Welcome to PsychoDrama! This site contains movie and drama reviews, casting news, trailers, movie posters and information about the latest Japanese productions, including profiles of established and aspiring young actors and actresses. We also feature the hitlist - rankings of the hottest Japanese talents and actors' bias articles - where we discuss prominent talents including Satoshi Tsumabuki, Ryuhei Matsuda, Eita, Hikari Mitsushima, Mao Inoue, Shota Sometani, Yuya Yagira, Fumi Nikaido, Sosuke Ikematsu, Masaki Suda, Ryunosuke Kamiki and many others. Join in our discussion and let us know what you think! Started in March 2012, you can find out more about us here.
I've been re-watching some of my favorite Japanese movies for past week or so and I'm reminded of the variety and intensity of these movies! Which goes to show, aside from the filmmakers' vision - it was the acting that matters in the long run. When Nagisa Oshima made Gohatto (Taboo), Ryuhei Matsuda was only 16 years old and now that he's 32, Matsuda can be considered one of Japan's premier dramatic actors. Perhaps the affirmation of his acting came when he won Best Actor for The Great Passage, though many of his fans would agree that he could have won acting awards before that - Blue Spring, A Big Bang Love and Mahoro Ekimae Tada Benriken come to mind.
Perhaps more acclaimed than Matsuda is Satoshi Tsumabuki. While Matsuda was a big success locally, Tsumabuki is both acclaimed inside and outside Japan. His collaboration with such filmmakers as Hou Hsiao-hsien and Kim Young-Nam gave him international exposure, with Hisao-hsien's The Assassin participating in the recent Cannes Film Festival. It's amusing to note that he's called "Exceedingly Handsome Guy" in The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, with the lead stars most definitely less talented than he.
But we're talking recent history here. According to Kinema Junpo, some of the best actors from Japan are dead already... So we may need to travel back in time to start this journey, so to speak...
The top 5 Best Japanese Actors are:
1. Toshiro Mifune (1920-1997)
2. Yujiro Ishihara (1934-1987)
3. Masayuki Mori (1911-1973)
4. Ken Takakura (1931-2014)
5. Chishū Ryū (1904-1993)
Photo: lottereinigerforever: Toshiro Mifune in “Drunken Angel” 1948 http://t.co/rpDzt9uYtr— Film Noir Foundation (@noirfoundation) May 8, 2015
Toshiro Mifune in Seven Samurai (Akira Kurasawa, 1954) pic.twitter.com/QsqCe14zkF— Old Pics Archive (@oldpicsarchive) May 9, 2015
I only knew of Mifune since a lot of his films were a collaboration with acclaimed filmmaker Akira Kurosawa. Part of his wiki profile says:
His imposing bearing, acting range, facility with foreign languages and lengthy partnership with acclaimed director Akira Kurosawa made him the most famous Japanese actor of his time, and easily the best known to Western audiences. He often portrayed samurai or ronin who were usually coarse and gruff (Kurosawa once explained that the only weakness he could find with Mifune and his acting ability was his "rough" voice), inverting the popular stereotype of the genteel, clean-cut samurai. In such films as Seven Samurai and Yojimbo, he played characters who were often comically lacking in manners, but replete with practical wisdom and experience, understated nobility, and, in the case of Yojimbo, unmatched fighting prowess. Sanjuro in particular contrasts this earthy warrior spirit with the useless, sheltered propriety of the court samurai. Kurosawa highly valued Mifune for his effortless portrayal of unvarnished emotion, once commenting that he could convey in only three feet of film an emotion for which the average Japanese actor would require ten feetRead more...
Japanese TV drama mainstays Yasuko Matsuyuki and Yutaka Takenouchi play a married couple and a swindler and thief respectively in At Home. When Matsuyuki was about to swindle her latest victim, the tables were turned and she became a hostage, with her quasi-family forced to pay a ransom...
3 out of 5 stars
Model turned actor Kentaro Sakaguchi, Yuina Kuroshima and kid actor Yuto Ikeda play their children. Matsuyuki always delivers on her acting - and she has proven herself a great actress in Hula Girls and a number of TV dramas. The same can be said of Takenouchi, but it's the children I am most excited about - Kuroshima is a fast rising star and so is Sakaguchi...
13oysandmen just posted their very own Top 100 hitlist and I'm really excited to note that many of the names on PsychoDrama's hitlist are also part of theirs - Shota Sometani, Yuya Yagira, Masaki Suda, Masataka Kubota, Kento Yamazaki, Sosuke Ikematsu to name just a few. Which brings me to a supposedly new hitlist I was trying to compile for the past weeks or so...
I call them "under the radar" since most of them were never featured here, or perhaps some were mentioned in passing. I think all of them deserved the spotlight as much as Sometani, Yagira, Suda, Ikematsu, Nikaido, Matsuoka, Tsuchiya and the rest of the young talents we have frequently featured.
So here goes!
Yume wo Ataeru (To Give a Dream) is WOWOW's latest dorama offering, featuring the trendy 4-episode 50-minute format, and a star-studded cast led by Oscar nominee Rinko Kikuchi, Joe Odagiri and newcomer Nana Komatsu. It follows the story of the Abe family - with mom Mikiko (Kikuchi), French dad (De Lencquesaing Nozomi) and their only daughter Yuko (initially played by Kanon Tani and later on by Komatsu) who embarks on a showbiz career upon the prodding of the mother.
Dramas about the life of celebrities are common, but what makes Yume wo Ataeru different is it puts the spotlight on all the members of the family, with behind the scene footages of what's happening during auditions, tapings and rehearsals. Kikuchi's character is a headstrong and aggressive stage mother who has some psychological issues while Komatsu depicts a youngster deprive of her youth, bullied by jealous models and co-stars and just plain lonely.
Episode 1 started with a sensational revelation of a sex video involving the young Yuko with an unidentified lover. This prompted wide hysteria as ordinary citizens get hold of the video and the press hounding the family and Yuko's talent management. Still unable to locate the young model, Mikiko and her managers and agents are in desperate mode as no one has offered what to do next - damage control seems like an exercise in futility.
Who made the video? Is Yuko on drugs? Who had them taped? While the scandal rock the family, Yuko's most important client - the powerful conglomerate who made her famous is mad as hell. Is this the end of Yuko's modeling and showbiz career?
The initial episode shows very little of Komatsu and focused on her childhood - beginning with her most important audition as Murano (Joe Odagiri) plucked her out of anonymity into the glare of the spotlight. On the family front, Mikiko and her French husband are not getting along. Mikiko obviously has personal issues and her domineering character is not well-taken by the easy-go-lucky French who enjoys the simple living. These flashbacks are mixed with the present day until finally Yuko was found...Read more...
May is almost over, but Japanese movie and dorama fans were filled with excitement as the Death Note drama main cast was finally revealed. Fellow J-movie watchers have observed the numerous casting of Japan's young talents, and it continues to amaze. This week, we have new drama shows coming up featuring Mahiro Takasugi and Taishi Nakagawa - definitely on the rise as possible contenders to the drama throne.
The versatile Ryohei Suzuki does it again as he puts more weight in preparation for his new role - now that's what you call professional! Finally, Mugi Kadowaki serves notice that she's one of the most important Japanese actresses today, you need to see what roles she grabbed!
Let's start with Taishi Nakagawa... Establishing himself as a potential dramatic actor with notable performances in Perfect Blue, Yakou Kanransya and Waterpolo Yankees, Nakagawa was often compared to Sota Fukushi as a look-alike. But the younger actor has definitely proven himself a better performer.
Now comes a much-deserved title role in the third remake of "Minami-kun no Koibito". The Shungicu Uchida manga has been adapted twice already as TV drama, the most recent of which stars Nino Kazunari and Kyoko Fukada. This time, Taishi Nakagawa headlines the rom-com about the relationship of two beautiful people, one of which suddenly shrinks to only 16 cm tall. I've browsed a couple of the episodes featuring Nino and I love the uniqueness of the story. Having a relationship with a miniature person is definitely impossible. What makes the show entertaining is the way the guy tries his best to hide his little girlfriend - away from the prying eyes of those who are "normal". I'd love to see how Taishi and his co-star Maika Yamamoto act together.
Mugi Kadowaki is apparently on a roll! After a wow performance in Vortex of Love, Kadowaki is everywhere- she's part of the asadora Mare, and is the star in the upcoming apocalyptic movie Sun with Ryunosuke Kamiki. A main character role in Double Life is also in the works, as well as an important part in the samurai drama Gassoh, where she and Joe Odagiri were recently added as part of the cast.Read more...
I have to say Amuse talents should acknowledge the loyalty and interest of their fanbase, especially from Indonesia and the Philippines, for bringing movie fans the scoop on the latest movies and shows featuring these actors. One of Japan's most promising young talents - Yuta Koseki - who also figured prominently in our Top 15 Promising talents rankings - will launch his starring movie entitled "Drawing days" on the first week of June. The launch will also coincide with his 20th birthday.
The young Amuse talent started with a drama and another movie to get this launching role:
Koseki Yuta’s appearance in drama “Gomen ne Seishun!” And movie “Ashita ni Nareba” has attracted attention. And now, the screening for his starring movie “Drawing Days,” has been decided. The First screening is carried out on “Koseki Yuta 20th BirthDay special events” that take place in June 6 to 7. [ source ]
In Drawing Days, Koseki plays the role of a young guy who graduated from a technical school but took a job only to have his passion for painting realized - he uses his salary to buy paints and other materials. His Mom thought otherwise, thinking he is working in an electric company...
Koseki is also known for playing one of the leads in the coming of age musical Prince of Tennis, a favorite launching pad of many aspiring actors who later became some of Japan's best actors.
Updates: After a qualified "leak" or slip or whatever (Casting scoop was actually on the 26th issue of Shueisha's Weekly Shonen Jump), Japanese entertainment sites officially revealed the cast - Masataka Kubota, Kento Yamazaki, Mio Yuki - confirming earlier reports.
Insiders mentioned that the drama series - to be aired by NTV every Sunday starting July - differs from previous movie adaptations where the main characters battle it out as young professionals. In the new drama, both Light Yagami and L are college students. (Not really sure if both will be portrayed as actually in school or if one of them is as "eccentric" as he was depicted previously) I think the biggest drawback of the movie was portraying Yagami immediately as being corruptible hence it was not quite convincing how an idealistic young guy who is passionate about the law and ethics could easily succumb to the temptation of the death note and start killing criminals.
The powerful production committee - unknown business executives - who are clueless about movies, drama and anything that has to do with the artistic process in live action adaptation does it again! This time in the Death Note drama series scheduled for airing this coming July 2015. While the casting of Masataka Kubota as Light Yagami is perfect in terms of quality and credibility, Kento Yamazaki as L is a pleasant surprise and something to speculate about. Mio Yuki as the relatively unknown Near (for those who are not familiar with the manga) is the most shocking of all.
In our previous article discussing the launch of the drama series, fellow J-dorama watchers speculated on the cast and Kento Yamazaki was mentioned as - perhaps - a viable candidate to play one of the characters. Yamazaki, who is getting quality roles of late is a capable and intense dramatic actor as anyone from his generation (except Masaki Suda, of course, who is entirely on a different level). Previously played by Kenichi Matsuyama, the character of L is the most colorful and intriguing among the Death Note players. Playing L is not easy especially for #deadfisheyes actors, but Yamazaki has demonstrated his dramatic abilities way before anyone took interest on him (Control Tower is a very good example of how good he is). I don't know how good Yamazaki is on playing such a unique character because when Kenichi played L, he was both charismatic, geeky-nerdy and was regarded as the movie series' class act.
Casting Kento Yamazaki is probably the biggest draw for the drama series and I'm one of the most excited to wait for it.
Regarded as one of Japan's most under-rated actors, Masataka Kubota exudes a certain sex appeal that discerning J-dorama fans may find irresistible. My sisters who are K-drama addicts have switched to J-dorama upon my recommendation of the N No Tame Ni show, precisely because of Kubota. In the new Death Note drama, the acclaimed but not so popular actor will play Light Yagami and succeeds Tatsuya Fujiwara who played the same character in a series of movies.
I can understand Fujiwara's complaint regarding the lack of signature actions or unique dramatic traits in Light Yagami, but it is certainly not the reason why he can't win the acting showdown with Kenichi Matsuyama, he is just not good enough. Like my point in having Kento Yamazaki play L, Kubota will also need to do something to make the character come alive. I think that the most important attraction for manga lovers of Death Note is the battle between good and evil in the heart of Light Yagami. He is someone who has demonstrated high-level aptitude of the law and of morality, but he took on the notebook and cause the death of hundreds of people on the basis of what they are as individuals. Does the end justify the means? For Light Yagami, it does...
For those who are not familiar with Masataka Kubota, then I suggest you take a closer look at his profile from 13oys and Men and sample a few of his work like The Cowards Who Looked up to the Sky, Thirteen Assassins and the recent drama, N No Tame Ni.Read more...
Shooting large-scale action scenes in Manila is fast becoming popular among international movie productions. After watching those thrilling scenes in The Bourne Legacy shot in the capital of the Philippines, it is Japan's turn to make use of the highly dense areas of Manila to shoot thrilling scenes for the movie version of the highly debated TV series MOZU.
The original cast led by Hidetoshi Nahijima, Yoko Maki, Sosuke Ikematsu and Teruyuki Kagawa are joined by new characters to be played by Beat Takeshi, Tori Matsuzaka and Yusuke Iseya.
More photos and details after the jump!Read more...
Celebrate with PsychoDrama as we discuss the best actors Japanese cinema has produced for the past 50 decades or so... Our latest series takes us to Toshiro Mifune and Ken Takakura - Part 1 | Part 2. Our actor's bias series continues with Kanata Hongo, Yuya Yagira, Ryunosuke Kamiki, Sosuke Ikematsu, Shuhei Nomura, Masaki Suda and Shota Sometani
Actors and Acting style series is a must-read! Part 1 [ Satoshi Tsumabuki, Eita, Ryuhei Matsuda & Kenichi Matsuyama ] Part 2 [ Shun Oguri, Takayuki Yamada, Kengo Kora, Gou Ayano ] Part 3 [ Mirai Moriyama, Yuya Yagira, Shota Sometani,Ryunosuke Kamiki, Masaki Suda ] Part 4 [ Tatsuya Fujiwara, Haruma Miura, Takeru Sato, Hoshi Ishida, Yosuke Kubozuka ] Part 5 [ Kento Nagayama, Masataka Kubota, Kento Hayashi, Sosuke Ikemtsu ]
13oys and Men - Promoting the awesome and talented young Japanese actors, with lots of screenshots and insights into the careers of top and upcoming young talents.
Asian Addicts Anonymous - Comprehensive reviews and recaps of exciting Japanese drama, including interesting post on Asian music and movie news.
Drama Max - Japanese movie and drama reviews from a different perspective. Connected with Resonance Media, a management company handling Japanese musical talents.
Genkinahito's Blog - Reviews, news, box office results & some amazing insights into Japanese films, including manga and anime.
My Drama Tea - Honest and insightful reviews of Japanese drama, also reviews of Chinese, Korean and Taiwanese dramas, with music news and movie reviews.
Ritsu No Dorama Land - J-dorama reviews with a difference, complete with recaps that really complements the review.
OtherWhere - Excellent and varied trailer showcase, insightful reviews of Japanese movies (both indies and mainstream), and a great resource for news on Studio Ghibli too!
The Corner of the Mind - Drama reviews (with detailed analysis of up and coming dramas via first impressions) and anime spotlights.