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Ong Seong Wu joins cast of teen drama 18 Moments

  January 18, 2019  
Former Wanna One member Ong Seong Wu is confirmed to make his acting debut in JTBC's new teen drama 18 Moments. He will co-star with Along With the Gods series star Kim Hyang Gi and rookie actor Shin Seung Ho (A-Teen).

18 Moments conveys the challenging, immature yet sentimental moments of being 18, a time that seems to pass in the blink of an eye. Ong Seong Wu plays Choi Joon Woo who is always alone and not very good at expressing his emotions.

Kim Hyang Gi stars as top student Yoo Soo Bin who works hard to fulfill her mother's will and ambition but never has her own dream. Shin Seung Ho plays Ma Hwi Young, a gentle boy who looks strong on the outside but actually has many complexes and fears that no one knows about.

The exact airing date for 18 Moments is yet to be confirmed.

Text / Violet

Touch Your Heart starring Lee Dong Wook & Yoo In Na premieres in February

  January 17, 2019  
Upcoming tvN romantic comedy series Touch Your Heart starring Lee Dong Wook and Yoo In Na will air its first episode on February 6. The two actors reunite in a drama two years after the megahit series Guardian: The Lonely and Great God. Director Park Joon Hwa, who produced Because This Is My First Life and What's Wrong With Secretary Kim, is directing the romcom series.

Based on the popular same-titled 2016 web novel, Touch Your Heart tells the love story between an elite lawyer and an actress-turned-secretary. Yoo In Na plays famous actress Oh Yoon Seo, who faces a career downfall after getting immersed in a scandal. In order to get cast in a drama written by a well-known screenwriter, she enters a top law firm to earn experience as a secretary. She assists arrogant and perfectionist lawyer Kwon Jung Rok, played by Lee Dong Wook.

Meanwhile, Lee Sang Woo (Marry Me Now) plays kind-hearted prosecutor Kim Se Won, who has been a friend of Lee Dong Wook's character since college. The cast of Touch My Heart also includes Son Seong Yun (Hwarang: The Poet Warrior Youth), Oh Jung Se (Mistress), Shim Hyung Tak (My Sassy Girl) and Lee Jun Hyeok (Misty).

Text / Violet

Shoplifters leads 42nd Japan Academy Prize nominations

  January 16, 2019  
Nominations for the 42nd Japan Academy Prize have been announced. Kore-eda Hirokazu, who was the big winner of last year's Japan Academy Prize with The Third Murder, is again the frontrunner this year. The auteur's Palme d'Or-winning human drama Shoplifters leads with 13 nominations, while Shiraishi Kazuya's crime thriller The Blood of Wolves and Takita Yojiro's drama Sakura Guardian in the North follow with 12 nominations each. Motoki Katsuhide's Recall received nine nominations, and Ueda Shinichiro's indie zombie sensation One Cut of the Dead also came up big with eight nods.

Shoplifters, Sakura Guardian in the North, The Blood of Wolves, Recall and One Cut of the Dead will compete for Best Film, Best Director and Best Screenplay. Shoplifters' Lily Franky, The Blood of Wolves' Yakusho Koji and One Cut of the Dead's Hamatsu Takayuki are also shortlisted for Best Actor along with Samurai's Promise's Okada Junichi and Life in Overtime's Tachi Hiroshi.

The Best Actress contenders are Shoplifters' Ando Sakura, Every Day a Good Day's Kuroki Haru, The House Where the Mermaid Sleeps' Shinohara Ryoko, Sakura Guardian in the North's Yoshinaga Sayuri and Tremble All You Want's Matsuoka Mayu. In addition, Shinohara and Matsuoka are both nominated in the Supporting Actress category for Sakura Guardian in the North and Shoplifters, respectively.

Late actress Kiki Kirin also received dual Best Supporting Actress nominations for Shoplifters and Every Day a Good Day. The remaining Best Supporting Actress nods go to Maki Yoko (The Blood of Wolves) and Fukada Kyoko (Recall). Kishibe Ittoku (Sakura Guardian in the North), Dean Fujioka (Recall), Nishijima Hideotshi (Samurai's Promise), Ninomiya Kazunari (Killing for the Prosecution) and Matsuzaka Tori (The Blood of Wolves) are shortlisted for Best Supporting Actor.

Hosoda Mamoru's Mirai, Dragon Ball Super: Broly, Detective Conan: Zero the Enforcer, Waka Okami wa Shogakusei! and Penguin Highway are nominated for Best Animation. Kamishiraishi Moka (A Forest of Wool and Steel), Shuri (Love At Least), Hirate Yirina (Hibiki), Yoshine Kyoko (Kasane), Ito Kentaro (Café Funicula Funicula), Nakagawa Taishi (Kids on the Slope), Narita Ryo (Stolen Identity) and Yoshizawa Ryo (River's Edge) will all receive Best Newcomer prizes.

The grand prize winner for each category will be announced at the 42nd Japan Academy Prize ceremony on March 1.

Text / Sanwei

Fruit Chan's Three Husbands named Best Film by Hong Kong Film Critics Society

  January 16, 2019  
The winners of the 25th Hong Kong Film Critics Society Awards were announced on January 14. Fruit Chan's Three Husbands, the final entry of his "Prostitute Trilogy," was named the Best Film of 2018. The film's leading actress Chloe Maayan won Best Actress, and Chan garnered Best Director for the third time following Made in Hong Kong (1997) and The Midnight After (2014).

Oliver Chan's Still Human about the bond between a half-paralyzed man and his domestic helper won Best Screenplay and Best Actor for Anthony Wong – his third win after Beast Cops (1998) and Infernal Affairs (2002).

Besides Three Husbands and Still Human, only four other films were shortlisted as Recommended Films by the HKFCS: dissident filmmaker Ying Liang's semi-autobiographical A Family Tour, Felix Chong's crime thriller Project Gutenberg, Angie Chen's documentary I've Got the Blues about artist Yank Wong, and Lee Cheuk Pan's suspense drama The Assassination of G.

Text / Sanwei

Lee Chang Dong's Burning leads 13th Asian Film Awards nominations

  January 14, 2019  
Nominations for the 13th Asian Film Awards were recently announced. Korean auteur Lee Chang Dong's mystery drama Burning leads the race with eight nominations including Best Film, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography and Best Actor for Yoo Ah In.

Kore-eda Hirokazu's Palme d'Or winner Shoplifters and Rajkumar Hirani's blockbuster biopic Sanju follow with six nominations each, including Best Film and Best Director. The former also garnered Best Actress and Supporting Actress nods for Ando Sakura and Matsuoka Mayu, while the latter received acting nominations for leading actor Ranbir Kapoor and supporting actor Vicky Kaushal. The remaining Best Film contenders are Jinpa by Tibetan filmmaker Pema Tseden, who is also nominated for Best Director, and Chinese blockbuster Dying to Survive, which is also nominated for Best Screenplay, Best Actor (Golden Horse winner Xu Zheng) and Best Supporting Actor (Zhang Yu).

Fruit Chan takes the final Best Director slot for Three Husbands, the closing installment of his "Prostitute Trilogy," and leading actress Chloe Maayan is nominated for Best Actress. She and Ando Sakura are up against Zhao Tao from Jia Zhangke's Best Screenplay contender Ash is Purest White, Samal Yeslyamova from Ayka, and Blue Dragon winner Han Ji Min from Miss Baek. The Blood of Wolves' Yakusho Koji and Project Gutenberg's Aaron Kwok join Yoo Ah In, Xu Zheng and Ranbir Kapoor in the Best Actor race. Felix Chong's crime thriller Project Gutenberg is also shortlisted for Best Screenplay and several technical prizes. Zhang Yimou's martial arts epic Shadow received six nominations in technical categories but was surprisingly excluded from the top awards.

Besides Vicky Kaushal and Zhang Yu, Supporting Actor nominations went to Kwon Hae Hyo for Hotel by the River, River Huang for Tracey and Tsukamoto Shinya for his self-directed samurai drama Killing. In the Best Supporting Actress category, Matsuoka Mayu is joined by Golden Horse winner Ding Ning (Cities of Last Things), Jin Seo Yeon (Believer), Xu Qing (Hidden Man) and Kara Hui (Tracey). Jun Jong Seo (Burning), Karata Erika (Asako I & II), Xie Zhang Ying (Cities of Last Things), Johnny Huang (Operation Red Sea), Huang Yao (The Crossing) and Chan Charm Man (Three Husbands) are nominated for Best Newcomer. Singapore's Yeo Siew Hua (A Land Imagined), India's Rima Das (Bulbul Can Sing), Thailand's Phuttiphong Aroonpheng (Manta Ray), Japan's Ueda Shinichiro (One Cut of the Dead) and China's Bai Xue (The Crossing) will compete for Best New Director.

The 13th Asian Film Awards will be held in Hong Kong on March 17, 2019.

Text / Sanwei

BTS and Twice sweep grand prizes at 2018 MAMA in Hong Kong

  December 18, 2018  
The 2018 Mnet Asian Music Awards (MAMA) successfully came to an end with its final awards ceremony in Hong Kong on December 14. After winning Worldwide Icon of the Year at MAMA in Japan, BTS picked up another two grand prizes, Album of the Year for Love Yourself: 'Tear' and Artist of the Year. Song of the Year went to Twice's What is Love?, making the group the winner of this award for three consecutive years.

Besides the two grand prizes, BTS also won Best Asian Style, TikTok Best Music Video for Idol, Mwave Global Choice and the "I Seoul U" Appreciation Plaque. Twice was crowned Best Female Group for the first time and brought home their second Best Dance Performance (Female Group) trophy from MAMA. Wanna One became the winner of Best Male Group for the second year in a row, and subunit Triple Position was named the Best Unit.

Seventeen walked away with Best Dance Performance (Male Group) and Best OST for A-TEEN. Roy Kim and Sun Mi were crowned Best Male and Female Artist, respectively. Chung Ha was recognized as the Best Dance Performance Solo, while GOT7 was presented TikTok Most Popular Artist.

Momoland was selected as the Discovery of the Year for their viral hit BBoom BBoom. Heize and iKON triumphed in the Best Vocal Performance for solo and group category. Best Hip Hop & Urban Music went to Zico's Soulmate featuring IU, and Best Band Performance was given to Hyukoh's Love Ya!

In one of the night's highlights, legendary pop star Janet Jackson appeared to accept the Worldwide Inspiration Award. Winners of Best Asian Artist include Peck Palitchoke from Thailand, Afgan from Indonesia, Huong Tram from Vietnam, Da Pump from Japan, and Mandopop singer JJ Lin. Female Rookie Group winner IZ*ONE also garnered the New Asian Artist Award at 2018 MAMA in Hong Kong.

Text / Violet

Life on the Line wins Best Drama at TVB Anniversary Awards

  December 17, 2018  
Hong Kong broadcaster TVB's 2018 TV Awards Presentation was held on December 16. This year's highest-rated series Life on the Line won Best Drama, and leading man Joe Ma finally won the first Best Actor award of his 25-year career. Matthew Ho was awarded Most Improved Male Artiste for his role in the medical drama as a positive-minded paramedic.

Ali Lee of family drama Who Wants a Baby? was crowned TV queen for the first time. Palace drama Deep in the Realm of Conscience's Kenneth Ma and Alice Chan won Most Popular Male and Female Character for the roles of Yam Sam Shu and Princess Taiping. It is Kenneth Ma's second straight year winning this award.

Best Supporting Actor and Actress were presented to legal drama OMG, Your Honour's Oscar Leung and family sitcom Come Home Love: Lo and Behold's Mandy Lam. Meanwhile, Most Improved Female Artiste went to actress and host Crystal Fung, who received five nominations this year. Raymond Cho and Matthew Ho won Most Popular On-Screen Partnership for the second year in a row, this time for Two Men in a Kitchen. Hana Kuk's "Wishing We Last Forever" for Life on the Line won Most Popular Drama Theme Song.

In the variety/infotainment categories, former Best Actress winner and first-time host Kristal Tin won Best Host for Pretty Forty. Young and Restless, Sammy on the Go, Beautiful Cooking, Faraway Brides 2 and Think You Know Tokyo? were recognized with Best Non-Drama Programme prizes.

Veterans Angelina Lo, Timothy Cheng and Jimmy Au received Professional Achievement Awards, and Nancy Sit was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award. This year's TVB Awards included newly added audience-voted categories for Favorite Drama, Actor and Actress in Malaysia/Singapore. Threesome won Favorite Drama and Favorite Actress for Mandy Wong, while Stealing Seconds' Benjamin Yuen won Favorite Actor.

Text / Garden
Translation / Sanwei

BTS, Twice and Mamamoo win at 2018 MAMA Fans' Choice in Japan

  December 13, 2018  
2018 MAMA Fans' Choice in Japan was held at the Saitama Super Arena in Japan on December 12. The second day of the annual Mnet Asian Music Awards ceremony was hosted by actor Park Bo Gum (Love in the Moonlight). BTS was crowned Worldwide Icon of the Year, the grand prize of the night. The sensational group also garnered Worldwide Fans' Choice Top 10, Favorite Male Dance Artist and Favorite Music Video for their latest hit Idol.

Besides BTS, Worldwide Fans' Choice Top 10 awards went to NU'EST W, Monsta X, GOT7, Twice, Wanna One, Mamamoo, NCT 127, Seventeen and BLACKPINK. Mamamoo won Favorite Vocal Artist while Twice was named Favorite Female Dance Artist. Trending idol Monsta X was presented the MAMA Style in Music Award. J-pop idol group Bullet Train performed their hit song Need You and won Favorite Dance Artist (Japan) at the ceremony.

Besides performing their title tracks, the K-pop stars also performed covers of hit songs of previous years. Wanna One covered 2PM's Heartbeat and Best New Artist winners IZ*ONE and Stray Kids brought their versions of Girls' Generation's The Boys and EXO's Overdose and "Growl," respectively. Four members of Twice reinterpreted their senior labelmate miss A's debut hit Bad Girl, Good Girl. Artists also came together for collaboration stages of Tae Yang's "Eyes, Nose, Lips", Big Bang's Fantastic Baby and Cho Yong Pil's Bounce.

The 2018 Mnet Asian Music Awards will officially wrap up in Hong Kong on December 14.

Text / Violet

IZ*ONE and Stray Kids win Best New Artist at 2018 MAMA Premiere in Korea

  December 12, 2018  
The first day of the 2018 Mnet Asian Music Awards (MAMA) was held at Dongdaemun Design Plaza in Korea on December 11. The award ceremony was hosted by actor Jung Hae In (Something in the Rain). IZ*ONE and Stray Kids won Best New Female and Male Artist Awards while (G)I-DLE was named the Best of Next Artist.

Besides Korea, Best New Asian Artist awards were presented to newcomers of the year from other countries, including Dean Ting from China, Hiragana Keyakizaka46 from Japan, Marion Jola from Indonesia, Orange from Vietnam and The Toys from Thailand.

Bang Si Hyuk, the founder of Big Hit Entertainment, was recognized as the Best Executive Producer of the Year for managing his label which houses BTS. PDOGG, who played a major part in BTS's Love Yourself 'Answer' album, was crowned Best Producer of the Year. Son Sung Deuk won Best Choreographer of the Year for creating the dance for BTS's hit song Fake Love, and MU:E garnered Best Art Director of the Year award for the music video of Fake Love.

Instagram, one of 2018's hottest plugs, brought Dean and highhopes the Best Composer of the Year award. Best Engineer of the Year went to LaleIlmaNino and Java Finger for their work on Marion Jola's Jangan. Lo Gingzim picked up the Best Video Director of the Year for the music video of A-mei Chang's "Left Behind."

The nominees for Best New Female/Male Artist, including fromis_9, Loona, The Boyz, Kim Dong Han, Nature, GWSN, VINXEN and Hyeongseop X Euiwoong, performed their title tracks and collaboration stages. Last year's Best New Male Artist winner Wanna One sang their latest hit Spring Breeze and they also won the DDP Best Trend award.

2018 MAMA Fans' Choice in Japan follows on December 12. The last day of the award ceremony will be held in Hong Kong on Friday, December 14.

Text / Violet

17th Huabiao Awards

  December 10, 2018  
The 17th Huabiao Awards, one of China's top film awards, was held on December 8. Echoing the results of last month's Hundred Flower Awards, Wu Jing and Chen Yu were again crowned Best Actor and Best Actress for their performances in Wolf Warrior 2 and Hold Your Hands, respectively, and Dante Lam won Best Director for Operation Red Sea.

All three of the above films were named in the top ten Outstanding Feature Films shortlist along with Andrew Lau's military drama Founding of an Army, Ann Hui's historical drama Our Time Will Come, Huo Jianqi's biopic Xuanzang, Xian He's historical drama Lao Ayi, Gao Feng's historical war drama The War of Loong, the animated film Big Fish & Begonia and Dante Lam's other war blockbuster, Operation Mekong. Miao Yue's Hold Your Hands also won Best Screenplay.

In the technical categories, Chen Kaige's period fantasy Legend of the Demon Cat picked up Best Cinematography and Xuanzang won Best Music. Su Lun's time-slip romance How Long Will I Love U was recognized with the Young Filmmaker Creation Award.

Text / Sanwei

BTS, iKON and Wanna One win grand prizes at 2018 Melon Music Awards

  December 3, 2018  
The 10th Melon Music Awards (MMA) was held in Seoul on December 1. Worldwide sensation BTS became the biggest winner of the night, sweeping seven awards including two grand prizes – Artist of the Year and Album of the Year for Love Yourself: Tear – and Melon's Top 10 Artist. Their song Fake Love brought them the Rap/Hip-Hop Award and a Global Artist Award. BTS was also crowned with the Netizen Popularity Award and Kakao Hot Star Award. Song of the Year went to iKON's megahit Love Scenario, for which member B.I also won the Songwriter Award.

Wanna One follows with wins for Melon's Top 10 Artist Award, Record of the Year and Best Male Dance Performance for Boomerang. As the winner of the rookie race last year, Wanna One also presented this year's newcomer awards to (G)I-DLE and The Boyz.

Besides BTS and Wanna One, Melon's Top 10 Artists include: BTOB, EXO, APink, Twice, Mamamoo, BLACKPINK, iKON and Bolbbalgan4. BLACKPINK triumphed in the Female Dance Performance category with Ddu-Du Ddu-Du, Momoland of viral hit BBoom BBoom fame collected their first ever MMA prize with the 1theK Performance Award.

Loco and Mamamoo's Hwasa won the Hot Trend Award with their chart-topping single "Don't," while GFriend walked away with the Music Video Award for "Time for the Moon Night." Trot singer Hong Jin Young brought home her fourth MMA Best Trot trophy as well as a Best Folk/Blues Award with "Good Bye." Roy Kim's "Only Then" was recognized as the Best Ballad, while IU's BBI-BBI was given the Best R&B/Soul Award.

Following last year's "Sweet Dream," Kim Hee Chul and Min Kyung Hoon garnered the Best Rock Award again for their 2018 collaboration "Falling Blossoms." Paul Kim's "Every Day, Every Moment," an OST song for Should We Kiss First?, was presented the Best OST Award. MeloMance also prevailed in the Best Indie category for two years in a row with Tale. Veteran ballad singer Lee Sun Hee was honored with Stage of the Year.

Text / Violet

1987: When the Day Comes wins Best Film at 39th Blue Dragon Film Awards

  November 29, 2018  
The 39th Blue Dragon Film Awards were presented on November 23 in a ceremony hosted by Kim Hye Su and Yoo Yeon Seok. Political thriller 1987: When the Day Comes became the biggest winner of the night, sweeping Best Film, Best Cinematography & Lighting, and Best Actor for veteran Kim Yoon Seok.

The Spy Gone North director Yoon Jong Bin was crowned Best Director, and the film was recognized for Best Art Direction as well. Han Ji Min walked away with her third Best Actress prize for her performance in Miss Baek.

Blockbuster fantasy epic Along With the Gods: The Two Worlds was presented the Technical Award for its outstanding visual effects and the Audience Choice Award for Most Popular Film. The film's teen star Kim Hyang Gi, who played one of the grim reapers, won her first Best Supporting Actress since debut as well as a Popular Star Award. Ju Ji Hoon (The Spy Gone North), Kim Young Kwang (On Your Wedding Day) and Jin Seo Yeon (Believer) also picked up Popular Star Awards.

The late Kim Joo Hyuk (Believer) won his second Best Supporting Actor award of the year. For newcomers, Nam Joo Hyuk (The Great Battle) and Kim Da Mi (The Witch: Part 1. The Subversion) triumphed in the Best New Actor and Actress category, respectively. Microhabitat director Jeon Go Woon took home her fourth Best New Director trophy for her feature debut.

Crime drama Dark Figure of Crime starring Kim Yoon Seok and Ju Ji Hoon won Best Screenplay, while Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum won another Best Editing prize after the Daejong Awards. Music director Dalpalan triumphed in the Best Music category for his work in Believer, and the Best Short Film went to Heo Ji-Eun and Lee Kyung Ho's A New Record.

Text / Violet

Janet Jackson, JJ Lin and Yutaka Matsushige to join as special artists for 2018 MAMA

  November 28, 2018  
Special artists, hosts and award presenter lineups for the 2018 Mnet Asian Music Awards (MAMA) were announced on November 26.

The annual K-pop ceremony will be held for three days in three regions this year. 2018 MAMA Premiere in Korea on December 10 will be hosted by rising actor Jung Hae In (Something in the Rain) while Park Bo Gum (Love in the Moonlight) is confirmed to be the host of 2018 MAMA Fans' Choice in Japan, which follows on December 12. The host of 2018 MAMA in Hong Kong on December 14 has yet to be revealed.

Following Wiz Khalifa in MAMA 2016 and John Legend in 2014, legendary pop singer Janet Jackson joins the special artist lineup of MAMA 2018. Singaporean singer-songwriter JJ Lin, who won Best Asian Artist in the 2014 and 2016 editions of MAMA, will participate in the ceremony in person for the first time. Known for his role in the famous foodie series Kodoku no Gourmet, Japanese actor Matsushige Yutaka will take part in the event as well.

Mnet also revealed a list of Korean actors as award presenters, including Hwang Jung Min (The Wailing), Ha Seok Jin (Drinking Solo), Cha Seung Won (A Korean Odyssey), Jang Hyuk (Voice), Yang Se Jong (Still 17), Kim Dong Wook (Along With the Gods), Han Ye Seul (20th Century Boy and Girl), Jung So Min (Because This Is My First Life), Jung Ryeo Won (Witch at Court), Seo Hyun Jin (The Beauty Inside) and Kim Sa Rang (Secret Garden).

Besides the above guests and hosts, Mnet announced a special collaboration between Momoland, the singer of the viral hit Boom Boom, and popular Show Me The Money 777 contestant Mommy Son (Mad Clown).

Online voting for 18 K-pop categories, including "Song of the Year" and "Artist of the Year," can be accessed through MAMA's official website (www.2018mama.com) until December 9.

Text / Violet

55th Golden Horse Awards Winners

  November 19, 2018  
The 55th Golden Horse Awards were held on November 17 in Taipei. Chinese drama An Elephant Sitting Still, the first and last film by novelist-director Hu Bo, won Best Film and Best Adapted Screenplay. Hu's mother accepted the posthumous awards on her son's behalf.

Zhang Yimou won his first Golden Horse Best Director prize for the historical epic Shadow, which was also recognized for Best Visual Effects, Art Direction and Makeup & Costume Design. The blockbuster Chinese comedy-drama Dying to Survive took three major awards: Best New Director for Wen Muye, Best Original Screenplay and Best Actor for Xu Zheng, who played the real life-inspired protagonist that smuggled low-cost cancer medicine into China.

Hometown favorite Hsieh Ying Hsuan was crowned Best Actress for her role in Dear EX as a widow who learns that her husband left his insurance payout to his gay partner. The Taiwan drama also won Best Original Film Song (Lee Ying Hun's "Bali Song") and Best Editing.

Best Supporting Actor and Actress went to Hong Kong actor Ben Yuen from Tracey and Taiwan actress Ding Ning from Cities of Last Things. Child actor Si Pangoyod from Long Time No Sea won Best New Performer. Bi Gan's Long Day's Journey into Night took two awards, Best Cinematography and Best Original Film Score, while Jiang Wen's Hidden Man won Best Action Choreography.

Sung Hsin Yin's On Happiness Road, the Grand Prize winner of the 20th Taipei Film Awards, won Best Animation Feature. Our Youth in Taiwan about activists of the Sunflower Movement won Best Documentary. The Best Short Film prizes went to A Final Reunion (Live-Action) and Where Am I Going (Animated). Veteran editor Liao Ching Sung was honored with the Special Contribution Award, and focus puller Saburo Liu was named the Outstanding Taiwanese Filmmaker of the Year.

Text / Sanwei

2018 Kohaku lineup: King & Prince & Daoko debut; Da Pump & Twice return

  November 15, 2018  
Japan broadcaster NHK has announced the participating artists for the 69th Kohaku Uta Gassen New Year's Eve gala. The 2018 lineup of the famous show features 42 acts, including six artists making their Kohaku debuts.

New Johnny's group King & Prince will complete their rookie year with their Kohaku debut, joining labelmates Arashi (10th appearance), Kanjani8 (7th), Hey! Say! Jump (2nd) and Sexy Zone (6th) on the white team. Jazz rock band Suchmos and music group Junretsu will also debut with the white team, along with rockers Yoshiki and HYDE who will participate as the collaborative unit Yoshiki feat. HYDE for the first time. Debuting performers for the red team are singer-songwriter Aimyon and Daoko, who broke out last year with Uchiage Hanabi.

Da Pump, who made a comeback in 2018 with the viral hit U.S.A., returns to Kohaku 16 years after the group's last appearance. aiko will make her first appearance in five years, and EXILE and ikimonogakari are also back after resuming activities this year. K-pop group Twice returns for a second consecutive year after making their Kohaku debut last year.

Other notable returning performers include AKB48 (11th appearance), Fukuyama Masaharu (11th), Hikawa Kiysohi (19th), Hoshino Gen (4th), Keyakizaka46 (3rd), Little Glee Monster (2nd), Matsuda Seiko (22nd), Matsutoya Yumi (3rd), Misia (3rd), Miura Daichi (2nd), Nishino Kana (9th), Nogizaka46 (4th), Perfume (11th), Sandaime J Soul Brothers (7th), Sekai no Owari (5th), Superfly (3rd) and Yuzu (9th).

Besides the competition lineup, Sheena Ringo will collaborate in a special project with Elephant Kashimashi frontman Miyamoto Hiroji, and pop culture phenoms Aqours and Touken Danshi will appear for special performances. Arashi's Sakurai Sho and actress Hirose Suzu will be the hosts for the white and red teams, respectively.

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. Kohaku remains one of the highest-rated television programs on Japanese television, and the preferred New Year's Eve pastime for many Japanese families. The show can also have significant impact on music sales, as certain songs experience an increase in sales after being exposed to a nationwide audience on the show.

Text / Sanwei

2018 MAMA announces award categories for Premiere in Korea ceremony

  November 14, 2018  
One of the biggest events in K-pop and Asian music every year, the 2018 edition of the Mnet Asian Music Awards (MAMA) will be held in December over three ceremonies in different regions. The multi-day event kicks off with the 2018 MAMA Premiere in Korea on December 10 at the Dongdaemun Design Plaza. Organizer CJ ENM has announced that the seven award categories that will be presented at the Mama Premiere in Korea are Best New Male Artist, Best New Female Artist and Best New Asian Artist for five regions.

As revealed earlier in the month, the nominees for Best New Male Artist are HAON, Hyeong Seop X Eui Woong, Kim Dong Han, Stray Kids, The Boyz and VINZEN, while nominees for Best New Female Artist are fromis_9, (G)I-DLE, GWSN, IZ*ONE, Loona and Nature. The newly added Best New Asian Artist prizes for different regions are selected based on data provided by Oricon (Japan), Tencent Music (China), KKBOX (Hong Kong, Taiwan), JOOX (Indonesia, Thailand) and ZING MP3 (Vietnam).

The nominees for Best New Male Artist and Best New Female Artist will participate in the MAMA Premiere in Korea ceremony along with other Asian rookie artists, including Dean Ting from China, Hiragana Keyakizaka46 from Japan, Marion Jola from Indonesia, Orange from Vietnam, and The Toys from Thailand. Wanna One, last year's Best New Male Artist winner, is also confirmed to appear at the show.

After the Premiere in Korea, MAMA will continue with 2018 MAMA Fans' Choice in Japan at the Saitama Super Arena on December 12 and 2018 MAMA in Hong Kong at the Asia-World Arena on December 14.

Online voting for MAMA's major K-pop award categories will be open until December 9. For more information and online voting, refer to the official site: www.2018mama.com.

Text / Sanwei

Operation Red Sea sweeps 35th Hundred Flowers Awards

  November 13, 2018  
China's 35th Hundred Flowers Awards was held on November 10 in Foshan as the closing event of the 27th Golden Rooster & Hundred Flowers Film Festival. Dante Lam's military action blockbuster Operation Red Sea swept five prizes including Best Film, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor for Du Jiang, Best Supporting Actress for Jiang Luxia, and Best Newcomer for Wang Yutian.

Wu Jing won Best Actor for his starring role in his record-breaking action blockbuster Wolf Warrior 2. Veteran actress Chen Yu edged out Soul Mate's Golden Horse winners Zhou Dongyu and Ma Sichun to win Best Actress for her performance in the Miao Yue-directed drama Hold Your Hands.

Soul Mate was recognized for Best Screenplay while the Andrew Lau-directed historical epic Founding of an Army received the Outstanding Film Award.

Text / Sanwei

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