TOKYO: A live-action film adaption of popular Japanese manga (graphic novel) "Ruruoni Kenshin", which stars Japanese actor Takeru Sato as the film's hero Kenshin Himura, will go into production in July, reported Japanese media.
"Ruruoni Kenshin" revolves around Himura, a master samurai who had slain countless men over the course of his career as the deadly assassin Hitokiri Battousai.
He vows to stop killing after the Meiji Restoration, a series of events that restored imperial rule to Japan, leaving his life of bloodshed behind to lead the life of a wanderer who protects the weak with his skills.
"Everyone knows the character Kenshin in the original work. I think engaging acting is required.
"I will work with the production staff to create a Kenshin that stays true to the details [in the Manga]," said 22-year-old Sato, who is now undergoing swordsmanship training.
The creator of "Ruruoni Kenshin", 41-year-old manga artist Nobuhiro Watsuki, was happy that the role of Kenshin Himura went to Sato.
"When the project first began, I and my wife were discussing who should play Kenshin, and Takeru Sato was the first person who came to mind.
"So when it was confirmed [that Sato would play Himura], I was surprised but also very happy," said Watsuki.
The rest of the film's cast will be announced at a later date.
Warner Brothers will produce the film, which is scheduled for a 2012 release.
Dream Morning Musume member and former Morning Musume member Ishikawa Rika (26) has landed her first starring movie role. She will headline the cast of “Atsuhime Number 1,” a film produced by Tsunku (42) that is expected to be released next year.
In the story, Ishikawa plays the part of Atsuhime, a princess during the Edo period. A time slip sends her into the present day, where she becomes a hostess at a high-class Ginza club. Nakazawa Yuko (38), who is also part of Dream Morning Musume, will play Atsuhime’s mentor Tae. According to Tsunku, he is considering including surprise appearances by current and former Morning Musume members.
“Atsuhime Number 1″ will begin filming next month. Before that, Ishikawa is planning to make a trip to an actual Ginza hostess club in order to prepare for the role. An exact release date has not been set yet, but it is currently planned for release in spring 2012 or later.
Tsunku stated that a portion of the movie’s ticket sales will be donated to earthquake relief efforts through Up-Front Group’s ongoing charity project.
Actress Fukiishi Kazue (28) will star in a TV Asahi drama series this summer titled “Barairo no Seisen.” The show is based on Koyama Yukari’s popular manga of the same name, which is currently being serialized in Kodansha’s magazine Kiss.
Fukiishi plays a housewife named Makoto whose peaceful life suddenly changes when she learns of her husband’s affair. Determined to reaffirm her own beauty, she decides to try becoming a fashion model.
Hasegawa Tomoharu (39) will play Makoto’s husband, while Watanabe Konomi (4) will play their daughter. Inoue Jun (64) has been cast as Makoto’s father. Natsuki Mari (59) will play the president of Makoto’s modeling agency, and Ashina Sei (27), Nakama Lisa (28), and Takizawa Saori (29) will also play models. Kaname Jun (30) will round out the cast as a popular photographer.
“Barairo no Seisen” will air on Sundays at 11:00pm this summer.
Popular male idol group SMAP will release a charity album called “SMAP AID” on Aug 17. The album will feature songs voted on by fans.
According to SMAP’s management, Johnny’s Entertainment, many Japanese fans wrote to the agency following the March earthquake and tsunami disaster to say that SMAP songs cheered them up in the wake of the tragedy. The messages led to the album’s concept.
The album, which will sell for 3,570 yen, will come with a yellow or red handkerchief—red representing health, and yellow representing happiness. Two hundred yen from the sale of each album will go to the “Marching J” charity project.
The band will also hold a fan meet-and-greet on Sept 9, where 1,000 fans who participate in a lottery will get the new album for free.
V6 member Okada Junichi (30) is starring in a new movie called “Tenchi Meisatsu,” directed by Takita Yojiro (“Okuribito”). He is joined by actress Miyazaki Aoi (25), whom he previously worked with on the movie “Kagehinata ni Saku” in 2008.
“Tenchi Meisatsu” is an adaptation of an award-winning novel by Ubukata Tow (“Le Chevalier D'Eon,” “Mardock Scramble”). Okada plays the role of Shibukawa Shunkai, an astronomer and Go player in the early Edo period who was later known as Yasui Santetsu. The story follows his life as he undertook the significant project of revising the calendar, leading to the invention of the Jokyo calendar that was used for several decades.
Miyazaki plays the wife of Shibukawa, whom she initially meets through her mathematician brother (Sato Ryuta). Kanjani8 member Yokoyama Yu plays Honinbo Dosaku, Shibukawa’s rival in Go. Other cast members include Nakai Kiichi, Matsumoto Koshiro, Ichikawa Somegoro, Ichikawa Kamejiro, Sasano Takashi, Kishibe Ittoku, Watanabe Dai, and Shirai Akira.
Hisaishi Jo is handling the soundtrack. Filming is scheduled to finish in mid-August, and theatrical release is planned for fall 2012.
Last November, actress Takeuchi Yuko (31) starred in the Fuji TV drama special “Strawberry Night.” That special is now being turned into a full drama series, scheduled for broadcast early next year. Takeuchi will return with other main cast members like Takeda Tetsuya (62) and Nishijima Hidetoshi (40), and Koide Keisuke (27) has been revealed as one of the new cast additions.
The “Strawberry Night” drama special was based on a bestselling mystery novel by Honda Tetsuya, part of the “Himekawa Reiko” series. The new drama series will continue the story with several of the other “Himekawa Reiko” books.
Takeuchi once again plays the protagonist Himekawa Reiko, an elite police detective who has quickly risen in the ranks. Because of her keen instincts, she is said to understand a criminal’s thoughts even better than the criminal himself.
Besides Takeda, Nishijima, and Koide, the cast also features Ukaji Takashi, Namase Katsuhisa, Takashima Masahiro, Endo Kenichi, Watanabe Ikkei, and Tsugawa Masahiko.
Filming for the show has already begun, though Fuji TV plans to broadcast it next year, starting in January.
Former Morning Musume member Ichii Sayaka (27) and former musician Yoshizawa Naoki (35) have divorced. Ichii’s management agency announced on Monday that she got divorced on May 23, just one day after Yaguchi Mari (28), another former Morning Musume member, got married.
Ichii and Yoshizawa got married in May 2004. Since then, Ichii gave birth to two daughters, currently ages 6 and 4. Although she left show business for a time, she returned in 2009 and has mainly been active in modeling and acting.
Although Ichii’s agency did not announce the reason for the divorce, this week’s issue of Shukan Josei published a comment on the matter, supposedly from someone who knows the couple. According to that article, Yoshizawa has been negligent in his child-raising responsibilities, leading to feelings of mistrust. It is also said that since his retirement as a guitarist, there was a time when Yoshizawa did not have a steady job.
Singer-songwriter Kawaguchi Kyogo (36), known for hits such as “Sakura,” is soon getting married. His wife-to-be is half-Mexican talento Cecilia (30), who is mainly active as a television and radio personality. The two plan to register their marriage sometime this month.
Kawaguchi and Cecilia first got to know each other about 10 years ago, when they were both regulars on separate radio shows on FM Shiga. They went separate ways after that, but in December of last year they met again through a friend. They soon began dating around Christmas, and it is said that they had been thinking about marriage from the start.
Kawaguchi is starting a tour on June 30, and he is also soon releasing a new cover album titled “Kimi wo Suki Datta Ano Koro 2.”
Actress Inoue Mao (24) is currently starring in NHK's asadora Ohisama. Photos of her wearing a shiromuku (traditional wedding kimono) for the drama was revealed earlier in the week. Her attire ties in appropriately with the storyline for next week, titled "Kyou dake no Hanayome" (A Bride for Only Today). Inoue comments on her first time wearing a shiromuku, "I've had experience wearing wedding dresses before on other projects, but I never had the chance to wear a shiromuku. I really wanted to try wearing one, so I'm grateful I've been able to with filming Ohisama."
Next week's storyline will follow Yoko and Kazunari's wedding in the midst of the Second World War. There will be a sense of bittersweetness for Yoko as her husband returns to the battlefield the morning after the ceremony.
At an earlier press conference prior to the Tohoku earthquake, Inoue had mentioned how she hoped the drama will bring happiness to everyone in Japan. As her character is the Taiyou no Yoko, no matter what setbacks she encounters, she always remembers to smile through the tough times. With the current situation in Japan, hopefully the message behind the story will resonate with everyone.
Ohisama airs Monday to Saturday at 8:00 a.m. Next week will be the tenth week of the drama.
Inoue Mao Wears Her First Wedding Kimono for NHK's Asadora
Actress Mizuki Alisa (34) will star in a new TBS drama series this summer, making her the first person ever to have a lead role in a drama series for 20 consecutive years. Her part this time is in “Hanawake no Yon-shimai,” based on a manga by Saimon Fumi (“Tokyo Love Story,” “Asunaro Hakusho”).
Serialized from 2005 to 2008 in Kodansha’s magazine Morning, “Hanawake no Yon-shimai” is a comedy depicting the ups and downs of four sisters. Mizuki plays the second eldest Takemi, who has divorced twice and is a single mother of three children.
Kichise Michiko (36) plays the eldest sister Fujiko, an “unbeatable” fashion magazine editor. Kanjiya Shihori (25) plays the third sister Sakurako, an employee at a wig maker who is easily swayed by others and who is searching for her true self.Kawashima Umika (17) plays the youngest sister Ume, a 2nd-year theater student at an art college who has zero experience in love.
All four of the sisters are connected somehow to a freelance photographer, played by NEWS member Kato Shigeaki (23). The sisters’ parents are being played by Endo Kenichi (49) and Miyazaki Yoshiko (52).
“Hanawake no Yon-shimai” will air in TBS’s Sunday 9:00pm time slot (currently occupied by “JIN”). The series will premiere sometime in July.
Actress Maki Yoko (28) is taking on the lead role in an NHK drama series at the end of this year. Titled “Kare, Otto, Otoko Tomodachi,” the series is based on the novel “Omoiwazurau Koto Naku Tanoshiku Ikiyo” by the popular, prize-winning author Ekuni Kaori.
The story focuses on the love lives of three sisters and their bonds as a family. Maki plays the middle sister Haruko, who turns down a marriage proposal from her beloved boyfriend. Kimura Tae (40) plays the eldest sister Asako, who is hiding the fact that she is suffering from domestic violence by her husband. Kaho (19) has the role of the youngest sister Ikuko, who is unable to understand the concept of love.
Nagatsuka Kyozo and Takahata Atsuko have been cast as the parents of the three sisters. Yusuke Santamaria, Tokui Yoshimi (Tutorial), Miura Takahiro, and Kataoka Reiko also have supporting roles.
NHK plans to broadcast the show as an 8-episode series between November 1 and December 20, running in a Tuesday 10:00pm time slot. Composer Oshima Michiru is handling the soundtrack, while Ando Yuko is providing the theme song, “Kagayakashiki Hibi.” Asano Taeko is in charge of the script.
Maki previously starred in “Shukan Maki Yoko” in 2008, but that series consisted of unrelated episodes by different writers and directors. “Kare, Otto, Otoko Tomodachi” will count as her first true starring role in a television series.
Model Masuwaka Tsubasa (25) is about to make her debut as a singer. On July 20, she will release her debut single “Bunny days♥” under the stage name Milky Bunny.
“Bunny days” is a song aimed at girls in love, describing the “fluffy, fun time” just before a friend becomes a lover. The song will be used in a commercial for the cosmetics brand CandyDoll, produced by Masuwaka herself. She also appears in the commercial, which is scheduled to begin airing on June 16.
Masuwaka said that she has been dreaming of becoming a singer for a long time. She remarked, “The things that I couldn’t express as Masuwaka Tsubasa, I hope that I can convey them through my music activities as Milky Bunny. Please look forward to it.”
It was reported on Friday that former Morning Musume member Yaguchi Mari (28) and former D-BOYS member Nakamura Masaya (25) were planning to get married this month. Sure enough, they announced their marriage at a press conference on Sunday. The two submitted their marriage registration late at night on May 21, technically during the early hours of May 22.
Yaguchi and Nakamura met around the start of 2010, and their relationship became public in May of that year. Nakamura said that he proposed to Yaguchi on January 20 of this year, her 28th birthday. They originally intended to register their marriage in March, but they postponed it due to the Tohoku earthquake.
Reporters asked various questions during the press conference, such as whether their height difference (almost 50 centimeters) was a problem. Yaguchi replied that it wasn’t, and Nakamura bashfully explained that he usually lifts her up when they kiss.
When asked about how they started dating, Nakamura said they met through a mutual friend. He said that they had matching interests, such as enjoying drinking and liking the same anime series. Yaguchi remarked that previously, some news sources inaccurately reported that she had fallen in love at first sight and aggressively pursued Nakamura, but the truth is that they instantly got along and began dating right away.
The two were also asked about Nakamura’s proposal. They were both in Osaka for work on Yaguchi’s birthday, and they went out to a fancy izakaya, where Nakamura presented her with an engagement ring with the words, “I’ll protect you for the rest of my life.” “He worked hard to buy that ring,” Yaguchi said. Nakamura explained, “I can’t say what my salary is, but it was more than three months’ worth.” Yaguchi jokingly countered, “It was probably about one year’s worth.”
Asked about their plans for children, Nakamura said that they both like kids, but because they are both working, they will leave it up to when the timing is right. Yaguchi admitted that she would like to have children soon.
The two have not yet decided on a date for their wedding ceremony.
The latest film from director Gu Su-yeon (“Guuzen ni mo Saiaku no Shounen”) will star actor Matsuda Shota (25), it has been revealed. Titled “Hard Romanticker,” the film is based on Gu Su-yeon’s debut novel of the same name, a partially autobiographical account of his experiences as a second-generation Korean in Japan.
Matsuda plays the part of Gu, a high school dropout who works as a part-timer. He gets tangled in trouble through a gangster that he has known since he was a child (Maki Kurodo), leading to the involvement of a police detective (Watabe Atsuro).
For the role, Matsuda came up with the idea to dye his hair blond and slick it back. Filming started on April 29 and is planned to finish at the end of this month. The story is set in Shimonoseki, Yamaguchi (where Matsuda’s father and legendary actor Matsuda Yusaku was born) and in Ogura, Fukuoka.
The supporting cast also features Nagayama Kento, Emoto Tokio, Maki Yoko, Watanabe Dai, Endo Yuya (D-BOYS), Ochiai Motoki (NAKED BOYZ), Ishigaki Yuma, Endo Kaname, Ashina Sei, Nakamura Shido, Hakuryu, Kaneko Nobuaki, Kawano Naoki, and Awaji Reiko.
“Hard Romanticker” is scheduled for release in early 2012.