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Nov 1 2011

The upcoming drama mini-series “Shokuzai,” starring Koizumi Kyoko, had more of its cast revealed today. Actresses Aoi Yu, Koike Eiko, Ando Sakura, and Ikewaki Chizuru have been officially added to the show.
“Shokuzai” is based on a novel by “Kokuhaku” author Minato Kanae. The story revolves around a mother seeking revenge for the murder of her young daughter Emiri 15 years ago, confronting the four women who had witnessed the killer at the time.
The four women are being played by Aoi, Koike, Ando, and Ikewaki. 15 years earlier, when they were …

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Fashion, Music, Pop Culture »

Oct 31 2011

A recurring theme in the Strange Boutique column has been the question of what has gone wrong with pop music in Japan. Amid discussions of the pernicious influence of advertising agencies, record industry conservatism in the face of declining sales, and the faceless, self-replicating Eurobeat monstrosity from out of Akihabara, there was one fundamental thing that Japanese pop seemed to have lost: The ability to make you go, "Wha…?"
For many, however, a pinprick of light emerged from the shade of not-quite-as-influential-as-it-was Tokyo fashion hub of Harajuku this July with the …

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Music, Pop Culture »

Oct 31 2011

Idol group AKB48 has once again set a new sales record. Their 23rd single, “Kaze wa Fuiteiru,” officially went on sale on October 26, and in its first day it sold 1,045,937 copies. This surpasses their previous single “Flying Get,” which sold 1,025,952 in its first day.
AKB48 is not only the first group to sell 1 million copies of a single in one day, but now they are the first to do so twice in a row.
“Kaze wa Fuiteiru” is the group’s fifth single to sell more than a million …

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Movies/TV »

Oct 31 2011

NHK’s 2009 action/suspense drama series “Gaiji Keisatsu” is returning with a theatrical film, to be released next year. Watabe Atsuro (43) reprises the starring role. The supporting cast also includes Korean actor Kim Kang-woo in his first Japanese movie.
The “Gaiji Keisatsu” drama series revolved around a secret police division tasked with combating international terrorism and espionage. The movie is partly based on Aso Iku’s novel of the same name, produced by the same main staff that worked on NHK’s hit series “Hagetaka.” About a year and a half was spent …

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Fashion, Movies/TV, Pop Culture »

Oct 31 2011

According to this week’s issue of FRIDAY, actor Matsuda Shota (26) and model Kuroda Eimi (23) are in a romantic relationship.
The magazine published a photo of the pair leaving a bar together a few days ago. They later got in a taxi with another couple and got out at Matsuda’s apartment.
It is said that Matsuda and Kuroda’s apartments are within walking distance, so Kuroda has been visiting Matsuda once or twice a week. The two were also seen together at Matsuda’s mother’s birthday party on October 8.
A friend of Matsuda’s …

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Life in Japan, Politics, Pop Culture, Products, Technology »

Oct 27 2011

They don’t just sneak around, they sleep around. And if they’re already in a relationship, they’re called cheaters. In Japan, tech has helped them get away scott free for years. That’s changed.
With new smartphones and GPS tracking, it’s now possible to find phones—and presumably their owners. But what about privacy? And the law? Ha!
On Aug. 30 in Japan, an Android smartphone app called Kare Log ("Boyfriend Log") launched, allowing girlfriends to track smartphone GPS data via PC as well as the phone’s remaining battery life and call history.
Read the rest …

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Products, Video Games »

Oct 27 2011

Final Fantasy Type-0 is coming out soon in Japan, although sadly its fate in North America is unknown. Japanese reviews have been quite positive, with the game receiving near-perfect scores from Famitsu and Dengeki. The game comes on two UMDs. The first disc contains the beginning and end of the game, while the second disc contains the middle, meaning that gamers will be swapping UMDs a few times.
A few more features of the game have been revealed and discussed in the Japanese media. A chocobo breeding ranch at the game’s …

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Business, Movies/TV, News, Technology »

Oct 27 2011

Los Angeles-based Hulu, the online television and film streaming site, has expanded its distribution in Japan, via a deal with Sony. According to Hulu, it has launched on Sony BRAVIA HDTV and Sonys PlayStation 3 gaming consoles, as the first non-gaming app to be distributed on the PS3 in Japan. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed. Hulu announced its entry into the Japanese market on September 1st. Access to Hulu on those devices requires a monthly subscription to Hulus Japanese service.

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Music »

Oct 26 2011

Rock band X Japan has canceled their Beijing concert, which was scheduled to be held on November 2nd. This would have been the group’s first concert in that city.
Although X Japan successfully obtained approval for the concert from China’s government, the band’s agency said that they made the decision to cancel the show based on the judgment of the local promotional company. It appears that there were some problems with the technology and the production work necessary for the concert.
X Japan is set to embark on their Asia tour from …

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Movies/TV, Music, Pop Culture »

Oct 26 2011

Actress Takei Emi (17) will debut as a singer this December, it has been learned. Her debut single, “Koisuru Kimochi,” is described as a balled perfect for winter, written by GLAY’s TAKURO.
Because Takei has long been a fan of GLAY, she requested through her management agency to have TAKURO write a song for her. The song was recorded in early October.
“Koisuru Kimochi” will be released on December 14 through Universal Music’s Universal J label.
It appears that Takei will develop her singing career while continue with her acting. She already has …

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