Prisoner – Press Conference

Press Con_Prisoner

WOWOW, the private Japanese satellite television broadcaster, has been quietly making waves in drama production with DramaW. WOWOW has produced drama specials since 2003, but only made its foray into drama series earlier this year with the impressive medical thriller Pandora, featuring acting heavyweights like Mikami Hiroshi and Yanagiba Toshiro.

This November, WOWOW returns with its second drama series, Prisoner, which is based the novel “Prisoner in Phnom Penh”, a true account by Japanese Sawai Kujira, who was jailed even though he wasn’t guilty of any crime.

Tamayama Tetsuji

Nakamura Shunsuke

Tamayama Tetsuji, stars as the protagonist, Izawa Keigo, who quits his job as a teacher over some incident. He visits Yuzurihara Takuya, his senior from university days, in a small fictitious Southeast Asian country called Seraivia. Yuzurihara, played by Nakamura Shunsuke, runs an orphanage and Izawa settles down to help him. Then Yuzurihara loses his entire fortune in a scam and an angry Izawa asks for its return from the person who fleeced Yuzurihara, only to find himself set up and arrested. In jail, a mysterious man named Pon proposes a plan to break out of jail but …


The drama was shot on location in Thailand for a month during what was said to be the rainy season but the production staff had to put up with the humidity and heat. Tamayama didn’t seem to mind. “The food was delicious, the people were wonderful. I didn’t suffer. If anything, it was the heat. Everyday I’d drink the night away with Omori-san and the rest while playing billiards.” Actress Tsuruta Mayu, who plays Nishiyama Aki, a journalist who tries to save Izawa, likens Prisoner to be “as thrilling as the sensation of riding on a roller coaster”.

Tsuruta Mayu

The five-part drama will be broadcast every Sunday at 10.00 p.m. from 16 November. Episode 1 has a duration of 90 minutes while subsequent episodes have a duration of 58 minutes.

I haven’t found much to be excited from the rather dismal fall drama lineup and I’m not sure what to make of a drama that some in the media have touted as the Japanese version of Prison Break. Tamayama, who also starred in the 2007 WOWOW drama special Mayonaka no Machi, is more a pretty face than a character actor but this might turn out to be one entertaining caper.

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About jadefrost

This blog contains information and musings on current and upcoming Japanese dramas but is not intended to be comprehensive.
This entry was posted in Fall 2008 Dramas, Prisoner, WOWOW. Bookmark the permalink.

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