Inoue Mao’s acting insights as drama lead in ‘Ashita no Yakusoku’ Japanese Drama Fall 2017 [Issue #2]

One of the leading drama stars on Japanese TV, Inoue Mao (30), remains a respected and most sought-after actress in an industry that values appearance, popularity, and connection. In a series of articles, she reflects on her acting career amidst personal challenges and the hype on ratings. This article partakes Inoue’s acting journey from such interviews and this author’s particular (and biased) interpretation.

Looking back, it was about 12 years ago when she plays the role of Makino Tsukushi in the Asian phenomenon known as Boys Over Flowers. Inoue has accomplished a few acting milestones right after: an asadora Ohisama (NHK / 2011), a taiga drama Hanamoyu (NHK / 2015), a Best Actress trophy for Rebirth – Youkame no Semi (2011), a Best Actress nom for The Snow White Murder Case (2014), and a venture into voice acting. 

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First Impressions + Ep1 Recap: The Guidance Counselor/Tomorrow’s Promise – 明日の約束 [Japanese Drama]

According to NoBully.Org, 30% of students around the world are bullied each year. In other words, that’s a third of the student population. In Japan, the figure is much higher and The Japan Times confirmed it:

The survey of all 38,846 schools across Japan, including elementary, junior high, high school and special needs schools, 22,272, or 57.3 percent, said they found bullying cases. []

I know I started my introduction quite strong, but then again, Inoue Mao’s latest drama has also come out intense with regards to bullying. But what makes Ashita no Yakusoku even more engaging as a school-mystery-drama is that it tackles another issue – the cases of the overprotective parents (particularly the Mom). Mixing these themes can be a potent combination and to cast Inoue against another Japanese actress who has reached an ‘iconic’ status through the years – Nakama Yukie is (close to) a stroke of genius.

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Acting showdown looms between Inoue Mao and Nakama Yukie in Fuji TV’s Tomorrow’s Promise -明日の約束 [Dorama Watch]

Tomorrow’s Promise starring Inoue Mao and Nakama Yukie promises to be an exciting, gripping mystery drama with acting showdowns featuring the two actresses. The premise behind the show is geared towards conflict between the characters. A high school student Yoshioka Keigo (Endo Kenshin) made a confession about his feelings for the school’s guidance counselor, played by Inoue Mao. He suddenly dies under mysterious circumstances right after.

Apparently, the boy is bullied at school and has to endure constant interference from his own mother (Nakama Yukie). He is also being referred to as a ‘delinquent’ and associates with bad company.

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Casting News + Scoop! [Aug 12-30] Yoshizawa Ryo, Suda Masaki, Mamiya Shotaro, Kazunari Ninomiya and Inoue Mao dominate casting news with exciting projects!

This will be our final casting news for August as we will then celebrate September as our Food month! Yoshizawa Ryo and Mamiya Shotaro are getting some exciting new projects, which both of them deserve! Also in the news are Nino’s food drama film, The Last Recipe, Suda Masaki-Kiritani Kenta movie version of Hibana (Sparks), and Inoue Mao’s new drama at Fuji TV entitled Tomorrow’s Promise.

 

I recall how Yoshizawa Ryo played second lead to the less talented, but popular Fukushi Sota way back in 2011 in Kamen Rider Fourze, which was followed up by “Boku ga Shokei Sareru Mirai” (“The Future Where I Am Executed”).

However, Yoshizawa (who is under Amuse) did not settle for anything less as he began to accumulate more projects and raves for his performances. Now, with a team up with Nikaido Fumi in River’s Edge, Yoshizawa upped the ante with another prestige role in Marmalade Boy live-action.

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The Year in Review – 2015: Japanese Dramas that made waves during the year + Favorite dramatic scenes & performances! [ Winter Shows – Part 1/4]

Last year we reported that there were 135 Japanese dramas produced and broadcasted all over Japan. That figure has since been adjusted to reflect all shows for 2014 and the final figure is up by 9, which means there were actually 144 shows. This year, pending adjustments from various TV networks, there are already 145 shows, including the trendy WOWOW series featuring 4-5 episodes that include Angel’s Knife and Ishi no Mayu (featuring the alluring Fumino Kimura) and Fuji TV’s She (led by the versatile Mayu Matsuoka) . Those figures, however, are less than half of Japanese movies shown in the same year.

While I’m not particularly impressed with J-movies of 2015, there are a lot of outstanding drama series for the same year, so let’s have a review by pictures and by season, starting with Winter 2015 shows…

I adore Yoko Maki. She never overacts and most of the roles she played were quite intense, yet compared to the likes of Erika Sawajiri or Ryoko Hirosue, she doesn’t figure too prominently in the Japanese press…

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Japan Academy Prize 2015: The Eternal Zero wins Best Picture; Junichi Okada grabs Best Actor & Best Supporting Actor; Sosuke Ikematsu, Sota Fukushi, Nana Komatsu – Rookies!

The Eternal Zero wins Best Picture, while lead star – Junichi Okada – took home two awards for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor (for A Samurai Chronicle). Rie Miyazawa is Best Actress (beating out Sakura Ando, Mao Inoue, and Chizuru Ikewaki), while Haru Kuroki grabbed Best Supporting Actress!

The 38th Japan Academy Prize (第38回日本アカデミー賞) is the 38th edition of the Japan Academy Prize, an award presented by the Nippon Academy-Sho Association to award excellence in filmmaking. It awarded the best films of 2014, and it took place on February 27, 2015, at the Grand Prince Hotel New Takanawa in TokyoJapan

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Junichi Okada and Mao Inoue in The Eternal Zero, directed by Takashi Yamazaki, Toho, Copyright 2013, All Rights Reserved.

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Shota Sometani, Takahiro Miura, and supporting cast in The Eternal Zero, directed by Takashi Yamazaki, Toho, Copyright 2013, All Rights Reserved.

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Snow White Murder Case (Shiro Yuki Hime Satsujin Jiken) – 白ゆき姫殺人事件 [Movie Review]

The Snow White Murder Case may appear to be a simple case of whodunit, spiced with the use of social media to condemn a suspected murderer and the ability (or lack thereof) of a TV broadcast news company to verify its source. In this case, we are talking about a mysterious, yet “plain looking” young woman who is the suspect in murdering her beautiful and favorite co-worker, thus the use of Snow White to reflect the victim’s appearance.

 

So, let’s ‘hear’ the case: Miki Shirono (Mao Inoue) is no match to Noriko Miki (Nanao) from the start of their job at a famous cosmetics company. Noriki is beautiful and confident, smiles to all and always befriends everyone. Shirono is plain, withdrawn and appears to have an inferiority complex, yet she may even seem “evil” at times. But as they say, looks are not everything, so I’m getting ahead of myself.

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Why Mao Inoue is Best Actress of her generation: Compelling performance in The Snow White Murder Case!

I have a particular bias towards Mao Inoue – I just find her to be such a compelling, competent and emotional actress that I often find the time to watch her movies more than twice. Even in her previously shown asadora – Ohisama – I was compelled by her charm and finished the whole 150+ episodes in record time – something I have failed to accomplish before when watching more recent asadoras.

Recently, a new movie starring the 27-year old award-winning actress was released in Japan entitled Snow White Murder Case. While she is also the star of another movie (The Eternal Zero) which broke box office records, her role in Snow White Murder Case (Shirayuki hime satsujin jiken) has a more significant effect on her acting career. It’s supposed to be a follow-up to her award-winning role in Rebirth, and while the next Japan Academy Awards is more than a year away, there is already some indication that she might make it on the list.

Of course, winning the Best Actress for Rebirth in 2012 is not the singular acting achievement of Ms. Inoue. She is also the recipient of multiple awards for her dramas.

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A Primer on Psycho Drama’s Top 30 Hottest Young Japanese Actresses

What makes a great actress? Or, let me rephrase that: What makes a great Japanese actress – preferably the younger generation? Looking back at some memorable performances, is Miki Nakatani’s acting in Memories of Matsuko a good measure of how Japanese actresses fare in the international scene? Or should we look up to Yasuko Matsuyuki in Hula Girls (who lost to Nakatani at the Japan Academy for the Best Actress trophy?) Perhaps the proper answer to that is Rie Miyazawa’s win for The Twilight Samurai?

Let’s mention some notable performances through the years as we do our countdown of the 30 hottest Japanese young actresses…

While critics are divided on their impressions of Memories of Matsuko, the praise for Nakatani’s acting is almost universal. What really is about this movie that seems controversial?

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