‘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.

“ATARU” Special Episode on TBS

TBS has announced that it will bring back the popular mystery drama series “ATARU” for a special episode early next year. The drama has SMAP’s Nakai Masahiro playing an autistic savant named Ataru (also known as Chokozai) whose incredible memory is the key to solving various crimes. The series got ratings as high as 21.7% during its broadcast from April to June of this year.

The main cast will naturally stay the same, as Nakai once again teams up with police detectives played by Kitamura Kazuki and Kuriyama Chiaki. The episode’s guest stars have not yet been announced.

At the end of the original series, Chokozai returned to New York, but when his younger brother Tasuku (who did not appear in the original show) becomes the suspect of a series of murders, Chokozai heads back to Japan to clear his brother’s name. Although he will be reunited with the two detectives, Chokozai will also have to deal with his toughest opponent yet – someone who has the same mental abilities as him.

TBS plans to broadcast the episode during the New Year’s period in 2013, but the specific date and time are still to be determined.

Kashii Yu will lead a new drama for TBS – Somato Kabushiki Gaisha

Kashii Yu will star in the new TBS psycho thriller drama titled ‘Somato Kabushiki Gaisha’ starting on July 16th. Kashii married actor Odagiri Joe back in February 2008, and gave birth to a baby boy in February 2011. This will mark her first comeback since.

The story will revolve around a mysterious place called ‘Somato Kabushiki Gaisha (Somato Inc.)’. It’s a place where people can see a visual representation of their life in the form of DVD’s.

‘Somato Kabushiki Gaisha’ will begin airing on July 16th, every Monday at 00:20am.

Erika Sawajiri to return to television with TBS’s “Akujo ni Tsuite”

Sawajiri Erika (25) will star in a drama special on TBS titled “Akujo ni Tsuite,” it has been announced. This will be Sawajiri’s first time acting in a television drama (not counting mobile TV) since a special episode of “1 Litre no Namida” in 2007.

“Akujo ni Tsuite” is an adaptation of a 1978 novel by the late writer Ariyoshi Sawako. The novel was a masterpiece of its time, and it was also notable for having a television drama airing as it was being serialized in a magazine.

Sawajiri plays Kimiko, the main character of the story who has died. Although the title implies that it is a story of a “wicked woman,” the original novel was divided into 27 chapters, one for each “testimony” by someone who knew Kimiko at some point in her life, providing a range of perspectives on what kind of person Kimiko was.

Sawajiri’s supporting cast has not yet been revealed, but expectations are high given the novel’s reputation and history.

“Akujo ni Tsuite” is scheduled to air on April 30.

Kinami Haruka in new “Kazoku Hakkei” drama series

This winter, actress Kinami Haruka (26) will take on her first starring role in a drama series. The drama is based on “Kazoku Hakkei,” a 1972 novel by sci-fi author Tsutsui Yasutaka (“Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo”) that was already adapted as a television drama in 1979 and 1986.

Kinami has been cast as Hita Nanase, a housekeeper with the psychic ability to read people’s minds, leading her to uncover the secrets of the households where she works. The character was previously played by Takigawa Yumi and Hori Chiemi.

Kinami entered show business in 2001 when she won Horipro’s New Star Audition. She appeared in the “20th Century Boys” movie series and was the female lead in the movie “Kimi ga Odoru, Natsu.” She has also played supporting roles in various television dramas, including “Yuusha Yoshihiko to Maou no Shiro” this past summer.

The new “Kazoku Hakkei” will be aired in a late night time slot on TBS starting in January. The series will be directed by “20th Century Boys” director Tsutsumi Yukihiko.

Tumbling – New drama of men’s rhythmic gymnastics starring Yusuke Yamamoto

This spring, TBS will explore the world of men’s rhythmic gymnastics with a new drama series titled “Tumbling.” The show will feature a cast of popular young actors, led by Yusuke Yamamoto (22) in his first lead role in a series.

Yamamoto plays a high school delinquent who has a weakness for women. When an attractive transfer student (Azusa Okamoto) joins the women’s rhythmic gymnastics team, he responds by joining the men’s team and soon discovers a passion for the sport. Since last fall, Yamamoto has been undergoing special gymnastics training for the role.

Yusuke Yamamoto
Yusuke Yamamoto

Although men’s rhythmic gymnastics originated in Japan, the sport is still dominated by women. It is estimated that there are only about a thousand men involved in the sport competitively.

The supporting cast of “Tumbling” includes Koji Seto, Shohei Miura, Shunsuke Daito, Takahiro Nishijima, Satoshi Tomiura, Tomo Yanagishita, Kento Kaku, Soran Tamoto, Rei Okamoto, Jiro Sato, Ryoko Kuninaka, and Nene Otsuka.