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).