Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Preview of "Kajitsu no nai mori" (Drama SP)

Title: Kajitsu no nai mori 花実のない森 (The forest without flowers and fruits)
Official website: here
O.A. Date: 29 March 2017, 9pm
Broadcast by: TV Tokyo
Original novel by: Matsumoto Seicho
Cast: Higashiyama Noriyuki, Nakayama Miho, Ozawa Yukiyoshi, Aibu Saki, Ohwada Baku, Watanabe Ikkei, Washio Machiko, Nakahara Takeo, Kimoto Takehiro, Fukikoshi Mitsuru, Terajima Susumu

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

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

1) SING (359)

2) Moana (359)

3) Eiga Doraemon Nobita no Nankyoku Kachi Kochi Daibouken (362)

4) Kong: Skull Island (336)

5) Hirunaka no Ryuusei (272)

6) Kamen Rider x Super Sentai Chou Super Hero Taisen (308)

7) P to JK (303)

8) La La Land (259)

9) Passengers (298)

10) Eiga Puri Kyua Dream Stars! (216)


Sunday, March 26, 2017

Preview of "Hokuto - Aru Satsujinsha no Kaishin -" (Spring 2017)

Title: Hokuto - Aru Satsujinsha no Kaishin - 北斗 - ある殺人者の回心 - (Hokuto A murderer's conversion)
Official website: here
O.A. Start Date: 25 March 2017
Timeslot: Saturdays 10pm
Total number of episodes: 5
Broadcast by: WOWOW
Original novel by: Ishida Ira
Cast: Nakayama Yuuma, Matsuo Suzuki, Murakami Jun, Nakamura Yuko, Ito Sairi, Nikaidou Satoshi, Negishi Toshie, Rijuu Gou, Yajima Kenichi, Ohnishi Riku, Urabe Fusako, Owada Kensuke, Yamada Anna, Fujita Yumiko, Shimada Kyuusaku, Miyamoto Nobuko

Completion press conference of new WOWOW drama "Hokuto - Aru Satsujinsha no Kaishin-"

The completion press conference of new WOWOW drama "Hokuto - Aru Satsujinsha no Kaishin" was held on 16 March which was attended by the director Takimoto Tomoyuki and cast members Nakayama Yuma, Miyamoto Nobuko and Matsuo Suzuki. The drama which consists of 5 episodes and begins its run from 25 March, is based on the 2012 same-titled novel by Ishida Ira that won the 8th Chuokouron Bungeisho and features Nakayama as a 20-year-old young man named Hashizume Hokuto who was abused by his real parents when he was a child and later sent to an orphanage. It was only when he was adopted by his foster mother Kondo Ayako (Miyamoto) that he finally tasted what it means to be loved. However, due to a cruel twist of fate, he ends up becoming a murderer and asks his lawyer (Matsuo) to stop defending him so that he can be given the death sentence. The story describes the process of how he becomes a murderer and the trial he goes through until the verdict is passed.

In order to play this difficult role, Nakayama lost 12kg in 20 days and slept for only 15 minutes on the last two days of the filming to create his haggard image. As for preparing himself mentally, he stopped using his mobile phone, removed the TV from his house and lived apart from his pet dog during the filming. Takimoto also emphasized that if viewers watch the entire drama, they will be able to see the changes in Nakayama's physical appearance and screen presence as the story progresses. When the filming finally ended, the director brought Nakayama's dog to him which made him so happy that he cried tears of joy.

Source: Oricon

Nakai Masahiro reportedly dating choreographer Takeda Maika for the last six years

According to various media reports such as the 16th March issue of "Josei Seven", Nakai Masahiro is said to be dating former-dancer-turned choreographer Takeda Maika for the last six years. The couple was said to have met eight years ago when Takeda danced the parts of Nakai and Kimura Takuya on their behalf during SMAP's concert rehearsals and they started dating soon after. With regard to this news, Johnny's Jimusho responded to the media that they had no comments to make since this is Nakai's private matter.

Takeda who is 12 years younger than Nakai, is a very sought-after choreographer and has worked with various Japanese artistes such as AKB48, Amuro Namie, Kato Miriya, BoA and KinKi Kids and Korean groups such as SHINee. She does not use any social media sites but appears frequently on the social media accounts of various artistes especially former AKB48 member Itano Tomomi who has been engaging Takeda as her back dancer since she made her solo debut. Takeda was featured in a 2013 NHK documentary when she was coaching AKB48 members.

Sources: Nikkansports / Sanspo / Messy

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Preview of "Soshite dare mo inakunatta" (Drama SP)

Title: Soshite dare mo inakunatta そして誰もいなくなった (And then there was none)
Official website: here
O.A. Dates: 25th & 26th March 2017 at 9pm
Broadcast by: TV Asahi
Original novel by: Agatha Christie
Cast: Nakama Yukie, Mukai Osamu, Yanagiba Toshiro, Daichi Mao, Kunimura Jun, Fuji Mariko, Yo Kimiko, Hashizume Isao, Tsugawa Masahiko, Watase Tsunehiko, Arakawa Yoshiyoshi, Sawamura Ikki

Supporting cast lineup of TV Tokyo drama SP "Pensees" announced

The supporting cast lineup of TV Tokyo drama SP "Pensees" starring Perfume has been announced. The drama SP is based on an original script written by Kizara Izumi with the themes of what it means to have a dream, work and die. Nishiwaki Ayaka will play a company employee nicknamed Don-chan while Kashino Yuka plays Okamido who works as in her family business and Omoto Ayano plays Noribuu who is a freeter. The three of them became close friends since primary school as they went home together. When the three of them decide to buy a European-style bungalow which they have been eyeing for a long time, the real estate company offers to sell it to them at a very low price on the condition that they look after someone named Rikimaru. Upon agreeing to this, the trio move into the bungalow where they start to ponder over their dreams, work and death through their chats with one another.

Katsumura Masanobu will be playing the hikikomori middle-aged man Kabayama Rikimaru while Katagiri Hairi will be Minamino Sono who claims to be the housekeeper of the Kabayama household. Furutachi Kanji will be playing the real estate company's employee and Ohshima Yoko will play a customer of the company.

Part 1 of the drama SP will be shown via TV Tokyo, TV Hokkaido and TVQ Kyushu Housou at 12.52am on 31 March  and via TV Aichi at 2.35am on 3 April. Part 2 will be shown at the following times and days:
TV Tokyo - 1.15am on 1 April
TV Hokkaido - 12.35am on 2 April
TVQ Kyushu Housou - 1.05am on 2 April
TV Aichi - 3.05am on 3 April

Source: Oricon

Friday, March 24, 2017

Preview of "Hagoku" (Drama SP)

Title: Hagoku 破獄 (Jailbreak)
Official website: here
O.A. Date: 12 April 2017, 9pm
Broadcast by: TV Tokyo
Original novel by: Yoshimura Akira
Cast: Beat Takeshi, Yamada Takayuki, Watanabe Ikkei, Terajima Susumu, Matsushige Yutaka, Nakamura Aoi, Ikeuchi Hiroyuki, Katsumura Masanobu, Hashizume Isao, Mitsushima Hikari, Yoshida Yo

Yoshida Yo & Mitsushima Hikari to appear in TV Tokyo drama SP "Hagoku"

Yoshida Yo and Mitsushima Hikari will be appearing in the new TV Tokyo drama SP "Hagoku" starring Beat Takeshi which will be shown at 9pm on 12 April. 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.

Yoshida will play Miyoko, the daughter of Urata and also takes on the narrator's role for this drama SP. She revealed that she has always wanted to work with Takeshi one day so she was very happy to be able to play his daughter. On the other hand, Mitsushima will play Mitsu who is the wife of Sakuma. She was born in a poor family and sold to a red-light district when she was 17. Mitsu then got married to Sakuma after meeting him when she was 19 and continues to wait for him at home with their child even as he gets sentenced to life imprisonment.

Sources: Oricon /

Yamada Takayuki & Ishii Anna to star in new short film "Parallel World"

Yamada Takayuki and Ishii Anna will be starring in the new short film "Parallel World" directed by Kawase Naomi and based on the song "Unfair World" by Sandaime J Soul Brothers. The movie is the first production under the Cinema Fighters project produced jointly by Kawase, EXILE's leader HIRO who is the executive producer and actor Bessho Tetsuya who came up with the concept of the project. The project aims to uncover new young directors so there will be 5 other short films produced in addition to this movie.

In the 15-min movie, Yamada plays the lead character Toru who failed to tell Maya (Ishii) about his feelings 15 years ago so the story will alternate between the past and present. It will be shown during the Short Short Film Festival & Asia from 1 June.

Source: Yomiuri Hochi

2013 Miss World Japan Tanaka Michiko to appear in FujiTV Spring 2017 drama "Kizoku Tantei"

The Japanese representative at the 2013 Miss World competition Tanaka Michiko will be appearing in the new FujiTV Spring 2017 drama "Kizoku Tantei" starring Aiba Masaki which will begin its run from April in the Mondays 9pm timeslot. Tanaka switched from being a model to an actress in March last year and this will be her second drama appearance to date.

Tanaka will be playing a forensic officer who is nicknamed the most beautiful forensic officer in Japan and works together with the lead character played by Aiba to solve cases. She revealed that she is extremely happy to get such a role and she likes detective stories a lot even though her character is a bit different from her true personality. Nonetheless, it is a good opportunity for her to try roles which are different from herself so she is looking forward to the challenge.

However, things did not start off smoothly for Tanaka who made her declaration to be an actress in March last year. She only made her drama debut in the TV Asahi Autumn 2016 drama "Doctor X 4 ~ Gekai Daimon Michiko ~" which featured her senior from the same agency Yonekura Ryoko as the lead. Despite being given a chance to star in such a high-profile drama, she encountered a lot of difficulties because she didn't have enough acting experience and even cried alone in her room. Having gone through training for the past year through acting lessons, doing research by watching dramas and movies and listening to feedback from various people, she hopes to be able to show her progress in the new drama.

Source: Nikkansports

Pre-release screening event of new movie "Blue Hearts ga kikoeru"

The pre-release screening event of new movie "Blue Hearts ga kikoeru" was held at Shinjuku Wald 9 on 15 March which was attended by the directors Iizuka Ken, Iguchi Noboru, Shimizu Takashi, Kudo Shinichi and Lee Sang-il as well as cast members Ono Machiko, Ichihara Hayato, Saito Takumi and Toyokawa Etsushi. The omnibus movie which will be shown in cinemas from 8 April, is a collection of 6 short stories based on the same-titled song from legendary band "THE BLUE HEARTS" which disbanded in 1995 and also features Yuka and Nagase Masatoshi as the leads.

Although the film was at risk of not being able to be screened due to the problems at the production company, there was a cloud funding exercise on Makuake from 7 December which raised a certain amount of funds thus enabling the film's screening to be finalised. With regard to this, Toyokawa commented that it had been a long journey before they could make it to this day and thanked everyone for their help in ensuring that the film could be screened.

As for the charms of this movie, Ono said that her story "Hammer (48-oku no Bruce)" about a 30-something woman who has a straying boyfriend is something which women will surely identify with. Ichihara cited the special effects used in his story "Hito ni yasashiku" as something to look out for. On the other hand, Saito who stars in "Love Letter", revealed that he had to learn how to behave like a fat person from director Iguchi who taught him to keep touching the flesh  beneath his chin since it's soft. As such, Saito jokingly said that he is ready to put on weight anytime since he is armed with the know-how now which led the audience to burst into laughter.


Production press conference of TBS drama SP "LEADERS II"

The production press conference of new TBS drama SP "LEADERS II" was held on 15 March which was attended by cast members Sato Koichi, Uchino Seiyo, Higashide Masahiro, Kanno Miho and Go Hiromi. The drama SP which is to be shown at 9pm on 26 March, is the sequel to the first SP shown in March 2014.

The sequel describes how Aichi Jidosha tries to sell its domestically-produced cars to overseas markets. Aichi Saichiro (Sato) will work with the people in the sales and production department who are at loggerheads but united in their goal to sell Japanese-made cars to the world. Appearing in the new SP for the first time include Uchino Seiyo who play Yamazaki Wataru, the manager of the first showroom under Aichi Jidosha and Yamazaki Tsutomu who plays Oshima Isokichi from Oshima Press Kogyo and the future chairman of Kyoaikai. Higashide plays the role of Kusakabe Makoto, who is a young salesperson from General Motors who jumps ship to Hinode Motors which distributes the domestically-produced cars developed by Aichi. 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.

Sato commented that compared to the last SP, the tension on screen was even more heated up this time and was satisfied with the quality of the end product. As for Go who plays the rival of Uchino's character, he deliberately introduced himself because he wasn't sure if the media would recognise him with his hair combed backwards and wearing spectacles. He revealed that he seemed too immersed in his baddie role that his staff members remarked that his character had changed to become quite detestable.

Sources: Oricon / Sanspo

Suzuki Ryohei to star in new NHK drama "Miyazawa Kenji no Shokutaku"

Suzuki Ryohei will be starring in the new NHK drama "Miyazawa Kenji no Shokutaku" (Miyazawa Kenji's dining table) which will begin its run from June in the Saturdays 10pm timeslot. The drama based on the same-titled manga by Uonome Santa, features Suzuki as young Miyazawa, a poet and author of children's literature, known for his famous works such as "Ginga Tetsudo no Yoru" and "Ame nimo makezu" who had the image of being simple and eccentric but will be painted as a humourous, curious and innocent person. Through his love for food and classical music, the drama will be a touching tale about Miyazawa and the people around him. After leaving his home in Hanamaki, Iwate in the 10th year of the Taisho era (1921), Miyazawa returns home for the first time in 8  months when he makes the croquette he tasted in Tokyo for his family and realises the importance of sharing your happiness with others.

Suzuki revealed that when he went to do research on Miyazawa, he was surprised by how passionate and sensitive the latter was compared to his typical image. As such, he hopes to be able to show these sides of his character through his acting in this drama. Although the title contains the word "shokutaku", this is more than a gourmet drama and shows how the people in the Tohoku region lived during that time and made delicious dishes from simple ingredients. After he got the offer to act in this drama, Suzuki recalled how he had to return home by evening up to the time he was a senior high school student so as to eat dinner with his family every day as a family rule. Although he felt unhappy about having to return home so early, he can finally appreciate how important that time was for his family.

Filming will begin in early April.

Sources: Nikkansports / Sanspo / / Oricon

Taiga to star in real-life adaptation movie of "Poncho ni yoake no kaze haramasete"

Taiga will be taking on the leading role in the new real-life adaptation movie "Poncho ni yoake no kaze haramasete" (The poncho is filled up with the wind from daybreak) based on the same-titled youth novel by Hayami Kazumasa and will be shown in cinemas from October this year. The movie which will be directed by Hirohara Satoru, also features Nakamura Aoi, Yamoto Yuuma, Sometani Shota, Satsukawa Aimi and Abe Junko in its cast lineup.

The road movie describes how three senior high school boys Matahachi (Taiga), Jin (Nakamura) and Jumbo (Yamoto) lead meaningless lives and wants to do something to change their situations. They hatch a plan with their friend Nakata (Sometani) to hijack the upcoming graduation ceremony with an impromptu live performance and decide to head out for the last trip of their senior high school days. Things do not progress as they expect but this makes them grow up and they seem to be guided to find their respective paths in life. As Nakata waits for the trio to return before the graduation ceremony, the boys are in for a surprise as to what lies at the end of their journey. Satsukawa will be playing a gravure idol Ai while Abe plays a sex worker Maria.

In order to get the budget to increase the number of cinemas showing this movie, there is a crowdfunding site which is asking for donations from the public who will get unique premium souvenirs in exchange.


New band Kamisama, Boku wa kizuiteshimatta to sing the theme song for TBS Spring 2017 drama "Anata no koto wa sorehodo"

New band Kamisama, Boku wa kizuiteshimatta will be singing the theme song for upcoming TBS Spring 2017 drama "Anata no koto wa sorehodo" starring Haru which will begin its run from 18 April in the Tuesdays 10pm timeslot. The 4-member band who does not reveal their personal information nor appearance, will be making their major debut through the rock-style song titled "CQCQ" which will be released on 31 May. According to the drama's producer Sato Atsushi, the decision to choose the band was made within 30 seconds after hearing their song which is in sync with the drama's theme of unpredictable love between adults and reflects the speedy pace of the story.

The band was formed in spring last year and sang the theme song for game software Star Ocean: Anamnesis in November 2016. In their music video uploaded on YouTube, the four of them hide their faces behind masks. They are also singing the theme song for ongoing anime series "Chiruran Nibun no Ichi" but there are no announcements yet on their future activities as everything seems to be shrouded in secrecy.

Source: Sponichi

Top 10 songs most suitable for a beautiful farewell (Oricon)

Oricon conducted a survey on 1,000 people in their teens to 50s about which song they felt was most suitable to be heard when saying goodbye:

1) Orange - SMAP

2) Kanade - Sukima Switch

3) Nagoriyuki - Iruka

4) Tooku Tooku - Makihara Noriyuki

5) Michi - EXILE

6) Tsubomi - Kobukuro

7) secret base ~ kimi ga kureta mono ~ - ZONE

8) Momen no handkerchief - Ohta Hiromi

9) Sayonara Bus - Yuzu

10) Sayonara Daisuki na Hito - Hana*Hana

Source: Oricon

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Preview of "LEADERS II" (Drama SP)

Title: LEADERS II リーダーズII
Official website: here
Official Facebook page: here
Official Instagram: here
Official Twitter: here
O.A. Date: 26 March 2017, 9pm
Broadcast by: TBS
Cast: Sato Koichi, Uchino Seiyo, Higashide Masahiro, Yoshida Eisaku, Hagiwara Masato, Takahashi Kazuya, Hida Yasuhito, Jinbo Satoshi, Enari Kazuki, Suda Kunihiro, Denden, Maeda Atsuko, Kakei Toshio, Satoi Kenta, Matsuo Takashi, Yajima Kenichi, Uesugi Shozo, Kosuda Yasuto, Ooizumi Yo, Onoe Kikunosuke, Go Hiromi, Kanno Miho, Yamaguchi Tomoko, Hashizume Isao, Yamazaki Tsutomu

Nakajima Kento, Yoshine Kyoko, Ishii Anna & Kanichiro to star in new movie "Kokoro ga sakebitagatterunda"

Sexy Zone's Nakajima Kento, Yoshine Kyoko, E-girls' Ishii Anna and Kanichiro will be starring in the new movie "Kokoro ga sakebitagatterunda" (The heart wants to shout) which will be shown in cinemas from 22 July. The full-length anime version was a hit which achieved box office takings of more than JPY 1.1 billion. Filming began at Chichibu, Saitama from 14 March.

The story features Sakagami Takumi (Nakajima), a senior high school student poor at interacting with others gets appointed to become a member of the local interaction committee along with his classmate Naruse Jun (Yoshine). Jun is unable to speak due to a traumatic experience in the past and would suffer stomachaches if she attempts to speak to others. Initially, the two are unsure of how to deal with each other but through working on a musical performance for the committee, they gradually become closer. Ishii will play Takumi's ex-girlfriend Nitou Natsuki while Kanichiro will play Tasaki Daiki who is the pitcher of the school's baseball team and suffered an injury to his knee. Nakajima will be playing the piano which he has learnt since he was in primary 2 while Yoshine will be singing for the first time in this movie.

Nakajima revealed that when he first heard about the movie offer, he was so excited about it that he felt like his body and heart wanted to shout loudly. Although he feels the pressure, he hopes to be able to do a good job and pay the utmost respect to the original material through his acting in this movie. As for Yoshine who cut her hair by 30cm straight after wrapping up the filming for NHK morning drama "Beppin-san", she was touched by the anime which she watched during the movie's filming breaks and cried so much that she was scolded by the make-up artist who had to redo her make-up. Since she is also like Jun who can't really speak her mind, she can understand some traits in Jun's character and is honoured to be able to play this character. As Jun is unable to speak for about 70 percent of the time in this movie, Yoshine has to rely on her acting skills and

Ishii commented that she is very happy to act in this movie which features characters who shine in their own ways. At the moment, she is practising hard for the cheerleading dance and musical scenes and hopes to be able to convey the power of youth through this movie. As for Kanichiro, he pledged to grow along with his character in this movie and show the audience how the young people in this movie try to overcome their personal traumas.

Sources: Nikkansports / Sanspo /

Kobukuro to sing the theme song for new movie "Chotto ima kara shigoto yametekuru"

Kobukuro will be singing the theme song for new movie "Chotto ima kara shigoto yametekuru" starring Fukushi Souta which will be shown in cinemas from 27 May. The movie features Kudo Asuka in the role of Aoyama Takashi, a young man who has just started his first full-time job and is so stressed by the tough sales targets set by his company and power harassment that he wants to commit suicide by jumping onto a railway track. However, in the nick of time, he is saved by a mysterious man named Yamamoto (Fukushi) who is very cheerful for no reason and keeps speaking Kansai-ben to him. Through their interaction, Aoyama starts to feel the positive energy from Yamamoto rub onto him and things at work improve. Unexpectedly, Aoyama finds out that Yamamoto had actually committed suicide three years ago. Co-stars include Kuroki Haru, Koike Eiko and Yoshida Kotaro.

Kobukuro's Kobuchi Kentaro used to be a salaryman for four years between the ages of 18 and 22 and even became a supervisor at 21 before he became a musician. As such, he tapped on his past experience to write the song titled "Kokoro" (Heart) which describes how to live on when the heart and body are not in sync. During those tough days when he was busy with visiting clients, although there were happy things he experienced, he also found that it was not fulfilling and felt as if his soul was not with him at work. During that period, he began performing live on the streets of Sakai, Osaka, as a form of therapy for himself and met his singing partner Kuroda Shunsuke there. As such, when Kobuchi saw the movie, he was reminded of his past memories thus giving birth to the song.


Matsuoka Mayu to take on her first leading role in new movie "Katte ni furuetero"

Matsuoka Mayu will be taking on her first leading role in a movie when she appears in the new film "Katte ni furuetero" (Tremble all you want) which is based on the 2010 novel by Watanuki Risa and directed by Ohku Akiko. Filming was completed at the end of last year and the movie will be shown in cinemas this year.

The story describes how the lead character Yoshika, a 24-year-old single OL, has never had a boyfriend and imagines her first love to be her imaginary boyfriend. However, when she receives her first love confession, this marks the beginning of her agony over whether she should choose to stick with her imaginary boyfriend or date someone for real.

Matsuoka commented that in order to immerse herself into the role, she started to imagine herself having two boyfriends and how Yoshika's monologue would appear in the movie. After seeing the script from Ohku, she was very excited how daring and funny the dialogue had become so she had a lot of fun acting in this movie. Matsuoka said that she felt that this movie would hit home for many people and that women would find this especially easy to identify with so she hopes that many people can watch the film.

Sources: Yomiuri Hochi /

Buruzon Chiemi to appear in FujiTV Spring 2017 drama "Hito wa mitame ga 100 percent"

Comedian Buruzon Chiemi will be appearing in the new FujiTV Spring 2017 drama "Hito wa mitame ga 100 percent" starring Kiritani Mirei which will begin its run from 13 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. Mizukawa Asami will play her colleague Maeda Mitsuko who is married with kids thus she is too busy with work, household chores and childcare to bother about her looks.When she was much younger, she used to be a go-gyaru by wearing mini-skirts, loose socks and heavy make-up but her fashion and beauty sense is somewhat different from the trends.

Buruzon will be playing Sato Seira who works as a researcher in the same company as Jonouchi and Maeda. Seira has absolute faith in her appearance and believes that if she makes the effort to dress up, she will definitely look stunning. However, she does not know how to do so, has no experience with men and is plump. Seira goes easy on herself and demands high standards of others and is more interested in food rather than beauty or romance. With regard to her first appearance in a drama, Buruzon said that she will put in her best effort and called upon viewers to check out this drama to see a different side of her.

Source: Oricon

"Yutori desu ga nani ka" to be back as a SP this summer

NTV Spring 2016 drama "Yutori desu ga nani ka" written by Kudo Kankuro and starring Okada Masaki, Matsuzaka Toori and Yagira Yuuya will be back as a drama SP this summer. The title of the two-hour long SP will be "Yutori desu ga nani ka Junmai kinjo junjo hen". In the drama series, Sakama Masakazu (Okada) managed to get married to his girlfriend Miyashita Akane (Ando Sakura) after various difficulties so the drama SP will describe what happens to the couple and the people around them one year later. As such, regular cast members including Shimazaki Haruka who plays Masakazu's younger sister and Taiga who plays Masakazu's junior at work will also appear in the SP.

Kudo revealed that he's not very good at and keen on doing sequels but thinks that it's not a bad idea to observe these characters again a year later through this drama SP. As for Okada, he expressed his joy about the production of this SP and looks forward to showing a grown-up version of Masakazu in the sequel. Matsuzaka echoed his view and said that the key cast members were very glad to be able to act together again in the same characters. Yagira commented that they did wonder if the drama could go on for a while as a series and called upon viewers to look forward to this new SP.

Filming is currently in progress.
Sources: Oricon 1 / Oricon 2

Eita to star in TBS Summer 2017 drama "Hello Harinezumi" as a private detective

Eita will be starring in the new TBS Summer 2017 drama "Hello Harinezumi" (Hello Hedgehog) which will begin its run from July 2017 in the Fridays 10pm timeslot. The drama is based on the same-titled manga by Hirokane Kenshi, was serialised in "Shuukan Young Magazine between 1980 and 1989. Co-stars include Fukada Kyoko, Morita Go and Yamaguchi Tomoko. Although the manga was set in the Showa era, it will be adapted to be set in the modern Heisei era.

Eita plays the role of private detective Nanase Goro who works in the investigation agency Akatsuka Tantei Jimusho in Shimoakatsuka in Itabashi Ward of Tokyo where he takes on any case no matter how troublesome or difficult it may be. Goro is a bit of a lecher and a busybody but he is also passionate and sincere. With regard to his character, Eita commented that he can identify with the silly and lecherous traits in Goro and is very excited about the filming. He hopes to be able to make Goro look cool as well for the younger generation of viewers who are watching this drama. Fukada Kyoko will be playing the mysterious heroine Shidawara Ranko while Morita will play Goro's partner Kogure Kyuusaku. Yamaguchi will be playing Kaze Kahoru who is the boss of the agency.

Sources: Sponichi / Oricon

Asano Tadanobu wins best leading actor award two years in a row at the 11th Asia Film Awards in Hong Kong

Asano Tadanobu was crowned best leading actor at the 11th Asia Film Awards' prize giving ceremony on 21 March at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre for his performance in the movie "Fuchi ni tatsu". This is the first time in the awards' history that an actor had won the same category for two years in a row. Asano got the award last year for his role in the movie "Kishibe no Tabi".

The Asia Film Awards started in 2007 to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Hong Kong's return  to Chinese rule and the prize giving ceremony is held there every March. This year, 28 countries and regions participated in the awards which were shown live via TV and Internet. Japanese films nominated in this year's competition included "Fuchi ni tatsu", "Shin Godzilla", "Ikari" and "Mohigan Kokyo ni kaeru" while Momoi Kaori and X JAPAN's YOSHIKI were invited to be the award presenters.

Asano who returned to Japan on the same night of the prize giving ceremony, said in his acceptance speech that he was honoured to be back to attend the award ceremony. As he had spent close to a year working on this movie, he was especially moved to be able to win the award with his acting in this movie which began its run on the world circuit at the Cannes Film Festival last May. To be able to come to the awards with the director Fukada Koji, he felt that this was the end of a a long journey for them and he was glad to be able to win as the director did not get it despite being nominated for best director. When told that he was the first to win the award in two consecutive news, Asano revealed his joy about being able to get the honour despite being surrounded by many veteran actors from Asia and it was worthwhile for him to make time to come to Hong Kong despite having to go back to Japan immediately after the ceremony and not being able to sample any Chinese cuisine. Asano also hopes that his award will create new hype for the movie which is still being shown in Japan and will be shown in other countries soon.

Sources: 1 / 2

Amami Yuki to be the guest star in the final episode of TV Tokyo Winter 2017 drama "Byplayers"

Amami Yuki will appear as the guest star in the final episode of TV Tokyo Winter 2017 drama "Byplayers" which will be shown on 31 March at 12.12am. This will be her first appearance in a TV Tokyo programme. The drama which stars six famous supporting actors i.e. Endo Kenichi, Oosugi Ren, Taguchi Tomorowo, Terajima Susumu, Matsushige Yutaka and Mitsuishi Ken, will reveal the secret behind the blockbuster drama which they are supposed to film and the story behind the movie "Byplayers" which they shot 10 years ago. To date, many actors have appeared as guest stars in every episode of this drama including Yakusho Koji, Oomori Nao, Ikematsu Sousuke and Okada Masaki thus sparking concerns if the TV station would have enough budget to get a guest star for the drama's finale.

According  to the producer Hamatani Koichi, he was suddenly told by Endo on the day when they did the costume fitting that Amami was interested to appear in this drama. For a while, Hamatani didn't realise that Endo was referring to Amami and even thought that it was a prank on them until the day of the filming. As Amami had never appeared on TV Tokyo before and that theirs was a late-night drama, he thought that it was a miracle that she actually took the initiative to appear in their drama. Apparently, Amami and Endo had become good friends after appearing in the FujiTV Autumn 2016 drama "Chef ~ Mitsuboshi no Kyuushoku" so she made her intention to participate known to Endo who passed on the message to contact Amami's agency.

Amami commented that she had been enjoying the drama since it aired and was very happy to be able to take part and act with the six actors who are her seniors in this industry. Seeing the six of them together was a sight to behold for her as she had worked with all except Taguchi before.

Sources: Oricon / Sponichi

Preview of "Onna no Kunshou" (Drama SP)

Title: Onna no Kunshou 女の勲章 (A woman's badge)
Official website: here
O.A. Dates: 15th & 16th April at 9pm
Broadcast by: FujiTV
Original novel by: Yamazaki Toyoko
Scriptwriter: Asano Taeko
Cast: Matsushima Nanako, Tamaki Hiroshi, Mimura, Aibu Saki, Kinami Haruka, Suruga Taro, Enami Kyoko, Ozawa Yukiyoshi, Asano Yuuko & Nagatsuka Kyozo

Completion screening event of new movie "Neko Atsume no Ie"

The completion screening event of new movie "Neko Atsume no Ie" was held at Cinemart Shinjuku on 9 March which was attended by the director Kurakata Masatoshi and cast members Ito Atsushi, Kutsuna Shiori and Kimura Tae. 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.

During the event, Ito admitted that when he first heard about the mobile game being made into a movie, he could not imagine what kind of film it would become. However, during the filming at Chiba in August last year, Ito and Kutsuna had a lot of fun relaxing with the cats during the breaks which he called as a rare experience since he hardly got to do that with his female co-stars.

As for working with Ito who she had collaborated in the NHK morning drama "Toto Nee-chan", Kimura said that he played her son-in-law in the drama so it was interesting to be acting in this movie straight after that ended. Although they were supposed to film together for two days, the filming went so smoothly that they ended their collaboration in one day although they would have wanted to spend more time together.

With regard to acting with many famous star cats in the movie, Ito and Kutsuna said that the cats were so fantastic to be able to do as per what the script had instructed even though they expected otherwise. As compared to these animals, Ito felt that acting with babies and young children is actually tougher. During the event, 9 of the cats appeared on stage along with the director and cast.

Sources: Nikkansports / Oricon /

Hatsune Eriko & Koura Kengo to star in new movie "Tsuki to Kaminari"

Hatsune Eriko and Koura Kengo will be starring in the new movie "Tsuki to Kaminari" (The moon and lightning) which is based on the same-titled novel by Kakuta Mitsuyo and will be shown in cinemas from October this year. The movie directed by Ando Hiroshi, features Hatsune as the lead character Yasuko who had lived with her father's lover Naoko and her son Satoshi when she was a child. Years later when Yasuko and Satoshi have become adults, they reunite which changes her ordinary and peaceful life drastically. This will be the first time that the actors are acting together even though they had worked in a CM before.

Through the filming, Hatsune and Koura try to understand their characters in different ways. Hatsune commented that she imagined leading a peaceful life which gets changed suddenly by Koura's character while Koura tried to respond accordingly on the set and praised his co-star for being very hyped up about her acting.

Sources: Yomiuri Hochi /

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Supporting cast lineup of new NTV Spring 2017 drama "Kakuu OL Nikki" announced

The supporting cast lineup of new Yomiuri TV / NTV Spring 2017 drama "Kakuu OL Nikki" written by and starring Baka Rhythm has been announced. Following the broadcast on Yomiuri TV, Hulu will be showing the drama and include scenes which are not included in the TV version. Yomiuri TV will be showing the drama from 13 April at 1.29am while NTV will begin its run from 15 April.

The drama is based on a blog written by Baka Rhythm between 2006 and 2009 where he posed as a OL nicknamed Kakuu Masuno (meaning fictitious + Baka's real surname) who supposedly worked in a bank and wrote stories about the daily feelings of a OL from her perspective and the people around "her" such as Maki-chan who has such well-defined abs thanks to her training at the gym that she got mistaken as a staff there, naive junior Sae-chan, meticulous senior Noriko-senpai and her manly senior Komine as they gossiped and complained about various topics. As the stories had such a strong realistic touch and were so compelling, the readers didn't feel like it was something which a man was capable of writing. The entries were later compiled and published into a book.

Kaho will be playing Maki-chan who is a gym freak and boasts of washboard abs while Usuda Asami will be playing Komine who behaves like a man. Yamada Maho will be playing Noriko-senpai and Sato Ryo will be playing Sae-chan.

Source: Oricon

Supporting cast lineup of NTV Spring 2017 drama "Frankenstein no Koi" announced

The supporting cast lineup of NTV Spring 2017 drama "Frankenstein no Koi" has been announced. The drama which begins its run from April in the Sundays 10.30pm timeslot, is based on an original script by Oomori Sumio and 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-san (Nikaidou Fumi) 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.

Arai Hirofumi will be playing a reporter who appears on a radio show which the monster loves to listen to and advises the latter on his romance problems. Mitsushi Ken will be playing Inaba Keijiro, the father of the monster's friend Inaba Seiya (Yagira Yuuya) who is also the monster's rival in love while Emoto Akira will play Professor Tsurumaru Toshifumi who teaches Tsugaru and Inaba at the university and is interested in using the monster's cells to prolong the lives of human beings and create a world where nobody dies.

Source: Oricon

Kagawa Teruyuki to appear in new TBS Spring 2017 drama "Chiisana Kyojin"

Kagawa Teruyuki will be appearing in the upcoming TBS Spring 2017 drama "Chiisana Kyojin" starring Hasegawa Hiroki which will begin its run from April in the Sundays 9pm timeslot. The drama features Hasegawa as the lead character Kosaka Shinichiro who is a capable detective in Metropolitan Police Department's (MPD) 1st section. Despite not passing the advanced level civil servant examination, Kosaka is still viewed to be a strong contender for the position of section chief. However, his career prospects suffer a huge setback when he makes a mistake during an interrogation and gets transferred to a local police station. While investigating relatively smaller cases, Kosaka meets a group of colleagues who still persist in upholding justice through their own ways even if the cases they handle may seem insignificant.

Kagawa plays the role of Onoda Yoshinobu who is the chief of the first investigation section and managed to get to his current position despite only being a senior high school graduate. He is at odds with the previous section chief Mikasa (Shunputei Shota) but decides to take Mikasa's trusted subordinate Kosaka under his wings because he sees Kosaka as an useful tool to further his career prospects. However, when he makes a damning statement against Kosaka, this leads to the latter being transferred thus creating a rift in their relationship.

Source: Oricon

Mimura & Chiba Yuudai to star in new NHK drama "Sauce-san no Koi"

Mimura and Chiba Yuudai will be starring in the new NHK drama "Sauce-san no Koi" (The love of Sauce-san" which will begin its run from 1 June in the Thursdays 11pm timeslot. The drama which consists of 8 episodes, features Mimura as a mysterious woman named Mika who has an unspeakable traumatic experience and would always show up at the convenience store at 8pm every night to buy a bottle of sauce. One night, she gets chased by a pervert thus the convenience store's employee Uno Masanao (Chiba) who works there part-time while attending an arts university, sends her home that night. Since then, Uno would look forward to Mika's apearance every night and gives her the nickname of Sauce-san (Miss Sauce). Gradually, he develops feelings for her and the two of them start dating soon after despite an age gap of 10 years. Just when they think that things between them would proceed smoothly, Mika suddenly recalls her painful past and the two of them are tormented by the harsh truth which causes cracks in their relationship.

With regard to playing Mika who is in love with a younger guy, Mimura commented that she had to think of an approach different from usual when acting and hopes to be able to match up to expectations by the production crew and deliver a good performance with her co-star Chiba.

Co-stars include Iwasaki Hiromi, Tochihara Rakuto, Abe Shinnosuke, Hagiwara Minori, Takeuchi Toshi, Tahara Kanako, Sugi-chan and Matsuda Satoshi.

Source: Oricon

Preview of "Kitakaze to taiyo no houtei" (Drama SP)

Title: Kitakaze to taiyo no houtei 北風と太陽の法廷 (The court of the northern wind and sun)
Official website: here
O.A. Date: 17 March 2017, 9pm
Broadcast: NTV
Cast: Haru, Okada Masaki, Otani Ryohei, Yamamoto Yusuke, Kawashima Umika, Nakahara Takeo, Takahashi Hitomi, Nukumizu Yoichi, Uchida Rio, Yashima Norito, Kimura Midoriko, Ichimura Masachika

New installment of "Amami Yuki / Ishida Yuriko no Snack Akebonobashi" back in April 2017

Following rave reviews for the first broadcast in September 2016, "Amami Yuki / Ishida Yuriko no Snack Akebonobashi" hosted by the two actresses will be back for a second round on 12 April at 10pm. The guest lineup for the second installment includes Oguri Shun, Nishijima Hidetoshi, Tanaka Tetsushi, Urai Kenji, Suzuki Kosuke, Takito Kenichi, Hirayama Hiroyuki, Iio Kazuki, Tomochika and JUJU.

The programme features Amami and Ishida as the mamasans of this snack bar where they interview actors on various topics including their private lives. As they felt that they did not do a good job hosting the first installment, Amami and Ishida are happy to be able to "redeem" themselves in this new episode. Ishida revealed that she thought that she was especially bad thus was worried if the programme could be shown. The producer Watanabe Shunsuke said that they had a hard time trying to console the actresses who were quite disappointed with how they hosted the programme which he saw it as their high expectations of themselves. After reviewing the problem points, they were able to perform much better this time which was a relief to the both of them. Amami commented that she was grateful that the recording went well while Ishida expressed thanks to Amami who helped her out again and wished for another installment soon.

During the programme, Ishida who is nicknamed Chii-Mama, will be making drinks and food for the guests. Topics discussed include asking Oguri Nishijima and Tanaka whether the actors like women who can hold their liquor or those who can't, what type of girls they liked when they were students, what kind of plans they would make for a date. Suzuki and Takito were bomboarded with questions about their dating process, how they proposed and their marriage lives.

Sources: Sanspo / Yomiuri Hochi / Oricon

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Yamamoto Yusuke's contract terminated by his agency for repeated violations

Entertainment agency Ever Green Entertainment announced on 21 March that it has terminated its management contract with actor Yamamoto Yusuke with immediate effect. According to the statement, the agency revealed that it had been involved in many discussions with Yamamoto to date about the issues they had. After serious consideration and much reluctance, they decided to terminate his contract as he did not meet their expectations and had violated his contractual obligations repeatedly. Although the agency had supported Yamamoto in his career for the past 11 years since he made his debut, they expressed regret at this outcome and were sorry for their lack of leadership ability to guide him. Last but not least, the agency thanked everyone for their support of Yamamoto and apologised for being unable to stick with him any longer but hoped that they would still look upon Yamamoto favourably in future.

Yamamoto entered showbiz by winning the second prize in the 2005 Junon Super Boy Contest and the photogenic award as voted by the magazine's readers. He then made his debut as an actor in the 2006 TV Asahi drama "Kamen Rider Kabuto". His signature works include 2007 FujiTV drama "Hanazakari no Kimitachi e ~ Ikemen Paradise" and 2011 TBS drama "Ouran Koukou Host Bu" which he co-starred with Kawaguchi Haruna.

Sources: Sponichi / Sanspo / Oricon

Top 10 female celebrities who you would want as your colleague as chosen by women (Oricon)

Oricon conducted a survey on 400 women from their teens to 30s about which female celebrity they would want as their colleague:

1) Kitagawa Keiko

2) Ishihara Satomi

3) Aragaki Yui

4) Ayase Haruka

5) Arimura Kasumi

6) Amami Yuki

7) Watanabe Naomi

8) Buruzon Chiemi

9) Miura Asami

10) Yoshitaka Yuriko

Source: Oricon

Winners of the Winter 2017 Nikkansports Dorama Grand Prix

In case you are wondering why Nikkansports has announced the winners even though the season has not ended, the polling was done via, Entame Premium, Nikkan Geinou and Nikkan Point Club between 6 and 13 March. They will be doing the annual voting for the full-year awards in the end of this month.

Numbers in brackets indicate the number of votes received out of 1,238 valid votes.

Best Drama
1) A LIFE ~ Itoshiki Hito ~ (251)
2) Uso no Sensou (159)
3) Onna Joshu Naotora (92)
4) Beppin-san (85)
5) Aibou season 15 (84)

Best Leading Actor
1) Kimura Takuya - A LIFE ~ Itoshiki Hito ~ (276)
2) Kusanagi Tsuyoshi - Uso no Sensou (222)
3) Mizutani Yutaka - Aibou season 15 (142)
4) Tsutsumi Shinichi - Salaryman Saenai-shi (130)
5) Miura Tomokazu - Shuukatsu Kazoku ~ Kitto, umaku iku ~ (80)

Best Leading Actress
1) Shibasaki Kou - Onna Joshu Naotora (209)
2) Ayase Haruka - Seirei no Moribito Kanashiki Hakkaigami (144)
3) Yoshine Kyoko - Beppin-san (138)
4) Sawaguchi Yasuko - Kasouken no Onna (137)
5) Yoshitaka Yuriko - Tokyo Tarareba Musume (131)

Best Supporting Actor
1) Matsuyama Kenichi - A LIFE ~ Itoshiki Hito ~ (148)
2) Sorimachi Takashi - Aibou season 15 (90)
3) Takahashi Issei - Onna Joshu Naotora (74)
4) Asano Tadanobu - A LIFE ~ Itoshiki Hito ~ (64)
5) Suzuki Ryohei - Tokyo Tarareba Musume (54)

Best Supporting Actress
1) Kimura Fumino - A LIFE ~ Itoshiki Hito ~ (170)
2) Koizumi Kyoko - Super Salaryman Saenai-shi (83)
3) Takeuchi Yuko - A LIFE ~ Itoshiki Hito ~ (72)
4) Oshima Yuko - Tokyo Tarareba Musume (62)
5) Yamamoto Mizuki - Uso no Sensou (56)

Source: Nikkansports

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

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

1) SING (359)

2) Moana (359)

3) Eiga Doraemon Nobita no Nankyoku Kachi Kochi Daibouken (362)

4) La La Land (259)

5) Eiga Puri Kyua Dream Stars! (213)

6) Gekijouban Kuroko no Basuke LAST GAME (91)

7) Sangatsu no Lion Zenpen (294)

8) Chia Dan Joshikousei ga chiadansu de zenbei seihashichatta honto no hanashi (300)

9) Hirune Hime Shiranai Watashi no Monogatari (231)

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


Ishida Yuriko to appear in Kansai TV / FujiTV Spring 2017 drama "CRISIS Kouan Kido Sousatai Tokusouhan"

Ishida Yuriko will be appearing in the upcoming Kansai TV / FujiTV Spring 2017 drama "CRISIS Kouan Kido Sousatai Tokusouhan" starring Oguri Shun which will begin its run from 11 April in the Tuesdays 9pm timeslot. The drama written by Kaneshiro Kazuki features Oguri in the leading role of Inami Akira who belongs to the secret team within the police force named Kouan Kido Sousatai Tokusouhan (special investigation unit of the public security department's riot squad). The team is tasked to handle the "dirty jobs" of the country and government and consists of police officers who have unspeakable pasts and secrets which they have to struggle with while handling the critical issues facing the country on a daily basis such as terrorism, new religious groups, military spies and drug peddling organisations. Nishijima Hidetoshi plays his colleague Tamaru Saburo who also belongs to the same team. Inami is always resorting to unthinkable measures to overcome the criminals while Tamaru is the exact opposite and the epitome of calmness.

Ishida plays the role of Hayashi Chigusa, the wife of Hayashi Satoshi (Mashima Hidekazu) who was planted by Tamaru into a new religious group as a spy. However, Satoshi has gone missing for the past two years so Tamaru tries to support Chigusa who is awaiting her husband's return. Gradually, feelings develop between Tamaru and Chigusa but they have to try to restrain themselves from going over the forbidden line.

Ishida commented that this time, she has to show the emotions of her character with very few actions which is rather difficult. However, when she faces Nishijima who plays Tamaru, the sad emotions will well up naturally so she's very thankful for her co-star's presence. She also praised Nishijima for having a smiling face like a puppy which will be sure to send hearts fluttering especially. As such, the scenes of Chigusa and Tamaru should be a welcome distraction from the intense scenes in the drama.

Source: Oricon

Furukawa Yuuki to star in Netflix's drama adaptation of "Boku dake ga inai machi"

Furukawa Yuuki will be starring in Netflix's drama adaptation of popular manga "Boku dake ga inai machi"  which will be shown this winter to 190 countries worldwide. The manga by Sanbe Kei has sold 4.29 million copies to date and was made into an anime shown via FujiTV from January 2016. The real-life movie starring Fujiwara Tatsuya was shown in cinemas last March. This will be the first adaptation after the manga had ended its run.

Furukawa will be playing the lead character Fujinuma Satoru who has the ability to send himself back in time before a life-threatening incident happens so that he can prevent it from happening. When his mother gets murdered by an unknown person, Satoru is suddenly sent back to the time when he was an elementary school student. This in turn gives him the chance to prevent a serial kidnapping and murder case which had resulted in the deaths of his childhood friends and classmates.

Furukawa commented that he is very happy that the drama will be seen by an international audience through Netflix. The character happens to be of the same age as him i.e. 29 years old but he manages to become a heroine he had always aspired to be through this revival power. As such, he hopes to show the gap between his usual quiet self and his heroic side through his acting and that fans of the manga and new viewers will be satisfied with his performance.

Fujinuma Satoru (adult version) - Furukawa Yuuki
Katagiri Airi - Yuki Mio
Kobayashi Kenya (adult version) - Shirasu Jin
Fujinuma Satoru (child version) - Uchikawa Reo
Hinazuki Kayo (child version) - Kakihara Rinka
Hinazuki Akemi - Eguchi Noriko
Sawada Makoto - Mashima Hidekazu
Yashiro Gaku - Totsugi Shigeyuki
Fujinuma Sachiko - Kurotani Tomoka

Sources: Sponichi / Oricon

Monday, March 20, 2017

Aoi Wakana announced to be the lead of new NHK morning drama "Warotenka"

Aoi Wakana was announced to be the lead of the upcoming 97th NHK morning drama "Warotenka" which will consist of 151 episodes and be shown from 2 October 2017 to 31 March 2018 on Mondays to Saturdays at 8am. Filming is expected to begin from the middle of May and end by March next year.

"Warotenka" 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 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.

During the press conference held at NHK's Osaka HQ in the morning and Tokyo HQ in the afternoon, Aoi commented that it felt like a dream for her when she was told that she got the heroine's role. Although she is still very new and inexperienced, she hopes to be able to grow together with the heroine and bring joy to everyone through this drama as the story progresses. The chief producer revealed that out of the young actresses who had remained in the final audition's camera test, any one of them could be the heroine. However, Aoi was picked in the end because they felt that she had contrasting traits such as youth vs. maturity, cuteness vs. strength, smiling face vs. frightening traits which coincided with what the heroine Fujioka represents. In addition, the actresses had to show a one-act comedy skit but nobody laughed at Aoi's impersonation of ETV character Nyanchuu so she thought that she had flopped. When she was told that she was chosen, Aoi was so shocked that she opened her mouth widely and forgot to cover it with her hand. A total of 2,378 people took part in the audition and this was Aoi's third attempt at a NHK morning drama audition.

Aoi made her debut through a CM in 2009 and gained attention after playing the junior high version of Ueno Juri in the movie "Hidamari no Kanojo". Her latest movie was "Survival Family" which is currently showing in cinemas. She will be entering Keio University's Faculty of Policy Management from April this year where she is supposed to attend lessons at its Shonan Fujisawa campus for the next four years but she has to be in Osaka and Kyoto on every weekday for the next ten months so she hasn't decided what to do about her studies and will go ahead to attend the entrance ceremony first. She is already undergoing training in dialect and how to move around in a kimono. Although Aoi was born in Kanagawa Prefecture, she has relatives from Shiga and is exposed to the Kansai dialect at home so she feels that she should have no problems in this area.

Sources: Mantan Web / Nikkansports 1 / Nikkansports 2 / Sanspo / Sponichi / Oricon 1 / Oricon 2

Production press conference of new TV Tokyo Spring 2017 drama "Code Name Mirage"

The production press conference of new TV Tokyo Spring 2017 drama "Code Name Mirage" was held on 10 March which was attended by cast members Kiriyama Renn, Kaname Jun, Sano Hinako and Takeda Shinji as well as creator Hiroi Oji who wrote this original story. The drama begins its run from 7 April in the Fridays 1.23am timeslot and describes how the special team K-13 in the National Police Agency deal with crimes which cannot be handled openly by the police force.

Kiriyama plans the lead character Moriyama Shinichi nicknamed Mirage who is a top agent within K-13 who doesn't show any emotions and rarely speaks. With regard to his character, Kiriyama revealed that he went through the 1st episode's script and found that he only had two lines, of which one was "ryoukai" (I understand). As such, he has to rely on his eyes to show his character's emotions  since he can't speak in the drama. On the other hand, Kaname who plays the section chief of the special public security team, has to do most of the talking in order to "cover" for Kiriyama's character. As for Sano who plays a genius hacker, she revealed that she had to attend a hacker's seminar and undergo training by a hacker who had won contests. For Takeda who plays the real estate magnate at odds with K-13, he commented that the style of this drama is similar to his signature work "NIGHT HEAD" as the key characters do not know who they are up against from the start and can't see where they are heading.

Source: Oricon

Sunday, March 19, 2017

First-day-screening event of new movie "Sangatsu no Lion Zenpen"

The first-day-screening event of new movie "Sangatsu no Lion Zenpen" was held at TOHO Cinemas Roppongi Hills on 18 March which was attended by the director Ohtomo Keishi and cast members Kamiki Ryuunosuke, Arimura Kasumi, Kurashina Kana, Kiyohara Kaya, Niitsu Chise, Sasaki Kuranosuke, Sometani Shota, Toyokawa Etsushi, Maeda Gin, Itaya Yuka and Nakamura Tomoya. The second part will be shown in cinemas from 11 April.

The movie which is based on the same-titled manga by Umino Chika, features Kamiki as the lead character Kiriyama Rei, a 17-year-old professional shogi player who made his debut during junior high which was extremely rare. He lives alone at a suburb town in Tokyo as his parents and younger sister died during a traffic accident when he was young. While coping with the loneliness in his life, Rei aims to become a top-class shogi player. One day, Rei comes to know three sisters from the Kawamoto family i.e. Akari, Hinata and Momo (Kurashina, Kiyohara and Niitsu) which offers him much-needed warmth in his life as he grapples with the struggles in the competitive shogi world.

Kamiki commented that although he had his fair share of joy and worries while filming the movie, he was glad about the movie being finally ready to be seen by everyone. When asked if there was anyone or moment that he loved during the filming, Kamiki cited Sometani as his target of affection and always calls him "Some-chan" although it was the other way round in the movie. In response to this, Sometani said that he also likes Kamiki who is always smiling and helped him to relax during the filming. As for Arimura, she chose Niitsu as the little devil who is cute like an angel as the latter kept hugging her.

Meanwhile, Toyokawa who plays Kouda Masachika, the foster father of Rei in the movie, revealed that he envied the people in the Kawamoto family as the Kouda family was full of unhappiness. This comment made everyone laugh, He then continued to praise Kamiki for having grown up well as an actor since he acted with him in the movie "Youkai Daisensou" when Kamiki was just a primary school student. Toyokawa also jokingly commented that Kamiki has grown from the genius child actor to the genius talkative actor who is capable of leading everyone on the set and always greeting everyone with a smile.

Sources: Nikkansports /

Mukai Osamu & Saito Takumi to star in new WOWOW drama "Akira to Akira"

Mukai Osamu and Saito Takumi will be the double leads in the new WOWOW drama "Akira to Akira" (Akira and Akira) which will begin its run from July in the Sundays 10pm timeslot. The drama is based on the same-titled novel by Ikeido Jun which was first serialised between 2006 and 2009 in the monthly novel magazine "Mondai Shosetsu" before Ikeido gave it an overhaul and will be releasing it in the novel book format for the first time on 31 May. As such, this marks the "fastest" real-life adaptation for WOWOW since the original material's release. This will be WOWOW's 4th adaptation of a Ikeido work since 2011's "Shitamachi Rocket" and the longest drama to date i.e. 9 episodes.

The story which is set during the days of the bubble economy, begins in April 1986 where Kaidou Akira (Mukai) who is an elite born as the heir of a large company Tokai Yuusen. On the other hand, his genius classmate from University of Tokyo, Yamazaki Akira had a tough life due the bankruptcy of his father's company and having to run away from creditors but overcomes the odds to graduate from the top-notch school. The two of them enter the same bank and gets caught in a battle lasting over 10 years which causes upheavals in their lives.

As this is the 4th time that Mukai and Saito are working together, Mukai revealed that as they are both of the same age, they have always chatted a lot during their free time but he did have the feeling that Saito was a strange person when they first met. Although this is the first time that they will be clashing on screen, he thinks that it will be enjoyable and fascinating at the same time. He also commented that he will go to his uncle for advice as the latter worked as a bank employee in that era.

On the other hand, Saito will be making a change to his usual straggly hairstyle so as to look convincing as a bank employee. He expressed his joy at being able to work with Mukai again in this drama which describes a special period in Japan's history and will offer a different insight into the past and future when viewed in this era.

Sources: Sanspo / Yomiuri Hochi / Oricon

Female cast lineup of TV Tokyo Spring 2017 drama "Hyakumanen no Onnatachi" announced

The female cast lineup of TV Tokyo Spring 2017 drama "Hyakumanen no Onnatachi" starring RADWIMPS' Noda Yojiro has been announced. The drama which begins its run from 13 April in the Thursdays 11am timeslot, is based on the same-titled manga by Aono Shunjuu and features Noda as the lead character Michima Shin, a struggling writer who suddenly finds himself living with 5 mysterious women under the same roof. The women pay him a huge amount of rent totaling one million yen every month but their motive for getting close to him and their true identities will only be known as the story progresses. At the same time, Shin also finds his life changed in a drastic way through living with these women.

The five actresses playing the women paying Shin to live with them are Fukushima Rila who plays Shirakawa Minami, Matsui Rena who plays Tsukamoto Hitomi, Wagatsuma Miwako who plays Kobayashi Yuki, Takeda Rena who plays Suzumura Midori and Araki Yuuko who plays Hiraki Nanaka. In the original manga, Shirakawa Minami appears in her birthday suit most of the time at home so when Fukushima got the offer, she was apprehensive about it. However, after she read the manga, she didn't mind the nudity part anymore since she grew to know more about the character and became drawn to her. Fukushima even joked that she might find it more embarrassing to be wearing clothes after the filming ends as she could have gotten used to being nude by then. As for Matsui who plays the bookworm Hitomi, she hopes to convey the same impact she got from reading the manga through this drama and will try her best to play her character.

This drama will also be available for viewing via Netflix from 7 April.

Source: Oricon

Ando Masanobu to star in FujiTV drama SP "Streetwise In Wonderland - Jiken no hou ga hotteikenai tantei -"

Ando Masanobu will be starring in the new FujiTV drama SP "Streetwise In Wonderland - Jiken no hou ga hotteikenai tantei -"  (Streetwise In Wonderland - The case is the one who wouldn't leave the detective alone -) which will be shown at 12.35am on 27 March. This is Ando's first leading role in a FujiTV drama which is written by Ueda Makoto.

Ando plays the lead character Wada in this hard-boiled comedy who is a private detective and takes on any case no matter how trivial it may seem. He and his acquaintances gets embroiled into a big case beyond his imagination and cannot ditch the case even if he doesn't want to get involved. Co-stars include Tozuka Junki who plays an elite police detective and Ito Sairi who plays his client's wife.

For Ando who is playing a detective for the first time, he remarked that the six days of filming went by in a flash and he wished that he could do this again. With regard to this drama, he commented that this will be something unseen before in a nonsensical manner. Even though they tried to put on a straight face while acting, the viewers will find it hard not to giggle while watching the drama.

Source: Oricon

FujiTV to broadcast drama SP "Hanji Shikaku!? Bengoshi Natsume Rentaro no Gyakutensousa" in remembrance of Watase Tsunehiko

In remembrance of Watase Tsunehiko who had passed away recently, FujiTV will be showing the drama SP "Hanji Shikaku!? Bengoshi Natsume Rentaro no Gyakutensousa" (The judge's incapacity? The reverse investigation of lawyer Natsume Rentaro) starring him at 7.57pm on 24 March. This affects the drama SP "Sayonara! Obasan Deka Sakura Otome no Jikencho The Last" starring Ichihara Etsuko originally slated for this slot and its new broadcast date will be announced at a later date.

"Hanji Shikaku" was shot in 2014 and features Watase as the lawyer Natsume Rentaro who works together with his daughter Satsuki (Motokariya Yuika) who is also a lawyer, to find out the truth in a mysterious case. Rentaro used to be an excellent judge but was not allowed to extend his term because his judgement turnover time was too long. As such, he becomes a lawyer who doesn't care for his personal gains and would do anything to get to the bottom of things. Satsuki looks on coolly at what her father does but always ends up being dragged into his investigations unwittingly.

The case featured in this drama is a murder involving the president of a real estate company Terakawa Takashi (Ichikawa Isamu) and his wife Midori (Takeshita Akiko) who were found dead in their office. The company was also involved in a moneylending business and the office was ransacked with the safe being left open. On the floor, there lies a discount coupon from a beauty salon and a capsule. A few days later, Koda Masafumi (Kanie Ippei) who works at the beauty salon is arrested. Although he admits to stealing the money, he claims that he did not kill the couple. Nonetheless, he is still given a life imprisonment sentence.

Koda who continues to insist on his innocence, has only 13 days left to file his appeal application. His case is then passed to Rentaro by his senior at university Mochizuki Mutsuo (Tsugawa Masahiko) who is also Koda's lawyer. Upon investigation, Rentaro finds out that Koda was in need of money as he had just opened his hair salon. He was introduced by his friend Nishijima Yuji (Toba Jun) to borrow money from Terakawa who initially rejected his loan request of 10 million yen. Subsequently, he got a call from Terakawa to come to the latter's office saying that the loan can be arranged. When he reached the office, he found the couple already dead and there was 4 million yen in the open space. He then took away the money and did not report the murders to the police.

Source: Oricon