Maeda Atsuko (20) of AKB48 announced at an AKB48 concert in Saitama Super Arena that she is graduating AKB48. These are news clips from today's morning news shows.
On March 26th, actress Kuroki Meisa attended a product launch event for Bandai’s “Smart Pet“. This marked her first public appearance after getting married to Akanishi Jin early last month.
To kick off the event, Kuroki reported, “I know I have caused everyone worries and troubles with the sudden announcement, but I got married on February 2nd.” She continued, “I’m happy. My physical condition is alright also.”
When asked about her rumored pregnancy, Kuroki kept silent and muttered, “I will talk about it at another time.”
Bandai’s new “Smart Pet” is a pet robot that operates together with an iPod or an iPhone. It features over 100 functions including games, speech and face recognition. “Smart Pet” will officially launch on April 28th.
In the CM, Kuroki can be seen dancing with the “Smart Pet”, becoming captivated by its cuteness. The actress shared that she plays with the robot pet off-set, and promoted the product saying, “I think it’s a fun CM. By all means, please keep it at home (as a pet).”
The new CM will feature Kuroki’s new song, “FRENEMY“, and will broadcast nationwide starting March 27th.
Source & Photos: Oricon
Yuka said in a statement released by her agency that she will be starring in a new TBS drama to air Thursday nights at 9 p.m.
Yuka’s last appearance as co-host of “King’s Brunch” will be Saturday March 31 from 9:30 a.m.
Acclaimed director Koreeda Hirokazu (“Nobody Knows,” “Air Doll”) is working on a new film that will star singer and actor Fukuyama Masaharu, it has been learned. This will be Fukuyama’s first lead role in a movie since “Yougisha X no Kenshin” in 2008.
The film’s title and story are still a secret, but it is said that Fukuyama plays an elite salaryman working for a major company in the city. Koreeda described the character as an unlikable and petty man who constantly talks of money and bad-mouths people behind their backs.
Fukuyama’s side proposed the project to Koreeda, saying, “Let’s make a movie together.” The actor and director met many times since before the story was decided, working on ideas for the movie together.
Filming already started on March 25. The movie will be released nationwide in 2013, but distributor Gaga Communications is also aiming to screen the movie at international film festivals and get the movie released overseas.
On March 25th, rock group L’Arc~en~Ciel performed at Madison Square Garden (MSG) in New York City. MSG is a world renowned venue and L’Arc became the first Japanese act to perform a solo concert there. Tons of fans packed the venue.
MSG is located in central Manhattan and it is a venue Western artists take much pride in performing in, MSG has the nickname of The World’s Most Famous Arena. L’Arc was first scheduled to hold their concert at another venue, but when around 5,000 tickets were sold on the spot, they changed their venue to MSG. Before their performance, leader Tetsuya commented, “It’s a privilege to stand on such a historic stage. We’re looking forward to it.”
Japanese culture is gradually becoming more popular in the United States, with anime being at the forefront. Vocalist Hyde commented on how some of their American fans are even memorizing and learning Japanese through L’Arc’s lyrics.
DIR EN GREY has announced that they will be releasing their tour documentary on Blu-ray and DVD in June and July. On June 20th, they’ll be releasing “TOUR2011 AGE QUOD AGIS Vol.1 [Europe & Japan]“, and on July 18th, they will release “TOUR2011 AGE QUOD AGIS Vol.2 [U.S. & Japan]“.
These new releases will feature a documentary of the band’s concert tour, “TOUR 2011 AGE QUOD AGIS“, and their special live, “UROBOROS -that’s where the truth is-“, which took place from August 2011 to January 2012. It will contain footage from both overseas and Japanese concerts, along with never-before-seen footage of the members.
Both regular edition DVDs will be a 2-disc set, while the limited edition DVDs will be a digipack with a bonus disc and a 3-fold case. All footage for the Blu-ray versions will be enclosed in 1 disc.
Tackey & Tsubasa, Hey! Say! JUMP, and TOKIO members went to the three prefectures most devastated by last year’s earthquake and tsunami on March 25 to hand over 720 million yen’s worth (about 8.7 million US dollars) of donations, reports Sports Hochi, Sankei News, and Chunichi Sports.
Members from each group traveled to Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima prefectures to deliver the money raised through Marching J to each prefecture’s governor. According to Johnny’s & Associates, since the charity was set up a year ago, more than 920 million yen has been raised. This time, 720 million yen is being handed over, and the remaining 200 million yen or so will be handed over in May when the donations collected during KAT-TUN’s tour, scheduled to finish on April 28, can also be added to the lot.
It has been reported Hideaki Takizawa and Tsubasa Imai visited Iwate prefecture to hand over a portion of the donations. Takizawa has a special connection with the area, which he visited a number of times while filming NHK’s Taiga drama “義経 (Yoshitsune)”, and had even visited it by himself last year as a volunteer. On March 24 the two had visited Rikuzentakata and saw the famous one Japanese pine tree which survived the tsunami, and met some of the locals.
“I could see how strong-hearted everyone in Tohoku is. It’s something that makes you stand tall,” Imai said.
“A lot of the debris has been taken away, and I feel like I’m seeing how united the Japanese have become. It’s really encouraging,” Takizawa said.
Iwate’s governor also thanked the two for coming, and had said in turn the Johnny’s talents were encouraging the young people in the area so much more by visiting the area in person.
A few more cast members have been revealed for the TBS mystery drama series “ATARU,” which stars SMAP member Nakai Masahiro. The newly announced additions are Kis-My-Ft2 member Tamamori Yuta, AKB48 research student Mitsumune Kaoru, and model/talento Rola.
“ATARU” was first announced in January, when it was learned that Nakai will be playing an autistic savant named Ataru who possesses extraordinary memory and powers of deduction. At that time, it was also revealed that the cast includes Kitamura Kazuki as a police detective and Kuriyama Chiaki as a former police detective who both work with Ataru.
Tamamori will play the role of Kuriyama’s younger brother who is in medical school, aiming to become a psychiatrist. His character will have the key role of analyzing and explaining Ataru’s savant syndrome.
Mitsumune will play a member of the police’s mobile forensics unit. Although she has a harsh personality, she loves going on group dates, so by 5 o’clock she is often doing her nails or fiddling with her phone. For Mitsumune, this is her first appearance in a television drama.
Rola will only be a guest in the show’s first episode, playing an employee at a supermarket Ataru goes to.
“ATARU” will air on Sundays at 9:00pm, starting on April 15.
With spring starting and graduations taking place throughout Japan, it was only a matter of time before Oricon released their “2012 Sakura Song Ranking”. 500 men and women in their teens and 20s were asked which ‘sakura song’ was their favorite. The survey was taken from March 8th to March 13th.
Check out the results below!
[2012 Sakura Song Ranking]
1. Sakura (vocal only) / Moriyama Naotaro
2. Sakura / KETSUMEISHI
3. Sakura / Kobukuro
4. SAKURA / Ikimonogakari
5. Sakura Sake / Arashi
6. Sakura Zaka / Fukuyama Masaharu
7. Sakura no Kini Narou / AKB48
8. Sakura no Hanabira Tachi / AKB48
9. Sakura no Toki / aiko
10. Sakura / Remioromen
Popular actress Ueto Aya is making a sexy appearance in the fashion magazine ‘Numero TOKYO‘ for its May edition (on sale March 28th).
Ueto is known for her rather innocent image and beautiful smile, which earned her the title of the ‘CM Queen’ more than just once over the recent years. However, in the magazine she’s going to swap that image of hers for a more mature and bewitching image. In the one picture released as a preview, she can be seen wearing a sexy dress that highlights her perfect body line.
The interview that comes with the photo spread is also going to look behind her smiling face. She looks back at her life as an actress; a life that didn’t spare her any time to relax since her breakthrough in the drama ‘San-nen B-gumi Kinpachi-sensei‘ in 2001. Moreover, she talks about her family, her ideal type, and reveals her thoughts about marriage.
In public, Ueto always maintains her cheerful and bright image, “but at the core I’m actually introverted.” She also revealed that when she’s walking together with her close friend Becky on the street, many people only recognize Becky and hand Ueto the camera to take a picture. Therefore, she thinks that she’s lacking something; “I guess I don’t have that certain aura.”
Since her debut, she suffered from the gap between her public image and her real self. Both her parents were always working, causing her to have a rather lonely childhood, which is why she’s looking forward to a bright future with a loving husband and children. “I want to become an actress who can experience life to the fullest.”
For more pictures and the full interview, you’ll have to get the latest edition of ‘Numero TOKYO’ once it goes on sale on March 28th.