Actor Hiro Mizushima (26) has left his management agency Ken-on as of September 20, it has been learned. According to Ken-on, Mizushima left in order to focus on a writing career.
Mizushima has apparently been interested in writing for a long time. He informed his management about his desire to try it out, and after discussing the matter, his departure from the agency was decided.
Mizushima's wife, singer Ayaka (22), is also signed with Ken-on. Although she is currently on hiatus, the company stated that Mizushima leaving will have no effect on her current contract.
It is not yet clear how this move will impact Mizushima's acting career.
Saki Aibu (25) and Manami Higa (24) will co-star in a TBS drama special titled "Ashita mo Mata Ikite Ikou." The drama will depict the friendship between volleyball players Saori Kimura (24) and Yumika Yokoyama. In April 2008, Yokoyama passed away at the age of 21 due to a rare form of cancer.
Kimura and Yokoyama will be played by Aibu and Higa, respectively. The two athletes were one year apart at the same high school, and they were said to have been as close as sisters. Yokoyama's death occurred just one month before Kimura and the rest of Japan's national team competed in the preliminaries for the 2008 Summer Olympics.
The drama is based on Yokoyama's writings, which were later published as a book by the title "Ashita mo Mata Ikite Ikou." The story begins during their time in high school, when the highly talented Kimura was selected for the national team and the promising Yokoyama was diagnosed with cancer.
To play the parts, Aibu and Higa received volleyball training under the guidance of former national team member Mari Ochiai (28).
"Ashita mo Mata Ikite Ikou" will air on October 25, just a few days before Japan's national women's tournament begins.
Gravure idol Asuka Hoshino (23) is making her entry into the adult entertainment industry, starting with a hair-nude photobook that goes on sale next week. It will be followed by her first AV release in November.
Hoshino launched her career in 2004 when she was chosen as Miss Weekly Shonen Magazine in the annual Miss Magazine competition. After several image DVDs and two photobooks, her career went on hold in 2006. She finally resumed work last year, with a slight change in the way her name is written.
Like former AKB48 member Rina Nakanishi (22), Hoshino revealed her move into AV with a nude photo spread in FRIDAY, preceding the release of a nude photobook. Hoshino's 80-page book, "Asuka no Jikan," will be released on September 24. She will then put out her first adult DVD on November 4 under the SOD Create label. After that, she is expected to release new works at a pace of one a month.
The Japanese magazine 女性セブン (Josei Seven) edition released on September 16 has published pictures of Johnny’s Jr. member Hiroki Uchi (24) with a woman the magazine reports to be his girlfriend, actress Rena Sasamoto (25).
Josei Seven have published photos of the couple at the airport, having returned from a holiday in Hawaii. The couple were then photographed putting their luggage into Sasamoto’s parents' car, before reportedly driving off to Sasamoto’s home in Chiba.
The two had met while working on the stage musical of “Guys and Dolls” earlier this year.
AKB48 member Mariko Shinoda (24) has been given her first solo emcee duties, as she will be hosting an informational show called "LISMO Channel (Video)." The 5-minute program, which is available only on mobile phones, introduces the latest dramas and movies in Japan.
During the press announcement for the show, Shinoda commented, "In the future, I want to try being an action actress. Like Charlie's Angels. Maybe I should hold an audition by mobile phone (for the other two members)?"
"LISMO Channel (Video)" will be released every Monday, starting on October 4. Guests for the month of October include actress Riisa Naka (20), Kendo Kobayashi (38), and Daisuke Miyagawa (37).
In June, it was announced that directors Isshin Inudo and Shinji Higuchi are collaborating on a film adaptation of "Nobou no Shiro," starring Mansai Nomura (44). It has now been revealed that the movie's heroine will be played by actress Nana Eikura (22), who has never appeared in a jidaigeki work before.
The story casts Nomura as Narita Nagachika, a military commander during the Sengoku era who was known as "Nobou-sama." With an army of only 500 soldiers, he successfully defended against an attack on Oshi Castle by Toyotomi Hideyoshi's massive army of 20,000.
Eikura will be playing the part of the Kaihime, who was the daughter of the Narita clan's head, Narita Ujinaga. According to legend, Kaihime was a skilled warrior who was critical in the defense of Oshi Castle. To prepare for the role, Eikura underwent training in skills such as horseback riding and aikido.
"Nobou no Shiro" will open in theaters next year.
This past January Sakurai Sho and Horikita Maki played as rivals in the TBS drama 'Tokujo Kabachi!!'. It seems that their relationship has gone beyond than just being co-stars in a drama.
According to a restaurant manager in Shinjuku, "I don't have the slightest idea why, but somehow Sakurai-kun and Maki-chan have been appearing frequently at a gay bar, and it's also curious that Endo Kenichi is also with them. It's just a combination that's unheard of. With bodies touching, Sakurai-kun and Maki-chan seemed like a pair of lovers. Looking over them from a distant was Kenichi-san, it's like he was their guardian."
Sakurai and Horikita are around the same age, enthusiastic about their jobs and also serious, perhaps these factors make them understand each other well. While filming for Tokujo Kabachi!!, Horikita said "Keeping in mind that we're rivals at loggerheads, I always try to hate him even when there's no filming." Sakurai countered this, replying, "That doesn't happen at all, the smiles actually never stop!"
Of course, Johnny's are fussy about relationships. Sakurai might be using a third person to avoid media scrutiny. Up till now, he hasn't been involved in any big scandals with the ladies. He must be really good at being discreet.
With Arashi's popularity now going beyond SMAP's, it's natural that Sakurai would be careful regarding his relations with women. Being with both an intimate friend and a drinking mate at the same time seems like a sensible method for crisis management. If this relationship turns into love, perhaps Endo will be known as the Cupid with a gentle heart.
NTV announcer Yukari Nishio (33) is getting married this month, it is being reported. A source connected to the network says that Nishio plans to make an official announcement in late September.
Her partner is three years older than her and is said to be a commercial planner who was working for a major advertising agency. On Monday, one of the tabloid newspapers reported that Nishio is holding her wedding ceremony in Hawaii.
Nishio has been with NTV since 2001 and is currently the host of "Zoom In!! SUPER." She has also served as one of the hosts on the annual "24 Hour Television" event for the past six years.
Nikkan Sports reports that actor Joe Odagiri (34) and actress Yu Kashii (23) are expecting their first child. Kashii is said to be in her fifth month of pregnancy, though she plans to continue working while she prepares for the child's birth early next year.
Kashii has already been cast as Atsushi Ito's girlfriend in the drama series "Mori no Asagao," which starts in October.
Odagiri and Kashii surprised everyone in December 2007 by announcing their plans to marry, and they officially tied the knot in February 2008.
Actress Rinko Kikuchi (29) appears to be dating American director and producer Spike Jonze (40), known for movies such as "Being John Malkovich" and "Where the Wild Things Are." Their relationship was discovered at the Venice Film Festival (currently running until September 11), where they made no effort to hide their affection.
Kikuchi is at the festival along with co-stars Kenichi Matsuyama (25) and Kiko Mizuhara (19) for the screening of their movie "Norwegian Wood." After the screening on Thursday night, Kikuchi and Jonze were seen walking together while holding hands. During an event the next night, Kikuchi was seated at a table with Mizuhara and others, but she openly exchanged looks with Jonze and was even seen kissing him.
According to one source, the couple met in December 2009 when Jonze visited Japan to promote "Where the Wild Things Are." They were introduced to each other and instantly hit it off. Kikuchi's agency has acknowledged the relationship, though they said it has just barely started.
One of Kikuchi's bases of activity is New York, and she reportedly flew from there to Venice together with Jonze. After the festival ends, they plan on returning to New York.
Jonze was previously married to director and actress Sofia Coppola from 1999 to 2003. Kikuchi, on the other hand, was rumored to be living with Argentinian-born model and talento Federico Aletta in 2007.