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."
DREAMS COME TRUE kicked off their latest tour (in collaboration with Pocari Sweat) on Saturday with a concert in Osaka. During the encore, they announced that they are releasing a new album titled "LOVE CENTRAL" on November 30. In addition, they announced that at their "WINTER FANTASIA" events this year (December 8-27), they plan to perform the entire tracklist of "LOVE CENTRAL," in order.
The duo also revealed that they will hold their next "DREAMS COME TRUE WONDERLAND" concert series in summer 2011, though dates and details are still unknown. The "WONDERLAND" shows are always a special event for DREAMS COME TRUE, as they have held them every four years since 1991.
Yukie Nakama (30) will star in a true suspense drama special this December in Fuji TV's "Kinyo Prestige" time slot (Friday 9:00pm-10:52pm). Titled "Mesen," the story is based on a novel published last year by writer Setsuko Amano.
Nakama plays the daughter of a construction company president. She works as an illustrator, but due to an accident during her childhood, she has been using a wheelchair almost her whole life. One day, her father suddenly commits suicide, and one by one the other members of the family fall victim to a string of mysterious murders. Nakama's character begins her search for the killer, uncovering the clever tricks used in the murders and the unexpected culprit's sorrowful motive.
The supporting cast includes Koji Yamamoto (33), Takashi Ukaji (48), and Kitaro (62). Fuji TV has not yet announced a specific broadcast date.
Promotions have begun for the movie "Gokutsuma Deka," based on the manga of the same name. The action flick will star Rio Matsumoto (27) in her first lead role on the big screen since "Tomie: Beginning" in 2005.
Matsumoto first mentioned her part in the movie in a blog post this past June. She will play the protagonist Sakura, the manager of a high-class club and the wife of a yakuza boss. When her husband gets arrested, the police strike a deal with her to reduce his sentence, and she goes undercover for them to investigate an unsolved crime.
"Gokutsuma Deka" is directed by Takeshi Yokoi. The movie opens in theaters on October 30.
Actress Mao Inoue (23) has been chosen to star in a movie adaptation of Mitsuyo Kakuta's popular novel "Youkame no Semi." Izuru Narushima is directing the film, scheduled for release in 2011.
Inoue plays Erina, a young woman who was abducted as a baby by her father's mistress Kiwako (Hiromi Nagasaku). Kiwako raises Erina as her own child up until her arrest four years later. Erina grows up but has no place to truly call home, and she ends up carrying on her own affair with a married man and becoming pregnant.
The focus of the story is on the two women Erina and Kiwako. Their supporting cast includes Eiko Koike, Hitori Gekidan, Tetsushi Tanaka, Yoko Moriguchi, and Jun Fubuki. The script is being handled by Satoko Okudera ("Summer Wars"). Filming is expected to wrap up at the end of October.
"Youkame no Semi" was previously adapted as a television drama on NHK earlier this year.
Saki Aibu (25) is set to star in a new mobile phone drama on BeeTV, titled "Sayonara no Koi." The story is described as the "ultimate love triangle," in which she plays opposite Kei Tanaka (26) and Takaya Kamikawa (45).
Aibu plays an agency employee named Sena, who was raised by a single mother. She is engaged to a fellow employee who is the son of a politician (Tanaka), but her heart is also pulled by a former genius composer who currently works as part of the cleaning staff for her building (Kamikawa).
The drama is scheduled to last 12 episodes, coming out every Thursday after its premiere on October 1. Other cast members include Ritsuko Tanaka, Maju Ozawa, and Emiri Nakayama. The theme song "Tsuki to Taiyou ni Yureru Sora" is being sung by miray, who will also appear in the drama as herself.
Ryokuji Yoshizawa's manga "Zannen na Ko, Non-chan" is getting a live-action adaptation, starring former AV actress Mihiro (28).
"Zannen na Ko, Non-chan" is about a junior high student named Non-chan who has cute looks, good friends, and seemingly nothing to be unhappy about. However, unfortunate things are constantly happening to her.
The live-action version will initially be available for purchase at the end of this year through Vap's Tokyo Adolescence website.
Yoshizawa has also started a new manga series titled "Yamachichi" in the magazine Young Champion.
Actress Chiaki Kuriyama (25) has lined up her second release as a singer, which will be a collaboration with rock guitarist Tomoyasu Hotei (48). Titled "Kanousei Girl," the song will be used as the opening theme for the "Gintama" anime series, starting on October 4.
Using the artist name CHiAKi KURiYAMA, the actress made her singing debut this past February with "Ryusei no Namida," which was the theme song for "Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn." This time, Kuriyama has opted for a rock sound with "Kanousei Girl," with Hotei's help.
Kuriyama has loved rock music for a long time, and she even bought her own guitar to practice at home. Inspired to sing a rock tune, she asked Hotei to create a song for her, and he agreed to her offer. The two have indirectly worked together before - his song "Battle Without Honor or Humanity" was used in the movie "Kill Bill Vol. 1," in which Kuriyama became famous for playing the character Gogo Yubari.
"Kanousei Girl" will be released as a single on November 17.
Multi-talented idol Shoko Nakagawa (25) is expanding her repertoire even further, taking on her first directorial duties for a short film. The piece is a prologue to Kazuya Konaka's "Nanase Futatabi," which is based on Yasutaka Tsutsui's classic sci-fi novel of the same name.
Nakagawa is known for doing many things, including singing, acting, and drawing manga, but this is her first time directing. She is said to be a big fan of Tsutsui's works, so she was excited to take on the project. The short is about 7 minutes in length, leading up to the story in the feature-length film. Sei Ashina (26) stars in both, playing a young woman with the ability to read minds, who bands together with others possessing similar powers to fight against an organization that is trying to eliminate them.
Filming for the short film took place earlier this month. In an unusual move, the distributor Toei has decided that the prologue will be screened right before the actual movie, so that audiences don't miss out on that part of the story. "Nanase Futatabi" will open in theaters on October 2.
It is being reported that actress Aya Ueto (25) and V6 member Go Morita (31) have broken up, ending a romance that lasted nearly 8 years. Based on information from multiple sources, it appears that they separated in May, about a month after they first publicly acknowledged their relationship.
Rumors about Ueto and Morita started at the end of 2002, when a magazine published an article claiming that they were dating. Neither side acknowledged those rumors until April of this year, when Ueto confirmed that she was in a relationship. At that time, it was also reported that the two were getting close to marriage.
After those reports of imminent marriage, it is said that Ueto and Morita re-examined their plans for the future. Ueto apparently has a strong desire to get married, but based on the fact that Morita is part of an idol group and both of their schedules are so busy that they often cannot meet, they mutually decided to break up and focus on their careers for now. Sources assure that this is not the result of a fight, nor has either side found someone new.