TOKIO's Taichi Kokubun (39) will become the main host of TBS' informational morning show that will begin in spring. This will be the morning show that will replace Hanamaru Market (Mon~Fri 8:30AM) which will end in March. Kokubun has had the opportunity to host a lot of programs before, but this will be the first time he will be hosting a morning show. He was chosen because of his ability to take charge, his likability, as well as his clean image. The title of the program is yet to be decided. Kokubun has had experience in various genres such as variety shows, sports, travel, cooking, as well as educational programs. His skills for taking charge is regarded highly, as he has won the Galaxy Award in May of 2006 (Association of Broadcast Critics). He was recognized for his contributions as a host to TV Asahi's Aura no Izumi and TBS' talk show R30. He also has a clean image that is necessary for being the face of mornings. He has previously won the Cotton Award, an award given to distinguished personalities with pleasant images. He was also the main caster for Fuji TV's coverage of last year's London Olympics, as he has proven that he has the composure to deal with sudden occurrences. The long running morning show Hanamaru, which has lasted for 17 years, has announced that it will end by March next year. Hanamaru became popular with all the lifestyle segments and promotions, but according to staff, the new program will be a variety informational show that is more news and entertainment-oriented. Back in 2008 when Kokubun had regular shows on all channels, including NHK, he was asked about having a daily program from Monday to Friday. He commented back then: "I haven't thought that far, but I'll do my best".
Artist Jin Akanishi was on the episode of SMAPxSMAP shown on the 25th. He was in BISTRO SMAP, the main segment of the show,together with Keanu Reeves and Kou Shibasaki, his co-stars in the movie 47 Ronin.
Akanishi looked back at his first Hollywood role and said: "It really was a valuable experience". All his lines were in English, and Nakai poked fun at Akanishi who previously went to the US to study the language by saying: "So how was it speaking in English? Oh right, you studied in one of those English schools in front of the train stations, right?"*. Takuya Kimura and Shingo Katori also used formal Nihongo to speak to him, like "Zehi, omeshi agari kudasai" (Please, help yourself) and "Irasshaimase" (Welcome). Akanishi who was treated like a VIP felt awkward and suddenly blurted out, "Ahh, I wanna go home~". When he was asked about his connection with Kusanagi, Akanishi revealed that: "I came to greet him once when he had a drama". Kusanagi who doesn't remember this at all replied with an "Uhmmm~". Akanishi didn't expect this reaction, let out an "Ehhh--!" and dropped his shoulders, and he was visibly uneasy from beginning to end. Akanishi also talked about doing acting duties alongside his works as an artist. He comments: "Acting is totally different from music. Music is much more about expressing yourself, while in acting, you have to become someone else". He also made comments about composing: "There are a lot of times when we compose the songs as a team. Song creation needs to have deadlines. If there's none, I'd just end up dwelling on a song forever. If there's no deadline, I will never feel satisfied with it".
* ("ekimae ryuugaku" = catchphrase of the language school NOVA literally meaning "attend language schools in front of stations"; as most of these establishments are located around train stations.) Source: http://news.livedoor.com/article/detail/8288454/
I ate some cold noodles (^O^) Bibim cold noodles and the regular noodles, one of each...!!! Oh no, I've been eating too much lately (o_o) There was even a time when I ate 9 meals in one day? (ﾟДﾟ) Is this what they call "preparing for hibernation"? (ﾟoﾟ;; Am I going to hibernate? And so I'm off to go do some training (=ﾟωﾟ)ﾉ
Monkey Punch's popular manga Lupin III will have a live action adaptation to be shown in summer next year. Shun Oguri has been cast to play Lupin III, while Tetsuji Tamayama will play Daisuke Jigen, Gou Ayano will play Goemon Ishikawa, Meisa Kuroki as Fujiko Mine, and Tadanobu Asano as Detective Zenigata. This is directed by Ryuhei Kitamura, known for his works with Hollywood, as well as for his movie Azumi. The manga began in 1967, and the TV anime followed in 1971. It was first adapted onto the silver screens in 1974, marking its 40th year from that version. The filming started last October 3 in Japan. They are currently in Thailand for a major on-location shoot that will last for 2 months, and will conduct further shoots in Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, and the Philippines by the end of this year. Oguri's comment about the adaptation of this beloved franchise is: "I also thought, 'Holy crap, a live action adaptation!'. I believe that a different version of Lupin III exists in each and every one of us. I'll do my best not to succumb to the heat in Thailand and portray a Lupin III that will be enjoyed by the generation who followed it in real time, as well as the younger generation!". He conducted a 10-month action training course in preparation for the role. He also lost about 8kg to stay loyal to Lupin's lanky stature.
It was revealed on the 24th that actress Satomi Ishihara (26) will be playing the heroine in Jun Matsumoto's (30) upcoming drama Shitsuren Chocolatier (Fuji, Monday-9). The drama is based on the popular manga of the same title, and Ishihara will be playing the role of Saeko Takahashi, the upper classman whom Sota Koyurugi (Jun Matsumoto) admires. Sota's approach will bear fruit as the two go steady, but she will eventually dump Sota on the day before Valentine's. Sota will attempt to win her heart again by going to France as he aims to become a chocolate specialist. The two will be starring alongside each other again, the last being the SP for Lucky Seven at the beginning of this year. Ishihara who has read the original comments: "It was funny, sad, and painful, I couldn't sleep for a while after reading it." "I am honored to be surrounded by such a wonderful cast as we start off 2014 with an exciting project that is engulfed by a lightly bitter aroma of chocolate". Other co-actors who will be taking part are Asami Mizukawa (30) as an older beauty who will run the chocolate shop together with Sota; Junpei Mizobata (24) as a half-Japanese, half-French student who will become Sota's best friend when he studies abroad; Kiko Mizuhara (23) as Sota's "sefure"* (* sex friend; or fu*k buddy); and Kasumi Arimura (20) as Sota's younger sister.
Ex-KAT-TUN member Koki Tanaka (28) showed off his "wotaku" side on his own Twitter account from the 24th to the 25th. He talked about his favorite manga and even responded to his followers' requests. Tanaka tweeted on the 24th: "I'm actually a movie, manga, anime, game, and novel otaku. Correction, a wotaku." He continued: "There have been a lot of really good mangas and anime recently like BTOOOM, Danganronpa, and Shingeki no kyojin. There's also Ishin Nishio-sensei's <monogatari> series that you just can't ignore". About the manga he likes: "I can't choose from JUMP so I won't include it. Recently there's Gangking, pupa, I am a hero, Imawanokuni no Alice, TERRA FORMARS, Ao no exorcist, Montage, ah, I can't write them all. If I write them all, it might take me about 200 tweets so I'll stop here". On the 25th, he revealed: "I'm actually a cosplayer too, I've already done FF10's Auron, One Piece's Ace and Law, Tokyo Ghoul's Kaneki, Shingeki no Kyojin's Levi". Followers requested that they wanted to see these, so Tanaka revealed his pictures as Ace and Law. He then tweeted: "Aren't you guys just toying with me? Please take this as my last one", as he posted his cosplay of Levi. Fans and followers got surprised at how high the quality was, as people have been "favoriting" his tweets and retweeting them. People have suddenly started saying: "I thought you were one of those people", "So it's true", "An ikemen ota..."
EXILE's vocalist TAKAHIRO (28) will be making his acting debut as an 'ikemen detective' in the drama Senryokugai Sosakan (NTV, Saturdays 9 pm) which will start airing in January. He will be forming a partnership with the lead Emi Takei (19) as they take on difficult cases. This drama will be a comedy based on the mystery novel of the same name. TAKAHIRO will be playing the role of Kyosuke Shitara, ace of the police department's criminal investigation division, a detective who has a bright future ahead of him and has a very strong sense of justice. He will however be working alongside "an inspector who can't be called an asset" (Takei), which will only worsen his standing. The character that he will be playing is a karate expert and martial artist. TAKAHIRO himself is a black belter in karate and will put his knowledge and skills to good use for this role. This year is TAKAHIRO's 8th year in EXILE, and last June, he also made his solo singing debut. He will be trying his hand at acting as he aims to expand his scope of activities. The production staff also comments: "We hope that TAKAHIRO-san can express himself and exhibit the sensibilities that he has been cultivating all this time". TAKAHIRO has been concentrating on dialogue recitation as well as acting lessons in preparation for the start of their filming early next month. He has also been doing kickboxing to train his body for the role. "There remains some unknown aspects about myself, but I want to tackle this like mad in order to express a new side of me." He also commented on his expectations of his comedy skits together with Takei: "I hope I can bring out new expressions and appeal in Takei-san".
NHK announced the participants for its annual Kouhaku Uta Gassen on the 25th.
NMB48 and Sexy Zone join the lineup for the first time, as well as singer Shigeru Izumiya, who will make his Kouhaku debut at the age of 65. Saburo Kitajima has also announced that this will be his last Kouhaku Uta Gassen, his 50th appearance overall.
A total of 51 participants will be taking part in the Kouhaku, 9 of which are first-timers. Aside from NMB, Sexy Zone, and Shigeru Izumiya, singer-songwriter miwa, EXILE's sister group the E-girls, Sakanaction, and Kouhei Fukuda will also make their debut.
5 groups are marking their comeback to the annual event: Dreams Come True after a 3-year absence, Mariko Takahashi (64) -- who celebrates her 40th year from her debut, will be making her first participation in 29 years, the last being in 1984 -- along with Yuzu and T.M.Revolution
Note: (Date of article: Nov. 24, before the official announcement. We'll have the official announcement thread soon) EXILE's sister group E-Girls are confirmed to have received the unofficial notice that they will be joining the lineup of this year's NHK Kouhaku Uta Gassen. They have won the right to perform at the Kouhaku ahead of the other girl groups. Their 3rd single "Follow Me" ranked 2nd in last year's Oricon weekly charts which marked their breakthrough. They released their first album Lesson 1 last April and ranked 1st in the weekly rankings. AKB and MomoClo are expected to take part in the event with NMB48 also looking likely to participate. A lot of girls' dreams were shattered along the way, but those who have survived the EXILE family's rigorous singing and dancing training regime have gone on to form the E-Girls in 2011. One condition to participate in the Kouhaku is how much the group has contributed to NHK. They have been able to appear as hosts on NHK's E-Tele program Aoyama Wansegu Kaihatsu (Fridays 00:30), taking over the hosting duties from MomoClo. In October of this year, the E-Girls' central figure Ami (25) commented: "We want to participate in the Kouhaku and make people more aware of the E-Girls. We want to fulfill our dreams." The girls, who have inherited EXILE's spirit, will now be making their gracious performance on the stage of their dreams.
V6 Yoshihiko Inohara (37) and Actress Asaka Seto (36) welcomed their second child on the afternoon of the 22nd. Both mother and daughter are healthy. This was informed by the couple through FAX on the 24th. Inohara's comment on the FAX was: "I pray that she'll look like my wife. All 4 of us in the family will live on happily without forgetting the feeling of gratitude". The couple got married in September 2007, where Inohara commented: "With the declining birth rate, I want to have 3 children". Their first child, a boy, was born in March, 2010.
- We were watching ZERO and my younger brother said Sakurai-kun got fatter w - My dad was watching ZERO and showed concern by saying, "Sakurai has put on some weight, is he stressed?" w - My husband said, "Sakurai-kun got fat". Sho-cha~~~n! Are your meals delicious? - Sakurai-kun got fat...? Hm? Didn't we meet the other day? - Oh, Sakurai-san gained weight? Hm? - Wait. Did Sakurai put on some weight? - Sakurai got fatter? wwwwwwwww - Did Sakurai get fat? I just saw the picture. Is he swelling or something? - Sakurai got fat......... - I knew it! So everyone was thinking of the same thing... Sakurai did put on some weight, right?
50 actual celebrity names were exposed in the tell-all book released by Mototaka Igawa, the former president of Daio Paper Corporation. Igawa has witnessed a lot of "sexual customer relations" between female idols and IT presidents as well as young businessmen. And all eyes now are on two former members of a popular idol group (both have already graduated) which were mentioned in the book, but their names left undisclosed. Igawa met the two girls who were still high school students back then in a bar in Azabu. He didn't make them drink alcohol, but instead just bought soft drinks for them. "And after giving them 10,000 each for their taxi fares, they persistently sent me texts and called me the following day. This continued for a few months, and they kept asking me to go out with them again, and... in other words, I always helped myself to sumptuous feasts."
There have already been a lot of rumors concerning IT company presidents, young businessmen, female talents, and idols, but most of these come from the members-only bars in Azabu, meaning that all people can do is speculate about these rumors. And because of that, Igawa's testimony can be considered pretty valuable.
Model Nozomi Sasaki and Maimai a.k.a the singer/songwriter chay (from the program Terrace House) were at Daikanyama Address Dixsept on the 15th for an illumination lighting ceremony.
Both hail from the same agency with Sasaki as the senior, as she describes chay as a "super cute kouhai (junior)". chay has been on the receiving end of criticism following her actions on the program, but Sasaki comments that: "I watch Terrace House every week, and she's still my cute little junior no matter what the public may think".
With all the year-end music shows announcing their participants, people have been talking about the lineup for NTV's Best Artist 2013, where only the groups from Julie Kitagawa's faction are participating. These include Arashi, TOKIO, and Kanjani8, among others, as well as the newly transferred Hey!Say!JUMP. The Iijima faction on the other hand is led by SMAP, and consists of Kis-My-Ft2, A.B.C-Z, and Sexy Zone to name a few. These 2 camps are battling it out for the right to succeed the agency in the future. "People may see this as a power struggle between Julie's camp vs. Iijima's camp, but the general consensus among the media is that Julie's camp is much stronger. Of course there's Arashi, and the groups who can handle main shows such as TOKIO and Kanjani8 have fully developed. Iijima-san has SMAP, but despite bartering Kis-My together with them for 2 years now, they haven't quite soared yet to meet their expectations. Her camp also has Tomohisa Yamashita and Jin Akanishi, but they're not "variety show-friendly" talents, which is the specialty of Iijima-san" - (TV station staff) These 2 factions are also split among the programs where they make their appearances, and seeing the members from each camp together on one show has become a rarity -- to the point that it might not even happen within the same year for other members. So what has made things as complicated as it currently is?