The popular BS-TBS drama franchise "Keitai Deka" will launch its 8th series this December. Titled "Keitai Deka Zenigata Yui," the show will star SEVENTEEN model Anri Okamoto (16).
The "Keitai Deka" ("mobile phone detective") dramas started in 2002 with Aoi Miyazaki (24) as the lead actress. Every series has featured a different main character with a different name, played by actresses such as Maki Horikita, Kaho, and Aya Omasa. All of the heroines have possessed unique skills - this time, Okamoto's character Yui will be skilled at rope tying, which she will use to capture the criminals she chases.
Okamoto's roles before this include the "Yatterman" movie, the "Sunadokei" movie, and the drama series "Shokojo Seira."
It is now confirmed that Shun Oguri (27) and Mao Inoue (23) will co-star in a new drama series this fall. The pair, who appeared together in the live-action "Hana Yori Dango," have been cast in an adaptation of "Juui Dolittle" ("Veterinarian Dolittle"), a manga written by Midori Natsu and illustrated by Makiyoshi Chikuya.
Oguri plays the part of Kenichi Tottori, a highly capable veterinarian known by the nickname "Dolittle." He has a sharp tongue, and he maintains a strict attitude about issues such as money and proper pet care. But in addition to saving animals, he also helps fix the problems of their owners.
Inoue plays the female lead as Kenichi's co-worker Asuka Tajima, while Hiroki Narimiya (27) as rival veterinarian Masaru Hanabishi. The show will also focus on the love triangle between the three characters.
The show will air on TBS in the Sunday 9:00pm time slot, starting in October.
Young actress Nao Minamisawa (20) is starring in the first PR film from the Japanese Red Cross Society. Titled "Hachigatsu no Nijuusou," the short movie is based on the true story of 20-year-old Miho Sugawara, who founded a Student Red Cross group in Iwate last year.
Miho's younger sister Miyuki died of acute leukemia in the summer of 2007. The movie tells the story of the five years that the Sugawara family spent fighting Miyuki's illness, including Miho becoming a marrow donor.
As the main character, Minamisawa plays the part of Miho during the last four years. In order to capture the actual story of the family, Miho was actually present for the entire filming process, which wrapped up earlier this month.
The Red Cross has seen a huge drop in blood donors over the past decade. The "Hachigatsu no Nijuusou" movie is one part of the organization's effort to raise awareness, particularly among young people. The film will be shown for free in blood donation centers and public institutions across the country, starting in late September. Toei, the studio that produced the picture, also plans to hold preview screenings in its chain of theaters.
The latest issue of Josei Seven includes a rumor that actress Ryoko Hirosue (30) has a new boyfriend. This past Sunday, she was seen on the campus of Hokkaido University, apparently on a date with candle artist Candle JUNE.
According to the magazine, Candle JUNE's Tokyo store is near Hirosue's home, so they happened to meet and gradually became closer. Hirosue was also seen at one of the artist's events this past spring.
Hirosue's agency was unable to comment, saying that it does not know the details about her private life. Before this, Hirosue was rumored to be in a serious relationship with actor Masaru Nagai (32), but they seem to have broken up around the start of this year. Neither of their agencies ever confirmed that relationship.
Actress Ueto Aya, 24, will star in NHK’s time-traveling drama “Still Love You in 10 Years” (starts Tues Aug 31, 10 p.m.). Ueto plays a lovelorn heroine who is visited by her husband from 10 years into the future, a man she has never met.
Ueto appeared at a press conference with her costar Masaaki Uchino, 41, with whom she worked once before in 2004 in “Aim for the Ace!” IN that film, Uchino played her merciless tennis coach.
Ueto acknowledged that she had come of marrying age. “Naturally I could empathize with my character since I am now 24. And yes, I’m thinking about marriage,” she said wistfully.
NHK has revealed the details of its 84th Asadora (morning drama) series, titled "Ohisama." The show, set to air during spring and summer of 2011, will star young actress Mao Inoue (23) and will be written by Yoshikazu Okada ("Churasan").
Inoue's last appearance in an NHK drama was in 1999. This time, however, will be her first starring role on that network.
Set in the Nagano prefecture, "Ohisama" is said to be a biographical drama about a woman who lived through World War II, described as having a smile bright like the sun ("ohisama"). Inoue plays the woman, named Yoko Sudo, from the age of 16 before the war up to the age of 30 after the war. Producer Masayo Komatsu mentioned that the role will have Inoue becoming an elementary school teacher, then a soba shop owner, then a mother. Because the story starts during Yoko's student days, Inoue will once again be seen in a school uniform, even though she had declared last year that "Boku no Hatsukoi wo Kimi ni Sasagu" would be her last time wearing one.
NHK plans to begin filming in October, though a small part will be shot at the end of this month, when the "soba flower" (a central piece of the story) is in bloom. The drama will be broadcast in the regular Asadora time slot (Monday-Saturday, 8:00-8:15am) from March 28 to September 24, for a total of 156 episodes.
Actress Rie Tomosaka (30) is said to be getting married to singer Suneohair (39) by the end of this year. This will be the second marriage for Tomosaka and the third for Suneohair.
Their relationship apparently started with the movie "Aburakusasu no Matsuri," which is scheduled for release in late autumn. The two play a married couple in the film, and they also sing a duet for the ending theme song. Filming opened last November, and it seems that they started dating at the beginning of this year.
Tomosaka married actor and stage director Masahiko Kawahara (41) in April 2003 and gave birth to a a son in October 2004. However, she divorced at the end of 2008 and currently raises the child on her own. Suneohair, on the other hand, has been married twice to the same woman, and they had two children together.
Singer-songwriter Hikaru Utada has announced on her web diary on Monday that she will go on an indefinite hiatus from her musical career starting next year. Before she takes time off, she will release her Utada Hikaru Single Collection Vol. 2 album this fall. This will be her first "best-of" album in six and half years, and it will include her recent songs such as "Dareka no Negai ga Kanau Koro," "Be My Last," and "Beautiful World," as well as new material.
Utada explained in her Monday message that since she began her musical career at the age of 15, there is a part inside her that stopped growing. When she will return to music is still undetermined, but she said that she feels it will probably be after she has had time to grow a little as a person and naturally wants to share her music again. She added that she does not know if it will take two years, five years, or however long it will be.
Utada is an internationally known, bestselling pop artist born in New York City and raised in Japan and the United States. Her debut album, 1999's First Love, is still Japan's bestselling album ever with about 8 million copies sold. Bandai Visual used Utada's "Kiss & Cry" and "This is Love" songs for the Freedom anime project. Utada also sang the theme songs for the Casshern live-action movie remake and the Hana Yori Dango 2 live-action television adaptation.
More recently, she provided a 2007 remix of her 2000 cover of Frank Sinatra's "Fly Me to the Moon (In Other Words)" for the trailer to Evangelion:1.0 You are (Not) Alone (Evangelion Shin Gekijōban: Jo), as well as her "Beautiful World" song for the anime film itself. She also contributed the "Beautiful World -PLANiTb Acoustica Mix-" for the second film, Evangelion:2.0 You Can (Not) Advance (Evangelion Shin Gekijōban: Ha). In addition to her singing career, she played the heroine Pinoko in the 2001-2002 Black Jack net anime series. She toured the United States and the United Kingdom last year.
Anime News Network
Pop star Ayumi Hamasaki (31) recently announced that she will release her 49th and 50th singles on consecutive weeks next month. On Sunday, it was learned that the first of those two songs, titled "crossroad," will be a collaboration with producer Tetsuya Komuro (51).
Hamasaki approached Komuro with the idea back in April. Komuro agreed, and he composed and arranged "crossroad," while Hamasaki handled the lyrics. The result, a medium-tempo ballad, is the first Komuro-produced song sung by Hamasaki on her own. (She sang "a song is born" as a duet with KEIKO of globe, and she is part of the 11 artists singing the a-nation theme song that was announced last week.)
"crossroad" was recorded in early July. After hearing Hamasaki's voice on the finished recording, Komuro was inspired to adjust his original plans for the guitar and strings accompaniment. He recruited the help of American musician Randy Waldman, who did much of the strings and orchestra arrangements for Komuro during the 1990s.
The coupling song for "crossroad" (currently untitled) was also provided by Komuro. The single will go on sale September 22, though Hamasaki may perform "crossroad" in concert as early as August 14 at the Nagoya a-nation event.
Hamasaki's 50th single, "L)," will follow "crossroad" on September 29. The milestone release is said to include three new songs, though the composers have not yet been revealed. If both "crossroad" and "L" take #1 on the sales charts, Hamasaki will achieve her 25th consecutive number-one single, breaking Seiko Matsuda's record streak of 24 that was set 22 years ago.
Actor Takeru Sato (21) has landed his first starring role in a drama series. He will play a high school student in the NTV drama "Q10" this fall, using an original script by Izumi Kizara ("Nobuta wo Produce").
Sato plays Heita, an ordinary high school boy with a kind heart but no real interest in romance. His class is joined by a transfer student named Q10 (pronounced "kyu-to," the same as "cute"), who looks like a girl but is actually a robot. Together, the two end up causing trouble at school, and Heita even begins falling for Q10. A kiss scene between the two is planned.
NTV will start shooting the drama in early September in preparation for an October premiere. The series will air on Saturday nights at 9:00pm.
Junichi Okada (29) and Yu Aoi (24) had broken up because Aoi had been cheating on Okada, reports Nikkan Sports.
On August 5, Nikkan Sports had reported that Aoi and Nao Oomori (38) were dating, after catching the couple on a group date in a restaurant in Tokyo in late July.
However, Aoi had only broken up with Okada in April this year, the paper reports.
A Nikkan Sports source had said that Aoi has previously been caught having a dinner date with Oomori in January this year, and this was one of the reasons why she and Okada had broken up.
Multiple news outlets are reporting today that actress Yu Aoi (24) and actor Nao Omori (38) are in a relationship. Since January, rumors have been circulating after the two were seen on a date at an oden restaurant, and photos of them on a group date were published in Nikkan Sports in late July.
Omori and Aoi have acted together before in several works, including the 2005 drama series "Tiger & Dragon" and the 2007 movie "Mushishi." However, it appears that their relationship developed through working together on the current NHK taiga drama "Ryomaden.
The management agencies for both parties have neither confirmed nor denied the relationship, stating that they will leave it alone as it is a private matter.
Omori was in a long relationship with Yumi Yoshimura (35) of pop duo Puffy up until last fall. Just this past April, it was rumored that he had started dating actress Reina Asami (27). Aoi, on the other hand, was believed to be dating V6 member Junichi Okada (29) for a few years, but they are also said to have broken up last fall.
The live-action movie adaptation of Yumi Unita's manga series "Usagi Drop" now has a cast. Kenichi Matsuyama (25) will play the lead role, supported by child actress Mana Ashida (6). SABU will direct.
The movie, first announced in June, tells the story of a young and awkward bachelor (Matsuyama) who begins raising a girl (Ashida) after he learns that she is the illegitimate child of his grandfather. This will be Matsuyama's first time playing a father figure.
Ashida, who debuted as an actress last year, has recently gained attention for her roles in the drama series "Mother" and the movie "Kokuhaku."
Other cast members include Karina (26) and Chizuru Ikewaki (28). Filming has already begun and is scheduled to finish during the middle of this month. Summer 2011 is being targeted for theatrical release.
Miki Nakatani (34) will once again be playing an unfortunate woman in her next major movie role. She has been cast as the star of "Hankyu Densha," a movie adaptation of the novel of the same name by Hiro Arikawa ("Toshokan Sensou"). Erika Toda (21) has also been cast.
"Hankyu Densha" tells the story of various people with their own troubles, whose encounters with other people while riding the train lead them to take life-changing steps. The central setting of the film is the local Imazu Line of the Hankyu Railway, which runs in the Hyogo prefecture connecting the cities of Nishinomiya and Takarazuka.
Although the film follows several characters, Nakatani's character will be at the center of the story. She plays an OL in her 30s who was engaged to her boyfriend when she entered her company, but he was stolen away by a younger co-worker. Meanwhile, Toda plays a college student with a good-for-nothing boyfriend. Other characters include a housewife who has trouble making friends and a high school student who is worried about her course in life. It is said that some of the Takarazuka stars may make cameo appearances.
Nakatani previously played the "unfortunate character" in movies such as "Memories of Matsuko" and "Jigyaku no Uta."
"Hankyu Densha" is scheduled to start filming this December. Theatrical release is planned for early summer 2011.
moumoon’s new single, “Sunshine Girl”, is #1 on “Chaku-uta full” monthly ranking on Recochoku (the biggest mobile music download service in Japan) for July.
“Sunshine Girl” has been distributing on the site since April, and it was a mere 60th place in June, however, after they performed on MUSIC STATION for the first time on July 30th, it grabbed the hearts of listeners, and the number of downloads increased to 700,000.
Actor Toma Ikuta has been chosen to star as Hikaru Genji in a new movie adaptation of "The Tale of Genji." The film, tentatively titled "Genji Monogatari," is being directed by Yasuo Tsuruhashi ("Ai no Rukeichi") and reportedly has a budget of more than 1 billion yen.
"The Tale of Genji," generally believed to have been writtern by noblewoman Murasaki Shikibu during the 11th century, is considered a classic piece of Japanese literature. The story has appeared in countless forms throughout the centuries, including theater, opera, and film.
Ikuta was reportedly chosen for the role by executive producer Tsuguhiko Kadokawa while filming was in progress for "Ningen Shikkaku," which opened in February. Actors who have previously played the role on the big screen include Kazuo Hasegawa in 1951 and Raizo Ichikawa in 1961. On television, the part has also been played by singer Kenji Sawada (62) and Shonentai's Noriyuki Higashiyama (43).
"Genji Monogatari" is scheduled for release in 2011.
This past January, it was learned that actress Yumiko Shaku (32) was headed towards marriage with a veterinarian (32), but it appears that the relationship has fallen apart. A source close to the couple says that marriage is no longer under consideration at all.
Shaku and the veterinarian met in April 2009 when Shaku took her beloved dog to an animal hospital, and he was the doctor who treated it. The two got along well and began dating, and it appeared that they were preparing to register their marriage on June 12, which is Shaku's birthday. It is said that they had already taken care of the formal greetings with each other's parents.
However, due to their careers, the two have had little time to spend with each other, resulting in a gap in their relationship. According to the aforementioned source, the man canceled their engagement on his own.
When Shaku's relationship was first publicly discovered in January, she openly talked about it on her blog. But with performances in the drama special "Rikon Syndrome" and in the stage production of "Tensai Bakabon" (her first theater role), Shaku has been completely focused on her work in the past few months, and her boyfriend has not been mentioned in her blog at all.
Before the start of "Tensai Bakabon," Shaku's agency had stated that the relationship was going well, but now the agency has simply said that it is leaving the matter to Shaku, so it cannot confirm whether the marriage has been called off.
Singer MEG is putting out a best album this fall, but it will be her last with her current record label UNIVERSAL J. After the album's release, she plans to leave the label and go on a brief hiatus.
In a blog post on Friday, she explained that since last year, she used to love the process of creating and delivering music, but it now feels like work. Due to a lack of excitement and fresh ideas, she has decided to do a "brief reset" of her career. She stated that she arrived at her decision during a trip she took by herself to Paris this past spring.
MEG acknowledged that next year is the 10th anniversary of her debut, and she indicated that she would like to take on a new challenge for it.
Her last single with her current label will be "PASSPORT / PARIS," scheduled for release on August 25. She will hold a birthday party and live performance on October 2-3 at Sanrio Puroland.