Kitagawa Keiko & Nishikido Ryo together in “Dakishimetai”

Kitagawa Keiko and Nishikido Ryo will be working together for the first time in the new movie “Dakishimetai” which is based on a true story set in Hokkaido’s Abashiri City.

The movie will be out next year. Kitagawa plays the role of Yamamoto Tsukasa who suffers serious injuries during a traffic accident in senior high school. She’s left paralysed on the left side of her body and has difficulty remembering things.

Nishikido plays a taxi driver Koyanagi Masami who falls for Tsukasa and subsequently marries her after overcoming many difficulties. However, Tsukasa’s death after she gives birth to their child marks a tragic end to their love story.

Crying, yet?

The story of Tsukasa was first featured in the TBS documentary “Kioku Shougai no Hanayome Saiki no Hohoemi” aired in July of 2011. It showed how the real Hagida Tsukasa battled her physical problems and gave birth.

In preparation for the role, Kitagawa has learned how to operate a wheelchair–with her right hand only. She’s also learned how to shoot in below freezing weather.

Filming will begin this month for two weeks at Abashiri.

Nishikido hopes that he can work well with Kitagawa, who’s also from the Kansai region, and they can deliver a truly great love story.

Namie Amuro’s next single is “Big Boys Cry / Beautiful”

March 6th, Namie Amuro will be releasing her 39th single, “Big Boys Cry / Beautiful.”

The double A-side single will showcase 2 songs used in a series of KOSE ESPRIQUE commercials. “Beautiful” is currently being used in the company’s commercials, while “Big Boys Cry” will be in commercials starting at the end of February.

Amuro is a model and spokesperson for KOSE ESPRIQUE, a Japanese cosmetic brand.

The upcoming release will only be available as a 4-track CD.

Track list:

1. Big Boys Cry
2. Beautiful
3. Big Boys Cry (Instrumental Version)
4. Beautiful (Instrumental Version)

Akira Kurosawa, Ryuzo Kikushima, Hideo Oguni and Shinobu Hashimoto to be honored by Hollywood

Legendary Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa and three of his compatriots will be honored by the Writers Guild of America (WGA) next month for their lifetime of work on movies that organizers said have “given us all a taste of the sublime.”

The WGA’s West branch, which represents the U.S. West Coast writers of TV, films, radio and Internet programming, said that the late Kurosawa and his collaborators Ryuzo Kikushima, Hideo Oguni and Shinobu Hashimoto, will receive the Guild’s 2013 Jean Renoir Award for Screenwriting Achievement on February 17 in Los Angeles.

The 94-year-old Hashimoto is the lone surviving member of the group. He is not expected to attend the ceremony.

Read the rest of the story: Legendary Japanese filmmakers to be honored by Hollywood.

8K TV broadcasting future of Japan’s NHK

Japan’s public broadcaster says it could begin transmissions in a format with 16 times the resolution of today’s high-definition television in 2016.

The format, called Super Hi-Vision, has been under development by Nippon Hoso Kyokai (NHK) for the last few years. Super Hi-Vision images have a resolution of 7,680 pixels by 4,320 pixels. That’s four times the resolution of “4K” television that’s currently being touted by TV set makers as the next big thing.

The first major test of the format came at last summer’s Olympic Games in London, where NHK produced 6 channels of live Super Hi-Vision coverage for distribution at public viewing sites around the U.K. and back in Japan.

The test was a “great success,” said Yoshiaki Shishikui, head of the advanced television systems research division at NHK’s science and technology research laboratory.

Read the rest of the story: Japan’s NHK eyes 8K TV broadcasting from 2016.

Oguri Shun & Yamada Yu have another wedding in Hawaii

Actor Oguri Shun and actress Yamada Yu, who registered their marriage back in March last year, held their wedding ceremony and reception party in Hawaii’s Lanai island.

The ceremony was held at Four Seasons Resort Hawaii, Lana’i at Manele Bay in a garden-wedding style. Though the couple has already held a wedding in Yamada’s hometown Okinawa in last October, they always wanted to hold another wedding in Hawaii where the memorable place for the couple as they visited there many times since they started dating in spring of 2008.

Rakugo-ka Shofukutei Tsurube and Kinashi Noritake (of comedian duo Tunnels) served as their guardians, and about 100 people including their families and close friends attended the wedding. Yamada wore a wedding designed by Ian Stuart, and Oguri wore a pink vest. Reportedly, it was the wedding full of laughter.

The couple sent the written message to the press, “In the beginning of the new year, we received a lot of congratulations from our great friends and seniors for our marriage. From here on, we would like to continue to face with our work sincerely while cherishing a family.”

In the end of the ceremony, Yamada said with a smile, “It was such a wonderful wedding ceremony. I am truly happy that many people congratulated us.”

ATARU TV Series to Continue in Movie

On January 6th, TBS offered a pleasant surprise for the fans of the popular drama ‘ATARU‘ at the end of its four-hour long special episode.

The drama – starring SMAP’s Nakai Masahiro – is going to be continued even further with an upcoming movie titled ‘ATARU THE FIRST LOVE & THE LAST KILL‘ (tentative).

Not much information is known about the movie adaptation other than TOHO is going to distribute it nationwide and that its official website can be accessed via

‘ATARU’ is an original drama by scriptwriter Sakurai Takeharu and features Nakai Masahiro as the lovable ‘Chokozai’ aka ‘Ataru’, who is suffering from the savant syndrome. Chokozai helps out two detectives – played by Kuriyama Chiaki and Kitamura Kazuki – solve various difficult cases by using his extraordinary memory and deductive skills. The drama started off with a high television rating of 19.9% and even recorded a single-episode rating of 21.7% during its run.

Therefore, TBS offered it a special episode that aired on the 6th. It was split into two separate stories titled ‘Suteyama Tanteisha Monogatari ~’Anan Kota-kun Yuukai Jiken’ ni Chokozai tachi ga Idomu!!~‘ and ‘ATARU Kanzen Shinsaku Special – New York Kara no Chousenjo!!‘. The latter featured guest stars such as Horikita Maki, Okada Masaki, and AKB48’s Shimazaki Haruka.

“Soshite chichi ni naru” Marks Fukuyama Masaharu’s Return

Fukuyama Masaharu marks his return to movies playing a father role for the first time. “Soshite chichi ni naru” is scheduled to be shown in cinemas from October 5th, 2013. The movie is directed by Koreeda Hirokazu.

Fukuyama plays the role of an elite salaryman Nonomiya Ryota who is very egoistic. However, he encounters the biggest crisis of his life, when he finds out that he has unwittingly raised someone elses son for the past 6 years due to his own son accidentally being switched with someone elses at birth.

His wife is played by Ono Machiko while the other couple whose child gets swapped is played by Lily Frankie and Maki Youko.

Iijima Naoko married a company CEO on Christmas Day

Iijima Naoko announced her marriage to a company CEO who is one year her senior through a fax statement released by her agency on Christmas Day. There are no plans for Iijima to hold a press conference with regard to this. In the statement, Iijima revealed that she met her current husband three years ago and marriage was a natural progression of their relationship. She also praised her husband for being a wonderful guy who is supportive of her.

Iijima was previously married to TUBE’s vocalist Maeda Nobuteru from 1997 to 2001 before they divorced.

Matsuyama Kenichi and Ayase Haruka Taiga Stars

On December 20th, a “baton touch” ceremony between the current NHK Taiga drama star and upcoming Taiga drama star, was held at NHK Broadcasting Center. Matsuyama Kenichi who is starring in ongoing Taiga drama “Taira no Kiyomori“, and Ayase Haruka who will star in next Taiga drama “Yae no Sakura” attended the ceremony.

At the “passing the baton” ceremony, the stars usually exchange presents, so Matsuyama gave Kobe beef while Ayase gave “Okiagari-Koboshi”, a traditional doll from Aizu region of Fukushima prefecture. The “Okiagari-Koboshi” dolls were painted by Ayase herself, and she revealed, “I painted them yesterday, and it took a while until 3 o’clock in the morning, but I forgot to paint their hair.” Matsuyama answered happily, but repressing his laughter, “But, it is only one in the world.”

Matsuyama commented regarding the filming which took a year and 2 months, “At first, I was so nervous to be the lead actor of the Taiga drama that has a long history. I was too nervous, so it caused me to restrict the range of my acting. It took me a while to get out of there.” Then Ayase who just begin filming in September, agreed him with, “Yes. You get stiff when you are nervous. I was just wising that I could relax more, and enjoy the filming.”

As announced previously, the upcoming Taiga drama, “Yae no Sakura” will depict the life of Niijima Yae, the wife of Niijima Jo who is the founder of Doshisha University, who strongly lived through that turbulent period. The script was written by Yamamoto Mutsumi, who was also in charge of the script for NHK’s morning drama “Gegege no Nyobo.”

“Yae no Sakura” will begin airing starting on January 6th after “Taira no Kiyomori” that will air its final episode on December 23rd.

‘Yako Kanransha’ theme song to be “Voice” by AI

Singer-songwriter AI’s new song “VOICE” has been chosen as the theme song for actress Suzuki Kyoka’s upcoming drama, ‘Yako Kanransha‘.

This was announced by AI herself during a dinner show in Tokyo on December 14th. She sang just the chorus as the first song of her encore. “It’s a type of drama that I love, so I was surprised to receive this offer. I sing a lot of happy songs, but I will at last sing the theme song for a suspense drama,” she shared. “I made this song with a message that ’real love’ is important.”

Producer Arai Junko commented, “For this occasion, I ordered a song with suspense from AI-san, who has the image of singing happy and cheerful songs. I was looking forward to what kind of chemical reaction would occur, but I had her read the script, and she was able to make a song that was beyond my imagination.”

‘Yako Kanransha’ will air on TBS every Friday at 10:00 pm starting January 18th. “VOICE” will be available for download on January 16th and will be released as a single on February 13th.