Kazuhiko and starring Abe Hiroshi and Amami Yuki were made recently. The movie which is adapted from Shigematsu Kiyoshi's novel "Family Restaurant", features how a married couple Miyamoto Yohei and Miyoko (Abe and Amami) live with each other after their child left the family home.

Kanno Miho and Aibu Saki will play the classmates at a cooking school which Yohei attends. Igarashi Maju (Kanno) keeps speaking ill of her husband (Sato Jiro) while Kadokura Sumire (Aibu) keeps talking about how good her fiance is. Fuji Sumiko will play Inoue Reiko, the grandmother of one of Yohei's students who treats her grandchild in a strict manner and sees Yohei as an enemy. Kudo Asuka and Hayami Akari will play the younger version of Yohei and Miyoko when they were university students.

The movie will be shown in cinemas from 28 January 2017.


Funakoshi Eiichiro to star in NTV Autumn 2016 drama "Kuroi Juunin no Onna"

Funakoshi Eiichiro will be starring in the upcoming Yomiuri TV & NTV Autumn 2016 drama "Kuroi Juunin no Onna" (Ten dark women) which will begin its run from 29 September in the Thursdays 11.59pm timeslot. The drama's concept was based on the same-titled 1961 movie directed by Ichikawa Kon and will be re-written by comedian Baka Rhythm. Funakoshi will "inherit" the leading role of Kaze Shokichi from his father Funakoshi Eiji who took on the same role in the movie. The drama depicts how Kaze who is a married drama producer with a beautiful wife, continues to play the field and gets into a messy web of relationships with various women who engage in a battle for his affection.

Narumi Riko plays the role of Kanda Kumi who works as a receptionist at the TV station and is Shokichi's 9th lover who has been seeing him for half a year. One day, she receives a call from an unfamiliar number and is called out to meet Yukino Kayo (Mizuno Miki) who is a stage actress and has been Shokichi's lover for 8 years. Through the conversion between Kayo and Yagami Miwa (Sato Hitomi), Kumi finds out another shocking truth and a big secret about Aiba Shino (Triendl Reina) who is selected to be part of the cast for Shokichi's new drama. Due to the jealousy enveloping Shokichi's wife and 9 lovers, they start to toy with the idea that Shokichi should be better off dead thus leading the situation to head for an unexpected development.

Source: Oricon

Kawaguchi Haruna & Hayashi Kento star in new movie "Nigakute Amai"

Kawaguchi Haruna and Hayashi Kento will be appearing in the new movie "Niigakute Amai" (Bittersweet) which will be shown in cinemas from 10 September. The movie which is based on the same-titled online comic by Kobayashi Yumio that was serialised since 2009 and ended its run in May this year, features Kawaguchi as the heroine Eda Maki who is a pretty and capable career woman but leads an irregular lifestyle. In order to put up a pretense in front of her juniors at the workplace, she pretends that she has a wonderful boyfriend even though she is single. One day, she meets a handsome art teacher Katayama Nagisa and is attracted to him. While searching for a new boyfriend and someone to live with, she ends up living at Nagisa's apartment but discovers to her disappointment that he is actually gay and has no interest in her.

Kawaguchi commented that the setting of the story is very unusual but to be able to eat delicious food and have someone listen to your daily grumbles about work is something very appealing to people who hate being alone or are afraid of loneliness. In the movie, Maki doesn't know how to cook and hates vegetables but while living with Nagisa who is a vegetarian, she starts to discover the power of good food in healing her emotions so the array of cuisine featured in the movie is also something to look forward to.

Kawaguchi revealed that the cooking scenes were all done by Hayashi himself with no stand-ins. Hayashi practised a lot before the filming and all the hand close-up shots were even done personally even though the viewers may wonder otherwise. Especially having seen the bandage on his finger after being injured during the filming, Kawaguchi was impressed with how much effort he had put in and how serious he was about his acting so she had learnt a lot from him as a result.

Source: Sanspo

Oda Yuji to star in TBS Autumn 2016 drama "IQ 246 ~ Karei naru Jikenbo ~"

Oda Yuji will be starring in the TBS Autumn 2016 drama "IQ246 ~ Karei naru Jikenbo ~" (IQ246 ~ The gorgeous case files ~) which will begin its run from October 2016 in the Sundays 9pm timeslot. This episodic mystery drama also features Nakatani Miki, Tsuchiya Tao and Dean Fujioka in the cast lineup. This is the first TBS drama series which Oda is starring in 9 years since Spring 2007's "Joudan janai!".

Oda plays the role of Houmonji Sharaku, the 89th generation descendant of the noble Houmonji clan which had been focused on the pursuit of knowledge and research especially in the field of criminology. Being the eldest male heir of the clan in his generation, Sharaku has inherited an IQ of 246 while most people's IQs range from 70 to 130. Being so smart, Sharaku finds that there is nothing much in society which is stimulating to him intellectually and keeps lamenting that he's too free. As his clan had amassed so much wealth due to their intelligence, Sharaku doesn't have to work so he spends his time trying to find mysteries and difficult cases which are worth his time and effort to solve. Although Sharaku is armed with a huge volume of knowledge and a keen observation eye, he has a different value system compared to commoners so is viewed as a weirdo.

Oda commented that he is happy to meet an innovative and capable creative team this time and looks forward to the start of the filming. As this is the first time he is playing such a character, he hopes that the viewers will be happy to see this and called upon them to meet him and his co-stars at 9pm on Sundays.

As for Tsuchiya, she is playing a police detective named Watou Souko who rushes headlong into things and is assigned to protect Sharaku while he investigates cases. She commented that upon hearing about the offer, she was nervous about playing a police detective because she had always wanted to play such a character sometime in her career but this came faster than she expected. However, she will put in her best for this role especially since it's been some time she is acting in a drama without an original material so it will be extremely challenging for her.

Fujioka plays the role of Oda's buddy and butler of the Houmonji clan named Kensei who is very fit physically and will be involved in many action scenes. Working with Oda for the first time, Fujioka commented that he is honoured to be working with Oda who is a senior and like a brother and pledged to work hard for his role.

Nakatani plays the role of Morimoto Tomomi who is an atypical medical coroner that is fascinated by Sharaku's investigative ability. She commented that she is especially excited to see how Oda will play the role of Sharaku who is so smart. As for her character, Nakatani described her as someone who believes that humans may lie but dead people wouldn't so she is full of passion for forensic medicine and identifies with Sharaku who listens to the words of the dead and seeks justice for them. She said that Tomomi is almost as weird as Sharaku so it will be worth checking out their weirdo battle on screen through this drama.

Sources: Sponichi 1 / Sponichi 2 / Sanspo 1 / Oricon

Filming wraps up for NHK morning drama "Toto Nee-chan"

The filming for NHK morning drama "Toto Nee-chan" was concluded on 25 August where cast members Takahata Mitsuki, Nishijima Hidetoshi, Kimura Tae, Sagara Itsuki and Sugisaki Hana attended the press conference. Since the filming began on 9 November, the cast had spent the last 10 months together working on this drama. When presented with a bouquet of flowers by her co-stars during the press conference, Takahata commented in tears that she felt that the filming would never come to an end and there were many challenges during this period but she was helped by her co-stars and crew. She also expressed her gratitude to be able to act in this drama. When asked about the toughest thing she experienced during the filming, she said that the number of lines was so many that she felt that her brain was about to burst. On the last day of the filming, Takahata had to film a scene where she met her late father (Nishijima) in her dream. As it has been some time since they met, Takahata said that she was nervous about their meeting. As for Nishijima, he said that he felt the same too and had skipped his lines during the filming.

The last episode will be shown on 1 October.

Sources: Sponichi / Nikkansports / Sanspo

Sawamura Ikki & Seto Koji to star in TV Asahi drama SP "Keiji Inukai Hayato"

Sawamura Ikki will be starring in the TV Asahi drama SP "Keiji Inukai Hayato" which will be shown on 24 September at 9pm. This is the second installment in the series after the first part shown in April last year. The drama SP is based on the "Keiji Inukai Hayato" series by Nakayama Shichiri and features Sawamura as the lead character Inukai Hayato who is a smart but reticent police detective who investigates difficult cases. His buddy Kotegawa Kazuya will be played by Seto Koji.

The challenge in the new installment for both actors is that Sawamura had to take on more action scenes while Seto had to memorise long lines for his dialogue. Sawamura commented that as Inukai hardly speaks, he had to express his emotions in ways other than spoken dialogue. He also hopes to be able to use these action scenes to show people who are around 50 that they can still be physically fit enough like him. As for Seto, he said that although the camaraderie between Inukai and Kotegawa has improved in the new installment, he had to speak a lot more lines this time.

Co-stars include the last installment's cast Watanabe Ikkei, Nukumizu Yoichi, Horibe Keisuke and Kato Masaya.

Sources: Sponichi / Oricon

Shibasaki Kou visits the grave of Ii Naotora before the filming of NHK 2017 Taiga "Onna Joushu Naotora"

Shibasaki Kou paid a visit to the grave of Ii Naotora, the heroine in the NHK 2017 Taiga drama "Onna Joushu Naotora", located at Ryotanji in Hamamatsu City, Shizuoka Prefecture on 26 August before the filming of the drama begins in early September. The day was Naotora's death anniversary. The drama will begin its run from 8 January 2017 at 8pm on Sundays.

Shibasaki commented after visiting Naotora's grave that she hopes to be able to convey the latter's life with conviction, sincerity and real love because this is how she would like her own life to be presented if this was a story about herself. She also expressed her wish to get some divine protection from Naotora after paying respects at her grave.

Shibasaki shared her view that in the current world, women have a lot more than their counterparts in the past but there are still challenges which they face today. As such, she hopes that this drama will be a form of encouragement to them and show how people can progress with their strong beliefs. After reading the script for the first 13 episodes, she said that she was touched by the story. As the filming will take a whole year, it is important to eat well so as to maintain her condition. In order to do so, Shibasaki cited the unagi which is a famous product of Hamamatsu as a good source of energy and will try to cook on her own when she has time. Even when she's busy, she will try to rely on the help of others to have foods rich in protein and build up her stamina. In order to prepare for the filming, Shibasaki has been attending horseriding lessons and how to read the Buddhist sutras after Naotora became a nun.

Sources: Sponichi / Nikkansports / Sanspo / Oricon

Saturday, August 27, 2016

TOKIO's Matsuoka Masahiro to star in TV Asahi Autumn 2016 drama "Kaseifu no Mitazono"

TOKIO's Matsuoka Masahiro will be taking on the lead role in the TV Asahi Autumn 2016 drama "Kaseifu no Mitazono" (Male Housekeeper Mitazono) which will begin its run from October in the Fridays 11.15pm timeslot. He plays the role of a super housekeeper named Mitazono Kaoru who belongs to a housekeeper agency and can handle all types of housework and cook well. While working at the families he is dispatched to, Mitazono comes to know their secrets and problems. He sets out to destroy their interpersonal relationships so that their families can be rebuilt after the issues are resolved. In the drama, there will also be useful housework tips introduced which will be of help to viewers.

The popular "Kaseifu wa mita" series by TV Asahi had featured Ichihara Etsuko (1983 to 2008) and Yonekura Ryoko (from 2014) while Matsushima Nanako's 2011 NTV drama "Kaseifu no Mita" achieved high ratings. With regard to that, Matsuoka said that he wouldn't let the preceding dramas' success weigh him down and will do his best as the dark housekeeper Mitazono. He also commented that this will be a refreshing experience and is looking forward to the start of the filming from early September.

Sources: Nikkansports / Sanspo / Yomiuri Hochi / Sponichi / Oricon

Watanabe Ken's new movie "Ikari" to be exhibited during two international film festivals

Watanabe Ken's new movie "Ikari" which will be shown in Japan from 17 September, will be exhibited during two international film festivals i.e. the 41st Toronto International Movie Festival and the 64th San Sebastian International Movie Festival.

For the Toronto film festival held in Canada between 8 and 18 September, the film will be shown in the special presentation category. Watanabe and Miyazaki Aoi who play father and daughter in the film, will be attending the premiere screening with the director Lee Sang-il on the 10th. As for the San Sebastian film festival held in Spain between 16 and 24 September, the movie will be participating in the competition category as the only Japanese entry. The premiere screening on 23 September will be attended by Watanabe and Lee.

Source: Yomiuri Hochi

Takahata Atsuko meets the media during press conference regarding her son's arrest and the aftermath

This is a compilation of translated articles on 25th and 26th August when Takahata Atsuko visited her son at the police station for the first time after his arrest and when she held the press conference on the following day. In addition, there is also information about the implications of this case on the Takahatas in terms of their careers. As this is a rather long post, I will try to write everything in point form as much as I can so that it's easier to read.

- Takahata Atsuko met her son Yuta for the first time at Maebashi Police Station in Gunma Prefecture on 25 August since his arrest for alleged rape leading to assault two days earlier. At 8,30am that day, Takahata Atsuko was dressed in black and appeared before the 30-or-so members of the media and apologised for not being able to talk much today as she had not met Yuta yet. She promised to address their questions on the following day during the press conference before bowing to the reporters and headed inside the police station. About 1.5 hours later at 9.55am, Takahata left the police station through the back exit.

- The movie "L" which is due to be shown this autumn and features Takahata Yuta in its cast, will have to re-shoot some scenes with another actor. However, due to scheduling conflicts with other members of the cast, the movie's release will be delayed.

- Takahata Yuta's CM for real estate rental company Able has ended its run on TV and will be replaced with another CM from next week. Promotional materials and posters used at their shops are being removed gradually. Although their contract runs till the end of the year, the company's PR department has commented that it will be difficult to continue with the deal.

- Witness accounts give an idea of what happened the night before the incident. Takahata Yuta was said to have gone to an onsen at Maebashi City after filming wrapped up for the day on 22 August and went to another two restaurants with the cast and crew before returning to the hotel. According to an employee at the first restaurant they went to, they didn't get the impression that he was very intoxicated by the time he left.

- As a result of what happened to her son, the after-effects are already showing in Takahata Atsuko's career. She was one of the four guests on the NTV variety show "Merengue no Kimochi" shown on 27 August but the scenes where she appeared in were cut. Out of the four CM deals she holds, Kao has already decided to stop the airing of her CMs even though they acknowledged that this was not her problem. However, since the situation is still developing, they will adopt a wait-and-see attitude. As for the other companies, they are observing the response after her press conference before deciding what to do.

- Takahata Atsuko held her press conference at 9am on 26 August which was actually brought forward from the original scheduled time of noon. The press conference was scheduled for 40 minutes only but she expressed her wish to answer all questions so the entire session lasted 65 minutes.There was no chair and only a microphone stand at the centre of the hall thus she remained standing throughout. At the beginning, she bowed deeply to the media for about 7 seconds and apologised to everyone for causing them inconvenience and worry. In particular, she cited the victim and those affected by the cancellation of her son's jobs and stated that she found it hard to find suitable words to apologise to them. Although Takahata was said to be unable to sleep since the incident happened, she tried to put up a brave front and said that she is fine. However, she was observed to have stumbled when she made her exit and was supported by staff members as she left.

- She recounted her 15-minute meeting with her son who is currently in custody at Maebashi Police Station where he kept apologising in tears and expressed concern and worry over the effects on his work and how it had affected the people who worked with him. When probed further if that were the only things he said, Takahata revealed hesitantly that he did talk about dying to repent but she scolded him for that idea and said that he should not have done this in the first place if he was prepared to die. She also stated that although people may take offence at what she said to her son, she revealed that she did say that she and his elder sister will continue to be his family members no matter what happens. There was a restriction banning them from asking any questions about the case during this meeting so she couldn't ask him anything regarding that.

- With regard to her stage play "Yukimaroge" which is due to be performed from September, Takahata Atsuko said that continuing with her work is her way of repenting for what happened. Especially considering that 10,000 people had already bought tickets to the play, there was no way that she could pull out of this play in which she has a leading role. The Tokyo run of the play will be from September to October while it will be performed at other locations nationwide until early December this year.

- When asked about her responsibility as a parent for what her son did, Takahata said that as a mother, she felt the responsibility to make amends. However, she felt that it was not sufficient because it is not something she alone can achieve. Although there are views that she shouldn't be responsible for what her son did since he is already an adult, she can't just brush it off like that and say that this has nothing to do with her. Last but not least, as she had become who she is today as a result of the support of everyone around her, she also needed to fulfill her responsibility as an actress in addition to that of a mother and human being so she felt especially torn and wasn't sure what she should do in future.

- When asked if there was any likelihood of her son returning to showbiz, Takahata denied that and said that this was something which shouldn't be done. She expressed thanks to everyone who had looked upon Yuta favourably up till now. However, she did wonder momentarily if Yuta had gone through a longer period of hard work and not tasted fame so quickly, it might have been better for his sake. Last but not least, she said that although she did not support Yuta actively in his entry into showbiz, she also did not express any resistance to the idea of them working together.

- As for whether she has met the victim, Takahata denied this and said that as investigations are going on, she is unable to meet the victim and apologise to her. However, when asked if there are any plans for a private settlement, Takahata said that this was something which shouldn't be discussed during the press conference.

- When asked about how she learnt of her son's arrest, she recounted that she was told to go to her agency around 3pm on 23 August after she was done with her work for the day. She wasn't able to meet her son until the 25th and had no idea what was going on other than reading the media reports.

- After the press conference, there was talk about how some of the reporters had asked totally irrelevant or nasty questions where they were heavily criticised for treating this like an interrogation. In particular, Omura Masaki from FujiTV's "Chokugeki Good!" was singled out for his insensitive and unrelated questions such as whether Takahata Yuta had introduced his girlfriend to his mother before, the number of girlfriends he had, when he started dating and if she knew about his sex preferences and habits. On social media such as Twitter, users attacked Omura for asking such meaningless questions and that it was stupid for him to ask about sex preferences and expect parents to know about this or talk about this with their children. By using the word "ne", he was also perceived as ridiculing Takahata during the press conference. Apparently, this is not the first time that Omura was criticised for what he said. He made an insensitive remark to a Japanese victim who had to cut off a leg due to the earthquake at New Zealand in 2011 by saying that the person could no longer play sports or do other things in the current condition.
Another question which was viewed to be quite insensitive was when Takahata was asked if her drama's co-star Takashima Reiko had any words of encouragement for her. Just last month, Takashima was caught in a fix when her ex-husband was caught for drug possession and consumption and Takahata had offered kind words for her co-star at that time.

Sources: Nikkansports 1 / Sanspo 1 / Yomiuri Hochi 1

Friday, August 26, 2016

Ono Machiko to star in TV Asahi drama SP "Sogeki" as a police detective

Ono Machiko will be appearing as a police detective for the first time in the upcoming TV Asahi drama SP "Sogeki" (Sniping) which will be shown this autumn. The story which is based on the novel "Sogeki Chika Sousakan" by Nagase Shunsuke, features Ono as a police detective Kozuki Ryoko who tries to uncover the truth behind the cover-up of an assassination attempt on the next prime minister 15 years ago due to a power struggle within the police force. Although Ryoko used to belong to the first division of the Metropolitan Police Department, she was transferred to the Nishi Koganei Police Station due to her affair with a married superior. Ryoko does not hold back and goes all out even at the expense of her safety just to catch criminals so she is ridiculed by those around her as a stupid woman who doesn't know how to brake. In the drama SP, she will be involved in a battle of wits and action with 10 other police detectives played by actors such as Sato Koichi who plays Ryoko's direct superior and gets her involved in the investigation, Abe Sadao who plays Kijima Akira, an officer from the Public Security Division and holds the key to opening a "cursed" file saved on a USB drive that contains confidential information about the case, Kitamura Yukiya who plays an elusive inspector nicknamed Chameleon, Koichi Mantaro who plays a freelance journalist and Emoto Akira who was a former police officer and later became the target of the assassination when he was the Minister of Home Affairs. There will also be an intimate scene with Mashima Hidekazu who plays Ryoko's married superior and had an affair with her thus leading to her transfer. Co-stars also include Suzuki An who plays Kijima's girlfriend that had entrusted the file's key to him, Denden who plays a police affairs director and had decided on Ryoko's transfer, Hasegawa Hatsunori who was the police chief at the time of the assassination and Matsushige Yutaka who plays a public security officer on the heels of Kijima.

Filming lasted for about 20 days in March which was considered a very short production period but Ono commented that it felt long because of how tough it was. Nonetheless, she felt that the effort was worth it and she really enjoyed working with so many actors this time. Sato commented that he agreed to act in this drama SP as a wedding gift for Ono who got married in July last year and praised for being one of the few actresses who could switch between onscreen and offscreen modes easily. He jokingly cited that one of the selling points of this drama SP will have to be her intimate scene even though he hasn't watched that scene yet. As for Abe, although he had appeared in the movie "Shazai no Ousama" with Ono in 2013, they hardly had any scenes together so this can be considered the first time they managed to act together. He recounted that this must be one of the hardest projects he had taken on as he had to run a lot and film at places such as behind a train station or go underground.

Sources: Sanspo 1 / Sanspo 2 / Oricon

Amuro Namie to sing the theme song & insert song for movie "Death Note Light up the NEW world"

Amuro Namie will be singing the theme song and insert song for the new movie "Death Note Light up the NEW world" which will be shown in cinemas from 29 October. The theme song titled "Dear Diary" which is a ballad, depicts the conflict between one's sense of justice with reality in the journey to pursue a perfect world and the strength of humans. As for the insert song "Fighter" which is an aggressive dance number, it is written from the viewpoint of Amane Misa (Toda Erika). Both sides will be released as Amuro's new double A-side single this autumn.

The lead of the movie Higashide Masahiro commented that the theme song is very good that he can't find another word to describe it and referred to Amuro as a goddess. On the other hand, Amuro said that although both songs are very different, the common theme between them is the strong and direct feelings in one's beliefs and hopes that the songs will be able to bring out the appeal of the movie.

Sources: Nikkansports / Yomiuri Hochi / Oricon

Nakashima Mika to sing the theme song for new movie "Boku no tsuma to kekkon shite kudasai"

Nakashima Mika will be singing the theme song for the new movie "Boku no tsuma to kekkon shite kudasai" starring Oda Yuji and Yoshida Yo which will be shown in cinemas from 5 November. The song titled "Forget Me Not" will be Nakashima's new single.

Miyake Yoshishige who is the director of this movie, met Nakashima 15 years ago when she made her singing and acting debut in his drama "Kizudarake no Love Song". At that time, Nakashima passed the audition and managed to secure the heroine role despite being a newbie. After such a long time, Miyake commented that he was very much looking forward to working with Nakashima again and is excited about being able to hear her voice in the movie. Nakashima commented that when she first got the offer, she had the impression that she was approached because the theme song was supposed to be a sad one. Although the movie is about how a dying husband tries to find the best remarriage partner for the wife he is going to leave behind. Nakashima realised that the song won't be focusing on the sadness aspect only but also includes the warmth behind this sad feeling.

Source: Oricon

Mr.Children to sing the theme song for NHK morning drama "Beppin-san"

Mr.Children will be singing the theme song for NHK's new morning drama "Beppin-san" which will begin its run from 3 October. The song titled "Hikari no Atorie" is written by Sakurai Kazutoshi who hoped that the song of hope will be one which fits closely with the drama.

"Beppin-san" which is the 95th morning drama to date, features Yoshine Kyoko in the role of the heroine Bandou Sumire who was born into a rich family and loves embroidery and sewing. During the war, she gets married and pregnant but has to give birth to her daughter while her husband is in the military. Due to the air raids, she loses her home and assets. While waiting for her husband whose fate is unknown, Sumire meets various people which eventually leads her to use her sewing skills to set up a business of making clothes for children.

The producer Horinouchi Reijiro revealed that they had approached Mr.Children to sing the theme song for this drama and that they had agreed to it quickly. It took a few months before the song was written. Horinouchi praised the song for being one which will be able to bring sunshine to everyone and looks forward to the chemistry arising from the collaboration of the theme song and the drama.

Sources: Sponichi / Oricon

Nakadai Tatsuya to appear as Tamaki Hiroshi's rival in TV Tokyo drama SP "Kyoaku wa nemurasenai Tokusou Kenji no gyakushuu"

Nakadai Tatsuya will be playing a big-name politician Tachibana Yohei in the upcoming TV Tokyo drama SP "Kyoaku wa nemurasenai Tokusou Kenji no gyakushuu" opposite the lead Tamaki Hiroshi who plays a public prosecutor Tominaga Shinichi. The drama SP which will be shown on 5 October at 9pm as a special project to mark the TV station's move to Roppongi 3-chome this year, marks the first collaboration between Tamaki and Nakadai who is more than double of Tamaki's age.

Nakadai commented that he was happy to be able to join this production and said that having been an actor for 60 years, he always felt that he can't compete with the youngsters in terms of freshness so he felt very nervous standing beside Tamaki. It was also revealed that Nakadai had taken on this role because of TV Tokyo's drama producer Tabuchi Toshihiko who had worked with him on a documentary "Neshia no Tabibito" in 1999. At that time, they visited 10 countries over the course of a year which was tough and enjoyable. Nakadai had said to Tabuchi at that time that it would be nice to work together again. Although it took 17 years since then, it was great to be able to get Nakadai to participate in this production.

Source: Oricon

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Nounen Rena takes on voice-acting job for anime movie "Kono sekai no katasumi ni"

Ever since announcing her name change to "Non", Nounen Rena has taken on her first job by being the voice actor for the heroine in anime movie "Kono sekai no katasumi ni" (At the corner of the world). This is her first appearance in an anime movie.

"Kono sekai no katasumi ni" is set at Kure City in Hiroshima Prefecture during WWII and features a woman named Suzu who tries to live positively despite having lost many precious things due to the war. The director Katabuchi Sunao took six years to do extensive research on the historical setting before this film could be made. He revealed that Non was his number one choice for the heroine to which she revealed that she was so happy at the offer that she felt like she was floating in mid-air. However, Non acknowledged that it was rather painful and uncomfortable whenever the story touched on war and violence but she has learnt to face these issues and understand that these serious themes actually exist in our daily lives. Recounting on her first voice-acting job, Non revealed that it was tough and she didn't know what to do at first. Later, as she became more accustomed to it, she derived joy in breathing life into the graphics and said that she is full of respect for voice actors who are able to make their characters come alive.
The movie will be shown in cinemas from 12 November.

Source: Crank In

Koyama Keiichiro to take over Takahata Yuta's role in "Moumoku no Yoshinori-sensei ~ Hikari wo ushinatte kokoro ga mieta"

In response to Takahata Yuta's arrest for alleged rape leading to assault, NTV announced on 24 August that they will be getting NEWS member Koyama Keiichiro to take over Takahata's role in the upcoming drama SP "Moumoku no Yoshinori-sensei ~ Hikari wo ushinatte kokoro ga miete" which is due to be shown this Saturday at 9pm during the "24 Jikan Terebi 39" charity event. Filming is expected to begin on 25 August. In this drama SP starring fellow NEWS member Kato Shigeaki who plays a blind teacher Arai Yoshinori, Takahata's role is a support staff member at the rehabilitation centre which Arai goes to.

While appearing "live" on the NTV information programme "PON!" in the morning of 24 August to promote the drama SP, Kato revealed that they don't have a lot of time on hand but will work hard together as a team to ensure that the drama SP can be shown as scheduled.

Sources: Oricon / Sanspo / Yomiuri Hochi 1 / Yomiuri Hochi 2

TV Tokyo to re-shoot scenes in their Summer 2016 drama "Otokomeshi" involving Takahata Yuta

Following news of Takahata Yuta's arrest for alleged rape leading to assault, TV Tokyo sent a fax statement to the media where they announced that they will be re-shooting some scenes in their ongoing Summer 2016 drama "Otokomeshi" which had involved Takahata. The drama's filming had already been wrapped up and 5 episodes had been shown to date. In the upcoming Ep 6 to be shown on 26 August, there will be no replacement actor for Takahata and his scenes will all be cut from the drama. For scenes which cannot be cut, they will be re-shot. Takahata had played the classmate of Emoto Tokio in this drama.

TV Tokyo mentioned in their statement that it was a pity that such a thing happened and said that for the viewers who enjoy this drama, they will reshoot some of the scenes and continue with the broadcast as usual.

Sources: Daily Sports / Oricon

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Details of the 29th Tokyo International Film Festival taking place this autumn

The 29th Tokyo International Film Festival will be held between 25 October and 3 November at Roppongi Hills and EX Theatre Roppongi which will be the venues for the opening and closing ceremony and the screening of films in the competition category.  The outdoor screening of "Tokyo International Film Festival Cinema Arena" will be held at Hills Arena.

The opening film this year will be "Florence Foster Jenkins" directed by Stephen Frears while the closing film will be "Satoshi no Seishun" starring Matsuyama Kenichi and directed by Mori Yoshitaka. Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant will be in Tokyo for the opening screening of their film.


Joint statement by Japanese music artistes and associations against ticket scalping

A total of 116 music artistes and groups as well as 24 music event organisers released a joint statement together with the Federation of Music Producers Japan, Japan Association of Music Enterprises, All Japan Concert & Live Entertainment Promoter's Conference and Computer Ticketing Conference on 22 August where they asked for the prevention of ticket scalping. Since 1998, CD software sales has been dropping but the concert market has been expanding. According to the "Live Entertainment Hakusho" released by 13 music industry organisations, there were only 47,632 concerts held 10 years ago in 2006 but the figure rose to 56,042 in 2015. The number of concert goers also rose from 24.54 million in 2006 to 44.86 million last year.

However, this popularity boom for concerts has resulted in the resale market for concert tickets on a large scale whereby many tickets were bought in bulk and sold at high prices for exorbitant profits. News of fraud cases involving concert tickets sold online are also prevalent. This not only prevents true fans from being able to purchase concert tickets but the high resale prices are also a deterrent for them to attend the concerts. Even for those who manage to buy these tickets, they may also face problems of being unable to enter the concert venue if it is found that they aren't the original purchasers or that the tickets were actually forged.

Being concerned and furious about the inability of fans to attend their concerts and buy related merchandise, some artistes and music event organisers have already started using the face recognition systems and setting up official trading websites for fans who are unable to attend the concerts and have to resell their tickets. However, the costs of these measures and the time spent on verifying the concert-goers are proving to be problematic. In a bid to solve these issues, the music industry is looking at ways to restructure the ticketing and pricing systems.

As the first step in showing their stand in this issue, the artistes, music event organisers and music industry organisations published a full-page ad on the 23rd August issue of Asahi Shinbun and Yomiuri Shinbun's morning edition where they said that they objected to the ticket scalping phenomenon which will rob the music industry's future and called upon people to give this problem more attention. For those who are interested in knowing more about this movement, you can visit this website.

The list of the music artistes are as follows:
Amuro Namie
Ieiri Leo
Every Little Thing
Oda Kazumasa
the GazettE
Kahara Tomomi
Kanjani 8
Kishitari Kaori
Kikkawa Koji
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu
KinKi Kids
Kuraki Mai
Chris Hart
Gesu no Kiwami Otome
Koda Kumi
Go Hiromi
Golden Bomber
Kondo Masahiko
Saito Kazuyoshi
Southern All Stars
Sada Masashi
The Birthday
the pillows
Johnny's WEST
Johnny's Jr.
JAM Project
Shonan no Kaze
Sukima Switch
Seikima II
Sexy Zone
Takahashi Mariko
Takeuchi Mariya
Takki & Tsubasa
Teshima Aoi
Dragon Ash
Naoto Inti Raymi
Nakajima Miyuki
Nagabuchi Tsuyoshi
Nishino Kana
Hata Motohiro
back number
Hamsaki Ayumi
Hamada Shogo
Himuro Kyosuke
Funky Kato
Fukuyama Masaharu
Fujii Fumiya
Project Love Life!
Hey! Say! JUMP
Hoshino Gen
Porno Graffiti
My Little Lover
Matsutoya Yumi
May J.
Yamazaki Masayoshi
Yamashita Tatsuro
Yamashita Tomohisa
L'arc en Ciel

The list of music events which support this initiative:
Animelo Summer Live
Augusta Camp
Kyoto Daisakusen
TV Asahi Dream Festival
Haha ni kansha Concert

Source: Oricon

Sakaguchi Kentaro to play Peace in the drama SP "Mohouhan"

Sakaguchi Kentaro will be playing his first bad guy role when he appears in the TV Tokyo drama SP "Mohouhan" starring Nakatani Miki which will be shown on 21st and 22nd September at 9pm. The story is based on the same-titled novel by Miyabe Miyuki where Sakaguchi will take on the role of Peace a.k.a. Amikawa Koichi who is a key figure in a serial murder case which is in contrast to his usual goody-two-shoes roles so far. In the 2002 movie version, this role was played by SMAP's Nakai Masahiro.

Sakaguchi commented that it is a difficult role to play but he feels that there is a lot of meaning and value in taking up this role. As he had read the original novel back when he was a senior high school student, Sakaguchi said that his impression of Peace is that he's someone who can't be analysed with logic and has various evil traits in his character. According to the production crew, Sakaguchi's image has never been associated with bad guys role to date so they think that he has the potential to act as the double-faced Peace who appears as a charming and good man but has a dark side hidden within.

Source: Sanspo

Eguchi Yosuke to hold solo live concert in Tokyo on 9 October

Eguchi Yosuke announced on 23 August that he will be holding a solo live concert at Shimokitazawa GARDEN on 9 October. Although Eguchi used to be a singer-songwriter in the 1990s and had churned out hit songs such as 1994's "Ai wa Ai de", he suspended his music activities after the release of his best hits album "Free Life" in 1998 and concentrated on his acting career since then. Nonetheless, he has never given up his passion for music and held a solo concert for the first time in 20 years at Shimokitazawa on 27 May. For this new concert in October, he will be joined by the band KATAMALI and Miyako Keiichi. Tickets will be sold first via Eplus from noon on 24 August to 6pm on 6 September before the rest are released to the public via Ticket Pia, Lawson, Eplus and GARDEN from 1pm on 17 September. Details of the concert will also be announced later on Eguchi's Facebook page.

Source: Sanspo

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Takahata Atsuko's son Takahata Yuta arrested for rape and assault

Takahata Atsuko's son Takahata Yuta was arrested at 1.40pm on 23 August by Maebashi Police Station on suspicion of rape and assault. Takahata Yuta was staying at a business hotel in Maebashi City, Gunma Prefecture, in the early hours of 23 August when he called the hotel's staff to bring him amenities such as a toothbrush. When a female staff in her 40s brought the item to his room, Takahata allegedly grabbed her into his room and raped her. During the sexual assault, Takahata was said to have used force against the victim and caused her to sustain injuries such as bruises to her body and right thumb. According to Maebashi Police Station, Takahata was brought in for questioning on a voluntary basis and testified that he could not control his sexual urge upon seeing the female hotel staff but stressed that it was not a premeditated attack. Takahata was in Maebashi for the filming of a movie and said to have been drinking with the staff on the night before the incident.

Takahata Yuta began to enjoy attention as an actor when he appeared in last year's NHK morning drama "Mare" and is due to appear in NTV's 24 Jikan Terebi 39 this weekend as the programme's personalities along with comedy duo Oriental Radio. He also has a role in the drama SP "Moumoku no Yoshinori-sensei ~ Hikari wo ushinatte kokoro ga miete" where he plays a support at the rehabilitation centre which Yoshinori-sensei (Kato Shigeaki) goes to after losing his sight but his name and photo have been removed from the cast chart on the drama SP's official website. In response to news about Takahata's arrest, NTV announced that they will be looking into the possibility of getting another actor to re-film Takahata's part in the drama SP. Takahata was also scheduled to appear in the late night programme "Konya kurabete mimashita" on 23 August but the content of the show will be changed. In addition, Takahata who is supposed to appear in NHK's ongoing Taiga "Sanadamaru" from October onwards, will be replaced. FujiTV's mini drama "Tonari no Shinsengumi" will make adjustments to its next episode to be shown on 25 August. TV Tokyo is currently in discussions on how to handle Takahata's parts in their Summer 2016 drama "Otokomeshi". TBS has removed Takahata's name from the official website of their Summer 2016 drama "Aogeba Totoshi" but won't need to make adjustments to the drama since his appearance was limited to the first three episodes only.

Following news of Takahata's arrest, his Twitter has been switched to private mode and his blog has been deleted. At present, only his Instagram account (up to 4.23pm Japan time) can still be accessed. In the comments section of his Instagram account, many users left comments criticising his actions and scolded him for causing grief and a great inconvenience to his mother.

Takahata's agency released a statement in the same evening about his arrest and acknowledged that they were informed about what happened. The agency expressed deep regret and apologised to the victim and everyone who was inconvenienced and worried by what happened. At the moment, as he is still in police custody, the agency has been unable to contact him so they will try to find out more about the situation and will deal with this issue with utmost sincerity.

In Japan, rape is punishable with a prison sentence of between three years and below 20 years. If the charge is rape leading to assault or death, the prison sentence can range from more than 5 years to life imprisonment. When a prison sentence is longer than 3 years, there will be no suspended sentence. Assuming that the case goes to court, it will be decided by a jury. For a rape case, the indictment is dependent on the victim filing a complaint but for a rape leading to assault or death case, the investigation and trial continues even if the victim decides to drop the case.

Due to intense media attention and public concern over Takahata's case, his name was the No.1 trend topic on Twitter and keywords related to his case hogged the real-time search ranking on Yahoo! JAPAN.

As a result of her son's arrest, Takahata Atsuko has resigned from her hosting job for NHK's afternoon programme "Studio Park kara Konnichiwa" on 23 August where Sakakibara Ikue will take over the position. NHK accepted her resignation but did not go into details on what reason Takahata Atsuko had given. There is also concern over whether her career will be affected as she is seen in many dramas such as "Sanadamaru", variety shows, CMs and will take on a leading role in the stage play "Yukimaroge" to be performed between September and October

Sources: Nikkansports 1 / Nikkansports  2 / Sanspo 1 / Sanspo 2 / Yomiuri Hochi 1 / Yomiuri Hochi 2 / Sponichi 1 / Sponichi 2 / Sponichi 3

Preview of "Hippocrates no Chikai" - Autumn 2016 (WOWOW)

Title: Hippocrates no Chikai ヒポクラテスの誓い (The Hippocratic Oath)
Official website: here
O.A. Start Date: 2 October 2016
Timeslot: Sundays 10pm
Broadcast by: WOWOW
Original novel by: Nakayama Shichiri
Scriptwriter: Shinozaki Eriko
Music: Fujimoto Yoshitaka & Toda Yuriko
Director: Uchikata Akira
Cast: Kitagawa Keiko, Shibata Kyohei, Onoe Matsuya, Hamada Mari, Sato Megumi, Aijima Kazuyuki, Kaneda Akio & Furuya Ikko

Monday, August 22, 2016

Odagiri Jo & Kashii Yu welcome the birth of their third son

Odagiri Jo and Kashii Yu welcomed the arrival of their third son as announced by her agency on 22 August. Both mother and son are doing well. With regard to when she will return to work, it will depend on Kashii's health condition and childcare needs.

Odagiri and Kashii got married in February 2008 and their sons were born in February 2011 and April 2014. Unfortunately, their second son suddenly passed away in April last year due to an illness. Last month, when Odagiri was asked about his wife's third pregnancy, he acknowledged this by thanking the reporters for their concern.

Source: Oricon

Amami Yuki to star in FujiTV Autumn 2016 drama "Chef ~ Mitsuboshi no Kyuushoku ~"

Amami Yuki will be starring in the FujiTV Autumn 2016 drama "Chef ~ Mitsuboshi no Kyuushoku ~" (Chef ~ The 3-starred school lunch) which will begin its run from October in the Thursdays 10pm timeslot. The drama is based on an original script written by Hamada Hideya whose last work was "Naomi to Kanako" shown in winter this year.

Amami will play the role of Hoshino Mitsuko who is the executive chef of a Michelin three-starred French restaurant in Ginza and creates many ingenious dishes with her creativity and sensitive taste buds. However, due to a clash with the restaurant owner, she is fired from her job and has difficulty finding another position due to her pride as a celebrated chef. When Hoshino gets invited to prepare a school lunch for a primary school during a TV show, she fails miserably at impressing the children and this ends up being broadcast nationwide. Despite so, Hoshino decides to regain the stars she had lost by attempting to create delicious school lunches while coping with obstacles such as nutrition concerns, cost and taste bud differences between adults and children.

As Amami has to film many cooking scenes in this drama, she revealed that she plans to do as many of these scenes herself. This happens to be her first role as a chef where she had to wear a 34-cm tall cook's hat while shooting the poster for this drama. Amami said that when she was a kid, she already helped her parents with the cooking and cooked her own meals when she was in the Takarazuka. Even while she was busy with the filming of dramas, she would cook curries or soup-based dishes which could be heated up easily and makes pickles and umeboshi which she would store in tupperware boxes. Amami joked that although she is not great at cooking, she has to do it since she lives alone. However, she has never cooked French cuisine before so the reporters suggested that she should ask her junior from the same agency i.e. Hayami Mokomichi for help to which she said that she might resort to doing so. In preparation for the filming which begins in early September, Amami has been visiting some high-class restaurants and going for cooking class at Tsuji Chef Specialist School.

Sources: Sanspo / Yomiuri Hochi

Cast announcement of new movie "Shinobi no Kuni"

The cast announcement for new movie "Shinobi no Kuni" starring Arashi's Ohno Satoshi was made on 21 August. Ishihara Satomi will be playing the lead character Mumon's (Ohno) wife Okuni which will be the first time they are working together. In the original novel, Mumon is depicted to be so besotted with Okuni at first sight that he snatches her from a samurai family and makes her his wife. Ishihara commented that although this is a period action movie, there is also a focus on how Okuni spurs Mumon to become better and more hardworking since he's lazy and not serious and showers him with love like a mother.

Suzuki Ryohei will be playing the role of Shimoyama Heibee who was born in a Iga shinobi family but is disappointed with the ways of the ninja. In preparation for the filming, Suzuki underwent two months of action training as his character is supposed to be a skilled ninja. Iseya Yusuke will play the Heki Daizen who is a retainer of Oda Nobukatsu while Hey! Say! JUMP's Chinen Yuri will be playing Nobukatsu. Co-stars also include Makita Sports, Taira Yuna, Kunimura Jun, Denden, Mitsushima Shinnosuke and Kitaroura.

Filming began last month and is set to wrap up by late September. The movie will be shown in cinemas during the summer of 2017.

Sources: Nikkansports / Cinema Cafe

Completion screening event of 24 Jikan Terebi drama SP "Moumoku no Yoshinori-sensei ~ Hikari wo ushinatte kokoro ga mieta ~"

The completion screening event of NTV's 24 Jikan Terebi drama SP "Moumoku no Yoshinori-sensei ~ Hikari wo ushinatte kokoro ga mieta ~" (The blind teacher Yoshinori ~ Losing light but being able to see with the heart) was held on 21 August which was attended by the leads NEWS member Kato Shigeaki and Sawajiri Erika. The drama SP which will be shown at 9pm on 27 August, features Kato in the role of Arai Yoshinori, a blind teacher who works at Minano Junior High School in Saitama Prefecture and Sawajiri as his wife Mayumi who overcome the difficulties after he lost his sight at the age of 34. At the end of the screening, the Arais made an appearance and presented flowers to the actors. In order to prepare for this role, Kato had gone to a rehabilitation centre and tried to walk with a eye-mask and with a guide dog.

Although this is the first time that Kato and Sawajiri are playing a married couple, he praised her for being able to convey the strength in her character while she commented that they had good chemistry during the filming as Kato was very passionate and hardworking about acting. As for having to work with child actors for the first time, Sawajiri recounted that it was a tough but enjoyable experience even though it was difficult to predict how the children would react. Kato also revealed that they had NG scenes because the children were doing things such as picking their noses but he still found them adorable.

When asked about the difficulties he had faced so far in his life, Kato recounted that his group NEWS was on the brink of disbandment and had many problems to date until they were so unsure of their future. However, when compared to what Arai went through in his life, he realised that those challenges were really nothing at all and can hardly be considered as despondent situations. As for Sawajiri, she commented that there had been painful incidents in the past but they were too insignificant when compared to other people. However, she did not go into details on which incidents she was referring to.

Sources: Nikkansports / Sanspo

Preview of "Futagashira 2" - Summer 2016 (WOWOW)

Title: Futagashira 2 (ふたがしら2)
Official website: here
O.A. Start Date: 17 September 2016
Timeslot: Saturdays 10pm
Broadcast by: WOWOW
Original manga by: Ono Natsume
Scriptwriter: Nakajima Kazuki
Cast: Matsuyama Kenichi, Saotome Taichi, Narimiya Hiroki, Nanao, Taguchi Hiromasa, Ashina Sei, Shibukawa Kiyohiko, Yoshikura Aoi, Yamada Jundai, Kitamura Yukiya, Hashimoto Jun, Yajima Kenichi, Shinagawa Toru, Omori Nao

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Shida Mirai to appear in "Hajimemashite, Aishiteimasu" from Ep 7 onwards

Shida Mirai will be appearing in the TV Asahi Summer 2016 drama "Hajimemashite, Aishiteimasu" showing at 9pm on Thursdays from the 7th episode on 25 August. She will be playing the role of Kurokawa Izumi who is the birth mother of Hajime (Yokoyama Ayumu), the 5-year-old boy who is about to be adopted by the lead couple Umeda Mina (Ono Machiko) and Shinji (Eguchi Yosuke). Despite the fact that Izumi had left Hajime alone and confined in an apartment and disappeared without a trace, her mother Tsukiko (Tomita Yasuko) appeared at the end of episode 6 and asked the Umedas on behalf of her daughter to give her grandson back. However, Izumi herself does not appear personally. The reason why she abused Hajime and her whereabouts will be gradually revealed with Izumi's appearance in the story.

Despite being just 23 years old, Shida has been an actress for 17 years and her first drama series appearance was in Yukawa Kazuhiko's 2005 drama "Joou no Kyoushitsu" opposite Amami Yuki. The following year, she played a 14-year-old girl who became a mother in "14-sai no Haha". Since then, it has been 11 years since she last worked with Yukawa and she was feeling pressurised to play Izumi who had given birth to Hajime in her teens. Especially since she is just 23 years old, she felt that it was a shock to have a 5-year-old son. As she is only joining the drama halfway into the season, she was trying to think of ways of how to play her character. Shida also expressed her anxiety at being able to act in a Yukawa drama again regardless of the size of her role and hopes that she can show that she has grown up and improved over the years.

Source: Oricon

Comments of SMAP members on their respective radio shows with regard to their impending split

Here is a translation of the comments which the SMAP members made on their respective radio shows after news of their impending split was announced. Many articles are coming out trying to analyse these comments or should I say over-reading into these comments e.g. who seems too happy about the split and doesn't care about the feelings of fans, why someone is still not using the word "disband" in his comment even though the rest are saying it or why someone has stopped referring himself as being from SMAP. However, I think it's up to you to decide how you wish to interpret them so I won't be putting those comments here since they can lead to unnecessary arguments. 

What we know for sure is, these guys are separating at the end of this year. Whatever the reason is, we might never get a full picture since the media coverage is skewed at two extremes now i.e. one which blames those who wanted to leave the agency and one which blames the one who wanted to stay. Similarly, we won't know what the future holds for them. As such, all that speculation about someone having bleak prospects or someone being able to do well even after leaving the agency is still premature talk. For now, let's just wait and see. The attention on these guys will probably continue for a while even after their split, like it or not.

Inagaki Goro - "Inagaki Goro no STOP THE SMAP" on 18 August
Good evening, I am Inagaki Goro. As reported by the media and known to everyone by now, SMAP has chosen to disband. I am sorry for the sudden announcement that has shocked fans. I, Inagaki Goro, will continue to work hard as usual and I hope that you will continue to support "Inagaki Goro no STOP THE SMAP".

Kimura Takuya - "Kimura Takuya no What's up SMAP!" on 19 August
Good evening, everyone. I am Kimura Takuya. With regard to this incident about SMAP, I am very sorry for the painful feelings caused to everyone. Just like everyone, SMAP has always been a part of my life to date and I can't find suitable words now to describe how I feel. Regret is the only feeling I have towards SMAP fans. I am very sorry.

Nakai Masahiro - "Nakai Masahiro no Some girl' SMAP" on 20 August
Good evening, this is Nakai. I would like to report to fans and related personnel about the fact that SMAP will disband. Please forgive us for this development and I apologise for the inconvenience and worry caused to everyone. I am very sorry.
In addition, having to announce this in the midst of the Rio Olympics, I am very sorry for being a dampener during this period to everyone who supports sports, the athletes, the supporters of these athletes all across Japan even though I have been given the opportunity to be a newscaster for the Olympics. I would like to apologise deeply for this, I am very sorry.

Katori Shingo - "SMAP POWER SPLASH" on 21 August
Good evening, everyone. This is SMAP's Katori Shingo. SMAP is disbanding. I thank everyone who has supported SMAP so far and apologise deeply for the sudden announcement.

Kusanagi Tsuyoshi - "SMAP POWER SPLASH" on 21 August
This is SMAP's Kusanagi Tsuyoshi. This time, we SMAP have selected the road to disband. To the fans and related personnel who have supported us over the past 28 years, thank you very much. Going forward, I will continue to be diligent in my work and hope that you can continue to support me warmly as usual.

Source: Oricon

Tamaki Hiroshi to star in FujiTV Autumn 2016 drama; title undecided for now

Tamaki Hiroshi will be starring in the new FujiTV Autumn 2016 drama which still has no title for now that will be shown from October in the Sundays 9pm timeslot. This is Tamaki's first appearance in a drama series since "Asa ga kita".

The drama which is based on an original script, features Tamaki in the role of Toyama Kinshiro who is the chief of a police station on an elite career path and seems to care about nothing but would go out personally to investigate cases if they interest him. Co-stars include Takashima Masahiro who plays Minami Yozo, a veteran police detective at loggerheads with him and Takimoto Miori who plays Aikawa Minori, a female police officer wanting to become an independent detective soon but keeps making mistakes.

Tamaki commented that even though his character is a police station chief, his attitude of dealing with cases would probably place anyone in good stead regardless of which occupation or position they are in. He is eagerly awaiting to see how his character will develop over the course of the story in this original script.

UPDATE: Title has been decided as "Career ~ Okiteyaburi no Keisatsu Shochou ~".

Source: Oricon

Completion screening event of new WOWOW drama "Kenja no Ai"

The completion screening event of new WOWOW drama "Kenja no Ai" was held on 19 August which was attended by cast members Nakayama Miho, Takaoka Saki and Ryusei Ryo. The drama which consists of 4 episodes and begins its run from 20 August in the Saturdays 10pm timeslot, is based on the same-titled romance novel by Yamada Amy. Nakayama plays the heroine Mayuko who always had her important things seized by her best friend Yuri. The last straw came when Yuri snatched her first love and married him subsequently. In order to get back at her, Mayuko spends the next 20 years cultivating the son of Yuri and her first love into the ideal man she likes in order to get back at the two of them for betraying her.

Nakayama commented that as this is the first time that she is acting in such a love-and-hatred drama, she was very eager to give it a shot. When asked about her character Mayuko's tenacity, she commented that although it was frightening, it was also interesting at the same time because her revenge which would turn into pure love at the end is going to be a sad tale. She also said that she can't keep on thinking of revenge all the time and would not recommend anyone to continue bearing a grudge like how Mayuko does. On the other hand, Takaoka explained that her character Yuri admired her buddy so much that she wanted to become her by snatching away what the latter treasured. Perhaps she did not mean any malice at first but her actions had messed up their lives in the end. To show how Yuri would pester Mayuko to give away the things she likes, Takaoka jokingly asked Nakayama to give her the earrings she was wearing but Nakayama retorted straight away that she wouldn't do that which was in contrast to how their relationship was in the drama. Nakayama also chipped in by saying that Mayuko must have hated Yuri for making all these demands but continued to be her friend because she couldn't bear to leave Yuri alone.

As for Ryusei, he was quite pressured to be filming a kiss scene with Nakayama and seeing her bare back and buttocks on the first day of the shooting. However, things got better later and he grew to enjoy the filming even though they had to act in more intimate scenes as the story progressed.

Source: Oricon

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Fukushi Souta to star in the real-life adaptation movie of "BLEACH"

Fukushi Souta will be starring in the real-life adaptation movie of popular manga series "BLEACH" which will be shown in cinemas in 2018. The movie which will be directed by Sato Shinsuke who was responsible for films such as "GANTZ" and "I am hero", will feature Fukushi in the leading role of Kurosaki Ichigo, an ordinary senior high school student who becomes a death god in order to eliminate the evil spirits named Hollows. The manga by Kubo Tite was serialised from 2001 and had accumulated sales of 87 million copies for its 73 volumes published so far. It will end its 15-year run in the 22nd September issue of "Shuukan Shounen Jump".

Fukushi commented that he was shocked when told about the manga's adaptation and hopes to do a good job playing Ichigo. As the manga is about to end, he hopes that the movie will be able to satisfy fans who still want to see more of Ichigo and the other characters. On the other hand, Kubo said that the real-life adaptation took this long to be made partly because of his excessive demands but he was glad that it coincided with the end of the manga. He hops to be able to help the movie reach out to people who don't know about "BLEACH" and make the fans satisfied but expressed concern if Ichigo's hair will be dyed orange as per the manga because it might look odd onscreen.

Source: Oricon

Higashiyama Noriyuki to return in the latest installment of "Hissatsu Shigotonin 2016"

Higashiyama Noriyuki will be returning to star in the latest installment of "Hissatsu Shigotonin 2016" which will be broadcast via ABC and TV Asahi at 9pm on 25 September. In the new SP, besides the regular cast members including TOKIO's Matsuoka Masahiro, Hey! Say! JUMP's Chinen Yuri, Wakui Emi, Namase Katsuhisa, Nakagoshi Noriko and Nogiwa Yoko, Endo Kenichi will be returning to the ranks of the shigotonin while Yasuda Ken and Terajima Susumu will play baddies this time.

The "Hissatsu Shigotonin" series started in July 2007 as a drama SP and since then, had one full drama series and 6 SPs to date. The latest installment was shot at Kyoto in February this year and features the themes of power harassment, sexual harassment and moral harassment which the shigotonin must fight against in the organisation.

Higashiyama commented that this was the first time that he had been surprised by a Hissatsu Shigotonin script and that he had been waiting for something like this for a long time. Having taken on this series for the past 9 years, he is glad that the new installment will feature themes which will resonate with the audience of this era and breathe new life into the drama SP.

Source: Oricon

Conclusion of "10th Anniversary Game: Guess The Drama?"

The 10th Anniversary Game: Guess The Drama? is finally over! Thank you for your participation for the past 20 days and I hope that you've had fun during this period.

First of all, allow me to reveal the answer for the last round:

Remote リモード

This 2002 drama from NTV featured Fukada Kyoko as a female traffic police officer who was about to leave her job to get married to Tamaki Hiroshi's character but ended up being sent to work under Himuro (Domoto Koichi) where he issued orders to her remotely from the A building in the MPD HQ. The theme song was sung by KinKi Kids.

Here is the final ranking of this game:

No.1: Nanda Motta (129 points)
No.2: tweetpersecond (109 points)
No.3: Vie Chan (108 points)

No.4: Dendi Darkexodia (91 points)
No.5: mikilove13 (86 points)
No.6: Madoka (72 points)
No.7: yorknell (44 points)
No.8: Audrey Lilian Cussoy (42 points)
No.9: Cris Ogr (31 points)
No.10: AlexAndrA ☆ 玉森 (29 points)
No.11: R (28 points)
No.12: Domoto Ama (19 points)
No.13: (o✪‿✪o) (14 points)
No.14: Tika / Rince (11 points)
No.16: Hayley (10 points)
No. 17: Luchuubit (6 points)
No.18: tae / junny (5 points)
No.20: butaxinju (3 points)
No.21: bibiw / ♡Lizbeth (1 point)

Congratulations to Nanda Motta, tweetpersecond and Vie Chan! I will contact you separately on the sending of the prizes to you by early next week.

I would greatly appreciate if you can share your thoughts and comments with me about this game so that I can make improvements in future. I am planning to organise other games on an irregular basis going forward so I hope to make things easier to implement and encourage more readers to take part. Please leave your comments, questions or views in this blog post.

Till the next game then!

Friday, August 19, 2016

10 years on...and more to come! Thank you for your support!

Today marks an important milestone in Dorama World's history as it celebrates its 10th anniversary! 10 years is a very long time in this Internet age. From the early days as a forum to a blog, it's been amazing to be able to share my passion and thoughts about Japanese dramas, movies and J-ent in general with like-minded people. Thank you for reading my posts all these years and sharing your compliments, comments and criticism during this time. 

Even with the growing popularity of the Korean wave where the TV stations ditched J-dramas in favour of their Korean counterparts, I was glad to be able to interact with everyone who still loved J-dramas like I do even though there were many people who said that it was the end of J-ent's popularity outside of Japan. During times when we could hardly get any J-dramas when cheap VCDs (albeit pirated) were no longer flooding in from Taiwan and China, it was tough trying to keep the passion going since online streaming sites were not prevalent then. Even if you want to support them by buying original DVDs, the exorbitant prices and lack of subtitles (some of the releases come with English subtitles now although the quality can be uneven) are still a deterrent. When it was the era of BitTorrent sharing, downloading the dramas was a huge test of our patience especially if you had crawling Internet connections which could drop anytime. We've witnessed all these trends come and go. We've experienced lots of pain points along our journey to watch J-dramas. Although things still remain less than rosy, there have been improvements. It's easier to find J-dramas through mobile phone apps and online streaming sites now. More people are going to Japan for travel thus they are able to buy original drama DVDs from the shops there. There are more locally-targeted cable TV stations in Asia now like Waku Waku Japan and GEM which provide lots of new and old Japanese dramas for you to pick from.

However, the future for J-dramas is still fraught with difficulties. With falling viewership figures, J-dramas are said to be unable to score high unlike those in the 80s to early 2000s. However, I beg to differ as seen from huge hits like "Hanzawa Naoki" or "Shitamachi Rocket" in recent years. That means if you have something good, it will attract viewers. Another anomaly still remains where those widely praised and talked-about don't fare so well in terms of ratings like the recent "Boku no Yabai Tsuma". Much as we may all agree that ratings do not reflect the quality of a drama, they mean a lot to TV stations since this is how their performance is assessed and how they secure advertising income. The problem is, they are too caught up with domestic ratings and would not try to sell their dramas to overseas locations unlike what the Koreans are actively doing. Just look at how they even try to restrict access to their online trailers by banning IPs which aren't in Japan! Trailers are supposed to be there for a reason. If they can't be accessed, how do you expect interest and demand in your productions to be stirred up? How would you know if potential drama buyers are among those fans who want to check out your trailers? In a world when many people want to push up their YouTube viewership figures, this mentality of controlling the number of viewers just strikes me as absurd. Here we are trying to give free publicity to these content producers but what they are doing seems to be a move aimed at pushing us away. It is indeed discouraging at times to see this happen because they really need to be more proactive and aggressive in selling their content to the world and not be content with achievements in the domestic market only.

Despite all these, we continue to be linked through our passion for Japanese dramas, movies and entertainment. To me, Dorama World exists to be the bridge and gathering point for like-minded people like us. I sincerely hope that you will still be around to celebrate the blog's next anniversary and many more to come and that you will find this to be an useful resource in your journey of enjoying Japanese entertainment.

As part of the celebration, I would like to open up this post for you to ask me questions on anything related to the blog and J-ent. Just comment on this post and I'll try to answer your question soonest. To start the ball rolling, here are some common questions or complaints I received so I think it's good to address them now on this occasion in case I get these questions again:

Why are your news translations "outdated"?
Simple - lack of time and resources. Dorama World is a one-man-operation and I have a day job. If you pay attention to the timing of my posts, many are in the late evening hours or past midnight which is when I finish my work. There was a time when the delay in posting my stories was quite significant (days and weeks after the story first came out) but I am trying to reduce it as much as possible. Then again, I can't promise to be as quick as those sites with staff members or those who have more flexibility with their time. Dorama World is never positioned to be a news site anyway since the main aim is to share J-dramas' information and my reviews after all.

Why did you not post this article's translation?
Erm, for a start, I can't possibly read all the articles that come out every day. My main sources are Nikkansports, Sanspo, Yomiuri Hochi, Sponichi, Oricon and Yahoo! Japan. Anything outside of these, it depends on whether I happen to come across them. Due to time constraints, I hope that you understand that I can't post translations on everything especially if they aren't related to J-dramas, J-movies or people who are involved in these areas e.g. the comedians or newscasters or TV hosts.

Why do you post so few reviews nowadays?
Again, time is the issue. It takes me a long time to write a review, more so if I want to do it for every episode. If I post an episodic review, that tells you how much I love the drama (to the extent of doing that which is so tiring). Even for a single review for the entire drama, it takes me more than a few days since I constantly rewrite the post. Sometimes, writer's block comes into the picture when I find it so difficult to squeeze out a few words. Writing reviews does kill a lot of brain cells and is very taxing on the mind so please be patient with me in the meantime.

I would like to contact you on something so how can I do that?
If you are following the blog's updates through Facebook and Twitter, please drop a direct message there if it's something you want to ask privately. Otherwise, you can always write a comment on the blog post or comment on the Facebook topic or reply to my tweet. However, I would appreciate if you can at least leave a nickname if you are commenting because I find it so difficult to tell who the three Anonymous comments in a single post are from one or more people. When I reply, I don't even know how to address you if you don't provide your nickname so even telling me that your name is A would be better than calling you Anonymous which may be rude to you.

Before I end this post, I would like to inform you that I will be sending out a short survey to get your views on the blog and whether the new changes I've introduced e.g. posting of trailers on Facebook and Twitter are well-received. Please participate in that so as to help make Dorama World an even better resource for everyone!

With that, thank you once again for your support for the past 10 years!