THE AFTER DINNER MYSTERIES has proved to be a big hit in Japan, and this time, the fever has hit Singapore!!!

A spin-off from its original TV series, The After Dinner Mysteries movie is based on a series of murders that happened on a luxurious cruise, the Star Cruise Virgo. Much of the movie was also filmed in Singapore, so we can all expect to see many familiar Singapore icons and places! This is one thing that the local audience can look forward to, and it is a first for having a Japanese film set in Singapore. 

We had the privilege to meet with director Hijikata Masato and the cast, which includes Sakurai Sho, Kitagawa Keiko and Shiina Kippei, in an exclusive closed door small group interview at Raffles Hotel on Saturday afternoon. Raffles Hotel is one of the filming locations in the movie, and has also become one of Sho’s favourite spots in Singapore.”

Sho plays the role of the sharp-tongued and hypocritically courteous butler, Kageyama, who serves Hosho Reiko (played by Kitagawa Keiko), the heiress of a wealthy household. According to a Japanese interview, Sho even went to the extent to shave the hair on his legs to keep up with the image of the butler. When we asked just what else did he do to perfect his portrayal of Kageyama, he shared that he studied the mannerism and details of a butler, from how he talks to the way he walks, through watching movies which includes Batman. Just as expected of a professional and dedicated star like him!. 

Having worked for almost 2 years from when the TV series started to the TV special episode and now the movie, the co-stars’ chemistry definitely got better. On the co-stars’ experience with each other, Keiko shared that just like how Reiko depends on Kageyama, she and Sho shares a trust relationship, which she can depend on him in many ways. To Reiko, Kageyama’s presence is indispensable and if he is not around, it will feel weird to her. Likewise, that was how she felt towards Sho on-set.

The director is also full of praises when he talked about his experience and interactions on working with this team of outstanding cast. In several other Japanese interviews, the director had said that he particularly emphasized Kageyama’s coolness in this film. He revealed to us that there was never once he had to make Sho to bring that coolness out, “Coolness is just something that comes out naturally from Sho. I just have to leave it to him to deliver the character, and had no worries that this will not be brought out. Whatever he does, he is cool right?” he cheekily asked.

On Keiko, the director highlighted that her charm is a point to watch in the movie. She was both a policewoman and the wealthy daughter, and the difference between these disguises was charming and interesting to watch. Last but not least, the director felt that veteran actor Shiina Kippei was really dependable. He held an anchoring role that leaves a strong impression on the viewers, “Without him, The After Dinner Mysteries would not have become what it is today.” 

If you were to watch the trailer (here:, there are definitely more suspense scenes as compared to the drama series, where Kageyama showed more warmth and strong feelings towards wanting to protect Reiko. So is that a development that we can all look forward to in the movie? Well, Sho teased and said that we’ll need to watch the movie to find out!

Through this session of interview, the team’s dynamics was really good and it is not difficult to tell that they truly share a strong bond. On future plans of having other activities in Singapore, Sho says that whether or not that will happen will depend on the result at the ticket box office! So fans of Japanese artistes and films, you know what to do when 22 August comes!  

Text and Photos by Tho Shu Ling

THE AFTER-DINNER MYSTERIES movie review is right here