For the first time in over 50 years of history of NHK’s daily morning drama, the pioneer Japanese broadcaster is looking for a non-Japanese actor to give life to one of the lead roles in its new series. NHK’s morning drama has been a fixture in the Japanese television industry, but this will be a groundbreaking move, as the network gives life to the story of a businessman who has a foreign wife.
The new drama series is called “Massan,” which according to NHK is set to air from September next year until March 2015. The drama is a historical one, based on the life of Masataka Taketsuru – popularly known as the father of Japanese whiskey – and his Scottish wife, Jessie Roberta Cowan. Taketsuru had gone to Scotland in 1918 to study the process of distilling whiskey with the hopes of bringing the famed art back to Japan, and that is where he met Cowan. They went home to Japan and eventually married, with Cowan changing her name to Rita Taketsuru and fully integrating into Japanese society.
NHK says that the network is currently reviewing the applications they have for the female lead part in the new television drama. Sources from within the network say that the candidates will be notified for interviews in January, with NHK set to make the final decision in February or March. NHK has high hopes for the series, saying that even through the eyes of the female lead, the show will “vividly portray the fundamental strengths of Japanese people who have managed to get through tough times.” The broadcaster promises that the new drama series will deliver “a lot of laughter and tears as it weaves together the story of an odd couple — a Japanese man who is a socially clumsy dreamer and his British wife who is brimming with elegance and speaks the dialect of Osaka.”
[via Wall Street Journal]