Dreaming of a Pink Christmas

MUSIC Kaori Asada, better known as J-pop singer Bonnie Pink, loves Christmas, and her present to fans this year is a minialbum titled “Chain,” a sweet, fruity concoction that includes playful covers of yuletide classics, such as “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus.” Maybe it’s mushy, but hey — it’s Christmas. (2) [THE JAPAN TIMES]

(c) Studio Ghibli 2008

‘Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea’ brings in 15 billion yen during opening weekend

MOVIES/TV Legendary anime director Hayao Miyazaki’s latest movie, “Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea” sold an estimated 1.5 billion yen ($13.9 million) worth of tickets during its three-days opening weekend in Japan last week. (23)

Maki Goto starts anew with Avex

CELEBRITIES Avex officially confirmed Thursday that the company has signed former Morning Musume member Maki Goto. The singer has been inactive for the past several months since she left the Hello! Project amid the scandal caused by her brother’s arrest in October for multiple counts of theft. [TOKYOGRAPH]

Koji Yakusho becomes a director

MOVIES/TV Veteran actor Koji Yakusho is directing and starring in a new film titled “Gama no Abura.” The movie, which has been shooting for the past month, marks Yakusho’s first time in the director’s chair.

NHK announcer Nachiko Shudo gets hitched

CELEBRITIES Nachiko Shudo, an announcer with Japanese public broadcaster NHK, got married to a movie company employee in spring this year, officials said on Wednesday. (1) [MAINICHI]

Ryoko Hirosue wins defamation suit against woman’s weekly publisher

CELEBRITIES Actress Ryoko Hirosue was awarded 1.2 million yen in damages after the Tokyo District Court ruled a story in Josei Seven women’s weekly magazine defamed her by implying she was involved in an extramarital affair. (1) [MAINICHI]

Yokai Jinja shrine, in Sakaiminato.

Photo: Dao-hui Chen. Creative Commons

City seeks to trademark ‘Gegege no Kitaro’ shrine

BOOKS/MANGA Sakaiminato municipal government in Tottori Prefecture–hometown of Shigeru Mizuki, a cartoonist known for the “Gegege no Kitaro” series–has applied to register the trademark of Yokai Jinja shrine, a privately run tourist attraction featuring characters from the series, with the government’s Patent Office. [YOMIURI]

Arashi to tour Asia in September

MUSIC Pop group Arashi announced during their performance at the Tokyo Dome on Sunday that the they will be holding a short Asia concert tour later this year. They completed their first Asia tour in 2006, but this one will include two significant milestones: a concert in Shanghai and a concert at Tokyo’s National Stadium. (1) [TOKYOGRAPH]

Comedian ties the knot with rock star

CELEBRITIES Comedian Nahomi Matsushima, part of the popular duo Othello, married Martha’s Sound Machine frontman Toshihiro Hisada on Sunday. [MAINICHI]

Tokyo assembly panel OKs 40 bil. yen injection for Shinginko Tokyo

BOOKS/MANGA A budget panel of the Tokyo metropolitan assembly on Wednesday approved a controversial plan to invest an additional 40 billion yen for Shinginko Tokyo on condition that the metropolitan government strengthens its surveillance of the heavily indebted bank and spends no more taxpayers’ money on it. [KYODO]

D-BOYS starring in ‘Shakariki!’ movie adaptation

MOVIES/TV “Shakariki!,” the first manga series by artist Masahito Soda, is being adapted as a live-action film, starring members of the acting group D-BOYS. Serialized in Shonen Champion from 1992 to 1995, the comic focused on high schoolers involved in the sport of bicycle racing. [TOKYOGRAPH]

Foreign Minister Mashiko Komura appoints anime character Doraemon anime ambassador.

Photo: (c) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan

Robot cat Doraemon appointed Japan’s first anime ambassador

MOVIES/TV Japan has created an unusual government post to promote animation, and named a perfect figure Wednesday to the position: Doraemon. (6) [INTERNATIONAL HERALD TRIBUNE]

Tokyo cinema decides against screening ‘Yasukuni’ documentary

MOVIES/TV A Tokyo cinema decided against showing a controversial documentary film by a Chinese director on the war-related Yasukuni Shrine, citing the potential “inconvenience” it may cause to other tenants in the same building, an official of movie theater operator T- Joy Co. said Tuesday. [KYODO]

Prosecutor will not appeal Kozakura ruling

CELEBRITIES The overturning of actress Serena Kozakura’s conviction for willful destruction of property after the defense had proved the size of Kozakura’s breasts made it unlikely she had committed the crime will not be appealed, the prosecutor said Monday.

‘Yawara!’ author to teach at Aichi university

BOOKS/MANGA Popular manga artist Naoki Urasawa, who probably is best known for such works as “Yawara!” and “20th Century Boys,” will teach at an art university starting in April. [YOMIURI]

Actress Ryoko Hirosue divorces

CELEBRITIES 27-year-old actress and pop singer Ryoko Hirosue announced Thursday on her agency’s website that she has divorced husband, designer Takahiro Okazawa, after nearly four years of marriage. (13)

Disney to team with Japanese companies to produce animation in Japan

MOVIES/TV Entertainment giant Walt Disney Co. will team up with several Japanese companies to produce animation for television in Japan, a leading market, a Disney official said Thursday. [MAINICHI]

Sony to launch Skype via PSP in Japan this month

GAMES Sony said on Tuesday it will add the Skype telephone service to its slim PlayStation Portable handheld console in Japan this month, enabling users to make free or low-cost telephone calls. [AFP]

Big breasts help actress to get conviction overturned

CELEBRITIES Actress Serena Kozakura’s conviction for willful destruction of property has been overturned by the Tokyo High Court because her large breasts revealed flaws in the testimony against her. [MAINICHI]

Back with a bang and a new-half - ‘Doko ni iku no’

MOVIES/TV After a 22-year hiatus, cult director Yoshihiko Matsui is back with an off-beat love story about a gay shophand and a transsexual bar hostess. [THE JAPAN TIMES]

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Autumn leaves in Matsudo city, Chiba Prefecture.

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