Drama Digest #16 Power Scores & Castings


Abe Hiroshi tops Nikkei Entertainment’s ranking again … Nikkei Entertainment has released its ‘Power Ranking’ for the Top 30 Male Actors and Top 20 Upcoming Male Actors. I’m puzzled and horrified by the inclusion of some names, but thrilled that my favourite actors like Abe Hiroshi, Watabe Atsuro, Eita, Tsutsumi Shinichi, Sometani Shota are on it. Abe didn’t just make the list. He retained first position for the third year running! Although Abe has hardly been in dramas lately, he has appeared in the commercials of some 10 companies this year and also achieved acclaim in movies such as Fushigina Misaki no Monogatari. Nishijima Hidetoshi who is enjoying increased exposure from commercials and the Mozu franchise made his debut in the rankings this year. Higashide Masahiro, Fukushi Sota and Suzuki Ryohei, the top three upcoming male actors, are riding high after career breakthroughs with their performances in NHK’s recent morning dramas.

The annual ranking is based on a ‘Power Score’ calculated from data on visibility (number of respondents able to recognise an actor by name and face) and level of interest (number of respondents interested to see, hear and know more about an actor) that is collected once every three months in February, May, August and November. 4,400 male and female respondents from their teens to 60s in Tokyo, Chiba, Saitama and Kanagawa, are drawn in equal number by five-year age agroups.

Top 30 Male Actors by Power Score
1. (1.) Abe Hiroshi – 43.9
2. (5.) Ohno Satoshi – 42.5
3. (3.) Sakurai Sho – 42.3
4. (7.) Ninomiya Kazunari – 41.7
5. (2.) Sakai Masato – 40.0
6. (6.) Aiba Masaki – 40.0
7. (12.) Nakai Masato – 39.7
8. (4.) Matsumoto Jun – 39.3
9. (8.) Okada Junichi – 37.9
10. (9.) Kattori Shingo – 37.2
11. (15.) Kagawa Teruyuki – 36.7
12. (13.) Oizumi Yo – 36.6
13. (21.) Oguri Shun – 36.5
14. (14.) Nagase Tomoya – 36.4
15. (17.) Takenouchi Yutaka – 36.2
16. (11.) Abe Sadao – 36.1
17. (18.) Kusanagi Tsuyoshi – 36.0
18. (29.) Joshima Shigeru – 35.7
19. (10.) Mukai Osamu – 35.2
20. (19.) Yamaguchi Tatsuya – 34.4
21. (27.) Kimura Takuya – 34.2
22. (23.) Karasawa Toshiaki – 33.8
23. (24.) Tsutsumi Shinichi – 33.0
24. (32.) Ikuta Toma – 32.7
25. (43.) Matsuoka Masahiro – 32.5
26. (27.) Tsumabuki Satoshi – 32.2
27. (25.) Eita – 31.8
28. (47.) Tamaki Hiroshi – 31.8
29. (16.) Kokubun Taichi – 31.4
29. (34.) Hayami Mokomichi – 31.3

Top 20 Upcoming Male Actors by Power Score
1. (9.) Higashide Masahiro – 7.9
2. (10.) Fukushi Sota – 7.8
3. (12.) Suzuki Ryohei – 7.3
4. (13.) Matsushige Yutaka – 7.0
5. (19.) Yamazaki Kento – 6.1
6. (21.) Saito Takumi – 6.0
7. (23.) Tanaka Tetsushi – 5.8
8. (27.) Kubota Masataka – 5.5
9. (28.) Ikematsu Sosuke – 5.5
10. (31.) Sometani Shota – 5.5
11. (32.) Takito Kenichi – 5.5
12. (48.) Hamada Gaku – 4.5
13. (51.) Muro Tsuyoshi – 4.5
14. (53.) Shirahama Aran – 4.4
15. (71.) Tamayama Tetsuji – 3.6
16. (71.) Yamada Takayuki – 3.6
17. (74.) Kaku Kento – 3.5
18. (75.) Endo Kenichi – 3.5
19. (78.) Watabe Atsuro – 3.4
20. (79.) Chiba Yudai – 3.3
*Excludes Johnny’s

“Impressive” casts the new normal for drama specials? … The castings for three 2-hour drama specials broadcast on Fuji TV and NTV in late June (the crossover from the spring to the summer seasons) have been so unusual that these have attracted attention. Takeuchi Yuko, Maki Yoko and Mizukawa Asami co-starred in Kamoshirenai Joyutachi. So did Kuroki Meisa, Sasaki Nozomi and Toda Erika in Renai Aru Aru. On the other hand, young upcoming actors and actresses Arimura Kasumi, Kubota Masataka, Higashide Masahiro, Narumi Riko, Yamazaki Kento made up the ensemble cast of Eien no Bokura Sea Side Blue. “There have recently been cutbacks in drama series slots as a result of a slump in viewership ratings. Actors have less work. Because of this, it’s easy to bring in an A-lister even for a minor special drama. The point is, the actors of leading role material aren’t busy,” said a TV production company insider about the drama specials and upcoming ones featuring “impressive” casts. TBS had five drama series spots in prime time until March. It will be reduced to three by September. Fuji TV scrapped its Tuesday 9 pm drama in March and it is rumoured that it will take another slot off, which will leave it with two prime time dramas. Even NHK which doesn’t have to care so much about viewership ratings is reviewing its Saturday 10 pm drama. The slot sunk to the 2.0% range with 64 (Rokuyon) in May. But if one looks at the viewership ratings of the recent special dramas, it isn’t a pretty sight too with Kamoshirenai Joyutachi, Renai Aru Aru and Eien no Bokura Sea Side Blue managing 6.0 – 8.0%. A few years ago, most of such drama specials could be assured of double digit ratings. At this rate, drama series probably won’t be the only ones getting the cut. If drama specials end up being reduced with the cutback in drama series slots, the insider predicts a migration of leading actors from TV to areas such as the stage for survival. Actors and actresses that have mostly been active on TV will face a tough time.

About jadefrost

This blog contains information and musings on current and upcoming Japanese dramas but is not intended to be comprehensive.
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10 Responses to Drama Digest #16 Power Scores & Castings

  1. dragonspikexiii says:

    Thanks for another insightful report!

  2. The ‘upcoming’ list annoys me. Almost ALL those actors have been around for years, been getting lead roles for years and can act a thousand times better than almost all the actors on the Top 30 List, and can definitely act better than all JE actors put together (and I love JE)!

    • jadefrost says:

      I wonder if the respondents can distinguish between the actor/musician persona! I didn’t even know some of them are actors.

  3. junny says:

    Yay for Abe Hiroshi, he deserves to be at the top again. Tamaki Hiroshi made the top-30 list too, which makes me happy! But some of the names (eg: numbers 2-4, 6, 8 etc) there are pretty dubious, will never understand their “power”. And how are people like Endo Kenichi and Watabe Atsuro in the “upcoming” list? That makes zero sense. Higashide Masahiro doesn’t appeal to me either and Fukushi Sota should just stop acting.

    I can understand why ratings sank for 64 (Rokuyon), it was pretty depressing and took a while to get going. But I hope they won’t reduce the drama specials, there have been some pretty interesting ones.

  4. Bobo says:

    Dead at Endo Kenichi. When is this guy gonna get the respect he deserves?

  5. dgundam says:

    bah damn arashi and the dumb japanese general population that support them. i cant believe their up top. im glad the my favorite abe hiroshi is there. too bad ive been missing him on the drama scene. one of the best actors in japan ❤

  6. dgundam says:

    also maybe if the japanese entertainment industry stop hiring idols for their dramas, put more budget, write stuff thats not always the usual medical renzoku or detective dramas, then viewership ratings wont go down.
    i for one dont watch any shows with idols in the leads and that pretty much cuts a huge number of dramas from the list what with all the smap, arashi, exile, akb, ske and plus also the takei emi and gouriki dramas each and every single season

    • jadefrost says:

      It perversely doesn’t seem to work that way or they won’t be serving up round after round of EXILE, Takei, Goriki dramas which are horrid and get justifiably bad ratings. And then there’s wasting talent by pairing someone like Watabe Atsuro with Goriki in a drama.

      I’m mainly in the WOWOW and NHK camp these days, but even idols have been encroaching on WOWOW dramas.

      If the networks are cutting down the number of dramas produced, surely they can start to put more budget and effort into better productions.

  7. Van says:

    It bothers me that one of the best actors in Japan (Yakusho Koji) is not in the list. Is not he so popular these days?

    • jadefrost says:

      Given the dominance of idols and how highly they ranked on the list, I don’t think Yakusho Koji had a chance.

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