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Monday, July 31, 2017

New WOWOW drama "Haru ga kita" to be shown from January 2018

The new WOWOW drama "Haru ga kita" starring Korean idol group EXO's member Kai will be shown in January 2018. The drama's which was completed in May this year, is the first WOWOW production featuring a non-Japanese actor as the lead.

The drama is based on the same-titled short story in the last book "Tonari no Onna" written by Mukoda Kuniko who passed away in 1981 and features on human nature, love and the subtleties of the heart. The theme of the drama will focus on the regeneration of the family and deviate from the original story with newly-added developments. Kai will be playing the role of Lee Ji-won, a cameraman from South Korea who meets Kishigawa Naoko, a 31-year-old single lady who works as a saleswoman at the lingerie department of a departmental store. Due to Ji-won's presence, Naoko's family slowly goes through a change which leads to the exposure of secrets which the family members are hiding from one another. This ultimately leads to the breakdown of the family and a sad romance between Naoko and Ji-won. The heroine Naoko will be played by Kurashina Kana while her father Shuji and mother Sue will be played by Sano Shiro and Takahata Atsuko. Naoko's younger sister Junko will be played by Furuhata Seika.

Source: Oricon

Nakamura An to play her first baddie role in TV Asahi Summer 2017 drama "Aino Kekkon Soudanjo"

Nakamura An will be taking on her first baddie role in the TV Asahi Summer 2017 drama "Aino Kekkon Soudanjo" which will be the 6th season in a row that she has appeared in regular drama series. She will be playing the role of Remi who works at a break-up company that breaks up couples and always appears in a body-hugging cheongsam with high slits that shows off her legs as she seduces the men. This pits her against Aino (Yamazaki) whose company does the exact opposite of bringing couples together. The two of them seem to have a longstanding grudge as he doesn't budge even when faced with her seductive actions.

Nakamura commented that she usually played nice people roles so she hopes that this character will help her break free of this image and mark a new stage in her career. However, as she has never severed ties with anyone before, she found it difficult to imagine how a break-up specialist might behave so this is going to be a very extreme role and a great challenge for her.

Sources: Sanspo / Oricon

WOWOW to make real-life adaptation drama of Kiyotake Hidetoshi's non-fiction book "Ishitsubute"

WOWOW will be making the real-life adaptation drama of Kiyotake Hidetoshi's non-fiction book "Ishitsubute" which will consist of 8 episodes and be shown from November this year in the Sundays 10pm timeslot. The book will be released by Kodansha from 25 July while the drama's director and scriptwriter will be Wakamatsu Setsuro and Todayama Masashi.

The drama titled "Ishitsubute ~ Gaimushou kimitsuhi wo abaita sousa nika no otokotachi ~" (Slingshot ~ The men of the second investigation unit who expose the secret funds in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs) is based on a true case which happened in 2001 and involved the defrauding of secret funds from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The investigation officers faced an uphill task of venturing into the sacred territory of the country and had to fight the forces within the organisation to uncover the truth in this case caused by the "three evil men" i.e. high-ranking officers in the ministry.

Kiyotake commented that the book is not meant to be about the police officers' conducting an arrest only but rather how they fight against the temptations dangled by the organisation in order to derail the investigation and how these ordinary police officers initially thought that they were dealing with a small case but ended up with a landslide which shook the country. These officers did not have the intention of seeking any reward for their work nor recognition in history so he wanted to show how they went about their duties in the most upright manner.

Sources: Oricon / Eiga.com

Top 10 movies box office ranking for the weekend of 29th & 30th July 2017

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

1) Despicable Me 3 (359)

2) The Mummy (333)

3) Kimi no suizou wo tabetai (319)

4) Gintama (334)

5) Tokyo Ghoul (305)

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

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

8) Mary to Majo no Hana (365)

9) Cars Crossroad (345)

10) Shinobi no Kuni (332)

Source: Eiga.com

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Imai Eriko reportedly having an affair with Kobe City councillor Hashimoto Ken


Imai Eriko who is in her first term as a member of the House of Councillors under the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), was reported to be having an affair with Kobe City councillor Hashimoto Ken according to the 27th July issue of "Shuukan Shincho". In the report concerned, it described how Imai and Hashimoto had been holding hands while they slept on a Shinkansen train travelling from Osaka to Tokyo and that they had spent the night staying at the same hotel in Osaka.

Imai made her debut as a member of SPEED in 1996 and went solo after the group disbanded in 2000. She got married to 175R's vocalist SHOGO in May 2004 and gave birth to their son in October the same year. However, the couple parted ways in September 2007 and Imai later revealed that her son had hearing issues in 2008. On the other hand, Hashimoto is married with two children but is said to be on the verge of divorce.

In response to the media reports, Imai released a statement where she apologised for her actions and how it had created inconveniences and trouble for everyone around her especially when this was a tough time for her political party. However, she strongly denied that she was having an affair with Hashimoto as he had told her that he was undergoing divorce mediation when he asked to date her and how his marriage had broken down a long time ago. Imai admitted that she had grown to like Hashimoto while they worked together and he had given her a lot of advice in politics ever since she stood for election last summer. At the same time, she had broken up with her longtime boyfriend due to differences in their lifestyles ever since she became a politician. Imai had insisted to Hashimoto that they could only begin a relationship after his divorce was finalised so they did not cross the line of propriety and they did not have an affair as reported. Nonetheless, Imai admitted that the photos published did raise suspicion on the nature of their relationship so she was very sorry for causing disappointment to everyone. Imai also revealed that her son usually lives with her mother and she has a separate apartment where she works and stays at most of the time due to her busy schedule. As such, her son would come and stay with her whenever he doesn't have to go to school. From now on, she will be more careful in the way she conducts herself and will strive to work hard for her supporters and her beloved son.

Source: Oricon

Production press conference of Tokai TV Summer 2017 drama "Utsubokazura no Yume"


The production press conference of Tokai TV Summer 2017 drama "Utsubokazura no Yume" was held on 28 July which was attended by cast members Shida Mirai, Ootsuka Nene and Kokusho Sayuri. The drama will begin its run from 5 August in the Saturdays 11.40pm timeslot.

The drama is based on the same-titled novel by Nonami Asa, features Shida as the lead character who behaves like the nepenthes that doesn't move on her own and makes use of her prey's desires to achieve her aims. Shida plays 18-year-old Saito Miyufu (Shida) who was raised as an innocent and simple girl in Nagano but is chased out after her mother passed away and her father brings his lover home. Just then, her late mother's cousin Kashimada Naoko (Ootsuka Nene) invites her to come and live with her in Tokyo for the time being. Upon reaching Naoko's place, Mifuyu is shocked by the riches in the Kashimada household and begins to feel indignant about her fate which leads her to begin finding a way to survive thus leading her to become a woman like the nepenthes. Other characters include Naoko's friend Fukumoto Hitomi (Kokusho Sayuri) who tries to keep up a pretense even though she is suffering from financial difficulties, Yoshioka Keisuke (Matsumoto Toshio from EXILE) who is the person-in-charge of a NPO where Naoko helps out at, Naoko's husband Yuutarou (Haba Yuuichi) who expresses an interest in Mifuyu when she comes to stay with them and Yuutarou's mother Hisako (Matsubara Chieko).

Shida who is 24 years old, commented that she was worried about whether she would be able to play a 18-year-old now and doesn't think that Mifuyu is a bad woman since she is just looking for a place where she can survive and she has become wiser in securing this position when compared to before. She also said that the characters in this drama are all flawed in their own ways. Ootsuka echoed the view that the human beings are actually more terrifying than ghosts while Kokusho commented that this drama will drive away the sleepiness near midnight with its story and all women actually have a utsubokazura trait in them which needs to be awakened.

Shida revealed that Tokai TV had given her a 1.6m-high utsubokazura plant as a present but she didn't know what to do with it and wasn't very thrilled by this. In the end, Tokai TV took back the plant so it was lucky that she didn't have to think about how to handle it.

Source: Oricon

Koizumi Kyoko wins the 33rd Kodansha Essay Award with her book "Kiiroi Mansion Kuroi Neko"

Koizumi Kyoko won the 33rd Kodansha Essay Award with her book titled "Kiiroi Mansion Kuroi Neko" (Yellow Mansion Black Cat) as reported on 20 July. The book is not the first book written by Koizumi but is her first which had won a literary award. The content of the book is like an autobiography which contains 34 essays talking about the days she spent in Harujuku where she lived for a long time since her teens and after making her debut in 1982 and her thoughts about the town and her life as she strolled through the streets there again after all these years. She will be presented with the award during a ceremony held on 14 September which comes with a prize money of one million yen.

Koizumi has always been known as an avid reader and mentioned before that when she was a teen idol, she would use books as an excuse for not talking to people as she didn't like to be disturbed when she was busy. Unexpectedly, this led to her gradually developing an interest in books.

Sources: Sanspo / Yomiuri Hochi / Sponichi

Tamayama Tetsuji & Sasaki Nozomi to star in new Hulu original drama series "Ame ga furu to kimi wa yasashii"

Tamayama Tetsuji and Sasaki Nozomi will be starring in the new Hulu original drama series "Ame ga furu to kimi ga yasashii" (You are gentle when it rains) which was written by Nojima Shinji over a period of 3 years. The drama which consists of 8 episodes and will be shown this autumn, is based on the theme of sexual addiction and features the two actors as a newly-married couple who are in emotional turmoil due to the wife's sexual addiction. Nojima said that although stories about people straying or having extra-marital affairs are the trend these days, he has no interest in these themes thus he decided to write this story which shows the guilt which the wife feels about her illness and her husband's struggle to understand her issue as well as the conflict between physical needs and emotions. As he wants to write about people in extreme situations which is unlikely to be shown via terrestrial networks, Hulu said to him that they would be OK with showing a drama with such a theme so he was very grateful to be able to offer such a story to their viewers.

Tamayama plays Tachiki Nobuo, the assistant editor of a monthly literature magazine while Sasaki plays his wife Aya who used to be a model for a magazine and works at an old folks' home after getting married. Although the couple seem to be having a happy life, Aya is actually suffering from sexual dependency. She would wear red clothes which she usually doesn't wear whenever the weather is sunny and these are the days when she has the uncontrollable urge to sleep with other men. While trying to put on a pretense in front of Nobuo, Aya tries to seek treatment and goes for counselling. However, things start to get out control when Aya has sex with a man she comes to know from a dating site and he turns out to be Nobuo's colleague.

Tamayama revealed that as he doesn't have a lot of experience acting in love stories, he feels shy about looking Sasaki in the eye but will try his best to play the role of Nobuo who loves Aya very much. On the other hand, Sasaki said that Aya is a very challenging role for her and she hopes to be able to achieve new heights in her acting career through this character.

Filming is currently in progress.

Sources: Eiga.com / Oricon / Sanspo / Nikkansports

Completion event of new movie "Sekigahara"

The completion event of new movie "Sekigahara" was held at Urban Dock Lalaport Toyosu on 18 July which was attended by the director Harada Masato and cast members Okada Junichi, Yakusho Koji, Arimura Kasumi, Hira Takehiro, Higashide Masahiro, Ito Ayumi, Takito Kenichi and Nishoka Tokuma. The movie will be shown in cinemas from 26 August.

The movie which is based on the same-titled novel by Shiba Ryotaro, features Okada in the leading role of Ishida Mitsunari, a military commander who lived during the Azuchi Momoyama Era and was usually depicted as a shrewd villain in many books and fiction works but will be described in a different way this time. Co-stars include Yakusho Koji who plays Tokugawa Ieyasu, Arimura Kasumi who plays Hatsume, a ninja from Iga and Ishida's maid as well as Hira Takehiro, Higashide Masahiro, Nakagoshi Noriko, Kitamura Yukiya, Ito Ayumi, Otoo Takuma, Wada Masato, Takito Kenichi, Kimura Midoriko, Matsuyama Kenichi, Dan Mitsu and Nishioka Tokuma.

Okada revealed that before the filming, he went to the grave of Ishida Mitsunari and pledged to play this character well. As such, he hopes that views towards Ishida will change as a result of this movie. When he was much younger, he was advised by a senior actor that he should become an actor in future who can take on period movies and dramas. As such, he was glad to be able to do this movie which he felt that was good enough to be watched by that senior. Yakusho also praised Okada for working so hard that viewers will have new discoveries each time they watch this movie.

As for Arimura, this was the first time she participated in a period movie so there were many difficulties she faced but it was also a very stimulating experience for her. Okada also praised her for studying and making extensive preparations for the sake of this movie despite her busy schedule with filming NHK morning drama "Hiyokko" which began in August last year overlapped with the filming of this movie from last November.

When asked about any incidents during the filming which showed Okada's "iron-man" side, Higashide revealed that there was once when they were filming on a mountain and it was already 11pm when they took the ropeway to come down from the mountain and on the way back to their hotel by bus. Although Higashide was already tired and felt like relaxing by having a beer, he was surprised to hear that Okada planned to go back and do physical training rather than rest even though it would be past midnight. Yakusho echoed this and said that when he worked with Okada last time, he also knew about Okada's night runs and bringing a wooden sword for practice purposes. Okada then responded by saying that he did invite Yakusho to join him but was rejected.

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

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Yonekura Ryoko to be back in "Doctor X 5 ~ Gekai Daimon Michiko ~" this autumn

Yonekura Ryoko will be back in the 5th installment of the TV Asahi drama "Doctor X ~ Gekai Daimon Michiko ~" series this autumn which begins its run from October in the Thursdays 9pm timeslot. She will reprise her role as the freelance surgeon Daimon Michiko whose policy is to save the patients before her and boasts of fantastic skills which enables her to survive in the medical world filled with people who desire money and power. In conjunction with the impending launch of the 5th series, the past 4 installments will be shown via on-demand portals to more than 200 countries (except Japan) from September with English subtitles and the list of these providers will be announced on a later date. In Japan, au's on-demand video service "Video Pass" will begin showing the past 4 installments from 1 September.

In the latest installment, Totei University Hospital will see its first female director who tries to make sweeping changes to the hospital so as to eliminate its bad practices. However, those who were in power do not want to lose their benefits and power thus try their best to fight against this new director. At the same time, Hiruma Shigekatsu (Nishida Toshiyuki) who was transferred to the Shiretoko branch, is also plotting something. Regular cast members such as Uchida Yuki, Kishibe Ittoku, Endo Kenichi and Suzuki Kosuke will also be making their return in the new installment.

Yonekura who is in the US for the Broadway musical "Chicago", commented that this is the first time she has a drama series which has 5 installments and she feels the pressure every time a sequel is made because there is a high level of expectation from the viewers. As such, she will approach this work with the intention of it being the last in the series and strive to deliver a good drama with the cast and staff. Yonekura also called upon everyone to look forward to the new sequel coming in autumn.

Sources: Nikkansports / Sanspo / Oricon

Completion take-off event of new movie "Tori Girl!"

The completion take-off event of new movie "Tori Girl!" was held on 17 July which was attended by the director Hanabusa Tsutomu and cast members Tsuchiya Tao, Mamiya Shotaro, Takasugi Mahiro, Ikeda Elaiza, Yamoto Yuma and Nadaru. The movie will be shown in cinemas from 1 September.

The movie which is based on the same-titled novel by Nakamura Kou, talks about a group of university students who put in their all to take part in a Tori Ningen Contest i.e. human-powered flight machines at Lake Biwa. Tsuchiya plays the lead character Toriyama Yukina who made it to a science university after repeating for a year. Upon starting school, she joins the club aiming to take part in the Tori Ningen Contest because she has fallen in love at first sight with a senior Takahashi Kei (Takasugi Mahiro) who is also in the club. While preparing for the contest, she tries to achieve their dream of flying with her beloved and handsome senior and another senior Sakaba Taishi (Mamiya Shotaro) who behaves like a delinquent and is constantly at odds with her.

After the cast gathered on stage, Tsuchiya made her surprise appearance by jumping from a 1.5m-high platform and commented that she lost her balance in mid-air but it was fun to be able to mark the start of event in this manner. Mamiya helped Tsuchiya down by carrying her on his back and "complained" that she was too heavy and should lose weight. In response, Tsuchiya protested that she's of average size and not as heavy as he claimed.

When asked what they would like to work hard at this summer, Tsuchiya said that she would love to play especially after discovering how fun it was to attend summer festivals when Mamiya suggested this last year during the filming. This led Mamiya to poke fun at Tsuchiya by asking what kind of world she lives in that she didn't know about how fun it was to go to such festivals. On the other hand, Mamiya said that he has begun cultivating plants recently and hopes that they will go well. However, Yamoto who is on close terms with Mamiya and goes to the latter's house, said that he was lying because he has never seen a plant at Mamiya's house except for the fact that his carpet is green in colour. Mamiya stressed that his plants are in the balcony and corrected Yamoto by saying that his green carpet should be called grass instead.

Sources: Oricon / Sanspo / Eiga.com

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Fujisawa Ema announces her impending marriage on 21 August

Fujisawa Ema will be marrying her boyfriend who is 3 years older than her on 21 August as reported in the media on 17 July. The couple reportedly met 15 years ago when Fujisawa came to Tokyo from her hometown in Kagawa to attend Sophia University and joined the school's tennis club. Her boyfriend was her senior then and had taken care of her since she was new to the city. However, as Fujisawa won the Grand Prix in the model audition of fashion magazine "non-no" in her first year at university, she became so busy juggling studies and work that they didn't date as a couple. Nonetheless, her boyfriend still sent her emails every year on her birthday and always showed her concern. When Fujisawa went to Los Angeles for language studies in 2009, he also visited her there when he was on a business trip. 3 years ago, he asked her to be her girlfriend but she asked for time to consider and it was only until 21 August last year when she finally agreed. He then proposed to her on her birthday last year i.e. 26 December. The wedding ceremony is expected to be held in autumn this year after their marriage registration in August.

Fujisawa said that as the relationship between her and her boyfriend had been that of a senior and junior for a long time, it took some time for them to get closer and he had waited so long for her because she is the type to take her own sweet time. She also revealed that she had informed Kagawa Teruyuki and Katahira Nagisa who played her parents in the 2004 NHK morning drama "Tenka" and they were so happy for her that they cried.

As Fujisawa is currently filming the FujiTV Summer 2017 drama "Seshiru no Mokuromi", her co-stars including Maki Youko, Ito Ayumi and Itaya Yuka held a celebration for her on 16 July when they presented her with flowers and a tiara. She thanked everyone for the celebration and said that this was an unforgettable surprise.

Sources: Nikkansports / Sanspo

Higashide Masahiro, Arata Mackenyu & Morikawa Aoi to star in new movie "OVER DRIVE"

Higashide Masahiro, Arata Mackenyu and Morikawa Aoi will be starring in the new movie "OVER DRIVE" directed by Hasumi Eiichiro which will be shown in cinemas next year. The movie is based on the theme of car rally racing  which features a group of young people who are passionate about this sport. Hasumi who had been preparing this movie for many years, commented that there will be many scenes featuring the high-speed road racing and how the professionals in the industry devote themselves to this sport without giving up easily. As such, he thinks that this film will be capable of exceeding the "Umizaru" series which also depicted how people challenge themselves to the limit.

Higashide plays the lead character Hiyama Atsuhiro who works as the chief mechanic and engineer at Spica Racing Factory. Since young, he has been very interested in machinery and is a highly-regarded technician in this line and trusted by his teammates. His younger brother Naosumi (Arata) is a genius driver belonging to the same team but keeps ignoring his elder brother's advice and is focused only on aggressive driving so as to win. He also creates a lot of problems in his private life thus is regarded as a troublemaker. Morikawa plays Endo Hikaru who is a greenhorn in rally racing but has been assigned to become Naosumi's new agent. The relationship between Atsuhiro and Naosumi gradually become so strained that it is affecting the team as they battle with their rivals during the races.

Higashide revealed that before the filming began, the mechanic team got together for rehearsals which has helped them to build up good rapport. He also hoped that they would be able to convey the passion and excitement in the story to the viewers when the movie is released. As for Arata, he pledged to work out and deliver a great performance to show how a man lives in the beautiful world of rally racing.

Co-stars also include Kitamura Takumi who plays Shinkai Akira, the driver of rival team Sigma Racing, Machida Keita who plays Masuda Junpei, the new mechanic in Spica and Yoshida Kotaro who plays Tsuzuki Issei, the CEO and director of the Spica team.

Sources: Eiga.com / Yomiuri Hochi / Oricon

Preview of "Henkan Koushounin - Itsuka, Okinawa wo torimodosu -" (Drama SP)

Title: Henkan Koushounin - Itsuka, Okinawa wo torimodosu -" 返還交渉人 - いつか、沖縄を取り戻す - (Restoration Negotiator - Someday, we will get back Okinawa)
Official website: here
O.A. Date: 12 August 2017 at 9pm
Broadcast by: NHK
Original novel by: Miyagawa Tetsushi
Cast: Iura Arata, Toda Naho, Omi Toshinori, Sano Shiro, Oosugi Ren and Ishibashi Renji

Top 10 summer movies' box office ranking between 1 June 2017 and 23 July 2017 (Oricon)

Oricon compiled the box office figures for the summer movies shown between 1 June 2017 and 23 July 2017 and came up with the top 10 bestselling movies' ranking as below. Numbers in brackets indicate the accumulated box office takings up to 23 July and the release dates of the movies are indicated after this:

1) Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (JPY 4.84bn) - 1 July

2) 22 Nenme no Kokuhaku - Watashi ga satsujinhan desu - (JPY 2.345 bn) - 10 June

3) Hirugao (JPY 2.236bn) - 10 June

4) Shinobi no Kuni (JPY 1.787bn) - 1 July

5) Gintama (JPY 1.708bn) - 14 July

6) Mary to Majo no Hana (JPY 1.543bn) - 8 July

7) Gekijouban Pocket Monster Kimi ni kimeta! (JPY 1.229bn) - 15 July

8) Cars Crossroad (JPY 800m) - 15 July

9) Despicable Me 3 (JPY 751m) - 21 July

10) Ani ni aisaresugite komattemasu (JPY 740m) - 30 June

Source: Oricon

Top 10 celebrities appearing most in the news for the first half of 2017 (Oricon)

Oricon counted the number of times a celebrity appeared in articles on Yahoo! topics and LINE NEWS between 1 January and 30 June this year but there are a few exceptions in the counting method:
- Sports athletes and deceased celebrities
- Mention of the celebrity's group name only
- News related to criminal cases
- Mention of TV programmes bearing the person's name but the article is not about the person

* Number in brackets reflect the number of articles which the person appeared in. The main reasons/topics why the person was in the news appear behind the numbers.

1) Shimizu Fumika (226) - Her retirement, affair with KANA-BOON's Iida Yuma and the publication of her tell-all book

2) Suda Masaki (181) - The dramas and movies which he appeared in and his alleged romance with Honda Tsubasa

3) Hoshino Gen (180) - His drama "Nigeru wa haji daga yaku ni tatsu", TV appearances and the release of his new song

4) Nakai Masahiro (166) - SMAP's disband, his joint appearance with Katori Shingo on "SmaStation" and his alleged romance with a dancer

5) Arimura Kasumi (159) - Her drama "Hiyokko" and her posts on Instagram

6) Sashihara Rino (153) - The AKB48 election and her appearances on variety programmes

7) Kimura Takuya (148) - SMAP's disband and the drama and movie which he appeared in

8) Matsumoto Hitoshi (146) - Comments on various issues while on TV programmes

9) Buruzon Chiemi (136) - Her TV appearances and acting debut as well as other celebrities who try to dress up like her

10) Hirose Suzu (135) - The movies which she appeared in and her alleged romance with Narita Ryo

Source: Oricon

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Kato Masaya to be the guest star in Ep 3 of TBS Summer 2017 drama "Kanna-san!"

Kato Masaya will be the guest star in Ep 3 of TBS Summer 2017 drama "Kanna-san!" which will be shown on 1 August. He will be playing the role of Nick Nanba who is a charismatic and mysterious figure in the fashion industry. Nanba used to be the chief editor of an international magazine and a perfectionist who had also worked with various fashion brands to create popular products. For some reason, he takes an interest in Kanna (Watanabe Naomi) and it is not known if he will be an ally or enemy of hers.

Kato who will be appearing in flashy clothing such as a pink scarf and sunglasses, revealed that his character is supposed to be able to speak multiple languages due to his career in various countries so he hoped to be able to show the character's key traits through his acting. He also hoped that viewers will enjoy watching his performance in this drama. As for working with Watanabe for the first time, he praised her for being very expressive in terms of body language and is eager to find out how the relationship between Nanba and Kanna will develop in future.

Source: Oricon

Mizuno Miki announces the arrival of her first child

Mizuno Miki announced the arrival of her first child via her Instagram account on 26 July where she uploaded a photo of the feet of her and her baby. In her message, Mizuno thanked everyone for their concern and consideration during her pregnancy and their help during her childbirth. She also expressed her gratitude to her husband who was with her when the baby was born.

Mizuno mentioned that she has become prone to crying at the smallest things ever since she became a mother and is touched by how she sees her baby is bursting with so much energy with each passing day. As such, she hopes to become a reliable mother and be able to accompany her child through life's every step.

Mizuno met her husband i.e. actor-illustrator Karahashi Mitsuru in March last year and started dating the following month. The couple got married on her 42nd birthday on 28 June after dating for three months.

Sources: Sanspo / Nikkansports / Sponichi

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

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

The first-day-screening event of new movie "Gintama" was held at Marunouchi Picadilly on 14 July which was attended by the director Fukuda Yuichi and cast members Oguri Shun, Suda Masaki, Hashimoto Kanna, Yagira Yuuya, Yoshizawa Ryo, Muro Tsuyoshi, Nagasawa Masami, Okada Masaki and Sato Jiro. The movie which is based on the same-titled manga by Sorachi Hideaki, is set in a parallel world at Edo where aliens from space called Amanto have conquered Earth. Oguri's character Sakata Gintoki works as a freelancer who still believes in honouring the samurai spirit despite the waning influence of the samurais and the story describes his adventures with his friends.

When the event began, Muro and the director were having a great time talking which led Oguri to stop them because he appeared too quiet in contrast. Oguri was concerned that the media would start speculating that he was having problems in his private life so he appeared so lethargic and stressed that this was absolutely not true because the duo were too chatty.

When Yagira and Yoshizawa were asked how they felt about working together, there was silence for a while before Yoshizawa commented that Yagira has become his soulmate. However, the next moment, he asked Yagira for his contact details so the two of them were fidgeting with their mobile phones on stage as they did that.

Okada was then asked by Oguri whether he was more emotionally involved in "Gintama" or his other movie "Jojo no Kimyou na Bouken" which is also going to be shown soon. At first, Okada joked that he preferred "Jojo" but later corrected his answer that it is "Gintama". Despite so, the director viewed him with suspicion and wondered if he was telling the truth which made the audience laugh at this exchange.

Before the beginning of the event, a life-sized Elisabeth figure was trying to get onto the stage with much difficulty until the staff members helped it out. As the cast got heated up in their talk, Fukuda turned his attention to Elisabeth who was standing beside him and commented that it was moving very well today. This led to a voice coming out from Elisabeth which complained about the heat and lamenting that it should have declined the offer. Upon hearing this, the cast were very keen to find out who was actually inside the figure costume and the audience guessed correctly that it was Yamada Takayuki. Despite so, Yamada initially refused to admit that he was inside and subsequently went on a barrage of "complaints" about how he couldn't climb the stairs to the stage and see in front while dressed as Elisabeth. When Fukuda tried to pry open Elisabeth's mouth to show Yamada's face, he tried to resist this which made Suda comment that it was scary to see a hand come out of Elisabeth's mouth. Oguri then chipped in to say that he wouldn't have accepted such an offer to appear in such a costume during this summer heat if it came his way and praised Yamada for doing this. In response, Yamada said that he felt an obligation to do something for the promotion of the movie since he did his voice acting for Elisabeth in a cool room within minutes while the cast had to wear kimonos and fight in the summer heat. Till the end of the event, Yamada never showed his face to the audience and played Elisabeth throughout except for showing a bit of his legs when he raised the hem of the costume as he was coming down from the stage.

Source: Eiga.com

First-day-screening event of new movie "Sekai wa kyou kara kimi no mono"

The first-day-screening event of new movie "Sekai wa kyou kara kimi no mono" was held at Shibuya Cinepalace on 15 July which was attended by the director Ozaki Masaya and cast members Kadowaki Mugi, Miura Takahiro, Hirukawa Yu, Makita Sports and YOU. The movie is an original story featuring Kadowaki as the lead character Konuma Mami who has been shutting herself at home since she was in senior high school and spends all her time on manga and copying illustrations. At the recommendation of her father Eisuke (Makita Sports), she goes to work at a gaming company where she finds bugs in their products. One day, she helps to draw the illustrations in the game managed by her colleague Yabe Ryotaro (Miura Takahiro) and is recognised for her talent so she is asked to take on the job of drawing character illustrations. Mami develops feelings for Ryotaro and decides to face up to her own issues through her illustration work.

Kadowaki described the movie as a reflection of the director's character and expressed her relief and joy at seeing the film being ready to meet the public especially since she had fallen ill before the filming and caused some inconveniences as a result. When asked to comment on her character, Kadowaki said that Mami is rather different from her as she spent a lot of her time on her own during senior high school but was training for her runs day and night rather than be at home. She also spent her time at the video rental shop where she would rent movies based on their titles in alphabetical order so as to learn acting but later realised that this was an unproductive way. On hindsight, Kadowaki said that she should have watched the movies based on the directors' names rather than search by their titles.

When asked what he would be doing if he wasn't an actor, Miura admitted that he doesn't like to stand out and is still rather uncomfortable in front of the camera so he felt that he would be happy to spend his life in a small flower shop. Upon hearing this, Makita teased him and asked if he was feeling ill.

As for Makita who plays Mami's meddling father, he said that there was a scene where he had to keep sending LINE messages to his daughter who read them but did not reply. When he finally got replies, he was so happy that he almost cried just like his character. In response, Kadowaki said that she couldn't reply as much as she wanted since she had to stay in character.

Source: Eiga.com

First-day-screening event of new movie "Kokoro ga sakebitagatterunda"

The first-day-screening event of new movie "Kokoro ga sakebitagatterunda" was held at TOHO Cinemas Shinjuku on 22 July which was attended by the director Kumazawa Naoto and cast members Nakajima Kento, Yoshine Kyoko, Ishii Anna and Kanichiro. The story set in a high school at Chichibu, Saitama, features Sakagami Takumi (Nakajima), a senior high school student poor at interacting with others gets appointed to become a member of the local interaction committee along with his classmate Naruse Jun (Yoshine). Jun is unable to speak due to a traumatic experience in the past and would suffer stomachaches if she attempts to speak to others. Initially, the two are unsure of how to deal with each other but through working on a musical performance for the committee, they gradually become closer. Ishii plays Takumi's ex-girlfriend Nitou Natsuki while Kanichiro plays Tasaki Daiki who is the pitcher of the school's baseball team and suffered an injury to his knee.

When asked about the highlight of the movie, Nakajima cited the musical scene where the actors sang and danced. On the other hand, Yoshine struggled to come up with a particular scene and stressed that everything in the movie was worth paying attention to.

In line with the theme of the movie i.e. you will definitely become stronger when you fall out of love, the cast were asked about what makes them stronger. Nakajima gave the answer of positive thinking where he uses positive words to strengthen his mental stage while Ishii cited her co-stars as having given her strength. As for Kanichiro, he said that sleeping for 12 hours is his key to being stronger which led Nakajima to tease him that he can get to the US in that amount of time.

Sources: Oricon / Eiga.com

Fan event of new movie "Hagane no Renkin Jutsushi"

The fan event of new movie "Hagane no Renkin Jutsushi" was held at Shinjuku Picadilly on 12 July which was attended by the director Sori Fumihiko and cast members Honda Tsubasa, Hongo Kanata and Sato Ryuta. About 500 fans gathered for the event.

The movie which is based on Arakawa Hiromu's bestselling same-titled manga serialised since 2001 and had sold more than 70m copies to date, features the Elric brothers Edward (Ed) and Alphonse (Al) who embark on a journey to find the Philosopher's Stone so as to regain their bodies lost when performing a forbidden alchemy ritual to bring their mother back to life. As a result, Ed has mechanical limbs to replace his lost right arm and left leg. As for Al, his soul is attached to a huge metal armour since he has lost his entire body. Hey! Say! JUMP's Yamada Ryosuke plays Edward in the movie.

Honda who plays the heroine Winry, spoke about the movie's promotional events at the 26th Anime Expo in Los Angeles, US on 3 July and the 18th Japan Expo held in Paris, France on 7 July where they got a warm reception from the local audiences. Sori revealed that they are still in the final stages of preparing the film for the release on 1 December while Hongo who plays Envy in the movie, jokingly said that he was so jealous that they got the chance to go to France even though he would love to do the same. Honda also revealed that she was under a lot of pressure when she got the role although she was happy about it at the same time and worried if she might look convincing as Winry. Upon hearing the loud applause from the audience, Honda said that she was relieved that her image as Winry was well-received.

It was also announced that as a special gift to those who go to watch the movie on the first day, they will be able to get a new installment in the Hagaren series by Arakawa which ended 7 years ago. Hongo who has been a fan of the manga, said that it was such good news to get not just one piece of illustration but a whole book so he will try to watch the movie twice to get two copies i.e. one for reading and the other for keeping in his collection.

Sources: Eiga.com / Nikkansports

Preview of "Plage ~ Wakeari bakari no Sharehouse ~" - Summer 2017

Title: Plage ~ Wakeari bakari no Sharehouse ~ プラージュ ~ 訳ありばかりのシェアハウス ~ (Plage ~ A sharehouse full of people with special circumstances ~)
Official website: here
Official Instagram: here
O.A. Start Date: 12 August 2017
Timeslot: Saturdays 10pm
Broadcast by: WOWOW
Total number of episodes: 5
Original novel by: Honda Tetsuya
Cast: Hoshino Gen, Naka Riisa, Majima Hidekazu, Nakamura Yuri, Shibukawa Kiyohiko, Sugashikao, Ishida Yuriko



Production press conference of TV Asahi Summer 2017 drama "Aino Kekkon Soudanjo"

The production press conference of TV Asahi Summer 2017 drama "Aino Kekkon Soudanjo" was held at Roppongi Hills Arena on 24 July which was attended by cast members Yamazaki Ikusaburo, Takanashi Rin, Kaga Takeshi, Maeda Bibari, Nakao Masaki and Yamaga Kotoko. The drama begins its run from 28 July in the Fridays 11.15pm timeslot. The drama which is based on the same-titled manga by Katou Yagi and Yagi Jun which was serialised between 2010 and 2016, is set in a legendary matchmaking agency where you have to pay 2 million yen to become a member but will be guaranteed a 100% success rate in finding your ideal marriage partner.

Yamazaki plays the role of the agency's manager Aino Shingo who is cold, pretentious and speaks harshly to his clients at times. Being a former assistant professor specialising in ethology, Aino is very well-versed in the behaviour of animals and insects and has a hobby of collecting such figures. He will stop at nothing to ensure that his clients find their perfect match by using his knowledge in his counselling sessions. On the other hand, Takanashi plays his assistant named Sister Elisabeth who wears a nun's outfit and has the tendency of falling in love with handsome clients. She is constantly mocked by Aino for having the brains of an insect but she always manages to help him cover up for his blunders at work.

At the beginning of the event, Yamazaki appeared on stage while singing the drama's theme song "Congratulations" and joined his co-stars in throwing balls signed by the cast to the audience. Yamazaki who is referred to as the prince of the musical world, commented on his character as someone who is very charming and thinks that he is really cool but actually gets laughed at by the people around him. As he has never played a character of this type before even in musicals, he is looking forward to creating a new world with his character with the songs, dance, piano playing and flashy costumes in this drama.

Takanashi who is working with Yamazaki for the first time, revealed that when she first met him, she was struck by how much he looks like a prince in pictures especially since he was holding a rose stalk with his mouth during the photoshoot. In response, Yamazaki said that he doesn't do such things normally and was only doing it because he was instructed to. Takanashi also commented that during a scene at the amusement park, he looked very suitable while riding a white horse. During the filming, he is the one who makes the atmosphere very lively which has also allowed her to be free to show her true self.

Sources: Eiga.com / Oricon

Monday, July 24, 2017

Top 10 movies box office ranking for the weekend of 22nd & 23rd July 2017

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

1) Despicable Me 3 (359)

2) Gintama (334)

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

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

5) Cars Crossroad (345)

6) Mary to Majo no Hana (365)

7) Shinobi no Kuni (332)

8) Mahou Shoujo Ririkaru nanowa Reflection (73)

9) Kokoro ga sakebitagatterunda (286)

10) No Game No Life Zero (61)

Source: Eiga.com

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Production press conference of new movie "Sekai de ichiban nagai shashin"

The production press conference of new movie "Sekai de ichiban nagai shashin" was held at Tokoname City in Aichi Prefecture on 12 July which was attended by the director Kusano Shougo and cast members Takasugi Mahiro and Takeda Rina. The movie will be shown in early summer next year.

The film is based on the same-titled novel by Honda Tetsuya and will be shot on location at the Chita Peninsula in Aichi Prefecture this summer. The novel is based on a real story featuring the lead character Hironobu (Takasugi) who finds a strange camera in the recycling shop owned by his grandfather which is said to take the longest panorama pictures in the world. The camera was developed by the late Yamamoto Shinichi and is able to take a 360 degree panorama shot. One of the photos taken using this camera measured 145m and is the Guinness record holder for being the longest photo in the world. Since that day, Hironobu's uneventful life takes on new colours. Takeda Rina will be playing Hironobu's cousin Atsuko.

Takasugi revealed that he had done some research on the Chita Peninsula as soon as he knew about the filming location and is looking forward how the beautiful scenery will complement the story. He is especially excited about checking out the sunflower fields there. When asked to comment about his character, Takasugi described Hironobu as someone who lacks self-confidence and doesn't dare to try anything nor say whatever is on his mind. The part about Hironobu being shy is one of the traits which he can identify with since he's also like that in real life.

As for Takeda, she described Atsuko as someone who is vastly different from her own character as Atsuko is very mature and cheerful. As such, she will try her best to play this role and work hard with Takasugi to make a good movie.

Source: Oricon

Miyano Mamoru to be the voice actor for Nagai Kei's IBM in new movie "Ajin"

Miyano Mamoru will be appearing in the new movie "Ajin" starring Sato Takeru as the IBM (Invisible Black Matter) of the lead character Nagai Kei. The movie will be shown 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 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.

Miyano who played Nagai in the anime version, said that "Ajin" had been a memorable piece of work for him. As such, he was very excited and happy about being able to participate in the real-life adaptation movie and be the voice of Nagai's IBM even though he was also surprised by the offer. Under the instructions of the movie's director, he had a lot of fun during the recording where he did several versions so he's looking forward to see which ones will be selected for the final version of the movie.

Source: Eiga.com

Preview of "Utsubokazura no Yume" - Summer 2017

Title: Utsubokazura no Yume ウツボカズラの夢 (The dream of the nepenthes)
Official website: here
O.A. Start Date: 5 August 2017
Timeslot: Saturdays 11.40pm
Broadcast by: Tokai TV / FujiTV
Total number of episodes: 8
Original novel by: Nonami Asa
Theme Song: "MIDNIGHT" by SPYAIR
Cast: Shida Mirai, Ootsuka Nene, Kokusho Sayuri, Matsumoto Toshio, Hyunri, Haruta Junichi, Uesugi Shuhei, Maki Emi, Kawashima Ririka, Maeda Oushiro, Yoshimoto Miyoko, Haba Yuuichi, Matsubara Chieko

Uchida Rio to star in new FujiTV Summer 2017 drama "Shougi Meshi"

Uchida Rio will be starring in the upcoming FujiTV Summer 2017 drama "Shougi Meshi" (Shougi Food) which will begin its run from 2 August in the Wednesdays 2.40am timeslot. The 8-episode drama is based on the same-titled manga by Matsumoto Nagisa which is being serialised in "Gekkan Comic Flapper". This will be streamed via the FujiTV On Demand (FOD) portal first from 31 July before its TV broadcast.

Uchida plays the role of Touge Nayuta who is the first female professional player in history and the story talks about how she picks and eats delicious food which gives her the energy to win her shougi matches against the male players while aiming to earn the rank of Meijin.

Uchida who has experience playing shougi with her grandfather since she was in primary school, caught the eye of the staff for her eating scenes in the 2016 TV Tokyo drama "Otokomeshi". The staff felt that she looked like she was enjoying everything she was eating in the drama so decided to offer the role to her. Amid the shougi boom these days, Uchida expressed her joy at being able to act in such a drama which combines food and shougi especially since she's someone who derives great pleasure in eating delicious food that will give her added power and motivation especially when she's working.

Sources: Sanspo / Oricon

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Yamamoto Koji to star in new NHK drama series "Ueki Hitoshi to Nobosemon"

Yamamoto Koji will be starring in the new NHK drama series "Ueki Hitoshi to Nobosemon" which consists of 8 episodes and will begin its run from 2 September in the Saturdays 8.15pm timeslot. The story is based on the book "Nobosemon yaken" written by Komatsu Masao about the late Ueki Hitoshi who was a big star during the Showa era. Komatsu was Ueki's assistant and driver for 4 years before he himself became an actor and comedian. The word "nobosemon" is a Hakata dialect word which refers to people who are easily passionate about and absorbed in the things they love.

Yamamoto will be playing Ueki while Komatsu (Matsuzaki Masaomi) will be played by Shison Jun. Yamauchi Takaya will be playing Hana Hajime who was the leader of jazz band The Crazy Cats and Tani Kei will be played by Hamano Kenta. Yuka will be acting as Ueki's wife Tomiko and Ito Shiro will be acting as Ueki's father Tetsujou. Other co-stars include Takeda Reina, Nakajima Ayumu, Denden, Sakai Maki, Tomita Yasuko and Katsumura Masanobu.

Back in 1962, Ueki's song "Sudarabushi" became a smashing hit which led to himself and The Crazy Cats to become very much sought-after performers on TV and in movies. Due to his increasingly busy schedule, Ueki hired Matsuzaki, a young man who came from Hakata to Tokyo, to be his driver and assistant. While following Ueki around, Matsuzaki observed up close how the big stars of that era were passionate about their work where they gave their all and were not afraid to look stupid as comedians and created cool music when they were musicians. However, Ueki himself was having doubts about doing such work which required him to fool around and wondered if there was any value in doing this. At the same time, Matsuzaki was treated very nicely by Ueki's family and even called Ueki "Otousan" as his own father had passed away when he was young. Matsuzaki then aspired to become a performer himself as he worked with his teacher Ueki over the years.

Sources: Oricon / Sanspo

Friday, July 21, 2017

Takenouchi Yutaka to star in new NHK drama "Kono koe wo kimi ni"

Takenouchi Yutaka will be starring in the new NHK drama "Kono koe wo kimi ni" (This voice is for you) written by Oomori Mika which consists of 8 episodes and will begin its run from 8 September in the Fridays 10pm timeslot. This is Takenouchi's first leading role in a NHK drama. Co-stars include Asou Kumiko, Mimura, Shibata Kyouhei, Horiuchi Keiko, Matsuoka Mitsuru, Ohara Sakurako, Shuri, Totsuka Shota, Nagase Tasuku, Hiraizumi Sei, Nishina Akiko, Katagiri Hairi and Sugimoto Tetta.

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 child. 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.

Oomori commented that she had always wanted to write a story about reading aloud sessions since her mother had been a volunteer at such events and she had always loved to hear stories there. In this time and age where communication is mostly done through methods that do not allow the voice to be used to convey one's intentions and feelings, she felt that it was good to focus on this topic since reading aloud requires the speaker to use his or her voice and heart to send a message to those listening.

Takenouchi commented that everyone would have thought of wanting to restart their lives at one point so when he read the script, he felt that although it is impossible to restart, it is actually possible to change our lives no matter what age you may be at. To do that though, there is a need to take that first step towards something new which takes a tremendous amount of courage. As such, he hopes that this drama will give a much-needed encouragement to those who want to make changes in their lives.

Sources: Eiga.com / Oricon

Winners of Nikkansports Sports Drama Grand Prix (Spring 2017)

There were 2,930 valid responses for this voting and numbers in brackets indicate the number of votes received for the drama or actor/actress:

Best Drama
1) Boku, Unmei no hito desu (1166)
2) Kizoku Tantei (703)
3) Reverse (203)
4) Chiisana Kyojin (125)
5) Hiyokko (107)

Best Leading Actor
1) Kamenashi Kazuya - Boku, Unmei no hito desu (1,025)
2) Aiba Masaki - Kizoku Tantei (726)
3) Fujiwara Tatsuya - Reverse (281)
4) Hasegawa Hiroki - Chiisana Kyojin (183)
5) Oguri Shun - CRISIS Kouan Kido Sousatai Tokusouhan (167)

Best Leading Actress
1) Sawajiri Erika - Haha ni naru (609)
2) Arimura Kasumi - Hiyokko (455)
3) Amami Yuki - Kinkyuu Torishirabeshitsu 2 (437)
4) Haru - Anata no koto wa sorehodo (313)
5) Shibasaki Kou - Onna Joshu Naotora (284)

Best Supporting Actor
1) Yamashita Tomohisa - Boku, Unmei no hito desu (1,020)
2) Takito Kenichi - Kizoku Tantei (330)
3) Namase Katsuhisa - Kizoku Tantei (184)
4) Mitsushima Shinnosuke - Boku, Unmei no hito desu (174)
5) Tamamori Yuuta - Reverse (150)

Best Supporting Actress
1) Kimura Fumino - Boku, Unmei no hito desu (904)
2) Nakayama Miho - Kizoku Tantei (327)
3) Takei Emi - Kizoku Tantei (206)
4) Nanao - Boku, Unmei no hito desu (179)
5) Toda Erika - Reverse (149)

Source: Nikkansports

Winners of the 8th Confidence Award Dorama Prize (Spring 2017)

Here are the winners of the 8th Confidence Award Drama Prize for the Spring 2017 season:

Best Drama: Reverse

Best Leading Actor: Oguri Shun (CRISIS Kouan Kido Sousatai Tokusouhan)

Best Leading Actress: Tabe Mikako (Tsubaki Bunguten Kamakura Daishoya Monogatari)

Best Supporting Actor: Higashide Masahiro (Anata no koto wa sorehodo)

Best Supporting Actress: Koike Eiko (Haha ni naru)

Best Script: Okudera Satoko & Shimizu Yukako (Reverse)

Best Newcomer: Araki Yuuko (CRISIS Kouan Kido Sousatai Tokusouhan / Hyakumanen no onnatachi)

Source: Confidence Award Drama Prize

Preview of "Bokura no Yuuki Miman City" (Drama SP)

Title: Bokura no Yuuki Miman City ぼくらの勇気 未満都市
Official website: here
Official Facebook: here
Official Twitter: here
O.A. Date: 21 July 2017, 9pm
Broadcast by: NTV
Theme song: "Aisareru yori aishitai" by KinKi Kids
Insert song: "Kaze no nai machi" by Takigawa Takeru
Cast: Domoto Koichi, Domoto Tsuyoshi, Aiba Masaki, Matsumoto Jun, Yada Akiko, Kohara Yuki, Michieda Shunsuke, Hayami Akari, Chiba Yuudai, Kuze Seika, Iida Kisuke, Yamaguchi Makiya, Yamauchi Takaya, Mukai Osamu

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Production press conference of TV Tokyo Summer 2017 drama "Keishicho Zerogakari ~ Seikatsu Anzenka Nandemo Soudanshitsu ~ SECOND SEASON"


The production press conference of TV Tokyo Summer 2017 drama "Keishicho Zerogakari ~ Seikatsu Anzenka Nandemo Soudanshitsu ~ SECOND SEASON" was held on 16 July which was attended by cast members Koizumi Kotaro, Matsushita Yuki, Adachi Yumi, Oosugi Ren, Ishimaru Kanjiro, Kinoshita Takayuki, Totsuka Junki and Kishi Asuka. The drama begins its run from 21 July in the Fridays 8pm timeslot.

The drama features Koizumi as Kobayakawa Fumihiko, a naive superintendent who is oblivious to his surroundings and Matsushita as Terada Torami, a foul-mouthed veteran police detective. The two of them work with other detectives seen as worthless by the organisation (thus earning the name Zerogakari because anything multipled by zero is still zero) to solve various difficult cases. Regulars from the first season who will be returning in the sequel include Adachi who plays Honjo Yasuko, an admin officer who insists on working only between 9am and 5pm, emphasizes productivity and has a venomous tongue, TKO's Kinoshita who plays Sakuraba Yusaku, a hardworking detective who cannot climb up the hierarchy despite his efforts and Oosugi who plays the section chief Kameyama Yoshio tasked to spy on Kobayakawa secretly.

Koizumi commented that the teamwork they have in this drama is different from what he has experienced so far as everyone is in sync with one another and they can add ad-libs as and when they like as long as the director feels that it doesn't affect the story. However, upon learning that the scriptwriter Yoshimoto Masahiro was also at the event, Koizumi apologised for changing the lines during the filming and quickly tried to make amends by saying that he likes Yoshimoto's script. This made his co-stars tease him for switching his stand so quickly.

As part of the event, the actors also participated in a 20-min crime prevention campaign parade at Suginami where they walked for about 600m from the ward office to JR Asagaya Station in the sweltering 35 degrees Celsius heat. Koizumi greeted the people who alighted at the station and asked if they knew who he is and that he wasn't doing a street rally like what politicians do.

Oosugi revealed during the event that he has started his own Instagram account recently at the recommendation of Kinoshita and Adachi but it is only accessible to his 7 followers who are his family members, staff members, Kinoshita and Adachi. Although he has only uploaded 6 photos to date, he doesn't rule out the likelihood of opening the account for public viewing during the broadcast of this drama.

Sources: Nikkansports / Sanspo / Yomiuri Hochi / Oricon

Kuroneko Chelsea to sing the theme song for new movie "Katte ni furuetero"

Rock band Kuroneko Chelsea will be singing the theme song for new movie "Katte ni furuetero" starring Matsuoka Mayu which will be shown in cinemas from 23 December. The film which is based on the same-titled novel by Watanuki Risa, describes how the lead character Yoshika (Matsuoka), a 24-year-old single OL, has never had a boyfriend and imagines her first love to be her imaginary boyfriend "Ichi" (One). However, when she receives her first love confession from her colleague "Ni" (Two), this marks the beginning of her agony over whether she should choose to stick with her imaginary boyfriend or date someone for real. Watanabe Daichi from Kuroneko Chelsea will be playing the role of Ni while DISH//'s Kitamura Takumi will be playing Ichi. Co-stars also include Ishibashi Anna, Furutachi Kanji and Katagiri Hairi.

The song titled "Baby You" was announced to be the theme for the movie during Kuroneko Chelsea's performance at the outdoor music festival JOIN ALIVE 2017 on 16 July which was held in Iwamizawa, Hokkaido. Watanabe commented that to be able to make the theme song for a movie which he acted in was an invaluable experience. Although he hasn't seen the completed movie with the song played at the end, Matsuoka who already went through the screening praised him for the song so he's happy that they came up with a good song.

Source: Eiga.com

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Preview of "Dead Stock Michi e no Chousen" - Summer 2017

Title: Dead Stock Michi e no Chousen デッドストック未知への挑戦 (Dead Stock The challenge towards the unknown)
Official website: here
Official Instagram: here
Official Twitter: here
O.A. Start Date: 21 July 2017
Timeslot: Fridays 12.52am
Broadcast by: TV Tokyo
Opening theme song: "Different Man" by AKLO x JAY'ED
Ending theme song: "Moor" by UA
Cast: Murakami Nijirou, Hayami Akari, Tanaka Tetsushi

Completion screening event of TV Tokyo Summer 2017 drama "Dead Stock Michi e no Chousen"

The completion screening event of TV Tokyo Summer 2017 drama "Dead Stock Michi e no Chousen" was held at its old HQ building in Kamiya-cho, Tokyo, on 13 July which was attended by cast members Murakami Nijirou and hayami Akari as well as the chief director Gonno Hajime. The drama begins its run from 21 July in the Fridays 12.52am timeslot.

The drama is an original horror story set at the new HQ building of TV Tokyo in Roppongi after it moved from Kamiya-cho in 2016. As a result of the move, Tsuneda Riku (Murakami), a newbie assistant director, gets assigned to work at the unconfirmed materials centre which stores a huge volume of footage yet to be organised and disposed of. While feeling disappointed at the gap between his ideals and reality, Riku accidentally finds an old video tape containing footage of supernatural phenomena. At the instigation of his senior Saori who is a director, Riku is forced to continue filming the supernatural happenings in order to make it into a complete programme but this causes him to go through a frightening and unbelievable experience. Hayami will be playing the role of Nikaidou Saori who is a newbie director and works together with Riku on the filming of the supernatural happenings. Tanaka Tetsushi will be playing the role of Sayama Satoru, a veteran director.

As there is always talk about supernatural happenings when filming horror works, Murakami revealed that he actually thought that something like this happened to him on the first day of the filming as he was shocked to see a strange stain on his copy of the script but the others didn't have it. Later, he discovered that it was just a stain due to his script being wet.

Hayami who had been unwell since three days ago, apologised with her hoarse voice and joked that this must be because she had been cursed for acting in a horror story. She also revealed that there was a scene shot at a famous haunted place where she had to carry a doll which led to her having a severe headache and stiff neck the following day. In response to this, Murakami and Gonno said that this must be because of Hayami who tends to "attract" the spirits because she seems to be the only one to suffer the effects of these supernatural incidents even though Murakami is also there for the filming. Hayami chipped in to reveal that this could be true because she always saw things which others couldn't since she was a child and would fall sick if she was shocked by what she saw.

Source: Eiga.com / Nikkansports

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Yuzu to sing the theme song for new movie "Saiki Kusuo no Sainan"

Yuzu will be singing the theme song for new movie "Saiki Kusuo no Sainan" starring Yamazaki Kento which will be shown in cinemas from 21 October. The song titled "Koi, hikemashita" was written by Kitagawa Yujin after reading the manga with the image of the lead character who has a supernatural power but yearns to lead an ordinary life. The release date of the song is yet to be confirmed and it will be played in the trailers showing at cinemas from 14 July. This will be the first theme song for a real-life adaptation movie from Yuzu since the song "Hidamari" for 2014 movie "Gin no Saji Silver Spoon"

The movie which is based on the same-titled popular manga by Aso Shuichi, features Yamazaki in the role of a senior high school student named Saiki Kusuo who possesses a strong supernatural power that constantly gets him into trouble.

Sources: Sanspo / Eiga.com

Top 10 movies box office ranking for the weekend of 15th & 16th July 2017

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

1) Gekijouban Pocket Monster Kimi ni kimeta! (360)

2) Gintama (333)

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

4) Cars Crossroad (344)

5) Mary to Majo no Hana (365)

6) Shinobi no Kuni (332)

7) No Game No Life Zero (61)

8) Ani ni aisaresugite komattemasu (251)

9) Power Rangers (282)

10) 22 Nenme no Kokuhaku Watashi ga satsujinhan desu (328)

Source: Eiga.com

Preview of "Shimokitazawa Diehard" - Summer 2017

Title: Shimokitazawa Diehard 下北沢ダイハード
Official website: here
Official Twitter: here
O.A. Start Date: 21 July 2017
Timeslot: Fridays 12.12am
Broadcast by: TV Tokyo
Cast: Furuta Arata, Koike Eiko, Jinbo Satoshi, Yoshizawa Ryo, Murasugi Seminosuke, Sakurai Yuki, Yanagi Yurina, Takahashi Hitomi, Mitsuishi Ken, Kawaei Rina, Robert Akiyama, Ikeda Tetsuhiro, Asou Kumiko, Nomaguchi Tooru, Nishida Naomi, Ueki Natto, Ogawa Tamaki, Sakai Wakana, Shison Jun, Yamanishi Atsushi

Monday, July 17, 2017

Supporting cast line-up of new movie "Owatta Hito" announced

The supporting cast line-up of new movie "Owatta Hito"starring Tachi Hiroshi and Kuroki Hitomi has been announced. The movie is based on the same-titled novel by scriptwriter Uchidata Makiko and will be directed by Nakata Hideo. It will be shown in cinemas next year.

The story features Tachi as the lead character Tashiro Sousuke who worked in a major bank and looked like he was on the path to success when he got transferred to a subsidiary and is about to retire without any achievement to his name. However, having been so focused on work over the past few decades, Sousuke desires to continue working or else he won't be able to continue living without a purpose. Without any special skills, he can't find anything in particular to do. Upon seeing this, his wife Chigusa (Kuroki) who works as a hairdresser and his daughter jokingly suggest that Sousuke should find someone to date. Coincidentally, Sousuke indeed finds someone who he is interested but things do not turn out the way he wants and his life starts to take on an uncontrollable twist.

Hirosue Ryoko will be playing Hamada Kuri who works as the receptionist at a culture school which Sousuke is attending and writes fairy tales for children during her free time. As the both of them come from Iwate Prefecture and Kuri's attitude causes Sousuke to misunderstand that she has an interest in him, he is being twisted around her little finger even though she may not mean it consciously. Hirosue commented that this is a very difficult character for her as Kuri is neither Sousuke's mistress nor lover so she will have to strike a fine balance in Kuri's relationship with Sousuke. In addition, this is the largest age gap so far i.e. 28 years for her onscreen love interest. As for working with Tachi for the first time, she commented that he looks too cool for a man at retirement age and it's interesting to see him in such a comedic story. Since young, she has always loved his acting in "Abunai Deka" so to be able to see him act up close and personal and show his passion for acting was a very great experience.

Other co-stars include Usuda Asami who plays Yamazaki Michiko, the daughter of Sousuke and Chigusa and Taguchi Tomorowo who plays Aoyama Toshihiko, an illustrator.

Sources: Nikkansports / Eiga.com

Saito Takumi to be back in TV Tokyo drama SP "Saijou no Meii" this August

Saito Takumi will be back in the TV Tokyo drama SP "Saijou no Meii" this August which continues from the drama series in 2011 and drama SP in February last year. This time, Kusakari Masao will be joining the SP to play the mentor of the lead character Saijou Mikoto (Saito).

The drama which is based on the same-titled manga by Irie Kenzo and Hashiguchi Takashi, describes how the pediatrician Saijou Mikoto believes in saving children which will lead to saving their futures and tries his best to realise this vision of his. Kusakari plays a renowned pediatric surgeon Tezuka Yoshitomi who used to coach Saijou in the US but they will face off in a clash over their differing views in the SP which depicts the reality in the world of pediatric medicine now.

Saito commented that he had been eagerly anticipating the continuation of this series especially when he received comments through the drama's website and letters addressed to him from doctors and those aspiring to enter this field talking about how the pediatric medicine scene has improved or changed since the drama was aired. As for Kusakari, he praised the script of this drama which allowed him to enjoy the filming a lot.

Sources: Sanspo / Oricon