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Saturday, April 22, 2017

Cast announcement press conference of new NHK morning drama "Warotenka"

The cast announcement press conference of new NHK morning drama "Warotenka" starring Aoi Wakana was held at NHK Osaka's HQ on 20 April which was attended by Aoi, Matsuzaka Toori, Endo Kenichi, Suzuki Honami, Takeshita Keiko, Takahashi Issei, Chiba Yuudai, Hamada Gaku, Tokunaga Eri and Hotta Mayu. The drama will begin its run from 2 October in the Mondays to Saturdays 8am timeslot.

"Warotenka" is set during the late Meiji era to post-World War II period at Osaka featuring the lead character Fujioka Ten (Aoi) who is modelled on Yoshimoto Sei, the founder of Yoshimoto Kogyo and a female show promoter. Fujioka was born into a family managing a drug wholesale business in Kyoto and meets Kitamura Fujiyoshi who is the son of a family in the rice dealing business at Osaka. When they fall in love, Fujioka goes against her parents' wishes to marry Kitamura who is a big lover of comedy. Subsequently, after her husband's family goes bust, she unwittingly becomes the owner of a vaudeville theater with her husband. This then leads to her becoming the first person in Japan to make comedy into a business and transforming Osaka into a capital of comedy.

Matsuzaka plays Ten's husband Kitamura Fujiyoshi while Hamada plays Takei Fuuta who is Ten's cousin and is in love with her. Matsuzaka who last appeared in a NHK morning drama 5 years ago, remarked that he wants to use his experience accumulated from then to be used in the filming of "Warotenka" and support Aoi during the 10-month filming period. Matsuzaka also revealed that when he first heard about Hamada and Takahashi appearing in this drama, he was thinking "again?!" because the three of them have worked together many times and are good friends.

On the other hand, Hamada who is appearing in a morning drama for the first time, said that he's very nervous about this and feels a sense of responsibility in delivering pleasant and wonderful mornings to the viewers through this drama. Takahashi plays a young entrepreneur Inou Shiori who is supposed to be Ten's marriage partner but later becomes a supportive figure to Ten and Fujiyoshi who get involved in show business when he realises that Ten is in love with Fujiyoshi.

Endo who plays Ten's father Gihee, revealed that he was told straight in the face that his face was not suitable to be seen in the morning when he was rejected during a morning drama audition back then in his early 20s. It has been 7 years since his last appearance in a morning drama and he wondered if it is fine for him to be appearing in the morning especially since his character is described as a guy who has fierce and big eyes and looks very fierce. Endo also joked that even though he has never appeared in a TV programme with comedy duo Tunnels, he has played the husbands of their wives in real life. Back in 2010, he played a married couple with Yasuda Narumi who is Kinashi Noritake's wife and this time, he will be the husband of Suzuki who is Ishibashi Takaaki's wife.

Suzuki will play Ten's mother Shizu while Takeshita will play Ten's grandmother Hatsu. Chiba plays Ten's elder brother Shinichi and Hotta plays her younger sister Rin. Tokunaga plays Ten's maid Toki in the Fujioka household.

The producer Goto Takahisa commented that for the sake of the female viewers, they decided to have three types of men around the heroine to cater to different tastes i.e. Takahashi to play Prince Charming, Matsuzaka to be the romanticist while Hamada will be a passionate man. In response to this, Takeshita joked that Takahashi gets her vote for being the No.1 favourite as her character is someone who likes handsome men.

Sources: Nikkansports 1 / Nikkansports 2  / Sponichi 1 / Sponichi 2 / Oricon

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