Daigo Stardust

Daigo Naito, formerly known as Daigo Stardust, was born on April 8, 1978 in Tokyo, Japan. This singer-songwriter, actor, completely versatile artist is known for his fun and flashy attitude. His performances are never boring as his outfits alone are something that watchers look forward to. Why is this? He is simply one artist known for performing with his unique faux fur coats and even sequined cowboy outfits; we all know that it requires much confidence to be able to wear outfits like those.

We can say that stardom isn’t at all new to this great talented man. His family members are known for specific fields also in the entertainment industry, more specifically, his older sister Eiko Naito or Eiki Eiki, is a known manga artist. In line with this, Noboru Takeshita, his maternal grandmother, is in fact the former prime minister of Japan.

Focusing on his acting career, Daigo is known for his several appearances in Films, Drama, and Anime. Some of his film roles were Nozomu Taiga/Ultraman Zero of the film Ultraman Saga in March 2012 and Stand Up! Vanguard where was given the role of Daigo. Some of his drama shows include Love Shuffle and Stand Up! where he was Yukichi Oishi and Shin, respectively. In April 2009, he was part of the Anime film Detective Conan: The Raven Chaser and in 2012, the Cardfight!! Vanguard.

We can say that his acting career is nothing to what he has achieved in the world of Music. If you are simply a fan of J-pop, then every Japanese fan would probably never forget putting Daigo on their list. He is in no doubt one of the best Japanese male singers around. Some of his singles are SUMMER PARTY and Sekai wa Odoru in 2008, Everlasting Luv and Hikari in 2009, Tsukuyo no Itazura no Mahou and Last Pray in 2011. For his albums, there is Go that reached top 3 in charts, Fighterz which reach # 7, Big Bang! which is #8, and one of his mini albums, B.R.Z Acoustic, which reached #9.

Daigo remains to be idolized by many. We can say that his fame will go on for years and nonetheless, be aspired by many. He is a representation of the many talented people in Japan and if you happen to look for quality entertainment, then this country will sure provide you with your every need. Surely, you will hope to be even one of Japan’s famous people!

Images by plaza.rakuten and jpopasia

Toshiro Mifune

Toshiro Mifune, a known Japanese actor, was born on April 1, 1920. His success was undeniable mainly because he appeared in almost 170 films and even had the opportunity of working with filmmaker Akira Kurosawa in a 16-film collaboration, which actually marked his career. Before even getting into detail of his career and achievements, let’s first talk about his personal life and see if there are traces of where his talent came from. Born in Tsingtao, Shandong, China, his parents were both Methodist missionaries assigned to work in China. It was only when Mifune reached 19 years old that their family decided to move back to Japan. Upon returning back, he served in the Aerial Photography unit during World War II. More specifically, he became part of the Imperial Japanese Army Aviation division.

More to his personal life would be his married life. Toshiro Mifune married Sachiko Yoshimine who is one the 32 contestant in the new faces competition. At first though, Yoshimine’s parents weren’t at all fans of this relationship; they simply opposed to it. This, though, didn’t at all stop Mifune from pursuing his love, to think that he already proposed to her. With the help of Akira Kurosawa and Director Senkichi Taniguchi, Sahicko’s parents were convinced to allow the marriage. With this, their marriage did push through in February 1950. Also in the same year, in the month of October, their first son was born. Give years after, their second son was born. In 1982, an affair surprised the public. Mika Kitagawa, Mifune’s mistress, gave birth to their daughter Mika.

Focusing on his career, this Japanese actor was probably the most famous during his time. Not to mention, he was as well made easily known to Western audiences, thanks to director Akira Kurosawa. Mifune had the opportunity of playing a variety of roles, from being a samurai or ronin, to characters lacking manners. There is no doubt that he is one versatile actor. Nonetheless, he was admired for his sense of humor which often helped him portraying his film roles. Aside from this, he was renowned for the effort he puts into his performances; he was simply professional.

There are definitely more to admire about this great actor’s career. Through his perseverance and commitment, stardom and success were easier for him to attain. Luckily as well, he was blessed with people who simply believe in his capabilities. He is indeed one amazing Japanese icon!

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The Japanese Popstars

Have you ever heard of “The Japanese Popstars”? Originating from Northern Ireland, this Northern Irish electronic act has Gary Curran and Gareth Donoghue as its two original members. Past members, on the other hand, includes Declan McLaughlin. What’s so unique about the members of this act is that every member has its alias, making it even more interesting and catchy for the viewers. The success of this act was undeniable. They have been nominated and awarded in several Music Awards. In 2006, they were nominated for “Best House DJs”. In 2007, the act won the “Best Live Act” at the Northern Ireland Music Awards and this continued since then. In 2008, they were voted as “Best Breakthrough Producers” at the British Awards.

From singles to studio albums, to live albums and extended plays, there is no doubt that The Japanese Popstars has reached the top. More to their achievement would be numerous singles and albums released. In 2007, they decided to sign an indie label to Gung-Ho Recordings and Beatink, located in UK and Japan, respectively. In 2010, they decided to move to Virgin Records. Later that year, they became known as The Jappy Pops, Jap Pops, or The Japstars. In the following year, they had the opportunity of releasing their second studio album entitled Controlling Your Allegiance. Aside from this, they are as well known for their various made remix.

The band was successful in getting not only the country’s attention and trust but also of other locations, such as Ireland, UK, Scotland, Spain, Belgium, New York, and even France. Now if you are left curious with this band, then you can probably grab a copy of some of their made singles and albums and appreciate their talent even more.

The following are just some of the singles, studio albums, live albums, and extended plays that The Japanese Popstars have made possible:

Singles: Rodney Trotter and Dirty Popstars On Your Radio, both on Dozer Records; Rise Of Ulysses, Face Melter, and We Just Are, all on Gung-Ho! Recordings

Studio Albums: We Just Are in 2008, Controlling Your Allegiance in 2011, and Disconnect/Reconnect in 2013

Live Albums: We Just Are: Live in 2009

Extended Plays: Controlling Your Allegiance in 2011

Listening to even just one of their creations will surely make you appreciate the very idea of forming this versatile band. No doubt, this will remain to be Japan’s best entertainers.

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Yuriko Yoshitaka

Born on July 22, 1988 in Tokyo, Japan, Yuriko Yoshitaka is a known actress in Japan, represented by Amuse which is a Japanese agency. It was in 2006 that Yoshitaka was given that chance to expose her acting skills through her debut film in the live action adaptation of Hitomi Kanehara, an award-winning novel in 2007. In this, she was given a lead role named Lui; it was her breakthrough role, as most people would say. This film as well marks the start of her unstoppable popularity because after the release, she was instantly noticed by many. In line with this, she was given the fifth promising young actress award and a freshest female celebrity award in 2009 in a poll conducted by Oricon. In the same poll in 2010, she was as well recognized as the most promising actress.

We can say that it is in 2008 that Yoshitaka had the most number of projects. In this year, she appeared in a music video by Flow entitled Arigato. Also in the same year, she had the opportunity to expose her sense of humor through a leading role in a comedy drama entitled Konno-san to Asobo and another role in the Yubae Shojo film. These were all released prior to the feature of her most popular leading film entitled Shakes and Earrings. 2009 was another good year for her as she was given a role in a romantic-comedy drama Love Shuffle. Another great film for her was the police drama Tokyo Dogs. More opportunities came her way in 2010 and 2011.

More to the list of her TV dramas would be Tofu Shimai and Mioka in 2010, The Reason I can’t Find Love in 2011, Vampire Prosecutor Season 2 in 2012, and Galileo 2 and Anne and Hanako in 2014. More to her award-winning lead roles in films would be Konzen Tokkyu in 2011 and Bokura ga Ita in 2012. Lastly, aside from the distinctions given to her by the Oricon in a poll, she was as well given the Best Newcomer award at the Yokohama Film Festival in 2007, Japan Academy Awards in 2008, and Blue Ribbon Awards in 2009. In the same year, she as well received a Best New Actress Award in the Japan Movie Critics Awards. Now, there is no doubt that she was an achiever and nevertheless, an outstanding actress who was simply admired by many.

Image by Yoshitakayuriko in livejournal

Shinsuke Shimada

When we talk about famous people, it doesn’t entirely pertain to those who have shown something great in the big screen. Often, we are as well reminded of those people who are known for their bad reputation which might have caused by their offending ways; these actors are known to be “infamous”. Now, as much as I want to talk about the actors and actresses who were most admired in Japan, I would like to as well introduce some of the infamous, if not hated, actors or personalities in the country. One person on the list would Shinsuke Shimada.

Born on March 24, 1956 in Kyoto Prefecture, Shinsuke Shimada is a known Japanese comedian and television presenter. He was also the same man who directed the film Kaze, Slow Down in the year 1991. Aside from this, he was popular for Manzai comedy and nonetheless, for films like the Quiz! Hexagon II: Quiz Parade in 2005, FHS no hi 26 jikan terebi 2009 chô egao parêdo: Bakushô! Odaiba gasshuku!! in 2009, and All Star kanshasai 2010 haru: Chôgôka! Kuizu ketteiban in 2010.

Now, let’s focus more on him being known as infamous. Shimada is not only known for being a comedian but people are more aware of his inhuman ways as a comedian. He was plainly insensitive when he deals with his juniors and one incident was with the comedy trio Tokyo 03. But more to this would be the Yakuza scandal. It was in the on August 23, 2011 that people were surprised to hear about Shimada’s retirement. As this news spread, there were issues of him not retiring but rather, he was fired for his duties. What is this Yakuzi scandal? Basically, the comedian had a contact with a Yakuza member and their conversation through email became public. The conversation instantly resulted to the end of his career. Not to confuse though, the email didn’t contain any attempted or done crimes, as it simply contains a Japanese cultural crime of guilt by association. This surprising controversy led to the comedian to just admit that he indeed has ties with organized crimes.

We may say that it will be hard to deny that this comedian had such connections mainly because even before the said issue became known, he was already hated due to the way he treats people, more specifically those under him, insensitively. Hoping that he has learned his lesson now!

Image by Axiom magazine

Keiko Kitagawa

Born on August 22, 1986 in Hyōgo Prefecture, Japan, Kitagawa experienced a lot even at a young age. The Great Hanshin Earthquake in 1995, we may say, is very traumatic for her as she lost many of her friends. One interesting fact about her is that she didn’t really dream to becoming the start that she is now. When she was just little, all that she ever wanted was to become a doctor. When she reached high school, this dream became unclear for her, she was uncertain of what to pursue. It was timing though that a talent agency saw a potential in her. With this, she decided to pursue a career in the entertainment industry.

At first, her parents weren’t really into the opportunity she was presented to. Though, they chose to support her given two conditions; first, she will give up if she wasn’t given the chance to progress and second, she will prioritize her education. Kitagawa did finish her studies and graduated in Meiji University in 2009. But just like any starting actress, she wasn’t given an instant shot to stardom, though she didn’t give up. In a week’s time, after being recognized by the agency, she was selected as a model and actress. In 2003, she won Miss Seventeen making her an official model of the magazine Japanese Seventeen until 2006. Opportunities were continuous for her. She was given the role of Rei Hino in the Sailor Moon television series, which also marked her acting career.

When she had the chance to work with director Yoshimitsu Morita in a film entitled Mamiya Kyōdai, her dream became clear which made her decide to just focus on acting and end her modeling career; this decision of hers was believed to be greatly influenced by the said director and nonetheless, her role in the film was something that viewers found significant. From then on, the success of Kitagawa in the entertainment industry was simply overwhelming. She was given so much opportunity to enhance and prove her skills in acting and she was definitely successful in doing so. Some of her movies where she played a leading role were Handsome Suit in 2008, Orion in Midsummer and I’ll Pay in 2009, After the Flowers and Matataki in 2010, Paradise Kiss in 2011, Magic Tree House in 2012, Roommate in 2013, and just this year, Judge!, Dakishimetai, and Akumu-chan The Movie.

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Manabu Oshio

Born on May 6, 1978, Manabu Oshio was back then known to be a singer and actor in Japan. He used to be the vocalist of the band LIV and nonetheless known for being a lyricist, guitarist, and even composer. This talented man was raised in Los Angeles, California and it was only when he reached 12 years old that he decided to go back to his birthplace, Tokyo, Japan. More to his being musically inclined, he was actually able to write lyrics both in English and Japanese. As for his acting career, he was in fact given much opportunity to star in various TV shows, commercials, dramas, and even movies. Take note that he was not only given the chance to perform in Japan but also in China.

It was in 1997 that Ai, Tokidoki Uso was featured, which as well marks the start of his acting career. In 2002, he was able to form a band which he referred to as the LIV. In January of the same year, the band released their very first single Without You and nonetheless, their debut album The First Chapter in October. The following year, in May, the band released their second single entitled Try which instantly hit the Oricon charts. There were more to the list of achievements in Music. Though unfortunately, in the year 2005, there were reports on Oshio’s decision on quitting acting and just focus on his musical career. With this, he really did quit his management agency and chose to join Daiki Sound, an indie label. In the following year, he decided to pursue another change in his life and married Akiko Yada.

Manabu Oshio with his wife

The career of Oshio, both in acting and Music, was undeniably successful. Not to mention, he decided to go back to acting in 2008 and was given another opportunity by the Avex Entertainment, where he signed a contract in. It was also in the same year that he was open to expanding his career internationally. Sadly, the career of Oshio ended in the most unwanted or we say, undesirable way. In 2009, he was arrested for possessing MDMA. He was arrested at Roppongi Hills. What made things worse is that this arrest took place during a death investigation of a hostess. Because of this controversy, his management agency had no choice but to drop the contract and his music labels distribution was as well cancelled. After the said arrest, his wife decided to file for divorce. Simply, the path to failure of this used-to-be great actor was as quick as his path to success.

Images by eigapedia and japan-zone

Kyoko Fukada

More than just an actress, Kyoko Fukada is known for being a professional model and singer. Not to mention, she loves swimming. Born on November 2, 1982 and raised in Tokyo, Japan, Fukada is often given the nickname Fukakyon. Her very first appearance was in 1997 where she starred a television drama entitled Sore ga Kotae da! In 1999, she was given the chance to be part of the very popular horror movie Ring 2 where she played as Kanae Sawaguchi. Year 2000 was as well a great year for her as she graduated high school in Horikoshi High School. In 2002, she appeared in the movie Dolls where she played as Haruna, a famous pop-star who unfortunately was disfigured in a car accident.

More to the list of her movies would be Onmyoji II, Like Asura, Inugamike no Ichizoku, Yatterman. Some of the movies where she was given a lead role would be Shisha no Gakuensai, Tokyo Zanzu, Kamikaze Girls, Tenshi, and Renai Gikyoku: Watashi to Koi ni Ochite Kudasai. As stated, aside from being a renowned actress, she was as well an outstanding singer. She made her first single in 1999 entitled “The Last Fruit”. In the same year, she released “Dear”, which is her first ever album.  In 2000, she released another album entitled “Moon”, “Universe” in 2001, and “Flow: Kyoko Fukada Remixes” in 2002. She proved her skills in singing also through various singles such as the “Saigo no Kajitsu” and “Easy Rider” in 1999, “Kirameki no Shunkan” and “How?” in 2000, “Swimming” and “Kimi no Hitomi ni Koishiteru” in 2001, and “Route 246” in 2002.

If you happen to just love her, then maybe the following list of her dramas would be something you will find interesting:

1997- Five, Sore ga Kotae da! ; 1998 – News no Onna, Kamisama: Mo Sukoshi Dake ; 1999 – Oni no Sumika, To Heart: Koishite Shinitai, Tengoku no Kiss ; 2000 – Imagine, Food Fight ; 2001 – Strawberry on the Shortcake, Fighting Girl ….. and the list goes on.

The success of Kyoko Fukada was undeniable. Girls of her age idolized her and simply, all her shows were supported by thousands of fans. Another great thing about her would be her dedication to finish her education, which will always be admired about her. Now, there’s no doubt that Fukada’s career will go a long way. Maybe she has reached so much already, but her skills and determination will surely bring her farther.

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Ryoko Hirosue

The career of Ryoko Hirosue, born in Kōchi, Japan, may have started early but wasn’t at all instant. She started by joining competitions just to be recognized. She was 14 when she joined the P&G cosmetic model completion leading her to being chosen to sing on a television show, the TK Music Camp, the following year. Though she didn’t graduate, she studied in Waseda University. Aside from being an actress, she was as well known for her work as a spokesmodel; this made her even more admirable. It was in the year 1995 that she was debuted in a television show in Fuji TV, she was back then just 15 years old. In 1997, she starred in another Fuji TV show, but this time, in a comedy series entitled Shota no Sushi. Also in the same year, she was recognized for the comedy series at the 10th Television Drama Academy Awards, where she was given the distinction “Best Newcomer”. Another renowned role of Hirosue was in another comedy series entitled Beach Boys where she was awarded “Best Supporting Actress”.

More than being known in Japan alone, she is as well renowned internationally. It was in 2001 that she debuted in an international film Luc Besson’s Wasabi. In this movie, her role should be able to speak French, which she knows nothing about, resulting to her just executing her line phonetically. The success of Hirosue was somewhat unstoppable. More opportunities came her way which includes another romantic comedy series Dekichatta Kekkon, the movie Renai Shashin, television drama Ai Nante Irane Yo, family drama series Otousan, and another romantic series entitled Moto Kare.

In 2004, Hirosue decided to enter a completely different role, a wife. She married Takahiro Okazawa, a model, in January. In the same year, in the month of April, she gave birth to their first son. This change in lifestyle has led her to needing to cut down her shows and workload. In fact, in 2004, she only had made one appearance in a movie entitled Hana and Alice. Unfortunately though, their marriage didn’t work well, leading to their divorce in March 2008.

Even if Hirosue had to take a break in 2004, she didn’t have problems going back to the big screen. In fact, more films were continuously added to her list of achievements. Just to name a few, Presents Aikagi in 2006, Koneko no Namida, Little DJ, and Bubble Fiction: Boom or Bust in 2007, Departures in 2008, Flowers in 2010, and Love:Masao-kun ga Iku! in 2012.

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Masami Nagasawa

“Ashura no Gotoku”, “Crying Out Love, In the Center of the World”, “Shinkokyu no Hitsuyou”, “Godzilla: Final Wars”, “Touch”, and “Rough” are just some of the major movies of Masami Nagasawa, a known Japanese actress. Currently working for Toho Entertainment, Nagasawa was born on June 3, 1987 in Shizuoka. Considering her family alone, we can say that she is very much made to be known in the big screen as her parents are, as well, known public figures. Her father, Kazuaki Nagasawa, is the former manager of Jubilo Iwata, one of the J. League teams.  Masami Nagasawa, won a beauty contest back when she was just 12, once auditioned and won the 5th Toho “Cinderella Contest”, and as well an actress, having “Crossfire” as  her debut movie.

More than an actress, Masami as well pursued a career in professional modeling where she remained long wanted by “Peach Lemon”, a popular teen magazine in Japan. It was in 2002, after she appeared in Nabisco CM, that she became known and appreciated as a model. She was even given the title “The Pretty Girl from the Nabisco CM”.

The career of Masami Nagasawa is every aspiring actress dreams. Her great career continued in 2003 where she was given her biggest break yet, a lead role in a movie entitled “Robokon”. Her role as a high school girl who is smart and studious was simply admired by watchers leading her to winning the Best New Comer Award in the 27th Japanese Academy Awards. She was fortunate to be given another chance to star in another movie entitled “Gunjo” which is directed by the great director Yosuke Nakagawa. In 2008, Nagasawa became more willing to take more mature roles leading her to accepting a role that required her to perform her first ever actual love scene.

More to the list of her movies would be “La Maison En Petits Cubes” and “Detroit Metal City” in 2008, “Peak: The Rescuers” and “Magare! Spoon” in 2011 and 2009, and “Moteki” in 2011 as well. Aside from her numerous movies, Nagasawa was as well idolized for television shows which include “Yasashii Jikan” and “Dragon Zakura” in 2005, “Komyo ga Tsuji” and “Sailor Suit and Machine Gun” in 2006, “Proposal Daisakusen”, “Butterfly Stroke in Ganges River”, and “Hatachi no Koibito”, all in 2007, and many more.   No doubt, this actress is blessed with so many projects and nonetheless, the Entertainment industry is very lucky to have her!

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