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GOT7's Jin Young makes silver screen debut

  February 20, 2017  
GOT7's Jin Young makes his big screen debut in A Stray Goat co-starring rising actress Ji Woo (Cart) as a bullied outcast. Helmed by promising rookie Jo Jae Min, the director of the award-winning short film Sign, the heart-wrenching youth romance follows two desperate teenagers who find comfort in each other.

The GOT7 idol will star as high school boy Min Sik who moves to his father's hometown and meets Ye Joo (Ji Woo), a cold-hearted girl who is bullied at school because her father is a murder suspect. The two loners soon become each other's source of comfort and start taking care of a baby goat together. However, things go awry when something unimaginable happens.

Subsidized by Jeonju International Film Festival's Jeonju Cinema Project, the low-budget indie film is one of the graduation films of Myung Film Institute, which was founded in 2015 by Myung Films, the production house of Architecture 101 and Cart. A Stray Goat had its world premiere at the 17th Jeonju International Film Festival and is set for a theatrical release on March 1.

Text / Pisces

Hey! Say! JUMP's Yamada Ryosuke stars in Higashino Keigo-based fantasy

  February 20, 2017  
Hey! Say! JUMP member Yamada Ryosuke (Assassination Classroom) and veteran actor Nishida Toshiyuki co-star in the upcoming fantasy drama Miracles of the Namiya General Store, based on Higashino Keigo's best-selling 2012 novel Namiya Zakkaten no Kiseki. The film is directed by Hiroki Ryuichi, who recently adapted Morisawa Akio's Natsumi's Firefly and the shojo manga P to JK.

Miracles of the Namiya General Store revolves around an old general store that magically connects people across time through letters. In Higashino's story, youth-on-the-run Atsuya and his two friends enter the Namiya General Store one night to hide, and come upon a letter from the store's mailbox. The letter was written by a woman seeking advice for her troubles. Realizing that the general store's owner answers such letters, the boys decide to write a response. Yamada Ryosuke plays Atsuya while Nishida Toshiyuki plays the shopkeeper Namiya Yuji.

The film production recently announced its release date for September 23, 2017, and unveiled its first teaser visual created by CoMix Wave Films, the animation studio of Shinkai Makoto's films.

Text / Sanwei

Arashi's Aiba Masaki to play aristocratic detective in Fuji TV drama

  February 13, 2017  
Arashi member Aiba Masaki has been cast in the leading role of Fuji TV's spring primetime drama Kizoku Tantei based on the detective novel series by Maya Yutaka. The mystery drama reunites Aiba with director Nakae Isamu, screenwriter Kuroiwa Tsutomu and producer Hatori Kenichi, the team behind Yokoso, Wagaya e which aired in the same timeslot last year.

Aiba plays the title role of a detective who calls himself an aristocrat but his real name, age, family and academic background are unknown. He became a detective out of interest, but leaves all the actual investigation and deduction work to his butler, maid and chauffeur. Instead, he enjoys his time chatting with women involved in the mysteries.

The 30th anniversary production of Fuji TV's "getsu9" golden timeslot, Kizoku Tantei co-stars Nakayama Miho (Kenja no Ai), Matsushige Yutaka (Kodoku no Gurume) and Takito Kenichi (Cold Case) as the staff that support the hero who doesn't do any investigating of his own. Emi Takei (Fragile) plays a rookie detective competing to solve the same cases as the aristocratic detective, while Igawa Haruka (Ryusei Wagon) is her mentor and role model. The cast also includes Namase Katsuhisa (Beppin-san) as a crime detective and Nakama Yukie in a mystery role.

Kizoku Tantei will premiere in April 2017.

Text / Sanwei

Cheese in the Trap to hit big screen

  February 13, 2017  
Having already inspired one of the most talked about Korean dramas of 2016, the webtoon Cheese in the Trap is now being made into a movie. The drama's leading actor Park Hae Jin will reprise his role of the mysterious Yoo Jung in the Korean-Chinese adaptation co-starring Oh Yeon Seo (Run-Off) and Park Ki Woong (Secretly, Greatly). The big screen romance about a university student who is caught in a love triangle will be directed by Kim Jae Young (So, I Married My Anti-fan).

The film adaptation keeps the characters and plot of the original story. Oh Yeon Seo will take the lead role of smart and sensitive student Hong Seol, who is struggling to put herself through university. Though she sees something unsettling in mysterious classmate Yoo Jung (Park Hae Jin), she finds herself increasingly drawn to him. Meanwhile, rebellious piano prodigy Baek In Ho (Park Ki Woong), who shares a complicated past with Yoo Jung, holds a torch for her.

Created by Korean production house Mountain Movement Story and Chinese company Hanwei, the collaborative project starts shooting in early 2017 and is slated for a summer release this year.

Text / Pisces

Mini Yang & Tao star in Chinese romance drama Negotiator

  February 13, 2017  
Mini Yang and Huang Zitao play rival-turned-lovers in the upcoming Chinese TV series Negotiator, which recently revealed its first set of promotional poster images. Also co-starring Dylan Kuo and Mao Linlin, the corporate romance drama is Dramacore Entertainment's thematic follow-up to last year's talked-about hit Les Interpretes starring Mini Yang and Huang Xuan. Mini Yang and Huang Zitao previously worked together on the second season of the reality program Takes a Real Man and the film My Sunshine.

While Les Interpretes revolves around interpreters, Negotiator tackles the field of professional negotiation, with Yang playing business negotiation expert Tong Wei. Through an M&A project, she meets young U.S.-raised corporate heir Xie Xiaofei, played by Huang Zitao. Due to disagreements with his family, Xie Xiaofei comes to the business table with a chip on his shoulder and clashes with Tong Wei during negotiations. As they grow to know each other better through work, however, romantic sparks also begin to fly.

Negotiator began shooting in Shanghai in November 2016 and is expected to air later this year.

Text / Sanwei

36th Hong Kong Film Awards Nominations

  February 7, 2017  
Nominations for the 36th Hong Kong Film Awards were announced on February 7. Derek Tsang's relationship drama Soul Mate leads with 12 nominations including Best Film, Best Director, Best New Director, Best Screenplay and Best Actress for Ma Sichun and Zhou Dongyu who shared the prize at the Golden Horse Awards. Crime thriller Cold War II follows with ten nominations including Best Film, Best Screenplay, Best Action Choreography, Best Supporting Actress for Janice Man and Best Actor for Tony Leung Ka Fai, who is nominated for the same character that won him Best Actor four years ago.

Stephen Chow's blockbuster fantasy comedy Mermaid, indie baseball drama Weeds on Fire – both with eight nominations – and crime drama Trivisa with seven nominations complete the Best Film race. Earlier named the Best Film of 2016 by the Hong Kong Film Critics Society, Trivisa earned Best Actor nominations for Richie Jen and Gordon Lam, and its directing trio of Frank Hui, Vicky Wong and Jevons Au will compete for Best Director against their mentor Johnnie To (Three). Mermaid also garnered Chow nods for Best Director, Best Screenplay and even Best Original Song, as well as nominations for actresses Kitty Zhang (Best Supporting Actress) and Jelly Lin (Best New Perfomer). Dark horse Weeds on Fire picked up noms for new director Steven Chan, leading actor Liu Kai Chi and newcomers Sing Lam and Tony Wu.

Though it missed the Best Film shortlist, Wong Chun's mental illness drama Mad World came up strong with eight nominations including Best Director, Best New Director, Best Actor for Shawn Yue, Best Supporting Actor for Eric Tsang and dual Supporting Actress nominations for Golden Horse winner Elaine Jin and Charmaine Fong. Francis Ng takes the last Best Actor slot for Shed Skin Papa, while HKFA regulars Tang Wei (Book of Love), Kara Hui (Happiness) and Paw Hee Ching (Show Me Your Love) join the Soul Mate duo in the Best Actress race.

See the complete nomination list on the Hong Kong Film Awards' official website.

Text / Sanwei

Lee Jong Suk takes first villain role in noir thriller co-starring Jang Dong Gun

  February 2, 2017  
Lee Jong Suk takes on his first villain role in the new film V.I.P by New World director Park Hoon Jung. The W heartthrob will transform into a North Korean criminal pursued by officials from South Korea, North Korea and the Interpol. Focusing on the political power struggle between different institutions, the noir thriller co-stars Jang Dong Gun (No Tears for the Dead), Kim Myung Min (Proof of Innocence) and Park Hee Soon (The Suspect).

Lee Jong Suk plays Kim Kwang Il, a North Korean defector whose father is a high-ranking official in the country. Suspected to be the culprit behind a series of killings in the South, Kim gets chased by South Korean policeman Chae Yi Do (Kim Myung Min), National Intelligence Service agent Park Jae Hyuk (Jang Dong Gun) who also works for the CIA, and North Korean spy Lee Dae Beom (Park Hee Soon).

After three months of shooting in Korea, Hong Kong and Thailand, V.I.P is now in the post-production stage and set to premiere in Korea this year.

Text / Pisces

Stephen Chow & Tsui Hark's Journey to the West 2 sets box office records

  February 2, 2017  
The sequel to Stephen Chow's 2013 blockbuster Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons, costume fantasy Journey to the West: The Demons Strike Back set multiple Chinese box office records over the lucrative Lunar New Year period. The film unseated Chow's own Mermaid and Furious 7 to set new opening day and single day records with a gross of 350 million yuan on January 28. The film also set records in preorder sales and IMAX single day box office for Chinese films. Five days into release, Journey to the West 2 has become China's first film of 2017 to reach the one billion yuan benchmark.

Journey to the West: The Demons Strike Back marks Chow's first collaboration with Tsui Hark who assumed directing reins for the film, while Chow is credited as writer and producer. Packed with Chow's trademark dark nonsensical humor and Tsui's trademark special effects spectacle, the blockbuster features the new cast of Kris Wu (Mr. Six) as the monk Xuanzang, Lin Gengxin (Sword Master) as Monkey King Sun Wukong, former basketball player Mengke Bateer (Bodyguards and Assassins) as Sha Wujing, and Yang Yiwei (The Taking of Tiger Mountain) as Zhu Bajie. Based on famous chapters of Wu Cheng'en's literary tome, The Demons Strike Back chronicles the party of four's infighting and encounters with various demons and nemeses, played by Mermaid's Jelly Lin, Wang Likun (Somewhere Only We Know), Yao Chen (Chronicles of the Ghostly Tribe) and Bao Bei'er (Lost in Hong Kong).

Journey to the West 2 isn't the only Lunar New Year film making hefty box office. Jackie Chan's Kung Fu Yoga and Wang Baoqiang's Journey to the West-inspired directorial debut comedy Buddies in India have passed the 700 million and 500 million yuan benchmarks, respectively. Chan's action-adventure comedy, in particular, overtook Journey to West on the fourth day of release to top the daily box office. Writer-turned-director Han Han's drama Duckweed (350 million yuan) and animated feature Boonie Bears: Entangled Worlds (270 million yuan) have also posted strong receipts.

Text / Sanwei

Lee Hyun Woo & Red Velvet's Joy star in live-action The Liar & His Lover drama

  January 20, 2017  
Lee Hyun Woo (Moorim School) will make his small screen comeback in tvN's upcoming live-action drama The Liar and His Lover alongside Red Velvet's Joy, who takes her first leading role in her acting debut. Marriage Contract director Kim Jin Min collaborates with rookie screenwriter Kim Kyung Min for the Korean adaptation of Aoki Kotomi's hit manga The Liar and His Lover. Focusing on the love between a music genius and a high school girl, the award-winning manga was serialized from 2009 and was previously adapted for the big screen in Japan in 2013.

Lee Hyun Woo will star as talented composer Kang Han Kyul, who was once the bassist of famous rock band Crude Play but ends up working behind the scene as a songwriter. One day, he encounters optimistic high school girl Yoon So Rim (Joy), who is a diehard fan of Crude Play. The two soon fall in love but Han Kyul chooses to not tell So Rim his identity. Yet, their relationship is put at risk when So Rim is recruited by Han Kyul's agency because of her gifted voice.

Produced by Bon Factory, the production house of hit dramas Master's Sun and She Was Pretty, The Liar and His Lover also co-stars Lee Jung Jin (The K2), Lee Seo Won (Uncontrollably Fond) and musical star Hong Seo Young in her small screen debut. The romance drama is expected to air in March.

Text / Pisces

Trivisa named Best Film of 2016 by Hong Kong Film Critics Society

  January 17, 2017  
The winners of the 23rd Hong Kong Film Critics Society Awards were announced on January 16. The Milkyway Image crime drama Trivisa was named the Best Film of 2016, and earned star Gordon Lam his first ever Best Actor prize. Zhou Dongyu followed her Golden Horse Awards win with another Best Actress accolade for her role in Derek Tsang's Soul Mate about the friendship of two young women.

Best Director honors were shared by Stephen Chow for his blockbuster fantasy comedy Mermaid and Golden Horse Best New Director winner Wong Chun for his feature debut Mad World. Wong's drama about a man struggling with bipolar disorder also won Best Screenplay.

Besides Trivisa, six other films were shortlisted as Recommended Films by the HKFCS: Mad World, Mermaid, Soul Mate, baseball drama Weeds on Fire, Wong Kar Wai-produced comedy-drama See You Tomorrow and JC Wong's documentary Snuggle.

Text / Sanwei

EXO and Twice win Grand Prizes at 31st Golden Disc Awards

  January 16, 2017  
The 31st Golden Disc Awards, which recognizes the most outstanding physical and digital K-pop releases of 2016, were held on January 13 and 14 in Seoul. The biggest winner EXO picked up the Album Grand Prize for the fourth year in a row with their third album Ex'act and Twice won the Digital Grand Prize.

Seventeen, Monsta X, GOT7, BTS, EXO, VIXX, Infinite, SHINee and member Tae Min all walked away with Album Awards, while Digital Album Awards went to GFriend, Suzy and Baek Hyun, Lee Hi, Urban Zakapa, Mamamoo, Twice, Zico, Tae Yeon, Lim Chang Jung. Sechs Kies and Sistar were named the Best Performance Male and Female Groups. Rookie groups Black Pink, Bolbbalgan4, NCT 127 and I.O.I won New Artist Awards.

Despite his long hiatus for military service, the freshly discharged Kim Jae Joong was honored the Most Popular Star of Asia. SHINee also took home the Most Popular Star Award for two consecutive years.

In the genre categories, Crush was awarded for Best R&B/Soul and Gummy for Best OST. Other special awards were presented to Red Velvet and EXO (CeCi Asia Icon Award ), CNBLUE (Best K-Pop Band Award) and BTS (Global K-Pop Artist Award).

Text / Pisces

Rage and Godzilla Resurgence lead 40th Japan Academy Prize nominations

  January 16, 2017  
The Japan Academy Prize has announced the shortlist for its 40th edition. Lee Sang Il's crime suspense drama Rage leads with 12 nominations, followed by Anno Hideaki and Higuchi Shinji's Godzilla Resurgence with 10.

Besides recognition for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Screenplay. Rage secured acting prizes for Miyazaki Aoi (Best Actress), Tsumabuki Satoshi (Best Supporting Actor), Moriyama Mirai (Best Supporting Actor) and Hirose Suzu (Best Supporting Actress). The twice-nominated Hirose and Miyazaki are also in the Best Actress and Supporting Actress categories for Chihayafuru and Birthday Card, respectively.

Rage and Godzilla will compete in the Best Picture and Best Director race against Nakano Ryota's Her Love Boils Bathwater, Yamada Yoji's What a Wonderful Family! and Zeze Takahisa's 64 Part 1, all three of which are also recognized for Best Screenplay. Makoto Shinkai earned nods for Best Director and Best Screenplay for his blockbuster Animation of the Year frontrunner Your Name.

Godzilla's Hasegawa Hiroki and 64's Sato Koichi are shortlisted for Best Actor alongside Ayano Go (Twisted Justice), Okada Junichi (A Man Called Pirate) and Matsuyama Kenichi (Satoshi: A Move for Tomorrow), while the remaining Best Supporting Actor spots go to Takehara Pistol (The Long Excuse), Higashide Masahiro (Satoshi: A Move for Tomorrow) and Lily Franky (SCOOP!). Miyazaki Aoi and Hirose Suzu are joined in the actress categories by Otake Shinobu (Black Widow Business), Miyazawa Rie (Her Love Boils Bathwater) and Kuroki Haru (A Bride for Rip Van Winkle) for Best Actress, and Sugisaki Hana (Her Love Boils Bathwater) and Godzilla's Ichikawa Mikako and Ishihara Satomi for Best Supporting Actress.

Sugisaki Hana, Takahata Mitsuki, Iwata Takanori, Sakaguchi Kentaro, Chiba Yudai, Mackenyu, Hashimoto Kanna and Sakumoto Takara all receive Best Newcomer prizes.

The Grand Prize winner for each category will be announced at the 40th Japan Academy Prize award ceremony on March 3, 2017.

Text / Sanwei

Ryu Jun Yeol & Kim Tae Ri heal hearts in live-action Little Forest film

  January 16, 2017  
Ryu Jun Yeol (One Way Trip) and The Handmaiden's breakout star Kim Tae Ri collaborate for the first time in the live-action film adaptation of Igarashi Daisuke's popular manga Little Forest about the village life of a young woman. Nominated for the 10th Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize, Little Forest was serialized from 2002 to 2005 in Monthly Afternoon and was adapted into a four-part Japanese live-action film starring Hashimoto Ai in 2014 and 2015. Directed by Yim Soon Rye (Forever the Moment), the Korean version will show the country's beautiful scenery and soul food.

Kim Tae Ri takes the starring role of Hye Won, a young girl who gets tired of busy city life and returns to her hometown where grows her own food and creates various delicious dishes with seasonal ingredients. Supported by her friend Jae Ha (Ryu Jun Yeol), she gradually heals from the trauma of her painful past. The foodie drama also co-stars Moon So Ri (The Handmaiden) as Hye Won's long-lost mother and rookie actress Jin Ki Joo in her silver screen debut.

Little Forest starts shooting in January and is slated for release in 2018.

Text / Pisces

11th Asian Film Awards nominations announced

  January 12, 2017  
Nominations for the 11th Asian Film Awards were announced on January 11 in Hong Kong. Feng Xiaogang's I Am Not Madame Bovary garnered five major nominations for Best Film, Best Director, Best Actress for Fan Bingbing, Best Supporting Actor for Da Peng and Best Cinematography. Korean cinema is represented twice in the Best Film category with Kim Jee Woon's action thriller The Age of Shadows and Na Hong Jin's horror The Wailing, which is also nominated for Best Director, Best Supporting Actor (Kunimura Jun) and Best Sound Design.

Fukada Koji's dark family drama Harmonium received three nominations for Best Film, Best Director and Best Actor for Asano Tadanobu. Taiwan director Chung Mong Hong's dark comedy Godspeed takes the final Best Film slot, as well as a Best Actor nod for Michael Hui. Feng, Na and Fukada are joined in the Best Director race by Hong Kong's Derek Tsang for Soul Mate and Philippines auteur Lav Diaz for The Woman Who Left, which is also shortlisted for Best Screenplay and Best Actress (Charo Santos-Concio). Son Ye Jin (The Last Princess), Kuroki Haru (A Bride for Rip Van Winkle) and Kara Hui (Happiness) are also in the running for Best Actress.

Zombie blockbuster Train to Busan scored Best Actor and Supporting Actor nominations for Gong Yoo and Ma Dong Seok, and technical nods for Editing, Costume Design and Visual Effects. Hong Kong crime drama Trivisa also received double acting nominations for lead Richie Jen and supporting actor Lam Suet, as well as a Best Screenplay nom. Fresh off a Best Actor win at the Golden Horse Awards, Mr. No Problem's Fan Wei will look to repeat at the Asian Film Awards.

Park Chan Wook's erotic thriller The Handmaiden was shut out of the Best Film and Director categories, but received a leading six nominations for Best Screenplay, Supporting Actress (Moon So Ri), Newcomer (Kim Tae Ri), Editing, Costume Design and Production Design. Other notable contenders include the Wong Kar Wai-produced See You Tomorrow with four nominations for Best Supporting Actress (Lynn Xiong), Costume Design, Production Design and Visual Effects; Lee Sang Il's Rage with four nominations for Best Supporting Actor (Ayano Go), Newcomer (Sakumoto Takara), Editing and Music; and Asghar Farhadi's The Salesman and Makoto Shinkai Your Name., both of which are nominated for Best Screenplay.

The 11th Asian Film Awards will be held in Hong Kong on March 21, 2017.

Text / Sanwei

Winners of 2016 KBS, MBC and SBS Drama Awards

  January 6, 2017  
Korea's three major television broadcasters KBS, MBC and SBS all held award ceremonies before the year's end. KBS mega-hit Descendants of the Sun swept eight awards including Grand Prize and Best Couple Award for Song Joong Ki and Song Hye Kyo, Best New Actress and Excellence Award for Kim Ji Won, and Best Writer for Kim Eun Sook at the KBS Drama Awards on December 31. Another big winner Love in the Moonlight also took eight awards including the Excellence Award for Kim Yoo Jung and a Netizen Award for Park Bo Gum, who also shared the Top Excellence Award with Park Shin Yang (My Lawyer, Mr. Jo). Edging out other female contenders, Kim Ha Neul (On the Way to the Airport) walked away with the Top Excellence Award.

At the MBC Drama Awards, W led with seven prizes. Lee Jong Suk took his first Grand Prize and shared the Best Couple Award with Han Hyo Ju. The two also picked up Top Excellence Awards along with Lee Seo Jin and Uee (Marriage Contract) and Happy Home's Lee Sang Woo and Kim So Yeon.

Different from past years, SBS's awards were grouped into four categories, including fantasy, romantic comedy, genre and serial drama. The Top Excellence Awards went to Kim Rae Won (Doctors), Park Shin Hye (Doctors) and Lee Min Ho (The Legend of the Blue Sea) in the genre and fantasy categories, to Jang Keun Suk (The Royal Gambler) and Kim Hae Suk (That's the Way It Is) in the serial drama category, and to Gong Hyo Jin (Jealousy Incarnate), Jo Jung Suk (Jealousy Incarnate) and Nam Gung Min (Beautiful Gong Shim) in the rom-com category. The Best Couple Award was given to Lee Min Ho and Jeon Ji Hyun (The Legend of the Blue Sea), Lee Jun Ki and IU (Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo), as well as Yoo Yeon Seok and Seo Hyun Ji (Romantic Doctor, Teacher Kim). Seasoned actor Jang Yong (Our Gap Soon) was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award and Han Suk Kyu (Romantic Doctor, Mr. Kim) took home the Grand Prize.

Winners of the three broadcasters' Entertainment Awards were also announced. MBC's Infinite Challenge, KBS's 2 Days & 1 Night and SBS's My Ugly Duckling were chosen as the Entertainment Programs of the Year.

Text / Pisces

A Fist Within Four Walls sweeps 2016 TVB Anniversary Awards

  December 19, 2016  
Martial arts drama A Fist Within Four Walls swept six prizes at leading Hong Kong broadcaster TVB's annual TV Awards Presentation (TVB Anniversary Awards) held on December 18. Set in Hong Kong's infamous Kowloon Walled City in the 1960s, Fist clinched Best Drama, Best Actor for Ruco Chan and Best Actress for Nancy Wu, who triumphs for the second consecutive year following her win last year for Ghost of Relativity.

Chan and Wu were previously crowned TV King and Queen at the 2016 TVB Star Awards Malaysia held last month, and their duet "Never Knew That You're the Best" was named the Most Popular Drama Theme Song. Co-stars Benjamin Yuen and Grace Wong won the My Favorite Male and Female Television Character prizes. Best Supporting Actor and Supporting Actress went to Short End of the Stick's Raymond Cho and Two Steps From Heaven's Katy Kung, while Jonathan Cheung and Ali Lee won Most Improved Actor and Actress.

In the Variety categories, game show I Heart HK won for Best Variety Program and Sidewalk Scientist for Best Infotainment Program. DoDo Goes Shopping's Carol Cheng, Luk Wing and C-Kwan were named the Best Television Presenters. Veteran actor Chow Chung was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Like previous years, Best Drama, Best Actor, Best Actress and other main awards were determined by popular voting.

Text / Garden
Translation / Sanwei

EXO, BTS and Twice win top prizes at 2016 MAMA

  December 5, 2016  
The 2016 Mnet Asian Music Awards (MAMA) was held in Hong Kong on December 2. BTS, who led with six nominations, was crowned Artist of the Year and walked away with Best Dance Performance ("Blood Sweat & Tears") in the Male Group category. EXO received their fourth Album of the Year trophy from renowned Hong Kong singer Leon Lai, as well as Best Male Group for the third consecutive year and Best Asian Style Award. Fending off strong contenders EXO, BTS, GFriend and Zico, last year's Best New Female Artist winner Twice garnered Song of the Year for their mega-hit Cheer Up and was recognized as the Best Female Group.

Girls' Generation leader Tae Yeon won Best Female Artist award for the second consecutive year, while Block B leader Zico was honored with Best Male Artist for the first time. Ailee secured her fourth Best Vocal Performance Female prize with If You, and R&B singer-songwriter Crush picked up Best Vocal Performance Male with "Don't Forget" featuring Tae Yeon. Davichi reclaimed Best Vocal Performance Group with "Beside Me."

For Best Dance Performance, GFriend ("Rough") and SHINee's Tae Min ("Press Your Number") won in the Female Group and Solo categories, respectively. Two-time winner CNBLUE again triumphed in the Best Band Performance race with "You're So Fine." Defeating notable rappers including Dok2 and last year's winner San E, Show Me the Money 5 winner BewhY and runner-up C Jamm won for Best Rap Performance (Puzzle).

miss A's Suzy and EXO's Baek Hyun received Best Collaboration prize for their jazzy Dream. Prevailing over Gummy's "Moonlight Drawn by Clouds" (Love in the Moonlight) and Davichi's "This Love" (Descendants of the Sun), veteran singer Lee Juck's nostalgic "Don't Worry" from the soundtrack of Answer Me 1988 emerged as the black horse winner of the Best OST category. I.O.I and NCT 127 came out on top in the Best New Artist race, and GOT7 won the Worldwide Favorite Artist Award.

Other world-renowned artists were also recognized for their contributions. Quincy Jones was honored with the Inspired Achievement award. Timbaland, who had a special stage with Eric Nam for their new collaboration Body, was acknowledged as the Best International Producer. Best Asian Artist awards were given to outstanding Asian musicians, namely Getsunova (Thailand), Noo Phuoc Thinh (Vietnam), Isyana Sarasvati (Indonesia), JJ Lin (Singapore), Sekai no Owari (Japan) and Hua Chenyu (China). Besides the nominated artists, other performers of the night included NCT Dream, Gallant, Yoo Ah In, pianist Yiruma and Wiz Khalifa.

See photos from the MAMA press conference and red carpet on YesAsia Facebook.

Text / Pisces

53rd Golden Horse Awards Winners

  November 28, 2016  
The 53rd Golden Horse Awards were held in Taipei on November 26. Mainland Chinese director Zhang Dalei's The Summer Is Gone, a black-and-white drama about a boy's last summer vacation before entering junior high, emerged as the surprise winner, beating out I Am Not Madame Bovary, The Road to Mandalay, Soul Mate, Godspeed and Trivisa for Best Film. The film also won Best New Performer for its child star Kong Weiyi.

Zhou Dongyu and Ma Sichun shared Best Leading Actress honors for their roles as close friends through the years in Soul Mate while Fan Wei was crowned Best Leading Actor for his role in the black-and-white Lao She-based drama Mr. No Problem, which also won Best Adapted Screenplay. Feng Xiaogang, who did not attend the awards ceremony last year when he won Best Actor, was on hand this year to receive the Best Director prize for I Am Not Madame Bovary.

Young Taiwan actor Austin Lin of coming-of-age drama At Café 6 edged out Paul Chun, Eric Tsang and Lam Suet to become the dark horse winner in the Best Supporting Actor category. Veteran Elaine Kam, meanwhile, earned her second Best Supporting Actress Prize after 22 years for Mad World. The Hong Kong drama about coping with mental illness also won Best New Director for Wong Chun.

Hong Kong crime drama Trivisa picked up Best Original Screenplay and Best Editing while detective comedy Chinatown Detective won Best Action Choreography and Best Makeup & Costume Design. Other technical prizes went to Crosscurrent (Best Cinematography, Best Sound Design), Mojin: The Lost Legend (Best Visual Effects) and Chung Mong Hong's Godspeed, which had led with eight nominations but got shut out of all categories except Best Art Direction. Taiwan musician Lim Giong won Best Original Film Score for the fourth time for his work on City of Jade, and Zee Avi's Arena Cahaya from Ola Bola was named the Best Original Film Song.

87-year-old Taiwan screenwriter Chang Yung Hsiang, who has written over 120 film scripts, was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Text / Sanwei

2016 Kohaku lineup: Utada Hikaru, KinKi Kids & Radwimps make debuts

  November 25, 2016  
Japan broadcaster NHK announced the performers for the 2016 edition of its annual Kohaku Uta Gassen New Year's Eve show on November 24. This year's lineup includes ten artists making their Kohaku debuts, five each in the red and white teams.

Diva Utada Hikaru, who sings the theme song for NHK's 2016 morning drama Toto Nee-chan, will finally appear on Kohaku for the first time. Other new performers on the red team include pop duo Puffy which celebrated their 20th anniversary this year, Nogizaka46's new sister group Keyakizaka46, enka singer Ichikawa Yukino and veteran actress Otake Shinobu.

New in the white team are Johnny's duo KinKi Kids, legendary band The Yellow Monkey which regrouped this year, alternative band Radwimps whose career reached a new high with the Your Name soundtrack, comedian-led unit Radio Fish of viral hit Perfect Human fame, and actor Kiritani Kenta whose commercial song Umi no Koe became a big hit.

Returning performers include AAA (7th appearance), AI (2nd), AKB48 (9th), Arashi (8th), Ayaka (8th), E-girls (4th), Fukuda Kohei (3rd), Fukuyama Masaharu (9th), Go Hiromi (29th), Hikawa Kiyoshi (17th), Hoshino Gen (2nd), Ikimonogakari (9th), Ishikawa Sayuri (39th), Itsuki Hiroshi (46th), Kanjani8 (5th), Kozai Kaori (19th), Matsuda Seiko (20th), miwa (4th), Miyami Hiroshi (2nd), Mizumori Kaori (14th), Nishino Kana (7th), Nogizaka46 (2nd), Perfume (9th), Sakamoto Fuyumi (28th), Sandaime J Soul Brothers (5th), Sekai no Owari (3rd), Sexy Zone (4th), Sheena Ringo (4th), Shimazu Aya (3rd), Takahashi Mariko (4th), Tendo Yoshimi (21st), Tokio (23rd), V6 (3rd), X Japan (7th), Yamauchi Keisuke (2nd) and Yuzu (7th). Notably absent from the lineup are mainstays Wada Akiko, who has appeared on the show 39 times, and SMAP which will disband at year's end.

The theme of this year's Kohaku is "Let's sing a dream." The show will be hosted by Arashi's Aiba Masaki and actress Arimura Kasumi, the lead of NHK's upcoming 2017 morning drama Hiyokko.

An annual tradition since 1951, the Kohaku Uta Gassen ("The Red and White Song Battle") features Japan's most popular musical acts (split into red and white teams) in a friendly competition that involves performing hit songs for viewer votes. The Kohaku remains one of the highest-rated television programs on Japanese television, and the preferred New Year's Eve pastime for most Japanese families. The show can also have significant impact on music sales, as certain songs would experience an increase in sales after being exposed to a nationwide audience on the show.

Text / Sanwei

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