Horikita Maki charms a young boy and speaks French in new CM for ‘Ichikami’

On August 30th, actress Horikita Maki attended a PR event for hair care brand ‘Ichikami‘ and introduced her new CM.

In the CM she co-stars with a young French boy who becomes immediately smitten by her beauty. She also had to speak French for the first time in her life.

Horikita commented, “It’s my first time speaking French, so I received a lot of instructions in order to say my lines with an accurate pronunciation. However, what I actually said will remain a secret.” On the official website of the CM, you can actually guess what she said to the boy in a short quiz that gives you three choices for each version of the CM. She continued, “I was playing a graceful yet friendly woman who is admired by a young (French) boy.”

The boy from the CM also appeared at the event and presented her with flowers. He still acted smitten next to Horikita, who asked him, “What do you want to play?” He replied cheerfully, “Dodgeball!!” Horikita smiled as he replied, “Okay, let’s play dodgeball then.”

There will be two versions of the CM, “A Young Boy’s Love – Brand Edition” and “A Young Boy’s Love – Nomitsu W Hoshitsu Edition”, which will start airing on TV on September 1st. The different versions and a short making-of are already available on its official website.

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Nishikido Ryo and Horikita Maki to co-star in new movie ‘Kenchou Omotenashi Ka’

On August 30th, it was announced that Kanjani8’s Nishikido Ryo will star in a new movie called ‘Kenchou Omotenashi Ka‘. Moreover, Horikita Maki was appointed as the heroine right after finishing the filming for her morning drama ‘Umechan Sensei‘ (NHK).

The movie focuses on people who are working inside the ‘Hospitality’ section of Kochi prefectural office’s department for tourism. This section really exists in Kochi and their work was turned into a novel by Kochi-born female writer Arikawa Hiro (‘Toshokan Sensou’).

The story was first got serialized in a local newspaper, but it was soon released as a full novel and even ranked as #1 book for ‘Love/Romance Book of the Year 2011‘ by the ‘Da Vinci‘ magazine. Miyake Yoshishige is the director and Okada Yoshikazu is the scriptwriter. They both have already worked together for the movie ‘Hankyu Densha‘ (also based on a novel by Arikawa) and are planning to fully utilize the beautiful scenery and great people of Kochi to bring this sightseeing/love story to life.

The job of the people at the ‘Hospitality’ section is to promote tourism in the prefecture by focusing on offering the best possible hospitality for the tourists. Nishikido will play a young staff member named ‘Kakemizu Fumitaka’. He’s a nice guy, but a bit clumsy when it comes to reading the atmosphere.

This will be Nishkido’s second starring role in a movie after ‘Chonmage Purin‘ in 2010. He commented, “I’m from Osaka, but I’m playing a staff member of the Kochi prefectural office, who was born and raised in Kochi as well. He’s an ordinary guy doing work for the unconventional yet-actually-existing section that focuses on hospitality, until he meets this young woman played by Horikita. I’d like to try my best at portraying how a typical stubborn Kochi man gradually becomes an adult.” He continued, “It’s my first time working together with Horikita and I’m going to have to put everything I have into this role, so that I won’t lose to her overwhelming charisma.”

Horikita’s character is named ‘Myoujin Taki’. She possesses great expressive power and is working part-time at the same section as ‘Kakemizu’, trying to promote tourism in Kochi.

After reading the novel, she expressed, “I could feel this energy that allows you to climb over every barrier that appears in front of you, while reading it.” She continued, “The dialect will be a challenge, but I’m going to study a lot about Kochi and will try my best to completely transform into a local woman.”

‘Kakemizu’ who works at the ‘Hospitality’ section of Kochi prefectural office’s department, is trying his best to promote tourism in Kochi. One day, he inaugurates Kochi-born novelist ‘Yoshikado Kyosuke’ (Kora Kengo) as the special envoy of the Kochi prefecture. However, ‘Kakemizu’ receives a lot of negative feedback for his ideas from ‘Yoshikado’.

‘Kakemizu’ is then given the advice to ask a legendary former member of the section – ‘Kiyoto Kazumasa’, who was driven out of the prefectural office due to a controversial idea, for help regarding how to promote tourism. He and ‘Myoujin’ visit that person’s house, but as soon as they enter, they get splashed with a bucket of water by his daughter ‘Kiyoto Sawa’ (Seki Megumi), who hates the government for what they did to her father. Will they really be able to find advice here?

Arikawa herself commented, “I already know the team from ‘Hankyu Densha’ and I’m glad that they are the ones who will be working on this adaptation as well. They asked me to participate in the location scouting and that was already a lot of fun. There’s no way I could not be dying to meet Nishikido as ‘Kakemizu’ and Horikita as ‘Myoujin’ soon.”

The filming is expected to come to an end sometime in November.

‘Kenchou Omotenashi Ka’ is scheduled to open in Japan in May, 2013.

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Filming for morning drama ‘Umechan Sensei’ comes to an end

On August 24th, NHK wrapped up the last scene for their popular morning drama ‘Umechan Sensei‘ starring actress Horikita Maki. She and her husband in the drama Matsuzaka Tori were both present and used the moment of celebration to look back at what they’ve gained throughout this long period of filming.

Horikita expressed, “It feels like it has been a long time, yet it also feels like it has ended too soon… It was a telenovela loved by everyone, which made me feel anxiety and pressure at times, but I’ve been focusing on what’s right in front of me and kept on running as Umechan as hard as I can. These 10 months have truly been great and always full of support by everyone.” The story has her getting married to her childhood friend (Matsuzaka) and even becoming a mother, about which she commented, “I’ve never experienced marriage nor becoming a mother before, which is why I’ll never forget those particular moments.”

Matsuzaka stated, “In the beginning I really had a dirty appearance (laughs), but thanks to everyone I’ve become a young manager. It felt like I’ve been lending my whole body to ‘Nobuo’ and truly lived another person’s life all this time.” He continued, “I’m going to treasure this drama forever. I’ve been able to grow up so much thanks to this experience that it’s impossible to put my gratitude in words.”

The highest rating of this morning drama so far was recorded with 24.9% on August 11th. Moreover it was announced earlier this month, that NHK BS Premium is going to air a two-episode spin-off in October.

‘Umechan Sensei’ also features a great supporting cast made up of Takahashi Katsumi, Minami Kaho, Koide Keisuke, Tsurumi Shingo, Baisho Mitsuko, Kataoka Tsurutaro, and others. They all were present during the final scene and presented the Horikita and Matsuzaka with flowers and congratulations.

On TV, ‘Umechan Sensei’ is going to continue to air in the morning drama slot of NHK until September 29th.

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Special drama of Horikita Maki’s ‘Ume-chan Sensei’ to be aired in October

It’s been revealed that the ongoing NHK morning drama series, ‘Ume-chan Sensei‘, starring Horikita Maki, will air as a special drama in October.

In this special drama titled ‘Ume-chan Sensei ~Kekkon Dekinai Otoko to Onna Special~‘, we will see familiar faces from the morning drama such as Ume-chan’s family, her friends from the university hospital, and her neighbors. Kobayashi Ryoko and Usuda Asami will also be joining the cast.

Its story will focus on Ume-chan’s husband Nobuo’s (Matsuzaka Tori) unfaithfulness suspicion, as well as the future romance between Ume-chan’s friend Yayoi (Tokunaga Eri) and Yamakura (Mitsushima Shinnosuke).

The drama ‘Ume-chan Sensei’ takes place in Kamata, Tokyo during the era of rapid economic growth just after the war. It tells a story about Shimomura Umeko, a young woman who strives to become the town doctor.

‘Ume-chan Sensei ~Kekkon Dekinai Otoko to Onna Special~’ will air as a 2-part special drama on BS Premium sometime in October.

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Nagatomo Yuto & Horikita Maki meet again after two years

On July 2nd, Japanese football player Nagatomo Yuto (Inter Milan) attended the public recording ceremony of the radio program ‘MY OLYMPIC‘, a collaboration between Lotte and the commercial radio network JFN.

‘MY OLYMPIC’ will feature special coverage of the upcoming London 2012 Olympics on JFN and all their 38 associated networks. Its hosts are Nagatomo, actress Horikita Maki, figure skater and gold medalist Arakawa Shizuka, and athlete Asahara Nobuharu. The latter three also attended the PR event.

Nagatomo revealed that he was especially happy to meet Horikita again on this occasion. He already had the chance to meet her at a Lotte PR event two years ago, where he confessed to be a huge fan of the actress. Horikita was still curious about this and asked, “I’m always following your activities on TV. Two years ago, you told me you were a fan of mine. What about now?”

He bashfully answered, “I’m also following your activities on TV when I’m in Italy. I think you have a special aura. You have become even more beautiful…” When reporters suggested that he should use this radio program to become friends with her, he just grinned ear to ear.

Horikita revealed to have a keen interest in the Japanese women’s judo team at this year’s Olympics. She said, “Everyone is so strong. They should win a lot of medals.”

On the same day it was announced that Yoshida Maya (VVV-Venlo) and Tokunaga Yuhei (F.C. Tokyo) have been selected to lead the young U-23 players to success at the Olympics as the only two players (of three allowed) above the age limit. Nagatomo commented, “They are both very experienced players. I hope they can lead the young players and shake the football world.”

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Horikita Maki sends off a train wrapped with ‘Umechan Sensei’ posters

On April 9th, actress Horikita Maki attended the official departure ceremony of a train wrapped with advertisements for her NHK morning drama ‘Umechan Sensei‘ at the Shinagawa Station in Tokyo.

She commented on the train, “There are so many posters that it makes me both embarrassed and happy.” Showing off a bright smile she added, “I hope it will travel to many towns and that everyone will come to Kamata by riding this train.”

In ‘Umechan Sensei’, Horikita is playing a local doctor named ‘Umeko’ in Kamata during the postwar period. She explained, “Umeko is the youngest of three siblings. Compared to her older brother and sister, she’s rather clumsy, but she’s a very positive girl and is working very hard in order to become a real doctor.” The morning drama aired its first episode on April 2nd, which recorded the highest start in five years with a rating of 18.5%. By the third episode it already reached a rating of 20.0%. The 2011 morning drama ‘Ohisama‘ needed five episodes to get there, while most of the other recent morning dramas needed at least one month to break the 20% mark.

Horikita also was able to come into contact with the real people of Kamata for a recent TV program. “It made me understand how each person is connected to each other,” she remembered.

The ‘Umechan Sensei’ train will operate on the Keikyu Main Line between the Sengakuji Station and the Misakiguchi Station until September, 2012. Additional posters are put up at the Umeyashiki Station on the Keikyu Main Line, due to bearing the same name as ‘Umechan’. Furthermore that station will use SMAP’s “Sakasama no Sora“, the theme song of the morning drama, as its official station melody.

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Horikita Maki attends preview screening of her morning drama ‘Umechan Sensei’

On March 14th, the first week worth of episodes of the upcoming NHK morning drama ‘Umechan Sensei‘, starring Horikita Maki, was screened in advance for the press.

‘Umechan Sensei’ features an original story about a clumsy woman who strives to become a town doctor in an era of postwar reconstruction and rapid economic growth. In the beginning of the drama the heroine is still 16 years old, but by the end of the story she is already supposed to be in her mid-thirties. A difficult challenge for Horikita, who moreover has to tackle her first role as a doctor with this drama. The script was written by Ozaki Masaya (“Kekkon Dekinai Otoko”, “Oniyome Nikki”).

After the screening, Horikita said with a lot of self-confidence, “Having to think about the filming every single day does make you feel quite dizzy. I’m happy that, after several hardships, the first week is finally done. According to the feedback, it seems like we’ve created a wonderful drama.”

Other regular characters are played by Matsuzaka Tori, Mina Mikaho, Takahashi Katsumi, Mimura, Koide Keisuke, and Baisho Mitsuko.

Takahashi Katsumi, who plays Horikita’s father and a doctor at a university hospital in the drama, also attended the event. Horikita commented about him, “We’ve already worked together for many projects and while there are many actors I’m co-appearing with for the first time, I’ve felt really close to him since the beginning of the filming.”

Takahashi replied, “It’s the first time for us to play father and daughter, but somehow it doesn’t feel out of place at all.”

About the filming he added, “Many of the scenes where the whole family is together are when we are having a meal. Before the filming, we all agree to have a meal together after the filming many times. However, since we are already having meals together during the filming, we almost always end up not going after all. The mood maker of our family is Baisho. Horikita resembles her in many ways.”

Horikita was surprised, “I do?”

‘Umechan Sensei’ is going to air every week from Monday tto Saturday at 8:00 am. There will be a total of 156 episodes, with the first one airing on April 2nd.

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SMAP to provide theme song for “Umechan Sensei”

It’s been announced that SMAP will be providing their new song, “Sakasama no Sora“, for NHK’s upcoming morning drama, “Umechan Sensei“!

“Umechan Sensei” is a drama that portrays the life of a female doctor named ‘Shimomura Umeko’ (Horikita Maki), who treats patients during the tumultuous time after World War II.

“Sakasama no Sora” was written by Asou Tetsuro, and was composed and arranged by Kanno Yoko. It also marks SMAP’s first OST contribution to a morning drama.

Member Kimura Takuya expressed, “At this time, I’m happy that we are able to participate in the drama with the theme song. I hope that this will bring warmth to many people’s mornings.”

Producer Iwatani Kanako commented, “SMAP will be singing the theme song for the drama series, ‘Umechan Sensei’. They have lead Japan’s entertainment industry since their debut 20 years ago, and their voices have brought smiles upon many faces. I strongly believe that they will be able to start the day off with a smile, and so I asked them to sing the theme song.

She continued, “It’s a support song for the heroine Umeko, who becomes a doctor and aims for a family practice with the support of the people around her. It’s also a support song for everyone who watches the drama. Along with the character Umeko, who walks step-by-step into the future, I hope this song will give strength to the viewers.”

“Umechan Sensei” will air starting April 2nd for a total of 156 episodes.

Tokyo Hive

“ALWAYS 3″ cast reflects on the past seven years

On January 21st, the final installment in the “ALWAYS” trilogy, “ALWAYS San-chome no Yuhi ‘64“, opened nation-wide on 473 screens.

As usual, there was a stage greeting held at a cinema in Tokyo in order to celebrate the opening, which was attended by the main cast members like Yoshioka Hidetaka, Tsutsumi Shinichi, Yakushimaru Hiroko, Horikita Maki, Miura Tomokazu, Moriyama Mirai, and Suga Kenta, as well as the director, Yamazaki Takashi.

“ALWAYS San-chome no Yuhi ‘64” (English title: “Always: Sunset on Third Street 3“) will continue to depict the lives of the residents of Third Street in Tokyo, but this time, the story is set in 1964. The Olympics are set to take place in Tokyo and the country has experienced a period of rapid economic growth.

Yoshioka commented, “Who would have thought that it’s going to snow… Maybe that’s a test, therefore I’m really happy that so many people made it to the screening.” He also reflected on his role, a poor writer named ‘Chagawa’, who he’s portrayed for a timespan of seven years. Yoshioka expressed that he feels he’s grown close to this character. “It’s the first time I can watch the movie from an objective point of view. Every time I see my character, I think to myself, ‘He’s such a fool, isn’t he.’”

It was also revealed that Yoshioka, Tsutsumi, and director Yamazaki had quite a night when they saw the finalized version of the third movie together for the very first time. “We were way too happy, and drank way too much…,” Tsutsumi looked back. “Tsutsumi spent 130,000 Yen (1,688 USD) that night,” revealed Yoshioka. “What a rip-off,” he responded. Their little story shocked some people, including Horikita, and created a lot of laughter.

“They are just two really happy fellas,” Yamazaki commented. “No matter how much they drink, they always stay happy. That get-together was the definition of happiness.”

Horikita, who wasn’t much older than the 15 year-old ‘Mutsuko’ when she slipped into her role for the first time seven years ago, used the event to once again thank everyone involved in the trilogy. “Just like ‘Mutsuko’, I started working around the age of 15 and we’ve experienced various things at the same time. This time she is getting married, which is actually something I haven’t yet experienced in my life. It was a confusing sensation, but thanks to everyone I was able to perform it well and experience a very precious time with all of them.”

For Moriyama, it’s his first appearance in the trilogy. He plays the spouse of Mutsuko. “I haven’t appeared in the previous two movies, but the great atmosphere at the set completely sucked me in,” he said. “I must be a very lucky guy to suddenly appear at the scene and immediately getting married to Mutsuko (Horikita).”

Naturally, actress Koyuki, who just gave birth to a baby boy on January 5th, couldn’t attend the event, but still sent her blessings in form of a written message. In the movie, there is a scene of her giving birth as well. Director Yamazaki commented, “Various things unexpectedly overlapped between the movie and the real life. For her to actually experience the same thing that happened in the movie… This must be fate.”

Yoshioka added, “It’s fate that this movie, set in one of the most vivid years in the recent history of Japan, is opening in cinemas during the first year of reconstruction.”

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Cinema Today

“ALWAYS 3″ uses the sky as the backdrop for an advertisement

On January 12th, the promotions for the upcoming third and final installment in the “ALWAYS” trilogy, “ALWAYS San-chome no Yuhi ‘64” took to the skies. The film used three propeller planes to write ‘333′ as a form of advertisement and used the vast blue sky as the backdrop.

“ALWAYS San-chome no Yuhi ‘64″ (English title: “Always: Sunset on Third Street 3“) will continue to depict the lives of the residents at Third Street in Tokyo, this time set in 1964. The Olympics are set to take place in Tokyo and the country has experienced a period of rapid economic growth.

The best spot to see the skywriting was from the back of the Tokyo Tower, where the main cast witnessed the expensive event (costs of $390,000 USD) together with the reporters and the spectators.

Yoshioka Hidetaka was brimming with anticipation and said, “This is going to become a great year.” Meanwhile, Yakushimaru Hiroko boasted about the nice weather, “I’m called a ‘hare onna’ (clear weather woman) after all.”

Horikita Maki was impressed by the skywriting and commented, “This was exciting! In the movie there are scenes with the Olympic rings floating in the sky, but today is the first time I get to see the real thing.”

In the morning, the rehearsal of the event faced some issues, as thick clouds and an unfavorable air current made it impossible to produce the three numbers. Fortunately, and thanks to Yakushimaru, the weather was much better during the actual performance, once again showcasing the fortune of the citizens living on Third Street.

Director Yamazaki Takashi commented, “We already did this in simulations with the computer, but as expected the real thing is much better.”

“ALWAYS San-chome no Yuhi ‘64″ will be the first part in the trilogy that is going to be screened in 3D.

Horikita stated, “I was 16 years old when I played Mutsu-chan in the first movie… Together we have grown into adults. Please watch over her until the end (when she becomes a bride).”

Yoshioka was proud about his young colleagues, “This series helped Suga-kun (Suga Kenta) and Horikita-san on their way towards becoming independent actors, which fills me with even more pride.”

“ALWAYS San-chome no Yuhi ‘64″ will open in Japanese theaters on January 21st.

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Nine months into her pregnancy, Koyuki attends preview screening of “ALWAYS 3″

Earlier today, some people were able to see the upcoming movie “ALWAYS San-chome no Yuhi ‘64” for the first time at a preview screening event.

“Always San-Chome no Yuhi ‘64″ (English title: “Always: Sunset on Third Street 3“) will depict the lives of the residents at Third Street in Tokyo back in 1964. The Olympics are set to take place in Tokyo and the country has experienced a period of rapid economic growth. It’s the last installment in the trilogy and the first part that is going to be screened in 3D.

The atmosphere at the preview screening was just as warm as among the people in the movie, especially thanks to the attendance of the beaming, nine-month pregnant actress, Koyuki. This movie was her last project before taking her pregnancy leave and, coincidentally, she played a woman who is nine months pregnant.

She commented with a sweet smile, “It allowed me to simulate and practice the experience, but it’s still a strange feeling that I would be in the exact same situation one year after the filming. It made me feel even more attached to this movie.”

Of course Koyuki wasn’t the only actor of the great ensemble that attended the event. Yoshioka Hidetaka, Tsutsumi Shinichi, Horikita Maki, Motai Masako, Yakushimaru Hiroko, and the rest of the regular cast were also present, as well as the director, Yamazaki Takashi.

Aside from the pregnancy, the third movie is also going to focus on the marriage of popular character Mutsuko, played by Horikita.

Tsutsumi, who plays Mutsuko’s employer and quasi-father, commented about this very touching scene, “It was already over for me when I read the script and I wasn’t the only one. Every older man among the staff felt the same way I did. Of all the works I played in so far, this one was the most memorable.”

Horikita also looked back at the said scene and added, “Everyone had this desolate ‘You are going to leave us now?’ look in their eyes. ‘Thank you for everything you’ve done for me!’ That’s the message this scene is going to convey to many fathers out there.”

Popular rock band BUMP OF CHICKEN, who are providing the theme song for the movie, also attended the screening.

“Always: Sunset on Third Street 3″ is scheduled to open to the general public on January 21st, 2012.

Tokyo Hive

Horikita Maki attends commemorative event for Docomo’s new smartphone

On November 24th, actress Horikita Maki attended a commemorative event for NTT Docomo’s new product, “Xi Smartphone“.

Horikita, who serves as the CM character for the brand, commented, “I use it often to watch videos, also when I cook.” She also promoted the product saying, “It’s convenient that I can quickly go on the internet. I want to focus on the parts that is fun to use.”

Among the four models of smartphones from the 2011 winter-spring collection, Samsung’s “GALAXY S II LTE” was released on this day. This is Docomo’s first smartphone to feature a flat rate calling system called “Xi Kake Houdai“. Horikita smiled as she said, With this, I think I will be able to talk to my friends in leisure.”

At the event, Horikita celebrated the release with a ribbon cutting ceremony along with NTT Docomo’s president and representative director Yamada Ryuji.

Sources and photos:
Tokyo Hive

Horikita Maki kicks off filming for her morning drama

On November 14th, actress Horikita Maki kicked off filming for her NHK morning drama “Umechan Sensei” in Takahagi, Ibaraki.

“Umechan Sensei” is set in Kamata, Tokyo during the time of reconstruction after the Second World War. Horikita plays the protagonist, Shimomura ‘Umechan’ Umeko, a cheerful and bright young doctor.

They’ve created a large-scale open set that perfectly resembles the burned up area of Kamata after the war.

Horikita commented, “This world is still so overwhelming, but I’ll try to get used to the postwar Japan as soon as possible. It’s still only the beginning, but I wonder if I’m already looking like Umechan.”

However, she revealed that the realistic set brought up some other feelings as well. She said, “When I saw this scenery for the first time, all those images from March 11 (Great Tohoku earthquake) popped back into my head. It made me really sad again. However, Umechan is such a bright and clumsy character, who makes other people laugh. Being on this set now, it suddenly feels difficult to portray her cheerfulness.”

She continued, “I hope we will be able to properly convey the important things of life, as well as the bonds and relationships between various individuals.”

“Umechan Sensei” will start airing on April 2nd.

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Watanabe Ken & Horikita Maki promote NTT DoCoMo’s new line-up

Actor Watanabe Ken and actress Horikita Maki attended a press conference of NTT DoCoMo to introduce their new ‘2011-2012 Winter/Spring Models’ lineup of mobile and smart phones, as well as their newest mobile services.

Both of them have been working as image characters for NTT DoCoMo for a while now and, in the most recent commercials, disguised themselves as actual smart phones.

Watanabe seems to be satisfied with his acting as a smart phone and commented, “I won’t lose against a dog!” He was referring to NTT’s biggest rival, Softbank Mobile and their extremely popular ‘White Family’ commercials, starring a speaking dog as the father of the said family.

About the new smart phones, he added, “Compared to my current Galaxy II, they have a lot more functionalities, a higher resolution and clearer screen. It’s incredible how thin they are despite the amount of features. Moreover I was surprised by how much they’ve increased the speed of the transmissions.”

Horikita promoted the new models and said, “I also was surprised how thin and light they are. The new models are stylish and useful. They’ve made a lot of progress coming up with new ways to use and to enjoy your phone. Even first time users and women will have no problems using the new models, so please don’t hesitate and get one for yourself.”

In total, NTT introduced 14 new smart phones, 8 new mobile phones, and some new tablets. They also revealed that four new smart phones that use the next generation high speed communication service ‘Xi‘, will already go on sale as early as November this year.

Source + Pictures:
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Web Television

Horikita Maki turns into a diligent woman for new ‘Leopalace21′ CM

Actress Horikita Maki has been appointed to be the image character for real estate company, ‘Leoplace21‘, and will star in their new commercials.

In the CM, Horikita plays a charming single woman, who lives alone in her nice little flat. She’s about to go out, but first she has to diligently go through her imaginary checklist; “All doors and windows closed, done! – Lights out, done!” She does all that while pointing at the things with her finger. After that, she looks at herself in the mirror and says, “Myself, done!!” In the final scene, she faces her plant at the entranceway and says goodbye.

The director had a clear vision of what he wanted to convey through the CM and told Horikita to think of a list of all the things she would check for every morning. She doesn’t have to say much for the CM, so the director paid even more attention to her expressions. He explained that he wanted to create an image of an enjoyable, peaceful morning and have the character seem as carefree as if she had a day off. Horikita had no trouble putting all his demands into action, and only caused one NG scene throughout the whole day of filming.

Her character in the CM comes across as a very diligent woman, but Horikita admitted that this isn’t really the case for her actual self. She said, “I often forget things, even if I confirm that I have everything.”

However, that doesn’t mean that she doesn’t share any of her traits. She explained, “I always check a lot of things before I go out. Rather than trying to act out a role, I just tried to remember how I usually am before going out.”

Horikita’s character in the CM is called the ‘pointing woman’, so reporters wanted to know how she would call herself. She thought about it for a second and answered, “At home, I’m basically just lazing around, so I guess you should call me ‘lazy woman’.” Her remark made everyone laugh.

The new CM of Leoplace21 with Horikita Maki will start airing in November.

Source + Pictures:
Tokyo Hive

Cute picture of Horikita Maki with a little kitten

Horikita Maki’s staff updated her official staff blog with an adorable picture of the actress holding a cute kitten.

In a recent blog post they revealed that she is going to appear on an upcoming special of the TV show ‘Tensai! Shimura Doubutsuen‘. This variety and educational show revolves around animals and regularly features celebrities interacting with all kind of animals

Horikita recorded together with the kitten for the show’s popular ‘baby animal corner’ a few days ago. Further she finally had the chance to meet up with comedy duo ‘Harisenbon‘ again during the recording. They tend to mimic certain expressions of the actress from time to time.

The special ‘Tensai! Shimura Doubutsuen’ will air on October 1st at 7:00 pm.

Source + Picture:
Horikita’s Staff Blog
Tokyo Hive

More cast members announced for 2012 NHK morning drama

On September 13th, actress Horikita Maki attended the cast announcement press conference for the upcoming NHK morning drama, “Umechan Sensei“.

At the press conference, it was announced that Matsuzaka Tori has landed the role of Umeko’s (played by Horikita) childhood friend ‘Yasuoka Nobuo’. Meanwhile, Umeko’s family members will be Takahashi Katsumi as her father ‘Kenzou’, Minami Kaho as her mother ‘Yoshiko’, Mimula as her older sister ‘Matsuko’, and Koide Keisuke as her older brother ‘Takeo’.

Horikita smiled as she commented, “Everyone is my family, or neighbors, so we’ll have a close relationship. I want to quickly become friends with everybody. I am full of motivation. Using those feelings, I want to perfect my role.”

The drama is an original story by written by Ozaki Masaya, who is known for his previous dramas, “Kekkon Dekinai Otoko” and “Oniyome Nikki“. Set in a burnt-out area of Kamata, Tokyo immediately after the war (1945), the story portrays the life of ‘Umeko’, who aims to become the local doctor of her town. Having a doctor as her father, and a superior older brother and sister , she makes up her mind to become a doctor after a certain “incident”.

Other cast members will include Baisho Mitsuko as grandmother ‘Masae’, Tsurumi Shingo as uncle ‘Tachibana Youzou’, and Kataoka Tsurutaro as Nobuo’s father, ‘Yasuoka Koukichi’.

It was also revealed that Hayashiya Shozo will narrate, and Kawai Kenji will provide the music for the drama.

“Umechan Sensei” will air starting April 2nd, 2012, with a total of 156 episodes. Filming is scheduled to start in November.

Mantan Web
Tokyo Hive

Horikita Maki’s supporting cast in “Umechan-sensei” revealed

On Tuesday, NHK held a press conference to reveal additional cast members for the 2012 spring-summer morning drama series “Umechan-sensei.” The show was announced this past June with actress Horikita Maki (22) as the lead.

Set in Tokyo in 1945 just after the end of World War II, the story revolves around Shimomura Umeko, the youngest of three children of a university hospital doctor. Despite being overshadowed by her older brother and sister, she resolves to become a local doctor.

Takahashi Katsumi (50) and Minami Kaho (47) will play the parents of the Shimomura family, while Mimura (27) and Koide Keisuke (27) will play her Umeko’s older siblings. Matsuzaka Tori (22) has been cast as Umeko’s childhood friend Nobuo.

The cast also features Baisho Mitsuko (64) as Umeko’s grandmother, Tsurumi Shingo (46) as Umeko’s uncle, and Kataoka Tsurutaro as Nobuo’s father. Rakugo artist Hayashiya Shozo (48) will be in charge of the narration.

“Umechan-sensei” starts on April 2, 2012.

Mantan Web
Tokyo Graph

NTV’s “24 Hour Television” raises 243 million yen during broadcast

NTV’s 34th annual “24 Hour Television” charity program ended successfully on Sunday night. During the show’s broadcast, which officially ran from 6:30pm on August 20 to 8:54pm on August 21, a total of 243,091,607 yen was raised for charity.

This year’s hosts were announcers Hatori Shinichi and Nishio Yukari, with boy band Kanjani8 as the main personalities and actress Horikita Maki as the main charity personality. The members of Kanjani8 also appeared in this year’s drama special, titled “Ikiteru Dake de Nankurunaisa.”

The marathon runner this year was announcer Tokumitsu Kazuo, who became the oldest runner in the show’s history at 70 years old. He ran a total of 63.2 kilometers.

“24 Hour Television” officially began its fundraising activities for this year’s show on June 30 and will continue collecting donations until August 28. Last year, a total of 974 million yen was raised.

Cinema Today
Tokyo Graph

Horikita Maki travels to Jakarta to volunteer for “24 Hour Televsion”

Actress Horikita Maki recently visited Jakarta, Indonesia to film a report for NTV’s upcoming television special, “24 Hour Television 34 ~Ai wa Chikyu wo Sukuu~“.

Last month, Horikita was announced as one of the charity personalities for the program, and she joined other Japanese volunteers in the area.

One of their projects included a “mobile library”, in which they visited children in various locations and let them enjoy Japanese picture books that have been specially translated into Indonesian.

Being the bookworm that she is, Horikita enjoyed helping the mobile library a lot and even tried to read the books aloud in Indonesian for the children on her final day. She also helped out during a puppet show, played some basketball with the children, and taught them origami as well.

Horikita commented, “I was able to see the reality of those children with my own eyes and, in my own way, found something that I, as an adult, could do for those children. It was very touching to see their smiles. I want everyone to see the people from our country who organized this ‘mobile library’, and the innocence of those children when they are gazing at the picture books.”

This special report for “24 Hour Television 34″ will air on NTV on August 20th and 21st.

Tokyo Hive

“Shiawase no Kiiroi Hankachi” to be released as special drama, starring Abe Hiroshi

The ultra-famous Japanese film, “Shiawase no Kiiroi Hankachi“, will be released as a special drama this fall, starring actor Abe Hiroshi!

Abe commented, “When I first received the offer to play the role of ‘Shima Yusaku‘ (originally played by Takakura Ken-san), I was baffled. But because we are in these times, I hope to deliver this warm story of people in distress supporting each other.”

“Shiawase no Kiiroi Hankachi” was originally released back in 1977, and tells the story of three individuals: Shima Yusaku, a man who was released from Hokkaido’s Abashiri Prison; Hanada Kinya, a young man traveling after a heartbreak; and Ogawa Takemi, a woman with a shadow. Originally starring Takakura Ken, Takeda Tetsuya, Momoi Kaori, and Baisho Chieko, the film won the first ‘Best Picture’ award at the Japan Academy Prize. In the 80’s, the film was remade into a drama, starring Sugawara Bunta, and also received a Hollywood adaptation called, “The Yellow Handkerchief”, starring William Hurt.

In the drama, Hamada Gaku will play the role of ‘Kinya’. The story begins when Kinya meets Yusaku on his way to a interview at a hotel. Hamada commented, “I’m honored to play the role that Takeda Tetsuya-san played in the past. I am also happy to co-star with such wonderful people. I will do my best.” Horikita Maki, who will play the role of ‘Takemi’, stated, “I want to completely become someone who was born on this land, feeling the Hokkaido wind. I will do my best to insert my own message into this drama.”

Meanwhile, Natsukawa Yui will play the role of Yusaku’s wife, ‘Mitsue‘. Other cast members include Oginome Keiko, Endo Kenichi, Nakamura Tamao, and Kusabue Mitsuko. The director for this drama special will be Iwamoto Hitoshi, who has also directed “Hakusen Nagashi“, “Nurse no Oshigoto“, and “Jouou no “Kyoushitsu“.

Stay tuned for more information on this upcoming drama special!

Mantan Web
Tokyo Hive

Abe Hiroshi, Horikita Maki, Hamada Gaku in drama remake of “The Yellow Handkerchief”

Broadcaster NTV plans to air a modern-day remake of Yamada Yoji’s classic 1977 film “Shiawase no Kiiroi Hankachi” (“The Yellow Handkerchief”) as a TV drama special this fall. The lead role, played by Takakura Ken (80) in the original, will this time be played by Abe Hiroshi (47).

“The Yellow Handkerchief” is a road movie set in Hokkaido, revolving around an ex-convict named Shima Yusaku (Abe) who has just been released from prison. Along with two young strangers that he meets, he sets out on a journey back to where his wife is, uncertain of what awaits him. Horikita Maki (22) and Hamada Gaku (23) will play the two strangers (originally played by Momoi Kaori and Takeda Tetsuya), while Natsukawa Yui will play the wife (originally Baisho Chieko).

Oginome Keiko, Endo Kenichi, Nakamura Tamao, and Kusabue Mitsuko have also been cast in supporting roles.

Yamada Yoji is personally supervising the remake, as well as writing the script. This is Yamada’s first time in about 21 years writing for a terrestrial broadcast television drama.

The exact broadcast date is not yet known, but is planned for sometime in fall of this year.

Sports Hochi
Tokyo Graph

Horikita Maki chosen as charity personality for “24 Hour Television”

It’s been announced that actress Horikita Maki will be the charity personality for this year’s “24 Hour Television Ai wa Chikyu wo Sukuu“.

Horikita commented, “Until now, 24 Hour TV has given me strength, so I want to do this powerfully.“ It was also announced that Miyagawa Daisuke and Imoto Ayako will be program personalities, and Kuroki Hitomi and Maya Miki will be the special supporters.

Horikita will deliver this year’s theme, “Chikara ~Watashi wa Taisetsu na Hitori“, with main personalities Kanjani 8. Directed towards the victims of the Tohoku Earthquake, Nishikido Ryo stated, ”This year is special. We want to do whatever we can.” Ookura Tadayoshi piped in, “Many people of different genres have come together, and are deeply moved. As 24 Hour TV’s wheel, I want to take part with all my strength.”

This year’s marathon runner Tokumitsu Kazuo revealed his ‘true’ intentions by saying, “If possible, I want Horikita-san to meet me at the goal. If not, I won’t be able to run.” Announcer Hatori Shinichi, who will be receiving the baton from Tokumitsu, added, “I thought Nishio-san (the host) would be my strength, but I feel I will be getting strength from Horikita-san.”

Program personality Miyagawa commented, “Four months since the disaster. We will face more difficult things, but I hope energy will be conveyed through my feelings.”

“24 Hour Television 34 Ai wa Chikyu wo Sukuu” will air from August 20th at 6:30PM til August 21st at 8:54PM.

Tokyo Hive

Horikita Maki confirmed to star in NHK morning drama “Umechan-sensei”

Actress Horikita Maki (22) has officially been announced as the star of an upcoming NHK morning drama, confirming a rumor from earlier this month. The drama is titled “Umechan-sensei” and is an original story written by Ozaki Masaya (“Kekkon Dekinai Otoko,” “Oniyome Nikki”).

The story is set in the devastated area of Kamata, Tokyo, in 1945 just after the end of the war. Horikita plays Shimomura Umeko, the youngest of three siblings whose father is a doctor at a university hospital. Compared to her outstanding sister Matsuko and brother Takeo, she lacks self-confidence, but an incident makes her determined to become a local doctor. However, her path is fraught with failures.

Horikita will play the character from the age of 16 up to her mid-30s. This is the first time that she has been cast as a doctor.

Filming is scheduled to begin in November of this year. The series will last 156 episodes, starting on April 2, 2012.

Mantan Web
Tokyo Graph

Horikita Maki rumored to star in 2012 NHK morning drama

According to an unconfirmed report by the Nikkan Sports newspaper, actress Horikita Maki (22) has been offered the starring role in NHK’s 86th Asadora, scheduled to begin next spring after the end of “Carnation” (September 2011-March 2012). Horikita was reportedly chosen without an audition, just like Inoue Mao (24) was for the currently airing “Ohisama.”

Nikkan Sports quotes someone connected to NHK, who says that Horikita’s supporting cast has also already been decided. No details about the story have currently been revealed yet. However, a quote from another source suggests that it will not take place in the present day, but will instead focus on an earlier period in time, like last year’s hit “Gegege no Nyoubou” and the current “Ohisama.”

Horikita has starred in several prime time dramas and movies, but this would be her first time in one of the NHK morning dramas.

Nikkan Sports
Tokyo Graph

Horikita Maki stars in home drama “Umareru” with Okura Tadayoshi, Nakajima Kento

Actress Horikita Maki (22) is confirmed to star in a new TBS drama series titled “Umareru” this spring. Her supporting cast will include Tanaka Misako (51), Kanjani8 member Okura Tadayoshi (25), and Johnny’s Jr. member Nakajima Kento (16).

Horikita plays the eldest daughter out of four siblings. One day, their 51-year-old mother informs them that she is pregnant, upsetting the balance of their home and threatening to expose a long-hidden family secret. The expecting mother will be played by Tanaka, who previously had an opposite role in the teen pregnancy drama “14 Sai no Haha.”

Okura will play the oldest son of the family, and Nakajima will play the second son. Miyake Yuji (59) has been cast as the father.

Screenwriter Suzuki Osamu, who is better known for variety shows like “SMAP x SMAP,” is in charge of the script. Kaneko Fuminori (“SPEC,” “Unubore Deka”) will direct, while Suzuki Sanae (“GM: Odore Doctor”) will produce.

TBS has scheduled the show for Fridays at 10:00pm, beginning in April.

Tokyo Graph

Takashi Yamazaki to direct third “Always” film in 3D

The hit 2005 movie “Always: Sanchome no Yuhi” is getting another sequel. Takashi Yamazaki is once again taking the director’s chair for “Always: Sanchome no Yuhi ’64,” which will be shot in 3D. Returning cast members reportedly include Hidetaka Yoshioka, Shinichi Tsutsumi, Koyuki, Maki Horikita, Masako Motai, Tomokazu Miura, and Hiroko Yakushimaru.

Yamazaki directed the first film based on Ryohei Saigan’s manga “Sanchome no Yuhi” in 2005, which earned 3.5 billion yen and won many awards. Yamazaki delivered the sequel “Always: Zoku Sanchome no Yuhi” in 2007, grossing 4.56 billion yen and winning several more awards.

The first two films were set in Tokyo during the late ’50s, as Tokyo Tower was being built. The new movie will be set in 1964, the year that the Summer Olympics were held in Tokyo. Although that was not part of the original manga, Yamazaki showed the proposal to Saigan and obtained his approval.

Shooting started on January 12 and will wrap up in late April. Theatrical release is planned for the first half of 2012.

Tokyo Graph

Maki Horikita stars in drama based on Masashi Sada song

Maki Horikita (22) has been chosen to star in an upcoming Fuji TV drama special, tentatively titled “Kakashi.” The drama is based on the 1977 song of the same name by Masashi Sada.

This is the third time in recent years that one of Sada’s works has been adapted to television. In 2008, his novel “Bizan” was made into a drama starring Takako Tokiwa (after already being made into a movie with Nanako Matsushima). In 2009, his song “Oyaji no Ichiban Nagai Hi” also became a drama, starring Masami Nagasawa.

The original song “Kakashi” tells of a family whose daughter has left home to live far away in the city. For the drama, producers decided to model the characters after a family of udon makers from the Goto Islands, who were the subject of a documentary program that previously aired on Fuji TV.

Horikita plays the role of Chizuru Saeki, the second daughter of the family. After graduating from high school, she leaves the family’s home in the Goto Islands to pursue a career as a photographer in Tokyo. While working as an assistant, she ends up involved in some trouble, and after becoming tired of life in Tokyo she returns home after three years.

The parents of the family will be played by Ken Matsudaira and Jun Fubuki. Sousuke Takaoka and Shuga Nakamura will play Chizuru’s brothers, while Noriko Nakagoshi and Karen Miyama will play her sisters. Sada himself will make a guest appearance as the manager of a small bookshop.

“Kakashi” was filmed in early October last year. Fuji TV plans to broadcast the special sometime this March.

Tokyo Graph

“Byakuyakou,” “Heaven’s Story” to show at 61st Berlin International Film Festival

Director Yoshihiro Fukagawa’s movie adaptation of “Byakuyakou” (starring Maki Horikita and Kengo Kora) has been chosen for screening at the 61st Berlin International Film Festival, being held February 10-20.

The movie will be part of the festival’s Panorama section, which “presents new works by well-known directors.” In 2010, Isao Yukisada’s “Parade” screened in that same section and received one of the Prizes of the FIPRESCI Juries.

“Byakuyakou” is based on the Keigo Higashino novel of the same name, which was turned into a television drama in 2006 starring Takayuki Yamada and Haruka Ayase. The movie opens in Japan on January 29.

In addition to “Byakuyakou,” it has been revealed that Takahisa Zeze’s “Heaven’s Story” (currently in theaters) will be shown in the festival’s Forum section. In 2009, Sion Sono’s “Ai no Mukidashi” (“Love Exposure”) won two awards after being screened in that section. Surprisingly, “Heaven’s Story” is even longer than “Ai no Mukidashi” – the running time for the film is 4 hours and 38 minutes, compared to 3 hours and 57 minutes for “Ai no Mukidashi.”

Tokyo Graph

Mystery singer Tamaki does “Byakuyakou” theme

The upcoming movie “Byakuyakou” will have its theme song provided by a mystery singer known as Tamaki. In addition, it has been learned that Tamaki will release her debut album on January 26 through the record label TOY’S FACTORY.

Although her identity is unknown, Tamaki already has one song available as a digital release. That song, “Hikari no Achira e,” is being used as the theme song for the drama series “Genya,” also an adaptation of a Keigo Higashino novel. The series, which stars Kyoko Fukada, premieres on WOWOW on November 21.

For “Byakuyakou,” Tamaki is singing a song called “Yasoukyoku.” TOY’S FACTORY has made the full song available for listening on the company’s official YouTube channel.

Both “Hikari no Achira e” and “Yasoukyoku” will be included on Tamaki’s debut album, also titled “Yasoukyoku.” The album is expected to contain between 7 and 9 songs, and production is reportedly being handled by agehasprings, which has previously worked with artists such as Superfly, FUNKY MONKEY BABYS, and Base Ball Bear.

“Byakuyakou” stars Maki Horikita and Kengo Kora. The movie opens in theaters on January 29.

Tokyo Graph