Casting News + Scoop! [March 19-27] Taiga headlines ‘Poncho’ movie + Spotlight on Fujioka Dean and Hoshino Gen as standout Dramatic Actors! + Top live-action movies vying for our attention!

At 24, Taiga’s acting resume is comparable to his senior peers in the Japanese movie-drama scenes and may even surpass some of them. With about 28 full-length films and about half of that output in TV drama shows, Taiga is best known as a supporting player. However, in many of these secondary roles, he is always exceptional:

  • Au revoir l’ ete | Hotori no Sakuko (2014) – As Takashi, Nikaido Fumi’s romantic interest;
  • Kinki (2014) – Moto, the teenager sexual victim;
  • Aogeba Toutoshi (TBS / 2016) – Kinya Takamoku, a member of the high school gang led by Murakami Nijiro;
  • Koinaka (Fuji TV / 2015) – Kouhei Kanazawa, Fukushi Sota’s good friend;
  • We’re Millennials Got a Problem? | Yutori Desu ga Nani ka (NTV / 2016) – Hiromu Yamagishi, a disgruntled employee.

A new project – “Poncho ni yoake no kaze harama sete”, with Nakamura Aoi, Yamato Yuma, and Sometani Shota is currently being crowdfunded over at Motion Gallery. It tells the story of 3 young boys during high school with a focal point during their road travel.

If you’re still unconvinced, then I highly recommend Au revoir l’ ete where Taiga plays a reserved young guy with a mysterious past. Says The Japan Times:

More troubled, and for good reason, is Taiga’s Takashi, who rejects easy sympathy, however well intentioned the source. Like Sakuko (Nikaido Fumi), he is an outsider, though one more dependent on the kindness of the adult world — and more determined to break free from its corrupting embrace. [ read more ]

There was a scene where Taiga is required to talk to an audience of rallyists, and it was quite intense and disturbing. It reveals why he’s working (instead of going to school) and not with his parents. 

A close second to the above-noted performance is Taiga’s Takamoku in the recent drama Aogeba Toutoshi. 

Fujioka Dean’s foray into Japanese drama and films only started in 2010, but he has been acting as early as 2006 in Chinese productions in Hong Kong and Taiwan. His modeling and acting career somehow mirrors that of Takeshi Kaneshiro, but Fujioka’s early career plans were quite different. He wanted to become a web designer and perhaps work in Silicon Valley.

Dean Fujioka

With his fashion model good looks and other talents such as singing, there is no way he’ll remain focused on such ‘insular’ type of work. Thus, modeling in fashion magazines paved the way for more work in the entertainment industry. 

Fast forward to 2013, he directed and starred in his first Japanese movie, as a killer in I am Ichihashi~逮捕されるまで. 

I’d always wanted to play a killer, but I was really unsure about this particular role because I’d been out of Japan for so long and was initially unaware of this incident. I was offered just an acting role at first so I decided to do some research and then meet up with the executive producer to discuss the issue. At that time a lot of people were telling me I shouldn’t do it. My friends and family thought I was crazy. They said I wouldn’t get TV work or any kind of endorsements. The first question that came to mind after reading the book was why would anyone want to publish something like this? Also who would be interested in reading it? I was puzzled. Sadly things like this happen every given minute, so what was it about this particular case? As I’d been out of the country I was curious about what was going on beneath the surface in Japan – the way young people were becoming desensitized to violence. Therefore, I also accepted the offer to direct it, hoping I could help eradicate this kind of thing by showing it through a movie. [ source ]

Warning: The video below (trailer) for the said Japanese movie contains disturbing scenes.


As with most J-movie watchers, I tend to focus on local actors and Fujioka totally escaped my radar. As with Japanese talents working abroad, it is only now that he’s having the kind of spotlight he deserves. Why is it that the local Japanese press tend to ignore ‘Western’ grown talents and in the case of Fujioka – he’s already quite big in Taiwan and Hongkong not to merit attention. However, it is now moot and academic that he’s getting all the attention from his ‘native’ Japan. [ RocketNews quickly pointed out a related article

The Pinkertons - Dean Fujioka

In 2014, Fujioka debuts in The Pinkertons described as a wild west detective series in the US. 

Below is one of his music videos – My Dimension.


Of course, he recently made waves as the voice in the opening OST of Yuri On Ice.

Below represents his acting resume in Japan:

  • Marriage | Kekkon (2017) – Kenji Urumi
  • Fullmetal Alchemist | Hagane no Renkinjutsushi (2017) – Roy Mustang
  • Ninja The Monster (2016) – Denzo
  • Shanti Days 365 Days, Happy Breath | Shanti Deizu 365 Nichi, Shiawasena Kokyu (2014) – Atsushi (photographer)
  • I am Ichihashi – Journal of a Murderer (2012)

 I’m fairly certain, we’ll be seeing a lot of Fujioka in the next few months and years!

Hoshino Gen’s supporting role in Sion Sono’s Why Don’t You Play in Hell left an indelible mark thus I began to follow his career with such delight and great expectations. I was never disappointed – Kounodori, Nigeru wa Haji da ga Yaku ni Tatsu and even a small role in Sang Il-Lee’s 69, Hoshino manages to show his acting ‘relevance’.

Plage - Gen Hoshino 

In the latest WOWOW drama Plage, I expect him to shine! Hopefully, this will be the start of more leading role projects for the singer/actor. 

Sakerock (サケロック Sakerokku?), typeset as SAKEROCK, is an instrumental Japanese band.

Led by Gen Hoshino, the group was formed in 2000 by graduates of a high school in Hannō, Saitama. The band was named after a Martin Denny song and performs uplift, melodic instrumental music influenced by jazz, folk, Latin music, and exotica. Over the decade, they released more than 10 albums and mini-albums, including soundtracks for Japanese movies, television dramas, and stage plays. They are signed to the Kakubarhythm label.


While Gintama continues to hug the spotlight with back-to-back photos and movie posters, the intriguing look of Kento Yamazaki as Josuke Higashikata in Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure is just attention grabbing. Also making waves is the acting team up of Kudo Asuka and Fukushi Sota – both are aiming for more acting glory with To Each His Own (ちょっと今から仕事やめてくる) from award-winning director Izuru Narushima. 

Kento Yamazaki in Jojo Bizarre Adventures, Sota Fukushi, Asuka Kudo in To Each His Own

Fukushi Sota is the subject of an upcoming article where we discuss the potentials of the actor. 


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