It’s a new project for Tamaki Hiroshi! This time, he’ll be part of the NHK asadora called Asa ga kita, which is set at the end of the Edo/early Meiji Restoration periods and depicts the life of businesswoman Hirooka Asako (1849-1919), based on the novel Shosetsu Tosaborigawa Josei Jitsugyoka Hirooka Asako no Shogai by Furukawa Chieko. Young actress Haru will be the female lead Imai Asa, who was born as the second daughter of a wealthy merchant in Kyoto. Asa then went to Osaka and entered various business fields like coal mines, banks and life insurance. She also founded the first female university in Japan. Sounds like a woman ahead of her times!
Tamaki will play Asa’s husband Shiraoka Shinjiro, the second son of a money-exchange family in Osaka. His character is described as bright and cheerful, with an interest in shamisen and tea ceremony (and possibly a dubious relationship with his shamisen teacher). After marriage, Asa’s entrepreneurial talents came to the fore as she made efforts to run a bank, colliery company and so on on behalf of her prodigal husband. This doesn’t sound particularly promising for Tamaki’s character, haha. Other notable cast members include Miyazaki Aoi as Asa’s elder sister Hatsu, Masu Takeshi and Terajima Shinobu as Asa’s parents, and Kondo Masaomi and Fubuki Jun as Shinjiro’s parents.
I haven’t seen Haru in anything, so I have no idea if she can act. She’s only 23, but already has quite a number of works under her belt, so I’m hopeful that she’s got some acting chops if she’s gonna be leading an asadora. Apparently she had auditioned for previous NHK dramas and had not been selected, but her perseverance paid off on the fourth time – gotta give her props for not giving up! She’s 11 years younger than Tamaki, so I just hope they look compatible onscreen. It’d have been nice if it were Miyazaki playing Asa, since it’d be a reunion for her and Tamaki after they last starred in Tada, Kimi wo Aishiteru nine years ago. No matter what, I’m just glad Tamaki will be back in a drama, although it will be a while yet – filming will start next month and the asadora won’t premiere until September. It’s been 12 years since Tamaki was in an asadora (2003’s Kokoro), while it will be Miyazaki’s second asadora (she was the lead in 2006’s Junjo Kirari). And I’m happy they’re gonna film in Kansai, that’s a pretty awesome region.
Asa ga kita will be NHK’s 93rd asadora and will run from Sept 28 to April 2. It is scheduled for 156 episodes and will air Mondays to Saturdays at 8am.