Takizawa Hideaki (22), formerly of pop group Johnny’s Junior and now one half of the duo Takki and Tsubasa, has been chosen to play the lead in next year’s NHK taiga drama, “Yoshitsune”. It tells the story of the warlord Minamotono Yoshitsune (1159-89), a major figure at the end of the Heian Period. A total of 34 veteran actors and newcomers have been named in the cast. Among the popular female stars making their taiga debuts will be Ueto Aya and and former Morning Musume Goto Maki (both 18). Others include Koizumi Kotaro, son of the current prime minister, comedian Nanbara Kiyotaka of Un-chan Nan-chan, and veteran Tanba Tetsuro.
• Former model Miwa, the wife of popular rapper Zeebra (33), recently gave birth to their second daughter. They have named the girl Rima, which is used in Spanish rap music to mean “rhyming”.