Friday, March 31, 2017

Preview of "Ningen no Shomei" (Drama SP)

Title: Ningen no Shomei 人間の証明 (Proof of the Man)
Official website: here
O.A. Date: 2 April 2017, 9pm
Broadcast by: TV Asahi
Original novel by: Morimura Seiichi
Cast: Fujiwara Tatsuya, Ogata Naoto, Takuma Shin, Horii Arata, Yamada Jundai, Matsunaga Hiroshi, Lavance, Nakahara Takeo, Kusabue Mitsuko, Suzuki Kyoka

Sakurai Sho to star in new real-life adaptation movie "Rapurasu no Majo"

Sakurai Sho will be starring in the new real-life adaptation movie "Rapurasu no Majo" (Laplace's Witch) directed by Miike Takashi which will be the commemorative work to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Higashino Keigo's debut as a writer. The movie which is based on the same-titled novel by Higashino, will be Sakurai's first leading role in a movie since "Kamisama no Karute 2" 4 years ago and his first collaboration with Miike in 9 years since "Yattaman". The novel which had sold more than 280,000 copies to date, had 12 companies fighting for the adaptation rights.

The story describes how two cases of people poisoned to death by hydrogen sulfide at hot springs in two separate locations seem unrelated at first but it turns out that they were acquaintances. As such, the police approaches Professor Aoe Shusuke (Sakurai) who is also a geochemist to assist in their investigations to confirm if the deaths were due to accidents or foul play. During the process, Aoe meets a mysterious girl Uhara Madoka (Hirose Suzu) who appears at the crime scene and seems to have the power to predict when a natural phenomenon will happen. While Aoe is trying to ascertain if Madoka is involved in the cases, Madoka will be searching for a missing young man Amakasu Kento played by Fukushi Souta.

Filming began from 16 March and is expected to wrap up in late April. The movie will be shown in 2018.

Sources: Nikkansports / Sponichi / Sanspo / Oricon /

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Kitano Kii to appear in new WOWOW drama "Shachoushitsu no Fuyu - Kyodai Shinbunsha wo toru otoko -"

Kitano Kii will be appearing in the new WOWOW drama "Shachoushitsu no Fuyu - Kyodai Shinbunsha wo toru otoko -" starring Mikami Hiroshi which will begin its run from 30 April in the Sundays 10pm timeslot. The drama which consists of 5 episodes, is based on the novel "Shachoushitsu no Fuyu" by Douba Shunichi and describes how a prominent news company with a long history plots to sell itself to a foreign company. Aoi Souta (Mikami) who is the president of the Japanese entity of United States' large-scale shopping company AMC, will be the person aiming to take over his former employer Nihon Shinpo for his current employer AMC and behaves like a tyrant towards the people who work with him.

Kitano will be playing the role of Takatori Atsuko who is the secretary of Aoi and has another identity as Aoi's daughter. She is a career woman who is sexy and determined to make her mark. This will be the first time she is taking on such a career woman role and she cut her hair by 40cm for this role.

Sources: Sanspo / Oricon /

Supporting cast line-up for new Netflix drama "Jimmy ~ Aho mitai na honma no hanashi ~" announced

The supporting cast line-up for new Netflix drama "Jimmy ~ Aho mitai na honma no hanashi ~" has been announced. The drama which is based on the life of comedian Jimmy Onishi, will feature Koide Keisuke playing Sanma himself and Nakao Akiyoshi playing Jimmy. It describes the "fateful" meeting at Osaka in the 1980s between Sanma and Jimmy when Sanma found the latter tied to the staircase of a theatre without wearing any clothes. At that time, Jimmy was just a newbie comedian who failed at everything he did while Sanma was already a popular star. Subsequently, Sanma helped Jimmy to develop his comedic talent and the latter even became an international artist.

Sato Koichi will be playing Miyake Keisuke, the famous producer who had discovered Sanma and many other TV stars. As Sato has been a close friend of Sanma since they acted together in a 1982 movie, he revealed that he was drawn to this drama because the latter was the producer and volunteered to take part in this drama. During the filming, he had a lot of fun chatting with Sanma and Miyake himself.

Other co-stars include Ikewaki Chizuru who plays Ootake Shinobu i.e. Sanma's ex-wife, Namase Katsuhisa who plays Jimmy's high school teacher and advisor in the baseball team, Tezuka Satomi who plays the owner of a restaurant and Nukumizu Yoichi who plays a doctor.

The drama which consists of 9 episodes, will be shown internationally this summer.

Sources: Sanspo / Sponichi 1 / Sponichi 2 / Oricon

Takenouchi Yutaka & Matsuzaka Toori to appear in new movie "Kanojo ga sono na wo shiranai toritachi"

Takenouchi Yutaka and Matsuzaka Toori will be appearing in the new movie "Kanojo ga sono na wo shiranai toritachi" starring Aoi Yu and Abe Sadao which is directed by Shiraishi Kazuya. The movie which is based on the popular mystery novel by Numata Mahokaru, depicts how a self-centred woman Towako (Aoi) is still pining for her ex-boyfriend Kurosaki even after breaking up with him 8 years ago and has the tendency to complain about everything. While wallowing in self-pity, she lives together with a man Jinji (Abe) who is 15 years older than her but is penniless and has no achievements to speak of. One day, when Towako comes to know that Kurosaki has disappeared, this marks a drastic change in her life.

Takenouchi plays the role of Kurosaki who treated Towako very badly when they parted ways and uses the women around him as pawns for his survival and progress in life. With regard to his character, Takenouchi commented that he finds it difficult to identify with such a hopeless person but after discussing with the director during their first meeting, he decided to take on the challenge of making such a lousy man appear interesting in the movie.

On the other hand, Matsuzaka plays the role of Mizushima Shin who works as the sales supervisor in the watches section of a high-class departmental store and is involved in an extramarital affair with Towako. Although he looks like a honest guy on the surface, he is willing to do anything to satisfy his sexual desire. Matsuzaka revealed that this is the first time that he will be appearing in a bed scene so he's very honoured that he will be doing it with Aoi who he is collaborating with for the first time as well.

Co-stars also include Murakawa Eri, Akahori Masaaki, Akazawa Muck and Nakajima Shuu. The movie will be shown in cinemas from October this year.


Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Video Research TV Talent Image Survey Top 50 Celebrities (February 2017)

Video Research conducts a survey twice a year i.e. February and August where they provide respondents with a list of 500 male and 500 female celebrities for them to choose the celebrities who they like. In this edition of the survey, 1,130 people from 10 years old to 69 years old living within a 30km radius of Tokyo Station were polled.

Note that the figures in brackets indicate the popularity percentage of the artiste:

Top 50 male celebrities
1) Abe Hiroshi (55.2%)
2) Matsuko Deluxe (53.6%)
3) Nishikori Kei (51.0%)
4) Akashiya Sanma (50.6%)
5) Tamori (45.8%)
6) Ichiro / Hakata Hanamaru Daikichi (44.8%)
8) Tokoro George (44.1%)
9) Uchimura Teruyoshi (43.7%)
10) Aiba Masaki (43.0%)
11) Ooizumi Yo (42.5%)
12) Watanabe Ken (42.1%)
13) Kuwata Keisuke (41.9%)
14) Matsuoka Shuzo (41.8%)
15) Beat Takeshi / Abe Sadao (40.9%)
17) Nakai Masahiro (40.5%)
18) Okada Junichi (39.8%)
19) Otani Shohei (39.5%)
20) Fukuyama Masaharu / Summers (39.3%)
22) Takada Junji (39.1%)
23) Sakurai Sho (38.6%)
24) Ishizuka Hidehiko (38.2%)
25) Taka and Toshi / Hanyuu Yuzuru (37.9%)
27) Shimura Ken (37.7%)
28) Matsumoto Hitoshi (37.5%)
29) Ohno Satoshi (37.3%)
30) Tsutsumi Shinichi (37.2%)
31) Sakai Masato (37.0%)
32) Degawa Tetsuro (36.8%)
33) Shofukutei Tsurube / Sandwich Man (36.3%)
35) Endo Kenichi (36.1%)
36) Kohinata Fumio (35.8%)
37) Hoshino Gen / Yamada Takayuki (34.9%)
39) Joshima Shigeru (34.7%)
40) Ninomiya Kazunari / Harada Taizo (34.5%)
42) Inohara Yoshihiko (34.2%)
43) Nagase Tomoya (34.0%)
44) Miyagawa Daisuke (33.8%)
45) DAIGO / Wakabayashi Masayasu (33.5%)
47) Hamada Masatoshi / Karasawa Toshiaki (33.3%)
49) Nishida Toshiyuki / Nishijima Hidetoshi (33.1%)

Top 50 female celebrities
1) Ayase Haruka (57.0%)
2) Aragaki Yui (55.0%)
3) Amami Yuki (49.7%)
4) Asada Mao (49.0%)
5) Kitagawa Keiko (45.3%)
6) Rola (45.0%)
7) Fukada Kyoko (44.8%)
8) An (44.4%)
9) Ishihara Satomi (44.1%)
10) Shinohara Ryoko (43.4%)
11) Ikimonogakari / Yoshinaga Sayuri (43.0%)
13) Watanabe Naomi (42.8%)
14) DREAMS COME TRUE (42.3%)
15) Kiki Kirin (41.8%)
16) Koizumi Kyoko (41.4%)
17) Kanno Miho (40.7%)
18) Utada Hikaru (40.5%)
19) Fukuhara Ai (39.8%)
20) Yanagihara Kanako / Yoshida Yo (38.6%)
22) Kondou Haruna (38.4%)
23) Yonekura Ryoko (38.2%)
24) Ueto Aya (37.9%)
25) Nakama Yukie (37.2%)
26) Itou Asako / Arimura Kasumi (37.0%)
28) Matsu Takako (36.6%)
29) Imoto Ayako / Nakajima Miyuki (36.3%)
31) Amuro Namie (35.2%)
32) Tomochika (35.0%)
33) Fukatsu Eri (34.7%)
34) Yuka (34.5%)
35) Kuroyanagi Tetsuko / Nagasawa Masami (34.3%)
37) Ishida Yuriko (34.2%)
38) Takeuchi Yuko (34.0%)
39) Matsutoya Yumi (33.8%)
40) Shibasaki Kou (33.5%)
41) Horikita Maki (32.9%)
42) Shibata Rie / Kiritani Mirei (31.7%)
44) Matsushima Nanako (31.3%)
45) Koike Eiko (31.2%)
46) Kichise Michiko (29.9%)
47) Hirose Suzu / Tabe Mikako (29.7%)
49) Matsushita Nao (29.4%)
50) Nakagawa Shoko (28.7%)

Source: Video Research

Preview of "Yongo Keibi" - Spring 2017

Title: Yongo Keibi 4号警備 (No.4 Security Guard)
Official website: here
O.A. Start Date: 8 April 2017
Timeslot: Saturdays 8.15pm
Broadcast by: NHK
Cast: Kubota Masataka, Kitamura Kazuki, Abe Junko, Kaku Kento, Hamada Mari, Kataoka Tsurutaro, Kimura Tae, Takagi Wataru, Maro Akaji, Kanbe Hiroshi, Kubota Sayu
Guest Stars: Mizuhashi Kenji, Ozawa Kazuhiro, Nakayama Hideyuki, Ito Ran, Takahashi Mitsuomi

Screening event & press conference of new NHK drama "Yongo Keibi"

The screening event and press conference of new NHK drama "Yongo Keibi" was held at NHK's HQ in Tokyo on 29 March which was attended by cast members Kubota Masataka, Kitamura Kazuki and Abe Junko. The drama which consists of 7 episodes, begins its run from 8 April in the 8.15pm timeslot.

The drama describes the lives of bodyguards who work in a private security company as they tackle various security issues facing their clients from stalkers, hatred from subordinates and colleagues and child kidnappers regardless of whether they are celebrities or ordinary people. However, as they are not the police, they do not have the power to arrest people nor have firearms in their possession. For the sake of their client, they must be on standby 24-7 and risk their lives so they are nicknamed as Yongo Keibi (No.4 Security Guard) by industry insiders.

Kubota plays the role of Asahina who works a security guard in the company Guard Keepers and is a cheerful young man boasting of great fitness. He used to be a police officer but quit due to an unknown setback thus leading him to enter the world of private security guards. One day, he is assigned to become a Yongo Keibi and told to team up with Ishimaru (Kitamura) who used to be the president of a company and is such a careful person who thinks before he acts that he is nicknamed as a coward by others now. Being totally opposites, the duo clash with each other but try to work together to protect their clients from danger. Through the course of their work, they find answers as to what it means to protect people and come to terms with their pasts. Abe Junko plays Ueno Yui, a woman troubled over a stalker.

Kubota described this drama as one with a speedy flow and pace and the first episode alone features impressive action and car action scenes spanning about 30 minutes which are bound to satisfy viewers. As the Yongo Keibi can only use self-defense techniques to deflect attacks, the action scenes which they had to do were largely related to joint locks commonly seen in judo. On the other hand, Kitamura said jokingly that he had so many action scenes to do that he had new injuries every day but in actual fact, Kubota was the one who had to do most of them including jumping up the walls using parkour techniques. Before the filming started, the cast who played the guards went for a briefing where they learnt the ropes of the job. Kubota remarked that this group of people don't get to enjoy the glamour and attention of a regular police officer and go about their duties quietly in the background without any arrest rights and possession of weapons like guns. As such, he hopes that this drama will let more people know about these guards and their work of protecting others.

Abe described Kitamura as a cool father and Kubota as a gentle elder brother to her so they had a lot of fun during the filming and would go for meals and karaoke after work. She revealed that Kitamura loves to sing Nagabuchi Tsuyoshi's songs while Kubota's favourite singer was Oda Kazumasa. Upon hearing this, the two actors said that she didn't have to reveal so much to everyone.

Sources: Oricon /

Ooizumi Yo, Tsuchiya Tao & Mukai Osamu to star in FujiTV drama SP "Drama Mysteries ~ Karisuma shotenin ga eranda jugyoku no issatsu ~"

Ooizumi Yo, Tsuchiya Tao and Mukai Osamu will be starring in the upcoming FujiTV drama SP "Drama Mysteries ~ Karisuma shotenin ga eranda jugyoku no issatsu ~" (Drama Mysteries ~ Literary gems chosen by charismatic bookstore employees ~) which will be shown at 9pm on 22 April. Three short mystery stories were chosen by charismatic bookstore employees who chose the stories they hoped to see as dramas according to a survey conducted by FujiTV. This drama SP will be directed by Inudo Isshin.

In the segment "Tsuma no onnatomodachi" (My wife's girlfriends) based on Koike Mariko's story, Ooizumi plays the role of Hironaka Hajime who leads a peaceful life with his wife and their only daughter. However, the appearance of his wife's university classmate Tada Miyuki (Takaoka Saki) causes him to become a murderer. With regard to his character, Ooizumi said that he has never played someone like this before so he was happy to be able to take on this new challenge. Although it will probably be difficult for viewers to accept Hajime's thinking and feelings readily, he hopes that they will enjoy this fascinating tale with a shocking ending.

Tsuchiya stars in the next story "Koiwazurai" (Lovesickness) from the book "Watashitachi ga seiza wo nusunda riyuu" (The reason why we stole the zodiac sign) by Kitayama Takekuni. She plays the role of Kuramoto Aki who is currently pregnant and living with her boyfriend Ueda Shun (Inowaki Kai) who used to be her senior high school classmate. However, she finds it difficult to tell him about the pregnancy especially as she suspects that he is cheating on her. Just then, she reunites with her buddy from senior high school Kayano Touko (Kishii Yukino) which subsequently leads to her life being in danger. Tsuchiya commented that this is the first time she has come across such a story which she cannot tell how it's going to progress and that her character is a big fool who seems to be waddling through a mist.

Last but not least, Mukai will be starring in "Nasake wa hito no..." (Love is a person's...) from "Nusumarete" by Imamura Aya as a part-time bartender Kitagawa Takeshi. One day, he gets approached by a middle-aged man who visits the bar where he works at and asked to take part in a kidnapping. Actually, Takeshi and his mother had been abandoned by his father Tsukahara when he was a child so he agrees to take part in the kidnapping of his half-brother Masahiko (Ohnishi Riku) who is just 10 years old for the sake of revenge. However, things develop in a direction beyond his expectations. Mukai revealed that even though the beginning of his segment may seem quite sinister at first, the ending will actually be a bit heartwarming. As he had experience being a bartender for 6 years before he became an actor, Mukai said that he wished that there were more scenes where he could show off his tricks.

Sources: Sponichi / Sanspo / Oricon

Tunnels' Kinashi Noritake & Sato Takeru to star in new real-life adaptation movie "Inuyashiki"

Tunnels' Kinashi Noritake will be starring in the new real-life adaptation movie "Inuyashiki" based on the same-titled manga by Oku Hiroya which had sold more than 2 million copies to date. This will be Kinashi's first leading role in a movie since 2002's "Ryoma no tsuma to sono otto to aijin". He will be working with Sato Takeru who will be taking on his first baddie role in this movie.

Kinashi will be playing the lead character Inuyashiki Ichiro, an elderly salaryman who has no friends and a poor relationship with his family. One day, he gets struck by a mysterious explosion in a park which leads to him acquiring a cyborg-like body and superhuman powers which he resolves to use in helping others and find the meaning of his existence. On the other hand, a young man named Shishigami Hiro (Sato) was also affected by the explosion and decides to use his powers to kill mercilessly in a bid to bring about the extinction of human beings. As the paths of Inuyashiki and Shishigami cross, they are destined to fight each other as nobody but Inuyashiki can stop the latter.

Kinashi revealed that when he first received the offer to act in this movie, he had only heard the title and didn't know what the movie's story was about. It was only when his children heard about it and encouraged him to take this on because they are big fans of the manga. Before the filming began, he had to go overseas to undergo a full body scan where seals were pasted on every part of his body so that the information can be used for the CG scenes. As it was his first experience doing this, Kinashi said that it was as if he had stepped into a brand new world. Kinashi also revealed that when he told his buddy Nakai Kiichi about the movie, the latter teased him for doing a movie about dogs which made Kinashi resolve to do a great job and prove his friend wrong. As for Sato, he commented that he did feel apprehensive about playing this character but he was attracted by the scale of the movie and the attractiveness of the role so he decided to give it a go in the end.

Co-stars in this movie include Hongo Kanata who plays Ando Naoyuki, Nikaidou Fumi who plays Watanabe Shion, Miyoshi Ayaka (Inuyashiki Mari), Fukuzaki Nayuta (Inuyashiki Takeshi), Hamada Mari (Inuyashiki Marie), Saito Yuki (Shishigami Yuko) and Iseya Yusuke who plays an original character Detective Hagiwara.

The movie will be shown in cinemas next year.

Sources: Nikkansports /

Preview of "Yasuragi no Sato" - Spring 2017

Title: Yasuragi no Sato やすらぎの郷 (The hometown of peacefulness)
Official website: here
O.A. Start Date: 3 April 2017
Timeslot: Mondays to Fridays, 12.30pm
Broadcast by: TV Asahi
Scriptwriter: Ishizaka Koji
Theme Song: "Bojou" by Nakajima Miyuki
Cast: Ishizaka Koji, Asaoka Ruriko, Arima Ineko, Kaga Mariko, Kusakari Tamiyo, Satsuki Midori, Tokiwa Takako, Nadaka Tatsuo, Nogiwa Yoko, Fuji Tatsuya, Fubuki Jun, Matsuoka Mayu, Mickey Curtis, Yachigusa Kaoru, Yamamoto Kei

Production press conference of TV Asahi Spring 2017 afternoon drama "Yasuragi no Sato"

The production press conference of TV Asahi Spring 2017 afternoon drama "Yasuragi no Sato" was held at Happoen in Tokyo on 16 March which was attended by the scriptwriter Kuramoto Sou and cast members Ishizaka Koji, Asaoka Ruriko, Kaga Mariko, Yachigusa Kaoru, Satsuki Midori, Arima Ineko, Kusakari Tamiyo, Tokiwa Takako, Nadaka Tatsuo, Fuji Tatsuya, Fubuki Jun, Matsuoka Mayu, Yamamoto Kei and Mickey Curtis. Only Nogiwa Yoko was absent due to scheduling conflicts. The drama which is targeted at the senior generation and will last for 26 weeks, will begin its run from 3 April in the Mondays to Fridays 12.30pm timeslot.

The drama is set in an old folks' home named Yasuragi no Sato La Strada where only those who had worked in the TV entertainment industry such as actors, writers, musicians and artists are allowed to live at. Ishizaka plays Kikumura Sakae who used to be a popular scenario writer and lives among the stars of yesterday together at the old folks' home where the problems they face are presented in a humourous manner. At the entrance of the home, the residents display their photos in mourning wear as if they are at a funeral of a fellow actor.

Kuramoto said that in order to fight against the golden timeslot targeted at the younger generations, he suggested having this silver timeslot and hopes to create a silver revolution in the TV industry. As for the script, Kuramoto who is well-known for creating characters which are close to the actors' personalities and charms, said that he has known most of the cast for the long time so he knows a lot of their secrets and weak points which he has used to inject humour into the story. Ishizaka echoed this and said that he felt as his own weak points were being exposed in the drama but he had fun just going with the flow while acting.

Ishizaka and Asaoka who were married from 1971 until they got divorced in December 2000, revealed that they had not met for the past 16 years and not acted together for 31 years. As such, the first scene in the drama described their characters as not having met for 20 years which was strangely in sync with their real life situations. Coincidentally, Ishizaka's former live-in girlfriend Kaga also appears in the drama so in that opening scene when Ishizaka and Asaoka were hugging after their reunion, he could somehow feel Kaga's "piercing" glances shooting at them which made everyone laugh at this remark.

Meanwhile, Fuji who plays a quiet former actor specialising in gangster roles, "complained" that everything is fun while filming this drama except for having to memorise the lines. With regard to this, Ishizaka who has the most lines, said that he feels the pain most in the cast.

Sources: Nikkansports / Sanspo 1 / Sanspo 2 / Oricon

Tomosaka Rie announces her divorce from Suneohair at the end of last year

Tomosaka Rie announced through her blog on 29 March that she had divorced her second husband Suneohair at the end of last year following reports in the media about this. In her post, Tomosaka said in a self-depreciating tone that she was aware of the likelihood that people might say that they expected this to happen (since this was her second marriage) and she had nothing to say in return to that. However, she stressed that even though divorce itself can be hardly seen as amicable, the process went through smoothly with no alimony demands. Although she and her ex-husband tried to talk things through, it did not turn out well so they had to go their separate ways.

With regard to her 12-year-old son from her first marriage, Tomosaka said that she was sorry for letting her son be caught in this undesirable situation created by the adults. Her son was more mature than she expected which she also felt was due to the circumstances she had placed him in. As such, she will focus more on being a frank and honest mother to her son going forward.

Tomosaka got married to actor and stage director Kawahara Masahiko in 2003 and gave birth to their son in 2004. However, the couple got divorced in December 2008 before she remarried Suneohair in June 2011. Tomosaka and Suneohair met through the 2010 movie "Aburasakusu no Matsuri" and sang the ending theme together which led to them dating. Subsequently, they acted in the movie "Haizai ~ Kamisama no iutoori ~" in 2012 after their marriage. During the early days of their marriage, Tomosaka would mention Suneohair in her blog and Instagram but this stopped in the last two years. During the New Year holiays this year, Tomosaka posted in her blog that she had gone on a trip to Karuizawa with her parents and her son. While this is Tomosaka's second divorce, it is Suneohair's third divorce as he had been married to two non-celebrities in the past.

Source: Yomiuri Hochi

Hoshino Gen to star in new WOWOW drama "Plage" as a man with a criminal record

Hoshino Gen will be starring in the new WOWOW drama "Plage" which will be shown this summer in the Saturdays 10pm timeslot. The drama which consists of 5 episodes, is the first drama in 10 years featuring Hoshino in the leading role and based on the same-titled novel by Honda Tetsuya.

Hoshino will be playing the 32-year-old lead character Yoshimura Takao, a sales department salaryman at a travel agency who dabbles in stimulants out of fun which then leads to his arrest and dismissal by his company. To make things worse, the apartment where he lives at goes up in flames by accident. Having lost his job and place to live, Takao goes to live in the sharehouse Plage which takes in people with various backgrounds who are striving to regain their former lives or content to stay in a corner of society. Although Takao resolves to restart his life, he gets embroiled into the controversies and troubles involving the tenants there.

Hoshino commented that this must be the most useless person he has played in his career so far and he revealed that he found Takao to be the type of people he can't handle. However, from episode 3 onwards, Hoshino finally saw the charming points in Takao's character so he unwittingly found himself liking Takao by the end.

Filming began from 8 March.

Sources: Sanspo / Sponichi / Oricon /

Screening event and press conference of TV Tokyo drama SP "Kajitsu no nai mori"

The screening event and press conference of TV Tokyo drama SP "Kajitsu no nai mori" was held at the TV station's Roppongi HQ on 21 March which was attended by cast members Higashiyama Noriyuki and Nakayama Miho. The drama SP will be shown at 9pm on 29 March.

The two of them both made their debut in 1985 but this is the first time that they are acting in the same drama. Filming was done under a tight schedule in December last year. Despite so, Higashiyama joked that he enjoyed the tough filming since he got rewards such as doing a kissing scene with Nakayama on 12 December which was his debut anniversary and a bed scene on Christmas Eve.

Higashiyama plays the role of Umeki Ryusuke, a creative planner working in a IT company who happens to meet a mysterious beautiful woman Eto Miyuki (Nakayama) and her male companion while returning from a drive as they try to hitch a ride from him. However, he finds out that the man died suddenly in a strange way while getting increasingly obsessed with Miyuki. When he realises later that the men around her die one after another under mysterious conditions, Umeki sets out to find the truth out of fear for his own safety.

Sources: / Nikkansports / Sanspo / Sponichi

Preview of "Hiyokko" (NHK morning drama)

Title: Hiyokko ひよっこ (Young Bird)
Official website: here
Official Instagram: here
Official Twitter: here
O.A. Start Date: 3 April 2017
Timeslot: Mondays to Saturdays, 8am
Broadcast by: NHK
Scriptwriter: Okada Yoshikazu
Theme Song: Wakai Hiroba by Kuwata Keisuke
Narrator: Masuda Akemi
Cast: Arimura Kasumi, Sawamura Ikki, Kimura Yoshino, Furuya Ikkou, Mineta Kazunobu, Miyahara Kanau, Takahashi Rai, Sakuma Yui, Hada Michiko, Tooyama Toshiya, Shibuya Kento,
Izumisawa Yuuki, Shibata Rie, Asakura Shinji, Onoue Hiroyuki, Matsuo Satoru, Tsuda Kanji, Yamasaki Shizuyo, Miyamoto Nobuko, Sasaki Kuranosuke, Yatsui Ichirou, Sato Hitomi, Isomura Hayato, Wakui Emi, Kojima Fujiko, Yagi Yuuki, Matsumoto Honoka, Fujino Ryoko, Kageyama Tai, Okuda Yohei, Ryuusei Ryo, Inowaki Kai

Handover ceremony of NHK morning dramas "Beppin-san" & "Hiyokko"

The handover ceremony of NHK morning dramas "Beppin-san" and "Hiyokko" was held at NHK's HQ in Shibuya, Tokyo on 23 March which was attended by the leads Yoshine Kyoko and Arimura Kasumi. During the ceremony, the leads engaged in a customary exchange of gifts where Arimura presented tomatoes, natto, monkfish which are signature produce from Ibaraki Prefecture as well as rice which she harvested personally. In return, Yoshine gave 2kg of Kobe beef to Arimura. With regard to the gifts, Arimura said that she never expected to receive beef but it will come in useful to build stamina for the filming ahead. On the other hand, Yoshine revealed that she was very happy to get her favourite tomatoes so she will support "Hiyokko" while she is having breakfast with the rice and tomatoes. When asked if she had any advice for Arimura, Yoshine said that she hopes that Arimura can finish the filming safely without any injuries and illness and suggested that she should sleep as much as she could.

"Beppin-san" will end its run on 1 April while "Hiyokko" begins its run from 3 April.

Sources: Nikkansports / Sanspo / Sponichi

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Screening event for new NHK morning drama "Hiyokko"

The screening event for the first six episodes of new NHK morning drama "Hiyokko" was held at NHK's HQ in Shibuya, Tokyo, on 15 March which was attended by the lead actress Arimura Kasumi. The drama begins its run from 3 April at 8am from Mondays to Saturdays.

"Hiyokko" is written by Okada Yoshikazu which is set in 1964 i.e. the year when the Tokyo Olympics was held. Arimura plays the role of a young woman named Yatabe Mineko from Ibaraki Prefecture whose father disappears after she graduates from high school. In a bid to find him, Mineko joins the mass wave of youngsters leaving their hometowns to work in Tokyo. While working at a factory, Mineko overcomes various difficulties and grows as an adult. The drama will feature Mineko's life from the age of 18 to 30 so there will be no child actor playing her role thus Arimura will appear from the first episode.

Arimura revealed that there is a difference in her images during the Ibaraki arc and Tokyo arc of the story as she actually put on 5kg and was darker than now because she was constantly exposed to the sun. However, in the Tokyo arc, her clothes and hairstyle were changed so as to shed the country bumpkin image she had in the Ibaraki arc. As Mineko comes from a family growing rice, Arimura wanted to show Mineko's healthy and tanned image back home. Thus, she deliberately ate rice for her three meals even though she actually hardly eats carbohydrates and she wasn't even asked to put on weight specifically for her role. However, it was tough for her to lose the extra pounds in time. More than one-third of the 156 episodes have been completed and filming for the Tokyo arc began on the same day of the screening event.

Sources: Sponichi / Oricon

Satisfaction ranking for Winter 2017 dramas (TV Watcher)

TV Watcher conducts a daily survey on at least 3,000 respondents per day on each episode of the dramas shown within a full season. In this ranking, it takes the average score tabulated from the scores for each episode. The maximum score a drama can get is 5.

Numbers in brackets indicate the average satisfaction score for each drama:

1) Uso no Sensou (4.030)
2) Quartet (3.889)
3) Okaasan, Musume wo yamete ii desuka? (3.856)
4) Super Salaryman Saenai-shi (3.758)
5) Gekokujou Juken (3.746)
6) Tokyo Tarareba Musume (3.738)
7) Sanbiki no Ossan 3 ~ Seigi no mikata, Mitabi!! ~ (3.718)
8) A LIFE ~ Itoshiki Hito ~ (3.698)
9) Shuukatsu Kazoku ~ Kitto, umaku iku ~ (3.619)
10) Ubai Ai, Fuyu (3.616)
11) Shikaku Tantei Higurashi Tabito (3.501)
12) Daibinbou (3.457)
13) Kirawareru Yuuki (3.327)
14) Totsuzen desuga, ashita kekkon shimasu (3.174)

Source: TV Watcher

Preview of "Kajitsu no nai mori" (Drama SP)

Title: Kajitsu no nai mori 花実のない森 (The forest without flowers and fruits)
Official website: here
O.A. Date: 29 March 2017, 9pm
Broadcast by: TV Tokyo
Original novel by: Matsumoto Seicho
Cast: Higashiyama Noriyuki, Nakayama Miho, Ozawa Yukiyoshi, Aibu Saki, Ohwada Baku, Watanabe Ikkei, Washio Machiko, Nakahara Takeo, Kimoto Takehiro, Fukikoshi Mitsuru, Terajima Susumu

Top 10 movies box office ranking for the weekend of 25th & 26th March 2017

Numbers in brackets indicate the number of cinemas showing the movie:

1) SING (359)

2) Moana (359)

3) Eiga Doraemon Nobita no Nankyoku Kachi Kochi Daibouken (362)

4) Kong: Skull Island (336)

5) Hirunaka no Ryuusei (272)

6) Kamen Rider x Super Sentai Chou Super Hero Taisen (308)

7) P to JK (303)

8) La La Land (259)

9) Passengers (298)

10) Eiga Puri Kyua Dream Stars! (216)


Sunday, March 26, 2017

Preview of "Hokuto - Aru Satsujinsha no Kaishin -" (Spring 2017)

Title: Hokuto - Aru Satsujinsha no Kaishin - 北斗 - ある殺人者の回心 - (Hokuto A murderer's conversion)
Official website: here
O.A. Start Date: 25 March 2017
Timeslot: Saturdays 10pm
Total number of episodes: 5
Broadcast by: WOWOW
Original novel by: Ishida Ira
Cast: Nakayama Yuuma, Matsuo Suzuki, Murakami Jun, Nakamura Yuko, Ito Sairi, Nikaidou Satoshi, Negishi Toshie, Rijuu Gou, Yajima Kenichi, Ohnishi Riku, Urabe Fusako, Owada Kensuke, Yamada Anna, Fujita Yumiko, Shimada Kyuusaku, Miyamoto Nobuko

Completion press conference of new WOWOW drama "Hokuto - Aru Satsujinsha no Kaishin-"

The completion press conference of new WOWOW drama "Hokuto - Aru Satsujinsha no Kaishin" was held on 16 March which was attended by the director Takimoto Tomoyuki and cast members Nakayama Yuma, Miyamoto Nobuko and Matsuo Suzuki. The drama which consists of 5 episodes and begins its run from 25 March, is based on the 2012 same-titled novel by Ishida Ira that won the 8th Chuokouron Bungeisho and features Nakayama as a 20-year-old young man named Hashizume Hokuto who was abused by his real parents when he was a child and later sent to an orphanage. It was only when he was adopted by his foster mother Kondo Ayako (Miyamoto) that he finally tasted what it means to be loved. However, due to a cruel twist of fate, he ends up becoming a murderer and asks his lawyer (Matsuo) to stop defending him so that he can be given the death sentence. The story describes the process of how he becomes a murderer and the trial he goes through until the verdict is passed.

In order to play this difficult role, Nakayama lost 12kg in 20 days and slept for only 15 minutes on the last two days of the filming to create his haggard image. As for preparing himself mentally, he stopped using his mobile phone, removed the TV from his house and lived apart from his pet dog during the filming. Takimoto also emphasized that if viewers watch the entire drama, they will be able to see the changes in Nakayama's physical appearance and screen presence as the story progresses. When the filming finally ended, the director brought Nakayama's dog to him which made him so happy that he cried tears of joy.

Source: Oricon

Nakai Masahiro reportedly dating choreographer Takeda Maika for the last six years

According to various media reports such as the 16th March issue of "Josei Seven", Nakai Masahiro is said to be dating former-dancer-turned choreographer Takeda Maika for the last six years. The couple was said to have met eight years ago when Takeda danced the parts of Nakai and Kimura Takuya on their behalf during SMAP's concert rehearsals and they started dating soon after. With regard to this news, Johnny's Jimusho responded to the media that they had no comments to make since this is Nakai's private matter.

Takeda who is 12 years younger than Nakai, is a very sought-after choreographer and has worked with various Japanese artistes such as AKB48, Amuro Namie, Kato Miriya, BoA and KinKi Kids and Korean groups such as SHINee. She does not use any social media sites but appears frequently on the social media accounts of various artistes especially former AKB48 member Itano Tomomi who has been engaging Takeda as her back dancer since she made her solo debut. Takeda was featured in a 2013 NHK documentary when she was coaching AKB48 members.

Sources: Nikkansports / Sanspo / Messy

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Preview of "Soshite dare mo inakunatta" (Drama SP)

Title: Soshite dare mo inakunatta そして誰もいなくなった (And then there was none)
Official website: here
O.A. Dates: 25th & 26th March 2017 at 9pm
Broadcast by: TV Asahi
Original novel by: Agatha Christie
Cast: Nakama Yukie, Mukai Osamu, Yanagiba Toshiro, Daichi Mao, Kunimura Jun, Fuji Mariko, Yo Kimiko, Hashizume Isao, Tsugawa Masahiko, Watase Tsunehiko, Arakawa Yoshiyoshi, Sawamura Ikki

Supporting cast lineup of TV Tokyo drama SP "Pensees" announced

The supporting cast lineup of TV Tokyo drama SP "Pensees" starring Perfume has been announced. The drama SP is based on an original script written by Kizara Izumi with the themes of what it means to have a dream, work and die. Nishiwaki Ayaka will play a company employee nicknamed Don-chan while Kashino Yuka plays Okamido who works as in her family business and Omoto Ayano plays Noribuu who is a freeter. The three of them became close friends since primary school as they went home together. When the three of them decide to buy a European-style bungalow which they have been eyeing for a long time, the real estate company offers to sell it to them at a very low price on the condition that they look after someone named Rikimaru. Upon agreeing to this, the trio move into the bungalow where they start to ponder over their dreams, work and death through their chats with one another.

Katsumura Masanobu will be playing the hikikomori middle-aged man Kabayama Rikimaru while Katagiri Hairi will be Minamino Sono who claims to be the housekeeper of the Kabayama household. Furutachi Kanji will be playing the real estate company's employee and Ohshima Yoko will play a customer of the company.

Part 1 of the drama SP will be shown via TV Tokyo, TV Hokkaido and TVQ Kyushu Housou at 12.52am on 31 March  and via TV Aichi at 2.35am on 3 April. Part 2 will be shown at the following times and days:
TV Tokyo - 1.15am on 1 April
TV Hokkaido - 12.35am on 2 April
TVQ Kyushu Housou - 1.05am on 2 April
TV Aichi - 3.05am on 3 April

Source: Oricon

Friday, March 24, 2017

Preview of "Hagoku" (Drama SP)

Title: Hagoku 破獄 (Jailbreak)
Official website: here
O.A. Date: 12 April 2017, 9pm
Broadcast by: TV Tokyo
Original novel by: Yoshimura Akira
Cast: Beat Takeshi, Yamada Takayuki, Watanabe Ikkei, Terajima Susumu, Matsushige Yutaka, Nakamura Aoi, Ikeuchi Hiroyuki, Katsumura Masanobu, Hashizume Isao, Mitsushima Hikari, Yoshida Yo

Yoshida Yo & Mitsushima Hikari to appear in TV Tokyo drama SP "Hagoku"

Yoshida Yo and Mitsushima Hikari will be appearing in the new TV Tokyo drama SP "Hagoku" starring Beat Takeshi which will be shown at 9pm on 12 April. In this drama SP set in 1942, Takeshi will be playing a prison warden named Urata Susumu who works at Kosuge Prison in Tokyo and has no purpose in life other than stop his prisoners from escaping ever since his wife died during an earthquake. One day, he is informed that a former inmate at Kosuge named Sakuma Kiyotaro who used to respect him a lot and was sent to another prison in Akita to serve his life sentence had escaped. 3 months later, Sakuma comes to Urata's house and reveals that he was subjected to inhumane treatment at the Akita prison and wants to launch a lawsuit against them. However, Urata tells on Sakuma which results in the latter being caught and sent to the prison in Abashiri, Hokkaido. Subsequently, Urata gets transferred to Abashiri to become the chief warden and meets Sakuma there again. Yamada will be taking on the role of Sakuma who was born into a poor family in Aomori and became an odd-job man on a crab fishing boat. While breaking into a warehouse to steal, he kills a man who is hot on his heels and gets a life sentence. However, he vows to stay alive and tries to break out of prison successfully at least 4 times.

Yoshida will play Miyoko, the daughter of Urata and also takes on the narrator's role for this drama SP. She revealed that she has always wanted to work with Takeshi one day so she was very happy to be able to play his daughter. On the other hand, Mitsushima will play Mitsu who is the wife of Sakuma. She was born in a poor family and sold to a red-light district when she was 17. Mitsu then got married to Sakuma after meeting him when she was 19 and continues to wait for him at home with their child even as he gets sentenced to life imprisonment.

Sources: Oricon /

Yamada Takayuki & Ishii Anna to star in new short film "Parallel World"

Yamada Takayuki and Ishii Anna will be starring in the new short film "Parallel World" directed by Kawase Naomi and based on the song "Unfair World" by Sandaime J Soul Brothers. The movie is the first production under the Cinema Fighters project produced jointly by Kawase, EXILE's leader HIRO who is the executive producer and actor Bessho Tetsuya who came up with the concept of the project. The project aims to uncover new young directors so there will be 5 other short films produced in addition to this movie.

In the 15-min movie, Yamada plays the lead character Toru who failed to tell Maya (Ishii) about his feelings 15 years ago so the story will alternate between the past and present. It will be shown during the Short Short Film Festival & Asia from 1 June.

Source: Yomiuri Hochi

2013 Miss World Japan Tanaka Michiko to appear in FujiTV Spring 2017 drama "Kizoku Tantei"

The Japanese representative at the 2013 Miss World competition Tanaka Michiko will be appearing in the new FujiTV Spring 2017 drama "Kizoku Tantei" starring Aiba Masaki which will begin its run from April in the Mondays 9pm timeslot. Tanaka switched from being a model to an actress in March last year and this will be her second drama appearance to date.

Tanaka will be playing a forensic officer who is nicknamed the most beautiful forensic officer in Japan and works together with the lead character played by Aiba to solve cases. She revealed that she is extremely happy to get such a role and she likes detective stories a lot even though her character is a bit different from her true personality. Nonetheless, it is a good opportunity for her to try roles which are different from herself so she is looking forward to the challenge.

However, things did not start off smoothly for Tanaka who made her declaration to be an actress in March last year. She only made her drama debut in the TV Asahi Autumn 2016 drama "Doctor X 4 ~ Gekai Daimon Michiko ~" which featured her senior from the same agency Yonekura Ryoko as the lead. Despite being given a chance to star in such a high-profile drama, she encountered a lot of difficulties because she didn't have enough acting experience and even cried alone in her room. Having gone through training for the past year through acting lessons, doing research by watching dramas and movies and listening to feedback from various people, she hopes to be able to show her progress in the new drama.

Source: Nikkansports

Pre-release screening event of new movie "Blue Hearts ga kikoeru"

The pre-release screening event of new movie "Blue Hearts ga kikoeru" was held at Shinjuku Wald 9 on 15 March which was attended by the directors Iizuka Ken, Iguchi Noboru, Shimizu Takashi, Kudo Shinichi and Lee Sang-il as well as cast members Ono Machiko, Ichihara Hayato, Saito Takumi and Toyokawa Etsushi. The omnibus movie which will be shown in cinemas from 8 April, is a collection of 6 short stories based on the same-titled song from legendary band "THE BLUE HEARTS" which disbanded in 1995 and also features Yuka and Nagase Masatoshi as the leads.

Although the film was at risk of not being able to be screened due to the problems at the production company, there was a cloud funding exercise on Makuake from 7 December which raised a certain amount of funds thus enabling the film's screening to be finalised. With regard to this, Toyokawa commented that it had been a long journey before they could make it to this day and thanked everyone for their help in ensuring that the film could be screened.

As for the charms of this movie, Ono said that her story "Hammer (48-oku no Bruce)" about a 30-something woman who has a straying boyfriend is something which women will surely identify with. Ichihara cited the special effects used in his story "Hito ni yasashiku" as something to look out for. On the other hand, Saito who stars in "Love Letter", revealed that he had to learn how to behave like a fat person from director Iguchi who taught him to keep touching the flesh  beneath his chin since it's soft. As such, Saito jokingly said that he is ready to put on weight anytime since he is armed with the know-how now which led the audience to burst into laughter.


Production press conference of TBS drama SP "LEADERS II"

The production press conference of new TBS drama SP "LEADERS II" was held on 15 March which was attended by cast members Sato Koichi, Uchino Seiyo, Higashide Masahiro, Kanno Miho and Go Hiromi. The drama SP which is to be shown at 9pm on 26 March, is the sequel to the first SP shown in March 2014.

The sequel describes how Aichi Jidosha tries to sell its domestically-produced cars to overseas markets. Aichi Saichiro (Sato) will work with the people in the sales and production department who are at loggerheads but united in their goal to sell Japanese-made cars to the world. Appearing in the new SP for the first time include Uchino Seiyo who play Yamazaki Wataru, the manager of the first showroom under Aichi Jidosha and Yamazaki Tsutomu who plays Oshima Isokichi from Oshima Press Kogyo and the future chairman of Kyoaikai. Higashide plays the role of Kusakabe Makoto, who is a young salesperson from General Motors who jumps ship to Hinode Motors which distributes the domestically-produced cars developed by Aichi. Kanno will be playing iida Kiyo, the proprietress of a kappo-ryotei restaurant Naritatei which is frequented by Yamazaki Wataru (Uchino Seiyo), the sales manager of Aichi Motors.

Sato commented that compared to the last SP, the tension on screen was even more heated up this time and was satisfied with the quality of the end product. As for Go who plays the rival of Uchino's character, he deliberately introduced himself because he wasn't sure if the media would recognise him with his hair combed backwards and wearing spectacles. He revealed that he seemed too immersed in his baddie role that his staff members remarked that his character had changed to become quite detestable.

Sources: Oricon / Sanspo

Suzuki Ryohei to star in new NHK drama "Miyazawa Kenji no Shokutaku"

Suzuki Ryohei will be starring in the new NHK drama "Miyazawa Kenji no Shokutaku" (Miyazawa Kenji's dining table) which will begin its run from June in the Saturdays 10pm timeslot. The drama based on the same-titled manga by Uonome Santa, features Suzuki as young Miyazawa, a poet and author of children's literature, known for his famous works such as "Ginga Tetsudo no Yoru" and "Ame nimo makezu" who had the image of being simple and eccentric but will be painted as a humourous, curious and innocent person. Through his love for food and classical music, the drama will be a touching tale about Miyazawa and the people around him. After leaving his home in Hanamaki, Iwate in the 10th year of the Taisho era (1921), Miyazawa returns home for the first time in 8  months when he makes the croquette he tasted in Tokyo for his family and realises the importance of sharing your happiness with others.

Suzuki revealed that when he went to do research on Miyazawa, he was surprised by how passionate and sensitive the latter was compared to his typical image. As such, he hopes to be able to show these sides of his character through his acting in this drama. Although the title contains the word "shokutaku", this is more than a gourmet drama and shows how the people in the Tohoku region lived during that time and made delicious dishes from simple ingredients. After he got the offer to act in this drama, Suzuki recalled how he had to return home by evening up to the time he was a senior high school student so as to eat dinner with his family every day as a family rule. Although he felt unhappy about having to return home so early, he can finally appreciate how important that time was for his family.

Filming will begin in early April.

Sources: Nikkansports / Sanspo / / Oricon

Taiga to star in real-life adaptation movie of "Poncho ni yoake no kaze haramasete"

Taiga will be taking on the leading role in the new real-life adaptation movie "Poncho ni yoake no kaze haramasete" (The poncho is filled up with the wind from daybreak) based on the same-titled youth novel by Hayami Kazumasa and will be shown in cinemas from October this year. The movie which will be directed by Hirohara Satoru, also features Nakamura Aoi, Yamoto Yuuma, Sometani Shota, Satsukawa Aimi and Abe Junko in its cast lineup.

The road movie describes how three senior high school boys Matahachi (Taiga), Jin (Nakamura) and Jumbo (Yamoto) lead meaningless lives and wants to do something to change their situations. They hatch a plan with their friend Nakata (Sometani) to hijack the upcoming graduation ceremony with an impromptu live performance and decide to head out for the last trip of their senior high school days. Things do not progress as they expect but this makes them grow up and they seem to be guided to find their respective paths in life. As Nakata waits for the trio to return before the graduation ceremony, the boys are in for a surprise as to what lies at the end of their journey. Satsukawa will be playing a gravure idol Ai while Abe plays a sex worker Maria.

In order to get the budget to increase the number of cinemas showing this movie, there is a crowdfunding site which is asking for donations from the public who will get unique premium souvenirs in exchange.


New band Kamisama, Boku wa kizuiteshimatta to sing the theme song for TBS Spring 2017 drama "Anata no koto wa sorehodo"

New band Kamisama, Boku wa kizuiteshimatta will be singing the theme song for upcoming TBS Spring 2017 drama "Anata no koto wa sorehodo" starring Haru which will begin its run from 18 April in the Tuesdays 10pm timeslot. The 4-member band who does not reveal their personal information nor appearance, will be making their major debut through the rock-style song titled "CQCQ" which will be released on 31 May. According to the drama's producer Sato Atsushi, the decision to choose the band was made within 30 seconds after hearing their song which is in sync with the drama's theme of unpredictable love between adults and reflects the speedy pace of the story.

The band was formed in spring last year and sang the theme song for game software Star Ocean: Anamnesis in November 2016. In their music video uploaded on YouTube, the four of them hide their faces behind masks. They are also singing the theme song for ongoing anime series "Chiruran Nibun no Ichi" but there are no announcements yet on their future activities as everything seems to be shrouded in secrecy.

Source: Sponichi

Top 10 songs most suitable for a beautiful farewell (Oricon)

Oricon conducted a survey on 1,000 people in their teens to 50s about which song they felt was most suitable to be heard when saying goodbye:

1) Orange - SMAP

2) Kanade - Sukima Switch

3) Nagoriyuki - Iruka

4) Tooku Tooku - Makihara Noriyuki

5) Michi - EXILE

6) Tsubomi - Kobukuro

7) secret base ~ kimi ga kureta mono ~ - ZONE

8) Momen no handkerchief - Ohta Hiromi

9) Sayonara Bus - Yuzu

10) Sayonara Daisuki na Hito - Hana*Hana

Source: Oricon

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Preview of "LEADERS II" (Drama SP)

Title: LEADERS II リーダーズII
Official website: here
Official Facebook page: here
Official Instagram: here
Official Twitter: here
O.A. Date: 26 March 2017, 9pm
Broadcast by: TBS
Cast: Sato Koichi, Uchino Seiyo, Higashide Masahiro, Yoshida Eisaku, Hagiwara Masato, Takahashi Kazuya, Hida Yasuhito, Jinbo Satoshi, Enari Kazuki, Suda Kunihiro, Denden, Maeda Atsuko, Kakei Toshio, Satoi Kenta, Matsuo Takashi, Yajima Kenichi, Uesugi Shozo, Kosuda Yasuto, Ooizumi Yo, Onoe Kikunosuke, Go Hiromi, Kanno Miho, Yamaguchi Tomoko, Hashizume Isao, Yamazaki Tsutomu

Nakajima Kento, Yoshine Kyoko, Ishii Anna & Kanichiro to star in new movie "Kokoro ga sakebitagatterunda"

Sexy Zone's Nakajima Kento, Yoshine Kyoko, E-girls' Ishii Anna and Kanichiro will be starring in the new movie "Kokoro ga sakebitagatterunda" (The heart wants to shout) which will be shown in cinemas from 22 July. The full-length anime version was a hit which achieved box office takings of more than JPY 1.1 billion. Filming began at Chichibu, Saitama from 14 March.

The story features Sakagami Takumi (Nakajima), a senior high school student poor at interacting with others gets appointed to become a member of the local interaction committee along with his classmate Naruse Jun (Yoshine). Jun is unable to speak due to a traumatic experience in the past and would suffer stomachaches if she attempts to speak to others. Initially, the two are unsure of how to deal with each other but through working on a musical performance for the committee, they gradually become closer. Ishii will play Takumi's ex-girlfriend Nitou Natsuki while Kanichiro will play Tasaki Daiki who is the pitcher of the school's baseball team and suffered an injury to his knee. Nakajima will be playing the piano which he has learnt since he was in primary 2 while Yoshine will be singing for the first time in this movie.

Nakajima revealed that when he first heard about the movie offer, he was so excited about it that he felt like his body and heart wanted to shout loudly. Although he feels the pressure, he hopes to be able to do a good job and pay the utmost respect to the original material through his acting in this movie. As for Yoshine who cut her hair by 30cm straight after wrapping up the filming for NHK morning drama "Beppin-san", she was touched by the anime which she watched during the movie's filming breaks and cried so much that she was scolded by the make-up artist who had to redo her make-up. Since she is also like Jun who can't really speak her mind, she can understand some traits in Jun's character and is honoured to be able to play this character. As Jun is unable to speak for about 70 percent of the time in this movie, Yoshine has to rely on her acting skills and

Ishii commented that she is very happy to act in this movie which features characters who shine in their own ways. At the moment, she is practising hard for the cheerleading dance and musical scenes and hopes to be able to convey the power of youth through this movie. As for Kanichiro, he pledged to grow along with his character in this movie and show the audience how the young people in this movie try to overcome their personal traumas.

Sources: Nikkansports / Sanspo /

Kobukuro to sing the theme song for new movie "Chotto ima kara shigoto yametekuru"

Kobukuro will be singing the theme song for new movie "Chotto ima kara shigoto yametekuru" starring Fukushi Souta which will be shown in cinemas from 27 May. The movie features Kudo Asuka in the role of Aoyama Takashi, a young man who has just started his first full-time job and is so stressed by the tough sales targets set by his company and power harassment that he wants to commit suicide by jumping onto a railway track. However, in the nick of time, he is saved by a mysterious man named Yamamoto (Fukushi) who is very cheerful for no reason and keeps speaking Kansai-ben to him. Through their interaction, Aoyama starts to feel the positive energy from Yamamoto rub onto him and things at work improve. Unexpectedly, Aoyama finds out that Yamamoto had actually committed suicide three years ago. Co-stars include Kuroki Haru, Koike Eiko and Yoshida Kotaro.

Kobukuro's Kobuchi Kentaro used to be a salaryman for four years between the ages of 18 and 22 and even became a supervisor at 21 before he became a musician. As such, he tapped on his past experience to write the song titled "Kokoro" (Heart) which describes how to live on when the heart and body are not in sync. During those tough days when he was busy with visiting clients, although there were happy things he experienced, he also found that it was not fulfilling and felt as if his soul was not with him at work. During that period, he began performing live on the streets of Sakai, Osaka, as a form of therapy for himself and met his singing partner Kuroda Shunsuke there. As such, when Kobuchi saw the movie, he was reminded of his past memories thus giving birth to the song.


Matsuoka Mayu to take on her first leading role in new movie "Katte ni furuetero"

Matsuoka Mayu will be taking on her first leading role in a movie when she appears in the new film "Katte ni furuetero" (Tremble all you want) which is based on the 2010 novel by Watanuki Risa and directed by Ohku Akiko. Filming was completed at the end of last year and the movie will be shown in cinemas this year.

The story describes how the lead character Yoshika, a 24-year-old single OL, has never had a boyfriend and imagines her first love to be her imaginary boyfriend. However, when she receives her first love confession, this marks the beginning of her agony over whether she should choose to stick with her imaginary boyfriend or date someone for real.

Matsuoka commented that in order to immerse herself into the role, she started to imagine herself having two boyfriends and how Yoshika's monologue would appear in the movie. After seeing the script from Ohku, she was very excited how daring and funny the dialogue had become so she had a lot of fun acting in this movie. Matsuoka said that she felt that this movie would hit home for many people and that women would find this especially easy to identify with so she hopes that many people can watch the film.

Sources: Yomiuri Hochi /

Buruzon Chiemi to appear in FujiTV Spring 2017 drama "Hito wa mitame ga 100 percent"

Comedian Buruzon Chiemi will be appearing in the new FujiTV Spring 2017 drama "Hito wa mitame ga 100 percent" starring Kiritani Mirei which will begin its run from 13 April in the Thursdays 10pm timeslot. The drama which is based on the same-titled manga by Okubo Hiromi, features a group of women working in the scientific field who are so caught up with their work that they forget how it is to pay attention to their attention thus earning them the nickname "Joshi Modoki (JSM)" (fake women). Kiritani plays the lead character Jonouchi Jun who is a researcher working in a paper manufacturing company and has been pouring all her energy into her work that she totally ignores what it means to dress up like a woman and care for her looks. As such, she has had little luck with men all along. However, when she realises that she is in danger of becoming a JSM, she gets together with her fellow female researchers to make an effort in changing their appearances and make themselves more beautiful. Mizukawa Asami will play her colleague Maeda Mitsuko who is married with kids thus she is too busy with work, household chores and childcare to bother about her looks.When she was much younger, she used to be a go-gyaru by wearing mini-skirts, loose socks and heavy make-up but her fashion and beauty sense is somewhat different from the trends.

Buruzon will be playing Sato Seira who works as a researcher in the same company as Jonouchi and Maeda. Seira has absolute faith in her appearance and believes that if she makes the effort to dress up, she will definitely look stunning. However, she does not know how to do so, has no experience with men and is plump. Seira goes easy on herself and demands high standards of others and is more interested in food rather than beauty or romance. With regard to her first appearance in a drama, Buruzon said that she will put in her best effort and called upon viewers to check out this drama to see a different side of her.

Source: Oricon

"Yutori desu ga nani ka" to be back as a SP this summer

NTV Spring 2016 drama "Yutori desu ga nani ka" written by Kudo Kankuro and starring Okada Masaki, Matsuzaka Toori and Yagira Yuuya will be back as a drama SP this summer. The title of the two-hour long SP will be "Yutori desu ga nani ka Junmai kinjo junjo hen". In the drama series, Sakama Masakazu (Okada) managed to get married to his girlfriend Miyashita Akane (Ando Sakura) after various difficulties so the drama SP will describe what happens to the couple and the people around them one year later. As such, regular cast members including Shimazaki Haruka who plays Masakazu's younger sister and Taiga who plays Masakazu's junior at work will also appear in the SP.

Kudo revealed that he's not very good at and keen on doing sequels but thinks that it's not a bad idea to observe these characters again a year later through this drama SP. As for Okada, he expressed his joy about the production of this SP and looks forward to showing a grown-up version of Masakazu in the sequel. Matsuzaka echoed his view and said that the key cast members were very glad to be able to act together again in the same characters. Yagira commented that they did wonder if the drama could go on for a while as a series and called upon viewers to look forward to this new SP.

Filming is currently in progress.
Sources: Oricon 1 / Oricon 2

Eita to star in TBS Summer 2017 drama "Hello Harinezumi" as a private detective

Eita will be starring in the new TBS Summer 2017 drama "Hello Harinezumi" (Hello Hedgehog) which will begin its run from July 2017 in the Fridays 10pm timeslot. The drama is based on the same-titled manga by Hirokane Kenshi, was serialised in "Shuukan Young Magazine between 1980 and 1989. Co-stars include Fukada Kyoko, Morita Go and Yamaguchi Tomoko. Although the manga was set in the Showa era, it will be adapted to be set in the modern Heisei era.

Eita plays the role of private detective Nanase Goro who works in the investigation agency Akatsuka Tantei Jimusho in Shimoakatsuka in Itabashi Ward of Tokyo where he takes on any case no matter how troublesome or difficult it may be. Goro is a bit of a lecher and a busybody but he is also passionate and sincere. With regard to his character, Eita commented that he can identify with the silly and lecherous traits in Goro and is very excited about the filming. He hopes to be able to make Goro look cool as well for the younger generation of viewers who are watching this drama. Fukada Kyoko will be playing the mysterious heroine Shidawara Ranko while Morita will play Goro's partner Kogure Kyuusaku. Yamaguchi will be playing Kaze Kahoru who is the boss of the agency.

Sources: Sponichi / Oricon

Asano Tadanobu wins best leading actor award two years in a row at the 11th Asia Film Awards in Hong Kong

Asano Tadanobu was crowned best leading actor at the 11th Asia Film Awards' prize giving ceremony on 21 March at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre for his performance in the movie "Fuchi ni tatsu". This is the first time in the awards' history that an actor had won the same category for two years in a row. Asano got the award last year for his role in the movie "Kishibe no Tabi".

The Asia Film Awards started in 2007 to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Hong Kong's return  to Chinese rule and the prize giving ceremony is held there every March. This year, 28 countries and regions participated in the awards which were shown live via TV and Internet. Japanese films nominated in this year's competition included "Fuchi ni tatsu", "Shin Godzilla", "Ikari" and "Mohigan Kokyo ni kaeru" while Momoi Kaori and X JAPAN's YOSHIKI were invited to be the award presenters.

Asano who returned to Japan on the same night of the prize giving ceremony, said in his acceptance speech that he was honoured to be back to attend the award ceremony. As he had spent close to a year working on this movie, he was especially moved to be able to win the award with his acting in this movie which began its run on the world circuit at the Cannes Film Festival last May. To be able to come to the awards with the director Fukada Koji, he felt that this was the end of a a long journey for them and he was glad to be able to win as the director did not get it despite being nominated for best director. When told that he was the first to win the award in two consecutive news, Asano revealed his joy about being able to get the honour despite being surrounded by many veteran actors from Asia and it was worthwhile for him to make time to come to Hong Kong despite having to go back to Japan immediately after the ceremony and not being able to sample any Chinese cuisine. Asano also hopes that his award will create new hype for the movie which is still being shown in Japan and will be shown in other countries soon.

Sources: 1 / 2

Amami Yuki to be the guest star in the final episode of TV Tokyo Winter 2017 drama "Byplayers"

Amami Yuki will appear as the guest star in the final episode of TV Tokyo Winter 2017 drama "Byplayers" which will be shown on 31 March at 12.12am. This will be her first appearance in a TV Tokyo programme. The drama which stars six famous supporting actors i.e. Endo Kenichi, Oosugi Ren, Taguchi Tomorowo, Terajima Susumu, Matsushige Yutaka and Mitsuishi Ken, will reveal the secret behind the blockbuster drama which they are supposed to film and the story behind the movie "Byplayers" which they shot 10 years ago. To date, many actors have appeared as guest stars in every episode of this drama including Yakusho Koji, Oomori Nao, Ikematsu Sousuke and Okada Masaki thus sparking concerns if the TV station would have enough budget to get a guest star for the drama's finale.

According  to the producer Hamatani Koichi, he was suddenly told by Endo on the day when they did the costume fitting that Amami was interested to appear in this drama. For a while, Hamatani didn't realise that Endo was referring to Amami and even thought that it was a prank on them until the day of the filming. As Amami had never appeared on TV Tokyo before and that theirs was a late-night drama, he thought that it was a miracle that she actually took the initiative to appear in their drama. Apparently, Amami and Endo had become good friends after appearing in the FujiTV Autumn 2016 drama "Chef ~ Mitsuboshi no Kyuushoku" so she made her intention to participate known to Endo who passed on the message to contact Amami's agency.

Amami commented that she had been enjoying the drama since it aired and was very happy to be able to take part and act with the six actors who are her seniors in this industry. Seeing the six of them together was a sight to behold for her as she had worked with all except Taguchi before.

Sources: Oricon / Sponichi

Preview of "Onna no Kunshou" (Drama SP)

Title: Onna no Kunshou 女の勲章 (A woman's badge)
Official website: here
O.A. Dates: 15th & 16th April at 9pm
Broadcast by: FujiTV
Original novel by: Yamazaki Toyoko
Scriptwriter: Asano Taeko
Cast: Matsushima Nanako, Tamaki Hiroshi, Mimura, Aibu Saki, Kinami Haruka, Suruga Taro, Enami Kyoko, Ozawa Yukiyoshi, Asano Yuuko & Nagatsuka Kyozo

Completion screening event of new movie "Neko Atsume no Ie"

The completion screening event of new movie "Neko Atsume no Ie" was held at Cinemart Shinjuku on 9 March which was attended by the director Kurakata Masatoshi and cast members Ito Atsushi, Kutsuna Shiori and Kimura Tae. The movie which will be shown in cinemas from 8 April, features Ito as the lead character Sakumoto Masaru who is a novelist facing a slump in his work and decides to move to a tranquil place on a whim. While there, he encounters many cats and through his interaction with them, his life slowly changes as well.

During the event, Ito admitted that when he first heard about the mobile game being made into a movie, he could not imagine what kind of film it would become. However, during the filming at Chiba in August last year, Ito and Kutsuna had a lot of fun relaxing with the cats during the breaks which he called as a rare experience since he hardly got to do that with his female co-stars.

As for working with Ito who she had collaborated in the NHK morning drama "Toto Nee-chan", Kimura said that he played her son-in-law in the drama so it was interesting to be acting in this movie straight after that ended. Although they were supposed to film together for two days, the filming went so smoothly that they ended their collaboration in one day although they would have wanted to spend more time together.

With regard to acting with many famous star cats in the movie, Ito and Kutsuna said that the cats were so fantastic to be able to do as per what the script had instructed even though they expected otherwise. As compared to these animals, Ito felt that acting with babies and young children is actually tougher. During the event, 9 of the cats appeared on stage along with the director and cast.

Sources: Nikkansports / Oricon /