Sanada Gets Red Carpet Treatment in Beijing

Actor Sanada Hiroyuki (45) was in Beijing yesterday for the world premiere of his latest movie “Promise,” in which he shares top billing with Korean star Jang Dong Gun (33). The fantasy-action movie was made in China and directed by top Chinese director Chen Kaige. With temperatures dropping to -10ºC, the Japanese-Korean-Chinese cast removed their coats and braved the elements to greet about 1,500 fans and 250 reporters. The movie opens this week across China and on Friday in the US, but is not scheduled to open in Japan until February.

• Former idol star Kondo Masahiko (41) is making a real comeback. The Johnny’s Jimusho star made his debut 25 years ago and is marking the anniversary with a series of dinner shows across the country up to Christmas Day. He delighted fans at a show in Kagoshima yesterday with the announcement that next February he’s scheduled to play his first concert at the Nippon Budokan in 22 years. The show will be on Valentine’s Day and no doubt will feature at least some of his younger Johnny’s stablemates as special guests.

• Folk singer Yamashita Tatsuro (52) has managed to make the Top 100 of the Oricon singles chart for 20 years in a row with the latest release of his hit “Christmas Eve.” The next best is Wham’s “Last Christmas” at 10 years in a row. Meanwhile, on top of the chart is Koda Kumi (23). “You” is her first No.1 single, and the first of 12 she plans to release over the next 12 weeks.