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Thursday, August 17, 2017

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

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

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

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

Sources: Nikkansports / Sanspo / Sponichi / Eiga.com

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

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

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

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

Source: Eiga.com / Yomiuri Hochi / Nikkansports

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Filming begins in the middle of August.

Sources: Oricon / Eiga.com / Sanspo

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

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

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

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

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

Sources: Oricon / Sanspo / Nikkansports

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Mamiya Shotaro to star in new movie "Zenin Shikei"

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

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

Sources: Eiga.com / My Navi News

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


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

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

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

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

Sources: Nikkansports / Yomiuri Hochi / Eiga.com

Kiritani Mirei to star in new movie "Revenge Girl"

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

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

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

Sources: Sponichi / Eiga.com

Monday, August 14, 2017

Top 10 bestselling Japanese movies in the first half of 2017

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

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

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

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

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

5) Kaizoku to yobareta otoko (JPY 2.37bn)

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Cinema Today

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

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

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

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

Sources: Eiga.com / Oricon / Nikkansports

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

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

1) Despicable Me 3 (359)

2) Spider-Man: Homecoming (355)

3) Kimi no suizou wo tabetai (319)

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

5) Transformers: The Last Knight (334)

6) Gintama (334)

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

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

9) Mary to Majo no Hana (365)

10) The Mummy (333)

Source: Eiga.com

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

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

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

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

Filming began on 4 August.

Sources: Sanspo / Eiga.com

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

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

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

Sources: Yomiuri Hochi 1 / Yomiuri Hochi 2 / Sanspo

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

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

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

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

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

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

Filming of this drama is already in progress.

Sources: Sanspo / Oricon 1 / Oricon 2

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

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

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

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

Sources: Yomiuri Hochi / Sanspo / Oricon

Sunday, August 13, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

Sources: Nikkansports / Eiga.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sources: News Matomedia / Sponichi / Yomiuri Hochi / Messy

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Takasugi Mahiro & Hayama Shono as double leads in new TV Tokyo Autumn 2017 drama "Setoutsumi"

Takasugi Mahiro and Hayama Shono will be double leads in the new TV Tokyo Autumn 2017 drama "Setoutsumi" which will begin its run from October in the Fridays 12.52am timeslot. The drama which is based on the ongoing same-titled manga by Konomoto Kazuya currently serialised in "Bessatsu Shounen Champion", was made into a movie in 2016 starring Ikematsu Sousuke and Suda Masaki who played Utsumi and Seto respectively.

The drama features Takasugi as Utsumi Sou who is a cool, quiet and bespectacled high school student also attending cram school while Hayama plays Seto Shoukichi who used to belong to the soccer club and is very sociable and the moodmaker in school. The story is relatively simple and describes how these two high school boys chat in the Kansai dialect after school at the riverside since they both are free for a while due to Seto quitting from the soccer club and Utsumi having some time on hand before he has to go to cram school. Their conversations are peppered with a lot of wit and cynicism which are bound to make the viewers laugh.

Takasugi revealed that he had read the manga before getting the offer for this drama and had thought before that the manga was so interesting even though it is mainly made up of dialogue between two people. As a fan, he is very happy to be able to act in this drama and pledged to work hard at mastering the Kansai dialect. Although he is worried about how to make the drama interesting just through dialogue and that Utsumi's character is somewhat difficult to comprehend, he hopes to be able to show the troubles which Utsumi has and the importance of the time he spends with Seto.

On the other hand, Hayama who had watched the movie before, expressed his surprise at how a conversational story like this could be so interesting and which led to him reading the manga at one go. As this is the first time that he will be working with Takasugi, he is eager and excited about their collaboration. Although he also feels the pressure, he will be putting his best effort to play Seto.

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

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Completion screening event of new movie "Sandome no Satsujin"

The completion screening event of new movie "Sandome no Satsujin" was held at TOHO Cinemas Roppongi Hills on 31 July which was attended by the director Koreeda Hirokazu and cast members Fukuyama Masaharu, Yakusho Koji, Hirose Suzu, Yoshida Kotaro, Saito Yuki and Mitsushima Shinnosuke. The movie will be shown in cinemas from 9 September.

The movie is based on Koreeda's original script about the psychological drama between an elite lawyer played by Fukuyama who values winning over everything and a murderer played by Yakusho. The story which is from Shigemori's (Fukuyama) perspective, talks about how he takes on the case of Misumi (Yakusho) who is on trial for murder despite the low odds of winning the case. As he interacts with Misumi, Shigemori starts to realise how unconvincing Misumi's motive for killing is and wonders if the latter is the true murderer. Hirose will be playing the murder victim's daughter Yamanaka Sakie while Saito will be playing the victim's wife Mitsue. Yoshida will be playing Settsu Daisuke who works on the case together with Shigemori and Mitsushima will be playing a young lawyer Kawashima Teru who belongs to the same law firm as Shigemori. Matsuoka Izumi will be Hattori Akiko, an admin staff in the law firm while Ichikawa Mikako will be the prosecutor Shinohara Kazuki and Hashizume Isao will be Shigemori's father Akihisa who was the judge for Misumi's case 30 years ago.

During the event, Yoshida joked that he actually had a bad first impression of Fukuyama when they first met during the script-reading session. As they had never worked together before, Yoshida thought that it was rude for Fukuyama to avoid eye contact and not speak to him at all. However, Fukuyama clarified that he's actually someone who's shy in front of strangers even though he's already nearing 50 (he is 48 years old now). He misunderstood that Yoshida is like him so that's why he didn't dare to approach the latter. As such, Fukuyama apologised for his rude behaviour to which Yoshida said that he found out during the filming that Fukuyama is a much nicer guy than he had assumed initially.

Fukuyama also recounted that when he acted in another Koreeda movie i.e. "Soshite Chichi ni naru", it was fun to be working with the child actors who managed to follow the script even though they were told the lines on the day of the filming instead of making them memorise the script. However, this time round, it was more difficult because the script was an original one by the director so there were a lot of things which needed to be figured out on a trial-and-error basis thus resulting in many surprises and discoveries along the way.

Sources: Oricon / Eiga.com

Shuri to star in new FujiTV Autumn 2017 drama "Ayamachi Scramble"

Shuri will be starring in the upcoming FujiTV CS Autumn 2017 drama "Ayamachi Scramble" (Mistake Scramble) which will be shown from 19 November in the Sundays 11.30pm timeslot. There will be a total of 5 episodes lasting 30 minutes each.

The love comedy describes how the lead character Risa (Shuri) has always been interested in her colleague played by Wakaba Ryuya but she suddenly starts to imagine how it would be if he had an affair with a married woman (Hashimoto Manami) who she just met the day before even though there is nothing like that happening in reality. Her wild imagination gets her into serious trouble as she keeps making mistakes due to her exaggerated fantasy.

As this is Shuri's first leading role and her first attempt at a love comedy, she admitted that she never thought that such a day would come. Nonetheless, she hopes to be able to convey the overly-straightforward side of Risa and how she hides her true self while trying to peer into the dark sides of other people and hopes that the viewers will enjoy watching this.

The drama's theme song "Yuuwaku Party" will be sung by 4-member band Shiggy Jr while the movie version of the drama will be shown for a week only from 28 October at Shinjuku's K's cinema.

Shuri is the only child of Mizutani Yutaka and Ito Ran and had been seen recently in dramas such as NHK's morning drama "Toto Nee-chan" and TBS Spring 2017 drama "Reverse".

Sources: Sponichi / Sanspo

Iwata Takanori to star in new real-life adaptation movie "Kyounen no Fuyu, Kimi to wakare"

EXILE / Sandaime J Soul Brothers' Iwata Takanori will be starring in the new real-life adaptation movie "Kyounen no Fuyu, Kimi to wakare" (I parted with you last winter) which is based on the same-titled novel published in 2013 by Akutagawa Award-winning writer Nakamura Fuminori. The movie will be released in spring 2018.

Iwata will be playing an up-and-coming report writer Yakumo Kyousuke who is about to get married to his girlfriend Matsuda Yuriko (Yamamoto Mizuki). While aiming to get his book published, he comes across a mysterious case where a blind and beautiful woman was burnt to death. The suspect of this murder turns out to be a talented photographer Kiharazaka Yuudai (Saito Takumi) but as Yakumo investigates further, he is drawn into the deep darkness surrounding Kiharazaka. Other co-stars include Kitamura Kazuki who plays Kobayashi Yoshiki, the editor of a weekly magazine who suggests that Yakumo investigate the case while Kiharazaka's elder sister Akari will be played by Asami Reina.

Iwata who will be starring in his first suspense movie as the lead, said that he was taken aback when he first heard of the offer especially since he had never acted in such a serious and intense story before. As such, he views this a challenge to himself and hopes to be able to grow as an actor and get better in his acting through this movie.

Filming began on 2 July in the Kanto region and is expected to wrap up in mid August.

Sources: Oricon / Nikkansports / Eiga.com

Completion screening event of new movie "Osanako warera ni umare"

The completion screening event of new movie "Osanako warera ni umare" was held on 2 August which was attended by the director Mishima Yukiko and cast members Asano Tadanobu, Tanaka Rena, Kudo Kankuro, Minami Sara, Kamata Raiju and Arai Miu. The movie will be released in cinemas from 26 August.

The movie which is based on the 1996 same-titled novel by Shigematsu Kiyoshi, features Asano as the 40-year-old once-divorced lead character Tanaka Shin who remarries Nae (Tanaka), also a divorcee. Together with her two children from a previous marriage, Shin tries to forge a bond with them but is met with especially strong resistance from Nae's elder daughter Kaoru who keeps wanting to meet her birth father i.e. Nae's ex-husband Sawada (Kudo Kankuro) despite the fact that the latter was physically abusive towards Nae and didn't take care of his family. On the other hand, Shin has a daughter Saori from his previous marriage to Yuka (Terajima Shinobu) who later remarried an university professor and moved to the US. Despite being physically apart from Saori, Shin tries to show his love for Saori by meeting her regularly which makes Nae feel uncomfortable. When Nae finds out that she is pregnant with Shin's child, the couple have to grapple with the difficulties that come with forming a new family unit and their conflicting feelings towards each other's previous spouses and their children from the previous marriages.

Asano commented that it was a meaningful experience to participate in this movie where he got to be so absorbed in his role and clash with the director with his unyielding attitude about his acting. Especially since this was a difficult character since Shin couldn't devote himself fully to his past or current family, it was a refreshing challenge for him. Mishima revealed that they did not force the cast to stick to the script or prescribed actions but rather made adjustments on the set and tried to complete the scenes in one take so as to make the characters come to life. Tanaka also said that she was surprised by how different she appeared in this movie and credited Mishima for bringing out this new self of hers.

Kudo who plays an abusive husband, commented that his character is a rather terrible man so he's concerned that the viewers will come to hate him and called upon them not to do that. Although he doesn't identify with his character, Kudo said that it was fun to say things which had never crossed his mind.

Source: Eiga.com

Tamaki Hiroshi to return in TV Tokyo drama SP "Kyoaku wa nemurasenai Tokusou Kenji no Hyouteki"

Tamaki Hiroshi will be returning in the TV Tokyo drama SP "Kyoaku wa nemurasenai Tokusou Kenji no Hyouteki" (Great evil does not go to sleep The target of the prosecutor) to reprise his role as public prosecutor Tominaga Shinichi. The first drama SP of the same series titled "Kyoaku wa nemurasenai Tokusou kenji no gyakushuu" was shown in October last year and the sequel is due to be shown within this year.

In this latest SP based on the novel titled "Hyouteki" by Mayama Jin, Tominaga will be investigating a big-name female politician Koshimura Miyabi who is the Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare on allegations of receiving bribes. Koshimura is highly regarded to be on the path to become Japan's first female prime minister and known as a driving force to push forward reforms in social welfare. Tominaga then sets out to investigate the case while faced with various obstacles in the complicated world of national politics. Natori Yuko will be playing the role of Koshimura while Tominaga's superior Hase Kiichi i.e. the assistant director of the prosecutors department will be played by Okuda Eiji. Tominaga's admin officer Igarashi Tetsuo will be played by Hagiwara Masato while the director of the prosecutors department Iwashita Nozomi will be played by Hada Michiko. Other co-stars include Takizawa Saori who plays Tominaga's colleague Fujiyama Ayumi and Tamura Ryo who plays Tominaga's father Kazuo who is a wagashi master in Kyoto.

Tamaki commented that he hopes that this drama will be a reflection of the voices of the people and reach the top of the political world as well. Although the role of Tominaga is not an easy one to play, he felt that being able to take on this character is a way of helping him to grow and hopes that there will be a day when the drama becomes a full series. Meanwhile, Mayama expressed his joy at seeing his novel being made into a drama again so quickly and revealed that the ending of the drama will be different from the novel. As such, the readers will also be able to enjoy the drama and raise their awareness of the illogical things happening in Japanese politics.

Filming began in late July.

Source: Sanspo / Oricon / Yomiuri Hochi

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

The 93rd Drama Academy Awards (Spring 2017) - Best Theme Song

Overall Ranking Top 3
1) Bouningen - RADWIMPS (Frankenstein no Koi)
2) I'll be there - Arashi (Kizoku Tantei)
3) Senakagoshi no Chance - Kame to YamaP (Boku, Unmei no hito desu)

Voters Ranking Top 5
1) I'll be there - Arashi (Kizoku Tantei)
2) Senakagoshi no Chance - Kame to YamaP (Boku, Unmei no hito desu)
3) Destiny - CheNelle (Reverse)
4) PICK IT UP - Kis-My-Ft2 (Sakurako-san no ashimoto ni wa shitai ga umatteiru)
5) Bouningen - RADWIMPS (Frankenstein no Koi)

TV Reporters Ranking Top 5
1) Bouningen - RADWIMPS (Frankenstein no Koi)
2) Non Fiction - Hirai Ken (Chiisana Kyojin)
3) Senakagoshi no Chance - Kame to YamaP (Boku, Unmei no hito desu)
4) Destiny - CheNelle (Reverse)
5) I need your love - Beverly (CRISIS Kouan Kido Sousatai Tokusouhan)

Judges Ranking Top 5
1) Bouningen - RADWIMPS (Frankenstein no Koi)
2) CQCQ - Kamisama, Boku wa kizuiteshimatta (Anata no koto wa sorehodo)
3) Just You and I - Amuro Namie (Haha ni naru)
4) Non Fiction - Hirai Ken (Chiisana Kyojin) / Senakagoshi no Chance - Kame to YamaP (Boku, Unmei no hito desu)

Source: The Televison

The 93rd Drama Academy Awards (Spring 2017) - Best Supporting Actress

Overall Ranking Top 3
1) Koike Eiko - Haha ni naru
2) Toda Erika - Reverse
3) Naka Riisa - Anata no koto wa sorehodo

Voters Ranking Top 5
1) Nakayama Miho - Kizoku Tantei
2) Toda Erika - Reverse
3) Kimura Fumino - Boku, Unmei no hito desu
4) Takei Emi - Kizoku Tantei
5) Koike Eiko - Haha ni naru

TV Reporters Ranking Top 5
1) Koike Eiko - Haha ni naru
2) Toda Erika - Reverse
3) Naka Riisa - Anata no koto wa sorehodo
4) Araki Yuuko - CRISIS Kouan Kido Sousatai Tokusouhan
5) Kimura Fumino - Boku, Unmei no hito desu

Judges Ranking Top 5
1) Koike Eiko - Haha ni naru
2) Naka Riisa - Anata no koto wa sorehodo
3) Toda Erika - Reverse / Kimura Fumino - Boku, Unmei no hito desu / Nikaidou Fumi - Frankenstein no Koi

Source: The Televison

The 93rd Drama Academy Awards (Spring 2017) - Best Supporting Actor

Overall Ranking Top 3
1) Higashide Masahiro - Anata no koto wa sorehodo
2) Kagawa Teruyuki - Chiisana Kyojin
3) Nishijima Hidetoshi - CRISIS Kouan Kido Sousatai Tokusouhan

Voters Ranking Top 5
1) Takito Kenichi - Kizoku Tantei
2) Tamamori Yuta - Reverse
3) Yamashita Tomohisa - Boku, Unmei no hito desu
4) Namase Katsuhisa - Kizoku Tantei
5) Matsushige Yutaka - Kizoku Tantei

TV Reporters Ranking Top 5
1) Higashide Masahiro - Anata no koto wa sorehodo
2) Okada Masaki - Chiisana Kyojin
3) Nishijima Hidetoshi - CRISIS Kouan Kido Sousatai Tokusouhan
4) Yasuda Ken - Chiisana Kyojin
5) Suzuki Nobuyuki - Anata no koto wa sorehodo

Judges Ranking Top 5
1) Kagawa Teruyuki - Chiisana Kyojin
2) Higashide Masahiro - Anata no koto wa sorehodo
3) Nishijima Hidetoshi - CRISIS Kouan Kido Sousatai Tokusouhan
4) Takeda Tetsuya - Reverse / Yamazaki Ikusaburo - Anata no koto wa sorehodo

Source: The Televison

The 93rd Drama Academy Awards (Spring 2017) - Best Leading Actress

Overall Ranking Top 3
1) Haru - Anata no koto wa sorehodo
2) Sawajiri Erika - Haha ni naru
3) Amami Yuki - Kinkyuu Torishirabeshitsu 2

Voters Ranking Top 5
1) Sawajiri Erika - Haha ni naru
2) Amami Yuki - Kinkyuu Torishirabeshitsu 2
3) Kuroki Haru - Mi wo tsukushi ryourijou
4) Haru - Anata no koto wa sorehodo
5) Kiritani Mirei - Hito wa mitame ga 100 percent

TV Reporters Ranking Top 5
1) Haru - Anata no koto wa sorehodo
2) Sawajiri Erika - Haha ni naru
3) Amami Yuki - Kinkyuu Torishirabeshitsu 2
4) Kuroki Haru - Mi wo tsukushi ryourijou
5) Takanashi Rin - Koi ga heta demo ikitemasu

Judges Ranking Top 5
1) Haru - Anata no koto wa sorehodo
2) Sawajiri Erika - Haha ni naru
3) Amami Yuki - Kinkyuu Torishirabeshitsu 2 / Kuroki Haru - Mi wo tsukushi ryourijou / Tabe Mikako - Tsubaki Bunguten Kamakura Daishoya Monogatari

Source: The Television

The 93rd Drama Academy Awards (Spring 2017) - Best Leading Actor

Overall Ranking Top 3
1) Fujiwara Tatsuya - Reverse
2) Oguri Shun - CRISIS Kouan Kido Sousatai Tokusouhan
3) Aiba Masaki - Kizoku Tantei

Voters Ranking Top 5
1) Aiba Masaki - Kizoku Tantei
2) Fujiwara Tatsuya - Reverse
3) Kamenashi Kazuya - Boku, Unmei no hito desu
4) Oguri Shun - CRISIS Kouan Kido Sousatai Tokusouhan
5) Ayano Go - Frankenstein no Koi

TV Reporters Ranking Top 5
1) Fujiwara Tatsuya - Reverse
2) Oguri Shun - CRISIS Kouan Kido Sousatai Tokusouhan
3) Hasegawa Hiroki - Chiisana Kyojin
4) Kamenashi Kazuya - Boku, Unmei no hito desu
5) Matsushige Yutaka - Kodoku no Gurume Season 6

Judges Ranking Top 5
1) Oguri Shun - CRISIS Kouan Kido Sousatai Tokusouhan
2) Fujiwara Tatsuya - Reverse
3) Ayano Go - Frankenstein no Koi / Hasegawa Hiroki - Chiisana Kyojin
5) Baka Rhythm - Kakuu OL Nikki

Source: The Televison

The 93rd Drama Academy Awards (Spring 2017) - Best Drama

Overall Ranking Top 3
1) Reverse (TBS)
2) CRISIS Kouan Kido Sousatai Tokusouhan (FujiTV)
3) Kizoku Tantei (FujiTV)

Voters Ranking Top 5
1) Kizoku Tantei (FujiTV)
2) Reverse (TBS)
3) Boku, Unmei no hito desu (NTV)
4) Frankenstein no Koi (NTV)
5) Haha ni naru (NTV)

TV Reporters Ranking Top 5
1) Reverse (TBS)
2) CRISIS Kouan Kido Sousatai Tokusouhan (FujiTV)
3) Chiisana Kyojin (TBS)
4) Anata no koto wa sorehodo (TBS)
5) Haha ni naru (NTV)

Judges Ranking Top 5
1) CRISIS Kouan Kido Sousatai Tokusouhan (FujiTV)
2) Chiisana Kyojin (TBS)
3) Anata no koto wa sorehodo (TBS)
4) Reverse (TBS) / Frankenstein no Koi (NTV)

Source: The Television

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Ikuta Toma & Eita to star in new movie "Yuuzai"

Ikuta Toma and Eita will be joint leads in the new movie "Yuuzai" (Sin of a friend) directed by Zeze Takahisa which will be shown in cinemas next May. This will be the third collaboration of the actors as they had acted together in the 2009 FujiTV drama "Voice ~ Inochinakimono no Koe ~" where Eita was the lead and the 2016 movie "Mogura no Uta Hong Kong Kyousoukyoku" where Ikuta was the lead but their first as double leads. Filming began on 22nd July and is due to be completed in August.

The movie is based on the same-titled novel by Yakumaru Gaku which features Ikuta as Masuda who used to dream of being a journalist but had his hopes dashed and Eita as Suzuki who works at a small factory but doesn't talk about his past. The two of them who are of the same age, become friends when they happen to work at the same factory but when Masuda accidentally finds out that Suzuki may be the culprit behind a series of murders involving children 17 years ago when he was still a teenager, their friendship changes due to the complex mix of emotions such as doubt and regret.

Ikuta and Eita who are close friends and go for meals together, expressed their delight in being able to work together again. Ikuta described Eita as someone who has both the sharpness of a beast and the gentleness of a loving person and is looking forward to work hard with him in this movie. Eita also echoed his view and praised Ikuta for being a stoic person and very observant to slight changes.

Ikuta revealed that he had read the novel before being offered the role and had thought about challenging himself one day if the opportunity ever came. As for Eita, he revealed that he was a bit apprehensive about the theme of this story and appreciated how tough it would be to play this character but decided to take up the challenge.

Sources: Nikkansports / Sanspo / Yomiuri Hochi / Sponichi / Eiga.com

Press conference of new NHK drama SP "Henkan Koushounin - Itsuka, Okinawa wo torimodosu -"

The press conference of new NHK drama SP "Henkan Koushounin - Itsuka, Okinawa wo torimodosu -" was held on 3 August at NHK's HQ in Shibuya, Tokyo, which was attended by the cast members Iura Arata and Toda Naho. The SP will be shown via BS Premium at 9pm on 12 August.

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

As Chiba was said to be so good at English that he was even better than the American natives, Iura had to prepare for the many negotiation scenes where English had to be spoken. He admitted that he actually doesn't know much English but in order to be convincing as Chiba, he underwent training by a teacher for about 6 weeks and tried to decipher the emotions which Chiba felt rather than just memorise lines. Even when at home alone, he would mumble in English as practice for the filming which he devoted himself fully into. Although he didn't think that he could become Chiba fully, he felt that he had expressed Chiba's strong mission in life as he fought on alone in that era. Iura also thanked Toda for being a good actress to work with as it helped him to interact with her naturally as a couple in the SP.

Before the filming began, Iura paid a visit to the US military bases in Okinawa where he had a deep impression of the noise created by the fighter jets. The last scene in the SP was shot in front of a US base which made him realise that the issue with the bases is still continuing till this day and it would be bad to forget or even try to underestimate its impact. Toda also echoed his view and said that the Okinawa issue with the bases is something which the entire nation should think about.

Sources: Oricon / Nikkansports

Kunimura Jun, Mitsushima Shinnosuke & Nakamura Yurika to appear in TV Asahi drama SP "BORDER 2 Shokuzai"

Kunimura Jun, Mitsushima Shinnosuke and Nakamura Yurika will be appearing in the upcoming TV Asahi drama SP "BORDER 2 Shokuzai" which will be shown later this year. The SP continues from the end of the 2014 drama series where Ishikawa Ango (Oguri Shun) gets too caught up in his pursuit of justice that he pushes a criminal Ando Chikao (Omori Nao) over from the rooftop of a building. Although Ando is supposedly dead due to the fall, he appears suddenly behind Ishikawa and grabs his shoulder to welcome him to the other side of the world i.e. evil. Besides Oguri, the original cast members including Aoki Munetaka, Haru, Endo Kenichi, Furuta Arata, Takito Kenichi, Nomaguchi Toru and Hamano Kenta and guest star Omori will be back in the drama SP.

Kunimura plays the role of Kudaka Takeshi who is the auditing commissioner in the Metropolitan Police Department who is capable and honest but has a somewhat mysterious and unfathomable side that places him at odds with Ishikawa. Mitsushima plays Haraguchi Tomoyuki who is a person of interest in a case investigated by Ishikawa while Nakamura plays Sudo Mami who is the victim of a murder case and appears as a spirit in front of Ishikawa. Mitsushima said that he is looking forward to be able to face off with Ishikawa i.e. Oguri and wonders how his character will appear in the SP. As for Nakamura, she admitted that she's actually quite afraid of the supernatural but had new thoughts about the spirits after reading the script as she pondered over why her character insisted on staying on as a wandering spirit and reach out to Ishikawa.

Source: Oricon

Asano Tadanobu & Kamiki Ryuunosuke to star in FujiTV Autumn 2017 drama "Keiji Yugami"

Asano Tadanobu will be taking on the leading role in the upcoming FujiTV Autumn 2017 drama "Keiji Yugami" (Police Detective Yugami) which will begin its run from October in the Thursdays 10pm timeslot. The drama which is based on the same-titled manga by Iura Hideo, features Asano as Yugami Yukimasa who is a talented police detective but will stop at nothing to solve his cases even if the methods may be somewhat illegal. He has a keen eye for details which allows him to see through the suspects. Kamiki plays the newbie detective Hanyu Torao who has a strong sense of justice, has a no-nonsense character and graduated with top grades in school. The two of them who are extreme opposites, form an unlikely alliance to solve various cases where each episode will feature a different case. Coincidentally, this is the first time for the both of them to play police detectives.

Asano jokingly commented that he's very happy to be able to play a middle-aged police detective who actually can't do much on his own and is looking forward to be supported by Kamiki in the drama. On the other hand, Kamiki revealed that he had bumped into Asano before on the streets and the latter took the initiative to talk to him then. Although there is a 19-year-old gap between them, Kamiki said that his character Hanyu will have no qualms talking back to Yugami and hopes to be able to make an interesting combination with Asano.

A week before the drama's announcement, Asano and Kamiki had actually uploaded some mysterious photos on their respective Instagram accounts which were revealed now to be part of the drama's PR campaign. Especially in Kamiki's case, his Instagram account was opened for a limited period of time between November last year and February this year before being "resurrected" without notice on 24 July. It turned out that they had uploaded blurred images of each other on their Instagram accounts from 25 July onwards.

Sources: Sanspo / Yomiuri Hochi

Monday, August 07, 2017

First-day-screening event of new movie "Umibe no sei to shi"

The first-day-screening event of new movie "Umibe no sei to shi" was held at Theatre Shinjuku on 29 July which was attended by the director Koshikawa Michio and cast members Mitsushima Hikari, Nagayama Kento, Inowaki Kai, Kawase Yota and Tsukayama Masane. The film is based on the book "Shima no Hate" by the late Shimao Toshio who was a navy lieutenant sent to Kagoshima's Kakeromajima towards the end of WWII and later became a writer after the war ended as well as his wife Miho's book "Umibe no sei to shi". The movie uses the Shimaos as a model to describe how Toe (Mitsushima) falls for a man named Saku (Nagayama) in the last days of the war. Toe is a teacher at a national school who meets Saku who is newly posted to the island and becomes drawn to him when she sees him learning how to sing the island's songs while being slightly intoxicated. However, when the couple finally get together, Toe is torn by her love for Saku who is awaiting orders to go out to battle.

Mitsushima who appeared at the event in a kimono, said that she was filled with happiness and sadness at the same time since the release of a movie also marked the day when they get separated from it. Reflecting on the screenings they held at Amami Oshima and Kakeromajima where they filmed the movie, Mitsushima said that she was happy to reunite with the child actors who participated in the filming and see how much they had grown since their last meeting. When asked to describe the movie, she said that the movie had a very strong feminine feel with Toe being a woman who stands by her love despite the challenges imposed by society and the war set against the beautiful scenery on the islands looking like a cute girl. Nagayama commented that he found the stay on the islands very comfortable as he got used to life there and it had been a very valuable experience to be able to participate in this movie. Tsukayama then said that he has been an actor for more than 50 years since he left Okinawa and praised Mitsushima for being a naturally-born actor just like Nishida Toshiyuki with her aura and the strength of her gaze.

Asazaki Ikue who coached Mitsushima on how to sing the island's songs, made a surprise appearance at the event and presented flowers to the latter. Asazaki also performed a song live which led Mitsushima to say that she still continues to sing the island songs to this day especially when she's feeling tired and needs to relax.

Sources: Eiga.com / Oricon

Top 10 movies box office ranking for the weekend of 5th & 6th Aug 2017

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

1) Despicable Me 3 (359)

2) Gekijouban Kamen Rider Ex-Aid the Movie: True Ending (316)

3) Transformers: The Last Knight (334)

4) Kimi no suizou wo tabetai (319)

5) Jojo no kimyou na bouken Diamond wa kudakenai Dai Isshou (323)

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

7) The Mummy (333)

8) Gintama (334)

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

10) Mary to Majo no Hana (365)

Source: Eiga.com

Sunday, August 06, 2017

First-day-screening event of new movie "Tokyo Ghoul"

The first-day-screening event of new movie "Tokyo Ghoul" was held at Marunouchi Picadilly on 29 July which was attended by the director Hagiwara Kentaro and cast members Kubota Masataka, Suzuki Nobuyuki, Sakurada Hiyori, Ooizumi Yo, Murai Kunio, Ogasawara Kai and Shiraishi Shunya.  The movie is based on the same-titled manga by Ishida Sui and features Kubota as the lead character Kaneki Ken while the heroine Kirishima Touka is played by Shimizu Fumika. In Tokyo where ordinary people and ghouls who look like humans but need to eat human flesh in order to survive live together. While on a date with a ghoul Rize (Aoi Yu), Kaneki is attacked by Rize which results in him being sent to hospital for surgery using her organs. When Kaneki recovers, he discovers that he has become a half-ghoul and must cope with the changes in his body while from keeping the truth from the people he loves and his friends and evading the pursuit of CCG i.e. Commission of Counter Ghoul, the government agency which deals with crimes related to ghouls.

As the screening began from 7.45am which was the earliest slot of the day, Kubota greeted the audience and thanked them for making the time and effort to support them. He expressed his hope that they would be able to hear the audience's feedback although the realisation of his movie finally being released hadn't sunk in completely. When Ooizumi started joking that he usually is in the shower at such an early time in the morning and he was amazed how the audience could show up for such an early screening, Kubota tried to stop him from rattling on but to no avail.

Reflecting on the filming, Kubota said that it was a tough time for them as they had to spend a lot of time on each and every scene especially on the CG parts. He also expressed his gratitude to Ishida who was very approachable and communicated with him via LINE where Kubota felt Ishida's strong love for his work. Due to Shimizu Fumika's retirement saga in February this year, she was absent from the event. The director Hagiwara remarked that it was about one year ago when they filmed the movie and there were so many happenings along the way so he was truly happy that the movie was finally released. As this movie involved many people, he hoped that the feelings and efforts put in by everyone will come across to the audiences who watch the film.

The author Ishida drew portraits of the cast members and gave them as a surprise present. Ooizumi expressed his joy at receiving the gift but went back to his funnyman side by joking that he will display this as his portrait at his own funeral. Kubota had received his version earlier than the rest on 10 July which was when the Japan premiere event was held. However, as the portraits for the other characters were revealed one by one, Ooizumi started to "complain" that the quality of his portrait seemed to pale in comparison with the rest and wondered aloud whether this was because his character Mado Kureo was not good-looking. Upon hearing this, Kubota teased Ooizumi for being too frank and saying whatever comes to his mind.

Sources: Nikkansports / Oricon / Eiga.com