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Sunday, November 30, 2014

Preview of "Kageriyuku Natsu" (WOWOW)

Title: Kageriyuku Natsu 翳りゆく夏 (The Darkening Summer)
Official website: here
O.A. Start Date: 18 Jan 2015
Timeslot: Sundays 10pm
Broadcast by: WOWOW
Total number of episodes: 5
Original novel by: Akai Mihiro
Cast: Watabe Atsuro, Tokito Saburo, Kadowaki Mugi, Suda Masaki, Iwamatsu Ryo, Takito Kenichi, Aoi Wakana, Iwamoto Masuyo, Toda Masahiro, Shimada Kyusaku, Hasegawa Tomoharu, Maeda Atsuko, Moriguchi Yoko, Tsuruta Mayu, Kiba Katsumi, Nakada Yoshiko, Sato Bsaku, Itaya Yuka, Hashizume Isao

Nakatani Miki & Mizukawa Asami to work together in FujiTV Winter 2015 drama "Ghost Writer"

Nakatani Miki will be taking on the leading role in a drama series for the first time in 13 years when she appears in the upcoming FujiTV Winter 2015 drama "Ghost Writer" due to begin its run from Jan in the Tuesdays 9pm timeslot. Her last drama where she had a leading role was in the 2002 FujiTV drama "Koi suru Top Lady".

This time, Nakatani will play the role of a popular writer Risa who is facing writer's block and asks her assistant Yuki (Mizukawa Asami) who dreams of being a novelist one day, to be her ghost writer in order to get over the crisis. While feeling troubled over how she has to lie to maintain her status as a popular writer, she also has to deal with the challenge from Yuki who also has talent and is capable of making it on her own.

The storyline is very similar to the ghost writer scandal which happened in February this year when Samuragochi Mamoru, a composer who had been said to be fully deaf, was caught for having a "ghost writer" for the past 18 years as some of his works were composed by a contemporary musician and teacher Niigaki Takashi but released in Samuragochi's name. When asked about this resemblance, the production crew acknowledged that it had used the scandal as a reference but stressed that the theme of people having to pretend to be someone who they aren't in reality and the pain of going through that was something which everyone could identify with. Besides, they wanted to highlight the topic of making mistakes which are irreversible that would be of interest to the viewers who would want to find out what happens to Risa and Yuki in the end.

Nakatani and Mizukawa last worked together 14 years ago in the TV Asahi drama "R-17". Co-stars include Miura Shohei, Nanao and Tanaka Tetsushi.

Source: Sanspo

First-day-screening of new movie "Kiseijuu"

The first-day-screening event of new movie "Kiseijuu" was held on 29 Nov which was attended by the cast members Sometani Shota, Fukatsu Eri, Higashide Masahiro, Hashimoto Ai, Yo Kimiko and the director Yamazaki Takashi. The movie is a science-fiction story about how parasites invade the brains of human beings and control their bodies in a bid to take over the human race. Sometani plays a student whose right hand is invaded by a parasite named Migi and has to fight against the parasites which are invading people's minds very rapidly. During the five-month filming period, he could only imagine that there was indeed a parasite named Migi on his right hand so it was a tough and lonely battle he had to undertake. As for Fukatsu who plays a senior high school student invaded by a parasite and has her face split open in this movie, she remarked that she will look even more horrendous in the second movie.

The finale of this movie titled "Kiseijuu Kanketsuhen" will be released in cinemas from 25 April next year.

Source: Sponichi / Sanspo

Nikaido Fumi & Arai Hirofumi reported to have broken up

Nikaido Fumi and Arai Hirofumi are said to have gone their separate ways, as reported on 27 Nov. The couple who are 16 years apart in age, met on the set of the movie "Himizu" which was released in Jan 2012 and soon started dating. In March last year, they were first romantically linked to each other and were caught by the tabloids on a yakiniku date in June the same year. However, according to insiders, the couple decided to go their separate ways after being together for two and a half years because of their differing views towards marriage. As Arai is going to be 36 next Jan, he was said to have the intention to marry Nikaido and had introduced her to his parents. On the other hand, Nikaido made it to Keio University this year after taking the entrance exams as a repeat student and is very busy with her acting career these days thus had no intention to get married yet.

Source: Nikkansports

An and Hasegawa Hiroki to co-star in new FujiTV Winter 2015 Gekku "Date ~ Koi to wa donna mono kashira ~"

An will be taking on her first leading role in the a FujiTV Gekku when she appears in the new Winter 2015 drama "Date ~ Koi to wa donna mono kashira ~ " (Date ~ What kind of thing is love?) alongside Hasegawa Hiroki which begins its run from 19 Jan at 9pm on Mondays. The drama is set in Yokohama and will be a bittersweet romantic comedy.

An plays the role of Yabushita Yoriko, a 29-year-old economics expert who holds a Masters degree from University of Tokyo and works in the field of macroeconomics research. She is rigid and refuses to pander to others. As she aims to get married by 30, she registers at a marriage agency in order to find a partner. On the other hand, Hasegawa plays a jobless man named Taniguchi Takumi who depends on his mother for a living while being absorbed in the world of literature, arts, music and entertainment. He regards himself as a high-class nomad and decides to register at the same marriage agency as Yoriko in order to find a rich woman who he can depend on for a living if his mother is no longer around. The two of them who are said to be unable to love and unsuitable for love get paired up together and through a number of dates, become closer to each other while viewing the topic of marriage as a mere contract rather than the union of two people who are in love with each other.

Source: Sponichi

Mizobata Junpei & Katase Nana cohabiting?

Mizobata Junpei and Katase Nana are said to be cohabiting, according to the 28 Nov issue of FRIDAY. The two had been first romantically linked in July last year and said to be in a serious relationship in August this year. However, Mizobata denied the reports and said that Katase was just a respected senior of his and they are just good friends. On the other hand, Katase did not deny the reports when she appeared at an event soon after the report was published.

In the latest report by FRIDAY, the couple were said to have started living together in the same apartment a few months ago and were photographed to have been entering and leaving the apartment block. With regard to this new report, both artistes' agencies claimed that they were just good friends.

Source: Nikkansports

Tamaki Hiroshi to star in FujiTV Winter 2015 drama "Zannen na Otto"

Tamaki Hiroshi will be starring in the new FujiTV Winter 2015 drama "Zannen na Otto" (The Disappointing Husband) due to begin its run from 14 Jan in the Wednesdays 10pm timeslot. He plays the role of a man working at a housing company who looks like the perfect husband because of his looks, character and abilities and is on good terms with his wife played by Kurashina Kana who adores and respects him a lot. However, with the birth of their first child, her character goes through a total change where she starts to find fault with him about things which used to be bearable to her and becomes so hysterical that he starts to see her as a "monster wife". He cannot find a reason as to why she is behaving like this and becomes "downgraded" to a disappointing husband in her eyes.

Tamaki commented that although he has a favourable image of marriage personally, to play such a role at this point of his life is considered as a good learning experience for him. He also hopes to make this character believable and for everyone to be able to identify with through watching the drama. On the other hand, Kurashina who is also single, said that it is a first experience for her to play a wife and mother so she is looking forward to acting in this drama.

Other co-stars include Kishitani Goro who plays Tamaki's superior, Otsuka Nene who plays his wife as well as EXILE's Kuroki Keiji, Hayashi Kento, Takahashi Maryjun and Asada Miyoko.

Source: Sponichi

DAIGO & Kitagawa Keiko acknowledge that they are dating

DAIGO and Kitagawa Keiko have been dating since spring this year, as reported on 27 Nov. According to insiders, the two of them first met in 2011 when DAIGO was the guest in the first episode of the TBS drama "LADY" starring Kitagawa. However, they only became closer after appearing in the same variety show in Jan this year and started dating from March after going on meals with their mutual friend Kanjiya Shihori. It was said that Kitagawa was sighted at DAIGO's concert and fanclub events on 26 July, 15 Sep and 19 Oct despite her busy schedule. As they had been seen wearing couple rings on their right hands, rumours had been circulating among fans about their relationship.

Source: Sponichi / Sanspo

Nishijima Hidetoshi & Kagawa Teruyuki to play father and son in TBS Winter 2015 drama "Ryusei Wagon"

Nishijima Hidetoshi and Kagawa Teruyuki will be working together in the upcoming TBS Winter 2015 drama "Ryusei Wagon" (Shooting Star Wagon" based on Naoki Award winner Shigematsu Kiyoshi's bestselling novel. The drama which will be shown from Jan in the Sundays 9pm timeslot, features Nishijima as the 43-year-old son who is retrenched and loses all hope in life when a mysterious wagon appears in front of him. Upon getting onto the wagon, he is transported back in time to the past where he meets his father (Kagawa) at the same age as him now who is down with terminal cancer. Through the interaction with his father, the son takes a fresh look at family ties, Kagawa will also appear in the present day as a 73-year-old bedridden old man who cannot get along with his son. Co-stars include Igawa Haruka who play Nishijima's wife who has been neglected by him all this while thus leading to the breakdown of their marriage and Yoshioka Hidetaka.

Source: Sponichi

Nakashima Mika to get married next month

Nakashima Mika will be getting married to Shimizu Kunihiro, a member of Japan's national volleyball team, next month as reported on 25 Nov, The couple were said to have met while watching a volleyball match and started dating in the summer of 2011. As Nakashima had expressed her wish to get married during Christmas which is her favourite period in the year, there are plans to adjust her schedule to submit her marriage application around this time.

Nakashima is scheduled to hold a concert at Nippon Budokan on 30 Dec which is likely to be her first public appearance after her marriage and when she will announce the news to her fans.

Source: Sponichi

Sakurai Sho to star in FujiTV's New Year drama SP "Taishi Kakka no Ryorinin"

Arashi's Sakurai Sho will be starring in the upcoming FujiTV New Year drama SP "Taishi Kakka no Ryorinin" which will be shown on 3 Jan where he will play a chef for the first time. The drama SP is based on a manga serialised in "Morning" between 1998 and 2006 by Nishimura Mitsuru and Kawasumi Hiroshi and features Sakurai as the lead character Osawa Ko, a chef specialising in French cuisine who is warm and serious about his work. Despite working as a assistant head chef in a top-class hotel, Ko feels weird about not being able to see his customers' reactions to his dishes. Just then, he sees a pamphlet asking for interested parties to apply for a chef position at the Japanese Ambassador's residence in Vietnam and decides to work there instead so that he can create dishes with his skills and heart.

Ko's wife Hitomi will be played by Hirosue Ryoko who he met while working at the hotel. The Japanese ambassador Kuraki Kazuya will be played by Nishida Toshiyuki while the translator Furuta Seiichi will be played by Okura Koji. Kato Shigeaki will play a diplomat Eguchi Satoru while Takenaka Naoto will play the French chef Murakami Shinzo who was Ko's boss at the hotel.

Filming started on 1 Nov.

Source: Oricon / Cinema Today / Natalie

Kamenashi Kazuya & Fukada Kyoko co-star in TV Asahi Winter 2015 drama "Second Love"

KAT-TUN's Kamenashi Kazuya and Fukada Kyoko will be working together in the upcoming TV Asahi Winter 2015 drama "Second Love" which begins its run from January in the Fridays 11.15pm timeslot. The drama which will be written by Oishi Shizuka who is famous for her hit drama "Second Virgin", will be about the scandalous relationships among adults.

Kamenashi who is taking on his first leading role in a TV Asahi drama, will play a contemporary dancer in his 20s who is struggling with the gap between his ideals and reality. On the other hand, Fukada plays a senior high school teacher in her 30s who is involved in an extramarital affair with her married colleague. Kamenashi's character will woo Fukada's character aggressively and the two of them will be embroiled in an intense love affair while grappling with their own problems.

Filming begins next month.

Source: Sponichi

Matsu Takako announces her first pregnancy; due to give birth next spring

Matsu Takako announced through her official website on 27 Nov that she is currently 6 months pregnant with her first child and will give birth next spring. She got married to guitarist Sahashi Yoshiyuki in December 2007

In her statement which was handwritten, Matsu revealed that she and her husband are very happy about the impending arrival of their first child. As for work, she will do her best depending on her condition and asked for the support of all around her. She ended the message by saying that she is very grateful for the understanding of everyone during this period.

Source: Sanspo / Nikkansports

Joint press conference for TV Asahi's Matsumoto Seicho SPs "Sakamichi no Ie" & "Kiri no Hata"

The joint press conference for TV Asahi's two new Matsumoto Seicho SPs i.e. "Sakamichi no Ie" and "Kiri no Hata" was held on 27 Nov which was attended by the respective leads Ono Machiko and Horikita Maki.

Ono plays a hairdresser in "Sakamichi no Ie" to be shown on 6 December who destroys the lives of two men that had gotten involved with her. On the other hand, Horikita appears in "Kiri no Hata" to be shown on the following night at the same time where she plays a hostess eager to take revenge on her enemies.

When asked about their thoughts of having to play bad women, Ono said that women do have dark sides within themselves so it was a matter of bringing this out in the drama. As for Horikita, she expressed her wish to try baddie roles again because she had enjoyed playing one this time.

Source: Sanspo / Nikkansports

"HERO" to have a movie version next summer

"HERO" will be back as a new movie next summer as a continuation of its second drama series shown this year. The new movie which is due to be shown in cinemas from 18 July 2015, will still feature Kimura Takuya as the unconventional prosecutor Kuryu Kohei as well as the heroine in the second series Kitagawa Keiko and will bring back the original drama series' heroine Matsu Takako and feature new names in the cast lineup including Sato Koichi as a rival of Kuryu. Filming begins at the end of this month.

This time, Kuryu will be investigating a case related to a foreign country's embassy. However, due to the lack of rights to investigate the embassy and its diplomats, any wrong move may escalate into a major issue thus making Kuryu face his biggest crisis so far in his career.

Source: Sponichi

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Oda Yuji welcomes the birth of his first son

Oda Yuji welcomed the birth of his first son at the end of last month, as announced on 27 November. According to his agency, Oda's wife and son are doing well but they will not announce the date of birth for privacy reasons. The couple got married in August 2010 when few details were announced about how long they had dated or how they met. As for the pregnancy and childbirth, it was only made known to a small group of people.

Source: Sanspo

The 39th Hochi Movie Awards 2014

Best Japanese Movie: 0.5mm

Best Director: Koizumi Takashi (Higurashi no Ki)

Best Leading Actor: Okada Junichi (Eien no Zero)

Best Leading Actress: Miyazawa Rie (Kami no Tsuki)

Best Supporting Actor: Tsugawa Masahiko (0.5mm)

Best Supporting Actress: Oshima Yuko (Kami no Tsuki)

Best Newcomer: Komatsu Nana (Kawaki) / Tosaka Hiroomi (Hot Road) / Nishida Masafumi (Onodera no Otouto Onodera no Ane)

Best Foreign Film: Jersey Boys (Clint Eastwood)

Special Award: Frozen / Takakura Ken

Source: Yomiuri Hochi

Tanaka Rena to star in TBS Winter 2015 drama "Utsukushiki Wana ~ Zanka Ryoran"

Tanaka Rena will take on her first leading role in a private network drama series in 7 years when she appears in the TBS Winter 2015 drama "Utsukushiki Wana ~ Zanka Ryoran" which will be shown from 8 Jan in the Thursdays 9pm timeslot. The drama which is based on the novel "Zanka Ryoran" by Okabe Etsu, features Tanaka as a 34-year-old OL who is betrayed by her married lover and managing director of a large company (Murakami Hiroaki). As a result, she vows to take revenge on his wife (Wakamura Mayumi) who was the mastermind for what had happened. At the same time, she happens to meet a young entrepreneur (Aoyanagi Sho) through an arranged meeting session but finds out that he is in love with her former lover's wife.

Source: Sponichi

Takeuchi Yuko to star in FujiTV drama SP "Joryu Kaikyu ~ Fukumaru Hyakkaten Gaishobu~"


Takeuchi Yuko will be starring in the FujiTV drama SP "Joryu Kaikyu ~ Fukumaru Hyakkaten Gaishobu ~" which will be shown at 9pm on 16 Jan 2015. The drama SP which is based on the novel by Takadono Madoka, will feature Takeuchi as Samejima Shizuo, a part-time worker at a departmental store's foodstuff section in the basement who sells cakes and boasts of high sales. Later, she becomes a permanent employee and rises up the ranks to become a member of the institutional customers' department who serves the celebrity customers and must achieve a monthly sales target of JPY 15m. As part of her job, Samejima must carry luxury items such as jewellery and branded watches in a huge suitcase to bring to her customers and remember important information such as their and their family members birthdays and meet their unreasonable demands at times in order to make a deal. The filming was primarily done at a real departmental store in Kobe.


Source: Sponichi

Completion press conference of WOWOW drama "Akka"

The completion press conference of new WOWOW drama "Akka" was held on 18 November which was attended by the leads Oikawa Mitsuhiro and Kuroki Meisa. The drama begins its run from 23 November at 10pm on Sundays. When interviewed by the media if there were any episodes on set which made her nervous on set, Kuroki said that there was a scene where Oikawa had to carry her and she was worried that he might find her too heavy but he ended raising her with ease. On the other hand, Oikawa cited the kissing scene which made him quite embarrassed and nervous.

Source: Sponichi

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Arimura Kasumi to star in the new movie "Biri Girl"

Arimura Kasumi will be starring in the new movie "Biri Girl" (Last-placed Girl) which will be shown in cinemas next year. The movie which is based on a book that had sold more than 550,000 copies to date, talks about the true story of a delinquent girl named Sayaka who was last in the entire level but managed to turn her results around after meeting a cram school teacher and qualify for the prestigious Keio University in just one year. The book was written by the cram school director Tsubota Nobutaka who had personally tutored Sayaka.

Arimura will be playing the role of Sayaka which means that she has to dye her hair, put on heavy makeup and wear earrings on her belly button. Sayaka was such a troublemaker at school and suspended so many times that her mother forced her to go to Tsubota's cram school in the summer of her second year in high school. Despite being very bad at her studies to the extent that she was judged as to be at Primary 4 only, Sayaka managed to turn the situation around and qualify for entry into Keio.

Filming will begin in January next year. Arimura had already met the real Sayaka last month and will learn how to speak in the Nagoya dialect and girls' slang from her when they meet again before the start of the filming.

Source: Sponichi

The Ideal Celebrity Couple Ranking 2014 (Meiji Yasuda Insurance)

The numbers in brackets indicate the number of respondents who voted for them:

1) Miura Tomokazu & Yamaguchi Momoe (No.1 for 9 years in a row - 232)

2) Sasaki Kensuke & Hokuto Akira (127)

3) Kuwata Keisuke & Hara Yuko (73)

4) Karasawa Toshiaki & Yamaguchi Tomoko (65)

5) Mizutani Yutaka & Ito Ran (58)

6) Nakura Jun & Watanabe Marina (57)

7) Kinashi Noritake & Yasuda Narumi (51)

8) Yamashita Tatsuro & Takeuchi Mariya (49)

9) Tanaka Masahiro & Satoda Mai (44)

10) Watanabe Toru & Sakakibara Ikue (43)

11) Eguchi Yosuke & Moritaka Chisato (39)

12) Ichimura Masachika & Shinohara Ryoko / Suzuki Osamu & Oshima Miyuki / Nakamura Masatoshi & Igarashi Junko (36)

Source: Yasuda Meiji Insurance

Ranking of most desired male celebrities as marriage partners (My Navi Woman)

1) Mukai Osamu

2) Nishijima Hidetoshi

3) Fukuyama Masaharu

4) Sakurai Sho / Sakai Masato

6) Hayami Mokomichi / Tsumabuki Satoshi / Saito Takumi

Source: My Navi

Takakura Ken passes away due to malignant lymphoma

Actor Takakura Ken passed away on 10 Nov at 3.49am in a Tokyo hospital due to malignant lymphoma. He was 83 years old and his hometown was in Fukuoka Prefecture. According to his wishes, his funeral was attended by his close associates and family only and news of his demise were only to be announced after the funeral was over. The last work assignment Takakura took on was a CM shoot in August this year.

Takakura graduated from Meiji University's Faculty of Commerce and became a student in the 2nd batch New Face class of Toei in 1955. He was known for his many signature works including the "Abashiri Bangaichi" series, the "Nihon Kyokaku-den" series, "Nankyoku Monogatari", "Shiawase no Kiiro Hankachi" and "Poppoya". His last movie was the 2012 film "Anata e".

Takakura was awarded the Purple Ribbon Medal in 1998, the Cultural Merit Prize in 2006 and the Order of Cultural Merit in 2013. He had also won the Best Leading Actor award 4 times in the Japan Academy Awards since 1978.

Takakura was previously married to the late singer Eri Chiemi but they divorced in 1971.

Source: Sponichi

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Nakata Hidetoshi & Shibasaki Ko reportedly dating?

Former national soccer player Nakata Hidetoshi and actress Shibasaki Ko are said to be dating, as reported on 12 Nov. The couple became friends a few years ago but started to get closer since last autumn. Despite their busy schedules, they were said to have met up not only in Japan but also overseas. For example, Shibasaki was seen in Brazil to meet Nakata during the World Cup tournament in June this year.

Source: Sponichi

V6's Nagano Hiroshi & Shiraishi Miho caught dating in Yokohama


V6's Nagano Hiroshi and actress Shiraishi Miho were caught on a date as reported in the 13 Nov issue of "Josei Seven". The couple were seen on a date in Yokohama at the beginning of this month where they were seen locking arms and having dinner at a Chinese restaurant. With regard to the report, Nagano's agency did not have any special to comment while Shiraishi's agency said that they have no plans to interfere in this since it is her private matter.

Source: Sponichi

Adachi Yumi announces her marriage to cameraman Kuwajima Tomoki

Adachi Yumi announced through her agency on 13 Nov that she had married cameraman Kuwajima Tomoki. In her statement, Adachi mentioned that the two of them will work together to raise her daughter and build a secure and safe family while they continue to work hard in their careers. She also asked for the support and well-wishes of everyone around them.

Adachi and Kuwajima met when he was the cameraman for her photobook released in September last year. They were first romantically linked in August 2013 and he was also involved in the production of her new movie released this year.

Adachi was previously married to comedian Itoda Jun of Speed Wagon from 2005 and gave birth to their daughter in April the following year. They split up in January 2009.

Source: Sponichi / Sponichi 2

Imai Tsubasa diagnosed to have Meniere's disease


Takki & Tsubasa's Imai Tsubasa who was admitted to a hospital since 6 Nov due to persistent giddiness, has been diagnosed to have Meniere's disease, as reported on 12 Nov. As a result, he will have to undergo treatment for the time being. His radio show "Tsubasa no to base" was hosted by his partner Takizawa Hideaki on 13 Nov during Imai's absence.

Source: Sponichi

The 8th Most Desired Female Faces Ranking

The survey was conducted on 500 women in their 10s, 20s, 30s and 40s via the Internet:

1) Kitagawa Keiko

2) Ayase Haruka

3) Ishihara Satomi

4) Aragaki Yui

5) Horikita Maki

6) Shibasaki Kou

7) Kiritani Mirei

8) Fukada Kyoko

9) Miyazaki Aoi

10) Sasaki Nozomi

Source: Oricon

The 6th Most Desired Male Faces Ranking

The following survey was conducted by Oricon Monitor Research on 500 men in their 10s, 20s, 30s and 40s via the Internet:

1) Mukai Osamu

2) Abe Hiroshi

3) Kimura Takuya

4) Fukushi Sota

5) Okada Junichi

6) Tsumabuki Satoshi

7) Inaba Koshi (B'z)

8) Sato Takeru

9) Takenouchi Yutaka

10) Koike Teppei

Source: Oricon

Horikita Maki to star in TBS Winter 2015 drama "Masshiro" as a nurse

Horikita Maki will be starring in the TBS Winter 2015 drama "Masshiro" which begins its run from January 2015 at 10pm on Tuesdays. She will play the role of a nurse named Arimura Juri who works at a celebrity hospital which specialises in treating the rich and famous for huge fees. As such, Juri dreams of meeting a rich man after entering this hospital as a nurse but she also has to come to terms with the internal struggles with her colleagues played by Shida Mirai, Takanashi Rin, Mizuno Miki and Kimura Tae. In the nurse department, nurses are graded according to the work they do and their ranks are represented by the pearls attached to their nurse caps.

Due to the fact that Juri is a new nurse, she has no pearls to her cap.  Her colleagues Matsuoka Nana (Shida) who has a sharp tongue and Wada Kinuko (Takanashi) who is unafraid to take the initiative in relationships are also nurses with no pearls. At the top of the department is the matron Tanojima Kokoro (Kimura) who goes by the principle that whatever happens in the hospital should not be revealed to anyone outside. Any nurse who goes against this will have to leave the hospital. Mizuno will play the surgical nurse Iwabuchi Megumi who is a loner in the department and is always at loggerheads with Tanojima.

Yagira Yuya will play the role of an elite doctor Nakano Kotaro who came back from the US. Although he is initially at odds with Juri at the beginning, they develop a close relationship as time goes by. Last but not least, Ishiguro Ken will play the vice director of the hospital and is rumoured to be romantically involved with the nurses including Iwabuchi.

Source: Sponichi

"Gunshi Kanbee" postpones its final episode to the following week due to the elections

NHK announced on 21 Nov that it will be postponing the final episode of "Gunshi Kanbee" from 14 Dec to 21 Dec due to the upcoming elections due to take place on the original broadcast date. This is the first time in history that the broadcast date of the final episode of a Taiga drama had to be changed.

The final episode of "Gunshi Kanbee" will be extended to 56 minutes and will be shown from 8pm. The repeat telecast is at 2pm on New Year's Eye.

Source: Yomiuri Hochi

NHK Taiga handover ceremony from "Gunshi Kanbee" to "Hana Moyu"

The NHK Taiga handover ceremony was held on 21 Nov at the NHK headquarters which was attended by Okada Junichi, the lead actor of the current Taiga "Gunshi Kanbee", and Inoue Mao, the lead actress of the upcoming Taiga "Hana Moyu". Okada offered his encouragement to Inoue who promised to work hard in making her drama a success. As part of the ceremony where the leads exchange gifts from the local areas where their characters hailed from, Okada presented a kimono belt from Hakata, Fukuoka, while Inoue gave raw blowfish from Yamaguchi Prefecture to him.

The final episode of "Gunshi Kanbee" will be shown on 21 December while "Hana Moyu" will begin its run from 4 January 2015.

Source: Sanspo

Sakai Masato & Aragaki Yui to be back in the new "Legal High SP" on 22 Nov

Sakai Masato and Aragaki Yui will be back in the new "Legal High SP" which is to be shown on 22 November at 9pm via FujiTV. Sakai commented that this is the longest series he has acted in thus far and was thankful for the support for the drama by the viewers thus he hoped to be able to continue playing the eccentric lawyer Komikado Kensuke as long as possible.

This time round, the SP is about a medical error lawsuit involving a huge general hospital. Komikado goes to Mayuzumi Machiko (Aragaki) to help in defending the hospital as it gets sued by the wife of a former patient (Kichise Michiko) whose husband died a year ago in the hospital. The wife is represented by a lawyer Kujo Kazuma (Omori Nao). Co-stars include Gouriki Ayame, Higashide Masahiro and Furuya Ikko.

Source: Sanspo

Maki Yoko & Higashide Masahiro team up in FujiTV Winter 2014 drama "Mondai no aru Resutoran"

Maki Yoko will be starring in the upcoming FujiTV Winter 2014 comedy drama "Mondai no aru Resutoran" (The Problematic Restaurant) which is due to be shown from January 2015 in the Thursdays 10pm. She will play the role of a former OL named Tamako who manages a restaurant operated by women and fights against a rival restaurant operated by men only. The chef of the rival restaurant will be played by Higashide Masashiro.

Maki commented that Tamako is not just a capable woman who is good at work but also has a soft side. On the other hand, Higashide concluded that his character is a "bad" guy and he hopes to be able to bring out this side of his character through his acting.

Source: Sanspo

Nishijima Hidetoshi announces his impending marriage

Nishijima Hidetoshi announced through his agency on 19 Nov that he will be getting married soon to his girlfriend who is 16 years younger than him. The couple were caught by the tabloids in April this year when she was seen spending the night at Nishijima's place. At that time, it was reported that she was working at a automobile manufacturer's showroom and said to resemble actress Koyuki. The couple who has been dating for the past three years, were introduced by mutual friends. Nishijima described his wife-to-be as a 27-year-old former company employee who is a cheerful person and has been supportive of him all this while. However, due to the fact that she is not a celebrity, Nishijima will not announce her name nor reveal her photo. Their wedding will be held later depending on his schedule and will involve their families only. There are also no plans for Nishijima to hold a press conference regarding his marriage.

Source: Sanspo

FujiTV to release 3 classic dramas of the 90s in Blu-ray format next year

FujiTV announced on 19 Nov that it will be releasing three of its classic dramas in the 90s in Blu-ray format for the first time. The three dramas are 1995's "Ousama no Resutoran", 1991's "Tokyo Love Story" and "Hitotsu Yane no Shita" shown in 1993 and 1997. "Ousama no Resutoran" stars kabuki actor Matsumoto Koshiro as a legendary garcon who tries to resurrect an ailing restaurant and will be released on 21 January in a three-disc box set for JPY 21,384. "Tokyo Love Story" which features Oda Yuji and Suzuki Honami will be released on 18 February for the same price. Last but not least, "Hitotsu Yane no Shita" starring Eguchi Yosuke, Sakai Noriko and Fukuyama Masaharu will be sold from 18 March in a 7-disc box set for JPY 32,832.

Source: Sanspo

Further cast announcements for new movie "Umimachi diary"

Further cast announcements were made on 16 Nov for the new movie "Umimachi diary" which features Ayase Haruka, Nagasawa Masami, Kaho as sisters whose father left them to be with another woman and they take in their half-sister played by Hirose Suzu after he passed away. Otaka Shinobu will be playing the three sisters' mother who live apart from her daughters while Tsutsumi Shinichi will play the boyfriend of Sachi (Ayase) who is a pediatrician working in the same hospital as her and is separated from his wife even though their divorce has not been finalised.

Kase Ryo will play the boss of Yoshino (Nagasawa) who works in the same trust bank with her while Fubuki Jun will play the owner of a restaurant frequented by the three elder sisters and Lily Frankie will be the master of a cafe. Other co-stars include Maeda Oshiro who plays Suzu's schoolmate (Hirose), Suzuki Ryohei as the coach of their school's soccer team, musician Ikeda Takafumi and Sakaguchi Kentaro.

Source: Sanspo

Friday, November 21, 2014

Mukai Osamu & Kuninaka Ryoko set to get married next month

Mukai Osamu and Kuninaka Ryoko are set to register their marriage next month after a two-year courtship although there are no plans for a wedding yet. The couple got together after playing lovers in the FujiTV Winter 2012 drama "Hungry!" and were first spotted at IKEA on a date in December 2012. Later in January 2012, Kuninaka was caught spending the night at Mukai's apartment by a female weekly magazine. However, they denied that they were dating then. According to an insider, the couple already had marriage plans soon after they started dating but Mukai was too busy so the plan was put off till now.

Source: Sponichi Annex

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Kazama Shunsuke to star in new movie "Neko nanka yondemo konai"

Kazama Shunsuke will be starring in the new movie "Neko nanka yondemo konai" (No matter how you call, the cat doesn't come) which will be shown in cinemas in 2016. The film which is based on the same-titled manga by Sugisaku and had sold more than 270,000 copies to date, describes how a boxer Mitsuo (Kazama) faces the biggest crisis of his career as he has to retire if he loses his next match. At this point in time, Mitsuo's elder brother picks up two cats from the streets thus resulting in Mitsuo, a dog lover, having to live with them and through his interaction with the cats, take a fresh look at his life. The role of Mitsuo's elder brother will be played by Tsuruno Takeshi while the heroine is played by Matsuoka Mayu. Filming was done between the middle of last month and early this month outside of Tokyo.

Source: Sanspo

Ueno Juri to play Ikuta Toma's detective partner in TBS Winter 2014 drama "Ouroboros"

Ueno Juri will be playing a police detective for the first time in the upcoming TBS Winter 2014 drama "Ouroboros". Her character Hibino Mizuki is an elite detective who graduated from University of Tokyo and is the partner of Ryuzaki Ikuo (Ikuta Toma) who suspects the nature of his relationship with his childhood buddy-cum-gangster leader Danno Tatsuya (Oguri Shun). The drama will begin its run from January in the Fridays 10pm timeslot.

As this is the first time that Ueno is playing a detective, she admitted that she was a bit reluctant to take on the role at first because of the stereotypical image of a police detective i.e. serious and bent on upholding justice. However, as she found that that the character Mizuki is more to that and has to deal with conflicting emotions of taking a liking to Ryuzaki and suspecting him of doing wrong at the same time, she was attracted to this aspect of the character and decided to take on the role.

Filming begins at the beginning of this month.

Co-stars in this drama also include Yoshida Kotaro, Yoshida Yo, Takito Kenichi, Mitsuishi Ken and Seino Nana.

Source: Sanspo 1 / Sanspo 2

Saturday, November 08, 2014

First-day-screening of new movie "Twilight Sasarasaya"

The first-day-screening of new movie "Twilight Sasarasaya" was held at Shinjuku Wald 9 on 8 November which was attended by cast members such as Aragaki Yui, Oizumi Yo and Nakamura Aoi. This movie features Aragaki in her first role as a mother named Saya who loses her husband Yutaro (Oizumi) due to an accident. As Yutaro is worried about how Saya can survive with a newborn baby on her own, his spirit lingers on and possesses various people in a bid to help Saya get on with life. There was a surprise at the event when the baby who had played Saya's son in the movie i.e. Mori Rentaro was brought to the venue and Aragaki was amazed by how much he had grown since she last saw him six months ago.

Source: Yomiuri Hochi

Mukai Osamu to star in TBS New Year drama SP "Wagaya"

Mukai Osamu will be starring in the TBS New Year drama SP titled "Wagaya" which will be shown at 9pm on 4 Jan 2014. The theme of the drama is "ie ni kaerou. isshoni kaerou" which means "Let's return home together" and talks about the members in the Sakuragi family who live apart but have reunited at their family home near the beach.

Mukai plays the role of Sakurai Ippo who works at a human resource rental company i.e. one which allows customers to rent people to pose as their friends, lovers or family members. He bears a deep hatred for his father (Nagatsuka Kyozo) who walked out on the family. One day, Ippo has to return to his hometown where his mother Taiko (Tanaka Yuko) is still staying at as his younger sister Honoka (Murakawa Eri) is getting married soon. However, he is shocked to see his father who had not been in touch with them for 20 years showing up unannounced at their family home.

Source: Sponichi

Imai Tsubasa hospitalised due to giddiness; going through checks

Takki & Tsubasa's Imai Tsubasa was admitted to hospital recently as revealed by his partner Takizawa Hideaki when the latter stood in for Imai during his Bunka Housou radio show "Imai Tsubasa no to base) on 6 Nov. According to Takizawa, Imai had been experiencing serious giddy spells since the previous week and was having difficulties standing up so he had to be admitted to hospital for checks. Takizawa apologised for causing the fans to worry and asked for everyone to wish for Imai's speedy recovery.

Usually, the radio show would be pre-recorded before its broadcast on Thursdays. Imai was absent from the radio show in the previous week's OA (30 October), most likely due to his illness. Takizawa was then roped in at the last minute to take over Imai's place so as to explain the situation to listeners.

Takki & Tsubasa have a new album "Two Tops Treasure" due to be released on 3 Dec and are scheduled to hold concerts in Osaka and Yokohama in the same month. Imai is also slated to appear in the stage play "PLAYZONE" next January.

Source: Sanspo

Kikuchi Rinko & Sometani Shota caught dating and kissing in public

Kikuchi Rinko and Sometani Shota were caught dating and kissing in public and said to be living together, as reported in the 6th Nov issue of "Josei Seven". According to the article, the two of them were seen in Sendai for the "Sendai Short Films Festival" where Sometani had a film he directed being featured there and they returned to Tokyo on the same day where they were caught kissing many times openly on the streets.

Kikuchi was previously romantically linked to American film director Spike Jonze for 2.5 years before they broke up in 2012. It was said that Kikuchi then met Sometani through mutual friends and they started dating early this year.

When asked about the dating report, Sometani's agency commented that this is his private matter so they will leave it to him to handle it.

Source: Sanspo / Sponichi

Mizukawa Asami & Daito Shunsuke are dating?

Mizukawa Asami and Daito Shunsuke are said to be dating after details of them on a Halloween date were published in the 6th November issue of "Josei Seven". The two of them who belong to the same agency, were first caught holding hands on a street in Ginza on 31 October after Mizukawa was done with the performance of her stage play "THE 39 STEPS" that night. Three days later, they were also seen at a pork shabu restaurant for about 2 hours before they headed to Mizukawa's apartment which was 15 minutes away by foot. They entered the building through different entrances and Daito was said to have used a spare key to let himself in.

According to their agency, the two of them were having a meal with their friends and are not dating.

Source: Sanspo / NEWS Post Seven

SMAP's Nakai Masahiro to star in new FujiTV drama SP "Shin Naniwa Kinyudo"

SMAP's Nakai Masahiro will be starring in the new FujiTV drama SP "Shin Naniwa Kinyudo" which is the first installment in 10 years and the 7th SP in the series which started in 1996. The SP which is based on the manga by Aoki Yuji and serialised in the men's magazine "Morning", is due to be shown early next year and filming started on 12 October in Osaka.

Nakai plays the role of Haibara who works in a consumer finance company "Teigoku Kinyu" and the story depicts his interactions with the people who come to borrow money from his company. When asked about his reason for deciding to take on the offer to reprise his role, Nakai said that it was simply because he and the staff wanted to do it so it wasn't for reasons such as viewer demand.

Source: Sanspo

Completion press conference of new WOWOW drama "Heisei Sarukani Gassenzu"

The completion press conference of new WOWOW drama "Heisei Sarukani Gassenzu" was held on 5 November which was attended by the cast Suzuki Kyoka and Koura Kengo, the director Yukisada Isao and singer Shionoya Sayaka who is singing the theme song "Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii" (Even so, the world is still beautiful). The drama which will begin its run from 15 December at 10pm on Saturdays, features Koura as a bartender who unwittingly ends up being a candidate running for office in The House of Representatives after he meets a manager for a cellist (Suzuki). Even though this is the first time that Suzuki and Koura have worked together, Suzuki was full of praise for her co-star and even promised to support him if he does stand for election one day. Koura also complimented his co-star for being an elegant and classy person and asked her to be his secretary if he does take part in an election in future.

Source: Sanspo

Kitamura Kazuki & Hamada Gaku to be co-leads in BS Sky Perfect! drama "Hamon"

Kitamura Kazuki and Hamada Gaku will be co-leads in the upcoming BS Sky Perfect! drama series "Hamon" which will be shown from 9 January at 9pm on Fridays. The drama which is based on the 51st Naoki Award winning novel by Kurokawa Hiroyuki, features Kitamura as a smart and well-built gangster who works together with a consultant at a construction company (Hamada) to expose the evil deeds of bad people in Osaka. As the story will not be a replica of the novel, Kurokawa expressed great anticipation in that the drama will be very interesting since it is produced by Sky Perfect and will have a larger degree of freedom.

Source: Sponichi

"Gomen ne Seishun!" stirs up controversy over the use of Horikoshi Senior High School's name

TBS Autumn 2014 drama "Gomen ne Seishun!" has stirred up controversy over the use of a real school's name i.e. Horikoshi Senior High School in its third episode which has led to the TV station apologising to the school for its blunder and promising to exercise more caution in future. The episode in question was about how students of the lead character played by Nishikido Ryo had asked his sister-in-law (Nakamura Shizuka) who was a former gravure idol to help them in their studies but she rejected them for the reason that she came from Horikoshi i.e. implying that students of that school were not clever or good at their studies.

Source: Sponichi

In case you are not aware, Horikoshi has a special programme called TRAIT for celebrities and sports athletes who have problems attending school for the whole day thus they have a significantly higher proportion of celebrities among its alumni. As such, since the time spent on studies is lesser than their peers, this could be why the drama's scriptwriter had chosen to use Horikoshi as an example to imply that celebrities who came from Horikoshi were not so smart or good in their studies which isn't entirely true since there are some of them who did move on to university and got their degrees. On the other hand, there are many celebrities who choose not to pursue university studies for the sake of their work or other reasons so it's not really fair to say that these people aren't good in studies just because they didn't go to university or didn't finish their university studies in the end.

Just to name some of the celebrities in their alumni here. The full list including those who did not complete their studies is here:

- Sanada Hiroyuki (graduated from Nihon University's College of Art - Movies)
- Kusanagi Tsuyoshi (was the first student from the TRAIT course to receive the Horikoshi Award given to Top 10 students for their excellence in studies and conduct and also received the Full Attendance Award for no absences and lateness over the three-year period) 
- Ichikawa Ebizo
- Inagaki Goro (SMAP)
- Matsuoka Masahiro (TOKIO)
- Domoto Tsuyoshi (KinKi Kids)
- Ikuta Toma
- Ichihara Hayato
- Okada Junichi (V6)
- Katsuji Ryo
- Koike Teppei
- Shirota Yu
- Matsuda Ryuhei
- Matsumoto Jun (Arashi)
- Yamashita Tomohisa (graduated from Meiji University's School of Commerce)
- Yagira Yuya
- Miura Haruma
- Kamiki Ryunosuke
- Yamada Ryosuke
- Sakai Noriko
- Tomosaka Rie
- Fukatsu Eri
- Matsu Takako
- Adachi Yumi
- Ayase Haruka
- Ueto Aya
- Kato Ai (graduated from Asia University's Faculty of International Relations)
- Suzuki An
- Toda Erika
- Nagasawa Masami
- Mizukawa Asami
- Fukada Kyoko
- Kutsuna Shiori
- Kawashima Umika
- Renbutsu Misako
- Fukuda Saki