Matsuyama Kenichi and Ayase Haruka Taiga Stars

On December 20th, a “baton touch” ceremony between the current NHK Taiga drama star and upcoming Taiga drama star, was held at NHK Broadcasting Center. Matsuyama Kenichi who is starring in ongoing Taiga drama “Taira no Kiyomori“, and Ayase Haruka who will star in next Taiga drama “Yae no Sakura” attended the ceremony.

At the “passing the baton” ceremony, the stars usually exchange presents, so Matsuyama gave Kobe beef while Ayase gave “Okiagari-Koboshi”, a traditional doll from Aizu region of Fukushima prefecture. The “Okiagari-Koboshi” dolls were painted by Ayase herself, and she revealed, “I painted them yesterday, and it took a while until 3 o’clock in the morning, but I forgot to paint their hair.” Matsuyama answered happily, but repressing his laughter, “But, it is only one in the world.”

Matsuyama commented regarding the filming which took a year and 2 months, “At first, I was so nervous to be the lead actor of the Taiga drama that has a long history. I was too nervous, so it caused me to restrict the range of my acting. It took me a while to get out of there.” Then Ayase who just begin filming in September, agreed him with, “Yes. You get stiff when you are nervous. I was just wising that I could relax more, and enjoy the filming.”

As announced previously, the upcoming Taiga drama, “Yae no Sakura” will depict the life of Niijima Yae, the wife of Niijima Jo who is the founder of Doshisha University, who strongly lived through that turbulent period. The script was written by Yamamoto Mutsumi, who was also in charge of the script for NHK’s morning drama “Gegege no Nyobo.”

“Yae no Sakura” will begin airing starting on January 6th after “Taira no Kiyomori” that will air its final episode on December 23rd.

“Switch wo Osu Toki” to be Movie

Actor Koide Keisuke (27) and model/actress Mizusawa Erena (19) have been cast as the leads in a movie version of “Switch wo Osu Toki,” scheduled for release on September 17. This will be the first starring movie role for Mizusawa, who got her acting break in the 2008 television drama “Koizora.”

“Switch wo Osu Toki” is based on a novel by Yamada Yusuke (“Avatar,” “Real Onigokko”). It was previously adapted as a television drama starring Narimiya Hiroki and as a stage play starring Nagayama Takashi.

The story revolves around a government-sponsored project aimed at determining the causes of suicide. 10 young boys and girls are held in captivity and pushed to their limits, with the option of pressing a “switch” that would result in their own death. After 7 years, only 6 of them, including a girl named Masami (Mizusawa), have retained their will to live. However, a mysterious man named Minami (Koide) is newly assigned as one of the observers on the project, and he becomes another obstacle in their battle to survive.

The rest of the cast includes Sano Kazuma, Atae Shinjiro (AAA), Taiga, Sakamoto Shogo, Kanno Rio, Fukushi Seiji, Suzuki Sawa, Ogura Hisahiro, Tanaka Tetsushi, and Nishimura Masahiko. Nakajima Ryo (“RISE UP”) is directing.