Russell Brand Deported From Japan

Well, that’s one way to breakup a romantic rendezvous.

While visiting his wife Katy Perry on tour in Japan, Russell Brand was reportedly deported on Saturday. Both Katy and Russell gave a play-by-play of the situation on Twitter….

Last night, Katy tweeted the news: "So…my husband just got deported from Japan. I am so. sad. I brought him all this way to show him my favorite place #tokyodreamscrushed"

Read the rest of the story: Russell Brand Deported From Japan.

Justin Bieber lifts spirits in tsunami-hit Japan

Youve likely heard the idiom, "politics makes strange bedfellows." In Tokyo, at the U.S. Ambassadors Residence, the saying came to life as teen heartthrob Justin Bieber, the American and Canadian ambassadors to Japan and nine children from the tsunami-ravaged region of Japan gathered in a small room in front of the international press.

The 17-year-old Canadian pop star walked into the room with the children and squeezed onto a couch with them. The girls and boys, all representatives of some of the hardest-hit communities in northeastern Japan, shyly peered at Bieber as he made small talk with them.

Read the rest of the story: Reporters notebook: Justin Bieber lifts spirits in tsunami-hit Japan.

Cancer takes Actor Kodama Kiyoshi at 77

Veteran actor Kodama Kiyoshi has passed away at the age of 77. His management agency broke the news that he succumbed to stomach cancer at a Tokyo hospital at 12:28pm on Monday, May 16.

According to his agency, Kodama began feeling ill in late February of this year. A medical examination discovered that he had stomach cancer, and he began treatment in late March. Unfortunately, the cancer also spread to his liver, and last weekend his condition turned for the worse.

Kodama, whose real name was Kitagawa Kiyoshi, was born in 1934 and grew up in Tokyo. He was involved in theater during his time at Gakushuin University, and after graduation he passed an audition with the studio Toho. He began appearing in many Toho films during the 1960s, including Kurosawa Akira’s “Warui Yatsu Hodo Yoku Nemuru” (“The Bad Sleep Well”).

Kodama left Toho to go freelance in 1967. Besides his film roles, he also became well known in television dramas, such as “Arigatou,” “Shiroi Kyoto,” and “HERO.”

Matsuda Shota – star of “Hard Romanticker”

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.

Japan researcher builds tongue twisting internet kissing machine

Researches in Japan are hard at work developing an internet-enabled kissing simulator that will allow lovers – or perfect strangers – to reach out and buss someone.

"This device is for communications within the mouth," researcher Nobuhiro Takahashi of the Kajimoto Laboratory at The University of Electro-Communications in Tokyo told DigInfo TV. "In other words, the goal is to obtain the feeling of kissing."

Leering across the intertubes

Takahashi and his fellow researchers’ project is boffinistically described on the Laboratory’s website – and, in our opinion, rather less-than-alluringly illustrated (right) – as "Development of a kiss-like remote mouth communication device for close relationships".

Read the rest of the story: Japanese boffins build internet kissing machine.

Japan won’t let Sony bring up the PlayStation Network

Japan, home to electronics giant Sony, will not let the company bring its PlayStation network back online there until it convinces Japan that the game-playing network is secure.

Over the weekend, Sony started restoring network service, including to users in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the Middle East, after a massive security breach resulted in its shutdown for more than three weeks. The company said it is phasing in the network, and that it should be up and running worldwide by May 31. No date yet is set for countries in Asia, but Sony has indicated it will have a complete restoration by the end of May.

No matter: Kazushige Nobutani, of Japans Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, told Dow Jones Newswires that it will not allow the PSN back until it gets some assurances from Sony.

Read the rest of the story: Japan says Not so fast to Sony PlayStation Network.

Yakusho Koji to portray Yamamoto Isoroku in “Rengo Kantai Shirei Chokan: Yamamoto Isoroku”

Yakusho Koji (55) is set to star in a film called “Rengo Kantai Shirei Chokan: Yamamoto Isoroku,” directed by Narushima Izuru. He will play the part of Yamamoto Isoroku, who was the commander-in-chief of Japan’s Combined Fleet during the attack on Pearl Harbor in World War II.

The movie is a 1 billion yen project that has been in the works for the past four years. It promises to show a side of Yamamoto that has not been publicly known before, and the production staff declared that it wants to present an image of “what a Japanese leader should be.”

Born in 1884, Yamamoto grew up to become a graduate of the Imperial Japanese Naval Academy in 1904, and he served during the Russo-Japanese War. He later studied at Harvard University, then was promoted to captain within the Japanese Navy in 1923.

He continued to rise in the ranks, though he was personally opposed to many of the military actions taken by Japan before and during World War II. Although he was strongly reluctant to engage in war against the United States, Yamamoto was responsible for the planning of the preemptive attack on Pearl Harbor, which Japan hoped would be devastating enough to prevent the American naval forces from being able to interfere with Japanese operations in the Pacific.

After his defeat at the Battle of Midway, Yamamoto died in 1943 during a flight to the Solomon Islands when his aircraft was ambushed by American fighter planes.

The movie appears to focus on portraying Yamamoto as one who loved peace, cherished his subordinates, and agonized after becoming commander-in-chief. The production team describes Yamamoto as someone who “thought about human life and the future of Japan, and who possessed decisiveness and a forward-looking international sensibility.” Because of Japan’s current plight due to the recent Tohoku earthquake and Fukushima nuclear crisis, the staff also hopes to somehow present the meaning of true leadership.

According to a quote from someone involved in the project, Yakusho was the only actor ever considered for the role, and the movie would have been canceled if he turned it down. He was offered the part during the summer two years ago, and he accepted during the winter of last year.

The battle scenes will make extensive use of CG and special effects. Filming starts in Tokyo on May 15, and will continue in various parts of Japan with cooperation from the Ministry of Defense.

Toei plans to release the movie in theaters on December 23, 2011.

Hatsune Miku to hold 3D concert at Anime Expo 2011

The Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation (SPJA) has announced that virtual idol Hatsune Miku will hold a concert at the 2011 Anime Expo convention. This will be the character’s live concert debut in the United States.

The show at Anime Expo is based on Miku’s “39′s Giving Day” concert (“39″ can be read as “Miku”), her first ever solo concert that was held in Japan on March 9, 2010. Visuals for the show will be provided by SEGA under the overall supervision of Crypton Future Media, the company that created the Vocaloid synthetic voice software used for Miku’s music. The concert will feature holographic 3D projection, which was not used in the original “39′s Giving Day” concert.

Blogger Danny Choo, who is attending the convention as a guest of honor, revealed that he will also serve as MC for the concert and related events. According to Choo, the other Vocaloid characters Kagamine Rin, Kagamine Len, and Megurine Luka will also make appearances.

Miku was recently chosen as the image character for a U.S. ad campaign for Toyota’s 2011 Corolla.

Anime Expo is being held on July 1-4 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. The concert will take place on July 2 at the Nokia Theater, sponsored by SPJA, Crypton Future Media, SEGA, Tokyo Kawaii Magazine, and Toyota.

Model Hinami Kyoko to make movie debut in “Nanatsu Made wa Kami no Uchi”

Teen fashion model Hinami Kyoko (17) is starring in the latest film from horror director Miyake Ryuta (“Ju-on: Shiroi Roujo”). Hinami has made appearances in a couple television dramas before, but this is her big screen debut.

Titled “Nanatsu Made wa Kami no Uchi,” the movie is described as a suspenseful thriller, involving the mysterious disappearances of three girls and a mother. It all ties into a traumatic incident that took place in a forest 10 years earlier, and a young high schooler (Hinami) who has closed off her heart and is constantly going to a church.

Kirishima Reika, Asuka Rin, Fujimoto Nanami, and Komakine Ryusuke have also been cast. Endo Koji is handling the soundtrack. The movie opens in theaters on August 20.

Hinami entered show business after winning nicola’s 10th Model Audition in 2006. She has appeared in several magazines but is currently exclusively signed to non-no. Since April of this year, she has been a regular on Fuji TV’s morning show “Mezamashi TV.”