Actress Michiko Kichise (35) recently got married, it has been learned. She announced the news in her blog on Tuesday morning. Her husband is said to be a wealthy businessman who is 10 years older than her, earning annual revenues of more than 200 million yen.
Kichise stated that she registered her marriage on December 25. The pair have been dating for about five years after being introduced to each other by a friend. Their relationship was first reported by a women's magazine in March 2009, and there were rumors about a year ago that they had started living together.
In her blog entry, Kichise indicated that she will continue working as an actress.
Pop star Ayumi Hamasaki has her New Year's countdown concert "ayumi hamasaki COUNTDOWN LIVE 2010-2011 ~do it again~" scheduled for December 31 at Yoyogi National Gymnasium. It was announced today that she will be making the concert available through video service Ustream the next day, though it will not be free.
News outlets are reporting that this will be Ustream's first-ever pay-per-view music offering. The concert will be shown uncut, but it will not include the encore. The general "ticket" price has been set at 3,150 yen, but members of Hamasaki's fan club Team Ayu will get a discount at 2,625 yen.
The video stream will begin after the concert is over, starting around 3:00am on January 1. Before that, music videos will play between 1:00am and 3:00am. For those that are unable to stream the concert at the given time, Ustream plans to have rebroadcasts on January 2 and 3 (available only to ticket holders).
Fan club members will get their first shot at tickets starting at 0:00 on December 25 until 6:00pm on December 27. General ticket sales will open on the Ustream site at 6:00 on December 27 and run until 4:00am on January 1 (after the concert has started).
Based on this structure, it appears that tickets will be limited in quantity. Previous Ustream pay-per-view events have also been limited.
The broadcast is also planned to be free for the first two songs.
The annual Kodansha Advertising Award was presented on Tuesday, and this year saw the creation of a "Best Character Award." The prize winner was singer Mai Kuraki (28).
The Best Character Award was chosen by the editors of six of Kodansha's female-oriented magazines, including VoCE, with, and FRaU. The award is meant to honor a person who is loved by magazine readers and has contributed to the magazines' advertising efforts.
Kuraki's latest magazine appearance is in the February issue of VoCE, which went on sale on December 21.
Rock band Aqua Timez will be part of a collaboration between the "Naruto" anime series and fashion retailer Uniqlo. Their new song "Mayonaka no Orchestra" will be the theme song of an original animation being given away to buyers of the "Naruto x Uniqlo" T-shirts that go on sale on January 1.
Uniqlo's T-shirt brand has collaborated with other anime franchises before, including "One Piece," but these will be the first ones featuring "Naruto." Out of the 11 different patterns being released in stores nationwide, two were drawn by mangaka Masashi Kishimoto himself, and five were done by Studio Pierrot.
A limited number of people who buy the T-shirts will receive a "NARUTO x UT Original DVD," containing a newly animated work. A special version of Aqua Timez's "Mayonaka no Orchestra" (titled "Mayonaka no Orchestra UNIQLO x NARUTO ver.") will be its theme song. Only 200,000 copies of the DVD are being produced, and they will be available not only in Japan, but also in stores in Taiwan, Singapore, Korea, and France.
"Mayonaka no Orchestra" has also been chosen as the next ending theme of the "Naruto: Shippuden" television series. The song will be released as a single on January 26.
Movie news website TC Candler has released its list of the world’s 100 Most Beautiful Faces 2010, in which Japanese actress Nozomi Sasaki, 22, was ranked No. 33.
TC Candler has been publishing an annual independent critics list of the 100 Most Beautiful Faces in various media formats, every year since 1990, In recent years, the site has attracted millions of unique visitors from around the world. While the English language page does have a natural bent toward Hollywood celebrities, the list often contains surprise nominations.
This year, actress Camilla Belle who appeared in “The Lost World: Jurassic Park” while still a child, and more recently starred in “10,000 BC,” was #1. TC Candler said, “Camilla Belle achieves virtual perfection at the age of 24. Without question, she will be at or near the top of this elite list for many years to come.”
The “Harry Potter” series’ Emma Watson came in second place, Kiera Knightley was voted in at 13, while Natalie Portman came in at No. 14.
Actor Tetsuji Tamayama (30) and actress Chiaki Kuriyama (26) have broken up, it is being reported. Troubles apparently began this fall, with their busy schedules keeping the two apart more and more.
Rumors that the two were in a relationship surfaced last November, when they were seen returning to Tamayama's apartment after a dinner date. In July of this year, a magazine reported that the two were partly living together, as Kuriyama was frequently seen entering and leaving Tamayama's apartment building.
However, Kuriyama's work as a singer has been increasing, and Tamayama has been busy with a stream of television dramas. As a result, the two have apparently been spending more time apart, and they decided to end their relationship.
Neither side has confirmed the breakup. Tamayama's agency indicated that it does not have information about his private life, while Kuriyama's agency similarly declined to comment.
In October, singer Mika Nakashima had to cancel four concerts due to hearing problems caused by a rare health condition. At the time, she began receiving treatment with the goal of recovering in time for a concert tour scheduled for next spring. It has now been announced that she plans to proceed with that tour, as details were revealed on her official website.
The tour will last three months, starting on April 22 and ending on July 19, with a total of 33 concerts at 27 venues across Japan. Four of the shows will be in Tokyo: two at the Tokyo International Forum in May and two at NHK Hall in July.
The hosts for the 52nd Japan Record Awards (being held on December 30) were announced on Monday, though the choices were unsurprising. Talento Masaaki Sakai (64) will be leading the show for his 15th consecutive year, along with actress Norika Fujiwara (39) for her 2nd consecutive year. They will be supported by announcers Shinichiro Azumi (10th consecutive year), Sylwia Kato (2nd consecutive year), and Erina Masuda (2nd consecutive year).
The hosts and the winning artists were present at the press conference on Monday, marking the first time in the awards' 52-year history that they have appeared together in front of the press before the actual ceremony. It was also announced that this will be the first year that a rehearsal for the show will be open to the press.
As usual, most of the award winners have already been announced, but two key awards are being revealed at the presentation ceremony. The grand prize, known as the Japan Record Award, will be chosen from the ten Best Song winners:
* "I Wish For You" - EXILE
* "Aitai Riyuu" - AAA
* "Arigatou" - Ikimono Gakari
* "Tell Me Goodbye" - BIG BANG
* "Toilet no Kamisama" - Kana Uemura
* "Nijiiro no Bayon" - Kiyoshi Hikawa
* "New World" - w-inds.
* "Beginner" - AKB48
* "Matsushima Kikou" - Kaori Mizumori
* "Ready to be a lady" - GIRL NEXT DOOR
And the Best New Artist award will be chosen from the four New Artist winners:
* Madoka Kikuchi
The live broadcast of the event will be on TBS on December 30, starting at 6:30pm.
Ikimono Gakari vocalist Kiyoe Yoshioka (26) announced on Wednesday night that her weekly radio show "Ikimono Gakari Yoshioka Kiyoe no All Night Nippon" will be ending with its December 21 broadcast. More importantly, she apparently confirmed that the band will be taking a break from performances during the first half of 2011.
A rumor was published in newspapers last month that the band would be going on hiatus for the first half of 2011, but the band and their record label issued public denials at the time. The band's leader, Yoshiki Mizuno, previously said that the members had discussed focusing on writing new songs, but that they would continue with their live activities.
It is now being reported that Ikimono Gakari will indeed be focusing on writing, but will not be doing any concerts or live performances. The length of the "hiatus" has not been decided, but a source says that it will be half a year at most, and that the band will fully resume activities by July. Their performance at Kohaku Uta Gassen on December 31 has been declared as their "last" for now.
The timing of the decision seems odd, given that they are currently at their peak with their recent best album "Ikimono Bakari ~Members BEST Selection~" getting certified by the RIAJ as reaching 1 million copies shipped. However, Yoshioka said, "We've run too far so we would like to take a rest. Please forgive our selfishness."
Ikimono Gakari has three more concerts left in their current tour, beginning with one on Thursday. It is expected that they may deliver more details to their fans at those shows.
AKB48 held a handshake event and mini-concert at Ajinomoto Stadium on Saturday to celebrate their latest single, "Beginner." During the event, member Tomomi Itano (19) announced that she is going to make her solo debut next year.
Although AKB48 has several sub-units, Itano will be the first of its current members to have a solo release. Her debut single is titled "Dear J" and will be released on January 26, 2011. It is described as an up-tempo dance song with a club music feel.
Mr.Children's latest album, "SENSE," sold nearly 502,000 copies in its first week to take the #1 spot on the charts. This is the band's 8th consecutive #1 album and 13th overall, though their last album was released almost two years ago. Mr.Children's last five original albums have become million-sellers, and "SENSE" is well on its way to becoming the sixth.
DREAMS COME TRUE entered the charts at #2. An album for the anime series "Bleach" debuted at #7, followed by new released from fripSide, YUKI, and Black Eyed Peas.
On the singles chart, it was no surprise that KinKi Kids were #1 with their new song, "Family ~ Hitotsu ni Naru Koto," which sold more than 165,000 copies. They now have reached a milestone of 30 number-one singles. Ever since their 11th single in 2001, they have been certified by Guinness as the world record holder of "most consecutive #1 singles beginning with a debut single."
Several other new singles made the top ten: Yuzu was #2, followed in order by J Soul Brothers, T.M.Revolution, SID, °C-ute, and D☆DATE (with their first single). Becky was two spots behind them at #9.
The DVD charts this week went to EXILE, whose "EXILE LIVE TOUR 2010 FANTASY" sold over 274,000 copies. This is their new personal record for first-week DVD sales, surpassing the 223,000 copies sold by their 2009 release "EXILE LIVE TOUR 2009 THE MONSTER."
Shinji Hiramatsu's manga series "Black Angels" is getting a straight-to-DVD live-action adaptation, starring actor Motoki Ochiai (20) and °C-ute member Maimi Yajima (18).
Originally serialized in Weekly Shonen Jump between 1981 and 1985, "Black Angels" was an action manga about a group of vigilantes delivering justice to evil-doers who had escaped the law. Ochiai will play the primary role as Yukito, the leader of the group. Yajima has been cast as Reira, the captivating heroine of the story. Other cast members include Hideo Sakaki, Shoichi Honda, and Jiro Sato.
Filming is already in progress. Geneon Universal Entertainment will release the work on DVD in May 2011.
Actress Ryoko Shinohara (37) will return to the big screen with a sequel to the 2007 blockbuster "Unfair the movie," once again playing the lead role as the tough detective Natsumi Yukihira. This is the first time that a work she starred in has received a proper sequel.
"Unfair" started out as a drama series in 2006, averaging 15.4% ratings with a peak of 16.5%. A special episode aired later that year, achieving 18.3% ratings. In 2007, the movie opened in theaters, and it earned 2.72 billion yen at the box office to become the #9 Japanese film of that year.
"Unfair" is a suspenseful story whose central theme is betrayal, primarily targeting the protagonist Natsumi Yukihira. Up until now, the identity of the true culprit behind her suffering has not been revealed, but "Unfair 2" promises to finally shed light on that mastermind.
Returning cast members include Sadao Abe (40), Masaya Kato (47), Susumu Terajima (47), and Teruyuki Kagawa (47), but it is also said that three major characters will be added to the story. Filming is expected to begin in February, with theatrical release planned for fall 2011.
SMAP’s Takuya Kimura’s (38) latest movie is set to be released in several countries across Asia, Europe, and has offers from major US film distributors, it was revealed at the movie’s opening event yesterday in Tokyo, reports Mainichi Shinbum Digital and Sports Hochi.
The star, actress Meisa Kuroki, and the cast of “SPACED BATTLESHIP Yamato” appeared at Yurakucho’s TOHO Cinema theatre in Tokyo yesterday to meet fans on the movie’s opening day where the film’s director Takashi Yamazaki updated the 900 or so crowd on the movie’s worldwide debut.
“I made this movie knowing that I wanted people all over the world to see it so all I can say is, ‘Go, Yamato!’,” he said.
It has been reported the movie has already sealed deals to be shown in France, Germany, Thailand, Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and had recently received an offer from a major Hollywood movie distributor.
Kimura had said he was just as excited as his director about the movie’s international release.
“I hope people can enjoy this Japanese sci-fi movie. I think it has the potential to touch many people in many countries, no matter their age, gender, or nationality,” he said.
A special video message had been sent in from Aerosmith vocalist Steven Tyler, who had sung the movie’s theme song “LOVE LIVES”.
“Takuya! It’s me, Steven. Congratulations on your opening,” he said in the video.
It has been reported that Kimura was in smiles afterwards.
“I’m just so happy. I feel so lucky to have been able to be a part of this project with a cast that I love and a singer I love.
“I don’t think there’ll be many times I’ll hear him (Tyler) call me Takuya so I hope I can take a copy of this video home with me,” he said.
The popstar also commented about the movie’s future voyage.
“I don’t know how far Yamato will travel, but I hope more and more people will go aboard Yamato,” he said.
The movie was released in Japan yesterday in 440 cinemas across the country.
Actress Aiko Ito (30) announced on her website that she is retiring from show business. She revealed that she already left her agency, Stardust Promotion, at the end of November. Her website is expected to shut down on December 27.
Ito married a businessman in February of this year. She explained that "building a happy home" has become her primary goal, so she decided to retire and focus on supporting her husband. She has also said before that she is looking forward to having children, though she is currently not pregnant.
Ito started off her career about a decade ago as an idol. Her most well-known acting role was as Abare Yellow in the 2003 Super Sentai series Bakuryu Sentai Abaranger. She appeared in several films and dramas after that, though most of her recent television work has been guest appearances or in one-time drama specials.
Model and actress Emi Takei (16) will play a major part in Fuji TV's next Monday night drama, "Taisetsu na Koto wa Subete Kimi ga Oshiete Kureta." The show, revealed a couple weeks ago, stars Erika Toda (22) and Haruma Miura (20) as two young teachers engaged to each other, but Takei will play the student that stands in the way of their relationship.
This will be Takei's first appearance in a drama aired in the "Getsu 9" timeslot. She was reportedly selected from 800 women who auditioned for the role.
Toda and Miura play two teachers, Natsumi Uemura and Shuji Kashiwagi, at the same high school who are set to get married in half a year. However, the night before the school year's opening ceremony, Shuji becomes involved with the young Hikari Saeki (played by Takei), without realizing that she will be a student in his class starting the next day. As Shuji struggles to help Hikari deal with the mental complex she is suffering from, he is also torn inside by his betrayal of Natsumi. Meanwhile, Hikari attempts to get closer to Natsumi, driven by feelings of jealousy and a desire to destroy the couple's relationship.
"Taisetsu na Koto wa Subete Kimi ga Oshiete Kureta" starts airing this January.
Following up on the recent cast announcements for the "Misaki No. 1!!" drama series, one more major cast member has been revealed. Up-and-coming actress Aya Omasa (19) will play the main female student.
The series stars Karina (26) as a hostess who temporarily becomes the teacher for a class of problem students. Omasa has been cast as a student named Yui Sakurai, the only girl in a group known as the "ochikobore 5-nin-gumi" (which can be loosely translated as the "Failure Five"). Her energetic character acts like an older sister to the boys in the group, which include the previously announced Kis-My-Ft2 members Taisuke Fujigaya (23) and Hiromitsu Kitayama (25).
Although Omasa has been acting since 2006, she achieved mainstream popularity with her role as the heroine of the drama series "Yamato Nadeshiko Shichihenge" earlier this year. Since then, she was given starring roles in two upcoming films, "Usotsuki Mi-kun to Kowareta Ma-chan" (opening January 2) and "Keitai Deka: The Movie 3" (opening February 5). She also has a supporting role in the live-action "Paradise Kiss" movie, set to open in May.
The "Misaki No. 1!!" drama series premieres in January.
Actress and 9nine member Umika Kawashima (16) has landed the lead role in a television drama series for the first time. She is set to star in TBS's "Heaven's Flower," which will also feature D-BOYS member Hirofumi Araki (27) and actor Go Ayano (28).
Set in the near-futuristic 2060, "Heaven's Flower" combines mystery with a pure love story. Due to a botched experiment, Japan has become a barren land where flowers can't even bloom, resulting in a severe rationing crisis. While the country works towards rebuilding, "District 7" is one of the areas left behind in the process.
The story unfolds in the neglected District 7. Despite Kawashima's typical innocent image from her previous works, here she takes on her first "villain" role as a cruel and emotionless assassin named Ai, part of a group known as "Last Garden." While faithfully carrying out her missions every day, she encounters the police detective Yuichiro Manaka (Araki), and she suddenly must deal with her newfound emotion of love. The ensuing story is a romantic mystery involving betrayal and the secret behind her birth.
Ayano plays the police organization's commanding officer Shion. His counterpart, the leader of "Last Garden," will be played by actress Yoshiko Mita (69), who has not had a recurring role in a drama series since "Ima, Ai ni Yukimasu" in 2006. Hirotaro Honda (59) has been cast as Ai's greatest enemy, the boss of a Chinese mafia.
Kawashima got her acting start in 2006 and has appeared in dramas such as "Bloody Monday" and "Kaibutsu-kun." Although she has starred in a mobile phone drama as well as two movies, she admitted that she feels pressure since this is her first starring TV role. She will also be training for some action scenes, which include the use of a pistol and fighting with a knife at close range.
"Heaven's Flower" premieres on January 14, airing every week in the "Friday Break" time slot (12:20am-12:50am).
Pop group AAA, also known as Attack All Around, were chosen Wednesday to take part in this year’s 61st annual “Kohaku Uta Gassen” (Red and White Song Contest), the New Year’s Eve music program on NHK. It will be the group’s first appearance on the popular program.
Traditionally, the red team or “akagumi,” is composed of all female artists (or groups with female vocals), while the white team or “shirogumi” is all male (or groups with male vocals). The girls’ team will be led by Nao Matsushita, 25, while five-member band Arashi captain the white team.
AAA, which is managed by the Avex Artist Academy, consists of seven former dancers for Ayumi Hamasaki and Ami Suzuki. They made their debut five years ago. Band lead Naoya Urata, 28, said, “I’m pleased our song will be one of the few played on the last night of the year.” Vocalist Misako Uno, 24, said, “I think it’s the first time a girl will get to sing for the white team, so I feel privileged to have been granted that opportunity.”
The band’s producer, Tetsuya Komuro, 51, was arrested for fraud in 2008 and received a suspended sentence in 2009. His first comeback release after the scandal was AAA’s double A-side single “Aitai Riyū/Dream After Dream (Yume Kara Sameta Yume).” The single was released on May 5 this year, and went straight to the top of the Oricon charts. Komuro is also expected to make a “surprise” appearance on the show.
Other participants in this year’s contest include for the red team: Sayuri Ishikawa (33rd appearance), AKB48 (3rd time), Kumi Koda (6th), Ayumi Hamasaki (12th), Perfume (3rd), Akiko Wada (34th), Angela Aki (5th), Dreams Come True (14th), and three first-timers—Kana Uemura, Kumiko and Kana Nishino.
Participants for the white team include Hiroshi Itsuki (40th time), Exile (6th), Saburo Kitajima (47th), Hiromi Go (23rd), SMAP (18th), Kiyoshi Hikawa (11th), Shinichi Mori (43rd) and L’Arc～en～Ciel (4th).
The show will be broadcast on NHK from 7:30 p.m. on New Year’s Eve
The Daily Sports newspaper claims that actress Karina (26) and actor Kei Tanaka (26) are currently in a romantic relationship. The two have recently been seen on frequent dates at various restaurants.
According to the newspaper, Karina and Tanaka became friends when they first acted together in the 2006 drama series "Boku no Aruku Michi." They also worked together in the 2007 series "Ushi ni Negai wo: Love & Farm." Then this year, they played a couple in the film "Love Come" (released in September), and that resulted in their friendship turning into romance. It is said that the two began dating during the summer.
However, NTV reports that Karina's agency has denied the rumor, saying that it is "100% not true."
Actress Masami Nagasawa (23) has been cast in her first stage play, scheduled to be performed next summer. The play is a new work by author and playwright Yukiko Motoya (31), who wrote the original novels behind the movies "Ranbou to Taiki" and "Funuke Domo, Kanashimi no Ai wo Misero."
Nagasawa has been in show business since she won the Toho Cinderella Audition in 2000, though she got her big break in 2004 when she played the heroine in the movie "Sekai no Chuushin de, Ai wo Sakebu." She has never performed in a stage production before this.
Motoya has won and been nominated for several awards with her previous plays and novels. Her new work is still being written, so the title and plot details have not yet been finalized. However, the story will be based on some of Motoya's own personal experiences. The main character, played by Nagasawa, is a writer who has only managed to release one successful book.
The play will be performed at the PARCO Theater in Shibuya in August 2011, with performances in other cities scheduled to follow in September.
Ryoko Hirosue's agency announced on Monday that the actress is pregnant. According to the company's statement, Hirosue had not been feeling well, so she visited a hospital at the start of this month, where it was confirmed that she is in her 16th week of pregnancy.
Hirosue unexpectedly got married to candle artist Candle JUNE in early October, after dating for only seven months. It was widely suspected at the time that she might be pregnant, though nothing was officially announced until now. Hirosue already has a son from her previous marriage to designer Takahiro Okazawa, which ended in 2008.
Hirosue reportedly plans to continue working after the new child is born.
Actress Mikako Tabe (21) has been chosen to star in the live-action "Deka Wanko" drama series, which was first announced at the end of August. This will be Tabe's first lead role in a series on a commercial broadcaster.
"Deka Wanko" is originally a manga by "Gokusen" creator Kozueko Morimoto. The comedic series revolves around a rookie detective named Ichiko Hanamori (played by Tabe), whose exceptional dog-like sense of smell is used to solve difficult cases, in addition to earning her the nickname of "Deka Wanko."
One of the highlights of the show will be Tabe's various costumes, which include the Gothic Lolita dress seen in a promotional poster for the show.
Ikki Sawamura (43) plays an older detective, and NEWS member Yuya Tegoshi (23) plays another detective on the force. NTV will broadcast the series on Saturdays at 9:00pm, beginning in January.
°C-ute and Buono! member Airi Suzuki (16) will take on her first starring role in the straight-to-DVD horror drama series "Keitai Kanojo." The series will also feature Gravure Japan 2010 winner Seika Taketomi (15), acting for the first time.
"Keitai Kanojo" is based on the popular mobile phone novel of the same name. It is the sequel to "Keitai Kareshi," which was turned into a movie last year starring 9nine's Umika Kawashima (16).
In "Keitai Kanojo," Suzuki plays a high school student investigating the mystery behind a mobile phone dating simulation game. Taketomi plays a girl who appears within the game, somehow killing the male players one by one.
Geneon Universal will release the drama in April 2011.
Actress Saki Fukuda (20) has been chosen to lead a drama series on TBS and MBS titled "Quartet." The drama is based on a hardboiled crime/action story by author Arimasa Osawa, who wrote the popular "Shinjuku Shark" novel series.
Fukuda will be taking on a role unlike her previous characters. She plays the part of Shun, a descendant of a "zanryu-koji" (a Japanese orphan left behind in China at the end of World War II). Now living as an illegal resident in the fictional city of Midori, she is one of three young people helping police in undercover investigations. Fukuda will be wearing a full-body tattoo for this serious action drama, which includes heavy topics such as bootlegs drugs being tested on people, and people treating others as slaves. Fukuda is also learning some Chinese for the part.
Fukuda's co-star is singer and actor Yuya Matsushita (20), who will play the rough and reckless Takeru. Although he has acted in a few films and stage productions, this is his first appearance in a television drama. He has also been tapped to provide the show's theme song "paradise," which involves producer Kiyoshi Matsuo and songwriter Jin Nakamura.
TBS and MBS will broadcast "Quartet" in a late-night time slot, starting in January.
Inexplicably popular talento Ogura Yuuko (27) is engaged to be married, according to the Sankei Sports newspaper. She and "charisma hair stylist" Kikuchi Isao (40) have been dating for about two years and are already living together in Tokyo. They are said to have told friends about their engagement at the end of October and are planning to have their wedding ceremony in Hawaii next February. The couple's relationship was revealed in January when they posted the same photo of the first sunrise of the year on their respective blogs.
Though Ogura, popularly known by her nickname Yuukorin, made her name as one of TV's "obaka kyara" or celebrities famous for being dim-witted. To add a bit of individuality, Ogura claims to be an alien who hails from the planet Korinsei. Even when she shows talents other than appearing stupid, such as when she launched her own brand of wedding fashion last year, she can't resist playing up her image. When asked about her marriage hopes at the time, she said, "I want to marry by the age of 28. I want a prince to come from the planet Korinsei in his strawberry carriage." Meanwhile, Kikuchi includes among his regular clients actor Tsutsumi Shinichi (46) and the members of Japan's premier heart-throb band, SMAP. He's also the owner of the hair salon "ing" in the trendy Tokyo district of Minami Aoyama. Described as thin and boyishly handsome, he is a divorcee.
Nao Matsushita (25) will star in a new drama series on Fuji TV this winter, which will be her first lead role on one of the commercial networks. The series is not yet titled, but it will have her playing the part of a police detective.
Matsushita has had a few starring roles in dramas on the public network NHK, including the recent "Gegege no Nyoubou." That series tremendously boosted her popularity, to the point that she was chosen as one of the hosts for this year's Kohaku Uta Gassen.
In her new drama, she will play a quick-acting detective, who forms a strange combination with a level-headed but eccentric psychology professor, played by Naohito Fujiki (38). His skills at behavioral analysis are the key to successfully solving the cases and tracking down the criminals. Kanjani8's Yu Yokoyama (29) will play another detective who helps Matsushita, though he also has feelings for her that he is unable to confess.
Fuji TV will air the series on Tuesdays at 10:00pm, starting in January.
Keiko Kitagawa (24) is set to star in a new drama series on TBS, which will be her first time as the sole lead in a prime time show. The drama is tentatively titled "LADY ~Saigo no Profiling~" and will feature Kitagawa as a former FBI agent.
"LADY" focuses on a team of profilers in the CPS, a fictional police division that deals with analyzing criminal behavior. Kitagawa plays the part of Shoko, a gifted profiler who returns to Japan after working with the FBI in the United States. Her character is described as a "crime maniac," as she is overly knowledgeable about past crimes, while also being unskilled in matters of romance.
Tae Kimura (39) will play the chief profiler in the CPS, and other profilers will be played by Yuta Hiraoka (26), Jun Kaname (29), and Risa Sudo (34). Yusuke Santamaria (39) has been cast as a police detective, while Yukiyoshi Ozawa (36) plays another detective who is always at odds with the CPS.
As this is a new kind of role for Kitagawa, she has reportedly been preparing by watching the American drama "Criminal Minds" and reading books on profiling.
Each episode is said to be one complete case. The show will air on Fridays at 10:00pm, starting in January 2011.
It was recently revealed that actress Tsugumi (34) has decided to debut as an AV actress. Her first DVD is titled "Joyuu Tsugumi" will be released under the label MUTEKI on December 1.
Tsugumi has appeared in many movies - including "Exte," "Freesia," and "Noriko no Shokutaku" - and has even won multiple awards for her performances. In 2007, she left her agency and took a break from show business, taking up a regular job. But a couple months ago, she opened up a new official blog and a Twitter account.
On November 2, Tsugumi wrote an entry in her blog. Although it did not explicitly mention that she was entering AV, she acknowledged that the fans who have supported her and the people she has previously worked with would be surprised at the news. Tsugumi also explained that the decision was her own, and she asked for her fans' support. Meanwhile, MUTEKI updated its own website, adding her DVD to its release schedule and featuring it on the front page.
This week's issue of Josei Seven reports that Nippon Ham Fighters' ace pitcher Yu Darvish (24) and actress Saeko (23) are on the verge of getting divorced. Sankei Sports has apparently confirmed this with a person close to the couple, though the reason for the breakup is disputed.
The couple married in November 2007 after it was learned that Saeko was pregnant. She gave birth to their first son in March 2008, and in order to raise the child, she has been traveling frequently between Sapporo, where the Fighters are based, and the couple's home in Miyazaki, which is close to Saeko's family.
Meanwhile, Josei Seven alleges that Darvish has been paying visits to Susukino, a red-light district in Sapporo. Saeko eventually learned about his infidelity, apparently before she gave birth to their second son in February of this year. When she approached him about the matter in September, he reportedly told her, "If you don't like it, let's break up."
Both Darvish and Saeko are currently signed to Avex's management office. When reached for comment, the company said that it has not heard anything from the couple regarding divorce.
However, Sankei Sports states that it spoke with someone who knows the couple well. That person denied Josei Seven's rumors about Darvish's infidelity, but confirmed that the couple is headed for divorce. According to the person, the reason for the breakup is simply that the two spend a lot of time apart, and that has strained their relationship beyond repair. The person also mentioned that lawyers for both sides have already begun correspondence in preparation for divorce negotiations.
Daily Sports is reporting a rumor that comedian Shingo Fujimori (27) of Oriental Radio is dating actress and model Natsuki Kato (25). The two met when they both appeared on the same variety show, and they started seriously going out during this summer, multiple sources say.
Back in 2006, Fujimori was said to be in a relationship with actress Juri Ueno (24), but since then there have been no other romance rumors involving him.
Kato, who recently appeared in the "Moyashimon" drama series and has a part in the upcoming "Paradise Kiss" movie, ended a messy relationship with her former manager last year after taking the case to civil court.
It was reported yesterday that actress Erika Toda (22) was recently seen on a date with actor Go Ayano (28), reinforcing rumors of their relationship that first surfaced in July. The latest issue of the magazine Josei Seven published photos of the two together that were taken a few days ago.
According to the magazine, Toda and Ayano attended a show for a fashion brand at an event hall in Tokyo during late October. The pair were seen occasionally holding hands, and one witness stated that when Ayano met with the fashion brand's president (whom he has known for a long time), he introduced Toda as his girlfriend. After the show, they both returned to Toda's apartment.
Toda was previously said to be dating Kanjani8 member Shingo Murakami (28), until this past July when Josei Seven reported that they had broken up. The magazine said that around that time, Toda was at a high-class sushi restaurant with Perfume's Ayaka Nishiwaki (21) and another friend when she was overheard talking about her love life. She apparently told them that she had a new boyfriend, and it was widely speculated that the man was Ayano.
Ayano made his acting debut in 2003 in "Kamen Rider 555" and has since then appeared in several television dramas, but the majority of his acting work is in movies. Two of his most recent roles are in "SP THE MOTION PICTURE" and "GANTZ."
Romance has blossomed for actress Tanaka Rena (30) and actor Sato Yuuki (26), according to today's issue of weekly magazine "Friday." The couple, who worked together last year on an NHK drama, were recently spotted riding Sato's motorcycle and leaving his Tokyo apartment hand in hand. But both actors will have a hard time finding time for romance in their mutually busy schedules.
Tanaka is currently in Kyoto filming the movie "Genji Monogatari" while fitting in her regular job as presenter on the NHK show "Top Runner." She first made a breakthrough in 1998, appearing in TV commercials for the soft drink Natchan, and won a best newcomer Japan Academy Award the same year for her first starring role in "Gambatte Ikimashoi." She won the best actress award for "Hatsukoi" in 2000. Meanwhile, Sato is currently working on two TV dramas to be aired next month, Fuji TV's "Strawberry Night" and NTV's "Face-Maker." He made his acting debut in the 2005 season of the drama "Gokusen." His fan base grew the following year when he landed a supporting role in the TV Asahi action hero show "Kamen Rider Kabuto." In 2008 he got his first starring role in Fuji TV's "Shiro to Kuro" under the new stage name of Sato Tomohito. This year he changed to a new management agency and went back to using his real name.
Actress Kie Kitano (19) is starring in and singing the theme song for a mobile phone drama called "Niji no Mukou e" (subtitled "Seven colors of youth"). The series will begin on November 1 on BeeTV, though a "drama version" of the music video for Kitano's song "Todokanai" already began distribution on Wednesday.
In "Niji no Mukou e," Kitano plays the role of Nanami, a high schooler who has lost contact with the upperclassman she has fallen for. Hoping to see him again, she decides to attend the same college that he went to, leading her to move to Tokyo, where she grows into adulthood.
This drama is the first time that Kitano is singing a theme song. She made her singing debut early this year and has so far released two singles.
One of the drama's cast members is Kazuma Sano (21), who had a brief relationship with Kitano before it was discovered this past summer. That relationship started when they worked together on this drama, which was filmed in the spring.
Other cast members include Yoshihiko Hosoda, Yumi Sugimoto, Fujiko Kojima, Nako Mizusawa, Shogo Sakamoto, and Suguru Matsuzawa. A total of 15 weekly episodes are planned, each about 10 minutes in length.
Another relationship rumor involving actress Kyoko Fukada (27) has surfaced, this time in the latest issue of Josei Jishin. The magazine reports that her new boyfriend may be actor Maasa Igarashi (25).
According to the magazine, Igarashi has been seen entering and leaving Fukada's apartment building multiple times. The two have also been separately seen using the same bicycle. However, the photographs in the article do not show the two together.
Igarashi got his start in show business in 2008 and has appeared in a few works up until now. One of his current projects is a supporting role in the upcoming "Paradise Kiss" movie, scheduled for release next spring. (He should not be confused with Shunji Igarashi, who also appears in that movie as a main cast member.)
Previous romance rumors have linked Fukada to many other celebrities, including actor Ryotaro Shimizu (22), with whom she is said to have broken up last month. Although her management office has usually denied such rumors, this time her office declined to comment because it is a private matter.
Actor Kengo Kora (22) has been added to the cast of the next NHK morning drama "Ohisama" (March-September 2011). The show, which stars Mao Inoue (23), already had its supporting cast partly revealed at the start of this month, but Kora will be playing a significant role as Inoue's husband.
As previously described, "Ohisama" stars Inoue as a cheerful woman named Yoko living during the time of World War II. She starts out as a teacher but later marries the successor of a well-established soba shop (played by Kora), leading her to become a soba chef. Kora's character is planned to first appear in the show's 8th week, around the middle of May.
This will be Kora's first appearance in an NHK Asadora, and his first time acting with Inoue. Producers may be hoping for another success like the recent "Gegege no Nyoubou," which has tremendously boosted the popularity of its stars Nao Matsushita (25) and Osamu Mukai (28).
Rumors have surfaced stating that actor Kento Nagayama (21) is dating fashion model and singer MEG (30). According to Sports Hochi, the two were introduced to each other by a mutual friend last year, and they started dating at the start of this year.
Although their relationship is not public, Nagayama and MEG have been seen eating together at restaurants in Tokyo's Minato ward multiple times. It is also said that Nagayama has mentioned the relationship to his close friends and family, including his brother Eita (27).
Nagayama is the youngest of three siblings, and he decided to follow the older Eita (who is the middle child) into show business. Nagayama made his acting debut in the 2007 drama series "Ojiisan-sensei," then landed his first starring role with the movie "Soft Boy" this year.
MEG made her major label debut as a music artist in 2002. In recent years, she has been closely associated with producer Yasutaka Nakata. However, this past summer she declared that she would take a short break from music to "reset" herself before next year, which is the 10th anniversary of the start of her career.
Nagayama's management office says that the two are good friends but insists that they are not dating. A record company representative for MEG said that they were unable to confirm the story at the moment because MEG is overseas.
Talento Yu Abiru (24) is rumored to be dating F1 driver Kamui Kobayashi (24). Abiru was seen cheering on Kobayashi at the F1 Japanese Grand Prix at the Suzuka Circuit earlier this month, where he placed 7th overall, the top finish for his team BMW Sauber-Ferrari.
According to a source familiar with the couple, they are said to have met around the end of this summer. They were seen on a date in Shizuoka on October 2, and pictures of the two taken by passers-by were posted online, spreading the relationship rumor.
A rather unique dating rumor has been published by a couple of tabloids yesterday. They claim that actress Fukada Kyoko (27) and songstress Utada Hikaru (27), who is currently on a hiatus, are in a love relationship.
Apparently both of them have often been seen at a certain bar in the Shinjuku Ni-chome district of Tokyo. That district is known for having the world's highest concentration of gay bars and thus there are a lot of places made for lesbian women as well. However, recently there have also been an increase of heterosexual women that just want to be more comfortable without any men around who visit such places.
One witness who saw the two celebrities at such a bar back in July described their appearances. First she saw Fukakyon sitting at the counter, having a few glass by herself. She was a wearing quite a revealing dress and showed a lot of cleavage that day. A little later Utada appeared at the bar as well and unlike the feminine appearance of Fukakyon, she had more of a rockish vibe wearing a shirt with a skull design and trousers. It wasn't the only time they have been spotted in this district. In fact, several people working in Ni-chome revealed that they have been seeing those two quite a few times already.
Only a month later Utada suddenly announced her hiatus, but the tabloid isn't trying to indicate any connection to those sightings.
An official of a TV station commented, "Since last year I've often heard stories about both of them being spotted in Ni-chome. There even have been a couple of interesting reports going a bit more into detail about their encounters… Anyway, it's been known for a while already that Fukakyon really loves lesbian bars. She always goes there to have a drink and raise her spirit just before filming a drama and so on. There even is one favorite place she likes to go when she finishes a project."
Throughout her career, Fukakyon has been in quite a couple of official and unofficial relationships with men. She's already being referred to as a "nikushoku joshi", a so-called "carnivorous woman" that is very active in the field of love. Her most recent relationship with Shimizu Akira's son that started last year already came to an end earlier this year. Now people start to believe that the end of her relationship with him could be related to her new relationship with Utada.
"Utada and her are very close friends and almost meet each other on a weekly base. Moreover it's an inviolable rule that even as a celebrity you never get any kind special treatment in such bars and after all there aren't really that many places where they would be able to share a few drinks without having to worry about attracting the public attention….," the TV station official continued.
This past June, Aya Tsuge's manga series "Noda to Moushimasu" ("My Name Is Noda") was turned into a short drama series on NHK's 1seg 2 channel, consisting of just three episodes. Based on its popularity, it has now been decided that the drama will be extended to 20 episodes, starting on October 29. The first three episodes will be a rebroadcast of the original episodes.
The live-action "Noda to Moushimasu" stars Noriko Eguchi (30) as the titular character, a plain college student whose everyday life is full of humorous situations. The show also features AKB48's Yuka Masuda (19) and actress Nobue Iketani (39).
Today's issue of Shukan Bunshun reported that popular AKB48 member Sayaka Akimoto (22) had a man stay over at her place earlier this month. That man is none other than multimedia creator Ouji Hiroi (56), who is currently working with Akimoto on a project called "Double Heroine." However, Akimoto has already addressed the rumor, saying that it is all a misunderstanding.
According to Shukan Bunshun, Hiroi spent the night with Akimoto on October 9. After she returned to her apartment, Hiroi was later spotted entering the same building. In the morning, Akimoto and Hiroi were seen leaving the building at separate times. Shukan Bunshun reports that Hiroi was also at the apartment late at night on October 7.
Best known as the creator of "Sakura Wars," Hiroi began working with Akimoto last summer when he produced the AKB48 musical "Infinity." He is divorced and has two children.
Akimoto responded through her management agency, saying that Hiroi is like a mentor whom she turns to for acting advice, and that there is nothing further between them. In a blog post, she commented that because Hiroi is older than her father, she felt it unbelievable that such a rumor would emerge. Her agency has already warned her to avoid such misunderstandings in the future.
In comments made to the press, Hiroi acknowledged that he stayed over at her place and watched a movie, and even stated that Akimoto has come to his place before. However, he assured that their relationship is limited to one of teacher and student. When asked about the possibility of it turning romantic, he emphasized that there is none.
Another source notes that the apartment building where Akimoto lives is a dormitory used by other people under her agency, including another AKB48 member.
Arashi's 33rd single, Dear Snow (released October 6) has sold 501,000 copies in its first week of release. It took the number one spot in the singles ranking for the week of October 18th. Since their February 2004 release of PIKA★★NCHI DOUBLE, they currently have 22 consecutive number one singles. Out of 33 singles since their debut, 29 have placed number one on the charts. This is their fifth single this year to reach the top.
Dear Snow is the theme song for the movie Ohoku, which stars Ninomiya Kazunari. The movie is currently playing in theaters. Out of the five singles they have released this year, four of them have sold 500K in its first week. The other three include Troublemaker (released March 3), Monster (May 19) and Love Rainbow (September 8).
Arashi's New Single Sells 500K in First Week of Release
Translated by: sparkles_n15 @ asianfanatics.net
The main female cast of the upcoming "Genji Monogatari" movie has been announced. Joining lead actor Toma Ikuta (26) are Yoko Maki (27), Lena Tanaka (30), Shigeru Muroi (51), Mikako Tabe (21), Sei Ashina (26), and Misako Renbutsu (19).
Maki will be taking on a double role as Genji's mother, Kiritsubo, and Genji's first love, Lady Fujitsubo. Tanaka will play another crucial role as Rokujo no Miyasudokoro.
The other revealed parts are Kokiden (Muroi), Aoi no Ue (Tabe), Yugao (Ashina), and Akiko (Renbutsu). It was already announced last month that Noriyuki Higashiyama, Miki Nakatani, and Yosuke Kubozuka have also been cast in the movie.
The film, said to have a budget of more than 1 billion yen, began filming on September 20 and is projected to finish by the end of the year. Ikuta is said to appear in more than 20 different outfits as Genji.
"Genji Monogatari" is expected to be released in 2011.
Shosuke Tanihara (38) is taking on the role of a sleuth for the first time in Fuji TV's drama special "Higashino Keigo Special: Tantei Club." The female lead will be played by Nao Matsushita (25).
As the title suggests, the story is adapted from Keigo Higashino's mystery novel "Tantei Club." Tanihara's character normally seems quiet and refined, but his energy and behavior suddenly change when he ponders a problem.
This is the fourth time that Tanihara and Matsushita have acted together, with the last one being the 2008 drama "Ryokiteki na Kanojo." This drama may give them the opportunity to continue working together, as the staff are aiming to make it a series.
Fuji TV will air the drama on October 22.
Actress Yoko Shimada (57) will soon make her AV debut, it is being reported. She already finished recording her first release this summer, and it will be released under the label MUTEKI, which specializes in celebrities.
Shimada's career peaked in the 1970s and 1980s, during which she appeared in many television shows and movies. She is perhaps best known for the 1980 American television miniseries "Shogun," in which she starred alongside Richard Chamberlain and Toshiro Mifune. That role earned her a Golden Globe award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series.
One source close to Shimada claims that the primary reason for her AV debut is financial. She apparently had accumulated a debt of more than 200 million yen at one point and even now is still facing trouble with her taxes. Another source has heard that Shimada is getting a 30 million yen guarantee for the video. Another rumor being spread is that her souring relationship with her husband also led to the decision to enter the adult industry.
Shimada once released a nude photobook in 1992, which reportedly sold 500,000 copies.
The release date for Shimada's video has not yet been announced.
Actor Yu Shirota (24) and talento Misako Yasuda (28) have broken up, ending their two-year relationship. A source who knows them well revealed that they have grown apart due to their busy careers, and that they have been close to separation multiple times before.
Shirota starred in the 2007 movie "Arakure Knight," and Yasuda played his girlfriend. About a year and a half later, they started dating. Their relationship was discovered in January 2009, and they both personally confirmed it.
It is not known exactly when they ended their relationship.
Namie Amuro (33) and comedian Atsushi Tamura (36) have broken up, it is being reported. A source close to the couple says that they ended their relationship just last month, choosing to separate due to their busy schedules and lack of time together.
In April, Amuro launched a large-scale, 9-month-long nationwide tour, giving her little free time. Tamura, who is part of the popular comedy duo London Boots 1go 2go, has also been busy with his own work, which includes television shows such as "London Hearts" and "Waratte Iitomo!"
Amuro and Tamura first met last summer and soon started dating. Their relationship was discovered early this year, and it was later confirmed by both sides. So far, neither of their agencies have commented on the news of the breakup.
Sports Hochi has a possible scoop with news today that actor Toma Ikuta (25) and actress Yui Ichikawa (24) may be in a relationship. According to the report, the two have been secretly dating for the past five years.
A source close to Ikuta and Ichikawa says they initially met through a mutual friend and began dating nearly five years ago. Both of them entered show business in their early teens, so they are said to have become friends due to their common goals. That friendship apparently grew into love. One other source says that they broke up at one point, but their similar values and their strong bond brought them back together again.
So far, the two have never acted together. To prevent any negative effects on their work, they have only revealed their relationship to close friends and have made sure to never be seen together on dates.
When asked about the couple, Ikuta's management stated that it had not heard anything. Ichikawa's agency also said that it was unaware of a relationship.
Both Ikuta and Ichikawa are at critical points in their careers at the moment. Ikuta has been taking on a series of major roles, including the movies "Ningen Shikkaku" and "Genji Monogatari." Ichikawa, who started her career primarily as an idol, has been transitioning towards more serious acting and finally got her first starring television role this summer in NHK's "Katsura Chizuru Shinsatsu Nichiroku."