Teppei Koike shows his “new horizon” in the role of a scumbag in “The Man Who Can’t Get a Divorce”. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Teppei Koike shows his “new horizon” in the role of a scumbag in “The Man Who Can’t Get a Divorce”.

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A husband who learns of his wife’s infidelity and scrambles to get a divorce while somehow securing custody of his wife’s children ……, which depicts the battle between such a husband and wife, is gaining popularity. The show is gaining popularity. Despite being broadcast in the late-night time slot, each episode has been trending on SNS and the Internet news has been abuzz. The total number of views of the first four episodes on TVer exceeds 15 million.

Mariko Shinoda plays the role of the adulterous wife with gusto.

The main reason for the explosive number of views is probably the numerous love scenes featuring Mariko Shinoda (37), who plays the role of the evil wife, Ayaka Okatani, that are quite intense in a terrestrial sense. Shinoda’s name was kept under wraps until the day of the broadcast, and I was really surprised when I thought she had appeared and was playing the role of the adulterous wife.

Although the main theme of this drama is supposed to be the divorce of the main character Wataru Okatani (Atsushi Ito, 40), the viewers’ eyes were glued to Shinoda’s daring performance as she popped up one after another. ……

As one would expect from Osamu Suzuki, who is in charge of the script, this is an oddity.

There is another actor in “The Man Who Wouldn’t Get a Divorce” that you can’t take your eyes off. Teppei Koike (38) plays Masato Shiba, Ayaka’s adulterous partner. Mariko Shinoda’s wet scene has been getting a lot of attention, and Koike, who plays her partner, is getting the same kind of attention. I wonder if Koike is the kind of character who would put a collar on an actress, even if it was an act. ……

In this issue, I would like to look back on his transition as someone who has been paying attention to that sweet mask for many years, while praising his current activities.

I will never forget his tears on the last stage.

When I first saw his performance as Masato, I was truly astonished and could not speak. But that did not stop me from looking away from the screen. I am sure that many female viewers felt the same way I did.

In the early 2000s, Koike was very popular as an idol. The debut song “Bokuno no Kimochi” by WaT, the music duo she formed with Eiji Wentz, was a huge hit, winning all the 2005 Music Newcomer Awards, and they even appeared in the Kohaku Uta Gassen (Red and White Singing Contest). It is still unforgettable that during their appearance at the Kohaku Uta Gassen, their stand-up microphones fell down at the same time, and they had to sing almost a cappella while playing their guitars.

The duo later disbanded in 2016. During the last episode of “Music Station” (TV Asahi), Koike was so moved that she burst into tears. The beauty of her tears was intoxicating to female fans.

2005 was a big breakthrough year for Koike.

In 2004, Koike appeared in “WATER BOYS 2” (Fuji TV), which at the time was a gateway to popularity for male actors. The drama tells the story of a male student who tries to win a synchronized swimming competition. Co-stars include Hayato Ichihara (37), Akiyoshi Nakao (35), and Satomi Ishihara (37). Looking at their current successes, the “gateway to success” theory is probably correct.

Teppei Koike when he was active as WaT

Later, women in the world were attracted to the loveliness of Teppei Koike. The reason for this was his appearances in school dramas.

He appeared in school uniform in “Gokusen” (NTV, 2005) and “Dragon Cherry Blossom” (TBS, 2005) in rapid succession. In both dramas, he appeared as a fool at the start, but it was interesting to see how he changed his ways as the episodes progressed. As one can see from this list of his activities, 2005 was his big breakthrough year as a singer and actor.

In 2006, he appeared in the “Team Medical Dragon” series (Fuji TV) and the morning drama “Amachan” (NHK Sogo, 2013). Before she knew it, she had shed her idolishness and had become an indispensable supporting player in visual productions.

Around this time, Koike also appeared on the stage in “Kinky Boots,” for which she won a theater award. I had the good fortune to see this play and was overwhelmed by his performance. His every movement was dynamic, and he was so lively that I did not feel his small stature at all.

Teppei Koike has become “the real thing.

The first time I noticed something unusual about Koike’s role was in the 2020 film “Guilty: Is This Love a Sin? 〜(“Guilty”) (Yomiuri TV, NTV) in 2020, as Kazuma Ogino. He works for an advertising agency, is good-looking, and is very sweet and kind to his wife, making him the ideal husband, but behind his back he is having an illicit affair. The film is not as hard-hitting as “The Man Who Wouldn’t Get a Divorce,” but it does have its share of wet scenes. He was supposed to have been an actor whose previous roles were cheerful and left a clean atmosphere ……?

To the viewer’s mild dismay, he has been cast as a regular in “Forensic Woman” (TV Asahi, 2022), and his appearance in TV Asahi’s signature film, which has been running for over 20 years, must have been a bit of a trial for the adulterous role seen in “Guilty” — and it was a good one, too. I thought so. This thought was short-lived.

The role of Masato, the erotic ambassador in “The Man Who Wouldn’t Get a Divorce” was that amazing. Not only did he go to the trouble of renting a room next door to Ayaka’s house, but in the third and fourth episodes he finally breaks into her house and commits an act. No one can stop the explosion of eroticism that goes beyond the norm.

“So this is your home. …… (deep breath) I can’t stand it, my love for you is overflowing.”

Koike plays the role not only as an adulterous scumbag, but also with an element of comedy, and he does it perfectly.

When I saw the aforementioned play, I thought that Teppei Koike had become “the real thing. Of course, the “real thing” is not something to be judged by others, but by the actor himself. Even so, there is enough persuasive power in his performance to make the viewer feel that he is the “real thing”.

After playing Masato this time, what kind of role will he play next?

  • Interview and text by Hisano Kobayashi

    Hisano Kobayashi writes essays and columns, and works as an editor, writer, and promoter. She is the author of "Kekkon to nakonoshikanai Uruwashikana Jinsei" (KK Bestsellers), "45 cm no Distance: About Human Relations in a World with More Functions to Connect" (WAVE Publishing), and "Best of Heisei Drama! (Seishun Shuppansha). Born in Hamamatsu City, Shizuoka Prefecture.

  • Photo Afro, Kyodo News

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