Daily Archives: November 11, 2009

Tara-chan to Join White Family

Softbank Mobile, White Family

On Tuesday, Softbank Mobile announced their lineup of new models and a major new addition to the “White Family” who appear in their commercials. There have been more than 60 commercials in the series since it started in June 2007, based around characters played by Ueto Aya (Daughter, photo center), Dante Carver (Son, photo left), Higuchi Kanako (Mother) and a white dog as the Father. Joining them will be Quentin Tarantino (46), who did some filming while here to promote his latest movie, “Inglourious Basterds.” That movie stars Brad Pitt (45), who was also in town and has appeared in Softbank TV commercials in the past.

Tarantino will play Uncle Tara-chan, with an image based loosely on the legendary Sakamoto Ryoma. The 19th-century samurai was one of the most prominent figures to embrace western culture and famously carried a Smith and Wesson revolver along with his sword. The image seems to suit Tarantino, the man who brought us the “Kill Bill” movies, perfectly. Asked about working with the director, Ueto said, “I was surprised that he was so fired up. He was really into it and ad-libbed a lot of the samurai moves. Maybe I should ask him to make a Hollywood version of the White Family.” The photo also includes Softbank CEO Son Masayoshi.

Actor Morishige Hisaya Dies at 96

Morishige Hisaya

Veteran actor Morishige Hisaya died of old age yesterday morning after several months at a Tokyo hospital. He was 96. Born to wealthy parents in Osaka, Morishige started acting in amateur dramatics while a student at Waseda University in the mid-1930s. A stage actor for several years, he later became an announcer for NHK, working in Manchuria before the outbreak of WWII. His movie career began in 1947 and spanned more than 165 films. The 1952 hit “Santo Juyaku” led to a popular movie series starring Morishige as a company president and a sequel series called “Ekimae.” A natural comedian, he appeared in many television series and specials, and he headed the Japan Actors Union from 1982. In 1975 he was the first guest on the afternoon talk show hosted by Kuroyanagi Tetsuko, a show which continues 34 years later. Among his many honors, in 1991 Morishige was the first entertainer outside the field of classical Japanese performing arts to receive the Order of Culture from the Emperor. He suffered a heart attack while in Okinawa in 2002 but recovered. His final acting role was in a TV drama in January 2004.