While Kanna Hashimoto (23)’s selection as the host of this year’s Kohaku Uta Gassen (Red and White Singing Contest) on NHK caused a stir in the industry, another NHK-related news item that attracted attention was the selection of Shuri (32) as the heroine of next year’s “Boogie Woogie” morning drama series (serial TV novel).
It has been a long time since a new actress was chosen as the heroine of a morning drama. In the past, it was said to be a gateway to success for newcomers, and some actresses had no drama experience, not to mention that it was their first starring role in a morning drama, but recently actresses who have already starred in dramas and movies, and even won movie awards, are being selected.
Haruka Fukuhara (Soar!), the heroine of the currently airing “Soar! is currently airing. As you know, Haruka Fukuhara (24), the heroine of the children’s cooking program “Cooking Idol Ai! Mai! Mayin,” in which she played the main character, a young girl named Hiiragi Mayin, who attracted much attention. Before the morning drama, she also appeared as the heroine in the drama “Masanao Fudosan” (NHK), starring Tomohisa Yamashita (37). Yuna Kuroshima of “Chimu Doton” has already appeared in morning dramas such as “Massan” (2003) and “Scarlet” (2008), and Kaya Kiyohara (20) of “Okaeri Monet” has played the lead in a series of dramas as well as morning dramas.
A former stage director who belonged to a theater troupe whose research students have been selected as heroines of morning dramas said, “I used to be a member of Yumiko Fujita’s troupe.
In the past, actresses who belonged to theater companies such as Yumiko Fujita, Yoko Takahashi, Keiko Suzuka, and Mihoko Fujita were often chosen. There were auditions, but rather than applying themselves, NHK producers would visit the theater companies directly and encourage new research students to participate. He said he went around to each theater company one by one, so that must have been how he discovered newcomers.”
These days, sometimes not even auditions are held. Since Sakura Ando (36) in “Manpuku,” there have been no auditions for six consecutive films, while Erika Toda (34), Suzu Hirose (24), and others have been offered the role of the heroine. Rina Kawae (27) of Come Come Everybody won the lead role through an audition, but she is not a newcomer. What is the reason why morning dramas no longer select new actresses? According to a producer who has been involved in drama production at a key station for many years
According to a longtime producer at a key station, “It is probably because morning dramas, like the Taiga and Kohaku dramas, have become signature programs that are always mentioned for their high viewer ratings. So, it is impossible to make a mistake. If that is the case, it is risky to use unknown new actresses. Actresses who are both talented and popular are more likely to attract viewers. In the old days of morning dramas, the viewers would watch a newcomer with poor acting skills grow while the drama progressed, and then send her off to the next stage. The viewers enjoyed this process as they became emotionally involved with the heroine. Now, however, there is no room for that. If the actor playing the heroine is not well-known and is not a good actor, many viewers will leave the show even if they have the habit of watching it.
Shuri was selected from among 2,471 applicants and won the heroine’s role in her fourth attempt. She was 32 years old, just under the age limit. She made her debut as an actress in 2011 and has appeared in morning dramas.
She has already appeared in many movies and TV dramas and is a veteran. But I don’t have much of an impression of her. But that’s what’s good about her, isn’t it? She is fresh and fresh. And yet his acting is well known, and I think he would be perfect for a morning drama. The fact that his parents are Yutaka Mizutani and Ran Ito is also an advantage. There is talk about the power of the office, but if there is a tie between two candidates in the final screening, it is inevitable that the one who belongs to a powerful office will have an advantage.
So, Shuri was chosen for the award she deserved.
Text by Hiroyuki Sasaki, entertainment journalist： Hiroyuki Sasaki (Entertainment Journalist)
Born in Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture, Hiroyuki Sasaki became a reporter for FRIDAY at the age of 31, reporting numerous scoops during his time with FRIDAY and later working mainly for the weekly magazine. Recently, he also appears on TV and radio as a commentator.
Photo: Kyodo News Images： Kyodo News Images