Casting News + Scoop! [Aug 30-Sept 8] Fumi Nikaido graduates from student to Sensei! + Bullying Hana Sugisaki + Shuhei Nomura’s Taiwan adventures!

It’s not difficult to understand why many Japanese filmmakers – both making full-length films and drama shows – single out Fumi Nikaido. Aside from her proven capacity to deliver worthy performances, she is known to speak her mind and participate in the way she’ll play her part. While we are not privy to actual situations during shooting, a collaborative effort between artists seems to be the way to go.

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Winning a major international acting award (with Shota Sometani) in Himizu, paved the way for roles in My Man, Brain Man, Au revoir l’ ete, Misono Universe and many others. 

Now it seems is the time for her to “graduate” from playing school girls to a teacher! In NTV’s movie specially made for television, Gappa Sensei, Nikaido is an elementary school teacher who comes from the countryside. Her rural background makes her different from other teachers, and in her initial encounter with the pupils and co-teachers alike, she nervously spoke her local dialect, thus her title Gappa sensei. 

Kentaro Sakaguchi and Sadao Abe co-stars.


Hanna Sugisaki, on the other hand, may be younger, but many J-ent insiders consider her to be another promising actress. One particular movie with Sugisaki worth taking a close look is Pieta in the Toilet.

In a review by Christopher Bourne @Screen Anarchy, he described DSugisaki’s character:

Mai is a spunky, pugnacious girl, made that way by her bad home life, which we are privy to in scenes which alternate with Hiroshi’s. She’s forced to essentially be the head of her household, cooking for her constantly working mother and caring for her senile grandmother; no father seems to be in the picture. Mai sometimes gets rather flirtatious in her interactions with Hiroshi, while cheekily reminding him that she’s underage. This, along with her introductory encounter with the older man, may be a hint at how Mai earns her spending money.  [ source ]

Now, Sugisaki is cast in a Rie Miyazawa movie entitled Yu o Wakasu Hodo no Atsui Ai ( 湯を沸かすほどの熱い愛 ). She plays Miyazawa’s daughter who gets bullied at school:

Storyline from Asianwiki follows:

Futaba (Rie Miyazawa) has a tender and tough side. Her daughter is Azumi (Hana Sugisaki). One day, she learns that she doesn’t have much time left to live. Futaba decides she has 4 things to do before she dies: 1.) she wants to find her missing husband and get him to resume the family bathhouse business 2.) get her daughter Azumi to stand on her own 3.) find the right man for Azumi and 4.) related to her secret that nobody knows about it. 

I’ve been a fan of Sugisaki since I saw her in Mysterious Transfer Student (with Aoi Nakamura and Kanata Hongo). I find her to be a natural actress, and I am not wondering why she’s cast in independent films, though she is also in school dramas. 

Shuhei Nomura is reported to be reprising his role in Sukina Hito ga Iru Koto (好きな人がいること). Dorama World reports:

Nomura who is fluent in Mandarin commented that he will work hard to deliver a good performance for the fans in Taiwan. The drama SP is the opening commemorative production for broadcast platform WAKUWAKU JAPAN which makes its debut in Taiwan from 1 September [ source ]

The actor has been consistent with his performances – and I was wondering why it was Sota Fukushi who got a lot of screentime in Enoshima Prism when it was obvious who is the better actor. Anyway, Nomura makes up for the “lack of screen time” in that forgettable movie by grabbing roles in The Summer of Whales, Litchi Hikari Club, Puzzle, Chihayafuru, Moriyamachu Driving School and Museum.