Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Preview of "BORDER Shoudou ~ Kenshikan Higa Mika ~" (Drama SP)

Title: BORDER Shoudou ~ Kenshikan Higa Mika ~ / BORDER 衝動 検視官比嘉ミカ (BORDER Impulse Coroner Higa Mika)
Official website: here
O.A. Dates: 6th & 13th October at 11.15pm
Broadcast by: TV Asahi
Scriptwriter: Kaneshiro Kazuki
Cast: Haru, Kudo Asuka, Ishimaru Kanji, Kiyohara Kaya

Haru to star in 2-part TV Asahi drama SP "BORDER Shoudou ~ Kenshikan Higa Mika ~"

Haru will be starring in the 2-part TV Asahi drama SP "BORDER Shoudou ~ Kenshikan Higa Mika ~" (BORDER Impulse ~ Coroner Higa Mika ~) which will be shown at 11.15pm on 6th and 13th October. This will be the first spin-off SP from the drama series "BORDER" starring Oguri Shun.

The story talks about six months before Higa (Haru) became a special coroner and was still a forensic medicine assistant at Eisei University when she encountered a serial murder case that took place in a quiet residential neighbourhood. Higa behaves like a man and is always cool and collected. She clashes with the forensic medicine professor who is her teacher over the cases and tries to carve a niche for herself in this male-dominated industry with her beliefs and strong sense of justice. Co-stars include Kudo Asuka who Haru has worked with multiple times in the past and Ishimaru Kanji. Kudo plays Nakazawa Fumiaki who is a police detective struggling with the slow progress of the investigation while Ishimaru plays Asakawa Toru who is Higa's boss and a sly man out to make use of her abilities. Last but not least, Kiyohara Kaya plays a student at the junior high school where the murder victims studied at.

Scriptwriter Kaneshiro Kazuki revealed that Higa was actually supposed to be a news reporter and Ishikawa Ango's girlfriend (Oguri Shun) in his original setting but thanks to Haru's hard work in the drama series, her character had become so well-loved and significant until they could do a spin-off story for Higa. Haru commented that she was very grateful for the opportunity to playing Higa again.

Sources: Sanspo / Yomiuri Hochi / Oricon

Abe Hiroshi to star in new comedy movie "Nomitori Samurai"

Abe Hiroshi will be starring in the new movie "Nomitori Samurai" directed by Tsuruhashi Yasuo and filming is currently in progress in Kyoto and expected to wrap up by mid October. Co-stars include Terajima Shinobu, Toyokawa Etsushi, Saito Takumi, Kazama Morio, Ootake Shinobu, Maeda Atsuko and rakugo artist Katsura Bunshi VI who makes his appearance in a movie for the first time in 15 years since "Ashita ga arusa THE MOVIE". The movie will be shown in cinemas next year.

The comedy movie is based on the compilation of short stories by Komatsu Shigeo from which the director rearranged the story and wrote the script. The original meaning of "nomitori" was the business of removing fleas from cats which did exist during the Edo era but the movie will change this to a double-meaning word where a nomitori's work at night is to "deliver love to women on the floor". Abe plays the elite samurai Kobayashi Hironoshin who becomes a nomitori against his will because he offends the feudal lord and gets ordered to remove fleas from cats as his official day job. Despite having lost his residence, he is helped by the people living at the tenement house. When he meets a woman Omine (Terajima) who looks exactly like his dead wife Chizuru, she becomes his first partner in the nomitori trade but is scolded by her for being lousy in bed. Just when he is in low spirits after this unexpected blow, Hironoshin meets Seibei (Toyokawa) who fears his wife but is honest about his sexual desires. Hironoshin then learns techniques of how to please a woman from Seibei and becomes so good at it.

Sources: Yomiuri Hochi /

Saito Yuki admits to her affair with her doctor following previous denial at press conference

Saito Yuki finally admitted through a fax statement sent to the media on 11 September that she had been having an affair with her doctor despite earlier denials through statements and a press conference. The two of them are said to have already ended their affair when news of it first came to light. (For my earlier report on this, please go to here.) Saito's admission was believed to be in response to her doctor going on TV earlier on the same day to talk about the affair.

Saito said in her statement that she had come to rely too much on her ex-lover as an actress and woman and stressed that the relationship had already ended. She apologised to him and his family for the hurt that she had caused to them. Saito also said that she couldn't speak the truth in public and during the press conference she held as she was fearful of her children seeing it.

In relation to her affair reports, there had been requests made to expel her and her husband from the Mormonism church in her neighbourhood as the religion has strict rules banning sexual relationships with any member of the opposite sex other than your spouse. Even though the church does not seem to be going to expel her, Saito hinted at the possibility of leaving on her own as she didn't think it was good for her to take advantage of the church's kindness. As for the impact on her career, Saito commented that she was prepared for whatever penalties that may come as a result of her actions. At the moment, Saito's CM for Emi-net's "Tenshi no rara" was taken off the company's website from 7 September and her colleague from the same agency Hano Aki has taken over as the new CM personality. Other CM deals and work arrangements are currently being reviewed such as her nomination as the promotion ambassador for Kanagawa Prefecture's sign language campaign in May 2017 and her radio show on Nippon Housou. She is expected to continue with her appearance in the NHK Taiga drama "Segodon" which will be shown next year.

Saito's ex-lover i.e. her family doctor appeared on NTV's morning programme "Sukkiri!!" to talk about their 5-year-long affair. The interview was said to have been filmed on 10 September where the doctor talked about being a longtime fan of Saito since she was a teen idol and how they met 7 years ago as doctor and patient. Their affair was said to have lasted for 5 years until they were caught by the tabloids. The doctor spoke of how he would have loved to continue protecting Saito but couldn't do it anymore which suggested that he still had lingering feelings for her.

Sources: Nikkansports 1 / Nikkansports 2 / Sanspo 1 / Sanspo 2 / Yomiuri Hochi

First-day-screening event of new movie "Sanposuru Shinryakusha"

The first-day-screening event of new movie "Sanposuru Shinryakusha" was held at Shinjuku Picadilly on 9 September which was attended by the director Kurosawa Kiyoshi and cast members Nagasawa Masami, Matsuda Ryuhei, Hasegawa Hiroki, Takasugi Mahiro and Tsunematsu Yuri. The movie is adapted by Kurosawa from the same-titled 2015 stage play from theatre group Ikiume. Matsuda plays the role of Kase Shinji who has the habit of going on daily walks every evening but disappears without a trace for a few days. When he returns home, it is as if he has become an entirely different person which makes his wife Narumi (Nagasawa) shocked at his changes especially when he becomes very gentle and nice to her. Suddenly, Shinji tells Narumi that there will be an attack on Earth which is then followed by a series of strange happenings such as the mass killing of a family in the town they live in and the happening of weird events that disrupts the peaceful life they once had. Hasegawa Hiroki plays the role of a journalist Sakurai who follows the "invader" around as part of his job.

With regard to working with Nagasawa for the first time, Kurosawa revealed that he wasn't sure what to make of her responses whenever he gave her instructions during the filming. Most people would usually say yes or show their dislike for being told what to do but Nagasawa had a long pause before she said yes each time and her facial expressions didn't show how she felt about it so Kurosawa wasn't sure what to make of it. In response, Nagasawa said that the pause was because she was thinking about and digesting what had been said to her.

As for Matsuda, Kurosawa revealed that when he first met the actor, he didn't give very specific instructions on how to play an alien and that there were no specific characteristics in the role. When he asked Matsuda if he was OK and knew what to do, the latter simply smiled and replied in the affirmative. It turned out that Matsuda did a brilliant job in playing his character so Kurosawa was very satisfied with his performance.

Hasegawa who admitted to being a big fan of Kurosawa, said that he talked to the director a lot about his past works to the extent that he worried if Kurosawa found him to be a nuisance. The director said that it was rare for him to engage in casual talk on the filming set because he usually has a lot to think about during the filming which led Hasegawa to apologise for being an over-zealous fan.

The movie will be taking part in the 22nd Busan International Film Festival's The window of Asian movies category as announced during the event.


Amuro Namie announces her impending retirement in 2018 on her 40th birthday

Amuro Namie who is celebrating her 40th birthday today i.e. 20th September, made a surprise announcement on her official website that she will be retiring from showbiz as of 16 September 2018. Here is the translation of her statement:

To all my fans, thank you for supporting me all this while.

I was able to reach my 25th debut anniversary on 16 September without a hitch. With everyone's support and encouragement, I am grateful to be able to reach this milestone and would like to thank everyone from the bottom of my heart. Thank you very much.

Today, I would like to write about my thoughts which I had been having for a long while on this special day.

I, Amuro Namie, have decided to retire as of 16 September 2018 and would like to make use of this channel to announce this to everyone.

In this year until my retirement, I will do my best for my album and concerts so as to spend the time in the most meaningful way. In this way, I will then be able to head towards 16 September 2018 in the best way which represents who I am.

Everyone, I hope that you will continue to support Amuro Namie's last year in showbiz.

Amuro Namie

Amuro made her debut in 1992 as a member of the group Super Monkeys before she made her solo debut in 1995 with the song "TRY ME". She has released many million-sellers over the years and was awarded with the Nippon Record Taisho in 1996 for her song "Don't wanna cry" which made her the youngest winner then. She managed to get the same award in 1997 with her hit song "CAN YOU CELEBRATE?" which was released before she married trf's dancer SAM in the same year and gave birth to their son. The couple divorced in 2002.

Sources: Sanspo / Oricon

Preview of "Kangoku no Ohimesama" - Autumn 2017

Title: Kangoku no Ohimesama 監獄のお姫さま (The Princess of the Prison)
Official website: here
Official Facebook: here
Official Instagram: here
Official Twitter: here
O.A. Start Date: 17 September 2017
Timeslot: Tuesdays 10pm
Scriptwriter: Kudo Kankuro
Theme Song: "Showtime" by Amuro Namie
Cast: Koizumi Kyoko, Mitsushima Hikari, Iseya Yuusuke, Kaho, Tsukamoto Takashi, Nekoze Tsubaki, Ikeda Narushi, Sakai Maki, Morishita Aiko, Kanno Miho

NTV clarifies the decision to show the ending of "Aishitetatte, Himitsu wa aru" on Hulu

NTV clarified its decision to show the "real" ending of its Summer 2017 drama "Aishitetatte, Himitsu wa aru" on Hulu from 17th and 24th September amid strong criticism about the move by viewers especially those who do not have access to Hulu. The PR department explained that the two episodes to be shown on Hulu are actually a continuation of what happens to the lead character Okumori Rei played by Fukushi Souta and not the "real ending" to the drama series which ended its run on 17 September as reported in some media sources. It stated that it was aware of the misunderstanding caused by the choice of words used and will take the comments from everyone into consideration for future purposes.

Source: Sponichi Annex

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Yamada Takayuki & Nakamura Yuri to star in new short film "Ten"

Yamada Takayuki and Nakamura Yuri will be starring in the new short film "Ten" which will be shown at Cinem@rt Shinjuku for one week only from 23 September. The theme song of the movie will be sung by girls' band yonige which is from Neyagawa, Osaka. Yamada and yonige had been interacting via SNS previously so when yonige approached him to star in their music video for their major debut single "One Room" to be released on 20 September, Yamada made a counter offer to make a short movie inspired by the song.

The story features Yamada as a barber named Takashi who owns a barber shop in a rural town and meets his childhood friend and ex-girlfriend during his senior high school days Tomoe (Nakamura). The movie shuttles between the past and present as Tomoe asks Takashi to shave her nape as her wedding ceremony is coming up. Although he is unsure how he should interact with her, Takashi still invites her into his shop.

Yamada explained that the idea to make the movie from the song came about in the autumn of 2016 and they wanted to do something different from the usual promotion video. As it took time to prepare and assemble the production team, the filming was done on 9 August this year from morning to night even though he had another movie's filming starting on the following day. Despite doing the filming in a limited time, Yamada said that the whole team worked hard to elevate the charm of yonige's song in this movie.

In conjunction with the release of the movie, there will be an event held on 25 September which will be attended by Yamada, yonige and the director Ishikawa Kei.

Source: Crank In

Suenaga Haruka announces her first pregnancy

Suenaga Haruka who is married to 2004 Olympic judo gold medalist Izumi Hiroshi, announced her first pregnancy through her blog on 11 Sep. In her statement, she revealed that she is already 7 months' pregnant and her condition has been fine so far without severe morning sickness nor discomfort and thanked her child for being kind to her during this period. She is due to give birth in December this year and said that she and her husband are looking forward to the baby's arrival as they prepare for parenthood in the meantime.

Izumi and Suenaga got married on 22 February 2014 after dating for three and a half years. Suenaga started as a child actress and has appeared in many dramas and movies to date.

Sources: Sponichi / Oricon

Kazama Shunsuke, Baba Tooru, Katsura Jakujaku to appear in TBS Autumn 2017 drama "Rikuou"

Kazama Shunsuke, Baba Tooru and Katsura Jakujaku will be appearing in the upcoming TBS Autumn 2017 drama "Rikuou" starring Yakusho Koji which will begin its run from October 2017 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.

Kazama will be playing Sakamoto Taro, an employee in the financing department of Saitama Chuo Bank who suggests that Kobaseya start a new business line due to dwindling demand for its socks. Regardless the size of his corporate customers, Sakamoto tries to put the interpersonal ties between people first instead of business benefits and is frank enough to speak his mind and point out the weak points in his clients' businesses. In preparation for the role, Kazama was requested to cut his hair so that they would not cover his ears. He commented that he will try his best for this drama just like how every character in the story tries their best in their respective work fields.

Baba will play Oohashi Hiroshi who is the section chief of the financing department and views Kobaseya's efforts to start a new business line unfavourable. However, when he sees how Miyazawa and his allies try to come up with the Rikuou running shoes, he is gradually won over by their enthusiasm and passion. Baba commented that Oohashi is a typical bank employee who places his prospects above everything else but he has a sense of justice deep within. As such, he hopes to explore various possibilities while playing this character and hopes that viewers will enjoy his performance.

Last but not least, Katsura will play Ienaga Tooru who is the branch manager and looks down on small and medium businesses. As such, he keeps clashing with Sakamoto over Kobaseya's new business and will try his best to obstruct their progress. This will be Katsura's first appearance in a private network drama.

Sources: Nikkansports / Sponichi / Oricon

Supporting cast line-up of TV Tokyo Autumn 2017 drama "Shinjuku Seven" announced

The supporting cast line-up of TV Tokyo Autumn 2017 drama "Shinjuku Seven" starring Ueda Tatsuya had been announced. The drama will be starting from 13 October 2017 in the Fridays 12.12am timeslot.

The drama which is based on the same-titled manga currently serialised in "Manga Goraku Special", is set at Kabukicho in Shinjuku where the lead character Nanase (Ueda) owns a pawnshop and is known for having a keen eye to determine whether an item is the real thing or a fake and its value. While appraising these items, he also gets involved in various incidents and trouble due to his clients. This will also be one of the rare instances where a TV Tokyo drama will head overseas for filming.

Nakamura Tomoya will be playing Ohno Kenta, an intern learning the appraisal trade from Nanase while Ohno Ito will be playing Mizuki Hana who appears before Nanase and Kenta after she has lost her memory. Natsuki Mari will play Shinobu, the owner of the gyoza restaurant which Nanase frequents and Nonami will play Hosho Erika, the mamasan of a Korean bar named Erudorado. Kudo Ayano plays Kaede who works at the bar while Shimada Kyusaku plays Wang, a gangster who takes charge of the Kabukicho area. Last but not least, Tanaka Tetsushi will play a police detective Kondo Akihito who will do anything to achieve his aim.

Sources: Oricon /

Top 10 movies box office ranking for the weekend of 16th & 17th Sep 2017

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

1) Alien: Covenant (369)

2) Dunkirk (346)

3) Sandome no satsujin (313)

4) Sekigahara (338)

5) Despicable Me 3 (359)

6) Okuda Tamio ni naritai Boy to Deau otoko subete kuruwaseru Girl (256)

7) Kimi no suizou wo tabetai (319)

8) Eureka Seven Hi-Evolution 1 (107)

9) Wonder Woman (338)

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


Monday, September 18, 2017

Preview of "Minshuu no Teki - Yo no naka, okashikunai desuka!? -" - Autumn 2017

Title: Minshuu no Teki - Yo no naka, okashikunai desuka!?- 民衆の敵 - 世の中、おかしくないですか!? (Public Enemy ~ Isn't the world strange?")
Official website: here
Official Twitter: here
O.A. Start Date: 16 October 2017
Timeslot: Mondays 9pm
Broadcast by: FujiTV
Theme Song: "LIFE" by AAA
Cast: Shinohara Ryoko, Takahashi Issei, Furuta Arata, Maeda Atsuko, Chiba Yuudai, Saito Tsukasa, Wakadanna, Hosoda Yoshihiko, Imada Mio, Yo Kimiko, Oosumi Kenya, Tanaka Kei & Ishida Yuriko

Takeuchi Ryoma to appear in TBS Autumn 2017 drama "Rikuou" & other supporting cast announcements

Takeuchi Ryoma will be appearing in the upcoming TBS Autumn 2017 drama "Rikou" 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.

Takeuchi was selected during an audition held 6 months ago to play the role of long-distance runner Mogi Hiroto and has been going through running training since then despite his busy schedule. However, Mogi has been struggling to improve and even injures his knee just after joining a professional sports team as an athlete. It is later found that his running method caused the injury so while trying to correct his form, he comes across the Rikuou brand of running shoes from Kobaseya.

Takeuchi who used to be a soccer player, said that he felt as if it was fated for him to be playing Mogi in this drama. As he was one of the many sportsmen who had to retire due to injuries, he can identify with the feelings which Mogi has and thinks that he can tap on his experience to play this character. In order to train his body to look like a real running athlete, Takeuchi is going through a strict diet which also involves eliminating sugar from his drinks and abstaining from alcohol.

Other co-stars in this drama include Terao Akira who plays Iiyama Haruyuki who was the president of now-bankrupt Iiyama Sangyo which made silk lei that is an essential material in the Rikuou running shoes and Otoo Takuma who plays Kido Akihiro, the coach of Daiwa Foods' athletics team which Mogi belongs to. Shiga Kotaro plays Tomishima Genzou, the head clerk for Kobaseya while Mitsuishi Ken who plays Arimura Tooru who is a sports equipment shop owner and offers lots of useful advice to Miyazawa. Last but not least, Kimura Midoriko plays Motoko who is the wife of Iiyama and supports him during good and bad times.

Sources: Oricon / Sponichi / Sanspo /

Supporting cast line-up of Kansai TV / FujiTV Autumn 2017 drama "Ashita no Yakusoku" announced

The supporting cast line-up of Kansai TV / FujiTV Autumn 2017 drama "Ashita no Yakusoku" starring Inoue Mao had been announced. It will begin its run from 17 October 2017 in the Tuesdays 9pm timeslot.

This original story features Inoue as the 29-year-old lead character Aizawa Hinata who works as a counsellor at Tsubakigaoka Senior High School and aims to be the last adult who the students can depend on other than their parents and teachers. However, while devoting herself to the pyschological care of her students who are struggling with problems in school or at home, she is troubled by her own relationship with her hysterical and emotional mother who intervenes too much into her life. Just then, Hinata gets a confession of love from a male student who had been skipping school and was being counselled by her but is shocked to find out on the following day that he died under mysterious circumstances. While trying to find out the truth behind this case, she comes face-to-face with the darkness of human beings and discovers what is most important about living and how a parent-and-child relationship should really be like.

Hinata's student Yoshioka Keigo who commits suicide, will be played by Endo Kenshin while his mother Yoshioka Makiko will be played by Nakama Yukie. Being too much in love with her son, Makiko puts too much pressure on Keigo until he starts skipping school. When Hinata comes to their house to visit Keigo, Makiko treats Hinata with distrust while Hinata can see herself in Keigo as she is also suffering from her mother's over-intervention into her life. Following Keigo's death, Makiko uses all ways possible to attack the school and Hinata so as to seek revenge. Nakama commented that she hopes to show the loneliness, love and strength which a mother has to struggle with in order to raise her child through her acting. This will be the first time that Nakama is working with Inoue.

Oikawa Mitsuhiro will be playing Kirishima Naoki who is Keigo's form teacher and helps Hinata in investigating Keigo's death while Kudo Asuka will be playing Honjou Kazuhiko who is Hinata's boyfriend and works as a salaryman struggling with his own family problems. Shirasu Jin plays Kitami Yujiro who is the form teacher of Class 2A but doesn't know how to observe his surroundings and Shinkawa Yua plays Oomiya Nao who is a part-time teacher and constantly confides in Hinata about her problems in love. Tezuka Satomi will play Naoko who is Hinata's mother and has such serious mood swings that she gets hysterical and hurts her daughter with her autocratic ways. Last but not least, Aoyagi Sho will play Kojima Shuhei who is a journalist looking into Keigo's death.

Sources: Oricon / Sanspo 1 / Sanspo 2

Mitsushima Shinnosuke confirms his divorce in June this year

Mitsushima Shinnosuke confirmed news of his divorce in June this year through his agency as reported in the 7th September issue of "Shuukan Bunshun". He got married to his elder sister Mitsushima Hikari's former manager who is 7 years older than him about 3 years ago at the end of 2014.

According to the report, Mitsushima and his ex-wife Tamai finalised their divorce on 17 June this year. Although there were suggestions that their divorce was partly due to Mitsushima being reported in the media in March 2017 for having supposedly visited a love hotel with a prostitute in February this year, the fact that he had moved out of their home back in February last year with the reason that he couldn't continue with the marriage suggested that the breakdown of their relationship should be due to other reasons. When Mitsushima's agency was asked about the separation and subsequent divorce, they said that Mitsushima had commented at the time of the divorce that it would have been better if they had taken the time to know each other better before rushing into marriage.

Tamai had been the manager of Mitsushima Hikari for a long time and were close friends while her elder sister is actress Tamai Yuumi. However, Tamai was said to have quit her job after her marriage at the request of her husband and is working part-time at a confectionery shop now. When the magazine interviewed Tamai's mother, she didn't go into details what led to the breakup but commented that her ex-son-in-law was probably looking for someone who could take care of him like a mother and that there might have been some changes in his environment brought about his expanding social circle and his flourishing career.

Mitsushima had no plans to become an actor initially when he came to Tokyo from Okinawa after graduating from senior high school. However, after touring around Japan on bicycle, he came to know about his sister's success as an actress and decided to follow in her footsteps. His most recent movies include "Sandome no Satsujin" and "Sanposuru Shinryakusha" which are currently being screened in cinemas.

Sources: Bunshun Online / Oricon

Iwata Takanori to appear in FujiTV drama SP "Yo ni mo Kimyou na Monogatari Autumn 2017"

Iwata Takanori will be appearing in the upcoming FujiTV drama SP "Yo ni mo Kimyou na Monogatari Autumn 2017" which will be shown at 9pm on 14 October. This will be the first time that he is appearing in the series.

Iwata stars in the story titled "Unmei Tanchiki" (Destiny Detector) along with Ishibashi Anna who plays the heroine. Iwata's character Izumi Ryohei is a 29-year-old single man who believes strongly in everlasting love with the woman he's destined to meet. One day, he happens to pick up a device which looks like a watch which leads him to meet a  woman Kitazawa Yuki in the worst way when he gets splashed with a bucket of water by her. However, they meet each other by chance again and things develop like a romance drama to the extent that Ryohei starts to believe that Yuki is the person he is destined to fall in love with. Co-stars include Asaka Koudai, Hyunri and Maruyama Tomomi.

Iwata who revealed that he has been a fan of the long-running series, said that he is really happy to be able to take part in this drama but admits that he doesn't believe in destined love even though he had acted in many love stories to date. However, it will be nice to bump into someone who is his destined lover and he will definitely follow the instructions from the destiny detector if there is something like this in real life. He called upon the viewers to check out the drama to find out what happens in the end and hopes that they will enjoy watching this.

Source: Oricon

Completion screening event of new movie "Koi to Uso"

The completion screening event of new movie "Koi to Uso" was held at Iino Hall on 6 September which was attended by the director Furusawa Takeshi and cast members Morikawa Aoi, Kitamura Takumi from DISH// and Sato Kanta from Gekidan EXILE. The movie is based on the same-titled manga by Musao which is currently serialised in manga mobile app "Manga Box" and describes how the heroine Nisawa Aoi lives in a world where there is no freedom to love. In this era where the Japanese government collects and analyses the genetic information of its citizens, it decides the best marriage partner for everyone based on their genetic traits so as to reverse the tide on its shrinking population. However, the heroine is faced with the ultimate dilemma of choosing between two men i.e. her childhood friend Shiba Yuuto (Kitamura) who has been holding a torch for her and Takachiho Sosuke (Sato) who is chosen as her best marriage partner by the government.

The three actors who worked together for the first time in this movie, revealed how they had become closer during the filming. Kitamura described how Sato was like a primary school student and the moodmaker on the set while Morikawa said that Sato looked like a cool guy as he was reading books during the filming breaks but she found that he wasn't like that at all after she came to know him better. Sato also admitted that he talked a lot during the filming so he agreed with his co-stars' remarks. In addition, they also teased Sato for being someone who's very easy to get touched as there was a scene when Morikawa was supposed to cry but had to hold back her tears. However, the moment when the scene was finished, Sato exclaimed to the director that he was so touched by the scene and he actually cried for an hour after that.

The movie will be shown in cinemas from 14 October.


Preview of "BORDER 2 - Shokuzai" (Drama SP)

Title: BORDER 2 - Shokuzai / BORDER 2 - 贖罪 (BORDER 2 - Atonement)
Official website: here
Official Instagram: here
Official Twitter: here
O.A. Date: 22 October 2017 at 9pm
Broadcast by: TV Asahi
Scriptwriter: Kaneshiro Kazuki
Cast: Oguri Shun, Aoki Munetaka, Haru, Endo Kenichi, Furuta Arata, Takito Kenichi, Nomaguchi Toru, Hamano Kenta, Mitsushima Shinnosuke, Nakamura Yurika, Oomori Nao & Kunimura Jun

"Real" ending of NTV Summer 2017 drama "Aishitetatte, Himitsu wa aru" to be shown exclusively on Hulu

NTV Summer 2017 drama "Aishitetatte, Himitsu wa aru" starring Fukushi Souta which ended its run on 17 September, will have its real ending shown exclusively on Hulu in two installments. Part 1 is already available for viewing while Part 2 will be released for viewing from 24 September.

The ending titled "Boku wa dare da?" (Who am I?) will continue from the drama's last episode shown on TV where Rei (Fukushi) is found to be suffering from dissociative identity disorder and has two characters within him i.e. Rei and Saku. The new story will describe the conversations he has with his inner self after he turns himself in for the murder of his father and the outcome of his relationship with his girlfriend Sawa (Kawaguchi Haruna).

Fukushi commented that the new ending offered a very different challenge for him as he had to speak 30 pages of lines all on his own during the conversation between Rei and Saku. However, it was worthwhile doing it especially as Rei and Saku finally come face to face with each other. As such, he hoped that everyone will be able to watch this new story to see how the drama finally ends.

Source: Oricon

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Preview of "Kounodori 2" - Autumn 2017

Title: Kounodori 2 コウノドリ 2
Official website: here
Official Facebook: here
Official Instagram: here
Official LINE: here
Official Twitter: here
O.A. Start Date: 13 October 2017
Timeslot: Fridays 10pm
Broadcast by: TBS
Official manga by: Suzunoki Yuu
Cast: Ayano Go, Matsuoka Mayu, Yoshida Yo, Sakaguchi Kentaro, Asano Kazuyuki, Eguchi Noriko, Hoshino Gen, Oomori Nao, Sasaki Kuranosuke (guest in Ep 1)

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Completion screening event of new movie "Ringside Story"

The completion screening event of new movie "Ringside Story" was held at Shinjuku FACE on 6 September which was attended by the director Take Masaharu and cast members Eita, Sato Eriko, Arizono Yoshiki, Takeru and Kuroshio Ikemen Jiro. Guest stars who made surprise appearances included the Kameda brothers i.e. Kameda Kouki and Kameda Daiki as well as Mutou Keiji who also acted in this movie. The film will be shown in cinemas from 14 October.

 The movie features Sato as Enoshima Kanako who is living with her boyfriend of 10 years Murakami Hideo (Eita), a struggling actor. When she gets fired from the bento factory she works at, she becomes a staff member in the professional wrestling group WRESTLE-1 and becomes deeply drawn to the sport. On the other hand, Hideo who is literally sponging off Kanako, misunderstands that she is seeing someone else when Kanako gets too engrossed in her new job and he causes a very serious incident as a result of his jealousy.

Eita described his character Hideo as being more than a lousy man living off his woman and tried to show his daring and pure sides through his acting even though the people around him don't see him in the same way. As current K-1 champion Takeru is making his acting debut in this movie, he said that it was a fulfilling experience since he has been interested in acting and learnt a lot through the director. In response, co-stars Sato and Eita praised Takeru for his natural acting skills and Eita even said that he might win the newcomer's award with this movie. Upon hearing this, Takeru asked them to stop as he was feeling embarrassed by the compliments. In response, Takeru suggested that Eita can come to fight in the K-1 championships since he found the latter to have potential when they were training at his gym. However, Eita said that he couldn't handle the fighting and thanked Takeru for thinking so highly of him.


Screening event & press conference of NHK morning drama "Warotenka"

The screening event and press conference of new NHK morning drama "Warotenka" was held on 6 September at the TV station's HQ in Tokyo which was attended by cast members Aoi Wakana, Matsuzaka Toori and child actor Arai Miyu. The drama will begin its run from 2 October at 8am from Mondays to Saturdays.

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

As the story will begin with the childhood days of Ten, Arai will appear in the first week's 6 episodes while Aoi will only appear from the end of the 6th episode. Aoi praised her young co-star for being very cute and has a charming smile and hopes that viewers will find her and Arai convincing as the adult and child versions of the same character. Matsuzaka remarked that amid the laughter in the story, there is a lot of warmth and gentleness so he hopes that the viewers will support the drama and find it interesting and energising when they watch it in the morning.

Although filming begun three months ago, Aoi said that she feels her inadequacy every day and hopes to be able to catch up in the remaining 10 months with the help of everyone around her. Especially since the schedule is rather tight, she was thankful that the story's comedic elements have helped to make the filming process even more enjoyable. However, she "complained" that Matsuzaka always makes funny faces at her or plays tricks whenever the camera doesn't show his face so she has learnt to keep a straight face through his antics which in turn made Matsuzaka burst out laughing. In response, Matsuzaka said that he just wants to make the atmosphere lively by making people laugh.

Sources: / Oricon

Daichi Mao to appear in TV Asahi Autumn 2017 drama "Doctor X 5 ~ Gekai Daimon Michiko ~"

Daichi Mao will be appearing in TV Asahi's Autumn 2017 drama "Doctor X 5 ~ Gekai Daimon Michiko ~" starring Yonekura Ryoko which will begin its run from October in the Thursdays 9pm timeslot. This will be her first collaboration with Yonekura although they both coincidentally learn from the same voice trainer.

Daichi plays the role of Shimura Madoka, who becomes the first female director of "Totei University Hospital" without pulling strings and aspires to transform the hospital from one which places the medical department first to placing patients above anything else. She has high regard for Daimon's skills and hires the latter against objections from everyone around her. Although it appears initially that the two of them will get along well with their similar ideals of placing the patients on top priority, Shimura's ideal of the best way of doing things does not necessarily mean the same idea which Daimon has in mind so the two of them soon become loggerheads.

Daichi described Shimura as somewhat similar to Daimon but Shimura takes a high-handed approach towards the latter who is a freelancer. In response, Yonekura said that Daichi is a perfect fit for the role of Shimura and her screen presence built up on her past experience of being a former Takarazura top star shines through very easily. As such, Yonekura is eagerly looking forward to working with her and praised her co-star for looking very beautiful just like Audrey Hepburn.

Sources: Oricon / Sanspo

Supporting cast line-up of new movie "Korou no Chi" announced

The supporting cast line-up of new movie "Korou no Chi" had been announced. The movie is based on the same-titled novel by Yuzuki Yuko that had won the 69th Nihon Suiri Sakka Kyoukai Sho.

The story is set during the Showa era before the anti-gang laws were enacted. Yakusho Koji plays a police detective Ogami Shogo who is rumoured to be on good terms with gangsters while Matsuzaka Toori plays a newbie detective Hioka Shuichi who is assigned to work with him on a case about the disappearance of an employee in a finance company rumoured to be a gang affiliate. While having reservations about Ogami's way of investigation which is bordering on being illegal, Hioka learns many things from Ogami. As the investigation develops, it results in a battle between gang members which causes Ogami to take drastic measures to resolve the situation. Maki Youko will play Takagi, the mamasan of a club named Riko while Ishibashi Renji plays Isogo Shohei, the leader of Isogo-kai and Eguchi Yosuke plays Ichinose, the young leader of Otani-gumi. Other co-stars include Takito Kenichi, Suruga Taro and Yajima Kenichi and Taguchi Tomorowo.

Nakamura Shido will be playing Takasaka Takafumi who is a reporter of Aki Shimbun and has a bad reputation for sniffing out the most dangerous and evil stories. Pierre Taki will play Takii Ginji who is an old friend Ogami and is the representative of the All-Japan Save the country association. Otoo Takuma will play Yoshida Shigeru who is a member of the gang Kakomura-gumi which is a rival of Otani-gumi while Nakamura Tomoya plays Nagakawa Kyoji who is a member of Otani-gumi.

The movie will be shown in cinemas from 12 May next year.


Friday, September 15, 2017

Filming wraps up for NHK morning drama "Hiyokko"

Filming for the NHK morning drama "Hiyokko" was completed at the TV station's HQ at Shibuya, Tokyo, on 4 September where Arimura Kasumi and Isomura Hayato finished the last scene. Fellow cast members who had already finished their filming i.e. Sawamura Ikki, Kimura Yoshino, Mineta Kazunobu, Miyahara Kanau, Takahashi Rai, Sakuma Yui, Izumisawa Yuki, Sasaki Kuranosuke, Yatsui Ichirou, Furutachi Yutaro, Matsumoto Honoka and Fujino Ryoko also made a surprise appearance at the wrap-up ceremony where the staff prepared a video of the filming process to date.

The drama started on 29 June 2016 with the announcement of the heroine while the early filming began from 27 September and the full filming started from 2 November. Arimura commented that it had been about a year that she had become Yatabe Mineko and spent the whole time thinking about the drama. Although she had been worried about being the heroine of a morning drama, she was eagerly anticipating the start of the filming. Arimura remarked that she managed to get through the past year not by her own effort only but with the help of everyone around her so being able to be in the world of "Hiyokko" and become Mineko was something she was proud of and thankful for.

The ratings of the drama did not start off on a high note with the ratings of its first episode going below 20% as compared to the past 9 works. However, the ratings went up gradually and passed the 20% mark eventually. The last episode will be shown on 30 September.

Sources: Sanspo / Sponichi / / Oricon

Yokohama Ryuusei to star in new real-life adaptation movie "Anitomo"

Yokohama Ryuusei will be taking on his first solo leading role in a movie when he stars in the new real-life adaptation movie "Anitomo" (My brother's friend) which is based on the same-titled manga by Akagawara Modomu. The movie will be shown in cinemas in spring next year.

The movie features Yokohama as the lead character Nishino Souta who is very good-looking but not very comfortable when dealing with the opposite sex. When he meets his buddy Nanase Yukihiro's younger sister Mai, the two of them fall in love with each other and begin a relationship.

With regard to his first leading role in a movie, Yokohama said that he is naturally very stressed about this but hopes to be able to enjoy the experience of playing Nishino. When asked to comment about his character, he described Nishino as a character who is not typical of the Prince Charming in most shoujo manga as he's very shy in front of girls. As such, the viewers will probably find his interaction with Mai quite mushy and embarrassing yet fun to watch as they gradually get closer. He hoped that the audience will like and support Nishino as he steps out of his comfort zone for the sake of the girl he likes.

Sources: / Sanspo

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Nishijima Hidetoshi to appear in NTV Autumn 2017 drama "Okusawa wa, toriatsukai chuui"

Nishijima Hidetoshi will be appearing in the upcoming NTV Autumn 2017 drama "Okusawa wa, toriatsukai chuui" starring Ayase Haruka which will begin its run from 4 October in the Wednesdays 10pm timeslot. The drama is an original story written by Kaneshiro Kazuki who specialises in cutting-edge suspense and action stories.

Ayase plays the lead character Isayama Nami who got married to a man on the spur of the moment after falling in love with him at first sight during a go-kon. Although she is a housewife who is living the good life in a quiet and upscale neighbourhood which is a huge contrast to when she was single, she is actually poor at cooking and cleaning the house and her biggest grouse is that she cannot stand her mundane life as a ordinary housewife. Nami also hates going around the bush and has a strong sense of justice which makes her extremely frightening when she is angered. She sets out to help the housewives living in the same neighbourhood who may look happy on the surface but have various issues hidden within. The reason why she is a thrill seeker will also be what she has been hiding from her husband and this will be gradually revealed as the story progresses. Hirosue Ryoko will be playing Oohara Yuri who is a very knowledgeable housewife and the unofficial leader of the trio including Nami and Sato Kyoko (Honda Tsubasa), a meek and curious housewife. Although the three of them are very different in terms of age and personality, Yuri and Kyoko become Nami's first friends in her life and they will be engaging in light girls' talk in the drama.

Nishijima will be playing Nami's husband Yuki who operates an IT company with his friend and is a gentle guy who is very accommodating towards Nami. Although they met at a go-kon, they got married after dating for just three months as he had fallen in love with her at first sight. He commented that it had been a while since he last worked with Ayase and this is the first time that they are playing a married couple. When he heard that Kaneshiro is writing a story about women, he was very interested to find out what kind of drama will be produced and hopes that viewers can look forward to and enjoy this drama.

Sources: Yomiuri Hochi / Oricon

Preview of "Kurara Hokusai no Musume" (Drama SP)

Title: Kurara ~ Hokusai no Musume ~ 眩 ~ 北斎の娘 ~ (Kurara ~ Hokusai's Daughter)
Official website: here
O.A. Date: 18 September 2017, 7.30pm
Broadcast by: NHK
Original novel by: Asai Makate
Scriptwriter: Oomori Mika
Cast: Miyazaki Aoi, Matsuda Ryuhei, Miyake Hiroki, Nishimura Masahiko, Nomura Hideki, Yo Kimiko & Nagatsuka Kyozo

Screening event & press conference of NHK drama SP "Kurara Hokusai no Musume"

The screening event and press conference of new NHK drama SP "Kurara Hokusai no Musume" was held at the TV station's Tokyo HQ on 12 September which was attended by the scriptwriter Oomori Mika and cast members Miyazaki Aoi, Nagatsuka Kyozo and Miyake Hiroki. The drama SP will be shown at 7.30pm on 18 September.

The drama SP is based on the novel "Kurara" by Naoki Award-winning writer Asai Makate where Miyazaki will be playing the third daughter O-ei (later known as Katsushika Oi) of famous Edo-era painter Katsushika Hokusai who will be played by Nagatsuka. This will be the first time in 9 years that Nagatsuka and Miyazaki are playing father and daughter since the 2008 NHK Taiga drama "Atsuhime". O-ei's confidante and Hokusai's student Zenjiro (later known as Keisai Eisen) will be played by Matsuda Ryuhei. Co-stars also include Miyake Hiroki, Yo Kimiko and Noda Hideki.

Oi was the daughter of Hokusai's second wife and was married to artist Minamisawa Tomei who she found to be poor at his craft and she mocked him for this. As a result, she was divorced by Tomei and returned to Hokusai's home where she assisted him in his artwork and produced her own works as well. During this period, she confided in Zenjiro about her worries and troubles such as returning home divorced, how she found it difficult to outshine her father who was such a talented artist and her obsession with colours. After Hokusai's death, Oi who was in her 60s then, had nothing left but the paint brushes left behind by her father.

Miyazaki commented that it was a refreshing experience for her to play O-ei especially since she was a headstrong woman in the Edo era and she had never spoken or wore clothes like these before. It was a happy one month for her as everyone worked hard towards the goal of making a good drama and she could enjoy acting in the process. As she did not know about O-ei prior to acting in this drama, Miyazaki revealed that she started learning painting bamboos but it was really difficult because it required delicate movements of the brush to prevent the colours from smudging. As such, she felt that she could understand O-ei's frustrations somehow as the latter tried hard to outshine her father who was extremely talented. As for having to put on special make-up to play the elderly O-ei, she said that she had already tried this kind of make-up more than 10 years before. Miyazaki revealed that she met her grandfather a few days before the filming and realised that the wrinkles on his face and hands and texture of his skin was a reflection of his history just like O-ei so she hopes to be able to age like that as well.

Sources: Nikkansports / Yomiuri Hochi / Oricon /

Miura Haruma to star in new TV Asahi Autumn 2017 drama "Otona Koukou"

Miura Haruma will be starring in the upcoming TV Asahi Autumn 2017 drama "Otona Koukou" (Adults Senior High School) which will be shown from October in the newly set-up Saturday Night Drama timeslot i.e. Saturdays 11.05pm. This is the slot which is currently showing variety show "SmaSTATION!!" hosted by Katori Shingo that will end its run in September.

This original story is partly inspired by statistics from the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare in 2015 where more than 25 percent of single men in their 30s and more than 30 percent of single women are said to have no sexual experience. Miura plays a 30-year-old elite salaryman Arakawa Hideto who works at a top bank after graduating from University of Tokyo. On the surface, he has everything in life but nobody knows that he is still a virgin and has zero dating experience even though he actually craves for love and sex. As the government wants to deal with the problem of low birth rates, a new law mandates that anyone who is above the age of 30 but has no sexual experience i.e. a group of people nicknamed "Yaramiso" which literally means reaching 30 without having done it, will be sent to an adults senior high school. The sole condition to graduate from this school is that the person must have lost his or her virginity. Hideto is aghast to get sent to this high school against his will and does not even know how the government found out about his virgin status. In order to get out of this fix, Hideto has to learn about romance in this school and aim to graduate as soon as possible. However, his arrogance and pride gets in the way as he loves to look down on people, analyse people too much, show his boredom blatantly during a date which makes it look impossible for him to graduate. While learning from his fellow classmates in their 30s to 50s who are equally clumsy in love like him, Hideto experiences a renewal of his teenage years and becomes a better person as time goes by.

Miura commented that this drama is very challenging with rather racy dialogue but he thinks that the story will indeed show how the characters become adults through learning from one another's weak points. As for his character, he remarked that Hideto's pride and confidence will take a huge beating due to his posting to this adults senior high school so he hopes that the struggles he and his classmates face and how they overcome these issues will give courage and encouragement to everyone.

Filming is due to begin from September.

Sources: Nikkansports / Sanspo / Yomiuri Hochi / Oricon

Preview of "Ueki Hitoshi to Nobosemon" - Summer 2017

Title: Ueki Hitoshi to Nobosemon 植木等とのぼせもん
Official website: here
O.A. Start Date: 2 September 2017
Timeslot: Saturdays 8.15pm
Broadcast by: NHK
Total number of episodes: 8
Original book: "Nobosemon yaken" by Komatsu Matsuo
Scriptwriter: Mukai Kousuke
Cast: Yamamoto Koji, Shison Jun, Yamauchi Takaya, Hamano Kenta, Takeda Rena, Denden, Sakai Maki, Tomita Yasuko, Yamamoto Aya, Nakagawa Shoko, Suzuki Airi, Takahashi Kazuya, Katsumura Masanobu, Yuka & Ito Shiro

Takito Kenichi to appear in TV Asahi Autumn 2017 drama "Juuyou Sankounin Tantei"

Takito Kenichi will be appearing in the new TV Asahi Autumn 2017 drama "Juuyou Sankounin Tantei" 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" and features Tamamori Yuta, Koyama Keiichiro and Furukawa Yuuki in its cast.

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. Araki Yuuko plays the role of Saotome Karin who is a detective working in the 1st section of Metropolitan Police Department and the former girlfriend of Kei.

Takito will be playing the character Namie Shinosuke who is the president of the model agency managing Kei, Itsuki and Touma and is somewhat effeminate. As this is the first time that Takito is playing this type of character, Takito commented that he is looking forward to spending a good time with his co-stars and staff while filming this drama.

Source: Oricon

Preview of "Kono koe wo kimi ni" - Summer 2017

Title: Kono koe wo kimi ni この声をきみに (This voice is for you)
Official website: here
O.A. Start Date: 15 September 2017
Timeslot: Fridays 10pm
Broadcast by: NHK
Total number of episodes: 8
Scriptwriter: Oomori Mika
Theme song: "Iiwake" by JUJU
Cast: Takenouchi Yutaka, Asou Kumiko, Mimura, Hiraizumi Sei, Nishina Akiko, Matsuoka Mitsuru, Nagase Tasuku, Shibata Kyouhei, Sugimoto Tetta, Katagiri Hairi, Horiuchi Keiko, Oohara Sakurako, Totsuka Shota, Shuri

Kiyohara Kaya to play the heroine in TV Tokyo Autumn 2017 drama "Setoutsumi"

Kiyohara Kaya will be playing the heroine in the new TV Tokyo Autumn 2017 drama "Setoutsumi" starring Takasugi Mahiro and Hayama Shono 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 while the heroine was played by Nakajo Ayami.

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. Kiyohara will be playing Kashimura Ichigo who is a schoolmate of Seto and Utsumi and regarded as the school's Madonna. Although Seto expresses interest in her, she is in love with Utsumi.

Kiyohara commented that as this is the first time that she is acting in a work which has strong comedic elements, she is worried about whether she can handle this. However, as the story is set in Osaka which also happens to be her hometown, she felt a sense of familiarity with the story and that she discovered how interesting the story was when she read the original manga. With regard to her character, she described Kashimura as someone who's frank to herself, somewhat innocent and a bit shrewd but hopes to uncover new charms in her character as the filming progresses.

Sources: / Oricon

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Completion screening event of new movie "Ajin"

The completion screening event of new movie "Ajin" was held at Tokyo International Forum on 4 September which was attended by the director Motohiro Katsuyuki, THE ORAL CIGARETTES which sings the theme song as well as cast members Sato Takeru, Ayano Go, Tamayama Tetsuji, Shirota Yu, Chiba Yuudai, Kawaei Rina, Yamada Yuki and Hamabe Minami. About 4,000 people came for the event. The movie will be screened in cinemas from 30 September.

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

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

Sato appeared on the round stage at the middle of the hall with a hand bazooka while THE ORAL CIGARETTES were performing at the beginning of the event. When asked about to reflect on the filming of the movie which has many action sequences, Sato said that there were many new things he experienced such as how to handle the action scenes so that they wouldn't look like meaningless battles especially since many of the characters are Ajins who will not die. As for Ayano, he joked that pushing Sato to the edge was fun for him and he liked the look on Sato's face during such scenes. However, he also commented that because they had deep trust in each other, they were then able to do the action scenes without pulling back and immerse themselves in the battle of wits as their bodies kept "resetting" in this movie.

When asked about if there was any change in their body conditions after the filming, Sato remarked that as his character was usually at the receiving end of attacks such as falling from a high spot, he found that he was always in pain. After the filming ended, he said that his neck had shrunk by 2cm which made everyone gasp. As for Ayano, he had to go through a tough diet and physical workout for as long as four months since he had to beef up as well for another movie before he filmed Ajin. The biggest change for him was that he found that he couldn't keep his arms close to his body anymore due to the increase in muscles while Sato lamented that it was tough to go on the diet with Ayano as he loves rice but couldn't eat it for 2 months.


Araki Yuuko to appear in TV Asahi Autumn 2017 drama "Juuyou Sankounin Tantei"

Araki Yuuko will be appearing in the new TV Asahi Autumn 2017 drama "Juuyou Sankounin Tantei" which begins its run from October 2017 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" and features Tamamori Yuta, Koyama Keiichiro and Furukawa Yuuki in its cast.

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.

Araki plays the role of Saotome Karin who is a detective working in the 1st section of Metropolitan Police Department and the former girlfriend of Kei. The atmosphere between the two of them is somewhat ambiguous and awkward as they work together to solve murder cases where Kei is always the first person to discover the body.

As this character does not appear in the original manga, Araki said that she had to discuss with the director on how to portray this character and hopes to be able to get better and grow with Karin as the story progresses. As for working with Tamamori for the first time, Araki said that her first impression of him was that he is someone who she had seen on TV before and that he has a cool image. She is eagerly awaiting to see how her impression of him will change after they begin filming.

Source: Oricon

Preview of "Wagahai no heya de aru" - Summer 2017

Title: Wagahai no heya de aru 吾輩の部屋である (This is my room)
Official website: here
O.A. Start Date: 18 September 2017
Timeslot: Mondays 12.59am
Broadcast by: NTV
Original manga by: Taoka Riki
Theme Song: "Gyutto" by Sexy Zone
Cast: Kikuchi Fuuma, (Voice actors) Hayashiya Kikuou, Kaku Chikako, Mittsu Mangrove & Yamadera Koichi

Sexy Zone's Kikuchi Fuuma to star in NTV late night drama "Wagahai no heya de aru"

Sexy Zone's Kikuchi Fuuma will be starring in the new NTV late night drama "Wagahai no heya de aru" (This is my room) which marks his first leading role in a drama. The drama which consists of 10 episodes, is the second production in NTV's late night timeslot Shindora and will begin its run from 18 September in the Mondays 12.59am timeslot. The lyrics of the theme song "Gyutto" were written by Kikuchi and the song will be sung by Sexy Zone and released as a single on 4 October.

In this unusual drama based on the same-titled manga by Taoka Riki, Kikuchi plays the only character in the story i.e. Kagiyama Tetsuro who is a single graduate student living at a 41-year-old apartment located 5 mins from a train station somewhere in Tokyo. While being alone in his room, Tetsuro agonises and ponders over various seemingly mundane and small issues and problems in a philosophical manner such as observing how to prevent the sponge holder from falling off the wall, the reason why there is dust in his room and his observation of the people from his university's research lab who he goes for drinks with. He also thinks of the girl named Uemura from the same research lab as his from time to time.

Kikuchi said that when he received the script, he got scared at the realisation that he will have to speak so many lines on his own. However, after repeated rehearsals, he could appreciate the fun of playing this character and became more confident in his acting. As for his character, Kikuchi described Tetsuro as someone who is very ordinary but becomes too logical when he is at home. He can identify how Tetsuro thinks of the most mundane and boring things while at home which is a charm point of the latter so he will try his best to be as close to Tetsuro as possible in the drama.

Although Tetsuro will be the only "human being" in the story, a number of actors will be the "voices" of his household appliances which can't help but poke fun and make comments about his behaviour. Rakugo artist Hayashiya Kikuou will be the voice for the hippopotamus ornament beside the TV while Kaku Chikako will be the rice cooker and Mitsu Mangrove will be the lights. Last but not least, Yamadera Koichi will be the bottles in his apartment.

Sources: / Nikkansports / My Navi News

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

"Cold Case Shinjitsu no Tobira Season 2" to be back on WOWOW in 2018

"Cold Case Shinjitsu no Tobira Season 2" will be back on WOWOW next year with its original cast of Yoshida Yo, Nagayama Kento, Takito Kenichi, Mitsuishi Ken and Miura Tomokazu while the director will still be Hatano Takafumi. The first series of the drama was shown in autumn 2016.

The drama was a Japanese remake of the hit American series which spanned 7 seasons from 2003 to 2010 and features the team of 5 police detectives from Kanagawa Prefectural Police's 1st Investigation Section who try to solve various cold cases. Yoshida who plays the only female detective in the team Ishikawa Yuri, commented that she was very happy about the sequel and had hoped that the series could continue for a long while just like the original version which went all the way to season 7. In the first season of the Japanese version, Yuri's personal episodes were depicted but there is still a lot to explore for the rest of her teammates so she hoped that these can be included in the new sequel. As for Nagayama, he said that he was a bit too stiff and thought too much during the filming of season 1 so he hoped to be able to relax and do well in the new season. Takito joked that since he has been working out a lot, he hopes to be able to flaunt his figure during a shower scene or show off his newly acquired martial arts skills in the new season since he started learning boxing recently.

Sources: / Oricon

First-day-screening event of new movie "Tomodachi Game Gekijouban FINAL"

The first-day-screening event of new movie "Tomodachi Game Gekijouban FINAL" was held at United Cinema Toyosu on 2 September which was attended by the director Nagae Jiro and cast members Yoshizawa Ryo, Uchida Rio, Yamada Yuki, Okura Shimon, Nemoto Nagi, Ueno Yuka, Uragami Seishuu and Kubota Yuki. This marks the end of the "Tomodachi Game" series which consisted of another movie and a drama series.

When asked about his favourite scene, Yoshizawa said that there were two i.e. the scene when Yuichi beat up Silk Road which showed the worst of him and the scene when his face was licked by Maria played by Ueno. He recalled that he was quite scared before the licking scene and tried to discuss with the director about changing it. However, Ueno was nonchalant about having to do the scene so they went ahead with it as planned when the director said that they should do it.

At the end of the event, Yamada revealed that he was honoured about Yoshizawa asking for him to play the role of Mikasa Tenji when the movie was in the planning stage. Through the filming of this movie, the two of them had become more than just fellow actors and got along well so he was very glad to be able to support Yoshizawa in this movie.

It was also announced during the event that the Blu-Ray and DVD version of the previous movie "Tomodachi Game Gekijouban" will be released on 23 August.


Supporting cast line-up of TV Tokyo Autumn 2017 drama "Fringeman ~ Aijin no tsukurikata oshiemasu ~" announced

The supporting cast line-up of TV Tokyo Autumn 2017 drama "Fringeman ~ Aijin no tsukurikata oshiemasu ~" had been announced. It will begin its run from 7 October in the Fridays 12.20am timeslot.

The drama is based on the same-titled manga "Fringeman" by Aoki U-hei and features Itao Itsuji as the lead character Ibuse Masumi who is nicknamed as the lover professor and teaches hopeless married men how to get a lover and have an affair. At a mahjong parlour located at the fringe of the city, three men Tasai, Mitsushima and Ango want to seek a breakthrough in their dry and boring marriage lives and desire to have a forbidden affair. They meet Ibuse who started having lovers at the age of 22 and boasts of the record of having as many as 11 lovers at one time where the latter starts to coach them on the techniques of having extramarital affairs and find lovers. He makes the trio stick to his four rules and gives them various tough missions to clear in order to achieve their goals.

The trio who seek advice from Ibuse will be played by Daito Shunsuke, Fuchikami Yasushi and Morita Kanro. Azuma Mikihisa will play Edogawa Raito who is Ibuse's rival and looks like a nice guy who goes to cooking school on the surface but is nicknamed Bazu Cook. The owner of the mahjong parlour where Ibuse and his "students" gather at will be played by Muramatsu Toshifumi.

Source: Oricon

Press conference of new NHK drama "Kono koe wo kimi ni"

The press conference of new NHK drama "Kono koe wo kimi ni" was held at the TV station's HQ in Shibuya, Tokyo, on 31 August which was attended by the cast members Takenouchi Yutaka and Asou Kumiko. The drama which consists of 8 episodes, begins its run from 8 September in the Fridays 10pm timeslot.

The story features Takenouchi as the lead character Honami Takashi who is a 46-year-old professor teaching mathematics at an university but lacks speaking skills thus is not very popular with his students. His wife Nao (Mimura) is fed up with him and leaves home with their two children. At this juncture, he is told by the faculty dean to attend a speaking class where he gets into an argument with the lecturer Ezaki Kyoko (Asou) as he thinks that she is haughty and not capable of teaching him anything while she thinks of him as a boring guy. Although Kyoko's superior Sakura (Shibata) intervenes to stop the argument, Takashi still leaves the class. A few days later, Takashi happens to bump into Kyoko unexpectedly at a recitation session.

Takenouchi commented that it has been a month since they started filming and he is honoured to be able to act in such a down-to-earth drama where everyone puts in their best. Although Takenouchi usually played cool and handsome characters in the past, he said that his character this time is an irritating and somewhat pitiful person who you can't help but want to support and encourage. Takashi knows that he has to change and is serious about doing it so he will try his best to show this side of Takashi through his acting. When asked if there is any similarity between himself and his character, Takenouchi revealed smilingly that he had also encountered emotional setbacks in the past which he didn't think was surprising given that he is already 46 and there are bound to be such episodes in life. As for doing recitation for the first time, he said that it was an useful experience to pick up tips which can help in acting. Takenouchi also revealed that he always had an inferiority complex about how he speaks and his voice but when he first met Asou, he was given a boost of confidence when she praised him for having a nice voice.

Meanwhile, Asou who had experience reciting Tanikawa Shuntaro's work "Yoru wa yasashii Tender is the Night" for a planetarium, said that she was glad to complete the scene in front of Tanikawa himself in one take and was reminded of how important it is to convey one's feelings to the listeners during the recitation.

When asked if there was any memorable scene to date, Takenouchi cited the part where they had a group recitation to read Miyazawa Kenji's "Ame nimo makezu" which will be featured in the third episode and exclaimed that his co-star Katagiri Hairi did such a wonderful job in conveying Miyazawa's thoughts in this work. Asou echoed his view and said that the power of a group reading was overwhelming and that she had goosebumps after hearing everyone read together.

Sources: / Oricon / Sanspo