Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Kubota Masataka to star in new Kansai TV / FujiTV Summer 2017 drama "Bokutachi ga yarimashita"

Kubota Masataka will star in the new Kansai TV / FujiTV Summer 2017 drama "Bokutachi ga yarimashita" (We did it) which will be shown at 9pm on Tuesdays. The drama is based on the same-titled manga by Kaneshiro Muneyuki and Araki Hikaru serialised in "Young Magazine" which had recently ended its run in April this year. However, the drama will have a different ending from the manga. This will be Kubota's first leading role in a FujiTV primetime drama.

Kubota plays the lead character Tobio who is a second year student at Boke Senior High School and does things with minimal effort only. One day, he happens to see his friends being beaten to a pulp by students from the high school opposite Boke which is known for being a hotspot for delinquents. With the intention of playing a trick on those students, Tobio plots a small prank. However, on the day he and his friends are supposed to take action, a large scale explosion takes place which causes Tobio and his friends to become suspects for this crime. Faced with a situation which has gone out of hand, the group makes their escape as they struggle to come to terms with the reality facing them.

Kubota commented that in the manga, there is a lot of emphasis of the internal struggles and pain faced by the characters which made him wonder if he was offered the role because people want to see him become "unhappy". As such, he "lamented' that nobody seems to want to see him happy or thinks that he is unsuitable for happy roles. Nonetheless, Kubota said that adults do have various thoughts which they may not all voice out so as to continue living in society and put on appearances in front of others. That's what makes people beautiful and ugly at the same time. As such, the charm of this story lies in highlighting this trait of humans from the perspective of high school students in a straightforward manner.

Despite being already 28 years old and his character Tobio being 11 years younger than him, Kubota said that this is a character which he can play now that he has some years of experience under his belt. Although he had some initial reservations about playing such a young character, his experience in acting "THE LAST COP" last year allowed him to give up his reservations and take on the role.

Nagano Mei plays Renko, the childhood friend of Tobio while Arata Mackenyu plays Ichihashi, a student from Yaba High School which is at odds with Tobio. Tobio's classmates include Isami (Mamiya Shotaro), Maru (Hayama Shono) and Koyoi (Kawaei Rina) who is Isami's girlfriend. Other characters include Baisen (Konno Hiroki), a OB of Boke, Iimuro (Miura Shohei), a cool and harsh police detective, Natsumi (Mizukawa Asami), Tobio's form teacher and an original character in the drama version, Nishizuka (Itao Itsuji), a lawyer working for the underworld and Wajima (Furuta Arata), an underworld chief who bosses Nishizuka around.

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

Kamikawa Takaya to star in TV Asahi Summer 2017 drama "Iryu Sousa 4"

Kamikawa Takaya will be starring in TV Asahi Summer 2017 drama "Iryu Sousa 4" which will begin its run from July in the Thursdays 8pm timeslot. The drama first began in 2011 and subsequently had two other series in 2012 and 2013 and 4 SPs.

Kamikawa plays the lead character Itomura Satoshi who is a police officer using leads from things left behind at crime scenes to solve cases. In this latest installment set in Kyoto, he will be joined by new colleagues played by Kuriyama Chiaki, Danta Yasunori, Toda Keiko, Nagai Masaru and Komoto Masahiro.

Source: Sanspo

Nakamura Tooru & Kuriyama Chiaki to star in TV Tokyo drama SP "Kenshou Sousa"

Nakamura Tooru will be starring in the new TV Tokyo drama SP "Kenshou Sousa" (Verification Investigation) which will be shown at 9pm on 5 July. The drama is based on the same-titled novel by Douba Shunichi which had sold more than 420,000 copies to date.

Nakamura plays the lead character Kamiya Goro who is transferred to Izu-Oshima Police Station from the 1st Investigation Section of Metropolitan Police Department for a misdeed he committed. He is summoned to join a special team of police officers with marred records like himself at Kanagawa Prefectural Police to investigate a false charge case which could lead to the exposure of some dark secrets within the police force. Kuriyama Chiaki plays Yasui Rin, a specialist in sex crimes from Hokkaido Prefectural Police who has an emotional wound of her own.

Nakamura admitted that when he first read the script, he was struck by how dark it was especially since the characters have all made mistakes before or suffered emotional trauma in the past. In his case, Kamiya had committed such a serious mistake that there was no turning back for him. However, at the suggestion of the director, it was decided that he would not focus on the dark side of Kamiya but rather show his charms in a different way to make the drama more interesting. Interestingly, in Nakamura's 32-year career, this is the 13th time he has played a police officer.

On the other hand, Kuriyama said that although she has played police officers before, this is the first time she is playing such a police officer who is so serious about her job and demanding of others. Although the reason for her behaviour will be made known in the later half of the story, Kuriyama said that viewers may find her unreasonable at first as she had deliberately projected this image through her acting.

Sources: Yomiuri Hochi / / Oricon

Taiga to star in new NHK drama SP "1942 nen no Play Ball"

Taiga will be starring in the new NHK drama SP "1942 nen no Play Ball" (The Play Ball of the year 1942) which will be shown in mid August. This will be his first leading role in a NHK drama.

The story is about the legendary baseball player Noguchi Jiro (1919 - 2007) who was regarded as the pioneer Nitouryuu (a baseball player who could play as both pitcher and fielder) in Japanese baseball history. His excellent pitching skills placed him as one of the best pitchers before WWII and his strong stamina gave him the nickname of "Tetsuwan" (Iron Arm). He had 237 wins and earned 830 base hits in his entire career. Together with his elder brother Akira and two younger brothers Noboru and Wataru, the Noguchi siblings who were all professional baseball players, had a deep bond between themselves as they lived through the turbulent times before and after the war.

Co-stars include Katsuji Ryo who plays Akira, Saito Yoshiki who plays Noboru, Fukuyama Kohei who plays Wataru and Kutsuna Shiori who plays Kimiko, Akira's fiancee. The script will be written by Yatsu Hiroyuki who has worked on dramas such as "Hanzawa Naoki" and "Shitamachi Rocket".

Source: Sanspo

First-day-screening event of new movie "Utsukushii Hoshi"

The first-day-screening event of new movie "Utsukushii Hoshi" was held at TOHO Cinemas Nihonbashi on 27 May which was attended by the director Yoshida Daihachi and cast members Lily Frankie, Kamenashi Kazuya, Hashimoto Ai, Nakajima Tomoko and Sasaki Kuranosuke. The movie is based on a science-fiction story published by Mishima Yukio in 1962 and adapted by the director for this movie which features the Osugi family that awakens to their true selves of being aliens from other planets. The father (Lily) becomes an alien from Mars while the son (Kamenashi) becomes an alien from Mercury and the daughter (Hashimoto) becomes an alien from Venus. However, the mother (Nakajima) remains as an earthling and doesn't understand why. Sasaki plays a mysterious alien who gets close to the Osugi family.

The director Yoshida revealed that he first read the novel more than 30 years ago and had thought lightly about making it into a movie. As such, to be able to assemble such a wonderful cast and to see that the movie is finally ready to be seen by the audience, he felt really happy and gratified. Frankie "complained" that the director gave him a rare character of a father this time and that he had a lot of information to process before he could prepare for his role who happens to be a Martian and weather forecaster at the same time. He also joked that the director's idea of aliens was so old-fashioned that it wouldn't have been surprising if they were made to wear an octopus costume

With regard to Hashimoto who plays his daughter, Frankie said in jest that she has a mysterious air surrounding her and when she cut her hair short, it felt as if she had the power to call a UFO to come and pick her up. Kamenashi chipped in to reveal that Hashimoto was the first to react to the presence of a cow which appeared at the filming location which she admitted to frankly and said that she loves big animals compared to human beings.

When asked about his character, Kamenashi commented that when people watch the movie, they might not notice his presence at the beginning as he tried to conceal his usual image as a performer and Johnny's artiste through his acting. As such, he thanked the director's guidance for being able to do that.

Sources: / Oricon

First-day-screening event of new movie "Chotto ima kara shigoto yametekuru"

The first-day-screening event of new movie "Chotto ima kara shigoto yametekuru" was held at TOHO Cinemas Roppongi Hills on 27 May which was attended by the director Narushima Izuru and cast members Fukushi Souta, Kudo Asuka, Koike Eiko and Yoshida Kotaro.  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.

Towards the end of the event, Fukushi was about to make his parting comments when the host said that the director had something to say to Fukushi and Kudo. Narushima revealed that when he first met the two actors, he had a bad feeling that they probably wouldn't do well in his movie thus he pushed them to their limits during the filming. Although he could see that there were times when they were about to buckle under the pressure, he was glad to see that they managed to pull through and grow as actors. Narushima praised them for their hard work and that the viewers can see for themselves in this movie how the two of them can become leading actors in Japanese movies in time to come. He ended his speech by saying thank you to them for the first time.

After being given a hug by Narushima, Fukushi said that he should be the one saying thank you and tried hard to hold back his tears. He then commented that it was tough on the director too to be so demanding of them but he felt that the effort was worth it and he would never forget about how Narushima helped him grow as an actor. On the other hand, Kudo also revealed his worry when he first heard of the offer and said that Narushima offered him support like a father whenever he was unsure of what to do. He pledged to return the favour to Narushima next time when he appears in the latter's work.

Sources: / Sponichi / Oricon

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Kubota Masataka & Sugisaki Hana to reprise their roles from "N no tame ni" & "Yakou Kanransha" in TBS Spring 2017 drama "Reverse"

Kubota Masataka and Sugisaki Hana will be reprising their roles from previous TBS dramas based on Minato Kanae's novels in the ongoing TBS Spring 2017 drama "Reverse". Kubota will be playing Naruse Shinji again from the Autumn 2014 drama "N no Tame Ni" while Sugisaki will be playing Endo Ayaka from the Winter 2013 drama "Yakou Kanransha" where their characters' will appear alongside the characters in "Reverse". In the case of Naruse Shinji, he will be a regular customer at the bakery where Ochi Mihoko (Toda Erika) works at and he will be speaking the Sanuki dialect for the first time in a long while. On the other hand, Sugisaki will meet Fukase Kazuhisa (Fujiwara Tatsuya) at the company where he pays a visit to.

When Kubota got the offer, he was very excited about meeting the staff who also worked on "N no tame ni" with him. However, when he started acting, he got really nervous especially when it came to speaking in the Sanuki dialect. As for Sugisaki who played a teenager suffering from a huge change in temperament due to bullying at school in "Yakou Kanransha", she was eager to see how her role Ayaka would become now that she is an adult but she wasn't sure how she should act. When she started filming, the feeling came back naturally to her and she enjoyed the experience very much.

Sources: Sanspo 1 / Sanspo 2 / Oricon / Nikkansports

First-day-screening event of new movie "Kazoku wa tsurai yo 2"

The first-day-screening event of new movie "Kazoku wa tsurai yo 2" was held at Marunouchi Picadilly on 27 May which was attended by the director Yamada Yoji and cast members Hashizume Isao, Yoshiyuki Kazuko, Nishimura Masahiko, Natsukawa Yui, Nakajima Tomoko, Hayashiya Shozo, Tsumabuki Satoshi, Aoi Yui, Kobayashi Nenji, Nakamura Takanosuke and Tokunaga Yuuki. This is the third time that the main cast has worked together after the movies "Tokyo Kazoku" and "Kazoku wa tsurai yo" shown last year which touched on divorce between elderly couples. This time, the movie will be talking about serious themes in a comedic manner such as the voluntary surrendering of driving licences by the elderly and the phenomenon of an isolated society where people have weak personal links with one another.

With response to calls from the audience asking for Part 3, Hashizume revealed that plans are already underway for a sequel but whether it will materialise will depend on the performance of Part 2. Tsumabuki and Aoi also chipped in to ask the audience to spread the word about their movie so that their wish of making Part 3 can be realised.

When asked about the question of when they feel that fate is at work, Yoshiyuki revealed that she had played a married couple with Hashizume for 6 times to date of which four times were in a Yamada work. However, despite so, Hashizume would only pay attention to the young girls and ignore her all the time. In response, Hashizume said that they have been colleagues for so long even in roles where they weren't married to each other to which Yoshiyuki retorted that it's strange that they are that close but still do not have each other's phone numbers. Meanwhile, Tsumabuki said that he had played lovers with Aoi many times and "married" her twice but they have never had a kissing scene to date. Although Tsumabuki had hoped for a kissing scene now that his character was married to Aoi's, Yamada jokingly commented that married couples don't kiss so Tsumabuki can give up hoping for such a scene even if there's a sequel in future. As for Aoi, she revealed that she had been rejected during an audition for a role in Yamada's movie "Gakkou" when she was in her teens and this made her very dejected then. Just when she was seriously contemplating quitting, she got an offer to appear in his movie "Otouto" which made her feel like they were somewhat bonded by fate.

Sources: / Sponichi / Yomiuri Hochi 

Supporting cast line-up of new movie "Sakamichi no Aporon" announced

The supporting cast line-up of new movie "Sakamichi no Aporon" starring Hey! Say! JUMP's Chinen Yuri has been announced. The movie is based on the same-titled manga by Kodama Yuki and features Chinen as the lead character Nishimi Kaoru who is a shy 1st-year senior high school student and has to move to Sasebo, Nagasaki to live with his relatives after his father passed away. He meets his classmates Kawabuchi Sentaro (Nakagawa Taishi) who is feared by others for appearing to be a scary delinquent and Mukae Ritsuko (Komatsu Nana) who is Sentaro's childhood friend and comes into contact with jazz piano which he grows to love. On the other hand, Kaoru finds himself caught in a love triangle as Ritsuko is love with Sentaro who is in turn in love with Fukahori Yurika, a 2nd-year student in the same school.

Dean Fujioka will be playing the role of Katsuragi Junichi who is a trumpet performer and deeply admired by Sentaro who sees him as an elder brother. He will be performing the famous jazz hit "But Not For Me" in the movie. Fujioka commented that he is very happy to be able to play such a character in this movie which incorporates his favourite music. In addition, Mano Erina will be playing Fukahori Yurika who is Sentaro's love while Nakamura Baijaku will be Mukae Tsutomu, the father of Ritsuko who owns a record shop where Sentaro and Kaoru perform at.

"Sakamichi no Aporon" will be shown in cinemas next year.

Sources: / Oricon

Real-life drama version of "Gintama" to be shown via dTV from 15 July

The real-life drama version of "Gintama" will be shown via dTV from 15 July which is one day after the release of the movie version featuring Oguri Shun and directed by Fukuda Yuichi in cinemas. As per the movie version, Oguri will still play the lead character Sakata Gintoki in the 3-episode drama version alongside members of Shinsengumi including Kondo Isami (Nakamura Kankuro), Hijikata Toshizo (Yagira Yuuya) and Okita Soji (Yoshizawa Ryo). The three episodes will be released at one go on the same day.

Meanwhile, the voice actors who starred in the anime version of "Gintama" will be appearing in a 12-part programme where they will talk about the highlights of the story in the manga and anime versions. This will also be shown via dTV from 1 July and released progressively.

For those who are interested in checking out these programmes, please go to the Gintama special site here.

Sources: / Oricon

Matsuda Ryuhei & Hasegawa Hiroki attends screening of their movie "Sanposuru Shinryakusha" at Cannes Film Festival

Matsuda Ryuhei and Hasegawa Hiroki attended the red carpet event and official screening of their new movie "Sanposuru Shinryakusha" held at the Cannes Film Festival on 21 May along with the film's director Kurosawa Kiyoshi. The movie is scheduled to be shown in Japan from 9 September.

Prior to the event, the trio were interviewed by the media where Hasegawa commented that it was a miracle that he could attend this since he could only spend 24 hours at Cannes (arrived at 10am on 21 May and scheduled to leave at 10am the following day) before rushing back to Japan for the filming of his ongoing TBS Spring 2017 drama "Chiisana Kyojin". He revealed that his co-star in the drama Kagawa Teruyuki also encouraged him to attend the screening despite the tight schedule especially since Kagawa himself had gone to Cannes before with Kurosawa for the movie "Tokyo Sonata". Although Kagawa suggested to Hasegawa to check out the review of the movie in the papers the following morning, Hasegawa said wryly that he wouldn't be able to read it in time since he had to take the flight home in the early morning after the screening and continue with the drama's filming in the afternoon of 23 May. As for his memories of Cannes, Hasegawa said that he passed by the city 18 years ago while on a solo private trip to Nice in March and caught a cold at that time. On the other hand, this was Matsuda's second visit to the festival following his first trip for his debut movie "Gohatto" in 1999. Unfortunately, Nagasawa Masami who plays his wife in the movie, was unable to join them on this trip due to scheduling conflicts.

During the screening attended by 1,000 people, the actors greeted the audience in French. As the movie also touched on the theme of love between a married couple, Matsuda who was rumoured to be having problems with his wife Ota Rina earlier this year, was asked if he had thoughts about this topic after acting in the movie. Although he did not give any details, Matsuda said that the story did provide some food for thought. The actors were also pleased to see the audience clapping and shouting "Bravo!" at the end of the screening and vowed to return to the film festival again.

Sources: Nikkansports / Sanspo 1 / Sponichi 1 / Sanspo 2 / Sponichi 2 /

Completion press conference of new movie "Hanaikusa"

The completion press conference of new movie "Hanaikusa" was held at Tokyo International Forum on 29 May which was attended by cast members Nomura Mansai, Ichikawa Ennosuke, Sato Koichi, Nakai Kiichi, Sasaki Kuranosuke, Takahashi Katsumi, Yamauchi Takaya, Wada Masato, Morikawa Aoi, Yoshida Eisaku and the director Shinohara Tetsuo. The movie will be shown in cinemas from 3 June.

The film is based on the same-titled novel by Onitsuka Tadashi which was inspired by the legendary ikebana work "Osunamono" created by ikebana artist Ikenobo Senko in 1594 that was placed in the residence of Maeda Toshiie for the purpose of displaying to Toyotomi Hideyoshi. The story talks about the little-known story of the friendship between Senko and Sen no Rikyu, a master of the tea ceremony and how Senko who was regarded as the leader of a group of Buddhist monks in Kyoto named Ikebono then, chose to take revenge against Hideyoshi with flowers rather than a sword. During the 16th century where Kyoto was plunged into the chaos of war, there was a group of Buddhist monks named Ikenobo who believed that the art of flower arrangement would allow them to pray for peace and that people would have hope to continue living by looking at these creations. Just before Oda Nobunaga was about to unite the country, Senko, one of the monks in Ikenobo, was asked to create the Osunamono for Nobunaga and headed to Gifu Castle. While there, Senko meets a mysterious man. He also ended up offending Nobunaga with his creation but was saved by Nobunaga's young subordinate Kinoshita Tokichiro (later known as Toyotomi Hideyoshi). 12 years later when Nobunaga was no longer living and Hideyoshi had taken over, Senko reunited with the mysterious man he met who turns out to be Sen no Rikyu and had become Hideyoshi's tea master. The two of them became close friends who understood each other well. However, with his newfound power, Hideyoshi had beome a changed person. In his bid to practice his way of tea ceremony, Rikyu was forced to commit suicide by Hideyoshi. In addition, innocent people got killed as a result of Hideyoshi's madness. To take revenge for his buddy, Senko uses his skills in flower arrangement rather than resort to violence with a sword. Nomura will play the role of Ikenobo while Ichikawa will play his rival Hideyoshi. Sato Koichi will play Ikenobo's friend Sen no Rikyu while Nakai Kiichi plays Oda Nobunaga and Sasaki Kuranosuke plays Maeda Toshiie.

Nomura commented that he spent a very meaningful time acting in this movie as if he had spent half of his lifetime on it and it offered him a chance to experience the joy of acting to the fullest. As for Ichikawa, he felt that he had grown as a kabuki actor through this collaboration with many senior actors and spent a fruitful time working on this movie. Sato also praised this film for being a rare gem which hardly comes by and hopes that the timeless theme will be conveyed to as many people as possible.

In the movie, there was a scene where Hideyoshi stepped on the head of Rikyu which made Ichikawa very uncomfortable when he had to do it and kept apologising to Sato deep down in his heart. In response, Sato said that Ichikawa hardly applied any force on him when he stepped on his head so he had to tell him to step harder. Upon hearing this, Nakai teased Sato for being masochistic so the latter didn't mind the pain.

Sources: Nikkansports /

Monday, May 29, 2017

Mizukawa Asami & Shiina Kippei to be guest stars in TV Tokyo Summer 2017 drama "Izakaya Fuji"

Mizukawa Asami and Shiina Kippei will be playing themselves as guest stars in the upcoming TV Tokyo Summer 2017 drama "Izakaya Fuji" which begins its run from July in the Saturdays 12.20am timeslot. The drama starring Nagayama Kento and Oomori Nao is set in an izakaya named Izakaya Fuji that exists in real-life at Naka Meguro and describes the life story of the owner of the place who was nicknamed Oyaji and passed away in 2014. Nagayama plays a struggling actor named Nishio Eiichi who keeps getting roles to play dead people. One day, in order to boost his spirits, he tries to find an izakaya which he saw on the Instagram account of a girl he likes and ends up at Izakaya Fuji which is filled with signature boards of the famous and has a strong Showa feel. What's more he finds actor Oomori Nao there (Oomori playing himself)! Through his interaction with the people there, Nishio gradually realises what is important to him in life. The dishes served at the bar will also be featured in the drama.

Mizukawa will be appearing in the 3rd episode when she seeks refuge at the izakaya while being chased relentlessly by a tabloid reporter about a relationship rumour. She remarked that the atmosphere on the set and how welcoming everyone had been towards her made her feel at ease. Although this is the second time she is playing herself, there are parts which aren't related to her in real life. As such, there was some difficulty in saying those lines but she tried to convey them in the most natural way possible.

On the other hand, Shiina who will be appearing in the 5th episode, said that he first visited the izakaya 30 years ago when he just started out as an actor. As such, the lines given to him had a strong sense of reality and made him think back about his past which was incorporated into the script. In addition, being able to work with colleagues like Oomori and Yo who he knows well made him enjoy the experience very much. Coincidentally, this is also Shiina's second attempt at playing himself after he first did that in TV Tokyo Winter 2017 drama "Byplayers".

Sources: Sponichi / Oricon

Production press conference of Tokai TV & FujiTV Spring 2017 drama "Yaneura no Koibito"

The production press conference of Tokai TV & FujiTV Spring 2017 drama "Yaneura no Koibito" was held on 29 May which was attended by cast members Ishida Hikari and Imai Tsubasa. The drama will begin its run from 3 June in the Saturdays 11.40pm timeslot and marks Ishida's first appearance in a drama series in 14 years.

Ishida plays the lead character Saijo Kinuka who is a housewife and has a 17-year-old daughter and 15-year-old son with her husband. Due to the death of her father-in-law, she moves to a Western-style house in Kamakura left behind by him together with her family. Kinuka finally realises her longtime dream of opening a flower arrangement school by doing it in the salon of her new house. Just when she thinks that her life is already perfect, she is aghast to find her ex-boyfriend Seno Itsuki (Imai Tsubasa) at her housewarming party even though they had parted ways 18 years ago. Although Kinuka manages to chase Seno away that day, strange things start happening in the Saijo household as food is found to be missing from the fridge and her husband's clothing disappear for no reason. It turns out that Seno has started living in the attic of the house and this gradually causes the revelation of secrets hidden by the people around Kinuka including her husband Makoto (Katsumura Masanobu), children, mother-in-law Chizuko (Takahata Atsuko) and best friend Kyoko (Miura Rieko) and leads to her being forced into a corner mentally. When a murder takes place, this then causes her fate to undergo a drastic change.

Ishida commented that as the story is something hardly likely to happen in real life, this makes it more difficult to act and she has been struggling every day. However, thanks to the help of the staff and her co-stars, she has been able to cope with the filming. As for working with Imai, she said that he is like a cute young man who would be serious one moment and get all hyped up talking about baseball suddenly.

On the other hand, Imai said that as his character can be said to be a nuisance, there was nobody he could look to as a reference when acting so he was quite surprised when he saw the script. He joked that as he appears in many heart-stopping scenes, he hopes to gain the title of No.1 Attic Actor after appearing in this drama. It was also revealed that he will be appearing in a belly dance scene with Takahata Atsuko in the drama.

As 25 May was Ishida's birthday, Katsumura who plays her husband in the drama, made a surprise appearance and presented a cake and bouquet of flowers to her together with Imai. When both Imai and Katsumura tried to feed her a bite of the cake, Ishida chose Imai without hesitation which made Katsumura "flare up" at the host who suggested them to do this. Katsumura commented during the event that he had some complicated feelings about Imai being his rival in love this time because they had appeared as a teacher and student in the FujiTV drama "Mokuyou no Kaidan" many years ago. He joked that the student he "nurtured" with care grew up to snatch his wife from him which led Imai to respond that he has no choice because the script dictates that he becomes the third party in their marriage.

Sources: Sponichi / My Navi News / Oricon

Takahashi Hideki to play Okada Masaki's father in TBS Spring 2017 drama "Chiisana Kyojin"

Takahashi Hideki will be appearing in the ongoing TBS Spring 2017 drama "Chiisana Kyojin" which is being shown at 9pm on Sundays. He plays the role of Yamada Isao, the father of Haruhiko (Okada) who is the deputy chief cabinet secretary and holds immense power. However, his relationship with his son is on the rocks as he sees Haruhiko as having not met his expectations. In the story so far, Haruhiko is informed by undercover police officer Eguchi (Yusuke Santa Maria) who has infiltrated the shady Soumei Gakuen and found Isao's name in secret accounting records. This leads Haruhiko to conduct his own investigation into the matter but he ends up being arrested for running away from the crime scene where Eguchi was found murdered.

Takahashi revealed that his first scene in the drama did not feature him saying anything but he actually thinks that this was interesting as it allowed him more room to develop his role. As for working with Okada for the first time, he commented that he was looking forward to the clash of values between the father and son who take different paths in life.

Source: Oricon

Completion screening event of new movie "Ani ni aisaresugite komattemasu"

The completion screening event of new movie "Ani ni aisaresugite komattemasu" was held at Shinjuku Picadilly on 24 May which was attended by cast members Tsuchiya Tao, Katayose Ryouta, Chiba Yuudai, Kusakawa Takuya and Sugino Yosuke. The movie will be shown in cinemas from 30 June.

In this movie directed by Kawai Hayato, Tsuchiya plays the lead character Tachibana Setoka while her elder brother Haruka is played by Katayose and her first  love Serikawa Takamine is played by Chiba Yudai. Setoka is a senior high school student who is unpopular with guys and has 12 failed confessions of love to date. Fortunately, she is doted on by her cool elder brother Haruka. One day, Haruka comes to know that his younger sister is actually not related to him by blood but chooses to keep it as a secret. Just then, Setoka's first love Serikawa who is a rich medical intern now and has a malicious tongue, reappears after they've not met for a few years and the two of them become close again. Soon after, Setoka suddenly experiences newfound popularity with several guys and faces the dilemma of who to choose for the first time in her life.

Tsuchiya attended the event dressed in a tuxedo so as to blend into the lineup of handsome guys surrounding her. In response, Chiba praised her for looking very cool while Katayose commented that the number of handsome guys increased due to her presence. Reflecting on the filming, although it was done under a very tight schedule, she was very pleased to be able to make such a great love comedy with her "elder brothers" and hoped that the audience would spread the word by writing about the movie on their social media accounts or talking about it in school.

During the event, 5 female members of the audience were selected at random to take part in the heart-stopping lines contest where the cast would take turns saying lines which would send their hearts fluttering. Chiba began by placing his hands on the shoulders of his target and pulling her towards him before saying that a real kiss is more than this. Next, Kusakawa told his target that she should give up on other men because he's right in front of her. When it was Katayose's turn, he put his face near his target and asked if he could hug her. Last but not least, Tsuchiya asked her target if she could like her for real which made her so shy that she ended up hugging the latter in embarrassment. The audience squealed in excitement each time they heard the actors speak their lines.

The drama version of this movie shown via NTV recently ended its run with a high 3.4% for its finale despite the fact that it was shown in a late-night timeslot.

Sources: Oricon /

Top 10 movies box office ranking for the weekend of 27th & 28th May

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

1) Beauty and the Beast (372)

2) Kazoku wa tsurai yo 2 (325)

3) Chotto ima kara shigoto yametekuru (284)

4) Meitantei Conan Karakurenai no Love Letter (354)

5) Peach Girl (301)

6) The Fate of the Furious (355)

7) Kimi no Manazashi (177)

8) Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (347)

9) Teiichi no Kuni (291)

10) Arrival (198)


Nakama Yukie to appear in the 7th episode of FujiTV Spring 2017 drama "Kizoku Tantei"

Nakama Yukie will be making her "appearance" officially in the 7th episode of FujiTV Spring 2017 drama "Kizoku Tantei" which is due to be shown on 29 May. To date, her voice had been heard as the audio assistant service "Giri" on newbie detective Takatoku Aika's (Takei Emi) smartphone but she will be appearing as a mysterious servant of Kizoku Tantei played by Aiba Masaki.

In the previous episode i.e. Ep 6, Kizoku Tantei (Aiba) was hinted to be the killer of Aika's mentor Kitami Kiriko (Igawa Haruka). As such, in the following episode, what happened one year ago between Kizoku Tantei and Kiriko will be revealed as the story enters its final arc.

Sources: Nikkansports / Oricon

Eikura Nana & Yasuda Ken to play a married couple in new movie "Ie ni kaeruto tsuma ga kanarazu shindafuri wo shiteimasu"

Eikura Nana and Yasuda Ken will be playing a married couple in the new movie "Ie ni kaeruto tsuma ga kanarazu shindafuri wo shiteimasu" (My wife is always pretending to be dead when I return home) which marks the third time they are working together. The movie is based on a question raised by an user of Yahoo! Chiebukuro with the nickname K.Kajunsky in 2010 with regard to his wife's strange behaviour of pretending to be dead whenever he returns home. To date, the question had been viewed more than 4 million times and there are more than 1,700 answers posted. The content had also been made into an original song sung by Hatsune Miku and adapted to become a comic essay. The movie which was filmed last summer, will be shown in spring next year.

Yasuda plays a salaryman Jun who is shocked to find Chie, his wife of 3 years, (Eikura) slumped at the hallway of his house with blood flowing out of her mouth. Flustered by this sight, Jun tries to carry Chie out to seek treatment but finds out that what he thought was blood is actually ketchup and she feigned her death. Without an idea as to why she is doing this, Jun finds out that Chie keeps repeating this antic by trying different ways of "dying" such as being eaten by a crocodile, shot by a gun or having an arrow pierced through her head. Initially, Jun feels that Chie is being silly but gradually starts to worry that something is very wrong with her. Co-stars include Koide Keisuke and Nono Sumika who play another married couple aware of what is going on between Jun and Chie.

With regard to her character, Eikura commented that Chie is a person who uses unique words and expresses herself in a very different way but may be seen as clumsy by others. However, when her behaviour is viewed from the perspective of her relationship with her husband, viewers may find that there is logic in why she is doing those things. As for working with Yasuda again after the NHK morning drama "Hitomi" and movie "Watashi no Hawaii no arukikata", she admitted that she felt shy about playing a married couple with him even though they are quite familiar with each other. On the other hand, Yasuda said that he was glad to meet Eikura again after a long while. Although he cannot give the details, Yasuda hopes that the viewers will be able to develop their own ideas about the theme of marriage after watching this movie.

Meanwhile, K.Kajunsky revealed that he never thought that something happening in his home could become a movie one day so he's feeling surprised and embarrassed at the same time. However, he is worried whether his wife would be able to sit through the film although everyone other than her would probably enjoy watching it.

Sources: Nikkansports / Sanspo /

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Higashiyama Noriyuki to be back in TV Asahi Summer 2017 drama "Keiji Shichinin 3"

Higashiyama Noriyuki will be back to reprise his role in the TV Asahi Summer 2017 drama "Keiji Shichinin 3" along with regular cast members Takashima Masahiro, Kataoka Ainosuke, Kurashina Kana, Tsukamoto Takashi, Yoshida Kotaro and Kitaoji Kinya. The drama is the third installment in the series which first began in 2015 and will be shown in the Wednesdays 9pm timeslot.

At the end of the last season, Katagiri Masatoshi (Yoshida), the chief of the general affairs section, declared the disbanding of the Betsudou Sousatai even though he did mention that there is a big job waiting for the 7 of them. This time, with the increase in criminal activity in the Tokyo Waterfront area, Katagiri becomes the chief of the Juuichi Houmen Honbu Junbishitsu to lead everyone in resolving cases from this area which is becoming the new battleground for people interested in the gains that come with the area's development before 2020. In addition, the truth behind the deaths of Amagi's wife and daughter 12 years in the waterfront area will also come to light in the sequel.

Higashiyama commented that although he is happy to be given the chance to play the lead character again, he is even more thrilled by the fact that the drama has entered its third season which is rare in this time and era. After what they had built up in the first two seasons, he hopes that they can show off different sides of the characters this time. In addition, Higashiyama expressed anticipation and joy that they were able to gather everyone back for the sequel and is eagerly awaiting to see what sparks will fly between them.

Sources: Nikkansports / Oricon

Filming begins for new NHK morning drama "Warotenka"

The filming for new NHK morning drama "Warotenka" starring Aoi Wakana began on 19 May followed by a press conference attended by Aoi and Matsuzaka Toori at the Shochiku Studio in Kyoto on 25 May. The drama is set during the late Meiji era to post-World War II period at Osaka featuring the lead character Fujioka Ten who is modelled on Yoshimoto Sei, the founder of Yoshimoto Kogyo and a female show promoter. Fujioka was born into a family managing a drug wholesale business in Kyoto and meets Kitamura Fujiyoshi (Matsuzaka)who is the son of a family in the rice dealing business at Osaka. When they fall in love, Fujioka goes against her parents' wishes to marry Kitamura who is a big lover of comedy. Subsequently, after her husband's family goes bust, she unwittingly becomes the owner of a vaudeville theater with her husband. This then leads to her becoming the first person in Japan to make comedy into a business and transforming Osaka into a capital of comedy.

Matsuzaka who is appearing in his second morning drama to date, appeared in a strange-looking costume which was said to be the norm for comedians in that era. The last time he filmed "Ume-chan Sensei" was in Tokyo so filming in Osaka is an entirely different and refreshing experience for him. Nonetheless, as he had worked with some of the staff members before in "Ume-chan Sensei" and "Gunshi Kanbee", it also felt like a reunion for him when he came to the set for the filming.

Aoi commented that she usually has short hair but having to put on a long-haired wig and dress in such gorgeous and luxurious clothes made her very excited. Although they haven't completed many scenes yet, being all dressed up like this helped her ease into the momentum of the filming. She also revealed that she came down with flu on the first day of the filming probably due to her nervousness and promised to take care of herself better so that she can stay healthy during the filming period.

Filming is expected to continue in Shiga and Kyoto until 27 May before moving to NHK Osaka from 29 May. The drama will begin its run from 2 October at 8am from Mondays to Saturdays.

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

Galigali Galixon's scenes to be removed from new movie "Gintama" before its release in July

Comedian Galigali Galixon who was arrested for drink-driving, will have his scenes in the upcoming movie "Gintama" removed before the film is screened in cinemas from 14 July as announced by key investor TV Tokyo. The movie directed by Fukuda Yuichi and starring Oguri Shun, features Galixon in a small number of scenes. Following news of his arrest, meetings between the production committee members and distribution movie company Warner Brothers were held before a decision was made to exclude him from the movie with no change to the release date. Another actor will be chosen to play his role and the new scenes are to be inserted into the movie.

Sources: Sponichi / Oricon

Former KAT-TUN member Tanaka Koki arrested for possession of marijuana

Former KAT-TUN member Tanaka Koki was arrested by Shibuya Police Station on 24 May for possession of marijuana where he denied that the drugs belonged to him. According to the police station, Tanaka was caught in possession of the marijuana at 6.50pm that day. When the policemen on patrol drove near his car, they noticed that he tried to accelerate immediately to pass them which led to him being stopped for routine questioning at Dogenzaka. It was then discovered that there was a small amount of dried marijuana and paper used for inhaling it in the space between the driver's and front seat of his car. Tanaka testified to the police that he was driving around the area to look for a parking lot before meeting his friend and denied that he owned the drugs.

Tanaka entered Johnny's Jimusho in 1998 and made his debut with the group KAT-TUN in April 2011. However, his contract was terminated in September 2013 for his repeated violation of rules set by his agency such as engaging in music activities without permission. Since then, Tanaka has been the vocalist or rock band INKT which had just released its latest album "square" on 3 May. According to INKT's agency, the band and Tanaka himself will suspend their activities for the time being while investigations are underway. The band was supposed to be holding release events for the album such as at Aeon Mall in Suzuka, Mie, on 26 May and in the midst of its concert tours since 4 March. The 48 performances were supposed to be completed by July this year. All in-store events featuring the band at TOWER Records will also be cancelled.

Coincidentally, Tanaka had gone through a surprise urine test for stimulants last July on the BS Sky Perfect! TV programme "Tamura Atsushi no Chijouha de wa dame! Zettai!" where he was certified to be clean. This test was apparently initiated due to some tabloid reports then which hinted at Tanaka being a drug abuser thus leading to his friend Tamura suggesting the test to make things clear once and for all.

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

Maki Youko to star in new FujiTV Summer 2017 drama "Seshiru no Mokuromi"

Maki Youko will be starring in the new FujiTV Summer 2017 drama "Seshiru no Mokuromi" (Cecile's Plot) which will begin its run from July in the Thursdays 10pm timeslot. The drama which is based on the same-titled novel by Yuikawa Kei, marks Maki's first leading role in a drama in 2 years. The name Cecile in the title comes from the French novel Bonjour Tristesse by Françoise Sagan where a young girl with good looks plots something sinister as she grapples with the struggles and troubles of being a woman.

The story features Maki as the lead character Nao who is a housewife and has not been paying much attention to her appearance for a long time as she is caught up with taking care of her husband and son who is in the first year of junior high school. By chance, she is scouted to become a readers' model by a fashion magazine Vanity where she comes face to face with jealousy, the need to keep up appearances and rivalry in this industry. Through her interaction with various women in different life situations, she undergoes a transformation both externally and psychologically. Co-stars include Kichise Michiko who plays Hamaguchi Yukako, the No.1 charismatic model grappling with loneliness, Ito Ayumi who is Okita Eri, a single freelance writer worried about her future and is the one who scouted Nao as well as Itaya Yuka who plays the chief editor of Vanity named Kurosawa Junko and Hasegawa Kyoko as Yasunaga Maiko who used to be the No.2 model at Vanity and is a commentator appearing on TV programmes now.

Maki who has a 8-year-old daughter in real-life, said that she can identify with the challenges faced by working mothers but hopes that she will be able to show via this drama that the people who look like they are living a good life stick to their own principles and live by their own means in different ways.

Sources: Sanspo / Nikkansports / Yomiuri Hochi / Oricon

Okada Junichi to star in new real-life adaptation movie "Chiri Tsubaki"

Okada Junichi will be starring in the new real-life adaptation movie "Chiri Tsubaki" (The wilting camellia) which is directed by Kimura Daisaku and based on the same-titled novel by Hamuro Rin. The filming which began on 15 May, is expected to be wrapped by early July and the movie will be shown in cinemas next year. Unlike most period movies, the filming was done entirely on location in Nagano, Toyama and Hikone so as to incorporate the beautiful scenery in the movie.

Okada plays the lead character Uryuu Shinbee who was expelled from a feudal domain because he exposed his superior's wrongdoing but the latter was not punished for his deed. 18 years later, he attempts to return to the domain at the wishes of his dying wife Shino (Asou Kumiko) who wants Shinbee to go back and help Sakakibara Uneme (Nishijima Hidetoshi) despite the fact that Sakakibara used to vy with Shinbee for Shino's affection and was a huge factor in leading to his expulsion. Co-stars include Kuroki Haru, Ikematsu Sousuke, Ogata Naoto, Suruga Taro, Yoshine Kyoko, Arai Hirofumi, Yagira Yuuya, Fuji Sumiko, Watanabe Dai and Okuda Eiji.

As preparation for the filming, Okada went through three months of sword fighting training. Although this is his 5th period movie to date, he hardly had to use the sword in action scenes for his earlier films so there was a need to go through intensive training this time.

Sources: Nikkansports / Sanspo / / Sponichi

Preview of "Papakatsu" - Spring 2017

Title: Papakatsu パパ活
Official website: here
O.A. Start Date: 26 June 2017
Release timing: Midnight on Mondays
Broadcast by: dTV & FujiTV on demand (FOD)
Total number of episodes: 8 (30 mins each)
Scriptwriter: Nojima Shinji
Theme Song: "Unchain My Heart" by Beverly
Cast: Watabe Atsuro, Iitoyo Marie, Kentaro, Kirishima Reika & Hashimoto Satoshi

Watabe Atsuro & Iitoyo Marie to star in dTV & FujiTV-on-demand's joint drama "Papakatsu"

Watabe Atsuro and Iitoyo Marie will be starring in the drama "Papakatsu" jointly produced by video streaming service dTV and FujiTV-on-demand (FOD) which consists of 8 episodes and will be released at midnight on Mondays from 26 June. The drama is a scandalous love story written by Nojima Shinji on the theme of papakatsu which refers to the trend of young women looking for men much older than them to date and get financial support from but with no sexual relationship between them. Nojima commented that many of such women involved in these relationships or seeking such partners are in financial difficulty due to their inability to pay their school fees or scholarships but there has been criticism over how it is a nicely-packaged way of describing compensated dating. Although the story is fictitious, Nojima hopes that the viewers can try putting themselves into the heroine's shoes and consider if they would make the same choices when faced with a similar situation.

The story describes how a 20-year-old university student Anri (Iitoyo) is chased out of her house when her mother has a new boyfriend. While spending every night at different Internet cafes, Anri comes to know about "papakatsu" and subsequently meets a 45-year-old university lecturer Wataru (Watabe). Anri then moves into the apartment which Wataru rents for her before finding out about a secret which he has been hiding from her. Co-stars include Kentaro, Kirishima Reika and Hashimoto Satoshi.

Watabe reflected on the filming and commented that it was a precious experience to be playing a character very unlike himself and he had to spend a lot of time understanding his character's feelings. In addition, he was glad to be able to take on such a project just before he turns 50 and had learnt a lot from his first participation in a Nojima work. On the other hand, Iitoyo said that her character is in a forbidden relationship with a man of the same age as her own father and hopes that people of her age group will be able to appreciate the different way of how such a romance is depicted by Nojima. She also commented that another highlight will be some romantic scenes which are bound to set hearts of the audience fluttering.

Sources: / Oricon

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Supporting cast line-up of FujiTV Summer 2017 drama "Code Blue ~ Doctor Heli Kinkyuu Kyuumei ~ THE THIRD SEASON" announced

The supporting cast line-up of FujiTV Summer 2017 drama "Code Blue ~ Doctor Heli Kinkyuu Kyuumei ~ THE THIRD SEASON" has been announced. The drama which will be shown in the Mondays 9pm timeslot from July 2017, began in the summer of 2008 with a SP and season 2 subsequently shown in Winter 2010 so the new season will describe what happens to the 5 main characters 7 years later after Season 2. In the latest installment, Aizawa Kousaku (Yamashita Tomohisa) who had left the emergency centre at Shohoku, is working as a neurosurgeon now and busy with operations every day. Shiraishi Megumi (Aragaki Yui) continues to work as a flight doctor at Shohoku which is facing a manpower crunch and is already the staff leader of the flight doctors team. Hiyama Mihoko (Toda Erika) left Shohoku and becomes a gynaecologist at a perinatal medical centre while Saejima Haruka (Higa Manami) is doing well as a flight nurse. Last but not least, Fujikawa Kazuo (Asari Yousuke) is working as an emergency centre doctor specialising in plastic surgery and supports Shiraishi's team as well.

Hey! Say! JUMP's Arioka Daiki, Narita Ryo and Araki Yuuko will be playing new medical interns who are assigned to the emergency centre for training to become future flight doctors while Baba Fumika will play an aspiring flight nurse. Arima's character Natori Souma is the only son and heir of a general hospital and this will be his first appearance in a Getsuku drama since Spring 2005's "Engine" starring Kimura Takuya. Araki and Baba were chosen for their roles after an audition. Shiina Kippei will play Tachibana Keisuke, the director of the emergency centre while Ando Masanobu will play Shinkai Hiroki, a neurosurgeon who is fighting with Aizawa for a posting to Toronto University to be a resident doctor in their top-notch neurosurgery department.

Sources: Sanspo  / Yomiuri Hochi / Oricon

Furuta Arata & Koike Eiko to star in TV Tokyo Summer 2017 drama "Shimokitazawa Diehard"

Furuta Arata and Koike Eiko will be starring in the upcoming TV Tokyo Summer 2017 drama "Shimokitazawa Diehard" which will begin its run from July in the Fridays 12.12am timeslot via TV Tokyo, TV Hokkaido, TV Aichi, TV Setouchi and TVQ Kyushu. As for TV Osaka, it will be showing the drama one week after the first O.A at 12.12am on Mondays. The comedic drama features the two of them as navigators for 11 stories written by 11 different scriptwriters with a common theme of someone's worst day in his/her life happening in Shimokitazawa. Furuta will play a regular customer of a bar managed by Koike's character where the two of them talk about the stories. The 11 scriptwriters who will be participating in this drama include Ueda Makoto, Enomoto Gurimu, Kiyasu Kohei, Saijo Mitsutoshi, Shiba Yukio, Nemoto Shuko, Hosokawa Toru, Fukuhara Mitsunori, Matsui Shu, Maruo Maruichiro and Miura Naoyuki.

Furuta commented that he was impressed with how TV Tokyo managed to come up with such a project involving 11 scriptwriters. As Shimokitazawa is a place known for its many small-sized theatres, Furuta who is actively involved in stage plays, revealed that he's in the area almost every day so he is so familiar with the shooting locations. Nonetheless, he would still like to be able to uncover new places in the area which can become hot spots after the drama is aired. In addition, he is looking forward to be able to go for drinks after the end of each filming day and called upon viewers to check out this drama as he has confidence in the quality of the stories.

As for Koike, she expressed her excitement at being offered the chance to take part in this challenging project and hope to be a nice spice to the vastly different 11 stories. Her impression of Shimokitazawa is that it is a place with a nice blend of old and new elements so she hopes that the drama will convey the unique atmosphere of the area and make more people interested in checking out the place. She is also looking forward to be able to work with Furuta in this drama.

Sources: / TV Tokyo

Emoto Tasuku to star in new real-life adaptation movie "Suteki na Dynamite Scandal"

Emoto Tasuku will be starring in the new movie "Suteki na Dynamite Scandal" (The splendid dynamite scandal) which is based on the essay compilation about the life of Suei Akira who is a writer and had been the chief editor of publishing house Byakuya Shobou. The movie which is directed by Tominaga Masanori, will describe the turbulent and eventful life of Suei to date such as how his birth mother committed suicide when he was a child after an extramarital affair with her neighbour, his resignation from the factory he worked at after senior high school and movin to Tokyo as well as how he set up the legendary erotic magazines "Weekend Super" and "Shashin Jidai" with photographer Araki Nobuyoshi in the 1980s.

Suei revealed that he had been approached by the director 5 years ago about the adaptation of his book which he didn't think would materialise given how many events had taken place in his messy life. However, it made him very happy that the project could proceed after all this time with such a fine cast and staff line-up.

Emoto who is playing Suei himself, said that while having to bear with this pressure of doing so, he was able to get through the filming which was done between March and April this year. In fact, he enjoyed himself so much that he couldn't remember much about what he did. Emoto revealed that before he met Suei in person, he always thought of him as a gentle middle-aged man but later found out that the latter had sharp eyes which seemed to be able to see through people. Likewise, the director Tominaga also had a similar strength in his eyes as if he was plotting something all the time in his mind. Although Emoto felt intimidated to be stared at by them, he still enjoyed the filming a lot.

The movie will be shown in cinemas in spring 2018. In conjunction with this, the original essay book published in 1982 will be reprinted for the 4th time on 26 May and released with Suei's two new books "Dynamite Jinsei Soudan" and "Kekkon".


Nakatani Miki to star in new WOWOW drama "Kataomoi" as a woman with gender identity disorder

Nakatani Miki will be starring in the new WOWOW drama "Kataomoi" (One-sided love) which is based on the same-titled novel by Higashino Keigo. The drama consists of 6 episodes and will be shown this autumn.

Nakatani plays the lead character Hiura Mizuki who is a woman with gender identity disorder. After a reunion dinner in the summer of 2017 with her friends in the American football team which she used to be the team manager for, Mizuki admits to her teammates that she had murdered someone and that she is living as a man named Kanzaki Mitsuru now and works at a club in Ginza. Faced with such a shocking revelation, Mizuki's friends try to find the truth behind her revelation in a bid to protect her. However, as they gradually unravel the truth, they are faced with the harsh truth and how to decide what's best for everyone. The meaning of "one-sided love" in the title will also be explained as the story progresses.

Nakatani commented although this is the first time she is acting in a Higashino work, the pressure is great because rather than volunteering to take on this role, she was given this heavy responsibility to play this difficult character. In order to look convincing as a man, Nakatani cut her hair by 15cm and even went through physical training for 2 months but she will also have to show the sadness of how Mizuki's efforts may end up in naught as she cannot become a man completely.

Higashino who has 5 works adapted by WOWOW to date i.e. "Shukumei", "Genya", "Bunshin", "Henshin" and "Kakkou no tamago wa dare no mono", said that he was surprised that there was finally someone who dared to take on this difficult topic featured in "Kataomoi" as it is something which the current society has yet to find answers to. As such, he hoped that the drama will bring more attention to this issue. He also praised Nakatani for having the courage to take on such a role and expressed his joy in seeing how she will play Mizuki.

Filming began from 6 May.

Sources: / Sanspo / Yomiuri Hochi / Oricon

Mackenyu announces his name change and transfer to a new agency

Mackenyu announced via his official Twitter on 22 May that he will be changing his stage name and transfer to a new agency. His new name will be Arata Mackenyu and he will be joining the agency Top Coat which has actors such as Kimura Yoshino, Sasaki Nozomi, An, Nakamura Tomoya, Matsuzaka Toori and Suda Masaki under its management. Soon after he posted the announcement at 12.03pm, he changed his name on his Twitter page and his profile on Top Coat was ready to be accessed.

Arata was born in Los Angeles, US, on 16 November 1996 and his father is actor Chiba Sonny. He learnt karate and apparatus gymnastics since he was a child and made his debut in the US as an actor before returning to Japan in 2014. He won the newcomer award in the 40th Nippon Academy Award for his performance in the two-part movie "Chihayafuru". Coincidentally, his new surname coincides with his role's name in the same movie (Wataya Arata) which led to fans speculating on the origin of the name.

Sources: Sanspo / Sponichi / Oricon

Cream Stew's Arita Teppei & Honda Tsubasa to star in TBS Summer 2017 drama "Wanitokagegisu"

Comedic duo Cream Stew's Arita Teppei will be taking on his first leading role in a drama series when he appears in the upcoming TBS Summer 2017 drama "Wanitokagegisu" which begins its run from July in the Wednesdays 11.56pm timeslot. The drama is based on the same-titled manga by Furuya Minoru which was serialised in "Young Magazine" between 2006 and 2007. The heroine Hada Azusa who aspires to be a novelist, will be played by Honda Tsubasa.

Arita plays the lead character Tomioka Yuuji who works as a security guard and has never dated before or had any experience in sex. In order to bid farewell to his life so far, he sets out to make new friends. However, his meeting with a homeless middle-aged guy who calls himself a nomad in life (Mitsuishi Ken) marks the beginning of a series of accidents which change his life drastically such as receiving threatening letters predicting his death in a year's time. At the same time, Tomioka gets embroiled in another case due to the arrival of two new colleagues i.e. Hanabayashi Yuudai (Kaku Kento) and Amekawa Isamu (Yoshimura Kaito). Other co-stars include Fuchikami Yasushi and Murakami Jun.

Arita revealed that he had always tried to avoid acting in dramas all this while but this time, he found himself accepting the offer without thinking too much about questions like why he was selected to be the lead. In addition, he could see that some parts in the drama resonated with his own situation so he hoped that the viewers will see him for who he is through the story. However, he felt a lot of pain in his body just after one day of filming which he attributed it to his heavy sense of responsibility as the lead even though the drama has a lot of comedic developments. Despite so, he is still enjoying the filming as the days go by. As for Honda, when she first heard that the lead actor is Arita, she was surprised but also thought that it would be interesting to work with him. Even for viewers who don't know the original manga, she feels that Tomioka's efforts in trying to change his lonely life and the struggles he face will make them empathise with and support him

Filming is already in progress.

Sources: Sponichi / Oricon

Friday, May 26, 2017

Supporting cast line-up of MBS / TBS Spring 2017 drama "Kaijuu Club Kuusou Tokusatsu Seishunki" announced

The supporting cast line-up of MBS / TBS Spring 2017 drama "Kaijuu Club Kuusou Tokusatsu Seishunki" has been announced. The drama will begin its run from 4th and 6th June respectively on the two channels at 12.50am and 1.28am respectively and consists of 4 episodes.

The story is set in the mid 1970s and features a group of young men who gather to devote their youth to the research of monsters which appear in special effects films. The lead character Ryouta will be played by Hongo Kanata.

Yokohama Ryuusei will be playing Katsuo, the youngest and only senior high school member in the club who has a lot of knowledge despite his young age and regarded as a threat to Ryouta's presence as the elite of the group. Yano Masato will play Ryouta's rival Shingo while Kato Ryo will be Yuusuke who does the sketches of the monsters. Yamaguchi Shogo will be Nishi, who utilises his knowledge of music in the group while Emoto Tokio will be Jo who is known for his logical thinking. The group's chief editor Captain who is regarded as the top otaku in the group, will be played by Drunk Dragon's Muga Tsukaji.

Komatsu Toshimasa will be playing the master of the cafe where the group's members gather for their meetings while Ano of Yurumerumo will play a cute waitress working there. Imagawa Aoi will play Ryouta's younger brother Satoru who looks at his elder brother's interest with disdain but somehow has the hidden urge to support him in his pursuits. Last but not least, Baba Fumika will play Ryouta's girlfriend Yuriko.

Sources: / Oricon

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Hirosue Ryoko to be the guest star in Ep 7 of FujiTV Spring 2017 drama "Kizoku Tantei"

Hirosue Ryoko will be the guest star in Ep 7 of FujiTV Spring 2017 drama "Kizoku Tantei" which will be shown on 29 May. This will be her first collaboration with the lead Aiba Masaki and her first appearance in a Getsuku drama since her guest appearance in the 3rd episode of "Galileo" on 29 Oct 2007.

Hirosue plays the role of Tokura Mitsue, the second wife of Tokura Kenichi, the president of a major electronic parts manufacturing company. Kenichi lost his wife 15 years ago and has been assisted by his secretary Hatade Masako (Moriguchi Yoko) at work and in private and his children are supportive of them getting married. However, Kenichi surprises everyone by getting married to Mitsue who used to be a hostess working in Ginza and he even commits suicide 6 months later. This leads Kenichi's children to believe that Mitsue is the murderer and she wants to take over the family fortune thus they approach the detective agency to engage Takatoku Aika's (Takei Emi) services to investigate the case.

Hirosue commented that she is very excited about being able to work with such a star-studded cast and was shocked when she got the offer to play this character. As for her impression of Aiba, she said that he usually has this refreshing and bright image but it will be fun seeing him as a cool noble and facing off with him in the drama.

Sources: Sponichi / Oricon

Seto Koji to appear in NTV Autumn 2017 drama "Saki ni umaretadake no boku" as an English teacher

Seto Koji will be appearing in the NTV Autumn 2017 drama "Saki ni umaretadake no boku" starring Sakurai Sho which will begin its run from October in the Saturdays 10pm timeslot. The drama is based on an original script by Fukuda Yasushi and features Sakurai as Narumi Ryosuke, a 35-year-old former elite businessman who is transferred by his company Kashimatsu Bussan to become the principal of a private senior high school named Kyoumeikan Koukou and turn its fortune around. The struggling school's results are on the lower end of the spectrum, its sports teams aren't doing well in competitions and its enrollment numbers are about to slide below the minimum level required to keep it afloat. Narumi knows nothing about education nor managing a school so he has to rely on his knowledge as a businessman to deal with the situation and introduce reforms in Kyoumeikan with the aim of boosting enrollment numbers, improve the quality of the teachers and students and make the school profitable again. He is met with strong resistance from the students who have never savoured success and the teachers who have no motivation to improve but tries to show them the reality and harsh truths of society through his first-hand experience. The heroine Mashiba Chihiro who is at loggerheads at first with Narumi but later gets inspired by him will be played by Aoi Yu while Narumi's girlfriend cum former colleague Matsubara Satoko will be played by Tabe Mikako.

Seto will play be playing Shimazu Tomokazu who is an English teacher at Kyoumeikan and an advocate and expert on the new teaching style i.e. active learning. Although Shimazu had studied in the UK and can speak like a native, he is very shy and keeps to himself so he is hardly noticeable among the students and teachers. Upon hearing about Shimazu's ingenious teaching style, Narumi is very excited about it and wants this to become one of the first things which the school should implement as part of its reforms. Shimazu is also secretly in love with his colleague Mashiba.

As part of preparations for the filming, Seto went to observe active learning lessons where he noticed that the students were actively taking part. As such, he could not help but think that if this learning method was in use when he was a student, he could have learnt more in a more enjoyable setting. As for his character in this drama, Seto commented that as Narumi and Shimazu will be aiming to change the school in the story, he hopes that this will provide a catalyst of change for the viewers and bring about a change in himself as well. Although there is always fear and worry about changing something or taking on a challenge, things may actually turn out to work out well.

Source: Oricon

First-day-screening event of new movie "Peach Girl"

The first-day-screening event of new movie "Peach Girl" was held at Marunouchi Picadilly on 20 May which was attended by the director Shintoku Koji and cast members Yamamoto Mizuki, Inoo Kei, Mackenyu and Nagano Mei. With regard to their movie being finally ready to meet the public, Inoo expressed his joy while Yamamoto commented that they spent a whole year preparing this movie and hoped that the fans will like it.

When asked if there was anything that they would like to say but could do so now, Yamamoto mentioned that there were some flashback scenes of Momo and Touji back in junior high where she had to wear a sailor-style uniform and play baseball but all these scenes were cut from the movie. When she asked the director about it, he said that the final result didn't turn out that convincing i.e. they didn't look like junior high students. As such, she "complained" that he should have realised it before they filmed the scenes and said that she felt sad about the cut scenes. Mackenyu also echoed the view that those scenes were very nice which led the director to promise to include them in the making-of footage when the DVD is released.


Premiere screening event of new movie "Chotto ima kara shigoto yametekuru"

The premiere screening event of new movie "Chotto ima kara shigoto yametekuru" was held on 21 May which was attended by cast members Fukushi Souta and Kudo Asuka as well as Kobukuro who sings the theme song "Kokoro" for the movie. During the event, Kobukuro performed the song "live" for the first time which also happened to be their first at a movie event in 9 years. Fukushi expressed his joy at being able to listen to Kobukuro's performance live as he has been a fan since he was a student and thanked them for the song which was very touching. Kudo revealed that his family members are also fans of the duo and his father keeps playing their songs the whole day.

Kobukuro were generous with their praise for the movie of which Kobuchi Kentaro who had worked as a company employee before, said that he could identify with the theme of the movie which was very realistic. As for Kuroda who comes from Osaka, he commented that Fukushi's first attempt at speaking Kansai-ben was pretty good. With regard to how they came up to the song, Kobuchi revealed that he was taking notes while watching the movie and completed the song about 5 minutes later after he finished it.

Fukushi mentioned that each person may develop different views about the movie after watching it but he hopes that they will be getting a positive vibe by the end of it in order to take their next step in life. Kudo also echoed the view that this is not just about working life but also how people are connected to one another and family love.

The movie will be released in cinemas from 27 May while the single will be released as Kobukuro's first single in 18 months on 24 May.

Sources: / Sponichi

Guest and supporting cast line-up of TV Tokyo Summer 2017 drama "Izakaya Fuji" announced

The guest and supporting cast line-up of TV Tokyo Summer 2017 drama "Izakaya Fuji" has been announced. The drama starring Nagayama Kento and Oomori Nao is set in an izakaya named Izakaya Fuji that exists in real-life at Naka Meguro and describes the life story of the owner of the place who was nicknamed Oyaji and passed away in 2014. Nagayama plays a struggling actor named Nishio Eiichi who keeps getting roles to play dead people. One day, in order to boost his spirits, he tries to find an izakaya which he saw on the Instagram account of a girl he likes and ends up at Izakaya Fuji which is filled with signature boards of the famous and has a strong Showa feel. What's more he finds actor Oomori Nao there (Oomori playing himself)! Through his interaction with the people there, Nishio gradually realises what is important to him in life. The dishes served at the bar will also be featured in the drama.

Shinohara Ryoko and Oosugi Ren will be the guests in the first two episodes of the drama. Shinohara commented that she used to frequent Izakaya Fuji 25 years ago and had fond memories of going to the owner couple for advice whenever she was troubled. In addition, it has been a while since we worked with Oomori and Nagayama so she feels reassured to reunite with them but would have loved to participate more in the filming. As such, being able to act in this drama allows her to reminisce about her 20s. As for Oosugi who appeared recently in the Winter 2017 drama "Byplayers" as himself, he remarked that the TV station seemed to have a tendency these days to ask actors to play themselves to the extent that he feels like having a name for his character now. As he will be required to show the lecherous side of himself in this drama, he hopes that viewers will enjoy watching his guest appearance.

As for the supporting cast, Tateishi Ryoko will play Takahashi Mitsuko, the lady boss of the izakaya while regular customers include Hirata Atsuko who plays Reiko, the manager of boutique Maharaja, and Suwa Taro who plays Sho-chan, the president of a construction company. Nishio's mother Tamami will be played by Yo Kimiko while Nakamura Genki will play Akiyama Kenji, Nishio's supervisor at his part-time workplace and Murakami Jun will play Kudo Shunsuke, Nishio's senior at work.

Sources: / Oricon