Tuesday, August 22, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sources: Oricon /

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

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

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

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

Sources: Oricon / Nikkansports

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

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

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

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

Source: Oricon

Monday, August 21, 2017

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

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

The drama which stars Aoi Wakana as the lead, is set during the late Meiji era to post-World War II period at Osaka featuring the lead character Fujioka Ten who is modelled on Yoshimoto Sei, the founder of Yoshimoto Kogyo and a female show promoter. Fujioka was born into a family managing a drug wholesale business in Kyoto and meets Kitamura Fujiyoshi (Matsuzaka Toori)who is the son of a family in the rice dealing business at Osaka. When they fall in love, Fujioka goes against her parents' wishes to marry Kitamura who is a big lover of comedy. Subsequently, after her husband's family goes bust, she unwittingly becomes the owner of a vaudeville theater with her husband. This then leads to her becoming the first person in Japan to make comedy into a business and transforming Osaka into a capital of comedy.

Sources: Nikkansports / Yomiuri Hochi

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sources: / Oricon

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

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


2) Despicable Me 3 (359)

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

4) Spider-Man: Homecoming (355)

5) Kimi no suizou wo tabetai (319)

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

7) Transformers: The Last Knight (334)

8) Gintama (334)

9) Mary to Majo no Hana (365)

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


Sunday, August 20, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sources: / Yomiuri Hochi / Nikkansports

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

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

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

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

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

Sources: Oricon / Nikkansports / Yomiuri Hochi

Saturday, August 19, 2017

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

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

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

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

Source: Oricon

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Sources: Nikkansports / Sanspo / Yomiuri Hochi / Oricon

Happy 11th anniversary, Dorama World!

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

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

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

Thank you and please continue to support this blog!

Friday, August 18, 2017

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

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

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

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

Sources: Natalie / Yomiuri Hochi / Sponichi /

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

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

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

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

Source: Oricon

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

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

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

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

Source: Oricon

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Completion screening event of new movie "Sanposuru Shinryakusha"

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Sources: Nikkansports / Sanspo / Sponichi /

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

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

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

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

Source: / Yomiuri Hochi / Nikkansports

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nagasaku Hiromi to be the lead in new WOWOW drama "Chinmoku Houtei"

Nagasaku Hiromi will be taking on the lead role in the new WOWOW drama "Chinmoku Houtei" which will begin its run from 24 September in the Sundays 10pm timeslot. The drama which consists of 5 episodes, is based on the same-titled novel by Naoki Award winner Sasaki Jou.

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

Nagasaku commented that her character Miki is actually a very plain woman who goes through life by accepting her fate. As such, it was really difficult for her to play such a woman who hardly has any changes in her emotions. However, as she grew older, she had come to meet many people and accumulated experience in various aspects so this is probably the best time for her to attempt such a challenging role. With regard to the story, Nagasaku said that the original novel by Sasaki set her thinking about how a small thing could have such a huge impact on one's life and how keeping a distance from others could change the impression they have of you. As such, she felt that this drama will probably set viewers re-thinking about what kind of distance they should maintain with other people.

Filming begins in the middle of August.

Sources: Oricon / / Sanspo

Tamamori Yuta, Koyama Keiichiro & Furukawa Yuki to star in TV Asahi Autumn 2017 drama "Juuyou Sankounin Tantei"

Tamamori Yuta, Koyama Keiichiro and Furukawa Yuki will be starring in the upcoming TV Asahi Autumn 2017 drama "Juuyou Sankounin Tantei" (Important witness detective) which will begin its run from October in the Fridays 11.15pm timeslot. The drama is based on the same-titled manga by Kinuta Murako which is currently being serialised in "Gekkan Flowers". This will be the first time that the three actors are working together in the same drama.

Tamamori plays the lead character Maneki Kei who is a model. By a strange stroke of fate, he always becomes the first person to discover the body at a murder crime scene and is constantly seen as a suspect due to the uncanny coincidence. Koyama plays Suou Itsuki while Furukawa plays Simon Touma who are also models and join Kei in solving these murder cases in a comedic and straightforward way.

Tamamori commented that as he is playing a model this time, there is a need to pay more attention to his appearance as compared to his past roles. He hopes that the three of them will work well together for the viewers to support them in their quest for the truth behind the murder cases. As for Koyama, it has been 5 years since he last acted in a drama series so he's excited about this drama which he views as a challenge to himself. Meanwhile, Furukawa commented that he doesn't see anything similar between him and his character Simon so it is very challenging for him especially since Simon is a model with a good figure but he himself has no muscles to speak of. As such, he plans to head to gym to do training so as to look convincing for this character and hopes to show his progress as an actor through this drama.

Reflecting on the trio's first meeting, Tamamori remarked that he could tell right away that Furukawa is shy in front of strangers like him so it naturally became Koyama's duty to liven things up. Koyama expressed his wish for the three of them to become closer over time so that they can show off good teamwork during the filming.

Sources: Oricon / Sanspo / Nikkansports

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Mamiya Shotaro to star in new movie "Zenin Shikei"

Mamiya Shotaro will be starring in the new movie "Zenin Shikei" (Everyone on death row) which is directed by Kobayashi Yuki and will be released in cinemas from 18 November. The movie is based on the book "Wagaikka Zenin Shikei" written by Suzuki Tomohiko about the mass killing of a family of 4 in Omuta City, Fukuoka Prefecture in September 2004 by another 4-member family living in the same neighbourhood for the sake of money. As a result, the culprits were all given the death sentence for their roles in this case.

Mamiya plays the role of the family's second son Takanori who was roped in to commit the robberies by his gangster father Tetsuji (Musaka Naomasa), hysterical mother Naomi (Irie Kanako) and elder brother Satoshi (Maiguma Katsuya) as the family was in financial trouble due to debts and the mandatory contributions to the gang. Takanori's girlfriend Kaori will be played by Shimizu Hazuki. However, things got out of hand and led to the multiple murders in order to achieve their aim. Other co-stars include Ochiai Motoki, Fujiwara Kisetsu and Torii Miyuki.

Sources: / My Navi News

Kubota Masataka, Arai Hirofumi, Enoue Keiko & Kakei Miwako to star in new movie "Kenen"

Kubota Masataka, Arai Hirofumi, Enoue Keiko and Kakei Miwako will be starring in the new movie "Kenen" directed by Yoshida Keisuke which will be released in February 2018. The title of the movie literally means dogs and monkeys i.e. people who are on bad terms. Filming had been wrapped up recently.

The story which is based on the themes of envy, jealousy and hatred between family members, features two pairs of siblings who are on bad terms with each other. Kubota plays the role of Kanayama Kazunari who is a good-looking, honest and serious salesman of a publishing company but his elder brother Takuji (Arai) is the exact opposite i.e. a troublemaker who doesn't give a damn about anything and is just out of prison. On the other hand, Enoue plays the elder sister Ikuno Yuria who takes care of the family printing factory business and is secretly in love with Kazunari while her sister Mako (Kakei) is pretty and works as a gravure idol while helping out at home but is not very smart.

Kubota who is the youngest in a family of three brothers, said that there were many things in the story which he could identify with. He also commented that although Yoshida's directing style and storytelling seemed to be reflecting the mundane daily life, he was surprised by how the one's true feelings which are normally hidden, are revealed through the acting and conversations. As such, he had to engage in discussions with the director as it was difficult to grasp the fine balance needed to play his character. On the other hand, Arai joked that it would be difficult to convince people that he and Kubota are brothers because they look too different.

Enoue commented that it was easy for her to understand the feelings of Yuria as the story progressed and she was glad to be able to take on this role for her debut movie. As for Kakei, she expressed her joy at being given a chance to take on this movie and tried her best with the intention of improving as an actress.

Sources: Nikkansports / Yomiuri Hochi /

Kiritani Mirei to star in new movie "Revenge Girl"

Kiritani Mirei will be starring in the new movie "Revenge Girl" which will be directed by Miki Koichiro and released in cinemas from 23 December. The movie is based on the novel written by Kiyo Tomohide and Yoshida Erika which will be published this autumn.

Kiritani plays the lead character Takaraishi Miki who is a 24-year-old OL. She graduated as the top student from University of Tokyo and had also won the Miss Campus title thus making her appear as the "perfect" girl with brains and looks. However, her biggest flaw is her ugly personality which she doesn't realise. One day, her boyfriend who aspires to become a politician dumps her thus leading to Miki resolve to become a politician and the Prime Minister one day so as to get back at him.

Kiritani commented that her character's idea of wanting to become the Prime Minister because she fell out of love is something that she can never come up with or imagine so she finds it very interesting. As such, she will try her best to play this cheerful and energetic character in the hope that this will become a source of encouragement to all the women out there. Just two years ago, she was still playing a senior high school student in the 2015 movie "Heroine Shikaku" so she also hopes to show her growth over this period by playing an OL this time.

Sources: Sponichi /

Monday, August 14, 2017

Top 10 bestselling Japanese movies in the first half of 2017

Numbers in brackets indicate the exact or estimated box office takings which is represented with an asterix:

1) Meitantei Conan Kara kurenai no love letter (JPY 6.87bn)

2) Eiga Doraemon Nobita no nankyoku kachikochi daibouken (JPY 4.43bn)

3) Eiga Youkai Watch Soratobu kujira to double sekai no daibouken da nyan! (JPY 3.26bn)

4) Gekijouban Sword Art Online Ordinal Scale (JPY 2.5bn ~ JPY 2.6bn)*

5) Kaizoku to yobareta otoko (JPY 2.37bn)

6) 22 Nenme no Kokuhaku - Watashi ga satsujinhan desu - (JPY 2.34bn)* as of 23 July 2017

7) Hirugao (JPY 2.23bn)* as of 23 July 2017

8) Aibou - Gekijouban IV - Shuto Crisis Hitojichi wa 50-man nin! Tokumeigakari Saigo no ketsudan / Teiichi no Kuni (JPY 1.92bn)

10) Boku wa ashita, kinou no kimi to deeto suru (JPY 1.85bn)

In terms of the overall top 10 bestselling movies ranking, only the top 2 movies in this list made it to be ranked at No.3 and No.7 respectively. This seems to show that the Japanese box office is still pretty much dominated by Hollywood films and there is a considerable gap to overcome with the No.1 film "Beauty and the Beast" chalking up takings almost double of what the Conan movie got i.e. JPY 12.5bn vs. JPY 6.87bn.

Source: Cinema Today

Completion screening event of new movie "Tomodachi Game Gekijouban FINAL"

The completion screening event of new movie "Tomodachi Game Gekijouban FINAL" was held at United Cinema Toyosu on 3 August which was attended by the director Nagae Jiro and cast members Yoshizawa Ryo, Uchida Rio, Yamada Yuki, Ohkura Shimon and Nemoto Nagi. The movie is the concluding installment in the "Tomodachi Game" series which comprised of a movie and drama series and focuses on the final battle between Katagiri Yuichi (Yoshizawa) and Mikasa Tenji (Yamada) where they challenge the final game of friendship hide-and-seek. This movie will be shown in cinemas from 2 September while the previous movie will be released on Blu-Ray and DVD from 23 August.

Director Nagae explained that as the manga has yet to finish its run, this movie consists of various original elements and will satisfy the manga fans with a conclusive ending. The cast were also full of praise for the movie being very interesting and highlighted Yoshizawa's dark hero character as being very cool. Nemoto also joked that the previous movie began with a kiss between Yuichi and Tenji so this movie will show a development in their "relationship". Upon hearing this, Yoshizawa and Yamada protested jokingly that the movie isn't like that at all.

Reflecting on the filming which took place in the forest during winter, Yoshizawa and Yamada complained that it was so cold and the filming from day to night put them on the edge. However, they were glad that the movie turned out well so their efforts did pay off. Uchida who didn't participate in the filming at the forest, started to ask questions like how the air there felt like and if they had a toilet there. Yamada then asked if she was really interested in such things and why she didn't ask about the movie which made the audience laugh.

Sources: / Oricon / Nikkansports

Top 10 movies box office ranking for the weekend of 12th & 13th Aug 2017

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

1) Despicable Me 3 (359)

2) Spider-Man: Homecoming (355)

3) Kimi no suizou wo tabetai (319)

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

5) Transformers: The Last Knight (334)

6) Gintama (334)

7) Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (365)

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

9) Mary to Majo no Hana (365)

10) The Mummy (333)


Tsuchiya Tao & Yoshine Kyoko to be double leads in new movie "Kasane"

Tsuchiya Tao and Yoshine Kyoko will be joint leads in the new movie "Kasane" which will be directed by Sato Yuichi and released in cinemas next year. The movie which is based on the same-titled manga by Matsuura Daruma, has sold more than 1.8m copies to date and focuses on the theme of the beauty and ugliness of human beings. This will be the first time that Tsuchiya and Yoshine are working together and they will be effectively playing two roles in this movie.

Tsuchiya plays the role of Tanzawa Nina who is blessed with good looks but is struggling to improve in her acting career while Yoshine plays Fuchi Kasane, an actress who is talented in her craft thanks to her mother who was a legendary actress but has less than desirable looks. As such, Kasane has a strong inferior complex due to her appearance. However, when Kasane inherits a mysterious lipstick which is said to have the power to switch the faces of people who kiss while wearing it, she decides to use it on Nina which allows Kasane to achieve great success with Nina's looks and her strong acting skills. On the other hand, Nina goes on a downward spiral in her life due to her newly-acquired ugliness.

Tsuchiya commented that this will be a movie where the cast and staff will bask in the depths of darkness featured in the story while Yoshine expressed her excitement at being able to show a different side of her using special-effects make-up to make herself look extremely ugly. Tsuchiya also praised Yoshine for being a beautiful girl who is well-loved by everyone so she is very honoured and eager to be able to work with her. On the other hand, Yoshine complimented Tsuchiya for bursting with energy despite her petite frame and expressed confidence in being able to challenge herself in this movie thanks to Tsuchiya's presence.

Filming began on 4 August.

Sources: Sanspo /

Non to launch her music career and official fanclub in August 2017

Non i.e. Nounen Rena will be launching her music career and official fanclub as announced on her LINE LIVE "Non Channel" on 3 August. In her announcement, she revealed that she has set up a new recording label company KAIWA RECORD which has a logo of a root growing out of a shell. This logo was designed by Non herself with the intention of a pun on the company's name "KAIWA-RE" (meaning the splitting of a shell). As for why this name was chosen in the first place, NON explained that people who know her would realise that she is poor at talking to people so she hopes to be able to use her music to "talk" to others thus the name KAIWA which means conversation in Japanese.

In addition, her official fanclub will be set up from 6 August with the name "NON NOCK" which means that fans are welcome anytime and do not need to knock before coming in. NON also announced that she will be performing her new song at the music event WORLD HAPPINESS 2017 on the same day when the fanclub is launched.

Sources: Yomiuri Hochi 1 / Yomiuri Hochi 2 / Sanspo

Seino Nana to play Kuroyanagi Tetsuko in new TV Asahi afternoon drama "Totto-chan!"

Seino Nana will be taking on the leading role in upcoming TV Asahi afternoon drama "Totto-chan!" which will begin its run from October in the weekdays 12.30pm timeslot. She will be playing the role of Kuroyanagi Tetsuko from the time she was 15 years old.

This will be the afternoon timeslot's second offering that will be written by Oishi Shizuka and includes portions from the book "Madogiwa no Totto-chan" written by Kuroyanagi herself. Matsushita Nao will playing her mother Chou while her father Moritsuna will be played by Yamamoto Koji. Co-stars also include Takada Junji who plays Chou's uncle Inoue Hiroshi, Yagi Akiko who plays Chou's aunt and Hiroshi's wife, Sato B-saku who plays Chou's father and Komura Hiro who plays Chou's mother. Ozawa Yukiyoshi plays Shiina-san who is a cafe owner and rents an apartment to Chou and Moritsuna when they first got married while Takaoka Saki plays Ito Hanako whose husband was the first international architect in Japan and lives as a painter now. Takenaka Naoto plays Kobayashi Sousaku who was the principal of Tomoe Gakuen and had a great influence on Kuroyanagi's life. Ouki Kaname and Kurosaka Mami will also be part of the cast. Shirota Yu will be playing international pianist Yusuke Carl Kellner who had a romantic relationship with Kuroyanagi.

The story begins 4 years before Kuroyanagi was born in 1933 when Chou and Moritsuna meet for the first time and how they go through the tough days during the war and after it as a star is born into their family. Chou aspired to be an opera singer and was attending music school when she met the talented violinist Moritsuna. The childhood version of Kuroyanagi will be played by child actor Toyoshima Hana,

Seino appeared in Kuroyanagi's image and paid a visit to the latter while she was doing the recording of her daily variety programme "Tetsuko no Heya". Kuroyanagi praised Seino for being a spitting image of her while wearing Kuroyanagi's clothes and the mushroom-style wig. Kuroyanagi commented that there are many incidents which happened before her birth that will be featured in the drama so she feels that it will be a nostalgic trip down memory lane for her when she watches this drama. As such, she is eager for the drama to start and even lent her clothes to the drama's production team. In addition, Kuroyanagi commented that her life had not been entirely smooth-sailing due to various sad happenings but she was lucky to have her mother who respected her freedom and gave her the space to grow and do the things she wanted even though she felt that she probably was a difficult child. She hopes that the positive vibes from her story will cheer on everyone who is watching the drama.

Seino commented that she was nervous about having to play Kuroyanagi but hopes to be able to show the tomboyish, cute, frank and elegant sides of the latter through her acting. She also revealed that it was such a coincidence that she could fit into Kuroyanagi's clothes and shoes worn during her 20s so it sort of felt fated that she was to take on this role.

Filming of this drama is already in progress.

Sources: Sanspo / Oricon 1 / Oricon 2

Iitoyo Marie to star in new FujiTV drama SP "Aoi Tori Nante"

Iitoyo Marie will be starring in the new FujiTV drama SP "Aoi Tori Nante" which will be shown via CS FujiTV TWO in October. The story is based on the winning script by 17-year-old Kuribayashi Yuko who won the 4th Dorama Koushien competition which is held to discover promising scriptwriters who are currently senior high school students. Filming began on 3 August and Kuribayashi will also be the director of this drama SP.

Iitoyo plays a senior high school student Asadera Karea who is troubled over her feelings for her boyfriend set during the last summer of her high school days. By a strange stroke of fate, Karea happens to meet Sekiya Kouichi (Sugino Yousuke), the scholar of their school, when they send a blue bird to the vet. Nakamura Yurika will play Yoshii Nazuna who is in love with Sekiya while Makita Sports will play a street musician who is a key person in this story.

Iitoyo said that as she had only graduated from senior high school in spring last year, she found it interesting to be acting in a drama written by someone in the same age group and expressed her joy at being able to take part in this project. Although she had acted in love stories before, this is the first time she has acted in one written by a senior high school student so the lines are filled with a sense of pureness, innocence and frankness which she found to be rather refreshing. Iitoyo also reflected on her meeting with Kuribayashi who she described as someone who has strong feelings for her work so she hopes to be able to support Kuribayashi in conveying the drama's theme to the viewers.

Sources: Yomiuri Hochi / Sanspo / Oricon

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Screening commemoration event of new movie "Jojo no kimyou na bouken Diamond wa kudakenai Dai Isshou"

The screening commemoration event of new movie "Jojo no kimyou na bouken Diamond wa kudakenai Dai Isshou" was held at TOHO Cinemas Roppongi Hills on 5 August which was attended by the director Miike Takashi and cast members Yamazaki Kento, Kamiki Ryuunosuke, Komatsu Nana, Okada Masaki, Arata Mackenyu, Yamada Takayuki and Iseya Yuusuke. The movie was released in cinemas on the previous day.

Yamazaki greeted the audience and thanked them for coming to this event. The audience replied with a resounding applause when he asked how they felt about the movie. Yamazaki then revealed that this movie has a special position in his heart and he was really happy to have come this far with the support of everyone. Since this year is the 30th anniversary of the Jojo manga, he hoped that the movie will be a boost to this special occasion. In response, Miike said that if everyone wished for it, they may be able to make a sequel with the same team next time.

When asked about any interesting episodes during the filming, Komatsu who worked with Yamazaki for the first time, revealed that Yamazaki came across as a fascinating character to her especially when she saw him chasing after pigeons on a beach in Barcelona. Yamada then joked that Yamazaki would make strange remarks like "he feels like it's time to eat chickens" after eating steaks for a few consecutive days so they actually felt like he was going after the pigeons because he wanted to eat them.

When asked about what kind of special powers they wished to have, Iseya joked to Arata that he already has a special power as if his father Sonny Chiba is standing behind him. He then continued to say that he was surprised when Arata announced his new stage name which didn't have his father's surname. In response, Arata said that he was actually fine with using the surname Chiba but after discussions with his agency, they decided on using Arata instead.

Sources: Nikkansports /

Press conference of new WOWOW drama "Plage ~ Wakeari bakari no Sharehouse ~"

The press conference of new WOWOW drama "Plage ~ Wakeari bakari no Sharehouse ~" was held on 31 July which was attended by cast members Hoshino Gen, Ishida Yuriko, Naka Riisa, Sugashikao, Majima Hidekazu, Nakamura Yuri, Shibukawa Kiyohiko, the original novel's author Honda Tetsuya and the director Yoshida Yasuhiro. The drama which consists of 5 episodes, begins its run from 12 August in the Saturdays 10pm timeslot.

Hoshino will be playing the 32-year-old lead character Yoshimura Takao, a sales department salaryman at a travel agency who dabbles in stimulants out of fun which then leads to his arrest and dismissal by his company. To make things worse, the apartment where he lives at goes up in flames by accident. Having lost his job and place to live, Takao goes to live in the sharehouse Plage which takes in people with various backgrounds who are striving to regain their former lives or content to stay in a corner of society. Although Takao resolves to restart his life, he gets embroiled into the controversies and troubles involving the tenants there.

Hoshino revealed that he received the offer for this drama last summer and watched the final version yesterday. Although his character is on the silly side, he called upon viewers to pay attention to how his character changes as he interacts with the people around him. In line with the drama's theme about people's past sins, Hoshino commented that he has set a goal of not pushing himself too much this year which has made him miss the editorial deadlines for his articles more often than he usually does. Although he always expects himself to miss the deadline, he jokingly said that he tries to make sure that it's within an acceptable range as he doesn't want people to get angry at him.

As for Sugashikao who is making his debut as an actor in this drama, he confessed that he didn't know many things on the set and had to be taught by his co-stars who are experienced veterans. For example, Hoshino taught him how to memorise his lines while Ishida taught him how to turn around to face the camera. He also tried to observe everyone's rehearsal sessions so that he could learn a thing or two from them. Ishida chipped in to say that Sugashikao is a very keen learner and would keep asking questions so as to make his performance better while Hoshino revealed that Sugashikao's character will be very fantastic in the last episode. Upon hearing this, Sugashikao was embarrassed and told them to stop talking about such things.

Ishida who plays the sharehouse owner Asada Junko, said that her character is filled with so much motherly love that she is hardly similar to her. However, Hoshino whispered to Ishida that she is not as bad as she thinks which made her thank him with a smile.

The cast also revealed how they gathered around in one of the rooms of the house which was used for the filming during their filming breaks and chatted over meals and snacks. However, due to the flooring which gave out creaking sounds whenever they moved, everyone had to tiptoe and move around cautiously so as not to make too much noise which could affect the filming taking place on the first floor.

Uehara Takako & Abe Tsuyoshi exposed for having extramarital affair; cited to be possible reason for her husband's suicide

Uehara Takako and Abe Tsuyoshi are said to have had an affair three years ago despite both being married then and that this was a possible reason leading to her late husband TENN's suicide three years ago as reported in the 10th August issue of magazine "Josei Seven". Below is a summary of what led to the revelation of this scandal from the various sources:

- TENN was found to have committed suicide on 25 September 2014 by Uehara who had gone to their apartment's carpark to search for her husband who didn't return home the previous night. The couple had just celebrated their second wedding anniversary on 23 August. At that time, it was reported that TENN had left three suicide notes to Uehara, his fellow ET-KING members and his fans but the reason for his suicide was not made clear then despite rumours swirling around about his less-than-successful career as compared to his wife and how she had to spend a lot of time in Tokyo for work while he was based in Osaka which led to them drifting apart.

- Things took a drastic change when TENN's younger brother reportedly went to the media recently with evidence of Uehara's infidelity with Abe in the form of LINE messages and intimate photos of the two such as hugging or kissing. These were said to be retrieved from TENN's smartphone which was in his family's custody after his death. As such, the family already knew three years ago that Uehara was supposedly having an affair with Abe before TENN's death. It was reported in the recent article that TENN's mother i.e. Uehara's mother-in-law had stopped her family then from taking any action on the basis of this discovery.

- Ultimately, what led to a change in the situation eventually was related to Uehara's action recently before she was exposed by FRIDAY to have a new boyfriend. Soon after TENN's death, his mother had asked Uehara to remove herself from their family register since she is still young and there is a likelihood that she will get remarried in future. As such, she didn't want Uehara to be burdened by carrying their family name and feeling obliged to continue being a widow. Uehara reportedly rejected this suggestion and asked for permission to continue bearing the Moriwaki (TENN's surname) name even though TENN's mother had raised this suggestion a number of times since then.

- However, when the FRIDAY report about Uehara's new relationship was about to come out, she was said to have gone to her former in-laws and asked to remove herself from their family register. It was later then that they realised that this had to do with her having a new boyfriend named Kou Kazuya and her intention to get married to him even though she had all along been the one who wanted to retain the family surname. This angered the family members who had been keeping a lid on her infidelity and they confronted Uehara with evidence of her affair and demanded compensation of tens of millions of yen. Having no choice but to admit to her affair, Uehara made a counter offer to pay them compensation on a monthly basis as she couldn't afford to pay a lump sum. However, the family rejected her attempt to settle this with money and didn't want TENN's reputation to be affected any longer due to the untrue rumours about their income gap which supposedly caused his suicide. As such, this was reportedly why TENN's brother approached the magazine with the information to let everyone know the truth.

- Along with the photos and LINE messages exchanged between Uehara and Abe, the most crucial piece of evidence will have to be TENN's suicide note which revealed how apologetic he was about his inability to have children and how he actually knew about her affair with Abe:
"Takako, thank you and goodbye. Sorry for having a body which cannot have children. I am really sorry.
For the amount of happiness I had, I have the same amount of fear about the future where I don't think I will have anything left. Please forgive me.
Please be happy on my behalf too. I'm sure you will be able to overcome this with Abe Tsuyoshi.
You shouldn't betray someone next time. Drink lesser. Don't lie.
I guess you must hate me, right? However, please forgive me one day. There are so many things which have become too heavy for me to bear...sorry.
This is the best decision I've made in view of the future. Please forgive my wilfulness.
There will come a day when you will forget about me. You will be fine although it will be tough for you at the moment.
Work hard and become happy with Dongdong.
Don't open the car door and call for the police."

- The LINE messages published in the magazine also showed how Uehara and Abe supposedly expressed their passionate love for each other, addressed each other by nicknames such as Dongdong (Abe's Chinese nickname) and Taka-chan and how she couldn't lie to her husband anymore when her heart was with Abe. Uehara also spoke of how she wished that she could dump everything and be with Abe but there were difficulties which she couldn't ignore as an adult. The two of them also talked about having children of their own but they had to find a suitable timing before doing so.

- Uehara and Abe reportedly met while working on a stage play which was performed between July and September 2014 i.e. months before TENN's suicide. Even with the rehearsal period counted, it was said that their affair was merely a few months' old. However, their relationship seemed to have progressed tremendously in that short amount of time as seen by how she was willing to leave her husband and how they talked about having their own children.

- Since news of their reported affair were reported, Uehara and Abe have both stopped updating their social media accounts and didn't comment publicly about this matter. It was also pointed out that Abe had stopped updating his social media accounts for as long as 8 months after TENN's death three years ago. Meanwhile, Uehara is currently involved in rehearsals for an upcoming stage play and was said to have apologised to the staff and her co-stars for having caused a disturbance due to the news.

Sources: News Matomedia / Sponichi / Yomiuri Hochi / Messy