Wednesday, May 24, 2017

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

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

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

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

Sources: Sponichi / Oricon

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

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

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

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

Source: Oricon

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Sources: / Sponichi

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

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

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

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

Sources: / Oricon

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Kuroshima Yuina & Kentaro to star in NHK real-life adaptation drama "Ashi Girl"

Kuroshima Yuina and Kentaro will be starring in the new NHK real-life adaptation drama "Ashi Girl" which will begin its run from 23 September in the Saturdays 6.05pm timeslot. The drama consists of 12 episodes and is based on the same-titled manga by Morimoto Kozueko.

Kuroshima plays the 16-year-old lead character Hayakawa Yui whose only strong point is her ability to run fast. She accidentally goes back into time to the Warring States era where she makes use of her ability on the battlefield to protect her beloved young prince. Through finding a goal to work towards to, Yui finds a new world waiting for her as she uses her power to change the person she loves and move the people she meets.

Source: Oricon

Supporting cast line-up of TBS Summer 2017 drama "Gomen, Aishiteru" announced

The supporting cast line-up of TBS Summer 2017 drama "Gomen, Aishiteru" starring TOKIO's Nagase Tomoya has been announced. The drama which is a remake of the same-titled 2004 South Korean drama from KBS starring So Ji-sub, features Nagase as the lead character Okazaki Ritsu who was abandoned by his mother Reiko (Ootake Shinobu) when he was a child. One day, when Ritsu gets embroiled into an incident that causes him to suffer a life-threatening injury, he decides to meet Reiko for the last time and do something for her out of filial piety because he doesn't know when his life will end. However, when he sees how much she loves her son Satoru (Sakaguchi Kentaro) who is a idol pianist and the happy and rich life she has compared to him who is wallowing in the low rungs of society, Ritsu vows to take revenge on her. At the same time, he falls for a woman Mita Rinka (Yoshioka Riho) who helps him by chance but he is sad to find out that she is in love with his half-brother who is Rinka's childhood friend.

Ikewaki Chizuru who has not acted in any drama series since 2003's "Ooku", will play Kawai Wakana who was raised in the same orphanage as Riku. Although she is an adult and has a 8-year-old son, she has the intellect of a 7-year-old child only due to an accident she met with during her childhood. In order to prepare for the filming, Ikewaki went to meet three people with similar high order brain dysfunctions to find out more about their lives.

Ohnishi Ayaka, will be playing a genius saxophone player Furusawa Touko who Satoru is in love with and showing off her own saxophone playing skills which she had learnt for 7 years since she was 13. Rokkaku Seiji will be playing a gossip tabloid reporter Kagami Shuhei who knows about Ritsu's birth secret and has an unknown reason for hating Reiko. Last but not least, Nakamura Baijaku will be playing Mita Tsuneo who is Rinka's father and Reiko's manager who used to adore her for her piano playing skills.

Sources: Sponichi / Oricon /

Kaho to star in new Amazon original drama series "Tokyo Vampire Hotel"

Kaho will be starring in the new Amazon original drama series "Tokyo Vampire Hotel" which will be directed by Sono Sion and shown exclusively via Amazon Prime Video from 16 June. The drama's cast lineup also includes Mitsushima Shinnosuke, Tomite Ami, Adachi Yumi and the director's wife Kagurazaka Megumi. Sion who had always wanted to do an original story about vampires and their right with human beings. Besides filming in the Nikkatsu studio in Tokyo, the location shooting was also done at the vampires' hometown in Transylvania and Turda both in Romania.

K (Kaho), a member of the orthodox vampire clan i.e. the Dracula family, lives at Hotel Requeim where young people gather underground to live on peacefully after witnessing the world being destroyed due to a nuclear explosion. The clan's arch rivals i.e. Corbin Family who call themselves Neo Vampires, include Yamada (Mitsushima), the Emperor Sisters (Adachi plays both roles) and Elizabeth Bathory (Kagurazaka) who need to keep killing human beings in order to survive. The two families fight over a mysterious 22-year-old girl Manami (Tomite) as K tries to protect her from harm.

Sources: Oricon /

Special event of new movie "Kodomotsukai"

The special event of new movie "Kodomotsukai" was held at Iino Hall on 17 May which was attended by the director Shimizu Takashi and cast members Takizawa Hideaki, Arioka Daiki and Kadowaki Mugi. The movie which is based on an original script, features Takizawa as a mysterious man who manipulates the spirits of children by entering into their hearts and taking control of their spirits. Three days after the children disappear, they will cause the mysterious deaths of the adults who meet them. Arioka plays a news reporter trying to investigate the truth while Kadowaki Mugi plays his girlfriend and is being manipulated by Takizawa's character.

In line with the theme of the movie, the hall was designed to look like a haunted house and the screen was suddenly turned off before showing a part of the movie. Takizawa then appeared with bright red lights showered on him and commented that he was pleased that the audience seemed to like their arrangements. This movie is somewhat like a challenge to him as this marks his first leading role in a movie and his first horror movie so he has been eagerly anticipating the release of the film.

When it was Arioka's turn to speak, he stumbled over his words which led his senior Takizawa to tease him about it. Arioka then commented that he had a deep impression of the shock he encountered after watching "Juon", another movie directed by Shimizu, so he was excited about being able to work with the latter. However, Takizawa poked fun at Arioka for lying again which led everyone to laugh at this remark.

During the second half of the event, Takizawa continued to play around with Arioka by "picking" on his comments. When Arioka was asked about his impression of Takizawa, Arioka said that he expected to get closer to his senior during the filming but he was too much in awe of Takizawa who had the scary aura of the kodomotsukai and couldn't get close to him at all. However, Takizawa said laughingly that Arioka was shy and just using him as an excuse because Arioka did not take the initiative to approach him at all. Kadowaki also echoed the same view and wondered how they could play lovers when they were so unfamiliar with each other.

"Kodomotsukai" will be shown in cinemas from 17 June.

Sources: Yomiuri Hochi / Sponichi / Oricon /

Top 10 movies box office ranking for the weekend of 20th & 21st May 2017

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

1) Beauty and the Beast (372)

2) Meitantei Conan Karakurenai no Love Letter (354)

3) Peach Girl (301)

4) The Fate of the Furious (355)

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

6) Kimi no Manazashi (177)

7) Arrival (198)

8) Teiichi no Kuni (291)

9) Tsuioku (293)

10) Tatara Samurai (281)


Monday, May 22, 2017

Takei Emi to star in TV Asahi Summer 2017 remake drama "Kurokawa no Techou"

Takei Emi will be starring in the TV Asahi Summer 2017 drama "Kurokawa no Techou" (The black leather notebook) based on Matsumoto Seicho's famous same-titled novel which will begin its run from July in the Thursdays 9pm timeslot. The novel which was serialised between 1978 and 1980 before it was published as a single book in 1980, describes how a contract bank employee Haraguchi Motoko is stuck with a huge debt of her mother after her father passed away. In order to repay the debts, she works part-time at a nightclub in Ginza. Just when she has finished paying her debts, news of her impending retrenchment reach her. Motoko then makes up her mind to leave the bank and embezzles JPY 180m from her employer which is used to open a high-class club Carnet. With the list of dummy bank accounts of the rich and famous which she acquired from her previous job and recorded in her black notebook, Motoko rises up the ranks in the world of darkness filled with love and desire. As Takei is turning 24 years old this year, the Motoko in this new drama will be set as the youngest mamasan to date in Ginza's history at 25 years old. To date, there have been a number of drama adaptations of this novel where the most recent versions were in 2004 starring Yonekura Ryoko which had an average rating of 15.7% and the SP in 2005. At that time, Yonekura was 29 years old which was the same age as Motoko in the novel.

Takei who is starring in her first Matsumoto work, said that she felt very pressurised when she first got the news about being offered the role especially since the role of Motoko was regarded as the turning point in Yonekura's acting career. As Yonekura is her senior from the same agency, Takei had been invited to meals with her many times in the past and received a lot of acting advice. She pledged to do her best for this role and hope to do well enough to earn a passing mark from Yonekura and scale new heights in her career.

Filming will begin in mid June and co-stars will be announced on a later date.

Sources: Nikkansports / Sanspo / Yomiuri Hochi / Oricon

Cast of new movie "Sakamichi no Aporon" injured meets with boat accident after filming in Nagasaki

The cast of new movie "Sakamichi no Aporon" i.e. Hey! Say! JUMP's Chinen Yuri, Nakagawa Taishi and Komatsu Nana and some members of the crew sustained injuries due to a boat accident at Nagasaki on 14 May after finishing their filming for the day. Details of the accident were revealed on the following day via the movie's official website.

The statement revealed that there were 11 cast and staff members who boarded a marine taxi departing from Kuroshima around 9.30pm after wrapping up the filming for the day. However, the 12-tonne ship bumped into a breakwater about 100m away before it resumed its journey to Ainoura Harbour. 7 of them including the three actors were sent to a hospital for treatment of which two female staff members sustained serious injuries such as fractured ribs while the rest suffered bruises due to the impact. Filming was then suspended on the 15th but the movie is still expected to be completed by mid June. It was announced that the three actors went through a detailed check-up which found no abnormalities.

Investigations into the accident are ongoing.

In order to set everyone at ease, Nakagawa updated his blog on 16 May and mentioned that he is fine and did not suffer any injury. He apologised for any worry caused by this and confirmed that he will continue with the filming as scheduled. Nakagawa also said that there are many unexpected things in life like this incident but these, along with the happy and sad things in life, are what makes life interesting. He is thankful for everyone's concern and support and hopes to be able to complete this movie successfully with the team.

On the other hand, Komatsu also updated her Instagram account one day later where she confirmed that she was OK and apologised for causing concern.

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

Ito Atsushi to star in new NTV Summer 2017 drama "Nou ni sumaho ga umerareta"

Ito Atsushi will be starring in the new NTV Summer 2017 drama "Nou ni sumaho ga umerareta" (There is a smartphone buried inside my brain) which will begin its run in the Thursdays 11.59pm timeslot from 6 July. The science-fiction drama is based on the book "Shin Kikaku Konshin no kikaku to hassou no te no uchi subete misemasu" by Suzuki Osamu which talks about the secrets behind the planning of hit TV programmes.

Ito plays the lead character Orimo Keita who is a 34-year-old salaryman placed on the retrenchment list by his employer which is an apparel company. He is divorced and raising his 9-year-old daughter on his own. Having the power to see the messages sent and received by other people in his brain, he makes use of this to solve various problems, help others and become a better person while being embroiled in these troublesome issues at the same time. Shinkawa Yua will play the heroine Ryuuko who teaches him how to use the smartphone in his brain.

Ito commented that although the story has a rather far-fetched setting, he hopes to convey the interesting side of it which viewers will probably enjoy. As he has no example to learn from when playing such a character, he will try to figure things out on his own. On the other hand, Shinkawa said that the story may seem unlikely but could happen in real-life so she hopes that viewers will feel engaged and continue watching the drama.

Sources: Sanspo / Yomiuri Hochi

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Uchida Yuki to star in new NHK drama SP "Koujin"

Uchida Yuki will be starring in the new NHK drama SP "Koujin" which is based on the first monster-themed novel by Miyabe Miyuki and expected to be shown sometime between January and February 2018. Co-stars include Hira Takehiro, Hiraoka Yuta and Yanagisawa Shingo, Maeda Aki, Maekawa Yasuyuki, Nakamoto Ken, Tsunogae Kazue, Nakahara Takeo, Shinagawa Toru, Tanaka Yoji, Kato Masaya, Shiba Toshio and Daichi Yasuo.

The story is set at a village in the bitterly cold Tohoku region 100 years after the end of the Sekigahara Battle where a monster suddenly appears and kills the villagers before burning it to the ground. A young man who managed to escape from the clutches of the monster with extensive injuries, runs to the village where Akane (Uchida) lives at. As the danger of being attacked by the monster increases, Akane collaborates with her fellow villagers Sakakida Soei (Hiraoka) and Kikuchi Mitsuhide (Yanagisawa) to take on the monster. However, her elder brother Soya Tadamasa (Hira) who is a high-ranking official in the shogunate, wants to control the monster for his own benefits. When the truth about the monster's birth is revealed, a horrific tale of the sins committed by human beings come to light.

Source: Oricon

Onoe Matsuya to star in TV Tokyo Summer 2017 drama "Saboriiman Kantarou"

Onoe Matsuya will be taking on his first leading role in a drama series when he appears as the lead of TV Tokyo Summer 2017 drama "Saboriiman Kantarou" (The playing truant salaryman Kantarou) which begins its run from July in the Thursdays 1am timeslot. The drama is based on the popular manga "Saboriiman Ametani Kantarou" by Hagiwara Tenten and features Onoe as Ametani Kantarou, a single and bespectacled salaryman working in a publishing company's sales department who is known by the people around him to be a capable worker and looks very cool on the surface. However, he is actually a desserts lover and he tries to hide this and satisfy his craving by playing truant during work at times in search of nice desserts on his own. Besides showing the delicious desserts which Kantarou will savour, VFX technology will also be in use to show the images in his brain when he gets high on his beloved desserts.

Onoe admitted that as he is also a desserts lover and would go to look for nice desserts on his own at times, being able to take on this role is like a dream come true for him. He is especially excited about being able to visit some of the famous Japanese and Western-style desserts in Tokyo which will be featured in the drama. As for taking on the leading role in a drama series, he is happy and thankful to be given the chance and hopes to show the gap between his character's serious image and his unconventional love for desserts through his acting. Ideally, he wishes that this drama will in turn increase the number of guys who love desserts.

Besides being shown on TV, the drama will be streamed via Netflix one week before each episode's scheduled broadcast on TV Tokyo.

Sources: Sanspo / Oricon /

Supporting cast line-up for Tokai TV & WOWOW Spring 2017 drama "Hanzai Shoukougun Season 2" announced

The supporting cast line-up for Tokai TV & WOWOW Spring 2017 drama "Hanzai Shoukougun Season 2" starting on 11 June at 10pm on Sundays via WOWOW has been announced. The drama is based on the three-part "Shoukougun" novel series by writer Nukui Tokuro where "Shissou Shoukougun" (Disappearance Syndrome) and "Yuukai Shoukougun" (Kidnap Syndrome) will form Season 1 while "Satsujin Shoukougun" (Murder Syndrome) will be made into Season 2.

Tamayama Tetsuji plays the role of Muto Takashi who is a former police detective using illegal methods to solve cases which are difficult to handle by the police while Tanihara Shosuke plays Muto's buddy and a police detective Kaburagi Wataru and Watabe Atsuro plays Tamaki Keigo who takes charge of the special missions given to Muto. While exploring the lives of these men, the topic of whether revenge is right or wrong is discussed in this suspense drama.

In Season 2, Kaburagi's past where his girlfriend was killed when he was still underage and his subsequent transformation into a professional killer to take revenge for her is revealed as he gets a new assignment to kill someone. Kimura Tae plays Kaburagi's old friend Yabuki Kyoko, a member of "Shounen hanzai wo kangaeru kai" which is a group that researches on youth crime and has a similar past as him (her boyfriend was killed when she was still underage). Itao Itsuji plays Makita Hirofumi, the leader of the group. The two of them will begin appearing in the last episode of Season 1 to be shown on 27 May.

Nomaguchi Toru will play Kajihara Tomoyuki who has a strong hatred for juvenile criminals as his son died due to the physical torture inflicted by his classmate. Tezuka Satomi plays a nurse Kojima Kazuko who is on the search for a donor as her son needs an organ transplant.


Friday, May 19, 2017

Japan premiere of new movie "22 Nenme no Kokuhaku - Watashi ga satsujinhan desu -"

The Japan premiere of new movie "22 Nenme no Kokuhaku - Watashi ga satsujinhan desu -" was held on 16 May 2017 which was attended by the director Irie Yu and cast members Fujiwara Tatsuya, Ito Hideaki, Kaho, Nomura Shuhei, Ishibashi Anna, Ryuusei Ryo, Saotome Taichi, Hirata Mitsuru, Iwaki Koichi and Nakamura Tooru. The film will be shown in cinemas from 10 June.

The movie which is based on the 2012 South Korean film, begins in the year 1995 where there were 5 peculiar murder cases. The murderer would always get someone close to the victim to witness how he would strangle the victim from behind with a rope but he would let the witnesses go and speak to the media on how the murders happened. Ito plays the role of Makimura, the police detective who was in charge of investigating the serial murders but failed to catch the cunning murderer and his respected superior ended up being killed as well. 22 years later in 2017 when the case is nearing its statute of limitations, a man named Sonezaki (Fujiwara) claims to be the culprit for the 1995 murders and even publishes a book titled "Watashi ga satsujinhan desu" to talk about the cases. Despite the disgust towards Sonezaki's actions, the intensive attention showered on him via the media and SNS makes him become the talk of town.

Fujiwara reflected on his acting as the arrogant murderer where he actually reacted accordingly to the actions and feelings of his co-stars rather than lead them on with his madness. On the other hand, Ito commented that this was the toughest filming he went through to date in his career where he had to keep running around for three days and nights from the first day so he was always thinking of an excuse to quit regardless of whether it would be very troublesome to do so. Although this movie marks the first collaboration between the actors, they actually bump into each other a lot in private such as when they go to eat ramen or yakiniku at restaurants.

Nakamura who last worked with Ito in the "Umizaru" series more than 10 years ago, said that he was "taken off the ship" (his character who worked on the same navy ship as Ito's was shot dead in the story) against his own will but Nakamura still had a feeling that the "ship" would still become a big hit with Ito being at the helm. However, he was regretful about not being to stay on the "ship" till the end so he hopes to achieve success with Ito this time in this movie.

During the event, Fujiwara, Ito and Nakamura were having a lot of fun talking about what kind of "criminal" they are in line with the title of the movie. However, it went on longer than expected which led Nomura to butt in and said that they were too longwinded. This led the trio to get Nomura to wrap up the segment and they gave the latter the title of the criminal who did not listen to their entire conversation.

When it came to the question of asking the cast to reveal a secret for the first time, Ito revealed that when his son was born two years ago, Miura Tomokazu gave him a very expensive whiskey as a gift and included a letter which asked Ito to drink it with his son when he turns 20. However, Ito did not actually read that letter and drank some of it as soon as he returned home. When he told Miura about how delicious he thought the whiskey was, Miura commented that he must have not read the letter which led Ito to realise that he could have thrown it away. As he took about 4.5 minutes just to relate this story, Fujiwara teased Ito for being too long-winded and said that Ito could have just said one sentence that he did not read the letter. When it was Fujiwara's turn, he revealed how he started took in a stray cat from his neighbourhood recently and even brought it for vaccination before taking it home to become his pet. Although the cat used to belong to someone else, the moment when his wife saw that the house had a fierce dog there, she suggested that they bring the cat home as their pet instead of returning it to the original owner. In retaliation, Ito "scolded" Fujiwara for being even more long-winded than him as the latter took 1.5 minutes just to say such a simple story.

Sources: Nikkansports / Yomiuri Hochi / Oricon /

Dean Fujioka to appear in real-life adaptation movie "Soratobu Taiya"

Dean Fujioka will be appearing in the real-life adaptation movie "Soratobu Taiya" based on the bestseller novel by Ikeido Jun and features TOKIO's Nagase Tomoya as the lead. This will be the first collaboration between Nagase and Fujioka.

Nagase will be playing the lead character Akamatsu Tokurou who is the president of a transportation company. One day, an accident involving his company's truck happens where a tyre comes loose and causes a housewife's death. This results in a lack of trust and wave of criticism directed at his company for alleged maintenance faults. However, when Akamatsu investigates the truck's structure as he suspects a problem, he finds out that the truck's manufacturer Hope Jidosha is hiding a critical recall issue. In order to protect his company, employees, family and seek justice for himself, he takes on Hope Jidosha which tries to conceal the truth.

Fujioka will be playing Sawada Yuta who is the customer strategy section chief of Hope Jidosha and will face off with Akamatsu who wants to prove Hope's wrongdoing. Although he is reluctant to entertain Akamatsu's request for a re-investigation, Sawada himself has doubts about the original investigation and does his own checks where he is then caught between his sense of justice and his responsibility as an employee of Hope.

Nagase praised his co-star for having no airs and a high level of concentration when filming. In addition, Fujioka is very approachable and Nagase feels that they have many things in common. On the other hand, Fujioka also said that Nagase is a perfect fit for the character Akamatsu since they are both passionate men. In the movie, there will be a confrontation scene which does not appear in the novel which both actors feel will be meaningful and significant to the story. Other than this, the two of them hardly have any scenes together.

Filming wrapped up in the end of April and post-production works are expected to be completed in this autumn. The movie will be shown in cinemas next year.

Sources: Nikkansports / Sanspo / Sponichi /

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Aoi Yu & Lily Frankie to appear in TBS Summer 2017 drama "Hello Harinezumi"

Aoi Yu and Lily Frankie will be joining the cast of TBS Summer 2017 drama "Hello Harinezumi" starring Eita which will begin its run from July in the Fridays 10pm timeslot. The drama is based on the same-titled manga by Hirokane Kenshi, was serialised in "Shuukan Young Magazine between 1980 and 1989. Co-stars include Fukada Kyoko, Morita Go and Yamaguchi Tomoko. Although the manga was set in the Showa era, it will be adapted to be set in the modern Heisei era. Eita plays the role of private detective Nanase Goro who works in the investigation agency Akatsuka Tantei Jimusho in Shimoakatsuka in Itabashi Ward of Tokyo where he takes on any case no matter how troublesome or difficult it may be. Goro is a bit of a lecher and a busybody but he is also passionate and sincere.

Aoi plays the role of a mysterious and beautiful psychic Kawai Setsuko who will appear in the middle of the season to solve cases with Goro using her supernatural powers. Aoi commented that as she has many lines in the script, she is nervous about playing this character and hopes that she won't cause any trouble to her co-stars and the staff. In addition, as she is only joining the drama from the halfway mark, there are many things she still doesn't know about her character so she's relying on instructions from the director when it comes to her acting. On the other hand, Lily plays Minami, the owner of a publishing company who is actually an information vendor well-versed in matters of the underworld and helps Goro with his cases. He is also a journalist with a dark side and helps resolve problems quietly for big companies and the rich and famous.

Sources: Sanspo / Sponichi / Oricon /

Completion screening event of new movie "Mukoku"

The completion screening event of new movie "Mukoku" was held at Yomiuri Otemachi Hall on 15 May which was attended by the director Kumakiri Kazuyoshi and cast members Ayano Go, Murakami Nijiro, Maeda Atsuko, Fubuki Jun, Kobayashi Kaoru and Emoto Akira. The movie which is the first collaboration between Kumakiri and Ayano since the movie "Natsu no Owari" three years ago, will be screened in cinemas from 3 June.

The movie which is based on the same-titled novel by Akutagawa Award-winning writer Fujisawa Shu, features Ayano as Yatabe Kengo who holds the Godan rank in kendo but chooses to live a life filled with alcohol and works as a security guard at a train station's building due to an incident. One day, he happens to meet a senior high school student Hada Toru played by Murakami Nijiro who loves rap and is obsessed with writing rap lyrics. Kengo sees Toru's talent as a gifted kendo swordsman which inspires him to undergo training with the latter under a monk who holds the Hachidan where they later face off in the battle of destiny.

During the talk segment, the cast were asked on who they consider in their hearts to be their eternal rivals. Ayano who was the first to speak, jokingly cited his character Ken-san in the ongoing NTV Spring 2017 drama "Frankenstein no Koi" as the eternal rival of Kengo in this movie. When it was Murakami's turn, he mentioned his parents i.e. actor Murakami Jun and singer UA as his eternal rivals since they are both working in the same industry. Upon hearing this, Ayano said that he regretted fooling around and giving such an embarrassing answer. Meanwhile, Maeda said that when she was in AKB48, the people around her created many "rivals" for her but she actually felt that these people are important to her and is thankful for their presence. Ayano then butted in to say that he suddenly realised that he was standing in the centre today (the most popular member in AKB48 gets to stand in the centre) and apologised for "robbing" her of the centre position which she used to hog.

In order to prepare for the filming, Ayano went through two months of kendo and muscle training and even abstained from alcohol. As such, he was able to use his frustration built up over the period in a positive way during the filming. Maeda chipped in to praise her co-star for looking very cool during the kendo match scene. Murakami then revealed that he sprained his finger during their fight sequence and he was surprised by how quickly Ayano reacted by shouting for ice packs to be given to him once the scene was completed.

Sources: Sanspo / Nikkansports / Oricon /

Nakamura Shido announces that he is suffering from first stage pulmonary adenocarcinoma

Nakamura Shido announced through a handwritten statement on 18 May that he is suffering from the first stage of pulmonary adenocarcinoma. As a result, he will be undergoing surgery and will quit from a stage play which is due to be performed in June and July. For the afternoon performances of June's "Sugawara Denjute Narai Kagami Kurumabiki", Nakamura Hashinosuke will be standing in for Nakamura while the evening performances of "Shinshuu Kawanakajima Kassen Terutora Haizen" and "Kousukemochi" will be performed by Nakamura Kanjiro and Nakamura Kikaku respectively.

In Nakamura's statement, he revealed that he goes through an annual medical check-up and it was almost a miracle that his illness could be detected at such an early stage. According to his doctor, Nakamura is expected to recover fully after surgery. He pledged to fight his illness and return in a perfect condition and put up an even better performance for everyone. Nakamura apologised for the worry caused to everyone who has been supportive of him to date and will wrap up his outstanding work before he is hospitalised for the surgery. Much as he is reluctant to, he has to skip the kabuki performances in Hakata and Tokyo in the next two months and expressed his apologies to those who are eagerly anticipating these performances. At the end of the statement, Nakamura asked for some time to be given in the meantime as he goes through treatment and make a full recovery.

Source: Oricon

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Fukushi Souta to star in new NTV Summer 2017 drama "Aishitetatte, Himitsu wa aru"

Fukushi Souta will be starring in the upcoming NTV Summer 2017 drama "Aishitetatte, Himitsu wa aru" (I used to love, there is a secret) which will begin its run from July on Sundays (timeslot not confirmed yet. The original concept of this drama is by music producer Akimoto Yasushi who last produced the 2005 TV Asahi drama "Chakushin Ari" starring Kikukawa Rei that is unrelated to his AKB girl groups.

Fukushi plays the lead character Okumori Rei who killed his father (Horibe Keisuke) in the summer of when he was in the third year of junior high school so as to protect his mother Akiko (Suzuki Honami) who suffered from domestic violence inflicted by her husband. In order to hide his crime, Rei and Akiko decided to bury the corpse in the back garden of their house, report him as missing and share this dark secret between themselves. Rei strives hard to become a lawyer without making friends or falling in love. 11 years later, the 26-year-old Rei meets Tachibana Sawa (Kawaguchi Haruna) in graduate law school and the two of them fall in love with each other. Although Rei has made up his mind to get married to Sawa with his mother's blessings, someone who seemingly knows about his secret sends an alarming message to him. Co-stars include Endo Kenichi who plays Sawa's father and is the chief prosecutor, Koide Keisuke who plays Sawa's elder brother at odds with his father, Okae Kumiko who plays Sawa's mother and tries to keep her family together, Suzuki Kosuke who plays a doctor in love with Akiko, Shirasu Jin who is a mutual friend of Rei and Sawa, Yamamoto Mirai who plays a teacher of Rei and Sawa, Emoto Tokio who is a paralegal assisting Sawa during her internship and Yashiba Toshihiro who plays a police detective investigating the disappearance of Rei's father 11 years ago.

Fukushi commented that this drama contains various elements such as romance and mystery and this is his first time acting in a mystery story so he hopes that viewers will look forward to watching this. As for working with Kawaguchi, he said that she is a perfect fit to play the cheerful Sawa and feels secure about working with her again. On the other hand, Kawaguchi expressed her anticipation at participating in this drama especially how her character develops in the story. As for Suzuki, she is eagerly anticipating working with her cute "son" and "daughter-in-law" in this drama.

Akimoto said that the key concept of the drama is how much you know about your lover. Everyone will have their own secrets but the extent of how much you can tolerate your own lover keeping secrets from you is something he would like the viewers to think about even if they have no romantic partner in their lives now.

Filming begins in early June.

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

Koizumi Kotaro & Matsushita Yuki reunite in TV Tokyo Summer 2017 drama "Keishicho Zerogakari ~ Seikatsu Anzenka Nandemo Soudanshitsu ~SECOND SEASON"

Koizumi Kotaro and Matsushita Yuki will be reprising their roles in the sequel to their TV Tokyo Winter 2016 drama "Keishicho Zerogakari ~ Seikatsu Anzenka Nandemo Soudanshitsu~" (Metropolitan Police Department Section Zero ~ Community Safety Department's Office for consultation regarding anything) which will be shown from July this year. The new installment titled "Keishicho Zerogakari ~ Seikatsu Anzenka Nandemo Soudanshitsu~SECOND SEASON" features Koizumi as Kobayakawa Fumihiko, a naive superintendent who is oblivious to his surroundings and Matsushita as Terada Torami, a foul-mouthed veteran police detective. The two of them work with other detectives seen as worthless by the organisation (thus earning the name Zerogakari because anything multipled by zero is still zero) to solve various difficult cases. Regulars from the first season who will be returning in the sequel include Adachi Yumi who plays Honjo Yasuko, an admin officer who insists on working only between 9am and 5pm, emphasizes productivity and has a venomous tongue, TKO's Kinoshita Takayuki who plays Sakuraba Yusaku, a hardworking detective who cannot climb up the hierarchy despite his efforts and Oosugi Ren who plays the section chief Kameyama Yoshio tasked to spy on Kobayakawa secretly. Other co-stars include Rokkaku Shinji, Kishi Asuka, Ishimaru Kenjiro and Kato Cha.

The drama's producer Matsumoto Taku revealed that when they finished filming the first series, the cast were eager to get together again for a sequel so they are all very happy that this has finally materialised. Koizumi also commented that he's happy to play Kobayakawa again and meet up with the members of Zerogakari in the sequel. Matsushita revealed that with new members added to the lineup, the Zerogakari will be back with a boost to its strength and hopes that the viewers will enjoy watching it.

Source: Sponichi

FujiTV music programme "LOVE LOVE Aishiteru" to be back as a SP for KinKi Kids' 20th anniversary

FujiTV music programme "LOVE LOVE Aishiteru" hosted by KinKi Kids and Yoshida Takuro will be back as a SP for the first time in 16 years as it celebrates the 20th anniversary of the duo since they made their debut on 21 July. Besides the hosts, regular cast members such as Sakazaki Kounosuke and Shinohara Tomoe will be appearing in the SP which was pre-recorded on 14 May. The programme had invited many guests during its run from October 1996 and March 2001 to perform songs with the regular cast members. KinKi Kids' members learnt how to play the guitar from Yoshida and even wrote songs which were featured in the programme.

The opening of the SP was marked by the singing of KinKi Kids' hit son "Zenbu dakishimete" which was written as the show's theme song by Yoshida. Guest stars for the SP include Suda Masaki who is making his debut as a solo singer next month and freelance announcer Furutachi Ichiro who used to the host of FujiTV music programme "Yoru no Hit Studio" between 1985 and 1988.

Source: Sanspo

Winners of the 26th Japan Movie Critics Award

Best Movie: Yu wo wakasu hodo atsui ai

Best Director: Nakano Ryota (Yu wo wakasu hodo atsui ai)

Best Leading Actor: Kobayashi Kaoru (Zoku Shinya Shokudou)

Best Leading Actress: Miyazawa Rie (Yu wo wakasu hodo atsui ai)

Best Supporting Actor: Higashide Masahiro (Satoshi no Seishun)

Best Supporting Actress: Sugisaki Hana (Yu wo wakasu hodo atsui ai)

Best Newcomer (Komori Kazuko Award): Takahata Mitsuki (Shokubutsu Zukan Unmei no Koi, Hiroimashita)

Best Newcomer (Minami Toshiko Award): Iwata Takanori (Shokubutsu Zukan Unmei no Koi, Hiroimashita)

Best New Director: Shoji Hiroshi (Ken to Kazu)

Golden Glory Award (Mizuno Haruo Award): Komatsu Masao & Naraoka Tomoko

Diamond Award (Yodogawa Nagaharu Award): Kiki Kirin

Best Editing: Hogaki Junnosuke (Chihayafuru)

Best Script: Nishikawa Miwa (Nagai Iiwake)

Best Movie Music: Kako Takashi (Everest Kamigami no Itadaki)

Best Cinematography: Kita Nobuyasu (Everest Kamigami no Itadaki)

Best Documentary: Hibi Yuichi (Ken-san)

Special Award: Sato Tadao - movie critic

Best Anime Movie: Koe no Katachi

Best Anime Film Director: Shinkai Makoto (Kimi no na wa)

Best Voice Actor: Nozawa Masako (Kaze no you ni)

Diamond Award for Anime Category: Matsumoto Reiji

Source: Japan Movie Critics Award

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Takahata Atsuko becomes a belly dance teacher in the new Tokai TV / FujiTV drama "Yaneura no Koibito"

Takahata Atsuko will become a sexy belly dance teacher in the upcoming Tokai TV / FujiTV drama "Yaneura no Koibito" starring Ishida Hikari and Imai Tsubasa. The drama which begins its run from 3 June in the Saturdays 11.40pm timeslot, features Ishida as the lead character Saijo Kinuka who is a housewife and has a 17-year-old daughter and 15-year-old son with her husband. Due to the death of her father-in-law, she moves to a Western-style house in Kamakura left behind by him together with her family. Kinuka finally realises her longtime dream of opening a flower arrangement school by doing it in the salon of her new house. Just when she thinks that her life is already perfect, she is aghast to find her ex-boyfriend Seno Itsuki (Imai Tsubasa) at her housewarming party even though they had parted ways 18 years ago. Although Kinuka manages to chase Seno away that day, strange things start happening in the Saijo household as food is found to be missing from the fridge and her husband's clothing disappear for no reason. It turns out that Seno has started living in the attic of the house and this gradually causes the revelation of secrets hidden by the people around Kinuka including her husband Makoto (Katsumura Masanobu), children, mother-in-law Chizuko (Takahata) and best friend Kyoko (Miura Rieko) and leads to her being forced into a corner mentally. When a murder takes place, this then causes her fate to be affected drastically.

Takahata's character Chizuko is a belly dance teacher so as preparation for the role, she lost 5kg in three weeks before the filming. As Takahata used to be from the swimming team back in school, she isn't that concerned about baring her skin nor her belly and has a nice figure despite being 62. Initially, the costumes designed for Chizuko did not show her belly but Takahata felt that it seemed odd because of her character's occupation. When it came to the costume fitting, it was then decided that instead of trying to cover up her body in an awkward manner, it would be better to be natural about revealing her body. However, in order to ensure that she won't look like an eyesore to the viewers, Takahata went jogging with a rubber belt around her tummy in the evenings as part of her diet routine.

On the other hand, Takahata rated herself a low 27 points for her belly dance performance because she couldn't get used to the music and rhythm. Although she had learnt it in the past, she couldn't continue with it as it was too difficult for her. After just one day of training, it made her back hurt so much that she couldn't walk but it was a good way of losing fat in her belly area. When asked to described her character, Takahata said that Chizuko is a rather detestable person who speaks harsh things to others and dotes on her stepson excessively.

Source: Oricon

Top 10 movies box office ranking for the weekend of 13th & 14th May

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

1) Beauty and the Beast (372)

2) Meitantei Conan Karakurenai no Love Letter (354)

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

4) The Fate of the Furious (355)

5) Tsuioku (293)

6) Teiichi no Kuni (291)

7) Eiga Crayon Shin-chan Shuurai!! Uchujin Shiriri (349)

8) Split (178)

9) Last Cop THE MOVIE (284)

10) Mugen no Juunin (331)


Monday, May 15, 2017

Arashi to sing the theme song for new movie "Shinobi no Kuni"

Arashi will be singing the theme song for the new movie "Shinobi no Kuni" starring Ohno Satoshi which will be shown in cinemas from 1 July. The song titled "Tsunagu" will be the group's 52nd single and their first movie theme song in four years since 2013's "Platina Data". The fast-paced song begins with a "battle" between the guitar and shamisen and is featured in the latest teaser trailer released today.

Source: Oricon

Suda Masaki & Tsuchiya Tao to star in new real-life adaptation movie "Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun"

Suda Masaki and Tsuchiya Tao will be starring in the new real-life adaptation movie "Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun" (The Mr. Monster beside me) which will be shown in cinemas next year. The movie is based on the same-titled manga by Robico which was serialised in "Gekkan Dessert" between 2008 and 2014 and has sold more than 5 million copies to date. This will be the last movie where Suda appears in a school uniform.

Suda plays the role of Yoshida Haru who is an unpredictable troublemaker at school while Tsuchiya plays a cold-blooded girl Mizutani Shizuku sitting beside him who's only concerned about doing well in her studies. The both of them who have no friends, become each other's first friend before experiencing a number of firsts in their lives such as first love, first kiss, first quarrel and first love triangle.

Suda who read the original manga after getting the offer, commented that his character Yoshida is a pure guy who's clumsy and cute at the same time. He will try his best to show the charm of the original manga while playing this character. As this is his last appearance in a school uniform, he will enjoy himself to the fullest in this movie. Although Suda had met Tsuchiya before on variety programmes, this will be their first collaboration in a movie. Suda said that she is a perfect fit for Shizuku and hopes to be able to match up to her physical strength as he has not been exercising a lot recently. On the other hand, Tsuchiya expressed her gratitude to be given such a valuable opportunity to play a very different character this time. She is also eager to work with Suda who is an actor representative of their generation so she is even more excited to collaborate with him in this movie.

Sources: / Oricon

Iura Arata to star in new NHK BS Premium Drama SP "Henkan Koushounin - Itsuka, Okinawa wo torimodosu -"

Iura Arata will be starring in the new NHK BS Premium Drama SP "Henkan Koushounin - Itsuka, Okinawa wo torimodosu -" (Restoration Negotiator - Someday, we will get back Okinawa) which will be shown in August. Filming begins in the middle of May and will be wrapped up in mid June.

The story is based on the novel "Boku wa Okinawa wo torimodoshitai Isshoku no Gaikoukan Chiba Kazuo" by Miyagawa Tetsushi which features Chiba Kazuo who was one of the key persons negotiating the return of Okinawa to Japan after World War II. Iura plays Chiba who used to be a communications solder in the navy during the war and could only listen to the wireless communications of the US army as they attacked Okinawa. After the war, he became a diplomat and made a pledge to his wife Keiko (Toda Naho) that he will get back Okinawa one day from the Americans who occupied it and used it as a base for the Vietnam war.

Co-stars include Omi Toshinori, Nakajima Ayumu, Sano Shiro, Oosugi Ren and Ishibashi Renji.


KinKi Kids to be back in new drama SP of "Bokura no Yuuki ~ Miman City SP"

KinKi Kids will be back to reprise their roles in the new SP sequel of their 1997 NTV drama "Bokura no Yuuki ~ Miman City SP" this summer after a gap of 20 years. This year also happens to the duo's 20th anniversary since their CD debut and their collaboration in a drama since their guest appearance in 2003's FujiTV drama "Mukodono 2003".

The original drama described how a group of underaged teenagers and children became the only survivors after a micro-organism caused the death of all the adults. In the lawless and chaotic situation, Yamato (Domoto Koichi) and Takeru (Domoto Tsuyoshi) took the lead to achieve peace with the help of their friends. The theme song of the drama "Aisareru yori aishitai" sold more than 1.6 million copies then which was a huge milestone in the duo's career.

The two of them were 18 when they acted in the drama which ended with a final line pledging that they will meet again in 20 years time. The drama SP will feature them as 38 years old men and how a new and strong enemy arrives in front of them. The story will still be written by Tsutsumi Yukihiko while the producer will be Hazeyama Hiroko.

Reflecting on what happened during the filming of the drama, Koichi commented that it was a valuable and intense experience. In the SP, the tables are now turned as they used to be teenagers against the adults but they have become adults now. As such, Koichi is excited about playing Yamato again and meeting with the same staff from 20 years ago. As for Tsuyoshi, he thought that it was nostalgic to think about those days when their characters were very young and had a pure sense of justice. To be able to reunite with the staff then feels like destiny to him and he's thankful and happy about this chance to do the SP.

Young actors such as Arashi's Aiba Masaki and Matsumoto Jun who were Johnny's Jrs at that time, Tokuyama Hidenori and actress Yada Akiko also appeared in the drama but it is not known yet if they will return to the cast lineup for this SP.

Sources: Nikkansports / Sanspo 1 / Oricon

New cast members in the second half of TBS Spring 2017 drama "Chiisana Kyojin"

The new cast members in the second half of TBS Spring 2017 drama "Chiisana Kyojin" from Ep 6 onwards has been announced. The next arc focuses on a school Soumei Gakuen which aims to go global by inviting many overseas students and talented students within Japan. However, the school is suspected of having acquired the refilled land which its premises are standing on through illegal methods.

Yusuke Santa Maria will be playing Yabe Takashi who works in the accounting department of Soumei Gakuen. His section chief Yuichi played by Inoue Yoshio goes missing all of a sudden so his worried Ami goes to the police and is assigned to talk to Kosaka (Hasegawa Hiroki) who is transferred to the Toyosu Police Station. Kosaka and Yamada (Okada Masaki) have a new boss Sudo Fumika will be played by Kanno Misuzu while Ishiguro Hideo will play their colleagues Sekiguchi Kazuya. Other new cast members include Umezawa Tomio and Wada Akiko.

Source: Oricon

First-day-screening event of new movie "Sakurada Reset Kouhen"

The first-day-screening event of new movie "Sakurada Reset Kouhen" was held at TOHO Cinemas Roppongi Hills on 13 May which was attended by the director Fukagawa Yoshihiro and cast members Nomura Shuhei, Kuroshima Yuina, Taira Yuna, Tamashiro Tina, Tsunematsu Yuri, Yoshizawa Hisashi, Kentaro and Maruyama Tomomi. The sequel continues from the first movie shown in March.

With regard to the likelihood of doing another sequel, Nomura revealed that he was not keen on the idea as he had too many lines due to his character's special power of maintaining memories and had to do a lot of explanations. In total, he had 230 pages of lines in the scripts for both movies. However, if the box office takings for the movies cross the JPY 30 billion mark which is very challenging, Nomura said that they might do another sequel and will show it in Hollywood next time which led the audience to laugh. Despite the challenge this time, Nomura said that he still enjoyed starring in his first two-part movie and doing all the promotional appearances in printed media and on TV.

At the beginning of the filming period, the cast members were quite shy in front of one another so the atmosphere on the set wasn't that cheerful. Nomura remarked that it seemed like junior actors these days tend not take the initiative to speak if their seniors do not take the first step but Kentaro said that he found it hard to talk to Nomura who behaves like a delinquent at times. Upon hearing this, Nomura said that this must be when he was feeling sleepy and told Kentaro not to talk to him when he is in this state.

As part of a surprise event, the cast members prepared letters addressed to Nomura where they expressed thanks to him for his leadership on the set. After hearing these, Nomura stressed that he would not cry on stage and is the type to hide at home to cry. When Kentaro teased Nomura for having tears brimming in his eyes, Nomura tried to hide his embarrassment and said that he just wants to go home quickly to take care of his pet dog.

Sources: Oricon /

Friday, May 12, 2017

Top 10 Spring 2017 dramas with the highest satisfaction rating up to 2 May 2017 (Oricon)

Oricon conducts a survey on a pool of 690 monitor researchers nationwide after the broadcast of each drama episode where the respondents are asked to rate the episodes based on criteria such as the drama itself, lead actors/actresses, supporting cast, image quality, lines, music, artistic direction, story direction, time spent watching the episode, how much it is talked about on Twitter. The maximum points achievable is 100 and the results in brackets below indicate the average score based on the episodes shown up to 2 May 2017:

1) CRISIS Kouan Kido Sousatai Tokusouhan (87.8)

2) Kodoku no Gurume Season 6 (87.3)

3) Kinkyuu Torishirabeshitsu 2 (84.5)

4) Reverse (82.7)

5) Boku, Unmei no hito desu (81)

6) Chiisana Kyojin (69.3)

7) Tsuribaka Nisshi Season 2 Shinnyuu Shain Hamasaki Densuke (69)

8) Haha ni naru (66.7)

9) Frankenstein no Koi (63.5)

10) Onna Joushu Naotora (61.5)

Source: Oricon

Watanabe Naomi to star in new TBS Summer 2017 drama "Kanna-san!"

Watanabe Naomi will be starring in the new TBS Summer 2017 drama "Kanna-san!" which will begin its run from July in the Tuesdays 10pm timeslot. This is the first time she is taking on a leading role in a primetime slot drama.

The drama is based on the same-titled manga by Fukaya Kahoru serialised in manga magazine "YOU" between 2001 and 2007 and features Watanabe as a fashion designer Kanna. Although she has a handsome husband Rei, Kanna discovers that he is having an affair and she also has to cope with her difficult mother-in-law. At work, she is bullied by her unreasonable boss. Despite these daily challenges in life, Kanna tries her best to live positively for the sake of her beloved son Reon.

Watanabe commented that she was surprised to see how Kanna looked so much like herself when she read the manga especially how the latter does not let her physical appearance stand in the way of her desire to become fashionable and live her desired lifestyle. This made her wonder if the author created the story with her in mind. However, Watanabe said that Kanna probably packs 5 times more power than she actually has so she will try her best to play this character well.

Sources: Sponichi / Oricon /

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Completion screening event & fan meeting of new movie "Hirugao"

The completion screening event and fan meeting of new movie "Hirugao" was held at TOHO Cinemas Roppongi Hills on 11 May which was attended by the director Nishitani Hiroshi and cast members Ueto Aya, Saito Takumi, Ito Ayumi and Hirayama Hiroyuki. The movie will be shown in cinemas from 10 June.

The film is set at 3 years after the end of the drama where Kinoshita Sawa (Ueto) and Kitano Yuichiro (Saito) meet by chance at a seaside town and begin their forbidden love affair again. Ito plays Kitano's wife Noriko while Hirayama plays the owner of the restaurant where Sawa works at.

When asked if there was any memorable incident during the filming, Saito revealed that they opened a "temporary shop" named Barber Ueto where he was responsible for doing the hairdos of the female staff members while Ueto did the make-up for them. Ueto explained that due to the tight filming schedule, the staff members did not have much time to sleep thus affecting their complexion and their fringes being long enough to cover their eyes. As such, they decided to hold this impromptu doll-up session for them. However, Saito said that all he knew was to apply curls on both the men and women so everyone ended up looking like THE ALFEE's Takamizawa Toshihiko.

Everyone also took turns to relate how Saito was very nice to everyone. For example, Ueto who was with Saito during their trip to Italy for the international premiere of the movie, asked him to buy her a pair of earrings when they were filming a TV programme. Saito thought that it was not nice to reject her request since they were filming and he assumed that the programme's budget would take care of the cost of the earrings but found out that it was the contrary so he had to pay out of his own pocket. Nonetheless, he was pleased that Ueto liked the earrings very much so he didn't mind having to pay for it.

Ueto revealed that she had already given her all during the drama and didn't expect that there would be a sequel even though she had been approached several times to do it. However, she wasn't in the right mode to play Sawa again and the timing wasn't suitable for her so it took about 3 years before the sequel finally materialised. On the first day of filming where they had to shoot a scene of Sawa attending Kitano's presentation, the moment she heard his voice made her slide into the role seamlessly. As such, she expressed thanks to the production staff who never gave up despite these factors and persevered with making this movie.

During the fan meeting, 500 people were selected to take part in this on the condition that they posted the photos they took onto social media platforms. As such, the fans could take an unlimited amount of photos of the cast who appeared with beaming smiles. In the Q & A session from fans, the cast were asked if they were doing anything which they felt that they had to stop doing but couldn't resist doing. Ueto said that she is so obsessed with shopping on the Internet and would spend about 2 hours in bed doing that after tucking her child to bed. She also revealed that Saito bought a cute elephant ring online which he admitted sheepishly that it only cost him 523 yen.

Sources: 1 / 2 / Oricon 1 /  Oricon 2

Supporting cast line-up of new movie "Sanposuru Shinryakusha" announced

The supporting cast line-up of new movie "Sanposuru Shinryakusha" starring Nagasawa Masami & Matsuda Ryuhei has been announced. The movie is adapted by the director Kurosawa Kiyoshi from the same-titled 2015 stage play from theatre group Ikiume. Matsuda plays the role of Kase Shinji who has the habit of going on daily walks every evening but disappears without a trace for a few days. When he returns home, it is as if he has become an entirely different person which makes his wife Narumi shocked at his changes especially when he becomes very gentle and nice to her. Suddenly, Shinji tells Narumi that there will be an attack on Earth which is then followed by a series of strange happenings such as the mass killing of a family in the town they live in and the happening of weird events that disrupts the peaceful life they once had. Hasegawa Hiroki plays the role of a journalist Sakurai who follows the "invader" around as part of his job.

Maeda Atsuko will play Narumi's younger sister Asumi while Mitsushima Shinnosuke will be a hikkikomori young man Nanao who Shinji encounters while on his daily walks. Higashide Masahiro plays a pastor who Shinji meets while Unjash's Kojima Kazuya plays a police detective Kurumada investigating the mass killing case. Mitsuishi Ken plays Suzuki, the president of a company which has business dealings with Narumi, Koizumi Kyoko plays a doctor and Sasano Takashi plays a mysterious man Shinagawa.

The movie will be shown in cinemas from 9 September.


Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The 92nd Drama Academy Awards (Winter 2017) - Best Theme Song

Overall Ranking Top 3
1) Otona no Okite - Doughnuts Hole (Quartet)
2) TOKYO GIRL - Perfume (Tokyo Tarareba Musume)
3) Hikari no Atorie - Mr. Children (Beppin-san)

Voters Ranking Top 5
1) Otona no Okite - Doughnuts Hole (Quartet)
2) Still Alive - B'z (A LIFE ~ Itoshiki Hito ~)
3) TOKYO GIRL - Perfume (Tokyo Tarareba Musume)
4) Hikari no Atorie - Mr. Children (Beppin-san)
5) HAPPY - Sandaime J Soul Brothers (Super Salaryman Saenai-shi)

TV Reporters Ranking Top 5
1) Otona no Okite - Doughnuts Hole (Quartet)
2) TOKYO GIRL - Perfume (Tokyo Tarareba Musume)
3) Hikari no Atorie - Mr. Children (Beppin-san)
4) Iden - Saito Kazuyoshi (Gekokujou Juken)
5) Hitorisekai - 10-FEET (Byplayers) / MAGIC - AAA (Ubai Ai, Fuyu)

Judges Ranking Top 5
1) Otona no Okite - Doughnuts Hole (Quartet)
2) Hikari no Atorie - Mr. Children (Beppin-san)
3) TOKYO GIRL - Perfume (Tokyo Tarareba Musume) / Forever Young - Takehara Pistol (Byplayers)
5) Still Alive - B'z (A LIFE ~ Itoshiki Hito ~) / Yume no naka e by Inoue Yosui (Shikaku Tantei Higurashi Tabito)

Source: The Televison

The 92nd Drama Academy Awards (Winter 2017) - Best Supporting Actress

Overall Ranking Top 3
1) Yoshioka Riho - Quartet
2) Mizuno Miki - Ubai Ai, Fuyu
3) Kimura Fumino - A LIFE ~ Itoshiki Hito ~

Voters Ranking Top 5
1) Oshima Yuko - Tokyo Tarareba Musume
2) Kimura Fumino - A LIFE ~ Itoshiki Hito ~
3) Yoshioka Riho - Quartet
4) Yamamoto Mizuki - Uso no Sensou
5) Mizuhara Kiko - Uso no Sensou

TV Reporters Ranking Top 5
1) Mizuno Miki - Ubai Ai, Fuyu
2) Yoshioka Riho - Quartet
3) Koizumi Kyoko - Super Salaryman Saenai-shi
4) Kimura Fumino - A LIFE ~ Itoshiki Hito ~
5) Saito Yuki - Okaasan, Musume wo yamete ii desuka? / Takeuchi Yuko - A LIFE ~ Itoshiki Hito ~

Judges Ranking Top 5
1) Mizuno Miki - Ubai Ai, Fuyu / Kimura Fumino - A LIFE ~ Itoshiki Hito ~
3) Yoshioka Riho - Quartet / Saito Yuki - Okaasan, Musume wo yamete ii desuka? / Fukada Kyoko - Gekokujou Juken

Source: The Televison

The 92nd Drama Academy Awards (Winter 2017) - Best Supporting Actor

Overall Ranking Top 3
1) Asano Tadanobu - A LIFE ~ Itoshiki Hito ~
2) Matsuyama Kenichi - A LIFE ~ Itoshiki Hito ~
3) Kudo Kankuro - Quartet

Voters Ranking Top 5
1) Matsuyama Kenichi - A LIFE ~ Itoshiki Hito ~
2) Fujiki Naohito - Uso no Sensou
3) Kudo Kankuro - Quartet
4) Sakaguchi Kentaro - Tokyo Tarareba Musume / Yasuda Ken - Uso no Sensou

TV Reporters Ranking Top 5
1) Sakaguchi Kentaro - Tokyo Tarareba Musume
2) Asano Tadanobu - A LIFE ~ Itoshiki Hito ~
3) Kudo Kankuro - Quartet
4) Miura Shohei - Ubai Ai, Fuyu / Muro Tsuyoshi - Super Salaryman Saenai-shi / Lily Frankie - Gin to Kin

Judges Ranking Top 5
1) Asano Tadanobu - A LIFE ~ Itoshiki Hito ~
2) Matsuyama Kenichi - A LIFE ~ Itoshiki Hito ~
3) Kudo Kankuro - Quartet
4) Sakaguchi Kentaro - Tokyo Tarareba Musume
5) Miura Shohei - Ubai Ai, Fuyu / Fujiki Naohito - Uso no Sensou / Yagira Yuuya - Okaasan, Musume wo yamete ii desuka?

Source: The Televison

The 92nd Drama Academy Awards (Winter 2017) - Best Leading Actress

Overall Ranking Top 3
1) Matsu Takako - Quartet
2) Mitsushima Hikari - Quartet
3) Yoshitaka Yuriko - Tokyo Tarareba Musume

Voters Ranking Top 5
1) Matsu Takako - Quartet
2) Mitsushima Hikari - Quartet
3) Yoshitaka Yuriko - Tokyo Tarareba Musume
4) Ayase Haruka - Seirei no Moribito
5) Yoshine Kyoko - Beppin-san

TV Reporters Ranking Top 5
1) Matsu Takako - Quartet
2) Mitsushima Hikari - Quartet
3) Yoshitaka Yuriko - Tokyo Tarareba Musume
4) Yoshine Kyoko - Beppin-san
5) Ayase Haruka - Seirei no Moribito

Judges Ranking Top 5
1) Mitsushima Hikari - Quartet
2) Matsu Takako - Quartet
3) Yoshitaka Yuriko - Tokyo Tarareba Musume
4) Ayase Haruka - Seirei no Moribito
5) Tanaka Rena - Mahiru no Akuma

The 92nd Drama Academy Awards (Winter 2017) - Best Leading Actor

Overall Ranking Top 3
1) Kusanagi Tsuyoshi - Uso no Sensou
2) Takahashi Issei - Quartet
3) Kimura Takuya - A LIFE ~ Itoshiki Hito ~

Voters Ranking Top 5
1) Kusanagi Tsuyoshi - Uso no Sensou
2) Kimura Takuya - A LIFE ~ Itoshiki Hito ~
3) Takahashi Issei - Quartet
4) Matsuzaka Toori - Shikaku Tantei Higurashi Tabito
5) Tsutsumi Shinichi - Super Salaryman Saenai-shi

TV Reporters Ranking Top 5
1) Takahashi Issei - Quartet
2) Kusanagi Tsuyoshi - Uso no Sensou
3) Kimura Takuya - A LIFE ~ Itoshiki Hito ~
4) Matsuda Ryuhei - Quartet
5) Tsutsumi Shinichi - Super Salaryman Saenai-shi

Judges Ranking Top 5
1) Kusanagi Tsuyoshi - Uso no Sensou
2) Kimura Takuya - A LIFE ~ Itoshiki Hito ~
3) Takahashi Issei - Quartet / Matsuda Ryuhei - Quartet
5) Tsutsumi Shinichi - Super Salaryman Saenai-shi

Source: The Televison