April brought many changes to the entertainment industry in Japan, with shows being performed in empty studios, dramas and movies being postponed, no travel paparazzi pics and the deaths of beloved actors who have brought us years of enjoyment. It also means many entertainers have turned to Youtube and other various SNS (Social Networking Sites or Social Media) platforms to keep themselves relevant. With all that in mind, this article may be SNS and Virus heavy to reflect what is going on.
- Shinoda Mariko gives birth to her first child. -Tokyo Hive / Neo Tokyo
- Kitagawa Keiko and DAIGO announce pregnancy. -Tokyo Hive
- Yuka & Aoki Munetaka welcome the arrival of their first child as announced through a joint statement released on 27 April 2020.
- Shimura Ken - Article
- Okae Kumiko - Article
- Fujiwara Keiji died of cancer at the age of 55. -Tokyo hive / Neo Tokyo
- Yamasaki Isomi, an AV filmmaker, died at age 76. - NeoTokyo
- Sasabe Kiyoshi, director, died on March 31, age 62. - Natalie
- Shiga Masaru, actor, died on April 3, age 78. - Natalie
- Iwamoto Hikaru of Johnny's Jr Group "Snowman" takes a break after drinking with minors' violation. -Arama
- Shibasaki Ko leaves Stardust Promotions. -Tokyo Hive
- Mackenyu sings "Closer" by The Chainsmokers in English
- Yamaguchi Maho's attackers settle the lawsuit with AKS for millions of yen. - Neo Tokyo
- GACKT's comments on the late response of Japan to quarantine.
- TV Asahi and KDDI's new video distribution service, TELASA, started service on April 7. - Natalie
- Scriptwriter Kaneko Shigeki won the 38th Mukouda Kuniko Award for his work in NTV Autumn 2019 drama "Ore no hanashi wa nagai" - (c)
- The COVID-19 impact on the Japanese film industry by far - Sankei Shimbun (c)
- Winners of Nikkansports Dorama Grand Prix (Winter 2020) (c)
- Winners of The 23rd Nikkan Sports Drama Grand Prix 2019 - (H)
- Hulu will be showing the following videos of Amuro Namie for free from 21 Apr to 10 May 2020: - Documentary of Namie Amuro “Finally” - All 94 music videos - WE▼NAMIE HANABI SHOW 2018, 2019.
- Nishikido Ryo and Akanishi Jin launch "No Good TV" channel.
- Johnny's & Associates have opened Twitter and Instagram accounts for their project 'Johnny's Smile Up! Project.' to go along with their Youtube channel.
- Nishijima Takahiro aka Nissy opens Youtube account and donates 10 million yen to National Center for Global Health and Medicine in the fight against COVID-19.
- Nakagawa Shoko opens Youtube account.
- Goto Maki Launches 2 Youtube channels 'Gomaki no Guild' and 'Gomaki to Ouki'.
- Takayama Kazumi opens Instagram.
- Kame to Yamapi postpone their new Album SI but release teaser video for Amor.
- Satoh Takeru's Youtube channel thrives with video series "No Plan Drive".
- Hamasaki Ayumi celebrates 22nd anniversary of her debut single by opening a TikTok account seen here.
- Kikkawa Yuu goes viral for the hobby of counting food.
- Kawaguchi Haruna comments on people not following emergency procedures in Tokyo.
- Kimura Takuya wishes 'Happy birthday!' to his wife, daughters do the same on Insta.
- Watanabe Anne sings and plays the guitar on Topcat.
- Miyavi and his kids have decided to do that “Blinding Lights” (The Weeknd’s popular song) challenge which has become popular on TikTok and Instagram.
- After the shocking death of Shimura Ken, many tribute channels popped up across all the SNS platforms but Izawa Office which represented him not happy and will "deal with them strictly".
- Adachi Yumi refuses to dress down despite being at home.
- Nozomi Tsuji and hubby Sugiura Taiyo have lunch on their balcony with family as a stay at home activity.
- Naka Riisa opens Youtube channel on April 1st.
- Fukagawa Mai official website opened on April first to member's only.
- Saito Takumi opens a site for his works to be viewed at home: A TAKUMI SAITOH FILM.
- Shison Jun will be holding daily InstaLive sessions on his official Instagram account from 24 to 30 April at 11 pm (JST).
Several concerts have cropped up youtube I cannot list them all only the ones associated with my drama list, but if you have a favourite J-artist, more than likely, they have uploaded a concert online. Here are a few that I know, there are definitely more out there. For more, please check out Tokyo Hive for the entire month of April there are SEVERAL announcements.
A multitude of celebrity projects of stars telling us how to wash our hands have cropped up, including but not limited to:
- Johnny's World Happy Live with you
- Tristone Entertainment Inc.
- Mitazono Kaoru (Matsuoka Masahiro) from "Kaseifu no Mitazono" (may need VPN to view)
- Main visual of the survival thriller Hulu original series, “THE HEAD” w/ Yamashita Tomohisa as one of its main casts revealed. To be distributed on Hulu on June 12, 10 PM in Japan and on major European broadcasting stations, 23 countries and regions covered by HBO Asia. - (L)
- NTV to continue showing "Shimura Doubutsuen" with the title unchanged as a tribute to the late Shimura Ken; Aiba Masaki to be promoted as the main host for the program; there will be a memorial SP for Shimura shown during Golden Week. A 2 hour SP was aired on April 4th. - (C)
- Shochiku announced that it would postpone the remaining filming of "Kinema no Kamisama" due to the demise of Shimura Ken and the COVID-19 situation; Suda Masaki already finished his filming in late March; a replacement for Shimura currently undecided. - (C)
- The drama series' version of Netflix movie "Ai Naki Mori de Sakebe" starring Shiina Kippei will be shown via Netflix from 30 April 2020; all 7 episodes to be released at one go. - (C)
- Fujimori Shingo to star in the drama version of "Netto Koubouki" based on a Nikkei feature on IT entrepreneurs in Japan; 5 eps; to be streamed on Paravi from 29 April 2020. - (C)
- Takenaka Naoto, Nakao Akiyoshi and Kitamura Kazuki joins the cast of FujiTV drama SP "OKEHAZAMA ~ Oda Nobunaga ~" starring Ichikawa Ebizo. - (C)
- TBS announced on 6 April 2020 that the following 7 new variety shows will have its first OA postponed until further notice after it had announced the suspension of in-studio recordings between 4 and 19 April 2020 due to the COVID-19 situation: Daisuke Nakai and Yanai Nanai Loveko-san, Arita Preview Room, Ai Am Adventure Boy, Marbled Miki XIT, Papajani WEST, Bananasando, and Ariyoshi Japon II Giriroro Ariyoshi. - (C)
- TBS announced on 14 April 2020 that it will be extending its filming suspension until 6 May 2020 in view of the state of emergency declaration by the government; the original suspension was supposed to end on 19 April 2020.
- NTV announced on 16 April 2020 that it will continue to suspend the production of dramas and variety shows until further notice; the original suspension was for 2 weeks from 6 April.
- Watanabe Ken stars in TV Asahi's 2-part SP "Toubousha" which will be shown within 2020; Co-stars include Toyokawa Etsushi; the remake of American drama "The Fugitive". - (C)
- The side story of NTV Spring 2020 drama "Bishoku Tantei Akechi Goro" which is titled "Bishoku Tantei Akechi Goro Maruhi Ura Menu", will be streamed exclusively via Hulu from 12 April 2020. - (C)
- Fujiwara Tatsuya returns in TV Tokyo's "Fujiwara Tatsuya no Sankaido" starting from 15 April in the Wednesdays 12.58 am timeslot; 6 eps; shot on location in Okinawa with guest stars Nakamura Kankuro and Mizobata Junpei. - (C)
- Supporting cast line-up of FOD Summer 2020 drama "Sixteen Syndrome" starring Takeuchi Aisa, Itagaki Mizuki, Takeda Rena and Yuutarou; 8 eps; to be released in early summer. - (C)
- FujiTV drama "Itoshi no Nina" will be released on FOD from 12 midnight on 17 May 2020; new episodes to be released at 12 am on Mondays; 8 eps.
- Motokariya Yuika to star in Kansai TV Summer 2020 drama "My Love My Baker " based on Rakuda's manga; Co-stars include Iijima Hiroki, Takezai Terunosuke and Komiya Arisa; Theme song "Otomegokoro" by Ozaki Yuka and ending theme "Tsumetaku Shinaide yo" by CHIHIRO.
- Baka Rhythm, Himura Yuuki, Wakabayashi Masayasu and Mizukawa Asami to star in NTV drama "Sumu Sumu 2" where they play themselves; 6 eps; to be streamed via Hulu from 18 April 2020 every Saturday.
- Arakawa Yoshiyoshi to star in new Netflix horror drama "Juon: Noroi no Ie" which will be shown in summer 2020; 6 eps; heroine played by Kuroshima Yuina; co-stars include Ririka, Osamura Kouki, Inowaki Kai, Emoto Tokio, Sendo Atsuko and Kurashina Kana. - (C)
- Kato Shigeaki to play a top lecturer in a cram school specialising in junior high school entrance exams in NTV Summer 2020 drama "Nigatsu no Shousha - Zettai Goukaku no Kyoushitsu -".
- FujiTV announced on 20 Apr 2020 that the broadcast of "SUITS 2" from episode 3 onwards (27 Apr) will be postponed until further notice due to filming and post-production difficulties as a result of COVID-19; "Confidence Man JP" will be shown in its place.
- Muro Tsuyoshi stars in new NTV Summer 2020 drama "Oyabaka Seishun Hakusho" showing at 10.30 pm on Sundays; a widowed father in his 40s who dotes on his only daughter (Nagano Mei) too much, enters university together with her as he's worried about her.
- Hirose Arisu, MEGUMI, Buffalo Goro A and Pekopa's Shuupei to join the cast of TV Tokyo Spring 2020 drama "Urayasu Tekkin Kazoku".
- NHK will produce the first drama made entirely through telecommuting titled "Imadakara, Shinsaku Dorama Tsukutte Mimashita" (Precisely because it's now, we tried to make a new drama) which will be shown in early May 2020.
- Hamabe Minami and Yokohama Ryuusei star in NTV Summer 2020 drama "Watashitachi wa Douka Shiteiru" showing at 10 pm on Wednesdays from July 2020; based on Ando Natsumi's manga.
- Sakuraba Nanami to be lead in Fuji TV drama "Thirteen". The remake of 2016 British drama miniseries about a 26-year-old woman who was missing at the age of 13, suddenly returns to her family 13 years later. Starts on June 6. - (H)
- ONE, creator of “ONE PUNCH-MAN” has announced that the popular series will now become a live-action film in Hollywood.
- Hayashi Kento and Komatsu Nana lead the upcoming “Koi Suru Kiseichuu” (Parasite in Love) live-action film, an adaptation of Miaki Sugaru’s romance novel. It’ll be released officially in 2021. - (L), (C)
- 10 Manbun no 1 based on Miyasaka Kaho’s manga series casting news came out in 2018, it was supposed to have its release in 2019, but it’s now planned for a 2020 release. (L)
- Supporting cast line-up of the new movie "Sankakumado no Sotogawa wa Yoru" (The Night Beyond the Tricornered Window) starring Okada Masaki, Shison Jun, Sakurai Yuki, Takito Kenichi, Wakui Emi, Makita Sports, Tsutsui Michitaka and Niiro Shinya. - (C)
- Ooizumi Yo stars in the new movie "Shinkaishaku Sankokushi" directed and written by Fukuda Yuichi; Co-stars include Muro Tsuyoshi, Hashimoto Satoshi and Takahashi Tsutomu; showing in cinemas from 11 December 2020. - (C)
- Due to the COVID-19 situation, the movie "Kaze no Denwa" which has been screening in cinemas since 24 January 2020, will be released on streaming portals Crank In Video and Paravi from midnight on 24 April; you can watch this for 72 hours at 800 yen. - (C)
- Supporting cast line-up of the new movie "Aokute Itakute Moroi" starring Yoshizawa Ryo, Sugisaki Hana, Okayama Amane, Matsumoto Honoka, Shimizu Hiroya, Mori Nana, Kayashima Mizuki, Mitsuishi Ken and Emoto Tasuku. - (C)
- Supporting cast line-up of the new movie "461 Ko no Obento" starring Inohara Yoshihiko, Michieda Shunsuke, Mori Nana, Wakabayashi Jiei, Abe Junko, Nomaguchi Tooru, KREVA, Yatsui Ichirou, Emi Kurara, Sakai Maki and Baisho Chieko. - (C)
- Matsui Rena, Shukugawa Atomu, Kubozuka Shunsuke, Hashida Miyu, Horii Arata and Ootomo Kohei to appear in TV Tokyo Spring 2020 drama "Gyouretsu no Megami ~ Ramen Saiyuuki ~". - (C)
- Supporting cast line-up of the new movie "Yowamushi Pedal" starring Nagase Ren, Bandou Ryouta, Ryuusei Ryo, Yanagi Shuntaro, Sugawara Ken, Inoue Mizuki and Minagawa Sarutoki; showing in cinemas from 14 August 2020. - (C)
- A Man in Love - Here
- My Name Is Yours - Here
- Noboru Onodera-san - Here
- I Have Never Shot Anyone - Here
- One Summer Story - Here
- Kyou Kara Ore Wa!!: The Movie - Here
- MOTHER - Here and Here
Sources: LALAINE (L), Tokyo Hive, Natalie, あらま！Japan, Neo Tokyo 2099, Chiaki (C), ハズキ (H), Unleash the Geek (U), Cinematoday, Psycho Drama (K) * Note sources may overlap, I credited the first one I read. : )
If there is a source you would like me to include in these monthly articles, please let me know.