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Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Filming wraps up for NHK morning drama "Warotenka"

The filming for NHK morning drama "Warotenka" was completed on 27 February where the wrap-up ceremony was held at NHK Osaka. The lead actress Aoi Wakana was presented with bouquets of flowers from her co-stars such as Hamada Gaku and Tokunaga Eri as she shook hands and hugged her co-stars with tears in her eyes. Aoi commented that she had mixed feelings about the end of the filming as it had been a long 10 months filled with happy and tough moments. In the past three days, as she watched her co-stars wrap up their filming one by one, that was probably the most difficult period for her to say goodbye to them.

The last episode of "Warotenka" will be shown on 31 March.

Sources: Oricon / Cinema Cafe

Matsushige Yutaka to return in TV Tokyo Spring 2018 drama "Kodoku no Gurume Season 7"

Matsushige Yutaka will be back in the TV Tokyo Spring 2018 drama "Kodoku no Gurume Season 7" which will begin its run from 6 April in the Fridays 12.12am timeslot. The series which began 6 years ago in the Winter 2012 season, is a rare instance of TV Tokyo's late night dramas having such a long run and also a reflection of its popularity. This time, the series will return to its roots of showcasing delicious food from relatively unknown places which includes not only Japanese dishes but also other types of international cuisine. Matsushige revealed jokingly that he had suggested launching a "Kodoku no Gurume season final" to boost the ratings which had somehow reached its peak but this idea was quickly shot down by the staff. As for the appeal of the new series, he said people such as monks who are fasting or those on diets would probably find this useful but they might have to battle their numerous desires while doing so.

Source: Oricon

Sasaki Nozomi announces her first pregnancy

Sasaki Nozomi announced on 28 February that she is currently 3 months' pregnant with her first child. According to her agency, she is due to give birth in autumn this year. Sasaki got married to comedic duo Unjash's Watabe Ken in April last year and rumours of her pregnancy first surfaced in last November which she denied. Sasaki is due to appear in the upcoming NHK drama "Daisy Luck" as the lead character which will begin its run from 20 April in the Fridays 10pm timeslot. She is expected to take a break after the filming of this drama wraps up.

Sources: Oricon / Nikkansports

Ninomiya Kazunari to star in new TBS Spring 2018 drama "Black Pean" as a surgeon

Arashi's Ninomiya Kazunari will be starring in the new TBS Spring 2018 drama "Black Pean" as a surgeon for the first time and his first appearance in a TBS in 10 years since "Ryuusei no Kizuna". This drama which is based on the novel "Black Pean 1988" by Kaidou Takeru, is the origin of the hit novel series "Team Batista no Eikou". The story describes how the lead character tries to uphold the pride of surgeons amid a trend of using surgical equipment which are aimed to replace surgeons and how he tries to survive in the world of conspiracy and jealousy in the university hospital. Behind the movement to introduce the new technology also lies a hidden past of wrongdoing. The drama begins its run from April 2018 in the Sundays 9pm timeslot.

Amami Yuki & Sawamura Ikki to star in two new TV Asahi drama SPs based on Agatha Christie's novels

Amami Yuki and Sawamura Ikki will be starring in two new TV Asahi drama SPs based on Agatha Christie's novels which will be shown in March. The first SP titled "Paddington hatsu 4 ji 50 pun ~ Shindai Tokkyuu Satsujin Jiken ~" (4.50 from Paddington Station ~ The murder case on the express train with sleeping quarters) is based on the 1957 novel "4.50 from Paddington" and features Amami as the lead character Amano Touko who used to be a capable police detective and is now a crisis management professional. This character is modelled after Miss Marple in the original novel so Amami will be the Japanese version of Miss Marple who solves a murder case on a moving train where the corpse disappears. Amami who is acting in a Christie adaptation for the first time, commented that Christie's story was very interesting and has been loved by people worldwide across the ages. The focus of the story is on the subtleties of the human heart and describes the feelings of men and women so she is confident that the drama will be very interesting to the viewers especially with its charismatic characters.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

First-day-screening event of new movie "Funouhan"

The first-day-screening event of new movie "Funouhan" was held at TOHO Cinemas Roppongi Hills on 1 February which was attended by the director Shiraishi Koji and cast members Matsuzaka Toori, Sawajiri Erika, Arata Mackenyu, Mamiya Shotaro, Mano Erina and Ashina Sei. The story is based on the ongoing same-titled manga by Miyatsuki Arata and Kanzaki Yuuya and features Matsuzaka as Usobuki Tadashi who is a mysterious man with red eyes, wears black suits with a wine-red shirt and possesses a special power which will drive people to their death through methods such as curses and brainwashing. However, it is impossible for his crimes to be proven in court thus Usobuki cannot be taken to justice for the killings he did on behalf of his clients. Sawajiri plays the role of Tada Tomoko who is a police detective and the only person who cannot be controlled by Usobuki. She is the number one beauty in the police station who hates lies and beating around the bush. Although she may speak harshly, she's actually very caring towards her subordinates and even the criminals. In the original manga, this character is actually a man but it was decided to change this to a female instead so as to contrast against the evil and bewitching Usobuki.

Supporting cast line-up of new movie "Kusoyaro to utsukushiki sekai" announced

The supporting cast line-up of new movie "Kusoyaro to utsukushiki sekai" starring Inagaki Goro, Kusanagi Tsuyoshi and Katori Shingo had been announced. The movie is made up of four stories i.e. "Pianist wo utsuna!" directed by Sono Sion and starring Inagaki, "Shingo-chan to utagui no ken" directed by Yamauchi Kenji and starring Katori, "Hikaru e, wataru" directed by Ohta Hikaru and starring Kusanagi as well as the last part "Atarashii Uta" starring the trio. The movie will be released in 86 cinemas for two weeks from 6 April.

Completion screening event of new movie "River's Edge"

The completion screening event of new movie "River's Edge" was held at TOHO Cinemas Roppongi Hills on 31 January which was attended by the director Yukisada Isao and cast members Nikaidou Fumi, Yoshizawa Ryo, Morikawa Aoi, Uesugi Shuhei, SUMIRE and Doi Shiori. The movie will be shown in cinemas from 16 February and has been selected as the opening film for the 68th Berlin International Film Festival's Panorama Category.

Top 10 ikemen heartthrobs from the Winter 2018 drama season (Modelpress)

Modelpress conducted a survey on its readers between 16 February and 23 February to find out who they regarded as their favourite ikemen heartthrob from the Winter 2018 drama season. There were 16,927 responses received and the top 10 list is as follows:

1) Seto Koji (Kuragehime)

2) Iura Arata (Unnatural)

3) Kubota Masataka (Unnatural)

4) Matsumoto Jun (99.9 Keiji Senmon Bengoshi SEASON II)

5) Yamazaki Kento (Todome no Kiss)

6) Kitamura Takumi (Tonari no kazoku wa aoku mieru)

7) Yamada Yuki (Holiday Love)

8) Kamenashi Kazuya (FINAL CUT)

9) Yamada Ryosuke (Momikeshite Fuyu)

10) Kimura Takuya (BG ~ Shinpen Keigonin ~)

Source: Modelpress

Monday, February 26, 2018

Top 10 movies box office ranking for the weekend of 24th & 25th February 2018

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

1) The Greatest Showman (374)

2) KU-KAI Utsukushiki Ouhi no Nazo (306)

3) Konya, Romance Gekijou de (296)

4) Inori no maku ga oriru toki (334)

5) Sayonara no asa ni yakusoku no hana wo kazarou (76)

6) Funouhan (296)

7) Hitsuji no Ki (213)

8) Paddington 2 (317)

9) Geostorm (348)

10) Star Wars: The Last Jedi (377)

Source: Eiga.com

Winners of the 2017 Annual Confidence Award Drama Prize

Here are the winners of the 2017 Annual Confidence Award Drama Prize as voted by industry insiders and the media:

Best Drama: Quartet (TBS)

Best Leading Actor: Asano Tadanobu (Keiji Yugami)

Best Leading Actress: Matsu Takako (Quartet)

Best Supporting Actor: Takahashi Issei (Quartet / Onna Joshu Naotora)

Best Supporting Actress: Wakui Emi (Hiyokko)

Best Script: Sakamoto Yuji (Quartet)

Best Newcomer: Yoshioka Riho (Quartet)

Source: Confidence Award Drama Prize

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Koizumi Kyoko to star in new movie "Taberu Onna" with Sawajiri Erika, Maeda Atsuko, Hirose Arisu, Yamada Yu, Dan Mitsu, Charlotte Kate Fox & Suzuki Kyoka

Koizumi Kyoko will be starring in the new movie "Taberu Onna" (The eating woman) which is based on the novels "Taberu Onna" and "Zoku Taberu Onna" by Tsutsui Tomomi and directed by Shono Jiro. Co-stars include Sawajiri Erika, Maeda Atsuko, Hirose Arisu, Yamada Yu, Dan Mitsu, Charlotte Kate Fox and Suzuki Kyoka. The story is based on the theme of slow food and slow sex which focuses on how people can become healthy by eating delicious food and how their psychological state can be improved by having loving sex. 8 women with varying ages, occupations and values are featured in this movie describing the views they have towards food and sex thus there will be 58 delicious-looking dishes showcased along with the erotic lives of these women who aspire to become delicious women who raise delicious men.

Hirose Suzu, Ikeda Elaiza, Yamamoto Maika, Noda Mio, Tanabe Momoko & Tomita Miu to play the younger version of the main cast in new movie "SUNNY Tsuyoi kimochi tsuyoi ai"

Hirose Suzu, Ikeda Elaiza, Yamamoto Maika, Noda Mio, Tanabe Momoko & Tomita Miu will be playing the younger version of the main cast in new movie "SUNNY Tsuyoi kimochi tsuyoi ai" starring Shinohara Ryoko, Itaya Yuka, Koike Eiko, Tomosaka Rie and Watanabe Naomi. The movie which is directed by Ohne Hitoshi, will be shown in cinemas from 31 August 2018.

Iwata Takanori & Toda Erika to star in new NTV Spring 2018 drama "Gakebuchi Hotel"

Iwata Takanori will be starring in his first leading role in a drama series when he appears in the upcoming NTV Spring 2018 drama "Gakebuchi Hotel" (The hotel on the edge) which will be shown on Sundays at 10.30pm from April 2018. Toda Erika will play the heroine which marks her first appearance in a NTV drama in 12 years and this will be their first collaboration. The situation comedy is set at a hotel in the suburbs with a debt of JPY 300m and is on the verge of bankruptcy despite having seen better days in the past as a high class hotel. Ukai Naoya (Iwata), a guy with a rough appearance and hardly looks like a typical hotel guest, shows up unannounced at the hotel and starts making unthinkable demands on the staff who are not motivated and poor at their work which then leads to various unexpected miracles happening as a result. Toda plays the 29-year-old general manager Sakurai Sana who is serious and straightforward but somewhat clumsy as she tries to save the hotel from ruin. The entire drama will features locations within the hotel only i.e. the rooms, lobby, playroom and restaurant etc.

Tachi Hiroshi, Furukawa Yuuki & Hoshino Mari to star in new WOWOW drama " 60 Gohan Taisakushitsu"

Tachi Hiroshi, Furukawa Yuuki and Hoshino Mari will be starring in the new WOWOW drama "60 Gohan Taisakushitsu" (60 The Wrong Judgment Countermeasure Office) which will consist of 5 episodes and be shown from May. The drama is based on the same-titled original mystery novel by Ishikawa Tomotake which will be published on 15 March and will be directed by Kumakiri Kazuyoshi. Tachi plays Arima Eiji, a police detective nearing retirement, who belongs to the Gohan Taisakushitsu and had the experience of arresting the wrong person for a crime he did not commit. As such, when he is tasked to investigate the likelihood of wrong judgments given out to criminals on death row along with young lawyer Sera Shoichi (Furukawa) and prosecutor Haruna Misuzu (Hoshino), Arima takes this on with the intention of repenting for his past mistake. On the other hand, although Sera is suspicious of Arima's actions, he is pushed along by the latter's passion to assist in the re-investigations while Haruna just wants to get back to the prosecutors' office as soon as possible so she has no choice but to obey the orders of her superior to cooperate with Arima and Sera.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

First-day-screening event of new movie "Inori no maku ga orirutoki"

The first-day-screening event of new movie "Inori no maku ga orirutoki" was held at TOHO Cinemas Scala Za on 27 January which was attended by the director Fukuzawa Katsuo and cast members Abe Hiroshi, Matsushima Nanako, Mizobata Junpei, Tanaka Rena and JUJU who sings the theme song for the movie.

First-day-screening event of new movie "Kaze no Iro"

The first-day-screening event of new movie "Kaze no Iro" was held at TOHO Cinemas Nihonbashi on 26 January which was attended by the cast members Furukawa Yuuki and Fujii Takemi as well as the magic tricks director Mr. Maric. The movie is set in Shiretoko, Hokkaido and Tokyo where two pairs of men and women are embroiled in a mysterious love story. Furukawa plays Ryo, a guy who lives in Tokyo and heads to Hokkaido to look for his girlfriend Yuri (Fujii) who had disappeared 100 days ago. During the journey, he bumps into a magician Ryu (also played by Furukawa) who looks exactly like him and another woman Aya (also played by Fujii) who looks like Yuri. This causes Ryo to be involved in a series of unimaginable incidents as he continues his search for Yuri.

First-day-screening event of new movie "Midnight Bus"

The first-day-screening event of new movie "Midnight Bus" was held at Yurakucho Subaruza on 27 January which was attended by the director Takeshita Masao and cast members Harada Taizo, Yamamoto Mirai Konishi Manami, Nanase Kou, Maikawa Miyako and Nagatsuka Kyozo. The movie which is based on the same-titled novel by Ibuki Yuki, describes the story of Takamiya Toshikazu (Harada) who quit his job in Tokyo and goes back to his hometown in Niigata to be a midnight bus driver. One night, he happens to bump into his ex-wife Kaga Miyuki (Yamamoto) who he had parted ways with 16 years ago when she boards his bus. This marks the start of a journey to restore family ties which had been broken and depicts his interaction with the passengers who he meets during his work. Konishi plays Furui Shiho who is Toshikazu's current girlfriend while Aoi Wakana and Nanase play his daughter Ayana and son Reiji respectively. Nagatsuka Kyozo plays Miyuki's father Yamabe Keizo. Prior to the nationwide release, the movie was first shown in cinemas at Niigata a week ago which achieved more than 10,000 cinema visits thus making it a major hit there.

Mano Erina & Yokohama Ryuusei to star in new dTV drama "Kareshi wo loan de kaimashita" written by Nojima Shinji

Mano Erina and Yokohama Ryuusei will be starring in the new dTV drama series "Kareshi wo loan de kaimashita" (I bought my boyfriend with a loan) which was written by Nojima Shinji and will begin its run from 9 March. There will be a total of 8 episodes which will be updated on dTV and FOD on Fridays and Mondays.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Spin-off drama "Holiday Love Bangaihen ~ 10 nen mae no futari ~" to be shown via AbemaTV from March 2018

There will be a spin-off drama of TV Asahi Winter 2018 drama "Holiday Love" starring Naka Riisa which is currently showing at 11.15pm on Fridays. The spin-off drama titled "Holiday Love Bangaihen ~ 10 nen mae no futari ~" (Holiday Love Sub Edition ~ The two of them 10 years ago) will consist of two stories i.e. the Takamori couple and the Izutsu couple versions which will be shown exclusively via AbemaTV from 11.55pm on 4 March and 11 March respectively.

Preview of "Otouto no Otto" - Winter 2018

Title: Otouto no Otto 弟の夫 (My younger brother's husband)
Official website: here
O.A. Start Date: 4 March 2018
Timeslot: Sundays 10pm
Total number of episodes: 3
Broadcast by: NHK
Original manga by: Tagame Gengoro
Cast: Sato Ryuta, Baruto, Nakamura Yuri, Nemoto Maharu, Ookura Koji & Nomaguchi Toru

Screening event of new NHK drama "Otouto no Otto"

The screening event of new NHK drama "Otouto no Otto" was held at NHK's HQ in Tokyo on 22 February which was attended by cast members Sato Ryuta, Baruto and Nakamura Yuri. The drama which begins its run from 4 March in the Sundays 10pm timeslot, consists of 3 episodes and is based on the same-titled manga by Tagame Gengorou which was awarded the excellence award in the 2015 Japan Media Arts Festival's manga category.

The 10th favourite TV hosts ranking - 2018 (Oricon)

Oricon conducted a survey on 1,000 people in their teens to 50s where they chose their favourite TV hosts. Here is the top 10 list for 2018 and their rankings for last year are represented within the brackets while those who were not in the top 10 have a dash.

Tamori was the favourite for those in their 30s and above while teenagers chose Uchimura Teruyoshi and those in their 20s favoured Matsuko Deluxe:

1) Tamori (2)

2) Akashiya Sanma (3)

3) Matsuko Deluxe (1)

4) Uchimura Teruyoshi (5)

5) Nakai Masahiro (4)

6) Azumi Shinichiro (6)

7) Ueda Shinya (8)

8) Hamada Masatoshi (10)

9) Ikegami Akira (9)

10) Masu Taichi (-)

Source: Oricon

Update on Oosugi Ren's sudden demise and the aftermath

Following Oosugi Ren's sudden demise due to acute heart failure on 21 February, there are more details about the final moments of his life as well as announcements about the projects which involved him. Here is a summary of the information known so far:

Supporting cast line-up of NTV Spring 2018 drama "Seigi no Se" announced

The supporting cast line-up of NTV Spring 2018 drama "Seigi no Se" starring Yoshitaka Yuriko had been announced. The story which is based on the serial novel by Agawa Sawako, will begin its run from April in the Wednesdays 10pm timeslot. Yoshitaka plays the lead character Takemura Ririko who is 29 years old and has been working as a public prosecutor in Yokohama District Public Prosecutors' Office for two years. She is the eldest daughter in a family living at a suburban town in Tokyo which operates a tofu shop and still lives with her family. Ririko is far from perfect despite how people perceive her occupation as she is very inflexible and will speak out if she sees any injustice. The drama will focus not so much on the cases she handles but rather how she grows as a person with her colleagues and family members' support. In addition, she will be faced with the choice of marriage vs. career when her boyfriend proposes and has to deal with her father's suspected infidelity.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Nanao to star in new NTV Spring 2018 drama "Miss Devil Jinji no Akuma Tsubaki Mako"

Nanao will be starring in the new NTV Spring 2018 drama "Miss Devil Jinji no Akuma Tsubaki Mako" (Miss Devil The Devil of Human Resources Tsubaki Mako) which will begin its run from April 2018 in the Saturdays 10pm timeslot. This drama marks Nanao's first leading role in a primetime drama and is an original story featuring her in the lead role of Tsubaki Mako who is a cold and cruel but capable freelance human resource consultant and nicknamed as the devil. Her trademark is the red heels she wears and her signature line will be "anata ni wa, kono kaisha wo yameru kenri ga arimasu" (you have the right to quit this company). She will be taking on various problems in the organisation such as bullying of junior staff, retrenchment, sexual harassment, power harassment, fights for power between factions and monster employees in a daring way.

Completion screening event of new movie "Principal Koi suru watashi wa heroine desuka?"

The completion screening event of new movie "Principal Koi suru watashi wa heroine desuka?" was held at Shinjuku Wald 9 on 24 January which was attended by the director Shinohara Tetsuo and cast members Kuroshima Yuina, Kotaki Nozomu, Takasugi Mahiro  and Kawaei Rina. The movie will be shown in cinemas from 3 March.

The story which is based on the same-titled manga by Ikuemi Ryo, features Kuroshima as Sumitomo Shima, a senior high school student whose parents are divorced and is having issues with her stepfather and at the all-girls senior high school which she has just entered. As such, she decides to go to her father and move to Sapporo, Hokkaido instead. However, what awaits her at her new school are two entirely different guys Tatebayashi Gen (Kotaki) and Sakurai Wao (Takasugi) who are so popular at school that they are regarded as the "common property" of all the girls in the school. Although Shima has little interest in romance due to her problems with her parents and school, she finds herself getting closer to the two guys gradually.

Tanaka Kei to star in new FujiTV on-demand drama "Furin Shokudou" as a cheating husband

Tanaka Kei will be starring in the new FujiTV on-demand (FOD) drama series "Furin Shokudou" (The Adulterous Restaurant) which consists of 4 episodes and will be released weekly from 7 March at 6pm on Wednesdays. The drama which is based on the same-titled manga by Yamaguchi Masakazu, features Tanaka as the 35-year-old lead character Yamadera Ryuichi who is married with a child. During his business trips which takes him to various places nationwide, he seeks pleasure not just in tasting the best of local cuisine but also sleeping with married women who he meets at these places. The four "married women" featured in each episode will be played by Adachi Yumi, Konno Anna, Hakase Mai and Iwasa Mayuko. The four dishes featured in this drama are doumangani, charomen, Koshu katsudon and ankake spaghetti.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Oosugi Ren passes away due to acute heart failure

Oosugi Ren passed away due to acute heart failure on 21 February. He was 66 years old. According to his agency ZACCO's official website, Oosugi died at 3.53am and his funeral will be attended by his immediate family i.e. his wife and two children and relatives only according to the wishes of Oosugi himself and his family. As for his farewell ceremony, details will be released once the arrangements have been made.

According to TV Tokyo, Oosugi was filming TV Tokyo Winter 2018 drama "Byplayers 2" on 20 February and had returned to the hotel where they were staying at after the filming wrapped up for the day. While having his dinner, Oosugi suddenly complained of stomach pains and was then sent to the hospital via an ambulance while accompanied by Matsushige Yutaka and other staff members. The cast and staff members were by Oosugi's bedside along with his family members when he breathed his last.

Supporting cast line-up of new Hulu & HBO drama "Miss Sherlock" announced

The supporting cast line-up of new Hulu & HBO drama "Miss Sherlock" starring Takeuchi Yuko & Kanjiya Shihori had been announced. To date, there have been many dramas and movies about Sherlock Holmes and John Watson but this will be the first time where the two characters are set as women.  The drama which consists of 8 episodes, will be streamed via Hulu from 27 April 2018 and shown from the same day in 19 countries via HBO Asia.

Sugisaki Hana to play Kuchiki Rukia in new real-life adaptation movie "BLEACH"

Sugisaki Hana will be playing Kuchiki Rukia in the upcoming real-life adaptation movie "BLEACH" starring Fukushi Souta which will be shown in cinemas from 20 July. The movie which is directed by Sato Shinsuke, features Fukushi in the leading role of Kurosaki Ichigo, an ordinary senior high school student who becomes a death god in order to eliminate the evil spirits named Hollows. The original manga by Kubo Tite was serialised from 2001 and had accumulated sales of 90 million copies for its 73 volumes published so far. Although filming of the movie was done between September 2016 and November 2016, the post production process has been going on for more than a year.

Matsuyama Kenichi & Sometani Shota to star in real-life adaptation drama of "Sei Oniisan" produced by Yamada Takayuki


Matsuyama Kenichi and Sometani Shota will be starring in the new real-life adaptation drama of "Sei Oniisan" based on the same-titled popular manga series serialised since 2006 in the manga magazine "Morning Two" which has sold 16 million copies to date. The new drama series will be produced by Yamada Takayuki and directed by Fukuda Yuichi and is planned to be released on a new video streaming service due to be launched this year. There was an anime version made in 2013 which featured Moriyama Mirai and Hoshino Gen as the leads' voice actors.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Completion screening event of new movie "Reon"

The completion screening event of new movie "Reon" was held at T Joy PRINCE Shinagawa on 24 January which was attended by the director Tsukamoto Renpei and cast members Jiyoung, Takenaka Naoto, Yamazaki Ikusaburo, Oomasa Aya, Yoshizawa Ryo, Saito Shinji and Mitz Mangrove. The movie will be shown in cinemas from 24 February.

The story is based on the same-titled manga by Ookura Kaori and Kiyoshi Tomohide which is serialised in smartphone magazine "Hot-Dog PRESS" and features Jiyoung as Takanashi Reon, a plain OL who had been dumped by her boyfriend and fired by her company. She then works as a dispatch employee at Asahina Foods which is a longstanding foodstuff company with a history of 30 years. Starring opposite her will be Takenaka who plays Asahina Reo, the autocratic president of the company who is capable at work but a lecher. Due to an unforeseen traffic accident, their souls switch bodies which lead to a series of hilarious situations. Reo starts to relish in becoming a beautiful woman and uses Reon's looks to become a cabaret hostess where he stumbles upon a plot to overthrow and chase him out of the company hatched by his nephew Masao (Saito) and Kusaka, Reon's ex-boyfriend (Yamazaki).

Supporting cast line-up of new movie "Neko wa dakumono" announced

The supporting cast line-up of new movie "Neko wa dakumono" starring Sawajiri Erika had been announced. The story which is based on the same-titled novel by Ooyama Junko, features Sawajiri as the lead character Ooishi Saori who is a 33-year-old woman working at a supermarket in a suburban city. She used to be a member of the idol group Sunnies but failed to make it as a singer and literally escaped from the city. Her only solace in life is the male Russian Blue cat Yoshio which is the "leftover" in the pet shop and has not been bought by anyone yet. Through the daily interactions with Saori, Yoshio starts to think of himself as a human being and wants to become her lover thus bringing about extraordinary changes in their plain lives.

Top 10 favourite heroines from NHK morning dramas (Oricon)

Oricon conducted a survey on 1,000 men and women in their teens to 50s where they chose their No.1 favourite heroine from NHK's morning dramas. The figures in brackets represent the percentage of votes received by the actresses:

1) Nounen Rena / Non  - Ama-chan (20.9%)

2) Haru - Asa ga kita (11.2%)

3) Arimura Kasumi - Hiyokko (10.2%)

4) Kuninaka Ryoko - Chura-san (6.8%)

5) An - Gochisousan (6.1%)

6) Horikita Maki - Ume-chan Sensei (5.2%)

7) Tsuchiya Tao - Mare (3.6%)

8) Takahata Mitsuki - Toto Nee-chan (3.2%)

9) Yoshitaka Yuriko - Hanako to Anne (3.1%)

10) Yoshine Kyoko - Beppin-san (2.4%)

Source: Oricon

The Singapore Japanese Film Festival 2018 lineup & schedule

The Singapore Japanese Film Festival is back this year after a hiatus of more than one year and it seems like the absence is well-justified probably because the organisers managed to assemble such an interesting line-up of films, some of them being as new as shown in Japan just last year. One major change this year is the removal of free screenings i.e. all screenings need tickets (SGD 13 each). In addition, there seems to be no discounts even for multiple ticket purchases. The venue for all screenings will be at the National Museum's Gallery Theatre which I quite like because of its central location and fine condition of the theatre. If you like Japanese movies and are in Singapore or happen to be here next month, do support this film festival so that it can continue to be held in future. Moreover, some of these films will probably never make it to a commercial release in our cinemas here so you definitely shouldn't miss the chance to catch them.

For more information on the films such as the storyline, you may wish to click on the tabs of the movies' titles at the bottom of this post as I had covered some of them before on this blog or the links to the titles in this post which will bring you to the film festival's site. All movies have English subtitles and are uncut but some of them have restricted ratings (NC16, M18 or R21) so unless indicated otherwise, the movie's rating is PG. Please check this before purchasing tickets especially if you happen to be underage.

Top 10 movies box office ranking for the weekend of 17th & 18th February 2018

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

1) The Greatest Showman (374)

2) Konya, Romance Gekijou de (296)

3) Inori no maku ga oriru toki (334)

4) Funouhan (296)

5) Hitsuji no Ki (213)

6) Manhunt (251)

7) Geostorm (348)

8) Paddington 2 (317)

9) Star Wars: The Last Jedi (377)

10) Uso wo aisuru onna (284)

Source: Eiga.com

Monday, February 19, 2018

Nishino Kana to sing the theme song & insert songs for new movie "Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun"

Nishino Kana will be singing the theme song and insert song for new movie "Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun" starring Suda Masaki and Tsuchiya Tao which will be shown in cinemas from 27 April. This will be the first time in two years that Nishino is singing a movie's theme song since 2016's "Kodaike no Hitobito" and the first for her to have multiple songs used in the same movie. The theme song titled "You & Me" will be Nishino's first single released this year to mark her 10th anniversary since her debut (20 February) and is a love song with rap to present a girl's true thoughts while there will be as many as 5 insert songs featured in the movie including the 2010 release "Best Friend".

Nishino commented that she was very happy to be able to sing the songs for this movie and hoped that the audience would be reminded of the importance to reinforce the bonds they have with the important people in their lives after watching this movie.

Sources: Sanspo / Sponichi / Yomiuri Hochi

Supporting cast line-up of new movie "Love x Doc" announced

The supporting cast line-up of new movie "Love x Doc" starring Yoshida Yo had been announced. The movie which is written and directed by Suzuki Osamu who is making his directorial debut also features Nomura Shuhei, Shinohara Atsushi, Yoshida Kotaro and Tamaki Hiroshi in its cast line-up. Yoshida plays Goda Asuka, a 40-year-old pastry chef who owns a dessert shop and has two employees Hanada Seiya (Nomura) who is younger than her and Gonda Kenichi (Shinohara) who used to be a salaryman and aspires to become a pastry chef now. One day, Seiya suddenly confesses his feelings for Asuka which makes her extremely troubled because she is already involved in an extramarital affair with Awai Junji (Yoshida) who was her boss before she opened her own shop and has an ambiguous relationship with Nomura Shunsuke (Tamaki), a trainer working at a gym who her friend likes. In a bid to sort out her love life which has been in a mess since she was 35, Asuka goes for a genetic check-up at a mysterious clinic named "Love Doc".

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Preview of "Innocent Days" - Winter 2018

Title: Innocent Days イノセント・デイズ
Official website: here
O.A. Start Date: 18 March 2018
Timeslot: Sundays 10pm
Total number of episodes: 6
Broadcast by: WOWOW
Original novel by: Hayami Kazumasa
Cast: Tsumabuki Satoshi, Takeuchi Yuko, Arai Hirofumi, Yoshine Kyoko, Tomosaka Rie, Hasegawa Kyoko, Ikeuchi Hiroyuki, Yamanaka Takashi, Ashina Sei, Satsukawa Aimi, Kiyohara Kaya, Taguchi Hiromasa, Hara Hideko, Ishibashi Renji & Yo Kimiko

Preview of "Bye Bye, Black Bird" - Winter 2018

Title: Bye Bye, Black Bird バイバイ、ブラックバード
Official website: here
O.A. Start Date: 17 February 2018
Timeslot: Saturdays 10pm
Broadcast by: WOWOW
Total number of episodes: 6
Original novel by: Isaka Koutarou
Cast: Koura Kengo, Shirota Yu, Ishibashi Anna, Itaya Yuka, Maeda Atsuko, Usuda Asami, Seki Megumi, Matsumura Yuuki, Maruyama Tomomi, Okamura Izumi, Saito Yousuke, Agata Morio, Totsuka Shota (A.B.C-Z)

Sugisaki Hana, Hirano Sho & Nakagawa Taishi to star in new TBS Spring 2018 drama "Hana nochi hare ~ Hanadan Next Season ~"

Sugisaki Hana will be starring in the new TBS Spring 2018 drama "Hana nochi hare ~ Hanadan Next Season ~" (Sunshine after flowers ~ Boys Over Flowers Next Season ~" which will begin its run from April 2018 in the Tuesdays 10pm. The drama is based on the same-titled manga by Kamio Youko and the sequel to the hit series "Hana Yori Dango". This will be Sugisaki's first leading role in a drama and co-stars include King & Prince's Hirano Sho and Nakagawa Taishi.

Production press conference of TV Asahi Winter 2018 drama "Holiday Love"

The production press conference of TV Asahi Winter 2018 drama "Holiday Love" was held on 22 January which was attended by cast members Naka Riisa, Tsukamoto Takashi, Nakamura Tomoya, Matsumoto Marika, Iijima Hiroki, Okada Ryuutarou, Dan Mitsu and Hiraoka Yuta who were dressed in wedding suits and dresses. The drama which will begin its run from 26 January in the Fridays 11.15pm timeslot, is based on the manga "Holiday Love ~ Fuufukan Renai" by Koyama Yukari and Kusakabe Eliza. Naka plays the lead character Takamori Azu who is a 30-year-old nail artist living with her husband and child. Her peaceful life takes a sudden turn when she finds out about her husband (Tsukamoto) having an affair and is filled with anguish over his betrayal. However, Azu chooses to believe him and overcome their problems together so as to keep their marriage going. Things do not go as planned though as her husband's married lover Izutsu Rina (Matsumoto) keeps thwarting her efforts with various traps laid around the unsuspecting Azu so this process would be fraught with danger as she realises the meaning of what it means to be a partner in a marriage and tries to save her marriage.

Aoyagi Sho to star in new WOWOW drama "Kuinige Killer"

Aoyagi Sho from Gekidan EXILE will be starring in the new WOWOW drama "Kuinige Killer" (The Meal Bilker Killer) which will begin its run from 21 March in the Wednesdays 8pm timeslot. The drama is written by Tatesawa Fumitake who won the 10th WOWOW Scenario Taisho with this story and set at a family restaurant which is struggling with meal bilkers. The restaurant then engages a former star runner Kawatani Shogo (Aoyagi) who is tasked to catch these people who eat without paying their bills.

Yoshitaka Yuriko to star in new NTV Spring 2018 drama "Seigi no Se"

Yoshitaka Yuriko will be starring in the new NTV Spring 2018 drama "Seigi no Se" which is based on the serial novel by Agawa Sawako  and will begin its run from April in the Wednesdays 10pm timeslot. The story features Yoshitaka as the lead character Takemura Ririko who is 29 years old and has been working as a public prosecutor in Yokohama District Public Prosecutors' Office for two years. She is the eldest daughter in a family living at a suburban town in Tokyo which operates a tofu shop and still lives with her family. Ririko is far from perfect despite how people perceive her occupation as she is very inflexible and will speak out if she sees any injustice. The drama will focus not so much on the cases she handles but rather how she grows as a person with her colleagues and family members' support. In addition, she will be faced with the choice of marriage vs. career when her boyfriend proposes and has to deal with her father's suspected infidelity.

Takenouchi Yutaka to star in new TV Tokyo drama SP "Midnight Journal Kieta yuukaihan wo oe! Nananenme no shinjitsu"


Takenouchi Yutaka will be starring in the new TV Tokyo drama SP "Midnight Journal Kieta yuukaihan wo oe! Nananenme no shinjitsu" (Midnight Journal Chase the missing kidnapper! The truth in the 7th year) which will be shown in spring this year. This will be Takenouchi's first leading role in a TV Tokyo drama, his first attempt at playing a news reporter and achieving a complete sweep of leading appearances in dramas from the 5 main private TV stations in Tokyo including FujiTV, NTV, TBS and TV Asahi. The drama will be directed by Sasabe Kiyoshi and the story written by Habara Daisuke, is based on the novel by Honjou Masato who won the 38th Yoshikawa Eiji Literature Newcomer Award and describes the behind-the-scenes happenings in a news company.

Special drama episodes of "Chihayafuru" to be shown via Hulu from 20 February 2018

In conjunction with the upcoming release of new movie "Chihayafuru - Musubi -" starring Hirose Suzu, Nomura Shuhei and Arata Mackenyu etc, there will be 5 special drama episodes titled "Chihayafuru  - Tsunagu -" which will be streamed via Hulu from 20 February. The story will be a connection between the previous movie in the series i.e. "Chihayafuru - Shimo no Ku -" and the new movie which is the concluding installment to the series. The second half of each episode will feature behind-the-scenes footage from the new movie as well and a segment titled "Chihayafuru - Manabi -" starring Yuuki Mio and Sano Hayato who play newbie members in the new movie and they will be explaining the basic rules of competitive karuta. On Hulu's website, there will also be a page introducing the signature works of the cast in the movie.

"Chihayafuru - Musubi -" will be shown in cinemas from 17 March 2018.

Sources: Natalie / Eiga.com

First-day-screening event of new movie "Uso wo aisuru onna"

The first-day-screening event of new movie "Uso wo aisuru onna" was held at TOHO Cinemas Roppongi Hills on 20 January which was attended by the director Nakae Kazuhito and cast members Nagasawa Masami, Takahashi Issei, DAIGO, Kawaei Rina and Yoshida Kotaro. In this love story with a tinge of mystery, Nagasawa plays Kawahara Yukari, a career woman working at a major beverage manufacturer who has been living with her medical intern boyfriend Koide Kippei (Takahashi) for the past 5 years and has plans to marry him soon. One day, Kippei collapses due to a subarachnoid hemorrhage and slips into a coma. To Yukari's surprise, when the police comes knocking on her door, she finds out that everything she has known about Kippei is a pack of lies lie as his name, occupation, driving licence and family register are all fake. While trying to find out what kind of man she has loved, she heads to his supposed hometown on an island in the Setouchi Inland sea where she gets help from a private detective Kaibara Takumi played by Yoshida Kotaro to investigate the truth. DAIGO plays Kimura (nickname Kimu) an unsociable hacker who is the subordinate of Kaibara and assists in the investigation on Kippei. As for Kawaei, she plays Kokoha who is an university student dressed in Gothic and Lolita fashion and follows Kippei around like a stalker.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Takasugi Mahiro, Kato Ryo & Watanabe Daichi to star in new real-life adaptation movie "Gangs"

Takasugi Mahiro, Kato Ryo and Watanabe Daichi will be starring in the new real-life adaptation movie "Gangs" based on the same titled manga by Hiya Keisuke and Suzuki Daisuke serialised between 2013 and 2017 which will be directed by Irie Yu. The story describes how three young men Saike (Takasugi), Kazuki (Kato) and Takeo (Watanabe) who were together in a reformatory, come together to steal from criminal groups for their survival. Saike collects information about the criminals and plans the trio's strategy while Kazuki is bent on finding his long lost younger sister and Takeo is in charge of arranging cars for the trio. The movie will be shot from 20 January to late February in Kisarazu City, Chiba and other parts of the Kanto region and be released in cinemas in autumn 2018.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

The 95th Drama Academy Awards (Autumn 2017) - Best Drama

Overall Ranking Top 3
1) Rikuou (TBS)
2) Saki ni umaretadake no boku (NTV)
3) Kangoku no Ohimesama (TBS)

Voters Ranking Top 5
1) Saki ni umaretadake no boku (NTV)
2) Kounodori 2 (TBS)
3) Ashi Girl (NHK)
4) Rikuou (TBS)
5) Onna Joshu Naotora (NHK)

TV Reporters Ranking Top 5
1) Rikuou (TBS)
2) Kangoku no Ohimesama (TBS) / Keiji Yugami (FujiTV)
4) Onna Joshu Naotora (NHK) / Black Revenge (NTV)

Judges Ranking Top 5
1) Rikuou (TBS)
2) Kangoku no Ohimesama (TBS)
3) Kounodori 2 (TBS)
4) Keiji Yugami (FujiTV)
5) Doctor X 5 (TV Asahi)

Source: The Television