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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Completion press conference of "Platina Data"

The completion press conference of movie "Platina Data" was held on 25 February which was attended by cast members Ninomiya Kazunari, Toyokawa Etsushi, Suzuki Honami, Namase Katsuhisa, An and Mizuhara Kiko. The movie is based on the same-titled mystery novel by Higashino Keigo which features Ninomiya as a talented scientist who goes on the run when he is suspected to be a serial killer. Toyokawa plays the police detective who is hot on Ninomiya's heels. The movie is due to be shown in cinemas from 16 March.

Source: Sponichi

Nakamura Toru & Tamayama Tetsuji in drama SP "Haha. Wagako e"

TBS will be showing a new drama SP "Haha. Wagako e" (Mother. For my child) on 31 March at 9pm which stars Nakamura Toru, Yachigusa Kaoru, Tamayama Tetsuji, Konno Mahiru and Asakura Aki. The story is set two years after the Higashi Nihon Earthquake where brothers Takashi (Nakamura) and Takumi (Tamayama) who are living apart, bring their cancer-stricken mother (Yachigusa) on a trip to Matsushima after she lost her house due to the disaster. The theme song of this SP "The Letter To My Mother" will be sung by 5-member vocal group Le Velvets who are all graduates of music universities.

Source: Yomiuri Hochi

Matsushita Nao to star in FujiTV spring 2013 drama "Kamo, Kyoto e iku ~ Shinise Ryokan no Okami Nikki"

Matsushita Nao will be starring in the new FujiTV spring 2013 drama "Kamo, Kyoto e iku ~ Shinise Ryokan no Okami Nikki" which starts in April and will be shown in the Tuesdays 9pm. She plays the role of Ueba Kamo, an elite officer from the Ministry of Finance, who has to take over the family-run ryokan left by her mother who suddenly passed away. As the ryokan is saddled with debts, Kamo has to find a way to resurrect the business and make sure the ryokan stays afloat. Even though Kamo is very confident about her intelligence, she faces problems with her staff and suffers a huge blow to her pride when things don't go according to what she expects. Filming will be done entirely in Kyoto from early March.

Source: Sanspo

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Nakai Masahiro and Kusanagi Tsuyoshi to star in TV Asahi drama SPs

Nakai Masahiro and Kusanagi Tsuyoshi will star in two TV Asahi drama SPs shown over two consecutive weeks as reported on 24 February.

Nakai will play the role of a ryotei chef in the remake of the "Aji Ichimone" series which was a full length series shown between 1995 and 1996 and had three drama SPs, In this latest instalment, there will be a new chef from France joining the ryotei. Co-stars include Kuninaka Ryoko and Kaname Jun.

As for Kusanagi, he will play a police detective who was framed for attempted murder and spent 10 years in jail. After he was released, he gets his job back and is sent to Kyoto Prefectural Police where he takes part in special investigations which tap on his in-depth knowledge about criminals. Co-stars include Minami Kaho and Oosugi Ren.

Source: Sanspo

Sunday, February 24, 2013

"Mahoro Ekimae Bangaichi" hits the cinema screen

The winter 2013 drama "Mahoro Ekimae Bangaichi" which is still in its run will be shown in cinemas between 6 April and 19 April, which is rare for an entire drama to be screened there. The drama which stars Eita and Matsuda Ryuhei, consists of 12 episodes will be shown in four batches of three episodes at Shibuya's Euro Space, following the requests from TV viewers sent to TV Tokyo.

Source: Sponichi

Hayami Mokomichi wins the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards with "MOCO's Kitchen"

Hayami Mokomichi won the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards' Japanese cooking category with his cookbook "MOCO's Kitchen" and attended the prize-giving ceremony in Paris on 23 February. He has been hosting the cooking corner in NTV's morning programme "ZIP!" since 2011 on the weekdays and released 6 volumes of "MOCO's Kitchen" to date which has sold over 350,000 copies. The books contain the 500-odd recipes he demonstrated on the programme during this period. Hayami commented that although it was tough trying to come up with new ideas on what to cook every week, he was also encouraged by the anticipation and support viewers showed towards his programme. On the other hand, food researcher Matsumoto Sakafumi also won the Grand Prix in the single theme category with his book on how a Matsuzaka cow ends up on the dining table as sukiyaki.

The Gourmand World Cookbook Awards are established in 1995 and gives out awards in various categories such as recipes, wine, food photography. This year, there were 13,000 entries from 170 countries which took part.

Source: Sponichi

Production press conference of "xxxHOLiC"

The production press conference of new WOWOW drama "xxxHOLIC" was held on 21 February which was attended by lead cast members An and Sometani Shota. The drama begins its run from 24 February at 11pm on Sundays and is based on the popular CLAMP dark fantasy manga which has sold 12m copies to date. An plays the role of Ichihara Yuko who is the owner of a shop that grants wishes if someone is willing to pay a corresponding price. Sometani plays a high school student Watanuki Kimihiro who is able to see monsters and is the assistant of Yuko. An revealed that she is a fan of the manga and was elated yet worried when she took on the role. In order to make sure she gets Yuko's mannerisms correct, she studied the manga many times and also lost three kg through swimming and muscle training. On the other hand, Sometani who has very short hair, had to wear a wig to play the character.

Source: Sponichi

Ito Hideaki & Sakaguchi Kenji in spring 2013 drama "Doubles ~ Futari no Keiji"

Ito Hideaki and Sakaguchi Kenji will pair up in the TV Asahi spring 2013 drama "Doubles ~ Futari no Keiji" which begins its run from April in the Thursdays 9pm timeslot. This is the first time in 10 years since the two of them last worked together in 2002 FujiTV drama "Tentai Kansoku" but they have been in contact all this while despite not working together. Ever since then, the same-age friends who were both born in 1975 had gone on to achieve success in their signature roles i.e. Senzaki Daisuke in the Umizaru series for Ito and Asada Ryuutarou in the Iryu series for Sakaguchi. As they are both tall and well-built, they tend to get mistaken for each other especially when they go to the suburbs. Ito related that he was once told by someone that he was touched for "Iryu" and Ito could only manage a "thank you" without correcting the mistake. Sakaguchi also had similar experiences because he was once identified as the guy who appeared in Umizaru. Ito went the extra mile to "impersonate" as Sakaguchi by signing the latter's name at a restaurant when someone identified him wrongly again.

This time round, they play police detectives who work together to fight crime in the Shinjuku area where Ito plays Yamashita, a happy-go-lucky guy in contrast with the serious yet passionate Tashiro played by Sakaguchi. Both of them expressed hope that this drama would become as famous as TV Asahi's signature detective series "Aibou" and make it to the silver screen one day.

Source: Yomiuri Hochi

First-day screening of "Sougen no Isu"

The first-day screening of movie "Sougen no Isu" was held on 23 February at Marunouchi TOEI (1) which was attended by lead cast members such as Sato Koichi and Kichise Michiko. Kichise who just announced her first pregnancy two days earlier, was greeted with applause from the audience as she appeared in a black dress. She revealed that she had actually wished upon a shooting star for a child while she was filming the movie in Pakistan last August. Although Kichise's character in the movie was a woman who cannot get pregnant, she was thankful that her wish made in Pakistan came true for her after all. Sato said that even though he was also with Kichise during the filming of the scene under the starry sky, he didn't know she made such a wish and offered his congratulations during the event.

Source: Sanspo

Ninomiya Kazunari to host his first variety show "Nino-san"

Arashi's Ninomiya Kazunari will host his first variety show "Nino-san" which begins its run from April 2013. This is the first time he is hosting on his own without his fellow members and the show will be a variety programme shot in a studio that is expected to consist of 10 episodes until June. This is considered as a trial run because 5 directors from NTV will produce two idea proposals each and the chosen one will become a regular programme from October this year. Ninomiya commented that he is happy about this solo hosting gig and will put in his best to ensure that the programme doesn't end at the trial run stage.

Source: Sponichi

Nishijima Hidetoshi & Abe Hiroshi in French movie "Memories Corner"

Nishijima Hidetoshi and Abe Hiroshi appeared at the first-day screening of their French movie "Memories Corner" at Cinema Shinjuku on 23 February. The movie is set in Kobe more than 10 years after the Hanshin-Awaji earthquake took place in 1995 where Nishijima plays an interpreter who helps a French female reporter with her work while Abe plays a man still plagued by the after-effects of the disaster. Nishijima recounted that he had to undergo intensive French lessons before the filming but was caught off guard when new lines were added at the filming scene. On the other hand, Abe who had to speak English in the movie, revealed that he had to spend 3 hours per day under the watchful eye of the English tutor like a student preparing for entrance exams. Abe also jokingly said that he envied Nishijima for being able to speak French in the movie and tried to pass off gibberish during the press conference as his way of speaking the language.

Source: Sanspo

Hada Michiko to star in NHK drama "Daini Gakusho"

Hada Michiko will be starring in the NHK drama "Daini Gakusho" which begins its run from 16 April in the Tuesdays 10pm timeslot. Hada plays a 42-year-old violinist of an orchestra who reunites with her good friend Itaya Yuka after 17 years since the latter got married to the man who Hada's character loved (Tanihara Shosuke). As a result, the longtime friends experience a rollercoaster of emotions as they relook at their own lives and see things from the other perspective.

Source: Sponichi

Kaname Jun engaged and due to get married to CEO of company in beauty industry

Kaname Jun was reported on 18 February to be getting married to a former celebrity of the same age who operates a company in the beauty industry now. According to the report, they got engaged earlier this year after dating since autumn last year. During an interview on TBS talk show "Harajuku Net Cafe" shown on 26 January, Kaname admitted that he had a steady girlfriend and he saw no reason to hide it. Besides being known for his roles in various movies and dramas, Kaname was also picked as the assistance mayor of Kagawa Prefecture last year in its rebranding as a prefecture known for its famous udon.

Source: Sponichi

Cast announcement of NHK morning novel "Gochisousan"

The cast announcement press conference of NHK morning novel "Gochisousan" which is due to be shown from 30 September, was held on 18 February in Osaka which was attended by the heroine An and her co-stars Higashide Masahiro who plays her husband, Zaizen Hiromi and Harada Taizo who play her parents as well as Kondo Masaomi, Takahata Mitsuki, Kimura Midoriko, Miyazaki Yoshiko and Wada Masato. As An is 1.74m tall while Higashide's height is 1.89m, this makes them the tallest couple in the NHK morning drama history. Filming is scheduled to begin in mid May but Higashide revealed that he plans to stay in Osaka from April so that he can work on his Kansai-ben.

Source: Sponichi

First-day screening of "Yokomichi Younosuke"

The first-day screening of movie "Yokomichi Younosuke" was held at Shinjuku Picadilly on 23 February which was attended by cast members such as Koura Kengo and Yoshitaka Yuriko. Koura revealed that he had appeared in various activities on 190 different media outlets to promote this movie and hoped that this will be a long-lasting series in future. As for Yoshitaka, she said that this is the first time she had invited her family members to attend a screening of her movie so she had to be on her best behaviour. She also mentioned that she was thankful to her co-stars and said that she hopes to continue liking Koura just like how her character liked Yokomichi Younosuke (Koura) in the movie. With response to that,  Koura was visibly shy about the sudden "confession" and said that he was happy to hear that from Yoshitaka who he had last worked with in the 2008 movie "Hebi ni Piasu".

Source: Sanspo

Kuwata Keisuke appears in ending credits of "Saikou no Rikon"

Kuwata Keisuke made a surprise appearance in the ending credits of winter 2013 drama "Saikou no Rikon" where his song "Yin Yang" was used as the ending theme. The song is set to be released as a single on 13 March. In the ending credits which differ in each episode, Eita and Ayano Go appear in tuxedos while Ono Machiko and Maki Youko wear blue dresses and the four of them will perform a different dance each time. Kuwata joined the filming of the ending credits on 8 February and was featured in a "fight" with the guys and "seductive" scenes with the ladies. FujiTV had asked Kuwata to appear in the credits since late last year but it was only until the drama started and he himself became a fan of it before he decided to accept the offer. As for when the clip featuring Kuwata will be shown, FujiTV declined comment on this since it has not been decided.

Source: Sponichi

Completion press conference of "Daijoubu Sangumi"

TOKIO's Kokubun Taichi and writer Ootake Hirotada attended the completion press conference of their movie "Daijoubu Sangumi" on 19 February. The movie is due to be shown from 23 March and is based on the novel by Ootake about a teacher born without limbs and how he interacts with the primary school students under his charge. Ootake admitted that when he was first offered the role, he rejected it but later accepted it because he realised that no other actor could take on this role of a person without limbs. This movie makes it his first acting role and Ootake commented that he hoped to appear in a Taiga next time. Kokubun was also full of praise for his co-star's performance and said that he almost wanted to depend on Ootake for everything rather than the other way round.

Source: Yomiuri Hochi

Eikura Nana & Takahashi Katsumi in spring 2013 drama "Kakushou ~ Keishicho Sousa Sanka"

Eikura Nana and Takahashi Katsumi will be teaming up as a police detective duo in the TBS spring 2013 drama "Kakusho Keishicho Sousa Sanka" which begins its run in April in the Mondays 8pm timeslot. They play partners in the 3rd division of the Metropolitan Police Department which specialises in the investigation of theft cases that form 70% of all crimes committed. The two of them will also meet with real police detectives in order to help them prepare for their roles in this drama based on the novel "Kakushou" by Konno Bin.

This is the first leading role in a private network drama for Takahashi who loves police detective dramas but only came to know that there are detectives specialising in theft cases after taking on this drama. He also hopes to portray the difficulties a middle-aged man faces when he has a younger female subordinate (Eikura) because they are always worried that any slip of the tongue might cause the misunderstanding of sexual harrassment. Eikura also commented that she wants to show the real life of a police detective instead of the stiff and serious stereotype that people are used to seeing. Co-stars in this drama include Shitara Osamu and Kadono Takuzo.

Source: Nikkansports

Completion press conference of movie "Fune wo Amu"

The completion press conference of "Fune wo Amu" was held on 19 February which was attended by lead cast members Matsuda Ryuhei, Miyazaki Aoi, Odagiri Jo and Kuroki Haru. The movie which is scheduled to be screened from 13 April, features a group of editors in a publishing company who come together to create a new edition of a dictionary. The story is based on the novel by Miura Shion which won the Honya Taisho last year. Matsuda confessed that he didn't like studying so he had never paid close attention to his dictionary while Miyazaki said that the last time she touched a dictionary could be way back to her primary school days. As Matsuda's character name is Majime (meaning serious in Japanese), the cast were also asked who is the most serious among them. Odagiri readily admitted that he should be the one but also added jokingly that he's usually more demanding of people and lenient towards himself.

Source: Yomiuri Hochi

Sato Ryuta to star in spring 2013 drama "Detarame Hero"

Sato Ryuta will take on the leading role in NTV's spring 2013 drama "Detarame Hero" (Nonsense Hero) which is due to begin its run from 4 April in the 11.58pm timeslot on Thursdays. The drama is a comedy about how Kenta (Sato) who is a good-for-nothing saddled with debts and womaniser, happens to get something by chance which transforms him into a "hero" by enhancing his physical powers and five senses by 10 times but the effect only lasts for 10 minutes. All along, most of Sato's roles were the kind, passionate and righteous type but this is the first time he is playing someone so hopeless without any obvious good points. Sato commented that he looks forward to playing such a character who regards his powers as something good to have but never intends to use it to fight evil or uphold justice and yet unwittingly becomes a hero.

Source: Yomiuri Hochi

Tsutsumi Shinichi at fast-food restaurant as one-hour manager to promote new movie

Tsutsumi Shinichi became a one-day manager at the Akasaka Mitsuke branch of First Kitchen on 17 February in conjunction with a PR event for his upcoming movie " Ore wa mada honki dashitenai dake" (I just haven't given all my best). The movie is scheduled to be screened in cinemas from 15 June. Tsutsumi greeted customers at the counter and even tried making fries in the kitchen during the event. When asked about his experience in such jobs, Tsutsumi recounted that he was never asked to be at the counter and always took on menial chores or wash dishes at the back.

Source: Sponichi

Matsuda Shota to star in spring 2013 drama "Sennyuu Tantei Tokage"

Matsuda Shota will be starring in the TBS spring 2013 drama "Sennyuu Tantei Tokage" (Undercover detective Tokage) which will begin its run from April in the Thursdays 9pm timeslot. The character Tokage is a famous detective but somewhat eccentric person who solved many tough cases but left the police force when his partner died while investigating a particulat case. Soon after, he is asked to be a undercover cop by his previous employer i.e. the Metropolitan Police Department where he uses his strong memory to solve complicated cases for them. As a result of this, Matsuda has to take on different occupations and images in this drama e.g. politician's secretary, teacher and host while juggling action scenes. Co-stars include TOKIO's Matsuoka Masahiro who plays a police detective in the MPD and Tokage's assistant will be played by Renbutsu Misako.

Source: Sponichi

Horikita Kita & Matsuda Ryuhei to star in movie "Mugiko-san to"

Horikita Maki will be starring in the new movie "Mugiko-san to" (With Mugiko-san) which is due to be shown this autumn. She plays the role of Mugiko, an otaku girl who loves anime and works at an anime merchandise shop while dreaming of becoming a voice actor. When her mother passes away, Mugiko returns to her mother's hometown with the latter's remains. Mugiko had all along through that her mother was a bad woman but when she sees that how she was seen as the town's idol and how much she was loved by the locals, she starts to develop a different opinion of her mother. Matsuda Ryuhei will work with Horikita for the first time and plays her elder brother in the movie. Filming began on 23 January at Tsuru City in Yamanashi Prefecture until 16 February.

Source: Sanspo

Kichise Michiko announces her first pregnancy

Actress Kichise Michiko announced that she is currently pregnant with her first child through her agency's homepage. She got married to an entrepreneur 10 years older than her in December 2010. Kichise mentioned in her statement that it has been three years since she got married and she's full of joy and gratitude that she is finally pregnant. Her agency revealed that the baby is due in August and that she will make her return to work gradually after childbirth depending on her health condition. Kichise is expected to appear at the first-day screening of her new movie "Sougen no Isu" on 23 February where she is likely to be asked about her pregnancy.

Source: Sanspo

Kamenashi Kazuya & Uchida Yuki at rally event for movie "Ore Ore"

KAT-TUN's Kamenashi Kazuya and actress Uchida Yuki attended the rally event for their new movie "Ore Ore" which begins its run from 25 May. The movie features Kamenashi as the charcter Hitoshi who splits into 33 different individuals with the same face and ends up having to battle one another for survival. As a result, Kamenashi revealed that he had 33 images and costumes in the movie and had to keep changing clothes. However, he said that thanks to the training he got to change quickly during his concerts, he was able to manage this despite the challenges. Uchida also said that it looked like a tough thing to keep changing and putting on different images but Kamenashi made it look too easy. As part of the promotional efforts, Kamenashi has to take on 33 missions during the run-up until the launch date e.g. climb up to the 33rd floor and eating 33 plates of sushi in 33 minutes.

Source: Sanspo

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Details of Matsuyama Kenichi's first book Haisha

For those who are interested in seeing the 3-minute video where Matsuyama Kenichi explained why he wanted to write this book or wish to find out more details about the book which is to be released on 28 February, please visit this site . To cut things short, he wants this book to be a reflection of his life so far. As for why he chose this timing (between 2011 and 2012), major events like acting in the Taiga, the tsunami crisis in 2011 and the key developments in his private life i.e. marriage and becoming a father prompted him to start writing.

I made a mistake with the release date yesterday in the translated article but have since rectified the error. This is what happens when I try to post a number of translated articles at one go and make mistakes that I don't even realise until someone points it out. Thanks to you, the readers of this blog who let me know that someone out there is reading what I write and takes the effort to inform me when they spot something which doesn't seem right. I truly appreciate it. ^__^

Not sure if anyone has noticed that the frequency of my posts have gone from almost daily to once every few days. I've been so tied up at work that it's really tough to write something daily but I try to make up for it by posting news over the past few days at one go. As such, you might see that there may be minimal activity at times but there are days when there's a series of posts. I don't aim to be a real-time news provider so in case you notice a gap between the day when the news comes out and the day I post it here, that's the main reason why it's happening.

Can't wait to get my hands on this book at the end of the month!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Ando Sakura wins Best Leading Actress in the 55th Blue Ribbon Award

Ando Sakura won the Best Leading Actress award in the 55th Blue Ribbon Award and attended the ceremony held at Iino Hall on 14 February with her essayist-mother Ando Kazu and her actor-husband Emoto Tasuku. She plays the role of a North Korean who had been living apart from her elder brother (Iura Arata) for 25 years in the movie "Kazoku no Kuni" which depicts the challenges the family faces after the reunion. The story is based on the real-life story of its director Yang Yeonhee. Ando's father Okuda Eiji won the Best Leading Actor award back in 1994 thus Ando attended the award ceremony when she was 8.

When asked about hosting the ceremony next year with fellow winner Abe Hiroshi, Ando said that she felt sorry for Abe because she probably won't be good at talking so the burden will fall more on him. Abe also teased her that he won't be able to cover too much for Ando since he's also a newbie at hosting.

Source: Sanspo

The 55th Blue Ribbon Award ceremony

The 55th Blue Ribbon Award ceremony was held at Iino Hall on 14 February which was hosted by last year's winners for the Best Leading Actor and Actress awards i.e. Takenouchi Yutaka and Nagasaku Hiromi. This was the first time that they took on the roles of the host and Takenouchi was teased by Nagasaku at the beginning when he fumbled through the introduction. At the end of the ceremony, Takenouchi commented that he would like to come back to this ceremony again with his own movie while Nagasaku hoped that people would get to watch more movies in future.

Source: Sanspo

Abe Hiroshi wins Best Leading Actor in the 55th Blue Ribbon Award

Abe Hiroshi won the Best Leading Actor for his performance in three movies "Kirin no Tsubasa", "Terumae Romae" and "Karasu no Oyayubi" in the 55th Blue Ribbon Award and attended the ceremony held at Iino Hall on 14th February. Among the three films, 'Terumae Romae" did very well at the box office with ticket sales of JPY 5.98bn and is due to have a sequel next year. Abe commented that he doubted whether he could play the role in "Terumae Romae" but he was glad to be recognised for his performance. As the tradition for the Blue Ribbon Award is that the Leading Actor and Actress winners have to be the hosts for the following year's ceremony, Abe said that he was nervous about this but will try to study this year's video in preparation for his hosting stint next year.

Source: Sanspo

Iura Arata wins Best Supporting Actor in the 55th Blue Ribbon Awards

Iura Arata won the Best Supporting Actor for his role in the movie "Kazoku no Kuni" and collected his award during the ceremony held at Iino Hall on 14 February. He played the role of the elder brother of Ando Sakura, a Korean residing in Japan, who had been in North Korea for 25 years before being reunited with his family. Iura mentioned that he was greatly honoured by the fact that he could win this award along with Ando who got the Best Leading Actress award and the director Yang Yeonhee who got the best movie award. He also thanked Yang for asking him to take on his role which was truly memorable for him.

Source: Sanspo

Hirosue Ryoko wins Best Supporting Actress in the 55th Blue Ribbon Awards

Hirosue Ryoko attended the 55th Blue Ribbon Awards held at Iino Hall on 14 February where she was given the award of Best Supporting Actress for her performance in the movie "Kagidorobo no Mesoddo". She was dressed in a black dress and wore jewellery worth JPY 21.5m from Harry Winston. Hirosue commented that she had played a lot of cute and innocent roles in the past but this movie posed a huge challenge as she had to be a career woman who doesn't smile at all. It was a tough time trying to contain her laughter that the director had to tell her to keep a straight face.

Source: Sanspo

Completion screening of NHK drama "Last Dinner"

The completion screening of NHK drama "Last Dinner" was held on 15 February at NHK Broadcasting Centre which was attended by Hirahara Ayaka, Tanaka Rena and one of the scriptwriters Oomori Mika. Tanaka appears in episode 1 while Hirahara plays a singer at the restaurant where the couples in each of the eight episodes have their last dinner together. The drama which talks about people who love each other but cannot be together due to various reasons, begins its run from 9 March at 11.15pm on Saturdays.

Filming was done primarily at an abandoned junior high school's stadium where the restaurant was set up. Hirahara had to sing cover versions of hit songs such as MISIA's "Everything", Oda Kazumasa's "Tashika na koto" in order to match the theme of each episode. There were times when Hirahara was crying while singing because she was so touched by the story. She commented that she looks forward to taking part in this drama again if there's a sequel in future.

Source: Oricon

Winter 2013 dramas with the highest satisfaction index (Oricon)

Here are the results of the top 16 dramas with the highest satisfaction index according to a poll by Oricon. Note that they broke up the table into two parts i.e. one for the dramas shown between 8pm to 10pm while the other is for dramas after 11pm. Numbers in brackets indicate the satisfaction rating:

8pm to 10pm timeslots
1) Itsuka hi no ataru basho de / NHK (67.5%)
2) Yakou Kanransha / TBS (62.7%)
3) LAST HOPE / FujiTV (55.4%)
4) Saikou no Rikon / FujiTV (55.2%)
5) Nakuna, Hara-chan / NTV (52.2%)
6) Tonbi / TBS (51.7%)
7) Saki / FujiTV (45.0%)
8) dinner / FujiTV (41.4%)
9) Otome-san / NTV (41.0%)
10) Apoyan / TBS (38.4%)
11) Sharehouse no Koibito / NTV (36.1%)
12) Biblia Koshodo no Jiken Tecchou / FujiTV (32.3%)

After 11pm timeslots
1) Karamazov no Kyoudai / FujiTV (54.4%)
2) Nobunaga no Chef / NTV (50.6%)
3) Mahoro Ekimae Bangaichi / TV Asahi (44.8%)
4) Shotenin Michiru no Minouebanashi / NHK (40.7%)

Source: Oricon

Matsuyama Kenichi to be a loser if his stage play fails?

Usually, I don't translate news like this which tend to be a bit gossipy and may have some unconfirmed rumours but I'm doing it this time due to a request from one of the blog readers. Hope that this is interesting to everyone! 

I can see that there were a lot of press reports on the stage play when it was in the preparation stage and when it began its run. I did pick up a number of such articles and posted them on the blog, partly because I wanted to help promote it in one way or another. If I was in Japan, I would have gone to see it. Obviously, there were a lot of efforts put in to boost the awareness of the play and Matsuyama appeared to be putting his all into this. However, the lingering problems of the Taiga flop and his wife's controversy about giving birth in South Korea only served to make his climb back a tougher ride than it would have been. The arrival of his second child should have been a happy occasion but really, I sometimes wonder if more tact should have been exercised by his significant other when handling the situation.

I think it's rather unfair to write him off just because of one bad Taiga outing. Who can forget about his breakthrough role L in Death Note or the amazing transformation he showed in Detroit Metal City? He did give us some really memorable performances in the past but whenever failure strikes a successful actor, it's as if his past successes were written off overnight. Let's think of it this way, he experienced a high in his career fairly early on thus the fall this time must have hurt a whole lot more than it would be for someone who had been at a fairly consistent level through his career. There were so many reports piled onto him about the Taiga failure as if he was solely responsible. No doubt he tried to keep a brave front when asked about this all the time, I think his confidence level would still be badly dented. Since his book is coming out next month, I would love to read what he has to say about his feelings towards the Taiga drama and if he had ever regretted taking it on. I certainly hope that he won't become a loser just because of this rough patch.

2 years of bad luck! Matsuyama Kenichi is facing more problems this year after his Taiga drama "Taira no Kiyomori" got the lowest average rating of 12.0% in the Taiga drama history.

His first attempt at a stage play "Tooi Natsu no Gogh" opens on 3 February at Akasaka ACT Theatre so he is busy preparing through the rehearsals. However, contrary to the efforts he has put in, ticket sales are slow.

The ACT Theatre can accommodate 1,300 guests but other than the first day, the seats aren't even half-filled. If the Taiga drama had been a success, this would have brought about the same effect to Matsuyama's first leading role in a stage play. However, the Taiga turned out to be a major flop. Despite extensive publicity efforts, it is worrying as to how many non-Matsuyama fans he can attract to the theatre.

To add on to his troubles, Matsuyama's wife Koyuki gave birth to their second child in South Korea and was involved in the controversy of leaving the hospital without permission. This almost led to a lawsuit by the hospital over unpaid hospitalisation charges which were later settled. In order to wipe away the lingering after-effects of the Taiga failure, Matsuyama's attempts at resurrecting his career are further hampered by such unwanted controversies around him.

Matsuyama is due to release his first book "Haisha" (Loser) at the end of February and he chose this name because of his drop to rock-bottom after "Taira no Kiyomori". If his stage play flops too, that would be a critical blow to his career. Despite being once said to be the Johnny Depp of Japan due to his acting skills, if this downward spiral continues, Matsuyama will then become a true loser.

Source: Tokyo Sports

Maeda Atsuko to play a teacher in spring drama "Kasukana Kanojo"

Former AKB48 member Maeda Atsuko will be playing a teacher in the spring drama "Kasukana Kanojo" which stars SMAP's Katori Shingo and An. This will be her first drama appearance since her graduation from AKB48 last August and her first role as a teacher. Maeda plays the role of Kawai Chiho who works in the same school as Katori's Kamiyama where he is the main homeroom teacher and she is the assistant. She is well-liked among students with a cheerful character and passion towards her work. However, that's only a pretense because Kawai actually has no interest in teaching and is looking for an opportunity to switch jobs if she has a chance. Maeda commented that she is very excited to work with Katori since she has seen his dramas since young. In addition, the timeslot of Tuesdays 10pm means a lot to her since she made her debut in this timeslot 6 years ago with the drama "Swan no Baka! ~ Kozukai Sanman yen no Koi ~" in autumn 2007.

Source: Sanspo

Thursday, February 14, 2013

FujiTV axes its Sunday 9pm drama timeslot from spring onwards

FujiTV announced that it is going to cancel its Sunday 9pm timeslot meant for dramas and replacing it with a new variety programme "Terebi Shakai Jikken Variety Asunaro Labo" hosted by comedian Kato Koji and announcer Takashima Aya. As a result of this move, "dinner" will be its last drama shown in this timeslot. FujiTV had started airing dramas in this timeslot renamed as Dramatic Sunday since autumn 2010 with "Perfect Report"  which was seen as a challenge to TBS which had a longstanding stellar reputation in the same drama for its prime dramas. However, things didn't work out as planned with most of the offerings in this timeslot doing badly except for the spring 2011 drama "Marumo no Okite" which made the child actors Ashida Mana and Suzuki Fuku extremely well-known and popular.

Source: Sanspo

ZONE's vocalist MIYU fired by her agency for misconduct

ZONE's vocalist MIYU (real name Nagase Miyu) had her contract terminated by her agency as of 13th February due to gross misconduct, as announced through the agency's official website. The press release mentioned that MIYU had not fulfilled her contractual agreement by skipping live concerts or events without valid reasons and caused a lot of problems and inconveniences to the company, ZONE's fans and its clients. Even after repeated persuasion and counselling, the situation still did not improve and MIYU is not even contactable now. As a result, the agency decided to terminate her contract and mentioned that they will not be responsible for any of her actions in future.

ZONE was a band which made its debut in 2001 and appeared on the Kouhaku for three times before it disbanded in 2005. They made their return to the music scene in 2011.

Source: Sponichi

Aragaki Yui & Ayano Go to star in spring drama "Sora tobu Kouhoushitsu"

Aragaki Yui and Ayano Go will be working together in the new TBS spring 2013 drama "Sora tobu Kouhoushitsu" (The Flying PR Room) which will begin its run from 14 April at 9pm on Sundays. The story is based on Arikawa Hiro who is also well-known for other works such as "Freeter, Ie wo Kau" and "Toshokan Sensou" and the novel was one of the nominees for the Naoki Award this year.

Aragaki plays Rika, a director at a TV station who gets transferred to an informative programme from the news department against her own will. As a result of the move, she has to work closely with the PR department of the Japan Air Self-Defense Force and starts to change her mind about what success means to her after interacting with the people there. On the other hand, Ayano plays the role of Sorai who used to be a pilot of a fighter jet and had a promising career which was abruptly ended when he got into a traffic accident. As a result, he had to give up his pilot dream and attempt to restart his career in the PR department. Shibata Kyohei will play Sagisaka, the director of the PR department who gives support as these young people attempt to find another dream in life. Filming will be fully supported by the Japan Air Self-Defense Force and done entirely at the actual PR department instead of a studio set.

Source: Yomiuri Hochi

Sakurai Sho pours coffee over Fujiwara Tatsuya in "Kamisama no Karte 2"

The filming for the movie "Kamisama no Karte 2" is currently underway and was recently opened to the press who got to see a scene where Sakurai Sho's character Kurihara Ichito pours coffee over his longtime friend and new colleague Shindo Tatsuya (Fujiwara Tatsuya) when he gets angry at Shindo's insistence to go home on the dot. In response to to that, Shindo simply brushes off the argument as that they just have different priorities and ignores Ichito's outburst.

The movie will be screened in cinemas next year.

Source: Sanspo

Kuroki Meisa makes her return to acting in "Yae no Sakura"

Kuroki Meisa who had been on maternity break since giving birth to her first daughter last September, made her return to acting in NHK Taiga drama "Yae no Sakura". She attended the press conference held at NHK on 12 February and talked about how going through childbirth had made her understand the meaning of protecting something or someone with her life. Kuroki's role will be Nakano Takeko who started out as a rival to Yae (Ayase Haruka) but later became her comrade. Takeko then passed away during the Boshin War which left a strong impact on Yae's subsequent life. Kuroki's first appearance in the drama will be in the 21th April episode and will last till July.

Source: Sanspo

"Saikou no Rikon" ending credits videos uploaded to YouTube

FujiTV uploaded a video clip of the ending credits of "Saikou no Rikon" which featured the four key cast members Eita, Maki Youko, Ono Machiko and Ayano Go dance to the tune of Kuwata Keisuke's song "Yin Yang". The video of Ep 1's ending credits which was uploaded to YouTube, achieved hits of more than 180,000 in less than two weeks. The videos for episodes 2 to 5 were also uploaded on 13th February on FujiTV's official YouTube channel. The subsequent episodes' videos will feature the cast in this order: ep 2 - Ono, ep 3 - Maki, ep 4 - Ayano and ep 5 - Eita.

In case you want to check this out, here is FujiTV's YouTube channel. However, unless you reside in Japan, chances are that you can't view this video. This totally defeats the purpose of placing the video onto the Internet if you are going to restrict viewers based on their geographical locations. They might as well not do it since it's such a half-hearted effort at promoting this drama.

Source: Sanspo

Suzuki Anju holds wake for her late husband

Actress Suzuki Anju held a wake for her late husband Yamagata Motoo who had passed away in the United States on 1 February, at Tsukiji Honganji on 13 February. The ceremony was attended by around 2,000 people including former Morning Musume member Abe Natsumi, actor Watari Tetsuya, Yusuke Santa Maria, Tanihara Shosuke, THE ALFEE's Takamizawa Toshihiko. Yamagata who was the surgical department director of Surugadai Nihon University Hospital, was reported to be suffering from a liver disease before he passed away. The couple had met when Suzuki was hospitalised and operated on by Yamagata before they got married after dating for a few months.

Source: Sanspo

Monday, February 11, 2013

EXILE's KEIJI in his first leading role in TBS spring drama "Monsieur!"

EXILE's performer KEIJI will be starring in his first leading role in a drama as reported on 10 February. He will be playing the role of a genius chef in the TBS spring drama "Monsieur!" who helps a restaurant escape the brink of going bust. This will also make him the second EXILE member after AKIRA (GTO in 2012) to have a drama leading role. In actual fact, KEIJI also holds a chef's licence and he had even developed some products with popular chef Kawagoe Tatsuya last November so he will not have any major problems with the cooking scenes. Nonetheless, KEIJI commented that he still feels nervous about scenes where he has to talk while chopping ingredients. Filming is currently underway.

KEIJI made his acting debut in April 2011 with a role in the FujiTV drama "Namae wo nakushita Megami" and had teamed up with fellow member TETSUYA in the BeeTV drama "Kimi to Boku to Yakusoku". He can also be seen in this season's "Saikou no Rikon".

Source: Nikkansports

Filming of "Joyu Reiko ~ Honou no You ni" at Oohara Reiko's residence

The filming of TV Tokyo's drama SP "Joyu Reiko ~ Honou no You ni" which is about the life of late actress Oohara Reiko, was held at the residence of Oohara. Uchiyama Rina, the lead actress who plays Oohara, commented that instead of using a temporary set, the drama SP will feature all the furniture used in Oohara's house in order to increase the realistic factor of the story.

Oohara had been found dead in her bedroom on 6 August 2009 and confirmed to have died of an illness three months later. Besides being known for her acting career, she also had a turbulent life where she went through two divorces and battled diseases such as the Guillain-Barre syndrome. However, there will be no filming inside Oohara's bedroom.

Source: Sponichi

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Happy Lunar New Year to everyone!

Here's wishing everyone a wonderful Snake year ahead and may all your wishes come true! Thank you very much for supporting the blog to date and hope that you'll like the content here and continue to visit the blog!

First-day screening of "Nou Otoko"

The first-day screening of movie "Nou Otoko" was held on 9 February at TOHO Cinemas Scala Za which was attended by cast members Ikuta Toma, Eguchi Yosuke, Matsuyuki Yasuko, Ota Rina and Nikaido Fumi. During the event, Ikuta remarked that there was a scene where he had to kill Nikaido's character by strangling her but he didn't apply enough force so was told by the director to do a retake. However, when he  tried to apply more force, it proved to be too much for Nikaido who lost consciousness as a result.

Source: Nikkansports

Kamiki Ryuunosuke & Narumi Riko to star in NHK drama "Kogure Shashinkan"

Kamiki Ryuunosuke and Narumi Riko will be starring in the new NHK drama "Kogure Shashinkan" which will begin its run on 31 March and consists of four episodes. The drama is based on the novel by Miyabe Miyuki published in 2010 about Eiichi (Kamiki), a second-year senior high school student who moves into an old building which used to house a photo shop. As he starts to receive photos of supernatural phenomenon from various people, he slowly becomes a detective who tries to uncover the mystery behind those photos. Narumi will play Junko, the employee of a real estate company which sold the old building to Eiichi's family and helps him in solving the mysteries. This is the third time that Kamiki and Narumi are working together thus she believes that their great teamwork make this drama more enjoyable for the viewers. Co-stars include Ishiguro Ken and Matsushita Yuki who play Eiichi's parents. The first episode will be shown at 9pm on 31 March while the remaining episodes will be shown at 10pm.

Source: Sanspo

Matsuda Shota & Kutsuna Shiori in a relationship?

Matsuda Shota and Kutsuna Shiori were caught on a date and holding hands, according to the 7th February issue of FRIDAY. The article mentioned that the two were on a date at Saitama's Tokorozawa Koukuu Kinen Kouen in the beginning of February and went for a meal with another female acquaintance 2 days later and were seen holding hands. When asked about the report, both parties' agencies denied that they were dating and commented that they were just friends. According to insiders, they had come to know each other through a common friend and became good friends since they had similar hobbies. Since Kutsuna was raised in Australia where hugging and holding hands with friends are common, there was no special meaning in her holding friends with Matsuda. When asked about her son supposedly dating Kutsuna, Matsuda's mother i.e. actress Matsuda Miyuki reported said that if it's true, she would be happy for him as long as he's happy.

Source: Sanspo

Karasawa Toshiaki to star in new spring 2013 drama "TAKE FIVE"

Karasawa Toshiaki will star in the new TBS spring 2013 drama "TAKE FIVE" which will begin its run from April at 10pm on Fridays. The story is said to be the Japanese version of the US movie "Ocean's Eleven" and features Karasawa as the leader of a 5-member professional theft group comprising of people from all walks of life.

Karasawa will play a thief for the first time in his career who is an university professor in the day but is the leader of a theft group. The other members include Matsuzaka Toori who works at a security company but is a master at breaking into places, Inagaki Goro who is a police officer but joins the other side of the law because he got demoted, Rokkaku Seiji who is an expert at mechanics and Irie Jingi who is a newbie member and good at physical sports. Matsuyuki Yasuko will play a police officer who chases after the group and gets involved in a love triangle with Karasawa and Matsuzaka. Co-stars also include Baisho Mitsuko, Chiba Yuudai who plays Matsuyuki's subordinate and Fukuda Ayano who plays a graduate student at Karasawa's university.

Source: Sanspo

Yamashita Tomohisa & Ito Hideaki to star in FujiTV drama SP "Kindaichi Kosuke vs. Akechi Kogoro"

Yamashita Tomohisa and Ito Hideaki will be starring in the FujiTV drama SP "Kindaichi Kosuke vs. Akechi Kogoro" which is due to be shown within this year. Yamashita will play the role of Kindaichi while Ito will play Akechi in this SP for which filming has begun. This is the second time that the two are working together since 2009 summer drama "Buzzer Beat" thus they commented that their chemistry will help them achieve great results this time.

Story: The family which operates a medicine wholesale business undergoes an upheaval which leads to the splitting into two factions Ganso and Honke. One day, Kiichirou, the eldest son of the Honke faction, poisons the Ganso household head Nagahiko and goes missing. Two years later, Kiichirou's younger sister Hatsue asks Kindaichi (Yamashita) to look for her brother. At the same time, Akechi (Ito) who takes an interest to Kindaichi after reading about his exploits in the newspapers, hides his identity and poses as a reporter in order to get closer to Kindaichi.

Source: Yomiuri Hochi

The 67th Mainichi Eiga Contest 2012

Best Japanese movie: Tsui no Shintaku
Excellence Award for Japanese movie: Kirishima, Bukatsu yamerutte yo
Best Foreign movie: Hugo
Best director: Yoshida Daihachi (Kirishima, Bukatsu yamerutte yo)
Best script: Yang Yeonhee (Kazoku no Kuni)
Best Leading Actor: Yatsuyagi Isao (Kibou no Kuni)
Best Leading Actress: Tabata Tomoko (Fugainai Boku wa Sora wo Mita)
Best Supporting Actor: Kase Ryo (Outrage Beyond)
Best Supporting Actress: Ando Sakura (Ai to Makoto)
Sponichi Grand Prix Newcomer award: Higashide Masahiro (Kirishima, Bukatsu yamerutte yo) / Miyoshi Ayaka (Gummoo Ebian)
Tanaka Kinuyo Award: Tanaka Yuko
TSUTAYA Movie Fan Award: Terumae Romae / Avengers 

Source: Sponichi

Completion press conference of "Yokomichi Yonosuke"


The completion press conference of movie "Yokomichi Yonosuke" was held at Shinjuku Picadilly on 7 February which was attended by cast members such as Koura Kengo and Yoshitaka Yuriko. The movie which is scheduled to be shown in cinemas from 23 February, features Koura as Yokomichi Yonosuke who comes to Tokyo from Nagasaki and his story with his girlfriend Yosano Shoko (Yoshitaka). Koura mentioned that he was a bit sad to say goodbye to playing Yonosuke and that the last time he will appear as this character will be the first-day screening of the movie. As for Yoshitaka, she was asked about her relationship with RADWIMPS vocalist cum guitarist Noda Yojiro as they are reportedly dating according to the 5th Feb issue of "Shuukan Josei" but Yoshitaka ignored the question and left the venue quickly after the press conference.

Source: Sanspo

Tamura Masakazu & Nakama Yukie in TV Asahi drama SP "Jouiuchi - Hairyou Tsuma Shimatsu"

The press conference for TV Asahi drama SP "Jouiuchi - Hairyo Tsuma Shimatsu" was held on 7 February which was attended by lead cast members Tamura Masakazu and Nakama Yukie who worked together for the first time. The drama SP is due to be shown on 9 February at 9pm and they play the roles of a father-in-law and a daughter-in-law. Tamura's filming was done last November in he mountains of Hyogo and Shiga Prefectures while Nakama's scenes were mostly in Kyoto at a Toei studio which led to Tamura "complaining" that Nakama should have come to visit him during that period but she didn't manage to do so since she was busy with the filming of her Winter 2013 drama "Saki" at the same time.

Source: Sanspo

SMAP to release first English single in collaboration with Universal Studios Japan

SMAP will be releasing their 49th single "Battery / Mistake!" on 27 February of which the song "Battery" is entirely in English. This is the first attempt at an English single for the group and it will be played at Universal Studios Japan's popular attraction "Hollywood Dream The Light". Actually, this is part of the first step between a collaboration between SMAP and USJ which is titled "WORLD ENTERTAINMENT PROJECT" where visitors to USJ can choose their favourite track while taking the rollercoaster ride at "Hollywood Dream The Light" between 15 March and 7 July. Those taking the front-facing rollercoaster will get to hear the original version of "Battery" while those taking the back-facing rollercoaster will hear a remix version.

Source: Yomiuri Hochi

Miyane Seiji to make a guest appearance in "Saikou no Rikon"

Miyane Seiji will be making a guest appearance in the FujiTV Winter 2013 drama "Saikou no Rikon" shown on 14 February as reported on 6 February. Miyane had previous guest appearances in dramas and movies such as 2007 movie "HERO" as a reporter, 2007 drama "Dare ga Papa yanen" as a useless father and a voice acting role as himself in the anime movie "Meitantei Conan 11nin me no Striker" last year. This time, Miyane will play the role of the owner of a ramen restaurant where Eita's character constantly goes to for work-related matters. Actually, Miyane has been a big fan of the series and asked Shimizu Kazuyuki, the drama's producer who was his junior when they both worked in Asahi Housou at Osaka, for the favour thus resulting in him landing a guest role.

Source: Sanspo

Completion press conference of "Suu-chan, Mai-chan, Sawako-san"

The completion press conference of movie "Suu-chan, Mai-chan, Sawako-san" was held on 5 February which was attended by cast members Shibasaki Kou, Maki Youko, Terajima Shinobu and ARATA. The movie features the daily lives of three women and the trio all commented that it had been a relaxing filming period for them. There was a Q & A session where the cast drew cards to answer questions. When it was Shibasaki's turn, she drew the card "marriage" and commented that she did not want to set rules as to when she should get married so she'll let nature take its course.

Source: Yomiuri Hochi

Ueto Aya to star in remake movie of "Oshin"


The production press conference of the movie remake of 1980s hit drama "Oshin" was held on 5 February which was attended by key cast members Ueto Aya and Hamada Kokone. Hamada, a 8-year-old primary school student from Miyazaki Prefecture, got the role of young Oshin through an audition of 2,500 people. Ueto Aya who wore a kimono to the press conference, will be playing Oshin's mother.

The drama was a morning TV novel shown on NHK in 1983 written by Hashida Sugako which was set in a poor village in Tohoku during the Meiji era. The drama crossed the 60% mark and was shown in 86 countries and regions during the 80s. Ueto who takes over the role of Oshin's mother from Izumi Pinko, commented that she feels the pressure about taking on the role. Izumi will take on the role of the first wife in the master household for the movie which is due to be shown from October this year.

Source: Sponichi

Press conference for movie "Himawari to Koinu no Nanokakan"

The press conference for movie "Himawari to Koinu no Nanokakan" was held on 6 February which was attended by key cast members such as Sakai Masato, Nakatani Miki and Wakabayashi Masayasu. The movie which is due to be shown from 16 March, features the story of a pair of mother-and-son dogs and their relationship with their caretakers in a Miyazaki Prefecture animal shelter. As Sakai comes from Miyazaki, Nakatani said that he would always jump in to correct them if they made mistakes with the Miyazaki dialect even though the director or dialect teacher didn't say anything. As for Wakabayashi, he had all along been known as someone who doesn't like dogs but he commented that he's now able to touch dogs like the Shibaken after working on this movie.

Source: Sanspo

Ito Hideaki to host a variety programme for the first time

Ito Hideaki will host a variety programme for the first time when he takes on the role in NHK's "Sekai Ouja Tanjou Project Sekaiou" which is due to be shown on 23 February at 8pm. He attended the press conference on 6 February where he commented that the programme which features Japanese citizens taking part in various unusual competitions worldwide and their journey to the No.1 spot will be an interesting one for the viewers. Co-hosts include Olympic boxing gold medalist Murata Ryota, Shinagawa Shoji and Sakakibara Ikue.

Source: Sanspo

Matsuda Ryuhei stars in his first foreign movie

Matsuda Ryuhei made his debut on the international film scene with his first role in an Indonesian movie "The Raid 2 Berandal" which is due to be shown next year. The movie is a sequel to the same-titled action film shown last year and features a newbie police officer who fights against his corrupt colleagues, the Indonesian mafia and the Japanese yakuza with his silat skills. Matsuda plays Keiichi, the son of the yakuza chief played by Endo Kenichi while Kitamura Kazuki plays his rival in the film. Filming began last month and is due to last till June this year for the Japanese cast members.

Source: Yomiuri Hochi

Friday, February 08, 2013

First day performance of "Endless SHOCK"

The first day performance of long-running musical "Endless SHOCK" starring KinKi Kids' Domoto Koichi was held on 4 February at Teigoku Gekijou and will run till 31 March. The musical was first staged in 2000 and its 1000th performance will be held on 21 March. This time, there will be a new cast member Maeda Bibari and two new songs will be added to the lineup.


Source: Yomiuri Hochi

First-day performance of "Tooi Natsu no Gogh"

The first-day performance of stage play "Tooi Natsu no Gogh" was held on 3 February at Akasaka ACT Theatre and will run till 24 February. As this is Matsuyama Kenichi's first attempt at stage plays, he commented that although he was nervous, he was glad that the first performance worked out well in the end. He also expressed confidence that this is a play which will be enjoyed by both adults and children.

Matsuyama plays a cicada who leaves his girlfriend (Minami) behind by mistake when he emerges from the ground one year earlier than planned. In order to ensure that he gets to meet her one year later despite the fact that cicadas can't survive past one winter, he goes through a lot of challenges. His friend is played by Tsutsui Michitaka while the queen ant is played by Aran Kei and Yoshizawa Yu plays an earthworm. The play lasted about two and a half hours with an intermission and consisted of lots of action scenes and jumping up and down 7m while strung on wires.

Source: Sponichi

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Insert song of "Nakuna, Hara-chan" to be released as mobile phone ringtone

The insert song of NTV Spring 2013 drama "Nakuna, Hara-chan" titled "Watashi no Sekai" sung by the "Kamome Children's Choir" in Misaki, Kanagawa Prefecture, will be released as a mobile phone ringtone from 2 February onwards. There was a performance of the song by the 13-strong choir at Kawasaki City on 1 February ahead of the release which was also attended by the leads Nagase Tomoya and Asou Kumiko. The drama features Nagase as Hara-chan, a comic character who comes into the real world and often sings this song while playing the guitar. The song is written by the drama's scriptwriter Okada Yoshikazu which is about how the heroine (Asou) in the story struggles to live life the way she wants. As there were many enquiries about the insert song since the first OA, NTV then decided to release it in the form of a mobile phone ringtone first followed by its inclusion in the drama's soundtrack which will be out on 20 February.

Source: Sponichi

Production press conference of "Goen Hunter"

The production press conference for NHK drama "Goen Hunter" (Fate Hunter) was held on 31 January at Yokohama City which was attended by cast members Mizuki Arisa, Matsumoto Toshio, Ootsuka Nene and Terawaki Yasufumi. The drama will begin its run from 13 April at 9pm on Saturdays and features a group of people who wish to get married and attends a masquerade party in order to find the right person.

Source: Sponichi

Kitagawa Keiko & Nishikido Ryo in new movie "Dakishimetai"

Kitagawa Keiko and Nishikido Ryo will be working together for the first time in the movie "Dakishimetai" which is based on a true story set in Hokkaido's Abashiri City and due to be screened next year. Kitagawa plays the role of Yamamoto Tsukasa who suffered serious injuries during a traffic accident in her senior high school days that led to her being paralysed on the left side of her body and having difficulty remembering things while Nishikido plays a taxi driver Koyanagi Masami who falls for Tsukasa and subsequently marries her after overcoming many difficulties. However, Tsukasa's death after she gives birth to their child marks a tragic end to their love story.

The story of Tsukasa was first featured in the TBS documentary "Kioku Shougai no Hanayome Saiki no Hohoemi" shown in July 2011 which showed how the real Hagida Tsukasa battled her physical problems and gave birth to her child. In preparation for the role, Kitagawa has to learn how to operate a wheelchair with her right hand only. Filming will begin this month for two weeks at Abashiri which is currently experiencing temperatures of below 20 degrees. Nishikido commented that although the conditions of their filming will be tough, he hopes that he can work well with Kitagawa who's also from the Kansai region and they can deliver a great love story through this movie.

Source: Nikkansports

Kamikawa Takaya & Shibata Kyohei in WOWOW drama "Lady Joker"

Kamikawa Takaya and Shibata Kyohei will be starring in the new WOWOW drama "Lady Joker" which is due to begin its run from 3 March at 10pm on Sundays as revealed during the completion announcement press conference on 31 January in Ginza at the Jiji Tsuushin Hall. The story is based on the novel by Takamura Kaoru where Shibata plays Shiroyama Kyosuke, the president of a beer company, who gets kidnapped while Kamikawa who plays the police detective Aida Yuuichirou will try to save him and catch the criminals. This is the second time that Kamikawa is playing the role of Aida who last appeared in another 2010 WOWOW drama "Marks no Yama". This time, Aida was transferred from the Metropolitan Police Department's First Division to a neighbourhood police station but he will not be demoralised by the move. On the other hand, Shibata who has been used to playing police detectives since the popular "Abunai Deka" series, admitted that he was not used to playing a role like this and felt that it would be easier to play a police officer.

Source: Sanspo

"Boku ni Honou no Sensha wo" starts its run in South Korea

The Japan-South Korea joint stage play production "Boku ni Honou no Sensha wo" starring SMAP's Kusanagi Tsuyoshi and Korean actor Cha Seung Won began its run in South Korea from 30 January at National Theatre of Korea and held a press conference on the same day. The press conference was attended by Kusanagi, Cha, Hirosue Ryoko and Kagawa Teruyuki. The play which has half of its lines in Korean, will be performed at the theatre which sits 1,300 people over 6 sessions until 3 Feb.

Kusanagi who is known as a South Korean expert in the entertainment world, regarded this play as something very special to him and expressed his happiness about performing in South Korea. He started learning the Korean language back in 2001 through the FujiTV programme "Chonan Kan" (Kusanagi's name read in Korean) and even released a CD and held signature events. When Kusanagi reached South Korea on 27 January, he was welcomed by his fans at the airport and even had large amounts of snacks sent by his fans for everyone in the cast and crew. Although it had been 5 years since Kusanagi last visited South Korea, he was surprised by the attention especially when more than 100 members of the press came for the pre-performance press conference on 30 January.

The play features Kusanagi as a Japanese teacher in North Korea during the 1920s who develops a strong friendship with a North Korean traditional arts leader played by Cha. Although Kusanagi is fluent in the Korean language, he is still nervous about saying half of his lines in Korean. During the play, both Japanese and Korean subtitles will be flashed on screen. In support for Kusanagi, fellow SMAP member Katori Shingo also came for the Korean performance on 30 January. As it was Katori's 36th birthday on 31 January, Kusanagi brought Katori out for a birthday celebration after his performance which the latter commented that it was the very first time they had spent his birthday together without anyone else present.

During the press conference, Cha also said that although Japan and South Korea are still having territorial disputes, he thought that it was the best time now for people from both countries to interact and understand each other in order to improve ties in future. As for Kagawa, he suffered a fracture to his ribs during a performance of the play in Japan and jokingly remarked that South Koreans have a lot of strength because he recovered from the first fracture and yet suffered the same injury when one of the Korean actors hugged him during the performance with too much force.

Source: Sanspo

The 55th Blue Ribbon Awards winners

Best Movie: Kazoku no Kuni

Best Leading Actor: Abe Hiroshi (Terumae Romae / Kirin no Tsubasa / Karasu no Oyayubi)

Best Leading Actress: Ando Sakura (Kazoku no Kuni)

Best Supporting Actor: Iura Arata (Kazoku no Kuni)

Best Supporting Actress: Hirosue Ryoko (Kagidorobo no Mesoddo)

Best Newcomer: Makita Sports (Kueki Densha)

Best Director: Uchida Kenji (Kagidorobo no Mesoddo)

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Box office trends in Japan for the year 2012

The Motion Picture Producers Association of Japan, Inc. announced the box office trends in Japan for the year 2012 on 30 January 2013. Japanese movies did very well last year with an increase of 28.8% increase in ticket sales to reach JPY 128.2bn which is the highest since 2000. When combined with foreign movies, the total takings reached JPY 195.2bn which was 7.7% higher than 2011 when the tsunami crisis struck. In terms of box office takings percentages, Japanese movies took up 65.7% of the ticket sales which makes it the fifth consecutive year that it has done better than foreign movies which went below the 40% mark for the first time in 43 years.

As for the number of cinema screens, it decreased by 49 to 3,290 screens for the second consecutive year. 88.1% of these screens are equipped with the facilities to screen digital films. There were a total of 983 movies screened in cinemas last year which was 184 more than the previous year. Of these, 98 were stage plays and music-related films.

Of the movies which crossed the JPY 5bn mark, there were 4 Japanese films i.e. BRAVE HEARTS Umizaru, Terumae Romae, Odoru Daisousasen THE FINAL Aratanaru Kibou, Evangelion Shingekijou: Q and 1 foreign film i.e. Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol.

For those who are interested in reading more about this announcement, please go here.

Source: Sponichi

Sakai Masato & Aragaki Yui back in "Legal High" SP

Sakai Masato and Aragaki Yui team up again for  the upcoming "Legal High" drama SP which will be shown via FujiTV on 13 April at 9pm. This time, the story will focus on bullying problems in a junior high school where Komikado (Sakai) and Mayuzumi (Aragaki) take up the case of a bullied student to sue the school. In addition to the original drama's cast members, Kitaoji Kinya will play a lawyer who is the defence lawyer for the team who clashes with the duo. Sakai expressed joy at reprising his role in the SP and commented that he was awed by Kitaoji's screen presence when they last worked together in a drama four years ago. As such, he looks forward to acting alongside with Kitaoji this time.

Source: Sanspo