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Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Cast announcement press conference for 2018 NHK Taiga drama "Segodon"

The cast announcement press conference for 2018 NHK Taiga drama "Segodon" was held on 27 March at the TV station's HQ in Shibuya, Tokyo, which was attended by the lead actor Suzuki Ryohei and co-stars including Eita, Kuroki Haru, Sakuraba Nanami, Watabe Gota, Kazama Morio, Matsuzaka Keiko, Tsukaji Muga and Hirata Mitsuru. The drama features the lifetime of Saigo Takamori (Suzuki) who was regarded as a hero in the Meiji Restoration era and experienced two banishments to islands and three marriages during his lifetime. He was credited for his part in overthrowing the Tokugawa Bakufu and realising the Meiji Restoration while his last days were spent fighting the new Meiji government.

Eita will be playing the role of Okubo Toshimichi who was one of the three heroes along with Saigo and Kido Takayoshi credited for establishing the Meiji government but later fell out with Saigo after he became a high-ranking official in the new government. The heroine Iwayama Ito (later to become Saigo's wife Saigo Itoko) will be played by Kuroki while Sakuraba plays Saigo's younger sister Koto and Watabe plays his younger brother Kichijiro. Saigo's parents Kichibei and Masako are played by Kazama and Matsuzaka respectively. Tsukaji plays Kumakichi, a servant of the Saigo household while Hirata plays Toshimichi's father Jiemon.

Eita revealed that when he was filming "Atsushime" back in 2008, he was told by his grandmother that he had blood links to Saigo Takamori so he was very glad to be able to participate in this drama. However, he joked that he was quite disappointed when it turned out that he wasn't playing Saigo himself which led everyone to burst out laughing. As he already has experience acting in a Taiga before, Eita said that the long filming period of 1 year and 2 months will be tough but it will be a step up in his career as an actor.

As for Kuroki who is appearing in her second Taiga since last year's "Sanadamaru", her character Ito will be his third wife who had been in love with him since she was a child. As she didn't appear for many episodes in "Sanadamaru", Kuroki commented that she will probably get to "live" till the end of the story since she will be Saigo's third wife and pledged to "love" Suzuki till the end of the filming one year later.

Meanwhile for Kazama, Matsuzaka and Hirata, this is the first time in 35 years since they last worked together in 1982 movie "Kamata Koushinkyoku" which led Kazama to comment to Hirata that there might not be a next opportunity for them to reunite again after this drama. As for the lead Suzuki, he said that he is honoured and happy to be able to work with such a talented cast and hopes to do a good job in this drama.

Filming will begin this summer and the drama will begin its run from January 2018.

Sources: Eiga.com / Oricon

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