Masato Sakai shows up at a “luxury restaurant overlooking the Sumida River” in a rough “jumper and sneakers” fashion. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Masato Sakai shows up at a “luxury restaurant overlooking the Sumida River” in a rough “jumper and sneakers” fashion.

This summer's TBS "Sunday Gekijo" will be restarted with a superb cast.

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When darkness fell, a series of one-box cars pulled up in front of an upscale ryotei restaurant overlooking the Sumida River. Among them was a Mercedes-Benz van.

In the midst of the tense atmosphere, a man wearing a jumper, sneakers, and other rough clothes appeared. Although his face was hidden by a mask, his silky hair and unusual eyes made him easily recognizable as the actor Masato Sakai (49).

On March 5, just before 11 p.m., Sakai left the ryotei restaurant where he was filming. The tempura course was priced at 55,000 yen, a luxury restaurant used by cabinet ministers for meetings.

Not long after his arrival, Fumiyo Kohinata (69) in a suit appears. His escort holds an umbrella over him to keep him dry in the rain that has begun to fall. Nearby was director Katsuo Fukuzawa, 59, who had directed “The Greatest Family” and “The Greatest Family” as well as “The Greatest Family” and “The Greatest Family”.

He is an expert employee of TBS who has worked on “The Great Family,” “Rocket Town,” and “Naoki Hanzawa,” among others.

He was on location for “VIVANT,” which will be broadcast in July on TBS’s flagship Sunday theater, starring Mr. Sakai. It is a “can’t lose” drama written and directed by Mr. Fukuzawa and starring Hiroshi Abe (58), Momori Matsuzaka (34), Fumi Nikaido (28), and Koji Yakusho (67), all of whom are in the lead roles. On the day before the show, they were filming on location at the Marubeni company building in Otemachi,” said a producer from a key station.

The reason why “we absolutely cannot lose” is because this is Sakai’s fresh start.

Sakai left the Tanabe Agency, a major entertainment company, at the end of last year. He is now a freelance producer. TBS, which cannot sleep with its feet to Sakai’s legs because of the huge success of “Hanzawa Naoki,” which has become a social phenomenon, wants to celebrate his departure in a big way and further strengthen the relationship with him,” said a senior entertainment industry executive.

Entertainment writer Watanabe Tsuyoshi says that the fact that filming has already begun even though the season starts in July shows “their concern for Sakai.

The “Hanzawa Naoki” series in 2008 was cranked two months before the start of the broadcast. He left housework and childcare to his wife, Miho Kanno (45), and spent many days seeing only the sleeping faces of their young children. Three years have passed since then, and our oldest son has entered elementary school and our oldest daughter has started attending preschool. They are at the peak of their adorable years. With the relaxed shooting schedule this time, I should be able to spend enough time with my family. Another condition for accepting the offer to appear in “VIVANT” was “zero promotional work. It is said that the reason why he became independent from his former agency was because he was worried that he did not fit in with his former agency’s policy of focusing on starring roles and major productions, while also focusing on running the film as part of a promotional campaign.

Filming ended before 11 pm. A smiling Sakai emerged from the ryotei restaurant. He was smiling as if he was chewing on the joy of being liberated.

Ai Iinuma, 19, the first grand prix winner of the TBS open audition program and a newcomer to Sakai’s old company, Tanabe Agency, was also there.
Kohinata had a strong presence. Just behind her is Mr. Fukuzawa, the TBS executive in charge of writing and directing the show.
Masato Sakai, the reason for his unleashed smile!
Masato Sakai, the reason for his unleashed smile, was discovered and photographed at the scene of his first starring drama since becoming independent!

From the March 24, 2023 issue of FRIDAY

  • PHOTO Takero Yui

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