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Thursday, August 31, 2017

Completion screening event of new Amazon Prime Video drama "Tokyo Alice"

The completion screening event of new Amazon Prime Video drama "Tokyo Alice" was held at Space FS Shiodome on 24 August which was attended by the directors Seta Natsuki and Kikuchi Takeo as well as cast members Yamamoto Mizuki, Triendl Reina, Takahashi Maryjun, Asahina Aya and Otani Ryohei. The drama will be streamed from 25 August.

The drama which is based on the same-titled manga by Chiya Toriko, consists of 12 episodes and features Yamamoto Mizuki as the lead. The story describes how 4 women who are around the age of 30 live in a sharehouse at Daikanyama, Tokyo, and how they try to pursue their own happiness in love and work. Yamamoto plays the lead character Arisugawa Fuu who spends most of her salary on fashion and has little luck in love. Although she has a cute appearance, she has an otaku personality. Triendl plays a budding manga artist Hada Mizuho, Takahashi plays a cool psychiatrist Sakuragawa Rio while Asahina plays a rich man's daughter Enjoji Sayuri who works at an art gallery in Ginza. Otani Ryohei will be playing the role of Okuzono Shinji who is Fuu's love interest and her superior at work. Being cool and demanding, he is nicknamed "Iceman" by his co-workers and has nothing in common with Fuu.

When asked who he likes best among the four actresses, Otani said that he couldn't decide even though he had been thinking about this question since the previous day. As Yamamoto plays his love interest, she suggested to Otani that he should choose her which he acknowledged should be the case. Yamamoto then followed up with a comment that Otani is rather innocent and causes misunderstandings easily with his actions and words. For example, he messed up his line in such a way that Yamamoto said could have been due to the fact that he spent a long time in South Korea as an actor. When Otani tried to explain his mistake, his reasoning made the audience laugh. Asahina then chipped in to say that Yamamoto is about the same as Otani in this regard as she uploaded a photo of the alpaca but wrote capybara in the caption by mistake.

Sources: Eiga.com / Oricon

Dean Fujioka to star in new movie "Umi wo kakeru"

Dean Fujioka will be starring in the new fantasy movie "Umi wo kakeru" directed by Fukada Kouji based on an original story and is jointly produced by Japan, France and Indonesia. The movie will be released in Japanese cinemas from May 2018 and screened in Indonesian cinemas after this. Filming began from 5 August at Banda Aceh in Indonesia and will be done entirely there.

Fujioka plays a mysterious man who appears on the shore of Banda Aceh and can only speak bits of Japanese and Bahasa Indonesia. He is discovered by a Japanese woman Takako and her son Takashi who are there to help with disaster recovery efforts as the city is still struggling with the aftermath of war and the tsunami in 2004. They nickname the mysterious man as Laut which means sea in Bahasa Indonesia and take him in. However, this marks the beginning of various strange happenings around them. Tsuruta Mayu will be playing Takako while Takashi will be played by Taiga. Takashi's cousin Sachiko will be played by Abe Junko. Indonesian actors Adipati Dolken and Sekar Sari will also be part of the cast.

Fujioka commented that to him, Indonesia is a country dear to his heart since his family is living here and he regards it as his second hometown. He described the director as someone who's very detailed and meticulous as they will go through numerous rehearsals just to get the scenes right and he could see how much Fukada loves movies. Fujioka remarked that he learned a lot during the filming and had a great time. With regard to his character Laut, he said that the character is a very unusual person who may seem like a human being at times but appears otherwise too when he causes various strange happenings. The story is rather challenging and interesting and also incorporates cultural elements from both Japan and Indonesia. As such, he hopes that everyone will enjoy watching this unique film regardless of their nationality, age or languages they speak.

Sources: Eiga.com / Sanspo 1 / Sanspo 2

Iura Arata & Kurokawa Mei as joint leads in the new movie "Nijuurokuya Machi"

Iura Arata and Kurokawa Mei will be joint leads in the new movie "Nijuurokuya Machi" (Waiting for the 26th night) which is directed by Koshikawa Michio and based on the same-titled novel by Saeki Kazumi. The movie will be shown in cinemas from 23 December this year.

The story features Kurokawa as the character Yumi who lost everything due to the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami and is now living with her aunt in Iwaki, Fukushima who has a construction company. When she goes to work at a small restaurant owned by Sugitani (Iura), she finds that he has lost his memory for some reason and can't even remember who he is. However, he can still remember how to cook and tries to cope with his fear and loneliness with the help of the people around him. Yumi and Sugitani get increasingly drawn to each other and gradually begin an intimate relationship. As the 2 hour and 2 minute movie contains about 20 minutes worth of intimate scenes, it has been given the classification of R-18 i.e. only those above 18 years old are allowed to watch this.

In preparation for the filming where he plays a chef, Iura worked at a restaurant for a week to learn cooking as he had to tackle difficult scenes such as preparing a puffer fish by himself. The filming was mainly done in Iwaki during January this year. Iura commented that although his character was difficult to play and had his troubles, there were scenes where Sugitani and Yumi had fun such as picking wild flowers. As such, he was glad that he didn't have to pull a long face throughout the whole movie and could show a variety of emotions. As for the intimate scenes, Iura admitted that this was the first time he had to do so many scenes with such intensity and said that he and Kurokawa did their best to meet up to the director's expectations.

On the other hand, Kurokawa said that she was glad to be able to take on this movie as the last work in her 20s. It was great to be able to trust the cast and her co-stars as she focused on her acting and hopes that the public will support this movie when it is released.

Sources: Yomiuri Hochi / Eiga.com

Sakurai Hinako & Yoshizawa Ryo to star in new real-life adaptation movie "Marmalade Boy"

Sakurai Hinako and Yoshizawa Ryo will be joint leads in the upcoming real-life adaptation movie of "Marmalade Boy" which is based on the same-titled manga by Yoshizumi Wataru that was serialised between 1992 and 1995 and sold 10 million copies. It was made into an anime series in 1994 and an anime movie screened in the following year before it was adapted to become a Taiwanese drama in 2001. At present, the sequel manga "Marmalade Boy little" is being serialised in "Cocohana". The movie's script will be written by Asano Taeko while the director will be Hiroki Ryuichi. The movie will be screened in cinemas next year.

Sakurai plays a senior high school student Koishikawa Mitsuki who is told by her parents that they are divorcing and planning to remarry by switching partners with the Matsukawas who they met during a trip in Hawaii. While still coping with the shock of this sudden development, Mitsuki finds that she has to live with the two newly-formed couples and the Matsukawas' only son Yuu (Yoshizawa) under the same roof. Although Yuu behaves coldly towards Mitsuki initially, the two of them gradually fall in love with each other.

Sakurai commented that she is excited just by thinking about how to portray Mitsuki in the current era even though the story was written more than 20 years ago when divorce, remarriage and cohabitation were very controversial and uncommon topics then. As she is still a relatively new face in the industry, she expressed her joy about being able to play this big role and view this as a challenge that she never imagined would come her way.

On the other hand, Yoshizawa who plays Yuu, a guy who looks sweet on the surface but is "bitter" within just like marmalade, said that he usually doesn't get to play such cool characters so he joked that he can finally make full use of his looks in his movie. He also called on everyone to look upon them favourably as they try their best for this movie.

Sources: Eiga.com / Sanspo

Top 10 bestselling movies during the 2017 summer vacation (Oricon)

Here is the list of the bestselling movies in Japan during the 2017 summer vacation (July to 28 August). Numbers in brackets indicate the total box office takings up to 28 August:

1) Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (JPY 6.58bn)

2) Despicable Me 3 (JPY 6.22bn)

3) Gintama (JPY 3.63bn)

4) Gekijouban Pocket Monster Kimi ni kimeta! (JPY 3.18bn)

5) Mary to Majo no Hana (JPY 3.02bn)

6) Kimi no suizou wo tabetai (JPY 2.57bn)

7) Shinobi no kuni (JPY 2.34bn)

8) Spiderman: Homecoming (JPY 2.26bn)

9) Cars Crossroad (JPY 1.73bn)

10) Transformers: The Last Knight (JPY 1.61bn)

Source: Oricon

Monday, August 28, 2017

Top 10 movies box office ranking for the weekend of 26th & 27th Aug 2017

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

1) Sekigahara (337)

2) Despicable Me 3 (359)

3) Wonder Woman (338)

4) Uchiage hanabi, shita kara miruka? Yoko kara miruka? (298)

5) Kimi no suizou wo tabetai (319)

6) HIGH&LOW THE MOVIE 2 END OF SKY (314)

7) Spider-Man: Homecoming (355)

8) Gekijouban Pocket Monster Kimi ni kimeta! (364)

9) Mary to Majo no Hana (365)

10) Gintama (334)

Source: Eiga.com

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Filming wraps up for NTV Autumn 2017 drama "Saki ni umaretadake no boku"

The filming for NTV Autumn 2017 drama "Saki ni umaretadake no boku" starring Sakurai Sho had been completed recently. The drama will begin its run from October in the Saturdays 10pm timeslot. The drama is based on an original script by Fukuda Yasushi who is known for works such as "HERO" and "Galileo" and was directed by Mizuta Nobuo who has dramas like "Mother" and "Woman" under his belt.

Sakurai plays the role of Narumi Ryosuke, a 35-year-old former 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. Co-stars also include Seto Koji, Igawa Haruka, Kazama Morio and Takashima Masanobu.

Sakurai commented that this is the first time he had completed the filming of a drama before its broadcast so it was an invaluable experience for him to concentrate fully on the filming without being distracted by a tight schedule. In addition, he is eagerly looking forward to seeing how the final product turns out to be especially since everyone had put in their best effort for this drama. As it had been about four and a half years since he last starred in a drama, Sakurai revealed that he had been very nervous especially about having to say 10 to 20 pages of lines on his own at one go. However, it was fulfilling for him to be able to take up this challenge.

Source: Oricon

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Supporting cast line-up of new NHK morning drama "Hanbun, Aoi" announced

The supporting cast line-up of new NHK morning drama "Hanbun, Aoi" starring Nagano Mei was announced during a press conference held at NHK's HQ in Tokyo on 22 August which was attended by Nagano, Sato Takeru, Matsuyuki Yasuko, Takito Kenichi, Harada Tomoyo, Tanihara Shosuke, Fubuki Jun, Nakamura Masatoshi and Yo Kimiko. The drama which is the 98th production to date, will be shown from 2 April 2018 to 29 September 2018 and consists of 156 episodes.

The drama which is based on Kitagawa Eriko's original script, features the heroine Nireno Suzume (Nagano) who lost hearing in her left ear due an illness she had when she was a child and describes her turbulent life and the process of building an electrical appliances manufacturing company over half a century from 1971 to the present era which will be set in Gifu, her birthplace, and Tokyo.

Sato will be playing Suzume's childhood friend Hagio Ritsu who was born on the same day as her. Although Suzume is an idealistic person with daring ideas, Ritsu is serious, emphasizes on logic and has difficulty socialising with others. Although the two of them are like soulmates to each other, they get married to other people and only get back together after a long time when they become partners to work on developing electrical fans.

Sato commented that as this is the first time he is acting in a morning drama, he is concerned about the long filming period but he will try his best to support Nagano who will have the heaviest burden among all of them. As for the relationship between Ritsu and Suzume, he described it as rather ambiguous so it's quite difficult for him to portray the fine distance between them because there is more to love between the two of them. However, he thinks that the biggest challenge is their 11-year age difference because the story's setting is that Ritsu and Suzume were supposed to be born on the same day and the story begins from senior high school all the way to their 40s so he's concerned about whether they will look like the same age as the story progresses. Actually, Nagano and Sato had worked together before in the 2012 movie "Rurouni Kenshin" but she was only a primary school student at that time. Even so, Sato remembered her for being very charimastic and pretty and that she hasn't changed much since then.

In addition, Matsuyuki Yasuko will be playing Haru who is Suzume's mother and Takito Kenichi will be playing Utaro who is Suzume's father. Fubuki will be playing Suzume's grandmother Yasuko and taking on the role of the narrator while Nakamura will be playing Suzume's grandmother Senkichi. On the other hand, Ritsu's mother Wako will be played by Harada while Ritsu's father Yoichi will be played by Tanihara. Yo will be playing the doctor Okada Kimika who delivered Suzume and Ritsu at Okada Hospital.

Other co-stars who were not at the press conference included Suzume's classmates played by Yamoto Yuma who acts as Saionji Ryunosuke and Nao who acts as Kidahara Nao. Kamimura Kaisei will be playing Suzume's younger brother.

Sources: Oricon 1 / Nikkansports / Oricon 2 / Eiga.com

Spin-off drama "Doctor Y ~ Gekai Kaji Hideki ~ 2" to be shown from September 2017

The spin-off drama "Doctor Y ~ Gekai Kaji Hideki ~ 2" which is from the hit TV Asahi drama series "Doctor X ~ Gekai Daimon Michiko ~" and features the surgeon Kaji Hideki (Katsumura Masanobu) as the lead, will be making a comeback from 26 September through au's Video Pass, Amazon Prime Video and TV Asahi Douga. This means that the spin-off series will be shown to more than 200 countries through the Amazon platform.

"Doctor Y" features Kaji who loves to be part of the herd, adores money, uses his skills to get what he wants and is narrow-minded. Last year, when the first spin-off series was shown via the Internet and later shown on TV, it showed how Kaji was sent to a hospital in the countryside and was bewitched and tempted by money when treating his patients but he always managed to achieve his aims in line with the main drama's theme of "never failing".

In the second series, he will be at Honokura Hospital which is surrounded by mountains and feels like a place which you would see in horror movies. There is a legend that the hospital is cursed by the spirit of a young girl. From the first night when Kaji reports for work, he goes through a harrowing and comical experience while continuing his stint as a surgeon there.

Katsumura commented that the staff and cast of "Doctor Y" are very serious about this drama and it has a variety of elements such as horror and medical drama. As such, he hopes that many people will be able to watch this drama. In the latest installment of "Doctor X", Kaji will not be appearing there so for people who miss Kaji, they should rest assured that he will be back in the Doctor Y spin-off drama.

Just like the first series, the main supporting cast will be largely young actors. In this latest installment, Horii Arata will be playing Nakata Kazuma who is the on-duty nurse in charge of supporting Kaji. Horii revealed that Katsumura jokingly told him that if he appears in "Doctor Y", he won't get to appear in "Doctor X" which led Horii to exclaim that he hopes to act in "Doctor X" as well. As he tends to stumble over the medical jargon, he will try to practice tongue twisters so that he can overcome this problem. Iitoyo Marie will be playing a nurse Shimizu Reiko and expressed anticipation at being able to work with Katsumura for the first time.

Other co-stars include Hoshida Hidetoshi, Noguchi Kaoru, Tokui Yu and Iwamatsu Ryo. Yonekura Ryoko and Kishibe Ittoku will be making guest appearances in the spin-off drama as well.

Source: Oricon

Friday, August 25, 2017

Supporting cast line-up of TV Tokyo drama SP "Temisu no Tsurugi" announced

The supporting cast line-up of TV Tokyo drama SP "Temisu no Tsurugi" starring Kamikawa Takaya had been announced. The drama which is based on the same-titled novel by Nakayama Shichiri, will be shown at 9pm on 27 September. It features Kamikawa as a police detective Watase who tries to find the truth behind a murder case involving a married couple who owned a real estate company over the span of more than 20 years so he will be acting as this character from his 20s to 50s.

Maeda Atsuko will be playing a weekly magazine's reporter Taguchi Kyoko who is bent on following Watase around in order to interview him about the murder case more than 20 years ago. Funakoshi Eiichiro plays Onda Akihiko who is a prosecutor at the Tokyo Public Prosecutors Office and became friends with Watase after they met while working on the murder case. Watase's partner and mentor Narumi Kenji will be played by Takahashi Katsumi while Ito Shiro plays Kusuki Tatsuya who is the father of the murder suspect Kusuki Akihiro. Yo Kimiko plays Koenji Shizuka who is the judge presiding over the murder case's trial and Watase's wife Ryoko will be played by Horiuchi Keiko. Nakamura Tomoya will be playing the murder suspect Kusuki Akihiro and Nonami Maho will be playing Dojima Hitomi who is the junior of Watase. Sugawara Daikichi will be playing Sugie who is the boss of Watase while Bengal plays Kunieda who plays a forensics officer. Last but not least, Takahashi Tsutomu will be playing Sakomizu who is the suspect of a murder case involving a family living in a detached house.

Source: Oricon

KAT-TUN's Ueda Tatsuya to star in new TV Tokyo Autumn 2017 drama "Shinjuku Seven"

KAT-TUN's Ueda Tatsuya will be starring in the new TV Tokyo Autumn 2017 drama "Shinjuku Seven" which will be starting from October 2017 in the Fridays 12.12am timeslot. This marks Ueda's first leading role in a drama series and he will be singing the theme song as a solo singer. The title of the song and the CD release date will be announced at a later date.

The drama which is based on the same-titled manga currently serialised in "Manga Goraku Special", is set at Kabukicho in Shinjuku where the lead character Nanase (Ueda) owns a pawnshop and is known for having a keen eye to determine whether an item is the real thing or a fake and its value. While appraising these items, he also gets involved in various incidents and trouble due to his clients. This will also be one of the rare instances where a TV Tokyo drama will head overseas for filming.

With regard to his first leading role in a drama series, Ueda said that he will do his best as always and he is very happy and honoured to be able to achieve his goal of landing a leading role one day as he likes acting. As for singing the theme song on his own, he believes that this will help him to grow as a singer while his group is currently on hiatus so he will put in his best effort for this as well. Ueda also hoped that this song will make viewers become more absorbed and engaged in the drama.

As Ueda had already read the manga before, he described his character as someone who you would not consider as a good person but he has a strong conviction towards things he believes in and would not do anything which goes against this. As such, he had always wanted to play a character like this and show everything that he's got through his acting. With regard to the action scenes, Ueda said that he's looking forward to it and will do any stunt for this drama while tapping on his boxing experience of more than 10 years. However, as Nanase's build is slightly different from his figure, Ueda revealed that he was instructed by the director to increase his weight so that he can resemble Nanase more.

Filming is said to be starting soon.

Sources: Eiga.com / Oricon / Sponichi / Sanspo

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Supporting cast line-up of new TV Tokyo drama SP "Kohaku" announced

The supporting cast line-up of new TV Tokyo drama SP "Kohaku" due to be shown on 15 September at 9pm had been announced. The drama SP which is based on the same-titled novel by Asada Jiro, features Nishida as Yoneda Katsumi, a police detective who is about to retire and Terao as Arai Toshio, a fugitive and an unresolved case which happened 25 years ago. One day, Yoneda happens to come across a booklet about a cafe by the name "Kohaku" which reminds him of an arson-cum-murder case that happened in Kichijoji 25 years ago. Yoneda then travels to Kohaku which is at Uozu in Toyama Prefecture, where he meets the master of the cafe Arai and his regular customer Hirai Sachiko. Coincidentally, the three of them have huge secrets to hide which are about to be revealed as they come to know one another better.

Suzuki Kyoka will be playing the heroine Hirai Sachiko who actually didn't appear in the original novel and is the only regular at the cafe. She is a married woman but has feelings for Arai and is hiding a secret which she cannot tell anyone. Suzuki described her character as someone who is headstrong and brave woman but didn't have a smooth-sailing life. As such, it took time for her to understand the feelings of her character and she learnt a lot by watching the natural acting of Nishida and Terao. As for the filming at Uozu, Suzuki commented that she had been to Toyama for some time when she appeared in Nishida's movie "Tsuribaka Nisshi" but this was the first time that they saw a mirage there. Since the characters in the story all have their dark pasts, they actually can connect to and encourage one another because of this similarity so this drama is a sad story about adults.

Co-stars also include Kudo Asuka who plays a police officer Satoshi and his girlfriend Atsumi who is played by Kawashima Umika.

Source: Oricon

Manga version of new movie "Yurigokoro" to be released on 22 Aug

The manga version of new movie "Yurigokoro" starring Yoshitaka Yuriko, Matsuyama Kenichi and Matsuzaka Toori will be released in 2 volumes from 22 August. The manga which was drawn by manga artist Azuki Ryo, is the second comicalisation of a movie since "Lovey Dovey Star". On the covers of the two volumes will be the visuals of the characters played by Yoshitaka and Matsuzaka.

Azuki said that it was an enjoyable experience to do this project but he had to cut some parts from the original novel so that the story could fit within the confines of the two-volume manga. He also hoped that the manga will not deviate too far from the impressions which the novel's readers had of the characters.

The movie which will be shown in cinemas from 23 September, describes how a family comes to find a diary belonging to someone they do not know from their dying father's study which describes how this person killed multiple people. However, they are unable to tell if this is a fictional story or a real account by the person in question and why this was written. Yoshitaka plays the heroine Misako described in the diary who is destined to kill people so as to be at peace with herself emotionally. However, when she comes to understand what true love is, she tries to fight against her fate and struggles with the resulting internal turmoil. Matsuyama plays the role of Yosuke living in the Showa era who has an unspeakable secret and emotional scar like Misako. When the two of them meet, they try to relieve their loneliness in each other's company. Matsuzaka plays the role of Ryosuke in the current era who discovers the diary talking about Misako from his dying father's study room. Satsukawa Aimi plays Mitsuko who is a friend of Misako while the younger version of Misako is played by Kiyohara Kaya, As for Seino Nana, she plays Ryosuke's fiancee Chie who disappears suddenly without a word while Kimura Tae plays Chie's ex-colleague Hosoya, a mysterious woman who was asked to pass a message from Chie to Ryosuke.

Source: Eiga.com

Yamada Takayuki to produce new movie "Day and Night"

Yamada Takayuki will be producing a new movie "Day and Night" which is scheduled to be shown in cinemas next year. However, he will not be acting in the movie as he wants to concentrate on being the producer. Besides regular meetings about the script, he was also involved in negotiations to find sponsors and location shooting places and conducted auditions to find the cast. Filming will begin in November this year at Kazuno City and Mitane-cho in Akita Prefecture.

The theme of the movie aims to explore what it means to be good and evil where the lead character returns to his hometown due to the sudden suicide of his honest and dependable father. However, he comes to know about a hidden side to his father and gets twisted between the conflicting sides of good and evil which leads to him becoming involved in the vice trade. The lead character will be played by Abe Shinnosuke who is Yamada's colleague in the same agency and a longtime friend. This will be Abe's first leading role in a full-length movie.

Yamada said that when people are confronted with gentleness vs. harshness or ideals vs. reality, they tend to protect themselves by deciding what is good and evil. However, there is often no perfect answer or criteria to do so thus if people can't do this, they probably cannot survive. Nonetheless, Yamada hopes that this movie will question the audience on this. Although there may be people who may think that this is a clumsy and poor attempt at discussing this theme, he hopes to challenge himself instead of living smartly.

The supporting cast members will be decided by an audition so those who are interested in applying can do so via the website Mirror Liar. Yamada and Abe will be present at the auditions to meet those shortlisted. There will also be an audition held in Akita so as to boost efforts in rejuvenating the rural areas.

The director will be Fujii Michihito whose recent works include the drama "Hyakumanen no Onnatachi" and the CM for Pocket Monster. He revealed that the project began four years ago as an idea between him and Abe and it took more than 10 revisions of the script before it was finalised.

Source: Eiga.com

Takashima Masanobu announces the arrival of his first child

Takashima Masanobu announced the arrival of his first child through his agency on 22 August and revealed that the baby was born on the previous day at 3pm. Both mother and child are doing well. Takashima said that his son is slightly on the heavier side and is the first grandson to his parents and his wife's parents. He revealed that he had called his parents Takashima Tadao and Sumi Hanayo over the phone and he cried when he heard them congratulating him. Takashima expressed his gratitude for the arrival of his new family member and pledged to work hard going forward.

Takashima was previously married to model Miwon between 2008 and 2012. He married his current wife who is a doctor and 14 years younger than him in September 2015.

Source: Oricon

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Kato Takako announces the birth of her second son

Kato Takako announced the birth of her second son through her blog on 23 August after she gave birth to the baby at 4.30pm on the previous day by C-section. She thanked everyone for their well-wishes and congratulations which were read to her by her husband and gave her a lot of encouragement even though she was in a daze for most of yesterday. Kato also revealed that she is doing well even though the surgery was supposed to be full of risks for her but things turned out well for her in the end which she attributed the miracle to everyone's prayers for her. She then went on to thank the medical team for their help in saving her and her child who is in the ICU at the moment. Although he was born at 36 weeks under the condition of total placenta previa, he is doing very well now and broke the hospital's record of being the heaviest baby born under this situation. Although Kato has yet to meet the baby yet, she will try to get better soon so that she can go and see the baby. Last not least, Kato thanked everyone including her family for their help which made it possible for her to give birth at the age of 46 years and 10 months.

Kato gave birth to her elder son in November 2014 at the age of 44 and started to prepare herself for her second pregnancy since February last year. However, she revealed on her blog in March this year that her husband had an infertility issue so she shared her efforts in trying to get pregnant when they went through treatment which attracted a lot of attention from women and married couples who were having similar problems.

Source: Oricon

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Completion screening event of new movie "Namiya Zakkaten no Kiseki"

The completion screening event of new movie "Namiya Zakkaten no Kiseki" was held on 18 August which was attended by the director Hiroki Ryuichi and cast members Yamada Ryosuke, Nishida Toshiyuki, Murakami Nijirou, Kanichiro, Hayashi Kento, Kadowaki Mugi and Ono Machiko. The movie will be screened in cinemas from 23 September.

The movie which is based on the same-titled novel by Higashino Keigo that had sold more than 6.5 million copies, is set in modern Japan in the year 2012. Yamada plays the lead character Atsuya who grew up at an orphanage. After doing some evil deeds with his childhood friends Shota and Kohei, he hides at an abandoned house which used to be a general store named Namiya that was known for being a place where people could come to seek advice for their troubles. While at the house, Atsuya finds a letter written by someone 32 years ago in 1980 asking for advice on a problem in the post box and starts to interact with this person through mail on the behalf of the store's owner Namiya Yuji (Nishida). Gradually, the secret behind the store is unravelled through the mail correspondence.

Nishida who worked with Yamada for the first time in this movie, described Yamada as James Dean from the movie "East of Eden", Murakami as Zbigniew Cybulski from the movie "Ashes and Diamonds" and Kanichiro as the Japanese Marlon Brando and Kanichiro's own grandfather Mikuni Rentaro. Although he failed to find a suitable person to compare to Kadowaki and laughed about this, he went on to praise Ono for being very likeable and Hayashi for his good acting skills. Nishida then ended his talk by joking that he said many good things today and even went on to say that there are many people from Fukushima Prefecture so the director who also hails from there, got complimented as well.

On the other hand, Yamada expressed his joy at being able to get interviewed with Nishida for the promotional campaign but reminded the latter that the pamphlet actually cited Hayashi to be comparable to James Dean. Upon hearing this, Nishida said that James Dean had different feels in various movies so he insisted that he was not wrong in comparing Yamada to the Dean in "East of Eden" while Hayashi was more like the Dean in "Rebel without a cause".

Yamada recalled when he read the novel after receiving the movie's offer, he was wondering how they could fit the story into a 2-hour movie but when he read the script, he was impressed by how everything was nicely packaged into the film. As such, he believed that the movie will touch everyone.

The movie will be participating in the Busan International Film Festival's The Window of Asian movies from 12 October and is scheduled to be screened in South Korea, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia.

Sources: Oricon / Eiga.com

Uchiyama Rina to star in new NHK drama "Machikouba no Onna"

Uchiyama Rina will be starring in the new NHK drama "Machikouba no Onna" (The woman of the small town factory) which consists of 7 episodes and will begin its run from 10 November in the Fridays 10pm timeslot. The story is based on the book "Machikouba no Musume" by Suwa Takako and set in a small town factory in Aichi Prefecture so filming will be done on location in Nagoya.

Uchiyama plays the lead character Arimoto Hikari who is a 32-year-old housewife and lives with her husband (Nagai Masaru) and their son. When she was a child, her father Taizo (Tachi Hiroshi) tried to groom her to become his successor and manage the family business i.e. a small factory but Hikari resisted the idea. One day, when Taizo collapses due to exhaustion, Hikari is shocked to find out that her father has cancer and only has 4 days to live. In order to protect his factory, she decides to take on the role of company president. However, her husband who she is thinking of relying on to help her with the business, is sent to the US for an overseas posting. To make things worse, Hikari is seen as a president in name only and is belittled by the factory's executives, employees and their main bank. Co-stars include Yanagisawa Shingo, Murakami Jun, Oshinari Shugo, Kariya Shunsuke, Ichige Yoshie and Takenaka Naoto.

Uchiyama who will be acting in the leading role of a NHK drama for the first time, said that although she is worried and nervous, she is prepared to take on the challenge and show how a housewife manages a company with her unique perspective and finds out more about her late father through the process. As such, this is not just a business story but also one about a father and his daughter.

Sources: Oricon / Nikkansports

Maya Miki to star in new Tokai TV & FujiTV Autumn 2017 drama "Sakura no Oyakodon"

Maya Miki will be starring in the new Tokai TV & FujiTV Autumn 2017 drama "Sakura no Oyakodon" (Sakura's oyakodon) which will begin its run from 7 October in the Saturdays 11.40pm timeslot. This marks her first leading role in a Tokai TV drama and her first leading role in a drama in 5 years since 2012's TV Asahi drama "Sousachizu no Onna".

The original story features Maya as the lead character Tsukumo Sakura who owns a secondhand bookstore. Legend has it that she will cook free oyakodon for anyone who is hungry and has nowhere to go to so that they can face up to their problems and try to move on. Actually, Sakura had a 17-year-old son who died 16 years ago due to being involved in an incident which then led to her suffering huge emotional trauma and the divorce with her husband. She raised her daughter Kyoko single-handedly and firmly believes that people who are hungry tend to think of the worst and go on the wrong path. That is why she decided to carve out a space at the back of her bookstore and offer oyakodon for anyone who comes without questioning their backgrounds or circumstances. With the appearance of a young girl Ninomiya Asami, this happens to bring back Sakura's bad memories of the past and forces her to face up to her own trauma.

Maya who is currently the daily host for TBS morning programme "Vivit", expressed her concern about whether she would be able to juggle both the filming and the live morning show but said that she was very happy to be offered the role. As she had played mostly strong and cool women in the past, she thought that this role had come at the right time as she had talked about many social programmes on "Vivit" which will be essential in helping her to sound more convincing when she says the lines in the drama. With regard to her character, Sakura is someone who has stopped moving on in her life and many people are like her who hide their internal struggles as they go through each day. As such, she hopes that they will feel consoled when they watch the drama on Saturday nights as if they are given a bowl of delicious oyakodon to comfort their souls.

Source: Oricon

Monday, August 21, 2017

Matsu Takako to sing the theme song for new NHK morning drama "Warotenka"

Matsu Takako will be singing the theme song for the new NHK morning drama "Warotenka" which is scheduled to begin its run from 2 October. The song titled "Ashita wa doko kara" was written and composed by Matsu and this will be her first theme song for a NHK drama. Matsu expressed her joy at being able to write and sing the theme song for the drama and hopes that the viewers will be encouraged and feel happy whenever they hear the song being played during the drama's broadcast.

The drama which stars Aoi Wakana as the lead, 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 Toori)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.

Sources: Nikkansports / Yomiuri Hochi

Supporting cast line-up of new WOWOW drama "Chinmoku Houtei" announced

The supporting cast line-up of new WOWOW drama "Chinmoku Houtei" starring Nagasaku Hiromi has been announced. The drama consists of 5 episodes and will begin its run from 24 September in the Sundays 10pm timeslot.

The story which is based on the same-titled novel by Naoki Award-winning writer Sasaki Jou, starts with the discovery of the body of an elderly person living alone in Akabane, Kita Ward of Tokyo who was strangled to death. While conducting investigations into the murder, the police detectives at Akabane Police Station and those from the Metropolitan Police Department get a tip-off from nearby residents that a woman had been visiting the victim's apartment often. It is later found that the woman named Yamamoto Miki (Nagasaku) is the sole owner of a household chores helper business. When the police officers head to Miki's office, they are surprised to see the Saitama Prefectural Police already there to investigate a series of unnatural deaths supposedly linked to her. Through the trial, it is slowly revealed who Miki is and the truth behind these cases starts to unravel as media attention heats up to label her as a serial murderer even before the verdict is out. However, Miki clams up during the trial when it is her turn to testify instead of trying to clear her name.

Here is the supporting cast list and the characters who they will play:

- Takamizawa Hiroshi (Ichihara Hayato): Miki;s boyfriend
- Yatabe Kan (Tanaka Tetsushi): Miki's lawyer who volunteers to take on her case
- Imuro Shinji (Sugimoto Tetta): The police detective at Akabane Police Station who is in charge of investigating the case
- Torigai Tatsuya (Ookura Koji): A police detective who is the buddy of Imuro
- Nishimura Atsuko (Usuda Asami): A newbie detective at Akabane Police Station
- Takai Yousuke (Komoto Masahiro): A TV station director who wants to make use of the case to achieve high ratings for his programme
- Baba Koutaro (Kitamura Soichiro): The wealthy elderly man who was found dead in his house at Akabane

Other co-stars also include Fujimoto Izumi and Kaneda Akio.

Sources: Eiga.com / Oricon

Top 10 movies box office ranking for the weekend of 19th & 20th Aug 2017

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

1) HIGH&LOW THE MOVIE 2 END OF SKY (314)

2) Despicable Me 3 (359)

3) Uchiage hanabi, shita kara miruka? Yoko kara miruka? (298)

4) Spider-Man: Homecoming (355)

5) Kimi no suizou wo tabetai (319)

6) Gekijouban Pocket Monster Kimi ni kimeta! (364)

7) Transformers: The Last Knight (334)

8) Gintama (334)

9) Mary to Majo no Hana (365)

10) Kamen Rider Ex-Aid the Movie: True Ending (317)

Source: Eiga.com

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Ayase Haruka to star in new NTV Autumn 2017 drama "Okusama wa, toriatsukai chuui"

Ayase Haruka will be starring in the new NTV Autumn 2017 drama "Okusama wa, toriatsukai chuui" (Handle this missus with care) which will begin its run from October in the Wednesdays 10pm timeslot. The drama is an original story written by Kaneshiro Kazuki who specialises in cutting-edge suspense and action stories so Ayase's character will be a blend of cuteness and cheerfulness with strength and coolness which is hardly seen in Japanese dramas.

Ayase plays the lead character Isayama Nami who got married to a man on the spur of the moment after falling in love with him at first sight during a go-kon. Although she is a housewife who is living the good life in a quiet and upscale neighbourhood which is a huge contrast to when she was single, she is actually poor at cooking and cleaning the house and her biggest grouse is that she cannot stand her mundane life as a ordinary housewife. Nami also hates going around the bush and has a strong sense of justice which makes her extremely frightening when she is angered. She sets out to help the housewives living in the same neighbourhood who may look happy on the surface but have various issues hidden within. The reason why she is a thrill seeker will also be what she has been hiding from her husband and this will be gradually revealed as the story progresses.

With regard to playing a housewife for the first time, Ayase said that there will be some parts which will make viewers laugh but the action scenes when Nami punishes the baddies will be very exciting to watch so she hopes that everyone will enjoy watching this every week. Meanwhile, Kaneshiro said that this is the first time that he has a woman as the lead character in his drama which also incorporates elements of a home drama so it will be a big challenge to him. Nonetheless, he feels assured that Ayase is playing the lead role so he called upon everyone to look out for this drama.

To prepare for the action scenes, Ayase had been undergoing training in silat since June this year. Instead of relying on physical strength to overcome her opponents, Ayase will be using daily objects like cooking utensils, ballpoint pens and pencils as her weapons.

Matsuda Ryuhei & Noda Yojiro to star in new movie "Nakimushi Shottan no Kiseki"

Matsuda Ryohei will be taking on the lead role in the new movie "Nakimushi Shottan no Kiseki" (The miracle of crybaby Shottan) which is directed by Toyoda Toshiaki and based on the autobiography of professional shogi player Segawa Shoji written by himself. The movie will be shown in cinemas next year and is Matsuda's first appearance in a Toyoda work in 16 years since the movie "Aoi Haru".

Matsuda plays Segawa who was focused on playing shogi since he was a child and became a pro player at the age of 14. However, he faced an impending obstacle in his career as the shogi association had a rule that he had to reach the 4th rank before he turned 26. Segawa failed to make the mark and had to quit being a shogi player which led to him switching tracks to become a salaryman. Despite this setback, with the support of the people around him, Segawa tried to launch a comeback and made the 4th rank at the age of 35 in 2005. He subsequently made it to the 5th rank in 2012 as a result of his hard work. RADWIMPS' vocalist Noda Yojiro who is a good friend of Matsuda, will be playing Segawa's shogi rival cum childhood buddy Sato Yuuya.

The director Toyoda himself was also part of the shogi association up till he was 17 and commented that when he actually hated shogi when he was a teenager. When he read the autobiography, his hatred simply disappeared and he was moved to tears. As such, he aims to take a new look at the shogi world with a humble attitude and mark his directing career's 20th anniversary with this movie. As for working with Matsuda again, he expressed his joy about being given this chance and that they will do a good job together.

As Matsuda and Noda will be playing shogi players, they have been undergoing training under Segawa since May this year in preparation for the start of the filming in late August. Matsuda commented that he is deeply drawn into the world of shogi thanks to the teachings of Segawa and is happy about being able to work with Toyoda again. As for Noda, he revealed that he is both worried and expectant about the upcoming filming and hopes to see a different side of Matsuda which he doesn't get to observe in their private interactions. Meanwhile, Segawa said that when he heard about his book being made into a movie, he was very happy about it especially when he found out that Matsuda will be playing himself. Although Matsuda is a newbie at shogi, Segawa was especially impressed with how Matsuda has improved tremendously and his concentration power.

Sources: Eiga.com / Yomiuri Hochi / Nikkansports

Completion screening event of new movie "Okuda Tamio ni naritai Boy to Deau otoko subete kuruwaseru Girl"

The completion screening event of new movie "Okuda Tamio ni naritai Boy to Deau otoko subete kuruwaseru Girl" was held on 14 August which was attended by the director Ohne Hitoshi and cast members Tsumabuki Satoshi, Mizuhara Kiko and Arai Hirofumi. The movie will be shown in cinemas from 16 September.

 The film is based on the same-titled manga by Shibuya Chokkaku which was serialised in "Shukan SPA!". Tsumabuki plays the role of a magazine Kooroki Yuuji who aspires to live like singer-songwriter Okuda Tamio while Mizuhara plays Amami Akari who works at an apparel maker's promotions department. After Kooroki falls in love with Akari at first sight and they start dating, she starts to show the bewitching side of her and messes up the lives of the men around her.

As there was a mass group date side event involving the audience of 100 young men and women before the main event, the atmosphere was somewhat different from other similar screening events. With regard to this, Tsumabuki joked that he never imagined that the event would have such a flashy feel and suggested that those who had met someone they liked today should invite that person out again when the movie is officially released.

When asked to comment about the movie, Tsumabuki said that the story is mainly based on the wild imagination of men and the lifestyle magazine MALET featured in the movie will be released for real on 31 August. He also revealed that he had contributed many things to this magazine such as shooting the cover's photo. On the other hand, Mizuhara commented that this is the first movie that she had kissed and removed her clothes so many times but it was a fun filming experience especially since she had to apply cream to her breasts and buttocks to make them look good on screen. As for Arai, he said with a wry smile that the most memorable thing for him during the filming was that he suffered a slipped disk.

Sources: Oricon / Nikkansports / Yomiuri Hochi

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Kobayashi Satomi & Oshima Yuko to star in new WOWOW & Hulu drama "Cote d' Azur Number 10"

Kobayashi Satomi and Oshima Yuko will be starring in the new WOWOW & Hulu drama "Cote d' Azur Number 10" which will be shown from November 2017. WOWOW will be showing 5 episodes while Hulu will show the remaining 4 episodes. Each episode will be 30 minutes-long and feature the two of them playing different characters every time such as friends who meet at another friend's funeral, a pair of private detectives, a social dance teacher and student and a guitar player and regular customer at a bar.

When Kobayashi first heard that she has to play different characters in each of the 9 episodes, she thought that it was going to be really tough. However, when the filming actually began, the interesting story overcame her worries especially since she is the type to react accordingly to the atmosphere on set rather than think beforehand how she should act. As such, she had no issues easing into the production process which values the ideas of the staff and the natural flow of things on the set. As for working with Oshima, Kobayashi said that she is looking forward to their collaboration and praised her for being more frank and flexible than she thought. Kobayashi commented that Oshima is actually the type who works hard behind the scenes and it was refreshing to work with her even though Kobayashi has worked as an actress for a longer time.

On the other hand, Oshima revealed that she also thought that it would be very challenging to take on this drama with such a tight filming schedule. However, with the help of Kobayashi's sharpness and warmth as well as the production team's unique way of doing things, she found that she could relax and fit well into the filming and enjoy the process.

Source: Oricon

Premium screening event of new movie "Nidome no natsu, nidoto aenai kimi"

The premium screening event of new movie "Nidome no natsu, nidoto aenai kimi" was held at Shinjuku Wald 9 on 10 August which was attended by the director Nakanishi Kenji and cast members Murakami Nijirou, Yoshida Madoka, AKB48's Kato Rena and Yamada Yuki. The movie which is based on the same-titled light novel by Akagi Hirotaka, features Murakami as the lead character Shinohara Satoshi who is a senior high school student while the heroine Moriyama Rin will played by Yoshida Madoka who is the vocalist cum guitarist in girls' band Tankobuchin. Other co-stars include Kikuchi Akiko and Honjo Manami. The movie will be shown in cinemas from 1 September.

The story describes how Shinohara Satoshi who just transferred to Aoba Kita Senior School, tries to form a band which can perform during the cultural festival. However, the school rules forbids band activities. Despite so, Shinohara manages to form a five-member band including his classmate Moriyama Rin. The performance turns out to be a success but Rin collapses whereby Shinohara first learns of her suffering from a terminal illness. Just before Rin passes away, Shinohara confesses his feelings for her but is rejected by her who reacts violently to the confession. Shinohara realises that he shouldn't have done that and deeply regrets tormenting Rin with his action. 2 months after her death, Shinohara is still plagued by his guilt and accidentally goes back into time at six months ago. This time, he will try to suppress his feelings and allow Rin to leave this world with a smile.

In line with the movie's theme, the cast were asked what they would like to redo if they could go back in time. Murakami said that he would like to go back to an era which he has never experienced before as such the dinosaur age or the ancient age and stir up havoc while riding a Segway. As for Kato, she expressed her wish to go back to 8 years ago when she made her debut in AKB48 because she had a very ugly hairstyle then. Yoshida then commented that she would like to go back to when she was in Primary 5 because she accidentally fell down during a cheerleading dance while wearing a mini skirt.

As the cast all appeared in their school uniforms worn in the movie, Murakami said that he was 19 when he filmed the movie and he has not worn an uniform since then so he was not used to wearing it. On the other hand, Yamada who is 26 years old, said that Murakami teased him about wearing an uniform and even called him "Teacher!" which made everyone in the audience laugh.

As for playing band members, the cast did not use stand-ins and played the music themselves. Murakami who already knew how to play the guitar before the filming, said that he was very happy about  being able to perform personally in the movie although there were scenes where he felt that he could do better in. Yoshida who had been in "Tankobuchin" since she was in primary 6, said that it was refreshing to perform in another band this time.

Source: Eiga.com

Mizutani Yutaka & Sorimachi Takashi to return in TV Asahi Autumn 2017 drama "Aibou season16"

Mizutani Yutaka and Sorimachi Takashi will be back to reprise their roles in the upcoming TV Asahi Autumn 2017 drama "Aibou season16" which will begin its run from October in the Wednesdays 9pm timeslot. The drama series started in 2000 and has an average rating of 16.2% for its 286 episodes aired to date. The last season's (18 episodes) had an average rating of 15.2%. Filming for the new season began in early August. In conjunction with the launch of the latest installment, there will be some special PR videos which will contain footage from the filming, behind-the-scenes and interviews of the cast. These will be made available on the drama's official website from 11 August.

Mizutani commented that he never imagined that the series would reach its 16th season just as how you can never predict what happens in life. As for the reason why the series has lasted this long, he said that he can't speak of a single reason but attributes it to the producers, directors and the viewers who saw various possibilities and potential in Sugishita Ukyo (his character). As such, he is never sick of playing this character as he thinks that there are more things to be uncovered from Ukyo. With regard to working with Sorimachi for the third year, Mizutani said that their characters clashed in season 15 so it will be worth checking out how their relationship will develop in the new installment. On the other hand, Sorimachi expressed his joy about being able to take on the Aibou series again and anticipated that there might be a change between his character's relationship with Ukyo.

Co-stars in the new season include Kawahara Kazuhisa, Yamanaka Takashi, Yamanishi Atsushi, Suzuki Anju, Ishizaka Koji, Oosugi Ren, Enoki Takaaki, Nakama Yukie and Asari Yousuke.

Sources: Nikkansports / Sanspo / Yomiuri Hochi / Oricon

Happy 11th anniversary, Dorama World!

And here it is again, the anniversary of Dorama World.

It's been 11 years since I started the blog. In the past year, the blog has grown in many ways. Not only has the number of posts and scope of the content grown, the number of followers on the social media accounts i.e. Twitter and Facebook has also increased significantly. This is despite the fact that I don't buy any ads to promote my pages and content. A big thank you to everyone who has visited my blog, be it longtime readers or new ones for bringing about such growth in the numbers. Be it liking my posts, sharing them or re-tweeting them, this helps to extend the spread of my content, allows me to know what kind of posts are popular and makes it possible for more people to find out about my blog. The numerous discussions through the comments section have also helped me see different perspectives in various issues and I had a lot of fun engaging in such conversations with you even though we may not always agree on the same thing. As such, I really appreciate your support and responses which have helped to make this blog become a community of like-minded Japanese entertainment lovers rather than a one-way delivery of information from me. I look forward to interacting with you as usual or even more in the years ahead.

I had been thinking about how I should be celebrating the occasion. However, being swamped with many things of late, it became difficult to carry out what I had planned. Nonetheless, I would still like to offer my thanks to everyone who made it possible for me to continue this journey to this date. Pardon me for the lack of "festivities" on this day as we celebrate the occasion in a relatively subtle manner compared to last year.

Thank you and please continue to support this blog!
ありがとうございます。これからもよろしくお願いします。

Friday, August 18, 2017

Yamada Takayuki, Sato Takeru & Arakawa Yoshiyoshi to star in new movie "Hard Core Heisei Jigoku Brothers"

Yamada Takayuki, Sato Takeru, Arakawa Yoshiyoshi will be starring in the new movie "Hard Core Heisei Jigoku Brothers" (Hard Core Hell Brothers of Heisei) which will be directed by Yamashita Nobuhiro and shown in cinemas next year. The movie is based on the manga by Caribu Marley and Imashiro Takashi and features Yamada and Sato as brothers. Filming will be done between early August and early September.

The story is set in the fringe of a city in Gunma where two men attempt to survive at the lowest rungs of society with their frankness and innocence instead of changing their beliefs to adapt to the world. Gondou Ukon (Yamada) is a man who gets really angry easily and flares up at young people who get carried away at the bar and his best friend is Ushiyama (Arakawa). The two of them are engaged by a strange activist to search for buried treasures. Ukon's younger brother Sakon is very different from them and works as an elite salaryman. However, despite being supposedly in a better position than his brother and Ushiyama, Sakon can't help but look on with envy about how the two of them live freely. One day, Ukon and Ushiyama find a old robot at an abandoned factory where they live at. When Sakon investigates further, they are surprised to know that the robot contains functions which are unachievable with today's technology. They then manage to get the robot to use its functions to help them find the real hidden treasure. Meanwhile, Ukon becomes sexually involved with the activist's daughter which marks the start of a forbidden relationship.

Yamada who is a fan of the original manga, described his character as a clumsy man who people will get irritated at but can't bring themselves to dislike him. He revealed that the ending made him cry so he thinks that the men in the world who want to live in the way as they want will probably see this movie as a realisation of their dreams. As for Sato who is working with Yamada for the first time, he commented that he agreed to the offer once he heard that he will be playing brothers with the latter since he is a fan of Yamada. Arakawa revealed that he met the director in an izakaya at Shimokitazawa 10 years ago and talked about the manga when he said that he is the only person who can play Ushiyama if the manga is ever made into a movie. As such, this is like a dream come true so he will try his best to play this character.

Sources: Natalie / Yomiuri Hochi / Sponichi / Eiga.com

Kamikawa Takaya to star in new TV Tokyo drama SP "Temisu no Tsurugi"

Kamikawa Takaya will be starring in the new TV Tokyo drama SP "Temisu no Tsurugi" (Themis' Sword) which will be shown this autumn. The drama which is based on the same-titled novel by Nakayama Shichiri, features Kamikawa as a detective Watase who tries to find the truth behind a case over the span of more than 20 years so he will be acting as this character from his 20s to 50s.

Kamikawa commented that it was interesting to act in a story like this where there are many mysteries scattered around as his character tries to link the dots to arrive at the truth. In addition, the story shows the various sides of human nature and what is exactly justice. Last but not least, he had to show how Watase struggled with an emotional wound which never healed despite the passage of time.

The drama's scriptwriter will be Ban Kazuhiko while the director will be Hoshi Mamoru.

Source: Oricon

Supporting cast line-up of Amazon Prime Video drama "Tokyo Alice" announced

The supporting cast line-up of new Amazon Prime Video drama "Tokyo Alice" was announced. The drama which is based on the same-titled manga by Chiya Toriko, consists of 12 episodes and features Yamamoto Mizuki as the lead.

The story describes how 4 women who are around the age of 30 live in a sharehouse at Daikanyama, Tokyo, and how they try to pursue their own happiness in love and work. Yamamoto plays the lead character Arisugawa Fuu who spends most of her salary on fashion and has little luck in love. Although she has a cute appearance, she has an otaku personality. Co-stars include Triendl Rena who plays a budding manga artist Hada Mizuho, Takahashi Maryjun who plays a cool psychiatrist Sakuragawa Rio and Asahina Aya who plays a rich man's daughter Enjoji Sayuri and works at an art gallery in Ginza.

Otani Ryohei will be playing the role of Okuzono Shinji who is Fuu's love interest and her superior at work. Being cool and demanding, he is nicknamed "Iceman" by his co-workers and has nothing in common with Fuu. As for Sayuri's love interest Hiyama Akio, he will be played by Daito Shunsuke. Shiraishi Shunya will be playing Odagiri Shun who is Fuu's colleague and interested in her while Koseki Yuuta will be playing Rio's childhood friend Shinonome Ken who reunites with her after a long time. Sugino Yosuke will play Izumi Atsuto who works as a nurse at the same hospital as Rio and is in love with her and Yanagi Shuntaro will play Kashii Yuusuke who works as a cameraman and meets Fuu during the course of work. Last but not least, Satsukawa Aimi will be playing Sawamura Tamaki who is Okuzono's ex-girlfriend and works at the same company as him and Fuu.

Source: Oricon

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Completion screening event of new movie "Sanposuru Shinryakusha"

The completion screening event of new movie "Sanposuru Shinryakusha" was held at Marunouchi Picadilly on 8 August which was attended by the director Kurosawa Kiyoshi, original play's writer Maekawa Tomohiro and cast members Nagsawa Masami, Matsuda Ryuhei, Hasegawa Hiroki, Takasugi Mahiro, Tsunematsu Yuri, Maeda Atsuko, Mitsushima Shinnosuke, Kojima Kazuya and Mitsuishi Ken. The movie will be shown in cinemas from 9 September.

Matsuda plays the role of Kase Shinji who has the habit of going on daily walks every evening but disappears without a trace for a few days. When he returns home, it is as if he has become an entirely different person which makes his wife Narumi (Nagasawa) shocked at his changes especially when he becomes very gentle and nice to her. Suddenly, Shinji tells Narumi that there will be an attack on Earth which is then followed by a series of strange happenings such as the mass killing of a family in the town they live in and the happening of weird events that disrupts the peaceful life they once had. Hasegawa plays the role of a journalist Sakurai who follows the "invader" around as part of his job.

The tickets for the event were snapped up in a mere 15 seconds which led Nagasawa to express her joy at the support shown for their movie. Maekawa remarked that when they staged the play 12 years ago, only 100 people came to the small underground theatre in Shinjuku so he was especially touched to see so many people here to watch the movie. Kurosawa also commented that when he first had the idea of making the play into a movie about 8 years ago, there was a lot of trial and error along the way before they could finally make this movie so he expressed confidence at the outcome which was thanks to their strong conviction in seeing this through.

Nagasawa commented that as her character Narumi is angry throughout most of the movie, she needed a lot of energy to play this character. In response, Matsuda who plays Shinji, the person she's always angry at, remarked that she was so frightening that he could actually immerse himself into playing his character .

In line of the movie's theme of how the aliens are trying to rob the human beings of their character traits, Mitsushima commented that he would like to take away Matsuda's calmness and see how the latter would behave like if he loses his cool. Especially since they did the filming in summer and had to wear leather jackets, he could not understand why Matsuda appeared unaffected by the heat. On the other hand, Matsuda revealed that he's actually experiencing a lot of emotions within which don't get conveyed to other people despite his cool facade.

Source: Eiga.com

Kanai Hiroto & Ikewaki Chizuru to be joint leads in new movie "Kira Kira Megane"

Newbie actor Kanai Hiroto and Ikewaki Chizuru will be joint leads in the new movie "Kira Kira Megane" (The sparkling spectacles) which is based on the same-titled novel by Morisawa Akio. Filming will begin in late September at Funabashi and Katsuura in Chiba while the movie will be shown in cinemas next year.

The story describes how Tachibana Akemi (Kanai) is struggling to come to terms with the death of his girlfriend when he meets the heroine Ootaki Akane (Ikewaki) and falls for her. However, Akane has a boyfriend Kiba Yuji (Ando Masanobu) who is an elite businessman dying of a terminal illness.

Source: Eiga.com

Yamazaki Kento to play Yakusho Koji's son in TBS Autumn 2017 drama "Rikuou"

Yamazaki Kento will be appearing in the upcoming TBS Autumn 2017 drama "Rikuou" starring Yakusho Koji which will begin its run from October in the Sundays 9pm timeslot. The drama which is based on the same-titled novel by Ikeido Jun, features Yakusho as the lead character Miyazawa Koichi who is the 4th generation president of Japanese socks manufacturer Kobaseya based in Gyoda City, Saitama Prefecture, which has been in business for more than 100 years. With the decline in demand for its products, the small company which has only 20 employees, strives to rejuvenate its business by entering the field of producing running shoes which feel as if you are barefooted. However, as the industry is very competitive and the company does not have sufficient funds, Kobaseya is faced with various challenges along its journey but Miyazawa strives on with the help of the people around him as they take on the bigwigs.

Yamazaki will be playing the role of Daichi who is Koichi's son and had failed to find a job after graduating from university. Lacking in passion and losing interest in things very quickly, he tries to resume his job search while helping out in the family business. Upon seeing how his father and his employees try to rejuvenate the family business, Daichi becomes a changed person and is even tasked to produce the patented sole part of their Rikuou brand of running shoes. Yamazaki commented that as he is of the same age as Daichi i.e. 23 years old, he can understand Daichi better especially since he is frustrated at not being able to do the things he wants to do.

In conjunction with the production of this drama which is shot on location at Gyoda City, there is a picture of Yakusho and the drama's title made from the rice fields which is currently available for viewing by the public.

Sources: Nikkansports / Sanspo / Sponichi / Eiga.com

Dean Fujioka & Takei Emi to be joint leads in NTV Autumn 2017 drama "Ima kara anata wo kyouhaku shimasu"

Dean Fujioka and Takei Emi will be joint leads in the new NTV Autumn 2017 drama "Ima kara anata wo kyouhaku shimasu" (I will threaten you from now on) which will begin its run from October in the Sundays 10.30pm timeslot. The drama which is based on the same-titled novel by Fujiishi Namiya, will be Fujioka's first leading role in a private network drama series.

The story features Fujioka as the professional threatening specialist Senkawa Kanji who is great at investigating cases and solving them using his intimidating techniques to force criminals into a corner but he has a strange fashion sense. On the other hand, Takei plays Kanesaka Mio who is a kind university student from a rich family and will do anything to help anyone who is in trouble. The two of them who are polar opposites i.e. a professional baddie vs. an extremely kind soul will come together to solve various cases which the police have engaged Senkawa to handle.

Fujioka commented that his character Senkawa is someone who would stop at nothing to achieve his goal but he hopes that viewers will be able to see that there is more to him than being a straightforward baddie just because of his occupation. As for Takei, she expressed her joy and anticipation at being able to work with Fujioka who she described as a multi-talented person with a very nice smile. She hoped that they will be able to work well together and enjoy the filming process.

Source: Eiga.com / Yomiuri Hochi / Nikkansports

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Iseya Yuusuke to appear in TBS Autumn 2017 drama "Kangoku no Ohimesama"

Iseya Yuusuke will be appearing in the TBS Autumn 2017 drama "Kangoku no Ohimesama" starring Koizumi Kyoko which will begin its run from October 2017 in the Tuesdays 10pm timeslot. This is Iseya's first appearance in a private network drama series since his debut as an actor in 1999.

The drama which is written by Kudo Kankuro, is a comedy set in a female's prison about 5 women prisoners and their warden who get together to take revenge on a certain man. The story begins in the present when 5 women get together to abduct a handsome company president for the sake of taking revenge for one of them. However, things do not proceed as they imagined and there are many hiccups along the way. It is then revealed that these women had already planned this six years ago when they met in a female's prison. Koizumi plays the lead character Baba Kayo, a career woman who had a younger husband and a child but stabbed him out of anger when she found out that he was having an affair. As a result, she is serving a 5-year sentence for the conviction of attempted murder. Kanno Miho plays a charismatic housewife Katsuda Chinatsu who was caught for tax evasion and is regarded as the leader among the female inmates while Sakai Maki plays Daimon Yoko who resorted to embezzlement and fraud to get money for the purpose of supporting her favourite actor. Kaho plays Edogawa Shinobu who is the daughter of a dairy products manufacturing company's president and was framed for the killing of the vice president's lover and Morishita Aiko plays Adachi Akemi who took the rap for her gangster husband and ended up in jail for possession of illegal drugs. Mitsushima Hikari rounds up the cast as the female prisoners' strict warden Wakai Futaba who has a strong sense of justice and later participates in the revenge plot. Although the story is supposed to be full of suspense, it is peppered with a lot of funny dialogue often seen in Kudo's dramas.

Iseya will be playing a baddie named Itabashi Goro, the handsome company president who the main characters want to abduct. He joked that since this is his first appearance in a private network drama series, he initially thought that it would be nice to play a good person but it might actually be a better idea for him to play a baddie with his looks now at the age of 41. As for what made him decide to take on this role, Iseya revealed that he used to prefer spending time on his own but he has started to feel that it might be good to spend more time with other people. Comparatively, filming a drama tends to take longer than a movie and he thinks that it will be stimulating for her to take on a drama now. As for acting in his first Kudo work, Iseya said that he will have to make sure that he is familiar with the character setting and story before the filming so as to act naturally so he's very excited about the filming.

Meanwhile, Kudo said that he chose Iseya because he will be a huge contrast to the female inmates where men are seen as an alien object in their world behind bars. Rather than introduce a number of different guys in the story, Kudo wanted Itabashi to be the sole super male character. Itabashi is a flashy and ambitious man who represents the overly beautiful evil and he has never written such a character before thus Kudo wanted to choose an actor who will be working with him for the first time. He was pleasantly surprised to find out later that Iseya had never been in a drama series before so he joked that since he likes "virgins", he was even happier with his choice.

Other co-stars in this drama include Tsukamoto Takashi who plays Hasegawa Nobuhiko, an observant and capable prosecutor, Ikeda Narushi who plays Goma Hajime, the chief warden of the women's prison and Nekoze Tsubaki who is a fellow inmate living in the same cell as Baba Kayo.

Sources: Sponichi / Sanspo / Yomiuri Hochi / Nikkansports / Oricon / Eiga.com