Daily Archives: July 3, 2009

Gearing Up For Yujiro Fest

Ishihara Yujiro, Memorial

Preparations are almost complete for a major Buddhist memorial service for the late legendary actor Ishihara Yujiro, who died in 1987 at the age of 52. As one of the biggest stars of 20th century Japan, he still has legions of fans and tens of thousands are expected to attend the service on Sunday afternoon. The service will be the main event over a weekend that will also feature movies and numerous Ishihara specials on the TV networks. The memorial event will be broadcast live from the National Stadium, originally built for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, where 100 craftsmen have spent the last week building a reconstruction of the Soujiji temple in Yokohama which holds Ishihara’s remains. The younger brother of writer and politician Ishihara Shintaro (76), current governor of Tokyo, Yujiro became a star with his 1956 movie debut “Taiyo no Kisetsu” (Season of the Sun) based on his brother’s novel.

• Theatrical director Ninogawa Yukio (73) had a minor stroke last month, he revealed yesterday. Best known for his many interpretations of Shakespeare’s works both in Japan and overseas, he canceled a press conference appearance on June 6 after rehearsals for a production of the Bard’s “Twelfth Night,” citing health problems. But he was back at work on June 25, when he attended a PR event for the 9-hour production “Coast of Utopia,” and it wasn’t until yesterday that he publicly announced that he had been in the hospital for a week from June 2. He said he consulted his doctor after experiencing strange feelings in his right leg. Because his condition was treated early, he suffered no serious after effects and was able to make such a speedy recovery.

GReeeeN Get Guinness Nod

Sato Ryuta

Guinness World Records yesterday formally recognized “Kiseki,” by J-pop group GReeeeN, as the best-selling digital downloaded single of all time. The single was used as the theme for last year’s hugely popular TBS teen baseball drama “Rookies” and went on sale in May 2008. The application to GWR was made on May 24, at which point the single had been downloaded more than 2.3 million times. But the success of a Rookies spinoff movie gave another boost to digital sales, which are now said to be over 5.9 million. Sato Ryuta (29), star of the drama and the movie, was clearly delighted as he received the official record certificate yesterday from GWR Japan president (and old Japan Zone friend) Russell Willis at the TBS studios in central Tokyo. He said he has yet to meet the four members of GReeeeN (Hide, Navi, 92 and Soh), who hide behind masks in official photos, but hopes he can now finally do so. The group recently saw sales of their 3rd album, “Shio, Kosho” break the million barrier.

Earlier stories:

Another Million Seller for Greeeen (Jun 22, 2009)