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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Ihara Tsuyoshi to star in FujiTV drama SP "Honoo no Keieisha"

Ihara Tsuyoshi will be starring in the FujiTV drama SP "Honoo no Keieisha" (The entrepreneur of flames) which will be shown at 4pm on 19 March. This will be Ihara's first leading role in a FujiTV drama.

The drama SP which is based on the same-titled novel published by Takasugi Ryo in 1986, describes the life of Yatabe Taizo (Ihara) before and after WWII as he grew his small business Okita Gosei Kagaku Kogyo in a small town of Osaka to become the internationally-renowed Nisshoku Kagaku Kogyo. Yatabe was an engineering professor whose company made phthalic anhydride used in the paint for cars and aeroplanes during the war. With his continuous research, guts and strong faith, he overcame many challenges to grow his company while helping his staff to develop their talents. Yatabe was modelled after the founder of Nisshoku i.e. the late Yatagai Taizo.

Co-stars include Shiba Toshio who plays an influential figure Nagata Shigeo in the political and economic world, Toda Naho who plays Yatabe's wife Satoko, Yamaguchi Tomomitsu who plays Sanada Kozo, a shogi player and good friend of Yatabe as well as Ishimaru Kenjiro, Watanabe Dai, Nakamura Yasuhi, Kitami Toshiyuki, Oishi Goro, Uchida Shigeru and Rokkaku Shinji.

Sources: Sanspo / Yomiuri Hochi / Oricon

Top 10 movies box office ranking for the weekend of 25th & 26th February 2017

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

1) La La Land (259)

2) Sword Art Online The Movie: Ordinal Scale (151)

3) Aibou Gekijouban IV Shuto Crisis Hitojichi wa 50-man nin! Tokumeigakari Saigo no Ketsudan (347)

4) xXx: Return of Xander Cage (306)

5) Isshukan Friends (305)

6) Survival Family (267)

7) Kimi no na wa (296)

8) Collateral Beauty (200)

9) Kiseki Ano Hi no Sobito (171)

10) Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (350)

Source: Eiga.com

Monday, February 27, 2017

Haru & Higashide Masahiro to play a married couple in new TBS Spring 2017 drama "Anata no koto wa sorehodo"

Haru will be starring in the upcoming TBS Spring 2017 drama "Anata no koto wa sorehodo" (I'm not that in love with you) which will begin its run from April 2017 in the Tuesdays 10pm timeslot. The drama which is based on the same-titled manga by Ikuemi Ryo, features Haru as Watanabe Mitsu who works at an eye clinic and is married to Ryota (Higashide Masahiro) who she met when he came to the clinic as a patient. Unknown to Ryota, Mitsu had always been in love with her former junior high classmate Arishima Koki (Suzuki Nobuyuki) since her teens but he disappeared without a word one day. Having been told by a fortune teller before when she was in junior high that she will end up marrying someone she likes second best instead of the man she loves most, Mitsu then decided to marry Ryota because she thought that she would never stand a chance with Koki anymore. However, as fate would have it, she happens to bump into Koki again and begins a forbidden affair with him despite the fact that Koki is already married to Reika (Naka Riisa).

Haru commented on her character Mitsu that she is someone who knows that even though what she desires is wrong, she would still go ahead with it. As such, Haru feels that Mitsu is a very straightforward yet somewhat silly woman so she hopes to be able to show these traits through her acting. This drama will be her first collaboration with Higashide.

Sources: Yomiuri Hochi / Sponichi / Oricon

Sawamura Ikki & Arakawa Yoshiyoshi to appear in new TV Asahi drama SP "Soshite dare mo inakunatta"

Sawamura Ikki and Arakawa Yoshiyoshi will appear in the new TV Asahi drama SP "Soshite dare mo inakunatta" starring Nakama Yukie which will be shown at 9pm on 25th and 26th March. The mystery story depicts how 10 people at a hotel on an isolated island were killed one by one and the 10 bodies were discovered later. Nakama Yukie plays the role of a former swimmer Shiramine Ryo who is a home tutor rumoured to have caused the death of her student in a swimming pool 5 years ago. Co-stars include Watase Tsunehiko, Tsugawa Masahiko, Yo Kimiko, Yanagiba Toshiro, Daichi Mao, Mukai Osamu and Kunimura Jun who play the guests at the hotel while Hashizume Isao and Fuji Mariko will play the butler and his wife respectively.

Sawamura plays the role of a detective from the 1st section of Metropolitan Police Department who is very observant and doesn't miss out anything. Arakawa plays a lieutenant from the Hachijojima Higashi Police Station who is sent to investigate the case as the island where the murders took place are under its jurisdiction.

Sawamura commented that their characters in the drama don't really get along with each other but he really enjoyed bickering with Arakawa on screen. In response, Arakawa pointed out that the director said that the balance between their characters made the drama even more interesting so he was glad that things turned out well in the end.

Source: Nikkansports

Supporting cast lineup announced for new movie "Sandome no Satsujin"

The supporting cast lineup for new movie "Sandome no Satsujin" (The Third Murder) directed by Koreeda Hirokazu and starring Fukuyama Masaharu and Yakusho Koji was announced. The movie is based on Koreeda's original script about the psychological drama between an elite lawyer played by Fukuyama who values winning over everything and a murderer played by Yakusho. The story which is from Shigemori's (Fukuyama) perspective, talks about how he takes on the case of Misumi (Yakusho) who is on trial for murder despite the low odds of winning the case. As he interacts with Misumi, Shigemori starts to realise how unconvincing Misumi's motive for killing is and stands to wonder if the latter is the true murderer.

Hirose Suzu who appeared in another Koreeda movie "Umimachi diary" previously, will be playing the murder victim's daughter Yamanaka Sakie while Saito Yuki will be playing the victim's wife Mitsue. Yoshida Kotaro will be playing Settsu Daisuke who works on the case together with Shigemori and Mitsushima Shinnosuke will be playing a young lawyer Kawashima Teru who belongs to the same law firm as Shigemori. Matsuoka Izumi will be Hattori Akiko, an admin staff in the law firm while Ichikawa Mikako will be the prosecutor Shinohara Kazuki and Hashizume Isao will be Shigemori's father Akihisa who was the judge for Misumi's case 30 years ago.

The movie will be shown in cinemas from September this year.

Source: Sanspo

Arashi's Sakurai Sho & TV Asahi announcer Ogawa Ayaka reportedly dating?

Arashi's Sakurai Sho and TV Asahi announcer Ogawa Ayaka are said to be dating according to the latest issue of "Shuukan Post" due to be published on 27 February. The article is said to include a number of photos taken of the two of them when they met up at places such as Ogawa's apartment. With regard to the article, Sakurai's agency did not deny the dating rumour directly but simply said that they are close friends. As for TV Asahi, they said the same thing and confirmed that Sakurai and Ogawa had never worked together before. According to various news reports, the two of them met through mutual friends and were said to have started dating about one year ago.

Sources: Sanspo / Sponichi

Screening event of new movie "Neko Atsume no Ie"

The screening event of new movie "Neko Atsume no Ie" was held at a cat cafe in Tokyo on 21 February which was attended by Ito Atsushi. The movie which will be shown in cinemas from 8 April, features Ito as the lead character Sakumoto Masaru who is a novelist facing a slump in his work and decides to move to a tranquil place on a whim. While there, he encounters many cats and through his interaction with them, his life slowly changes as well.

Ito recounted that the filming was very therapeutic for him as he was surrounded by cats. Usually, the waiting time in between the scenes would be quite painful and boring but they could play with the cats which were always around. As for the biggest change which had happened to him after filming this movie, Ito revealed that he actually has a pet dog which he brings out for walks. During such walks, he would approach the cats he sees in the neighbourhood but they all ran away from him. After the filming, he learnt how to interact with cats and deliberately ignored the cats during his walks which led them to follow him around quietly.

During the event, Cinnamon and Drop, the PR cat ambassadors for the movie, were presented with one year's worth of cat food and appointment certificates as "remuneration". However, both cats were more content with sleeping and playing on the cat tower rather than on the event.

Sources: Oricon / Eiga.com

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Fujiki Naohito to play Sawajiri Erika's ex-husband in NTV Spring 2017 drama "Haha ni naru"

Fujiki Naohito will be playing Sawajiri Erika's ex-husband in the upcoming NTV Spring 2017 drama "Haha ni naru" which will begin its run from April in the Wednesdays 10pm timeslot. The drama features Sawajiri as the lead character Kashiwazaki Yui whose son was kidnapped at the age of three on the way home from nursery just because she failed to pay attention for a brief moment. This led to the breakdown of her marriage and Kashiwazaki has been living on her own since then. 9 years later, she gets reunited with her son who has now turned 13 years old and needs to deal with how to interact with her son again and regain the lost years and her broken family. Co-stars include Koike Eiko who plays Kadokura Asako, the woman who had kidnapped Kashiwazaki's son and taken care of him as a mother for the last nine years and Itaya Yuka who plays Nishihara Risako, Kashiwazaki's friend who has been supporting all this time while her son was missing.

Fujiki will play the role of Yui's ex-husband Yoichi who had separated from her after their son went missing. Although Yoichi used to be an associate professor specialising in the research of artificial intelligence at an university, he became a hikkikomori (social withdrawal staying at home) since his son's disappearance.

The first day of Fujiki's filming was for the scene where the Kashiwazakis first met 16 years ago at a bookstore where Yoichi was ordering a book from Yui who worked there. Fujiki and Sawajiri last worked together in the drama "Ichi litre no namide" about 12 years ago and he remarked that she has always been very mature beyond her age and is doing well to take on the challenge of such a difficult role. As they are playing a married couple this time, he will try his best to match up to her and do a good job. On the other hand, Sawajiri revealed that they didn't really get to chat much when they worked together 12 years ago but she feels that Fujiki has always had a knowledgeable and learned image so the role of Yoichi is a perfect match for him. As for filming the scene from 16 years ago, Sawajiri was more worried about whether she would look like she was 21 years old since that was the age of Yui at that time.

Co-stars in this drama also include Fubuki Jun who plays Rie, Yoichi's mother, Asano Kazuyuki who plays Nishihara Taiji, Yoichi's fellow researcher and professor at the university as well as Takahashi Maryjun, Fujisawa Haruka and Mochizuki Ayumu.

Sources: Yomiuri Hochi / Sponichi / Oricon

Gouriki Ayame to star in new TV Asahi Spring 2017 drama "Joshuu Seven"

Gouriki Ayame will be starring in the new TV Asahi Spring 2017 drama "Joshuu Seven" (Seven Female Prisoners) which will begin its run from April in the Fridays 11.15timeslot. This original drama written by Nishiogi Yumie features seven female prisoners who had committed various crimes and describes their interaction and interpersonal relationships while behind bars.

Gouriki plays the lead character Kamiwatari Kotone who was a geigi in Kyoto sentenced to five years in prison (the lowest sentence for this crime) for the murder of her fellow geigi while in a drunken stupor. Although all the evidence pointed to Kotone as the murderer, she insisted that she did not do it but to no avail. During her imprisonment, Kotone is bullied by other inmates but doesn't think much of it because she had been used to the tough disciplinary actions by her seniors in the geigi world. Unknown to the others, Kotone has a lot of strength, can easily fight anyone with aikido, pretends to be stupid but is actually very smart, fluent in English and French and has very good hearing. At the end of the drama, the reason why Kotone was framed for the murder will also be revealed.

With regard to her character, Gouriki described her as someone who is quiet but has a somewhat eerie air around her and her wickedness hidden within. As such, she is very excited over how to project the contrasting sides of Kotone through this drama which will show the strengths and frightening side of women through their survival battles behind bars.

Sources: Nikkansports / Oricon

Fukushi Seiji & Higa Manami reported to have broken up last autumn

Fukushi Seiji and Higa Manami are said to have broken up as reported on 20 February. According to insiders, the couple decided to go their separate ways last autumn around October as they were too busy with their respective careers thus marking the end of their two-year relationship. After the break-up, Higa was said to have gone on a trip to Thailand with her female friend and uploaded the photos on her Instagram account at the end of last year.

Fukushi and Higa worked together previously in the 2012 drama "Hanchou ~ Keishicho Azumihan ~" and the 2014 stage play "Sanada Juuyuushi" which was said to have brought them closer and resulted in them becoming an item. News of their relationship first came out in February 2015. When last asked about their relationship status during an event in June last year, Higa said that it was up to anyone's imagination so it was believed that they were still together then.

Sources: Nikkansports / Sanspo / Yomiuri Hochi

Yamada Takayuki to appear in TV Tokyo drama SP "Hagoku" as a prisoner

Yamada Takayuki will be appearing in the TV Tokyo drama SP "Hagoku" opposite the lead played by Beat Takeshi which is due to be shown within the year. In this drama SP set in 1942, Takeshi will be playing a prison warden named Urata Susumu who works at Kosuge Prison in Tokyo and has no purpose in life other than stop his prisoners from escaping ever since his wife died during an earthquake. One day, he is informed that a former inmate at Kosuge named Sakuma Kiyotaro who used to respect him a lot and was sent to another prison in Akita to serve his life sentence had escaped. 3 months later, Sakuma comes to Urata's house and reveals that he was subjected to inhumane treatment at the Akita prison and wants to launch a lawsuit against them. However, Urata tells on Sakuma which results in the latter being caught and sent to the prison in Abashiri, Hokkaido. Subsequently, Urata gets transferred to Abashiri to become the chief warden and meets Sakuma there again.

Yamada will be taking on the role of Sakuma who was born into a poor family in Aomori and became an odd-job man on a crab fishing boat. While breaking into a warehouse to steal, he kills a man who is hot on his heels and gets a life sentence. However, he vows to stay alive and tries to break out of prison successfully at least 4 times. With regard to his character, Yamada commented that he never expected this character to be so worn-out both physically and mentally but he was happy to be able to challenge himself. In order to match the image of his character, Yamada shaved his head and went through a strict diet to lose weight. During the filming of this drama SP, he rejected all other jobs so as to concentrate on this project. Yamada added that just as what Urata's lines say, Sakuma is such a straightforward person that many people cannot comprehend him and just fear him. As such, he hopes to be able to show this side of Sakuma through his acting. As for working with Takeshi for the first time, he clearly enjoyed the experience and hoped that there would be a day when he can act in a production directed by his co-star.

Sources: Nikkansports / Sanspo / Oricon / Eiga.com

Main cast announced for new movie "Dorobo Yakusha"

The main cast for the new movie "Dorobo Yakusha" starring Kanjani 8's Maruyama Ryuhei and directed by Nishida Masafumi has been announced. Maruyama plays the role of Onuki Hajime, a welder who used to be a thief and is living a happy life with his girlfriend now. One day, he happens to meet his former partner in crime Hatakeyama Norio and is forced to break into the residence of a picture book author to steal. Although he makes it successfully into the house, he gets discovered by various people and has to assume different identities such as the houseowner, picture book author and editor in order to prevent being exposed and arrested by the police.

Ichimura Masachika will play Maezono Shuntaro, a picture book author and the owner of the luxury residence which Hajime breaks into while Yusuke Santa Maria will play a salesman who comes to the residence to sell oil paint teaching materials. Ishibashi Anna who has taken over the role from Shimizu Fumika, will be playing Oku Eriko who is the editor in charge of Maezono's works and Minemura Rie will play Yonemura Mayumi who is Oku's boss and the chief editor. Norio will be played by Miyagawa Daisuke while Takahata Mitsuki will play Fujioka Misa, Hajime's girlfriend. Last but not least, Katagiri Jin will play Takanashi Jin, a YouTuber who is Maezono's neighbour.

Filming began on 26 January and is expected to last till March instead of late February due to the change in the cast. The movie will be shown in cinemas from November this year.

Sources: Sanspo / Eiga.com

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Takanashi Rin to star in new NTV Spring 2017 drama "Koi ga heta demo ikitemasu"

Takanashi Rin will be starring in the new Yomiuri TV / NTV Spring 2017 drama "Koi ga heta demo ikitemasu" (Even if I am poor at love, I am surviving) which will begin its run from 6 April in the Thursdays 11.59pm timeslot. This marks her first leading role in a drama series in 4 years.

The drama which is based on the same-titled manga by Fujiwara Akira, features Takanashi as the lead character Chigasaki Misa, a career woman working at a smartphone games company who struggles between the ideals and reality women face when it comes to love. Tanaka Kei plays Ojima Keisuke, a handsome and capable management professional returning from New York who snatches the president's post from her but the two become romantically involved later. Co-stars also include Tsuchimura Kaho who plays Enoda Chihiro, an innocent receptionist good at household chores and Fuchikami Yasushi who plays Hashimoto Tsukasa, Misa's rival at work.

Takanashi commented that she hopes that this drama will be an encouragement to women who are trying their best in work and love while the men will be able to know more about how women think. As such, she hopes to be able to show the comedic and romantic aspects of the drama through her acting. With regard to working with Tanaka, she is also eagerly anticipating how things will turn out between them in the drama. Meanwhile, Tanaka commented that although he has been an actor for 17 years, this is the first time that he is playing someone as perfect as this so he finds this a challenge which is hard to come by.

Sources: Nikkansports / Yomiuri Hochi / Oricon / Eiga.com

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

The first-day-screening event of new movie "Gukoroku" was held at Marunouchi Picadilly on 18 February which was attended by the director Ishikawa Kei and cast members Tsumabuki Satoshi, Mitsushima Hikari, Koide Keisuke, Usuda Asami, Ichikawa Yui, Matsumoto Wakana and Nakamura Tomoya. The movie which is based on the same-titled novel by Nukui Tokuro, features Tsumabuki as the lead character Tanaka who tries to find out the truth behind the massacre of a family and discovers frightening facts about those related to the case. Mitsushima plays his younger sister who is hiding a big secret from him.

When asked about if the cast had any secrets, Tsumabuki revealed that he was wearing his lucky underpants with a JAWS' picture which he had to sew himself as there was a hole due to him wearing it too frequently. Upon hearing this, Mitsushima joked that everyone must be imagining how he looks like in his JAWS underpants after hearing what he said. She revealed that she was advised by a director who she had worked with in the past to look at the staff members' faces while acting so this became a habit for her all the way till now.

With regard to the same question, Koide said that he met popular comedian Buruzon Chiemi recently during a PR appearance and thought that she looked beautiful. This led his co-stars to say that this answer didn't qualify so Koide had to say that he bumped his little finger in the bathroom the day before which led to a lot of bleeding which made the audience laugh. As for Ichikawa, she brought her son for a vaccination three days ago but ended up with a slipped disc on the way home. The pain which felt as if needles were pierced into her body was so hard to bear that she found it difficult to stand and had to wear a corset in order to appear for the event which was greeted with applause from the audience.

When asked about playing siblings again, Tsumabuki described Mitsushima as someone who he can understand very well even without speaking a lot and respects her a lot as an actress. In response, Mitsushima also echoed his view and they both looked at each other smilingly.

Sources: Nikkansports / Sanspo / Sponichi 1 / Sponichi 2 / Oricon / Eiga.com

Friday, February 24, 2017

First-day-screening event of new movie "Isshukan Friends"

The first-day-screening event of new movie "Isshukan Friends" was held at Shinjuku Picadilly on 18 February which was attended by the director Murakami Shosuke and cast members Kawaguchi Haruna, Yamazaki Kento, Uesugi Shuhei, Matsuo Takashi, Furuhata Seika, Takahashi Haori and Totsugi Shigeyuki. The movie is based on the same-titled shoujo manga that had sold more than 1.5 million copies to date. Kawaguchi plays a senior high school girl Fujimiya Kaori who has an illness which causes her to lose her memories every Monday and Yamazaki plays her classmate Hase Yuuki who has to confess his love to her every week so that she can remember him.

Yamazaki commented that he was glad to see such a huge turnout for the event and hopes that more people can come to the cinemas to watch their movie. Kawaguchi revealed that when she watched the screening with the president of her agency prior to the event, the two of them couldn't help but cry which was rather strange for her because she can usually watch her works from an objective perspective. Nonetheless, she was glad that the audience seemed to like the movie and expressed confidence in the final product.

In conjunction with the first-day-screening which marked a brand new step in the cast's careers, the director presented them with graduation certificates. Although the actors who played students received their certificates with smiles, Totsugi who played a teacher in the movie, behaved quite nervously when receiving his certificate which made the audience laugh at his stiff posture and expression.

In the movie, Kaori and Yuuki exchange diaries in a bid to bridge the distance between them. As such, during the event, Kawaguchi and Yamazaki exchanged their certificates. Yamazaki also praised his co-star for being very humourous and expressed his thanks to her for helping him on the set. In response, Kawaguchi returned the favour by saying that he also helped her a lot and that she likes him for being a frank and hardworking actor and person.

Sources: Nikkansports / Oricon / Eiga.com

"Super Salaryman Saenai-shi" spin-off drama "Ramen Koike no Oni no Toshirabeshitsu" to be shown via Hulu

NTV Winter 2017 drama "Super Salaryman Saenai-shi starring Tsutsumi Shinichi will be having a spin-off drama titled "Ramen Koike no Oni no Toshirabeshitsu" (Ramen Koike's Devilish Interrogation Room) which will be streamed via Hulu after the original drama's last episode broadcast on 18 March. This spin-off drama is written and directed by Fukuda Yuichi and consists of three episodes. It will feature Muro Tsuyoshi as Koike Ikuo, a police detective in the main drama who snatches the credit from Saenai with his buddy Karino (Nakamura Tomoya) in each episode.

Muro who is a regular in Fukuda's works, commented that he had been instructed to fool around in the main drama which he had faithfully followed but things will get even crazier in the drama SP with Nakamura. However, Muro "complained" that he still does not know how far they will have to go since the script isn't even ready by now.

Sources: Oricon / Eiga.com

Sawajiri Erika to be the heroine in new movie "Funouhan"

Sawajiri Erika will be the heroine in the new movie "Funouhan" starring Matsuzaka Toori which will be shown in cinemas next year. This will be Sawajiri's first attempt at playing a police detective. Filming was done between 21 September 2016 and 23 October 2016.

The film which is based on the ongoing same-titled manga by Miyatsuki Arata and Kanzaki Yuuya, features Matsuzaka as Usobuki Tadashi who is a mysterious man with red eyes, wears black suits with a wine-red shirt and possesses a special power which will drive people to their death through methods such as curses and brainwashing. However, it is impossible for his crimes to be proven in court thus Usobuki cannot be taken to justice for the killings he did on behalf of his clients.

Sawajiri plays the role of Tada Tomoko who is a police detective and the only person who cannot be controlled by Usobuki. She is the number one beauty in the police station who hates lies and beating around the bush. Although she may speak harshly, she's actually very caring towards her subordinates and even the criminals. In the original manga, this character is actually a man but it was decided to change this to a female instead so as to contrast against the evil and bewitching Usobuki.

Although this is the first time that Sawajiri is taking on action scenes and fighting against men on screen, she revealed that she had always wanted to give such scenes a try someday. As her character is modeled after a man after all, she tried to show the masculine side of her  character especially her strong sense of justice and will. With regard to acting against Matsuzaka, she praised her co-star for bearing a striking resemblance to the character in the manga, she said that she had enjoyed herself thoroughly during the filming of this movie.

Sources: Sponichi / My Navi News / Eiga.com

"Karera ga honki de amu toki wa" wins Teddy Award at the 67th Berlin International Film Festival

The movie "Karera ga honki de amu toki wa" directed by Ogigami Naoko and starring Ikuta Toma won the Teddy Award at the 67th Berlin International Film Festival as announced on 17 February. During the festival, the award which was first established in 1987, is presented to the best film among those with a LGBT theme. In this year's edition, a total of 37 films were shortlisted in this category and this is the first time that a Japanese film has won this award.

The movie was conceptualised by Ogigami after she returned to Japan from the United States in 2013 where she went for further studies. While there, she felt that Japan was still far behind in terms of its acceptance of the sexual minority and got the idea for the movie after reading an article about a mother who knitted fake breasts for her transgender son. The movie also features Kiritani Kenta, Mimura, Koike Eiko, Kadowaki Mugi, Lily and Tanaka Misako in its cast.

Ogigami commented that she hopes that the movie will be the trigger for people to think about the various forms a family can take and be more accepting of the differences among people. In addition, she also hopes that people will develop a better understanding of the LGBT community and change their perception of what is the norm.

Source: Oricon

"Tokyo Tarareba Musume" spin-off drama "Tokyo Dara Dara Musume" to be shown via Hulu

NTV Winter 2017 drama "Tokyo Tarareba Musume" starring Yoshitaka Yuriko, Eikura Nana and Oshima Yuko will have its spin-off drama to be shown via Hulu from 22nd February. The drama titled "Tokyo Dara Dara Musume" (Tokyo Slovenly Girls) which consists of 5 episodes to be released every Wednesday, features three women played by Sato Hitomi, Ozawa Maju and Kobayashi Kinako who are around the age of 40 i.e. 10 years older than the original cast. Sato will play a freeter Ranko while Ozawa and Kobayashi will play Saori, a beautician and Koume, the manager at an izakaya respectively. The three of them are all single and spend their time at a drinking place Nondakure having girls' gatherings and talking about everything under the sun without qualms.

With regard to their images in the drama looking very similar to the original trio, Sato apologised with a smile to the fans of Yoshitaka, Eikura and Oshima and hoped that they are not offended by the three of them looking like this in the spin-off drama. As for the selling point of this drama, Sato said that the gatherings aren't as slovenly as they may seem where they will talk about some topics which are bound to resonate with people of all age groups. Kobayashi commented that unlike the Tarareba generation which still has some possibilities to explore in the future, they are already at the stage where they don't want to waste too much energy on men and spend time talking about the what-ifs. As such, their talk will offer a different perspective from the Tarareba girls. Ozawa also chipped in to say that the feeling of being resigned to fate and given up on certain things will probably be more obvious in their lines but at the same time, the feeling of being free from restrictions will also come across more strongly in their drama.

Sources: Oricon / Yomiuri Hochi / Sponichi

Supporting cast lineup of FujiTV drama SP "Onna no Kunshou" announced


The supporting cast lineup of FujiTV drama SP "Onna no Kunshou" starring Matsushima Nanako and due to be shown this spring was announced on 16 February. The drama which is based on the same-titled novel by the late Yamasaki Toyoko, features Matsushima as the heroine Oba Noriko who starts a small dressmaking school in Kansai after the end of WWII and gets embroiled into the spiral of jealousy among women in the fashion industry.

Oba Noriko was from a family operating a woolcloth wholesale business before the war happened and she lost everything as a result. Since young, she has been interested in clothes and decides to open her own dressmaking school. However, once she starts to do well, the old-fashioned industry leaders of the fashion world see her as an eyesore and subject her to harsh treatment in order to get her out of the way. With the help of Yashiro Ginshiro who teaches her business management and her students Rinko, Katsumi and Tomie, Noriko gradually builds up her business. Unfortunately, personal desires of the women and being made use of by Ginshiro causes Noriko to be hurt badly and she later meets Shiraishi, an university professor who also has emotional issues of his own.

Tamaki Hiroshi will be playing the role of Ginshiro who will be speaking Kansai-ben in this drama SP. With regard to this, Tamaki commented that he had a huge amount of lines to memorise this time so he hopes to be able to show Ginshiro's gift of the gab through his acting. As for Noriko's three students, they will be played by Aibu Saki, Kinami Haruka and Mimura. Nagatsuka Kyozo will be playing Shiraishi who supports Noriko through all her troubles while Asano Yuuko will be playing a big-name designer who stands in Noriko's way. Other co-stars include Ozawa Yukiyoshi, Suruga Taro and Enami Kyoko.

As the drama is set in the fashion industry, a total of 60 outfits, 50 pieces of jewellery and 18 hats were prepared for Matsushima alone of which more than 10 outfits were designed and made by famous fashion designer Nakai Eiichiro. As for Mimura, Aibu and Kinami, they each have about 30 outfits each. In total, the 10 main cast members have about 200 outfits so viewers will be treated to a galore of beautiful clothes through this drama.

Sources: Sanspo / Yomiuri Hochi

"Karera ga honki de amu toki wa" participates in the 67th Berlin International Film Festival

The new movie "Karera ga honki de amu toki wa" was featured in the 67th Berlin International Film Festival held during 9th to 19th February which was attended by the director Ogigami Naoko and cast members Ikuta Toma, Kiritani Kenta and Kakihara Rinka. After the screening of the movie on 15 February, the 800-strong audience gave a 8-minute-long standing ovation to the director and cast.

Ikuta plays the role of 32-year-old Rinko who has been troubled since young due to gender dysphoria. Despite being born as a boy, Rinko has always felt that he should be a girl and later underwent a sex change surgery to become a woman. Nonetheless, despite Rinko's physical appearance, she is still listed as a man on her family register and works as a carer at an old folks' home. Rinko lives with her lover Makio played by Kiritani Kenta and his niece Tomo (Kakihara Rinka) who was abandoned by her mother and she showers Tomo with love as if she is her real mother.

Before the screening, Ikuta greeted the audience in English and expressed his joy at being able to take part in the film festival for the first time. When it came to Kiritani's turn, he threw flying kisses to the audience first before speaking to the audience in Japanese.

Source: Oricon

Narita Ryo to appear in FujiTV Spring 2017 drama "Hito wa mitame ga 100 percent"

Narita Ryo will be appearing in the upcoming FujiTV Spring 2017 drama "Hito wa mitame ga 100 percent" starring Kiritani Mirei which will begin its run from April in the Thursdays 10pm timeslot. The drama which is based on the same-titled manga by Okubo Hiromi, features a group of women working in the scientific field who are so caught up with their work that they forget how it is to pay attention to their attention thus earning them the nickname "Joshi Modoki (JSM)" (fake women). Kiritani plays the lead character Jonouchi Jun who is a researcher working in a paper manufacturing company and has been pouring all her energy into her work that she totally ignores what it means to dress up like a woman and care for her looks. As such, she has had little luck with men all along. However, when she realises that she is in danger of becoming a JSM, she gets together with her fellow female researchers to make an effort in changing their appearances and make themselves more beautiful.

Narita will be playing a handsome hairstylist Sakaki Keiichi who Jonouchi is in love with. Actually, Narita went to a hairstyling school and acquired the relevant license before he entered showbiz so he already has the skills necessary for his attempt at playing a hairstylist. Narita commented that he had always thought that he would like to play a hairstylist one day so he's very excited about being able to do so in this drama. He revealed that he used to have the dream of being a hairstylist but didn't get the chance to work in a salon as he had entered showbiz after graduation so he is eager to play this character to relive the time when he was 18 and aiming to become a hairstylist.

Source: Oricon

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Yoshinaga Sayuri & Sakai Masato to star in new movie "Kita no Sakuramori"

Yoshinaga Sayuri and Sakai Masato will be acting together in the new movie "Kita no Sakuramori" (The Northern Sakura Protector) which will be directed by Takita Yojiro. The movie which will also be Yoshinaga's 120th film in her career, will be shot in Abashiri, Hokkaido from 16 February till summer this year.

The story stretches over 30 years from the days of WWII to after the war where Eren Tetsu (Yoshinaga) flees Sakhalin in 1945 due to the attacks by the Soviet Union and ends up in Abashiri in Hokkaido. However, she has to grapple with the bitterly cold weather and hunger while keeping her two sons alive. Time goes by to the year 1971 when Tetsu is still waiting for her missing husband and lives on her own. Her second son Shujiro returns to Hokkaido after making it big in the United States and they start living together in Sapporo. Just then, Tetsu who is very advanced in age, starts to have issues due to the post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) she developed during the war.

Preparations for the movie first began in February last year which involved a trip to Sakhalin last autumn. Although the filming in Abashiri will be very tough due to the cold weather, Yoshinaga is positive about playing a strong mother who braves the cold to wait for spring to come. As for working with Sakai again since the anime movie "Tezuka Osamu no Buddha Akai Sabaku yo! Utsukushiku" back in 2011, she is very happy about the reunion and that she can go all out in her acting against Sakai who is such a good actor. On the other hand, Sakai said that their mother-and-son relationship this time is filled with a lot of sadness but he is eager to work with her again and hopes to show his improvement over the years.

The movie will be shown in the spring of 2018.

Source: Eiga.com

Kuroshima Yuina & Kotaki Nozomu to star in new real-life adaptation movie "Principal Koi suru watashi wa heroine desuka?"

Kuroshima Yuina and Johnny's WEST member Kotaki Nozomu will be starring in the new real-life adaptation movie "Principal Koi suru watashi wa heroine desuka?" (Principal Am I who is in love the heroine?) based on the same-titled manga by Ikuemi Ryo. The movie directed by Shinohara Tetsuo will be entirely shot in Hokkaido in March and shown in cinemas next year.

"Principal" which consists of 7 volumes and had sold more than 1.2 million copies to date, features Kuroshima as Sumitomo Shima, a senior high school student whose parents are divorced and having issues with her stepfather and at the all-girls senior high school which she has just entered. As such, she decides to go to her father and move to Sapporo, Hokkaido instead. However, what awaits her at her new school are two entirely different guys Tatebayashi Gen (Kotaki) and Sakurai Wao who are so popular at school that they are regarded as the "common property" of all the girls in the school. Although Shima has little interest in romance due to her problems with her parents and school, she finds herself getting closer to the two guys gradually.

Kuroshima commented that when she read the novel, she was intrigued by the story which was realistic and yet had an unexpected development. As for the filming, she is looking forward to enjoying the nice views and fresh air at vast Hokkaido although she is rather scared of the cold. As for Kotaki, he has to play Gen who alternates between a foul mouth and a gentle guy. Kotaki revealed that he was very happy when he got the offer for this movie but since this is his first leading role in a movie, he also feels the pressure to play someone who is entirely different from his own character. Nonetheless, he will try his best with the help of the staff and his co-stars. In the meantime, he is preparing for the filming by trying to reduce his weight. He had started boxing since 1.5 months ago and lost about 7kg to 8kg so far with a strict diet and will be dying his hair next month before the filming starts.

Sources: Nikkansports / Sanspo / Eiga.com

Filming of TV Asahi Spring 2017 drama "Kinkyuu Torishirabeshitsu 2" begins on Valentine's Day

 The filming of TV Asahi Spring 2017 drama "Kinkyuu Torishirabeshitsu 2" starring Amami Yuki began on Valentine's Day (14 February) where the main cast members including Amami, Tanaka Tetsushi, Denden, Oosugi Ren, Kohinata Fumio, Hayami Mokomichi and Suzuki Kosuke gathered to mark the occasion. Hayami who is known for his good cooking skills, made a cake personally and presented it to Amami as a Valentine's Day gift which made her very happy and asked him to come to the filming studio to cook for them even on days when he has no scheduled filming.

Hayami joked that he would have preferred to receive chocolates for Valentine's Day but he decided to make a cake on that morning instead which would please both men and women. Rather than making a chocolate cake which will look rather dark, he decided to make it colourful by using raspberries, mint and orange zest. Suzuki who went to visit Hayami when he was making the cake, exclaimed that the latter was so good at baking to come up with something like this. As for his other co-stars, Tanaka teased Hayami by asking if he added olive oil to the cake (Hayami uses olive oil regularly on his cooking shows) while Denden, Oosugi and Kohinata all heaped praise on him.

Source: Oricon

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Nikaidou Fumi to play the heroine in NTV Spring 2017 drama "Frankenstein no Koi"


Nikaidou Fumi will be playing the heroine Tsugaru Tsugumi in the upcoming NTV Spring 2017 drama "Frankenstein no Koi" starring Ayano Go which will begin its run from April in the Sundays 10.30pm timeslot. This will be her first collaboration with Ayano.

The drama which is based on an original script by Oomori Sumio, features Ayano as a monster created by the famous Dr. Frankenstein 100 years ago who has an appearance similar to human beings, eternal life and a gentle heart. He falls in love with a young woman Tsugaru but things between them are fraught with difficulties as he has an unspeakable secret as he cannot be touched by human beings. Much as he desires to come into contact with human beings, he is scared of being hurt. Although he wants to love, he is scared of being disliked.

When she first heard about this drama, the first thing which came to her mind was the famous movie "Edward Scissorhands" so she is excited about dealing with a monster where there are many unknowns about him. With regard to her chracter Tsugaru, she is a student at the agriculture faculty in an university who does research on bacteria but has been in poor health since she was a child so there were several close shaves with death in the past. As such, Tsugaru's personality is somewhat cold at times but she gets drawn to the monster played by Ayano without realising his identity.

Source: Oricon

Nakayama Miho to appear in new TV Tokyo drama SP "Kajitsu no nai mori"

Nakayama Miho will be appearing in the new TV Tokyo drama SP "Kajitsu no nai mori" featuring Higashiyama Noriyuki as the lead which will be shown at 9pm on 29 March. This will be the first time that the two of them are acting together even though they both made their debut in 1985 and had met during music TV programmes in the past as singers. At that time, Nakayama was nicknamed as one of the top 4 female singers in the late 1980s along with Kudo Shizuka, Minamino Yoko and Asaka Yui while Higashiyama was part of the popular idol group Shonentai.

Higashiyama plays the role of Umeki Ryusuke, a creative planner working in a IT company who happens to meet a mysterious beautiful woman Eto Miyuki (Nakayama) and her male companion while returning from a drive as they try to hitch a ride from him. However, he finds out that the man died suddenly in a strange way while getting increasingly obsessed with Miyuki. When he realises later that the men around her die one after another under mysterious conditions, Umeki sets out to find the truth out of fear for his own safety.

Nakayama joked that Higashiyama still looks the same as before so she was worried at first about acting with him. On the other hand, Higashiyama said that he was deeply moved to be able to act with Nakayama after a gap of 30 years but it was a pity that they couldn't chat to their hearts' content due to the nature of their characters' relationship in the drama which meant that they had to keep a slight distance from each other.

Sources: Yomiuri Hochi / Sponichi / Eiga.com / Oricon

Completion screening event of new movie "Ankoku Joshi"

The completion screening event of new movie "Ankoku Joshi" was held at Shinjuku Wald 9 on 21 February which was attended by the novel's author Akiyoshi Rikako, the director Yakumo Saiji and cast members Iitoyo Marie, Seino Nana, Tamashiro Tina, Kojima Riria, Taira Yuna and Chiba Yuudai. The other lead Shimizu Fumika was absent from the event following her retirement and renouncement announcement recently. The movie will be shown in cinemas from 1 April as scheduled.

The film describes how Shiraishi Itsumi (Iitoyo) the Madonna of an all-girls' senior high school fell to her death under mysterious circumstances with a lily bell flower in her hand which leads to suspicion falling on the five members of the literature club which Shiraishi set up for having caused her death. After taking over the reins, Sumikawa Sayuri (Shimizu) who is Shiraishi's best friend, organises a regular reading session where she engages the rest of the members to talk about Shiraishi's death and the five of them take turns to expose who is the true culprit by mixing lies and truth during the discussion.

The director Yakumo revealed that when he read the novel, he was so excited about it thus prompting his intention to make a movie on it. As such, he was confident about the final product made from the hard work of the staff and cast. Since the cast is largely made up of young actresses, the actresses revealed that the atmosphere felt as if they were indeed in an all-girls senior high school where they did things such as taking videos, dancing "Gangnam Style" and sharing beauty tips together. Upon hearing this, Chiba who was not included in those activities, remarked dejectedly that he knew nothing about what they did. The director then chipped in to reveal that the girls even ate dried shredded cuttlefish which led Iitoyo to exclaim that he shouldn't say that since it will affect their images.

When asked about what dark side they have in their characters, Iitoyo said that when she last worked with Yakumo in the drama "MARS Tada Kimi wo aishiteru", he was very nice and gentle towards her. However, he was very demanding and harsh this time so there were times when Iitoyo tried to avoid meeting the director by arranging for staggered starting times during the filming. Yakumo then joked that Iitoyo was trying to smear his name which led her to remark that she doesn't feel scared of him anymore and likes him a lot now.

Before the start of the event, the host explained that Shimizu was absent as informed by her agency. Although the cast did not speak about Shimizu proactively during most of the event, Iitoyo and Yakumo revealed their thoughts about her towards the end. Iitoyo expressed regret that Shimizu was not there with them and said that even though she does not know how the latter thinks of her, Iitoyo likes Shimizu a lot and they had both pledged to work hard for the movie. As such, Iitoyo hoped that everyone can see their hard work through this film. Yakumo also had nothing but praise for Shimizu who he said was very hardworking and thought a lot about her character so as to make the movie better.

Sources: Eiga.com 1 / Eiga.com 2 / Oricon

Suda Masaki, Kiritani Kenta & Kimura Fumino to star in new movie "Hibana"

Suda Masaki and Kiritani Kenta will be joint leads in the upcoming movie "Hibana" which is based on the 153th Akutagawa Award-winning same-titled novel by comedian duo Peace's Matayoshi Naoki and directed by Itao Itsuji. The actors have experience working together as they both appear in the au Santaro CM series as Oni-chan and Ura-chan. Coincidentally, the two of them are from Osaka so it is expected that they will have no problems with the Kansai-ben lines and comedy skits in the movie.

The novel version of "Hibana" has sold 2.83 million copies to date and describes how Tokunaga, a struggling comedian meets his senior Kamiya who has a strong belief in what he does and tries to overcome the gap between his ideals, talent and reality. The drama version directed by Hiroki Ryuichi was shown via Netflix last June and featured Hayashi Kento as Tokunaga and Namioka Kazuki as Kamiya. As for the movie version, Suda and Kiritani will be playing Tokunaga and Kamiya respectively and Kimura Fumio will play Kamiya's girlfriend Maki. Nichoukenjuu's Kawatani Shuji will be playing Yamashita who is Tokunaga's partner in the comedic duo Sparks while Miura Masaki will be playing Obayashi who is Kamiya's partner in the comedic duo Ahondara.

Suda commented that he can appreciate the difficulties of making people laugh so he feels scared about playing a comedian. However, when he met the director, he began to feel that it was OK to take on this role and it would be very interesting to work with this staff and cast lineup. On the other hand, Kiritani said that he loves comedy since he was a kid as he likes the energy that emerges when people are tickled by the comedians' performances. However, the constant struggle with the fear of being not well-received by the audience is a real concern for these comedians so he feels that this is probably the most frightening for him when he is acting in this movie.

The movie will be shown at cinemas from November this year.

Sources: Eiga.com / Oricon

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Kanno Miho to appear in new TBS drama SP "LEADERS II"

Kanno Miho will be appearing in the upcoming TBS drama SP "LEADERS II" which is expected to be shown in March this year. The drama which is basd on the true story of Toyota Motor Corporation's history, describes how the lead character Aichi Saichiro (Sato) devotes his life to making automobiles in Japan and continues from the first part shown in 2014. Kanno will be playing iida Kiyo, the proprietress of a kappo-ryotei restaurant Naritatei which is frequented by Yamazaki Wataru (Uchino Seiyo), the sales manager of Aichi Motors. As she is impressed by Yamazaki's passion about his dream, she supports him silently from the sidelines. Filming was done in Kyoto.

Kanno revealed that she had watched the previous drama SP and was honoured to be given a chance to participate in this sequel. Although she felt sad that the filming ended too quickly, she is eagerly anticipating how the final product will turn out.

Sources: Sanspo / Oricon / Eiga.com

Amami Yuki to star in TV Asahi Spring 2017 drama "Kinkyuu Torishirabeshitsu 2"

Amami Yuki will be starring in the upcoming TV Asahi Spring 2017 drama "Kinkyuu Torishirabeshitsu 2" (Emergency Interrogation Room) which continues from the first series in Winter 2014 and the 2-hour SP in September 2015 and will begin its run from April 2017 in the Thursdays 9pm timeslot. The script will be written by Inoue Yumiko and in tune with the times since the law dictates now that all interrogations have to be video-taped, the drama will also introduce this into the story. The theme of the second season focuses on ordinary people being the most frightening when they cross the line to venture into the world of crime.

Amami plays the role of Makabe Yukiko, a police detective who was posted to the Kintori (Kinkyuu Jian Taiou Torishirabehan) which handles tricky interrogations of suspects and criminals within the confines of the interrogation room. As such, they have nothing but their wits to engage in a psychological war with those being questioned. The first series achieved an average rating of 12.9% which led to the production of the SP and now Part 2. Besides Amami, her colleagues in Kintori will also appear in Part 2 including Tanaka Tetsushi, Denden, Oosugi Ren and Kohinata Fumio as well as Hayami Mokomichi and Suzuki Kosuke who form the detective duo nicknamed Motsunabe from the murder investigation unit working with Kintori. Ookura Koji who first appeared in the SP as the director of the criminal investigation unit will also be featured in Part 2.

Although it has been some time since the filming for the last series, the cast including Amami, Tanaka, Kohinata and Hayami meet up several times a year for meals where they constantly talk about doing a Season 2 for the drama and share ideas with one another. As such, Amami commented that they are all very happy to be able to work together again in this drama. In preparation for the filming, Amami who cut her long hair by 20cm for the previous series, went further this time by cutting her hair by 25cm and sporting a fringe so as to project a new image of her character. Amami said that if there is going to be Season 3 in future, she wouldn't mind cutting her hair again for it. Due to the number of interrogation scenes, there are a lot of lines to remember but Amami revealed that the content is so interesting that it will be a breeze going through them.

Sources: Oricon / Sanspo

KANA-BOON's bassist Meshida Yuuma admits to his affair with Shimizu Fumika

Rock band KANA-BOON's bassist Meshida Yuma admitted to having an affair with Shimizu Fumika in the past following her revelation about her failed relationship in her tell-all book "Zenbu, Icchau ne" (I will say everything) which was published on 17 February after her retirement and renouncement saga. According to the statement released by Meshida through his agency, the two of them started dating in June 2015 although Meshida got married to his wife in April the previous year and had kept this from the public and Shimizu. It was until September the same year that he first told Shimizu about his marital status and had apologised to her about it but the two of them only broke up in January 2016 as he couldn't give up on his feelings for her and that he took some time to come clean with his wife.

Meshida apologised for his actions having hurt both his wife and Shimizu and the inconveniences caused to the people around him and Shimizu as well as his fans as a result of this affair. He revealed that he had apologised to his wife and her parents and that things are fine between them at the moment.

Source: Oricon

Top 10 movies box office ranking for the weekend of 18th & 19th February 2017

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

1) Sword Art Online The Movie: Ordinal Scale (151)

2) Aibou Gekijouban IV Shuto Crisis Hitojichi wa 50-man nin! Tokumeigakari Saigo no Ketsudan (347)

3) Isshukan Friends (305)

4) Survival Family (267)

5) Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (350)

6) Kiseki Ano Hi no Sobito (171)

7) Doctor Strange (350)

8) Kimi no na wa (296)

9) Kono sekai no katasumi ni (68)

10) Allied (150)

Source: Eiga.com

Monday, February 20, 2017

Supporting cast lineup for new movie "Ajin" announced

The supporting cast lineup for new movie "Ajin" starring Sato Takeru was announced. "Ajin" was first seralised in the manga magazine "good! Afternoon" from 2012 and has released 9 volumes to date which has accumulated sales of more than 5.4 million copies. The anime movie version was screened in November 2015 while the TV anime series was shown from January 2016. The title "Ajin" refers to a group of people who look like ordinary humans but will not die even if they sustain life-threatening injuries.

In the movie version, Sato will play the lead character Nagai Kei who is a 26-year-old medical intern although the manga's setting is that Kei is a 17-year-old senior high school student. One day, he gets knocked down by a truck but is shocked to see his body recovering instantenously on its own which makes him realise that he is an Ajin. As a result, Kei is kept under custody at the Ajin Research Institute where he is subjected to inhumane tests by the researchers. Just then, a Ajin terrorist Sato who wears a cap comes to rescue Kei but this is actually with the intention of getting Kei to join him in a mass massacre to take revenge against the non-Ajins. Kei then has to fight Sato and his accomplices even though he is the weakest Ajin who has yet to master how to control his power and IBM well.

Ayano Go will be playing Sato, a former military man who tries to overturn the country by conducting a large-scale massacre. Due to his Ajin abilities, Sato is able to regenerate his body even after suffering life-threatening injuries. In order to prepare for this role, Ayano had to stick to a strict diet, dye his hair silver and do muscle training which made the staff exclaim as if his muscular body was the result of CG. Ayano revealed that there was one scene where he had to appear naked so he started physical training 4.5 months before the filming started in order to make himself appear as close as the Sato in the manga and show respect to the author, fans and all those who love "Ajin". In fact, the director Motoki Katsuyuki was so impressed with the result of Ayano's hard work that he used the image of his naked upper body as his mobile phone's wallpaper.

Sato's accomplices Tanaka Koji, Okuyama Masumi and Takahashi Kotobuki will be played by Shirota Yu, Chiba Yuudai and Yamada Yuki. As for the role of Tosaki Yu who is the head of Ajin Research under the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare and wages war against the Ajin organisation, he will be played by Tamayama Tetsuji. Tosaki's bodyguard-cum-secretary Shimomura Izumi who is also a Ajin will be played by Kawaei Rina. Kei's younger sister Eriko will be played by Hamabe Minami.

Filming started in November last year and was concluded in Tokyo on 10 January this year while post-production works are expected to be completed in July. The movie is scheduled to be screened in cinemas from 30 September.

Sources: Natalie / Cinema Cafe / Nikkansports / Sanspo / Eiga.com

Kamenashi Kazuya, Kimura Fumino & Yamashita Tomohisa to star in NTV Spring 2017 drama "Boku, Unmei no hito desu"

Kamenashi Kazuya, Kimura Fumino and Yamashita Tomohisa will be starring in the upcoming NTV Spring 2017 drama "Boku, Unmei no hito desu" (I am your soulmate) which begins its run from April in the Saturdays 10pm timeslot. The story features Kamenashi as a company employee Masaki Makoto who goes all out to woo the women who he thinks of as his soulmate despite being rejected all the time. When he meets a practical OL (Kimura) named Kogetsu Haruko who doesn't believe in destiny, he confesses his love for her but to no avail because she wants to have a relationship which is safe and fail-proof. Just then, a mysterious man calling himself as God (Yamashita) appears and offers him advice on how to woo his soulmate.

Kamenashi and Yamashita will also be forming the special unit Kame to YamaP to sing the theme song for the drama which marks their first collaboration in 12 years. The duo had worked together in the NTV drama "Nobuta wo Produce" back in 2005 and formed the unit Shuuji to Akira (their character names in the drama) to sing the theme song "Seishun Amigo" which sold 1.626 million copies then.

Kamenashi commented that he is eagerly anticipating working together with the staff and co-stars this time. In particular, he praised Kimura for being a good and charming actress. As for Yamashita, he pledged to work hard at playing his character who is unpredictable and full of mysteries. With regard to the collaboration between them, Kamenashi revealed that he had talked about working together with Yamashita in the past so to be able to do that again now in this format, they are both very happy about it. Yamashita echoed this and said that since the two of them had known each other since they were in junior high school, he believes that they will be able to bring out an unique blend of warmth, danger and security through their work as a special unit this time.

Sources: Nikkansports / Yomiuri Hochi / Sponichi

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Aiba Masaki to star in new FujiTV Spring 2017 drama "Kizoku Tantei"

Aiba Masaki will be starring in the new FujiTV Spring 2017 drama "Kizoku Tantei" (Detective Noble) which will begin its run from April in the Mondays 9pm timeslot. The drama which is based on the suspense novels "Kizoku Tantei" and "Kizoku Tantei tai Onna Tantei" by Maya Yutaka, features Aiba as a mysterious man who calls himself a noble but his name, age and background are all unknown and has an interest in solving cases but does not actually do the reasoning himself because he is more keen to talk to the women he meets at the crime scenes. Due to his status as a nobleman, he behaves very gentlemanly towards women and is unafraid of standing up against those in power. With the help of his servants i.e. driver Sato (Takito Kenichi), maid Tanaka (Nakayama Miho) and butler Yamamoto (Matsushige) who helps him to inspect the crime scenes and look for clues, he is able to assist the police in solving their cases with his strong observation power. Co-stars also include Takei Emi who plays Takanori, a newbie police detective at loggerheads with the nobleman while solving the cases, police detective Hanagata (Namase) who works with the nobleman at the orders of his superiors, Igawa Haruka who plays a female detective Kitami who teaches Takanori about detective work and is regarded as her idol and Nakama Yukie whose character details are not known at the moment.

As this drama happens to be the 30th anniversary commemorative work of the Getsuku timeslot, Aiba expressed anticipation and excitement at playing this type of character for the first time although he was also apprehensive about having such wonderful actors play his servants in the drama.

Filming is expected to begin in early March.

Sources: Oricon / Sanspo

Aragaki Yui & Eita to star in new movie "Mix" as mixed doubles table tennis players

Aragaki Yui and Eita will be starring in the new movie "Mix" which is written by Kosawa Ryota and directed by Ishikawa Junichi. The comedy movie describes how the heroine (Aragaki) used to be a genius at table tennis when she was a child but suffers setbacks in love and work as an OL. In order to resurrect the table tennis club owned by her late mother, she forms a mixed doubles team with a former boxer (Eita) to take part in the All Japan table tennis tournament and get back at her ex-boyfriend (Seto Koji) and his girlfriend (Nagano Mei). Co-stars include Hirosue Ryoko, Endo Kenichi, Tanaka Misako, Sano Yuto, Aoi Yu, Morisaki Hiroyuki, Yoshida Kotaro, Namase Katsuhisa, Yamaguchi Sayaka, Saito Tsukasa, Kumada Rinka, Suzuki Fuku, Tani Kanon, Maki Youko and Kohinata Fumio.

Aragaki who is working with Eita for the first time, commented that her impression of her co-star when they first met for table tennis training was that he is very passionate about his work and good at livening up the atmosphere. In response, Eita said that he wasn't sure if he should call her Gakki (her nickname) or by her surname so he was trying to hide his shyness in front of her. He expressed his anticipation at getting better in table tennis so as to look convincing as players who can compete at the national level and looks forward to the filming. Although both Aragaki and Eita have no experience in table tennis, the two of them have picked up the sport relatively quickly and are trying hard to practice as much as possible since they started training from the beginning of this year.

The movie will be shown from the middle of this month and is expected to be shown in cinemas this autumn.

Sources: Eiga.com / Nikkansports

Mano Erina to star in new NHK drama "Kono yo ni tayasui shigoto wa nai"

Mano Erina will be starring in the new NHK drama series "Kono yo ni tayasui shigoto wa nai" (There is no easy job in the world) which begins its run from 6 April in the newly set-up timeslot at 11pn on Thursdays. The drama which consists of 8 episodes, is Mano's first leading role in a NHK drama.

Mano plays the 28-year-old lead character Kirinaka Kasumi who realised her childhood dream to become a primary school student. Despite her passion for teaching, Kasumi had to quit because she was overworked and suffers from the burnout syndrome. However, she cannot stop working because she has to support herself so in order to prepare herself for that, she undergoes rehabilitation and meets an unusual employee at Hello Work named Masakado (Asano Atsuko) who introduces a series of strange jobs to her. Even though Kasumi wants to try her best in everything she does and feels uneasy at first about taking on jobs which seem like what anyone else can do, she starts to enjoy the process and becomes aware of the joy from various jobs through her communication with the people she meets. At the same time, she makes a decision about her relationship with her boyfriend (Tsukamoto Takashi) and finds meaning as to what it means to work. Mano commented that she hopes that through this drama, people will be able to realise the importance of working and love for the job and will try her best to play the lead character in this drama.

Source: Oricon

Sawajiri Erika to star in new NTV Spring 2017 drama "Haha ni naru"

Sawajiri Erika will be starring in the upcoming NTV Spring 2017 drama "Haha ni naru" (Being a mother) which will begin its run from April in the Wednesdays 10pm timeslot. The drama features Sawajiri as the lead character Kashiwazaki Yui whose son was kidnapped at the age of three on the way home from nursery just because she failed to pay attention for a brief moment. This led to the breakdown of her marriage and Kashiwazaki has been living on her own since then. 9 years later, she gets reunited with her son who has now turned 13 years old and needs to deal with how to interact with her son again and regain the lost years and her broken family. Co-stars include Koike Eiko who plays Kadokura Asako, the woman who had kidnapped Kashiwazaki's son and taken care of him as a mother for the last nine years and Itaya Yuka who plays Nishihara Risako, Kashiwazaki's friend who has been supporting all this time while her son was missing.

Sawajiri commented that although she finds this story refreshing and interesting, it is very difficult for her to be playing a mother since she has no experience in real life. However, the producer assured her that she will manage fine because her character Kashiwazaki has to learn how to be a mother from scratch after the reunion with her son anyway. Although being a mother is probably the biggest issue for a woman in her lifetime, Sawajiri felt that women learn how to become mothers through child-rearing and hopes to convey the warmth of family through this drama. As for working with Koike for the first time and with Itaya again, Sawajiri commented that she feels relaxed working with them and hopes to do a good job. Koike and Itaya both echoed the view that they are looking forward to working with one another through this drama.

Filming begins at the end of February.

Source: Yomiuri Hochi / Sponichi / Oricon

Saturday, February 18, 2017

The 91st Drama Academy Awards (Autumn 2016) - Best Theme Song

Overall Ranking Top 3
1) Koi - Hoshino Gen (Nigeru wa haji daga yaku ni tatsu)
2) Suna no Tou - THE YELLOW MONKEY (Suna no Tou ~ Shirisugita Rinjin ~)
3) Give Me Love - Hey! Say! JUMP (Cain to Abel)

Voters Ranking Top 5
1) Koi - Hoshino Gen (Nigeru wa haji daga yaku ni tatsu)
2) Give Me Love - Hey! Say! JUMP (Cain to Abel)
3) one chance - Johnny's WEST (Rental Kyuuseishu)
4) Jukai no Ito - Cocco (Unmei ni, nita koi)
5) Suna no Tou - THE YELLOW MONKEY (Suna no Tou ~ Shirisugita Rinjin ~)

TV Reporters Ranking Top 5
1) Koi - Hoshino Gen (Nigeru wa haji daga yaku ni tatsu)
2) Suna no Tou - THE YELLOW MONKEY (Suna no Tou ~ Shirisugita Rinjin ~)
3) Give Me Love - Hey! Say! JUMP (Cain to Abel)
4) Susume, tama ni nigetemo - Charan-Po-Rantan (Nigeru wa haji daga yaku ni tatsu)
5) Heaven's Door ~ Hi no ataru basho ~ - Kanna Chise (Jimi ni sugoi! Kouetsu Girl Kouno Etsuko) / Jukai no Ito - Cocco (Unmei ni, nita koi) / 12gatsu no ame - chay (Jimi ni sugoi! Kouetsu Girl Kouno Etsuko)

Judges Ranking Top 5
1) Koi - Hoshino Gen (Nigeru wa haji daga yaku ni tatsu)
2) Smile for me - Matsutoya Yumi (Chef ~ Mitsuboshi no Kyuushoku ~)
3) Heaven's Door ~ Hi no ataru basho ~ - Kanna Chise (Jimi ni sugoi! Kouetsu Girl Kouno Etsuko)
4) Ikiteitandayona - Aimyon (Kichijoji dake ga sumitai machi desuka?)
5) Suna no Tou - THE YELLOW MONKEY (Suna no Tou ~ Shirisugita Rinjin ~) / Give Me Love - Hey! Say! JUMP (Cain to Abel) / Susume, tama ni nigetemo - Charan-Po-Rantan (Nigeru wa haji daga yaku ni tatsu)

Source: The Televison

The 91st Drama Academy Awards (Autumn 2016) - Best Supporting Actress

Overall Ranking Top 3
1) Ishida Yuriko - Nigeru wa haji daga yaku ni tatsu
2) Nagasawa Masami - Sanadamaru
3) Matsushima Nanako - Suna no Tou ~ Shirisugita Rinjin ~

Voters Ranking Top 5
1) Ishida Yuriko - Nigeru wa haji daga yaku ni tatsu
2) Shida Mirai - Rental Kyuuseishu
3) Nagasawa Masami - Sanadamaru
4) Matsushima Nanako - Suna no Tou ~ Shirisugita Rinjin ~
5) Kurashina Kana - Cain to Abel

TV Reporters Ranking Top 5
1) Ishida Yuriko - Nigeru wa haji daga yaku ni tatsu
2) Matsushima Nanako - Suna no Tou ~ Shirisugita Rinjin ~
3) Nagasawa Masami - Sanadamaru
4) Takeuchi Yuko - Sanadamaru
5) Shida Mirai - Rental Kyuuseishu / Tsuchiya Tao - IQ246 ~ Karei naru Jikenbo ~

Judges Ranking Top 5
1) Nagasawa Masami - Sanadamaru
2) Shimizu Fumika - Kaseifu no Mitazono
3) Matsushima Nanako - Suna no Tou ~ Shirisugita Rinjin ~ / Eguchi Noriko - Jimi ni sugoi! Kouetsu Girl Kouno Etsuko / Mizuno Miki - Kuroi Juunin no Onna

Source: The Televison

The 91st Drama Academy Awards (Autumn 2016) - Best Supporting Actor

Overall Ranking Top 3
1) Hoshino Gen - Nigeru wa haji daga yaku ni tatsu
2) Kusakari Masao - Sanadamaru
3) Ooizumi Yo - Sanadamaru

Voters Ranking Top 5
1) Hoshino Gen - Nigeru wa haji daga yaku ni tatsu
2) Fujii Ryuusei - Rental Kyuuseishu
3) Suda Masaki - Jimi ni sugoi! Kouetsu Girl Kouno Etsuko
4) Kubota Masataka - THE LAST COP
5) Ooizumi Yo - Sanadamaru

TV Reporters Ranking Top 5
1) Hoshino Gen - Nigeru wa haji daga yaku ni tatsu
2) Kusakari Masao - Sanadamaru
3) Ooizumi Yo - Sanadamaru
4) Suda Masaki - Jimi ni sugoi! Kouetsu Girl Kouno Etsuko / Dean Fujioka - IQ246 ~ Karei naru Jikenbo ~ / Muro Tsuyoshi - Yuusha Yoshihiko to Michibikareshi Shichinin

Judges Ranking Top 5
1) Hoshino Gen - Nigeru wa haji daga yaku ni tatsu
2) Kusakari Masao - Sanadamaru
3) Kohinata Fumio - Sanadamaru
4) Suda Masaki - Jimi ni sugoi! Kouetsu Girl Kouno Etsuko / Dean Fujioka - IQ246 ~ Karei naru Jikenbo ~

Source: The Televison