Saturday, September 24, 2016

Ishiguro Ken to be the main guest in Ep 1 of TBS Autumn 2016 drama "IQ246 ~ Karei naru Jikenbo~"

Ishiguro Ken will be the main guest in the first episode of TBS Autumn 2016 drama "IQ246 ~ Karei naru Jikenbo~" which will begin its run from 16 October in the Sundays 9pm timeslot. This is the fourth time that he will be working together with Oda Yuji since they first appeared in the 1993 FujiTV drama "Furikaereba yatsu ga iru" as rival doctors. Subsequently, they worked together in the 2000 movie "White Out" and 2002 TBS drama "Mayonaka no Ame".

This time, Ishiguro will be a creative director named Saotome Shin who will be engaged in an intellect battle with Houmonji Sharaku (Oda) as the two men are introduced to each other during a meal at a mutual friend's place. Later, they meet again when Saotome's company is broken into and his subordinate is found dead at the crime scene. However, Houmonji senses something fishy with the case and sets out to find the truth.

Oda commented that in the 1993 drama, Ishiguro had played the good guy while he was the bad guy but this time round, the tables have been overturned so he's eagerly anticipating to seeing how the battle between their characters will turn out since Saotome is equally clever as Houmonji. Especially since both of them are already quite experienced by now, he doesn't feel nervous about acting with Ishiguro and thinks that the relaxed mood between them will bring good results too. On the other hand, Ishiguro expressed his joy at working with Oda who he described as a person serious about his acting and is used to his working style after all these years.

Sources: Sanspo / Oricon

Spin-off drama SP of NHK morning drama "Toto Nee-chan" to be shown in November

The spin-off drama SP of NHK morning drama "Toto Nee-chan" will be shown on 19 November at 7pm via BS Premium. The drama SP which is titled "Toto Nee-chan Mou Hitotsu no Monogatari Fukusuke Ningyo no Himitsu" (Another Story The Secret of the Fukusuke doll), will be set in the pre-war era at the food catering shop "Moritaya" and focus on the family of Morita Soukichi (Pierre Taki), Teruyo (Hiraiwa Kami), their eldest daughter Tomie (Kawaei Rina) and her husband Hasegawa (Hamano Kenta). After the war, Hasegawa and Tomie return to the Morita household with their son Matsukichi and catch up with one another about their current situations. However, Tomie seems to be troubled over something as she had heard from Mariko (Sagara Itsuki) that she had seen someone resembling Hasegawa in Ginza. As such, Tomie is wondering if Hasegawa has cheated on her and tries to find out the truth. In the end, she ends up stumbling upon the secret behind Moritaya's guardian god "Fukusuke Ningyo" and the past of the late Matsu (Akino Yoko). Co-stars also include Ando Tamae, Niizuma Seiko, Kondo Koen and Sugisaki Hana.

The script of the drama SP will be written by Okazaki Satoko and reviewed by Nishida Masafumi who is the scriptwriter of "Toto Nee-chan".

Source: Oricon

Hasegawa Hiroki to play Kindaichi Kousuke in NHK drama SP "Gokumontou"

Hasegawa Hiroki will be playing Kindaichi Kousuke, the fictitious detective created by Showa era mystery novel author Yokomizo Seishi, in the upcoming NHK BS Premium drama SP "Gokumontou" (Hell's Gate Island) which will be shown on 19 November at 8pm. "Gokumontou" which features a series of murders which take place on a remote island in Setouchi, was first published as a novel in 1947 and had been adapted as two movies and four dramas to date.

In order to replicate the remote island setting featured in the novel, the staff and crew went to Sado Island in Niigata Prefecture for the filming where they had to bring various equipment there which are typically used in movies. Co-stars in this drama SP include Naka Riisa, Koichi Mantaro, Furuta Arata and Okuda Eiji.

Source: Oricon

Kagawa Teruyuki to appear in NHK E TV's "Kagawa Teruyuki no Konchuu Sugoize! ~ Tonosamabatta ~"

Kagawa Teruyuki will be appearing in the upcoming NHK E TV's educational programme "Kagawa Teruyuki no Konchuu Sugoize! ~ Tonosamabatta ~" (Kagawa Teruyuki's insects are superb! ~ The migratory locust ~" which will be shown on 10 October at 9am. Kagawa has always been very interested in insects and had openly declared before that he wishes to do a programme on insects to be shown on NHK E TV. Finally, he gets his wish granted this time which will allow him to talk about insects for a good 30 minutes.

In the programme, Kagawa wears a mantis costume to play "Kamakiri-sensei" where he goes in search of the migratory locust which appears during autumn and is difficult to catch. Not only will he "battle" it out with the locust, he will also be suspended from a crane and attempt a jump from a height.

Kagawa revealed enthusiastically that what fascinates him so much about insects is how they live according to their instincts. In this current era where many people including children hide behind the facades of their mobile phones to hide their weak self, he wants to let these people see how insects live as he always gets inspiration on how to live his life through these little creatures.

Source: Oricon

TOKIO named as special ambassadors for Tokyo 2020 Olympics / Paralympics Flag Tour

TOKIO has been named the special ambassadors for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics / Paralympics Flag Tour as announced by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government on 21 September. The band took part in the kick-off event held on the same day to mark the start of the flag tour which will begin from the three prefectures hit by the March 11 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis i.e. Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima before touring 62 wards, cities and towns within Tokyo. The ambassadors are tasked to take part in various events such as presenting the flags to the mayors and chiefs of the wards, cities and towns. This is the first time that TOKIO is participating in an Olympic-related project.

TOKIO's leader Joshima Shigeru commented that they are very honoured to be given this wonderful task. Meanwhile, Yamaguchi Tatsuya who had been to the Rio Olympics earlier this year for reporting said that he is already very excited about the passion and lively atmosphere he saw in Brazil that will come to Tokyo in 2020. Nagase Tomoya commented that he had always wanted to see the Olympics in Tokyo and is glad that his dream can come true in 2020. As for Kokubun Taichi, he hopes that the Tokyo Olympics will become one which everyone can reflect on as a wonderful event while Matsuoka Masahiro said that he hopes that the athletes who have been working hard all this time will be able to take part in the Tokyo Olympics without any regrets. Nagase also commented that although the five of them have an average age of 41 years old and are not that good in sports, they have confidence in livening up the atmosphere for this flag tour.

Coincidentally, the naming ceremony was held on the same day of TOKIO's debut 22 years ago in 1994. Joshima revealed that they had done a toast with fruit juice in the resting room earlier and were marveling about how coincidental it was to have the ceremony take place on the same day of their debut.

Besides TOKIO, the governor of Tokyo Koike Yuriko, Olympic athletes Miyake Yoshinobu (weightlifting), Kotani Mikako (synchronised swimming), Matsuda Takeshi (swimming), Miyake Hiromi (weightlifting), Yoshimura Maharu (table tennis), Arai Hirooki (athletics), Paralympic athletes Taguchi Aki (shooting), Negi Shinji (wheelchair basketball), Sato Keiichi (triathlon),  Seryu Monica (canoeing), Hangai Shizuka (judo), Masaki Kento (judo) and next-generation athletes Mukae Ayaka (fencing) and Toyoda Mamiko (para-badminton) also attended the ceremony.

Sources: Sanspo / Oricon

Takahata Atsuko's TBS drama "Ihin Seirinin Tanizaki Aiko" not to be produced and shown this year

Takahata Atsuko who appears as the lead in the annual TBS/MBS drama series "Ihin Seirinin Tanizaki Aiko" will not be reprising her role this year as MBS confirmed that there are no plans to produce this year's edition even though the series had been an annual affair for the TV station since 2010. In the series, Takahata had played Tanizaki Aiko who works in the business of handling things left behind by the dead and the story talks about the links and bonds between these items and the family members of the deceased. Part 5 was shown in July last year which had an average rating of 8.6% and 11.7% in the Kanto and Kansai regions respectively.

According to the TV station, there are no plans to make the drama in the first place this year and that there are no scenes already shot i.e. the drama was not axed suddenly. MBS revealed that all along, TBS was the one who initiated the order to them for the production of the drama but this year, there were scheduling conflicts with Takahata thus they will not be making Part 6 within this year. As for future plans to produce Part 6, MBS said that there is no intention at the moment to proceed but if there's a change in the situation, they will review the circumstances and make a decision then.

Source: Nikkansports

Hamada Gaku to star in TV Tokyo drama SP "Tsuri baka nisshi Shinnyuu shain Hamasaki Densuke"

Hamada Gaku will be starring in the TV Tokyo drama SP "Tsuri baka nisshi Shinnyuu shain Hamasaki Densuke" which continues from the same-titled drama series shown last year. The drama SP whose broadcast date has not been confirmed yet, will be set in Ise Shima in Mie Prefecture and the first in the drama version to be shot there. Filming is currently in progress.

Hamada commented that he is having fun with the fishing scenes and hope to be able to produce something which will be as good as the original manga and movie versions. In this SP, Hamada will reprise his role as the salaryman Hamasaki Densuke who is obsessed with fishing and working in his company for the second year, Most of the staff and cast will be the same as the drama series so he is happy to be working with them again. Hamada also expressed how much he was in awe of Nishida Toshiyuki's combination with the late Mikuni Rentaro and revealed that before the filming started, he and Nishida practised their lines together and he was glad that it didn't take them too long to regain their chemistry. While in Shima for the filming, Hamada revealed that the local fishermen and residents were very supportive of them. In addition, they had night drinking sessions and he was especially happy to be drinking with Nishida and the staff.

As for Nishida who returned to work in June after undergoing surgery for cervical subluxation and cholecystitis and recuperating for four months, he thought that he could not recover in time for the filming. During his hospitalisation stay, Hamada came to visit him which provided him with a lot of emotional strength so he is especially glad to be able to make it for the filming in good condition.

Co-stars in this SP include Hirose Arisu and Fukikoshi Mitsuru.

Source: Oricon

Tsuchiya Tao & Katayose Ryota to star in real-life adaptation movie of "Ani ni aisaresugite komattemasu"

Tsuchiya Tao and Katayose Ryota of GENERATIONS from EXILE will be starring in the real-life adaptation movie of popular manga "Ani ni aisaresugite komattemasu" (I am troubled because my elder brother loves me too much) by Yagami Rina. In this movie directed by Kawai Hayato which will be shown in summer 2017, Tsuchiya plays the lead character Tachibana Setoka while her elder brother Haruka is played by Katayose and her first  love Serikawa Takamine is played by Chiba Yudai. The manga has released 4 volumes to date and accumulated sales of more than 400,000 copies.

Setoka is a senior high school student who is unpopular with guys and has 12 failed confessions of love to date. Fortunately, she is doted on by her cool elder brother Haruka. One day, Haruka comes to know that his younger sister is actually not related to him by blood but chooses to keep it as a secret. Just then, Setoka's first love Serikawa who is a rich medical intern now and has a malicious tongue, reappears after they've not met for a few years and the two of them become close again. Soon after, Setoka suddenly experiences newfound popularity with several guys and faces the dilemma of who to choose for the first time in her life. Details of the three other suitors vying for Setoka's affection will be announced at a later date.

Tsuchiya admitted that she is nervous about playing Setoka especially since many people may wonder about choosing her to play this character. However, she hopes to be able to do well with the support of the director, staff and her co-stars and called upon everyone to look upon her warmly. As for Katayose who is appearing in his first movie, he said that he was worried about his acting skills but will try his best to play Haruka in his own way. As for Chiba who is older than the two leads, he said that both Tsuchiya and Katayose are so cute and he finds them really adorable.

Sources: / Oricon 1  / Oricon 2

Completion screening event of new movie "SCOOP!"

The completion screening event of new movie "SCOOP!" was held on 18 September which was attended by the director Ohne Hitoshi and cast members Fukuyama Masaharu, Nikaidou Fumi, Yoshida Yo, Takito Kenichi and Lily Frankie. The movie which is based on the 1985 movie "Tousatsu 1/250 byo" directed by Harada Masato and due to be shown in cinemas from 1 October, features Fukuyama as a cameraman Toujou Shizuka who had his heyday but works for a tabloid now and gets teamed up with a newbie reporter played by Nikaidou. Together, the two of them uncover various sensational stories while ironing out their differences and come across a case which may have far-reaching consequences.

About 800 fans came to attend the event where the director commented that the movie contains various elements such as action, showbiz scandals and sexiness and said that it is an interesting movie which is representative of Japan. As Fukuyama plays a paparazzi reporter in the movie, many of his lines were full of dirty jokes and he tried to add in things on his own which were not mentioned in the script. For example, there was a scene where he rubbed against Yoshida's body so he thanked her for being quick enough to respond to these last-minute changes to the scenes. In response, Yoshida praised Fukuyama for being a natural at saying those dirty jokes and even exclaimed that she was excited to meet him again since it had been a while since the filming ended.

The dirty jokes phenomenon seemed to have spread among the cast members where Yoshida revealed that Lily Frankie actually brought adult toys which were in the shape of eggs to the set and gave them away as "presents" which the crew mistook as an edible snack. Nikaidou also chipped in that whenever there were scenes of women with nice figures, Lily Frankie would always be around for some reason.

Ohne revealed that this is his most interesting movie to date and viewers can only see such a Fukuyama in this movie. To prepare for the filming, Fukuyama started to wear leather jackets one month before the filming started and he was never recognised by the public when he went out in the same image as Shizuka in the movie. There was once when Lily Frankie went out for a meal with Fukuyama on a day when they were filming and the latter suddenly suggested going to the Skytree which made Lily panic as this would probably cause a public disturbance. Surprisingly, nobody recognised Fukuyama and he even went to a nearby sports goods shop where the owner suggested to Fukuyama that he should go to become an actor since he looked very masculine. Somehow, this made Fukuyama a bit sad because he thought that since he had done a Taiga before, most people should have known who he was.

As Fukuyama who is regarded as the No.1 man who can't be caught by the paparazzi becomes the one chasing after celebrities in the movie, the staff went to tabloids such as FRIDAY and FLASH to learn from their editorial teams on how to tail people and take pictures. They were even shown materials obtained while following a big-name actress. In the end, Fukuyama developed a keen interest in knowing how the paparazzi works which could possibly come in handy in preventing them from catching him in future.

Sources: Nikkansports / Sanspo / Yomiuri Hochi /

First-day-screening event of new movie "Over Fence"

The first-day-screening event of new movie "Over Fence" was held at Theatre Shinjuku in Tokyo on 17 September which was attended by the director Yamashita Nobuhiro and cast members Aoi Yu, Matsuda Shota, Mitsushima Shinnosuke, Kitamura Yukiya and Matsuzawa Takumi. Unfortunately, the lead actor Odagiri Jo was absent as he was away in Cuba for the filming of another movie "Ernest". In place of him was a real-size photo panel which was carried by Mitsushima onto the stage. Matsuda revealed that he was the one who suggested making this panel and the staff promised that it would look nice since the movie was filmed in 4K but he joked that the image quality looked too coarse to be considered nice.

Matsuda also read an apology letter from Odagiri who said sorry for being unable to attend the first-day-screening event which is unheard of in the industry. However, he called upon everyone to take this in the positive light and said that having the lead absent might bring some novelty to the standard first-day-screening events so he believes that he is leading the charge for a change. This led everyone to burst out laughing to which Matsuda commented that Odagiri must be happy that his message had the intended effect. Odagiri also mentioned an interesting incident while they were in Hakodate for the filming where he was at a restaurant and ordered kani miso soup and the owner gave him another bowl of simple miso soup as a free gift. so he was wondering what he should do with two bowls of miso soup. As for his thoughts on the movie, Odagiri commented that there were times when things didn't make sense to him but he still felt happy during the filming and was impressed by how well it had turned out. Aoi revealed that Matsuda had been practising how to read Odagiri's letter while they were at the backstage and was relieved for him that this had gone well without hitches.

Aoi also echoed the view that she likes simple stories about happiness and said that she had learnt a lot from Odagiri during the process. She also joked that the audience can see Odagiri's photo panel that they made the film on a relatively tight budget so she called upon them to spread the word and promote the movie.

The movie which is based on the same-titled novel by the late Sato Yasushi, describes how a lonely man who was divorced tries to restart his life. The film will be shown in various film festivals with the first being at the Busan International Film Festival in October.

Sources: / Nikkansports / Sanspo / Sponichi

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

The first-day-screening event of new movie "Ikari" was held at TOHO Cinemas Nichigeki 2 in Yurakucho, Tokyo, which was attended by the director Lee Sang-il and cast members Watanabe Ken, Moriyama Mirai, Matsuyama Kenichi, Ayano Go, Hirose Suzu, Miyazaki Aoi and Tsumabuki Satoshi. During the event, there was a Q & A session for the audience who asked the director and cast questions. One female fan asked Watanabe about the charm of the director which led him to jokingly ask if she was a movie critic. He then answered that different directors have different ways of doing things but in Lee's case, he's not only concerned about how you act but also the result arising from your chosen way of performing. As such, Lee is very thorough about capturing such moments on screen. Lee echoed Watanabe's view and said that he prefers to ask how actors feel rather than dictate how they should do things so if the actors can't adapt to this style, they may find it hard to work with him.

Another fan asked Tsumabuki about what is the most important thing to him after quoting a line in the film that there are too many things which are important. Although he did not mention his wife Maiko's name, Tsumabuki answered that the bonds with the people in his life including family, friends and colleagues give birth to good things in life which make it possible to keep living. As such, he thinks that it is especially important to have frank interactions and share feelings with one another. Ayano then poked fun at Tsumabuki that besides people, love is also equally important which led the audience to laugh.

Miyazaki commented that she was sad about not being able to see Watanabe again anytime after they had built up a close bond while acting in the Chiba part of the film. She also expressed her gratitude about being able to play his daughter and taking the lead which made her feel at ease. In response, Watanabe also praised Miyazaki and promised to keep in touch with her.

In commemoration of the film's release, there was a kagamibiraki ceremony where the cast toasted the audience. At the last minute, Watanabe asked Tsumabuki to take the lead in toasting which made the latter remark that he had been asked to do this many times to date. In the end, he still led the toast which marked the completion of the event.

Sources: / Nikkansports

Cast announcement for TV Tokyo Autumn 2016 drama "Sennyuu Sousa Idol Deka Dance"

The cast announcement for TV Tokyo Autumn 2016 drama "Sennyuu Sousa Idol Deka Dance" starring Nakamura Aoi was made on 16 September. Besides Nakamura who is part of the 5-member idol group Deka Dance, Daito Shunsuke, Morinaga Yuki, Yokohama Ryusei and Tachibana Yudai will play his fellow members in the group. Taito's character is a former fraudster and womaniser while Morinaga plays a former child actor. Yokohama's character has communication issues and is a former hikikomori and Tachibana is a naive guy who sings very well. Co-stars also include Kondo Yoshimasa, Nomaguchi Toru, Aoyama Misato and Fukuchi Momoko.

The drama will begin its run from 8 October in the Saturdays 12.20am.

Source: Sanspo

Top 20 songs streamed on Google Play Music in summer 2016

Interested to know which songs were most popular in Japan this summer? Google Play Music released a list of the top 20 songs streamed on its portal between 1 June and 31 August:

1) Wataridori - Alexandros
2) Yasashisa de afureru you ni - Flower
3) Torisetsu - Nishino Kana
4) Tomo yo ~ kono saki mo zutto... - Ketsumeishi
5) CAN'T STOP THE FEELING! - Justin Timberlake (Original song from DreamWorks Animation's "Trolls")
6) Anata suki na tokoro - Nishino Kana
7) Work from Home feat. Ty Dolla Sign - Fifth Harmony
8) R.Y.U.S.E.I. - Sandaime J Soul Brothers from EXILE TRIBE
9) Mirai - Kobukuro
10) Silent Majority - Keyakizaka46
11) Umi no koe - Kiritani Kenta
12) Minna ga Minna Eiyuu - AI
13) Robinson - Spitz
14) Koioto to Amazora - AAA
15) What Do You Mean? - Justin Bieber
16) This is what you came for feat. Rihanna - Calvin Harris
17) Sorry - Justin Bieber
18) I Really Like You - Carly Rae Jepsen
19) NEW - AAA
20) Himawari no Yakusoku - Hata Motohiro

Source: Sanspo

Friday, September 23, 2016

"Boku no Ojisan" screened as opening film for the 9th Shitamachi Comedy Film Festival in Taito

The new movie "Boku no Ojisan" which is due to be shown in cinemas from 3 November, was screened as the opening film for the 9th Shitamachi Comedy Film Festival in Taito on 17 September. The movie which is based on the same-titled children's book by the late Akutagawa Award-winning Kita Morio, features Matsuda Ryuhei as the lead along with Onishi Riku who plays his nephew. Also at the screening event held at Taito Ward Asakusa Public Hall to greet the audience was the scriptwriter Suto Yasushi.

Matsuda plays the role of the "Ojisan" i.e. uncle who is full of excuses, lies on his bed all the time to read manga and leads a sloppy lifestyle. The movie is from the viewpoint of his nephew Haruyama Yukio (Onishi). One day, Ojisan falls in love at first sight with 4th-generation Hawaiian-Japanese Inaba Eri (Maki Youko) and he unexpectedly chases after her to her home in Hawaii.

During the 2-week filming in Hawaii, Onishi had a good time at the beaches but Matsuda revealed that he chose to laze around in his room even though he was invited to go along just like the character of Ojisan. As the day of the opening screening was also the world premiere of the movie, Matsuda commented that he was very happy to see that the audience enjoyed the film and he was pleased to hear their laughter while waiting backstage. As for Onishi, he expressed his joy at being able to take on such a meaty role even though this was only his second movie to date.

Co-stars in this movie include Totsugi Shigeyuki, Terajima Shinobu, Kudo Kankuro and Toda Erika.


Screening event of new NHK drama "Unmei ni, Nita Koi"

The screening event of new NHK drama "Unmei ni, Nita Koi" (A love like destiny) was held at NHK's headquarters in Shibuya, Tokyo on 16 September which was attended by the leads Harada Tomoyo and Saito Takumi as well as the scriptwriter Kitagawa. The drama which begins its run from 23 September at 10pm on Fridays, consists of 8 episodes and is Kitagawa's first NHK drama. Kitagawa commented that as she had done many dramas on private networks to date, she thought that it would be an easy job this time as well but she was asked to make many amendments to the script. As such, she said that this must have been the No.1 script to date which she had spent the most time refining. In addition, she praised the staff and cast for being serious and conscientious about getting each scene right and perfect so the viewers will be able to see the effort put in after watching this drama.

The drama describes how Sakurai Kasumi (Harada) who had met a boy during her childhood and they had exchanged promises to meet again. However, the promise remains as a secret deep within Kasumi as she grows up to become a 45-year-old single mother who is struggling to survive in her job at a laundromat. Just then, she meets a designer Ozawa Yurin (Saito) who she falls in love with. Kasumi then starts to wonder if Yurin's appearance was a coincidence or whether he was the boy she met as a child. Being in very different circumstances, their relationship path is destined to be bumpy as the people around them are also affected by their love for each other.

Co-stars include Yamaguchi Sayaka who plays Shirai Maho, the wife of a major furniture manufacturing company's president and has an affair with Yurin.

Source: Oricon

BLUE ENCOUNT to sing the theme song for NTV Autumn 2016 drama "THE LAST COP / Last Cop"

Rock band BLUE ENCOUNT's new song titled "LAST HERO" which is due to be released on 23 November, will be the theme song for the upcoming NTV Autumn 2016 drama "THE LAST COP / Last Cop" starring Karasawa Toshiaki and Kubota Masataka. The drama which begins its run from 8 October in the Saturdays 9pm timeslot, features Karasawa as a Showa-era passionate police detective Kyogoku Kosuke who wakes up from a 30-year coma and works with his Heisei-era counterpart Mochizuki Ryota (Kubota) to solve various difficult cases.

The producer of the drama Toda Kazuya revealed that he had heard BLUE ENCOUNT's songs and decided to make the offer to the band as he felt that their songs were very catchy and full of passion. In that sense, they were somewhat like Kyogoku's character so he felt that the band's music was a perfect match for the drama with its fast pace and a tinge of sadness. The band's vocalist Tanabe Shunichi commented that they were honoured to be given the chance but they were also troubled at first as to what kind of song to write for the drama. In the end, they managed to come up with something which they feel is the coolest to date in the band's history and is eagerly anticipating the start of the drama.

Source: Oricon

Winners in the TV drama category of the Japan Commercial Broadcasters Association Award 2016

The Japan Commercial Broadcasters Association (JBA) announced the winners for its JBA Award 2016 on 15 September. In the TV drama category, WOWOW's drama SP "Kono Machi no Inochi" starring Kase Ryo, Toda Erika and Tanaka Yuko won the best drama award. As for the excellence awards, they were won by TBS' "Shitamachi Rocket", TV Asahi's "Tamiou", TV Tokyo's "Tsuri baka Nisshi Shinnyuu Shain Hamasaki Densuke", BS Japan's "Kayou SP Yamamoto Shugoro Ninjou Jidaigeki Meotochou", Chukyo Terebi Housou's "Chukyo TV SP Drama Mothers 2015 ~ 17-sai no Jitsu haha ~" and Kansai Terebi Housou's "Osaka Kanjousen Hitoeki goto no Ai Monogatari Daisankai Taisho Eki Atarashii Umi no Shutsugen".

Source: Oricon

Miura Haruma reported to be dating dancer Sugawara Koharu

Miura Haruma and dancer Sugawara Koharu are reportedly dating, according to media reports on 21 September. The couple is said to have started dating recently and were seen at various locations together. Miura and Sugawara met when he appeared in Sugawara's radio show to promote his stage play in the middle of last month and he was said to have taken the initiative to woo her after that meeting. Prior to this, Miura had first seen Sugawara's dance performance in singer Miura Daichi's music video Unlock in February last year and was impressed with her that he got an acquaintance to introduce him to her. He was also at her performance in February this year where he commented that he was thankful to Sugawara for giving inspiration for his acting through her dancing when he was having issues.

Sugawara is a dancer known internationally and had been a back dancer for artistes such as Rihanna, SMAP and Amuro Namie. She had also taken on choreography jobs for artistes such as Girls' Generation and Koda Kumi and was previously seen in a TDK commercial with Stevie Wonder. Besides being a dancer, she also takes on modelling, CM jobs and holds dance workshops in Japan and overseas.

When asked about the news, Miura's agency did not deny it and said that they will leave it to Miura to handle this since this is his private matter. On the other hand, Sugawara is said to be in San Francisco at the moment according to her last post via Instagram on 21 September.

Sources: Nikkansports / Sanspo

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Haru to star in new NHK drama "Okaasan, Musume wo yamete ii desuka?"

Haru will be starring in the new NHK drama "Okaasan, Musume wo yamete ii desuka?" (Mother, can I quit being your daughter?) which will begin its run from 13 January in the Fridays 10pm timeslot. She will be caught in a love triangle with her mother played by Saito Yuki and the daughter's boyfriend who is played by Yagira Yuuya. Terawaki Yasufumi will be playing Haru's father in the drama.

The drama which consists of 8 episodes, is written by Inoue Yumiko and describes how the mother Akiko and daughter Mizuki are like best friends and lovers. The nature of their relationship does bother Mizuki's father Koji but he is too busy with work to do anything about it. Just then, when the family is planning to build a new house, they meet Matsushima who is assigned to be in charge of their construction project. At first, both Akiko and Mizuki hit it off with Matsushima which leads Akiko to encourage Mizuki to date him. However, once Mizuki starts going out with Matsushima, she realises how she had been tightly controlled by her mother all this while and attempts to break free from this unhealthy relationsip between them. When Akiko realises what is going on, she resorts to extreme measures i.e. seducing Matsushima in order to get her beloved daughter back.

Haru commented that the theme of a mother-and-daughter relationship is something which everyone can relate to and she is eagerly anticipating to work with her co-stars. In the drama, her character will change gradually so she hopes to be able to do the same through the filming.

Sources: Sanspo / Oricon

End-of-filming for FujiTV Summer 2016 drama "Suki na hito ga iru koto"

The filming for FujiTV Summer 2016 drama "Suki na hito ga iru koto" was wrapped up in September. Yamazaki Kento was the first to finish his filming and was presented with flowers from Miura Shohei who played his elder brother Chiaki even though the latter had no filming that day. Yamazaki also exchanged handshakes with his co-star Kiritani Mirei and commented that it had been an enjoyable summer for him and he was thankful to have worked with his co-stars and the staff members.

On the following day, Kiritani, Miura and Nomura Shuhei filmed their last scene together and Yamazaki dropped by as an AD to watch the filming. Nomura recounted that there had been many things happening in the last three months but he was thankful to have met so many people through this drama and enjoyed the filming a lot. When Yamazaki presented a bouquet to Miura, the latter commented that as the filming started in early June, this marked his first drama since he turned 28 years old and he was grateful to be able to work on this drama. As for Kiritani, she remarked that it had been such an eventful journey for her as she was stung by gnats and got injured as well. However, she still had a good time working with everyone during this summer.

Source: Oricon

Japan premiere event of new movie "Ikari"

The Japan premiere event of new movie "Ikari" was held at Tokyo International Forum on 14 September which was attended by the director Lee Sang-il and cast members Watanabe Ken, Moriyama Mirai, Matsuyama Kenichi, Ayano Go, Hirosue Suzu, Miyazaki Aoi and Tsumabuki Satoshi. The movie which is based on the novel by Yoshida Shuichi, begins with an unresolved murder case where the character "ikari" written in blood was left at the crime scene. One year later, sightings of the possible criminal surface in Chiba, Tokyo and Okinawa where one of the three mysterious men who appear at these places is suspected to be the criminal who has undergone plastic surgery to change his looks. This leads to the exploration of the theme of trust among people. In the Tokyo arc, Ayano and Tsumabuki play a pair of gay lovers who live together where the latter is a salaryman but the former has no fixed residence. In the Chiba arc, Watanabe and Miyazaki play the roles of father and daughter and she is dating his subordinate at work who has an unknown past (Matsuyama). In the Okinawa arc, Moriyama plays a man who lives on a deserted island while Hirose plays a young girl who admires him.

Watanabe commented during the event that the time has finally come for the movie to be released and he marveled at how gentle the director had become which he didn't realise when they last worked together on the movie "Yurusarezarumono". He also admitted that this is the first time that he had been moved to tears by a movie which he appears in.

In order to prepare for the filming, Ayano and Tsumabuki lived together for some time. Ayano revealed that he treasured the time they spent together and he owed it to Tsumabuki for helping him to play his character. In return, Tsumabuki commented that it was also the same for him. After watching the movie, he thought that there were a lot of things people chose to ignore in their daily lives for one reason or another but they should probably face up to some of these issues as depicted in the movie.

Sources: Oricon / Nikkansports /

Production press conference of TV Tokyo drama SP "Mohouhan"

The production press conference of TV Tokyo drama SP "Mohouhan" was held on 14 September which was attended by cast members Nakatani Miki, Sakaguchi Kentaro, Yamamoto Yusuke Shimizu Fumika and Kishide Ittoku. The two-part drama SP which is to be shown on 21st and 22 September at 9pm, is based on Miyabe Miyuki's same-titled novel and is the first drama adaptation for the novel since the movie version 14 years ago starring Nakai Masahiro.

As this is the first time that Nakatani and Sakaguchi worked together, they were asked about their impressions of each other. Nakatani commented that before meeting Sakaguchi, she thought that he was a laidback guy but later realised that he is a passionate guy deep down with a strong character. She was also very impressed by the fact that he holds an annual membership at one cinema and would go to watch movies often to pick up acting techniques. As such, she is filled with hope about the future of Japanese movies and dramas since there is someone like him who is young yet very serious about his acting. On the other hand, Sakaguchi revealed that he couldn't really imagine what kind of person Nakatani is as she had played so many different characters in the past. After working with her, he could see her strong and gentle sides so he thinks that it is not possible to describe accurately how she really is. In response, Nakatani said with a smile that she is happy about this observation since she doesn't like to be stereotyped in the first place.

When asked about memorable scenes in the drama, Nakatani cited one when she was brought to tears by Shimizu and said that she has become the latter's fan. Upon hearing this, Shimizu expressed her joy and promised to give Nakatani candies later. However, Nakatani said that Shimizu can save on the candies since she really likes her and is not paying lip service. Shimizu revealed an incident during the filming when the camera had to capture the expressions of other characters from the back of Nakatani's shoulder. When the cameraman said that he was going to "borrow" her shoulder, Nakatani replied with a simple "nannarito" (by all means) which deeply impressed Shimizu because this was something she usually sees in scripts only. As such, Shimizu hopes to be able to become a woman who can say something like this in such a charming manner one day.

Sources: Oricon / Nikkansports /

Shinohara Ryoko to star in NTV drama SP "Ai wo kou koto"

Shinohara Ryoko will be starring in the upcoming NTV drama SP "Ai wo kou koto" (Begging for love) which will be shown during winter this year. The drama SP which is based on the same-titled novel by Shimoda Harumi, describes the bond between mother and daughter and is Shinohara's first drama SP in seven and a half years and her first playing two characters.

Shinohara plays a mother named Toyoko who doesn't know how to love her daughter Terue and subjects the latter to physical abuse when she was a child. As a result, Terue was hungry for love but didn't know how to be loved. Years later, Terue grows up and has a daughter Migusa who is in senior high school when she reunites with her brother Takenori who was separated from her at birth. Due to the reunion, memories of her miserable childhood come flooding back. With the support of Migusa, Terue decides to head to Taiwan to look for her late father's grave and finds out the truth behind her mother's behaviour after meeting Toyoko there. The entire filming had been completed with parts of it done in Taiwan.

Prior to this drama SP, there was a movie version in 1998 starring Harada Mieko which had won eight awards including Best Movie and Best Leading Actress in the Nihon Academy Prize. Shinohara revealed that she had watched the movie and was so impressed by it so she had wanted to act in an adaptation of this novel one day if she had the chance. As such, when the offer came along, she was very happy and hopes that viewers will be touched by this drama. As for having to play two very different characters this time, Shinohara said that it was difficult but she found a lot of meaning and satisfaction in playing them. In particular, she liked playing Toyoko very much and would sometimes wonder if she can go back to playing her while she was acting as Terue. Shinohara also revealed that one reason which prompted her participation in this drama is the theme of child abuse and she wanted to make more people aware of this issue through this meaningful production.

Sources: Oricon / Yomiuri Hochi / Sponichi

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Completion screening event of new movie "Kanon"

The completion screening event of new movie "Kanon" was held on 14 September which was attended by the director Saiga Toshiro and cast members Higa Manami, Mimura, Sasaki Nozomi and Suzuki Honami. The movie which will be screened in cinemas from 1 October, features Mimura, Higa and Sasaki as three sisters Yukari, Ai and Akane who find out from a letter left behind by their late grandmother that their mother who they thought had been dead was actually still alive. However, this revelation causes the sisters to have to confront their past emotional trauma due to their mother Mitsuko's (Suzuki) abusive behaviour towards them. When they finally meet Mitsuko again, they find out that she is suffering from dementia due to severe chronic alcoholism.

Higa commented that although the theme of the movie is rather serious, the staff and cast worked hard together to make it into a film which bears hope for the future. She had also come to appreciate her mother better after working on this movie and realise how mothers have to overcome various things to raise their children so she wanted to express her gratitude to her mother. As for Suzuki, due to the difficulty of having to play an alcoholic mother with dementia, she went to get a lot of reference materials from the hospital but it was tough to digest all the information. As she won't be able to know how dementia patients feel, she had to imagine the emotions of her character and focus on the theme of loneliness when acting in this movie.

In the movie, there is a scene of the three sisters playing "Canon in D Pachelbel" on the piano which Higa revealed that the three actresses played the music personally without stand-ins. Higa and Sasaki didn't know how to play the piano at first but after intensive training starting from one month before the filming started, the three of them were able to play the piano for that scene. Sasaki revealed that at first, she thought that they would definitely be able to play the piano after the training and that they should have ample time to prepare but as the filming got closer, she started to panic and practised even harder towards the end. As for Mimura, although she knows how to play the piano, she was also concerned about the scene during the filming so she practised so many times until she could play the tune with her eyes blindfolded. Coincidentally, the three of them all come from families with three children which the director said that he didn't know that beforehand when selecting the cast.

Sources: Oricon / Nikkansports

Sawamura Ikki & JUJU to sing the theme song for NTV Autumn 2016 drama "Rental Kyuuseishu"

Sawamura Ikki and JUJU will be doing a duet for the theme song of his upcoming NTV Autumn 2016 drama "Rental Kyuuseishu" which will begin its run from 9 October in the Sundays 10.30pm timeslot. The song which is untitled at the moment, will be an up-tempo number and released under the name of JUJU feat. Akenabe Yuugo which is the name of Sawamura's character in the drama. Sawamura commented that when he first heard of the offer to sing the theme song with JUJU, he thought that he was hearing things and asked thrice to make sure that it was for real. This is the third time that they are working together as JUJU had sung the theme song for Sawamura's 2010 TV Asahi drama "Keishicho Shissounin Sousaka" which led to them being good friends. Sawamura had even gone to her concerts before. Sawamura joked that since he is nicknamed Ero Danshaku for his sexy voice, he thinks that the theme song will be filled with pheromones as well. As for JUJU, she said that it was great to be able to see Sawamura sing live. The two of them also expressed their wish to be able to sing the song on music TV programmes or concerts.

The last time when Sawamura released a song was for 2007 NTV drama "Hatarakiman" when he sang the ending theme titled "Hatarakiman Ondo" under the name of Hataraki Mitsuru.

Source: Sanspo

Matsutoya Yumi to sing the theme song of FujiTV Autumn 2016 drama "Chef ~ Mitsuboshi no Kyuushoku ~"

Matsutoya Yumi will be singing the theme song of FujiTV Autumn 2016 drama "Chef ~ Mitsuboshi no Kyuushoku" starring Amami Yuki which begins its run from October in the Thursdays 10pm timeslot. The song titled "Smile for me" was specially writen for the drama and will be included in her album "Uchuu Toshokan" due to be released on 2 November. This is Matsutoya's first drama song in 15 years since 2001's "Mukodono" which featured her song "7TRUTHS 7LIES ~ Virgin Road no Kanata de" as the theme. In order to fit in with the theme of how a woman lives in the current era, the song's message is less about being aggressive, more about being accommodating as well as how she is strong enough to seize the moment. With the power of a "handsome woman" like Amami, Matsutoya hopes that the song will bring courage to those who hear it and look upon your relationships with the people you treasure with newfound gentleness.

Sources: Oricon / Nikkansports

Kiritani Kenta, Kurashina Kana & Takashima Masanobu to appear in FujiTV Autumn 2016 drama "Cain to Abel"

Kiritani Kenta, Kurashina Kana and Takashima Masanobu will be appearing in the upcoming FujiTV Autumn 2016 drama "Cain to Abel" which will begin its run from 17 October in the Mondays 9pm timeslot. The drama which is based on the fourth chapter Book of Genesis in the Old Testament of the Bible where brothers Cain and Abel appeared in, features Hey! Say! JUMP's Yamada Ryosuke as the lead character Takada Yu whose father Takayuki (Takashima) is the president of property developer Takada Sougo Chisho and elder brother Ryuichi (Kiritani) is the vice president. Since young, Yu has been overlooked by his father who dotes on his elder son who is good at everything. Despite wanting to be recognised and liked by his father and elder brother, Yu is not successful in this regard so he's already more or less resigned to his fate. On the other hand, Ryuichi is fighting a battle of his own as he tries to cope with the pressure of being perfect. While working in the family business, Yu meets Yahagi Azusa (Kurashina) and gradually develops feelings for her. However, he realises later that Azusa is actually Ryuichi's girlfriend.

This will be Kiritani's first collaboration with Yamada in a drama series since they last worked together in the 2013 NTV drama SP "Kindaichi Shounen no Jikenbo Hong Kong Kowloon Zaihou Satsujin Jiken". Kiritani commented that the traditional impression of the Gekku timeslot is trendiness and romance but this time, there will be elements of family relationships, brotherhood and jealousy. As such, he is eagerly anticipating to see how the story develops and describes the complicated relationships among the characters. As for Takashima, this is his first appearance in a Gekku in 11 years so he wants to put in his all to play his character. Kurashina commented that she hopes to show the feminine charm and strength of her character in the drama.

Sources: Sanspo 1 / Sponichi / Oricon

SMAP to release 25th anniversary best hits album and music video clips compilation DVD in Dec

SMAP who is to disband on 31 December, will be releasing their third and last best hits album "SMAP 25 YEARS" on 21 December. The album is expected to comprise of 3 CDs containing 50 songs. From today, fans can vote for their favourites on this site (Japanese only) from a list of more than 400 songs in SMAP's singles and albums released to date. Multiple votes are allowed but you can only vote for one song at a time. The top 50 songs will be included in the best hits album. Voting will close on 4 October, 11.59pm Japan time.

In addition, there will be a music video clips compilation DVD to be released on 28 December which is titled "Smap! Complete Singles". There will be DVD and Blu-Ray versions containing all 63 music videos or live performances from SMAP's 55 singles. Note that this includes songs from double A-side singles as well so the number of songs is 63 instead of just 55.

Members of SMAP's fanclub will be receiving a 160-page photobook which is supposed to be the group's 25th anniversary souvenir and due to be delivered to them by 25 September.

Here are the details of the best hits album and music video DVD so do take note of the serial numbers if you are pre-ordering these online in order to ensure that you are getting the correct version:

1) SMAP 25 YEARS (First press limited edition)
Release date: 21 Dec 2016
Number of CDs: 3
Serial number: VICL-64693~5
Price: 3,900 yen + tax

2) SMAP 25 YEARS (Normal edition)
Release date: 21 Dec 2016
Number of CDs: 3
Serial number: VICL-64696~8
Price: 3,900 yen + tax

3) Clip! Smap! Complete Singles (Blu-ray Disc)
Release date: 28 Dec 2016
Number of DVDs: 2
Serial number: VIXL-175~6
Price: 6,800 yen + tax

4) Clip! Smap! Complete Singles (DVD)
Release date: 28 Dec 2016
Number of DVDs: 3
Serial number: VIBL-821~3
Price: 5,800 yen + tax

Sources: Nikkansports / Sanspo / Victor Entertainment

Nakama Yukie to join the cast of TV Asahi Autumn 2016 drama "Aibou season 15"

Nakama Yukie will be joining the cast of TV Asahi Autumn 2016 drama "Aibou season 15" which will begin its run from 12 October. Her character Yashiro Miyako last appeared in "Aibou season 13" which was shown in autumn 2014, This time, Yashiro will be the section chief of the PR section in the general affairs department while Kaburagi Wataru (Sorimachi Takashi) will be assigned to her department as her subordinate after joining the Metropolitan Police Department despite him applying for another department. Nakama will also be appearing in the new movie "Aibou - Gekijouban IV" which will be shown in cinemas next year.

The lead actor of the Aibou series Mizutani Yutaka commented that he was surprised that Nakama will be reappearing in the series and that Wataru (Sorimachi) is assigned to her department rather than his. As for Nakama, she revealed her excitement at being able to play Yashiro again in the world of "Aibou".

Source: Oricon

Murakami Nijiro to star in new movie "Nidome no natsu, nidoto aenai kimi"

Murakami Nijiro will be starring in the movie adaptation of Akagi Hirotaka's light novel "Nidome no natsu, nidoto aenai kimi" (The second summer, unable to meet you again) which is directed by Nakanishi Kenji and due to shown in cinemas in autumn 2017. Murakami plays the role of the lead character Shinohara who is a senior high school student while the heroine Moriyama Rin will played by Yoshida Madoka who is the vocalist cum guitarist in girls' band Tankobuchin. Co-stars also include AKB48's Kato Rena, Kinjo Mana, Yamada Yuki Kikuchi Akiko and Honjo Manami.

The novel which was published in 2015, describes how Shinohara who just transferred to Aoba Kita Senior School, tries to form a band which can perform during the cultural festival. However, the school rules forbids band activities. Despite so, Shinohara manages to form a five-member band including his classmate Moriyama Rin. The performance turns out to be a success but Rin collapses whereby Shinohara first learns of her suffering from a terminal illness. Just before Rin passes away, Shinohara confesses his feelings for her but is rejected by her who reacts violently to the confession. Shinohara realises that he shouldn't have done that and deeply regrets tormenting Rin with his action. 2 months after her death, Shinohara is still plagued by his guilt and accidentally goes back into time at six months ago. This time, he will try to suppress his feelings and allow Rin to leave this world with a smile.

Moriyama Rin who has a terminal illness, falls for a new transfer student Shinohara. When he confesses his feelings to Rin, it is too late as she is on the verge of dying. Out of the blue, he experiences a time leap which offers him a second chance to prevent any regrets.

Filming is expected to begin from 1 October.