It’s baseball season so we’re playing catch (up)

Catching up on stuff I bookmarked from the ever awesome Tokyograph website and have finally gotten around to posting here.

  • For the 1st Billboard Japan Music Awards, HY (an indie rock group from Okinawa) was awarded the Independent Artist of the Year 2009 and Yusuke (his grandfather is from Miyakojima) was awarded the New Artist of the Year 2009. (Link)
  • “Actress and singer Aya Ueto (24) will star in the upcoming drama series “Zettai Reido ~Mikaiketsu Jiken Tokumei Sousa~,” playing a police detective for the first time. Fuji TV will broadcast the show on Tuesdays at 9:00pm, starting on April 13.” (Link)
  • “The highly popular drama franchise ‘Trick’ is already getting a third movie on May 8 and a spinoff series starting on April 9, but it was revealed on Sunday that it is also getting a new 2-hour special episode, titled ‘Trick Shinsaku Special 2.'” The first season of “Trick” aired in 2000 and stars Yukie Nakama. (Link)
  • “The recipients of the 2010 Space Shower Music Video Awards were announced on Monday. This year, the biggest winner was Namie Amuro, whose song “FAST CAR” (from the album “PAST < FUTURE”) picked up two awards: Best Video of the Year and Best Art Direction Video. […]” (Link)
  • Eriko Imai (26) of the pop group SPEED has been appointed as the new host of the long-running sign language program “NHK Minna no Shuwa,” which airs on Sundays at 7:00pm.” (Link)
  • “Yukie Nakama (30) is taking on her first starring stage role since 2007, leading a play called “The Tempest.” The play is being directed by Yukihiko Tsutsumi, who was in charge of the “Trick” movies.” (Link)

SPEED’s Takako Uehara finds new love – Tokyograph

Takako Uehara (27), a member of the female pop group SPEED, is reportedly in a new relationship. This week’s issue of Josei Seven contains pictures of Uehara with AKIHIRO (27), a dancer and a designer for a hip-hop fashion brand.

AKIHIRO was seen late last month spending the night at Uehara’s home. He was also spotted taking Uehara’s dog for a walk. It appears that their relationship started last year, when AKIHIRO performed as a backup dancer on SPEED’s tour.

Uehara’s previously reported relationships include DA PUMP’s ISSA (31), KAT-TUN’s Jin Akanishi (25), and actor Koji Yamamoto (33).

(Via Tokyograph.)

Yukie Nakama to star in the TBS’s “Japanese Americans”

This autumn, TBS plans to broadcast a five-episode drama series titled “Japanese Americans.” The drama, an original work by veteran screenwriter Sugako Hashida, focuses on a Japanese family who emigrated to the United States a century ago and lived through World War II. […]

Yukie Nakama (30) plays the heroine as Ichiro’s love interest Shinobu. […]

Filming starts in the next few days and is expected to last five months, including two months of filming in the U.S. Broadcast dates have not yet been set, but it will air this fall as five two-hour episodes on consecutive nights, which is a first for the network. The drama is being labeled as a special project in honor of TBS’s 60th anniversary.

(Via Tokyograph.)

Meisa Kuroki becomes newest L’Oreal spokesperson – Tokyograph

Rising star Meisa Kuroki (21) is all set to become a bigger name worldwide, with the help of a major commercial contract. She has just signed on as a spokesperson for cosmetics brand L’Oréal Paris, whose beauty products are popular in more than 150 countries.

Kuroki has been building her career in Japan since 2004, but she finally got her big international break last year when she starred in the joint Japanese-Chinese film “Subaru,” based on a manga about a ballet dancer. Her performance caught the eye of L’Oréal’s international general manager Vianney Derville, who praised Kuroki’s elegance, beauty, and natural talent.

L’Oréal will feature Kuroki in advertisements around the world, starting with Japan in early March for the release of the new hair care product Damage Care PRO EX. The company’s current roster of spokespersons includes top celebrities such as Penelope Cruz, Beyonce, and Eva Longoria.

(Via Tokyograph.)

This is so awesome! What an achievement for Meisa.

Oricon: Amuro retains “kogao queen” title – Tokyograph

Oricon’s “kogao queen” survey has become an annual tradition. For the fourth year, the research firm surveyed a total of a thousand men and women, asking them to rank the female celebrities that they associated with the “small face” beauty trend.

For the third consecutive year, singer Namie Amuro ranked #1, followed by actress Manami Konishi. […]

(Via Tokyograph.)

Also on the list, just making it at #9, is Aya Ueto.

Yu Yamada to star in “Koi no Karasawagi”

NTV has revealed that its next “Koi no Karasawagi” (“Much Ado About Love”) drama special will air on September 25. Based on the variety show of that name, this will be the sixth in a series of yearly specials that started in 2004.

Like the previous specials, “Koi no Karasawagi: Love Stories VI” will consist of three stories. The first is “Rival no Onna,” starring Yu Yamada (25) as an unsuccessful entertainer who fights with a friend over a handsome actor. […]

(Via Tokyograph.)

Two Okinawans to represent Japan in Elite Model Look competition – Tokyograph

The final round of Japan’s 2009 Elite Model Look contest took place on Wednesday. Out of an initial field of 3,000 candidates, two grand prize winners were chosen – Manami Teruya (16) and Yui Okuma (18), both from Okinawa.

Teruya and Okuma will represent Japan in the international competition, which is being held this October in Sanya, China. […]

(Via Tokyograph.)

Teruya is from Okinawa City and Okuma from Ishigaki City. Go Okinawa! Photo of the pair is up at Ryukyu Shimpo’s website.

Second on the way for Chitose Hajime – Tokyograph

Singer Chitose Hajime (30) is expecting her second child, she declared in a blog entry on Saturday. That same day, while performing at an event in Kagoshima, she let the audience know that she is expected to give birth just before Christmas.

Hajime has been married since January 2004 to a restaurant owner. She gave birth to a daughter in January 2005.

(Link: Second on the way for Chitose Hajime – Tokyograph.)

Congratulations, Chitose!

alan sings for Kusanagi’s “Ballad” – Tokyograph

Singer alan (21) will be providing the theme song for Takashi Yamazaki’s upcoming movie, ‘Ballad: Namonaki Koi no Uta’ (opening September 5). Although she sang the theme songs for the two ‘Red Cliff’ movies, this is her first time doing one for a Japanese film.

The movie, which started shooting last year, is an adaptation of the plot in the 2002 animated feature ‘Crayon Shin-chan: Arashi wo Yobu Appare! Sengoku Daikassen.’ Set in the Sengoku era, it tells the love story between a general (Tsuyoshi Kusanagi) and a princess (Yui Aragaki).

alan’s song will share the movie’s title, ‘Ballad: Namonaki Koi no Uta.’ It will be released as a single on September 2.

(Link: alan sings for Kusanagi’s “Ballad” – Tokyograph.)

Following her last appearance in the drama “Smile,” is Yui Aragaki’s first film in 2009. Unfortunately, there’s no trailer up on the official movie website for us to see Yui dollied up as a princess. “Ballad” will begin its roadshow on September 5, 2009.