Saturdays, 9.00 – 9.55 p.m. from 26 February 2011
In 1967, Okamoto Taro was selected to be the producer to make the theme, ‘Human progress and harmony’ a reality in preparation for the opening of the Osaka Expo. To Taro, who was ahead of his time as the champion of avant garde, this national project was of no interest to him. Memories of his mother come back to him as he wavers over the appointment. Taro was born the eldest son of the manga artist, Okamoto Ippei, and poet, Kanoko, in 1911. Only interested in the arts, Kanoko would tie the young Taro to a pillar and immerse herself in composing poetry. She fell in love with Horiguchi Shigeharu, a student who aspired to be a novelist, and never showered love on her son as a mother. However, she had a decisive influence on Taro. “To hell with the progress of mankind!” Having accepted the role as the expo’s producer, Taro squarely disagreed with the theme at a press conference on his appointment. This was an expression of his determination to fight against a national event and also spoke for the spirit of the Okamoto family, “Artists are the ones who challenge the conventional wisdom of society”. And at his side was Hirano Toshiko, who had become his adopted daughter.
Matsuo Suzuki as Okamoto Taro
Born to a family of free-spirited artists, he grew up without being disciplined by his parents. He has completely rebelled against authority that obstructs freedom since his childhood, and his strong adoration of his mother, Okamoto Kanoko, has grown bigger despite the inhibitions of society. In his youth, he aspired to be a painter and went to Europe with his parents. He was greatly influenced by Western art and studied in Paris alone. He learnt French, studied anthropology, and truly tried to pursue real art, but was swallowed by the powerful tide of the times. Standing in a devastated Tokyo, he declared that “Painting’s Stone Age is over.” He penetrated Japan’s painting circles through avant garde, smashing all existing concepts and pursuing new philosophies. Then, he partnered Hirano Toshiko and was thrown the gauntlet of Asia’s first world exposition.
Tokiwa Takako as Hirano Toshiko
A literary girl who admired Okamoto Kanoko. However, during the post-war renaissance, she encountered the individualism of the intense Okamoto Taro. She was shocked and entranced. She soon became Taro’s secretary and supported him both in his personal and professional lives. It was unimaginably happy and agonising, but they fought each other.
Tanabe Seiichi as Okamoto Ippei
Okamoto Taro’s father. He had set his sights on being a painter but his newspaper cartoon strips were acknowledged by Natsume Soseki. He became a national manga artist and was lauded all over the world. He was repeatedly promiscuous because of this conflict, but discovering his artistic muse in his ailing wife, Kanoko, he devoted his lifetime for the sake of Kanoko’s art.
Terajima Shinobu as Okamoto Kanoko
Okamoto Taro’s mother. A poet who subsequently flourished as a novelist. She had the personality of a little girl which overlapped with extreme narcissism. Her behaviour was a thin line between bizarre and reasonable, and she lived a life in mad pursuit of the arts. That simplicity had a definite influence on Taro.
Kohinata Fumiyo as Tange Kenzo
An international architect and Okamoto Taro’s sworn friend. A man who dreamt of a glorious future in a devastated land after defeat in the war. He designed the infrastructure at Japan’s world exposition, and was confronted with the ‘Tower of the Sun’ plan from Taro and clashed over it.
Yamazaki Hajime as Fujikawa Shoichi
The secretary general of the world exposition. He was an elite official from the Ministry of International Trade and Industry, but was entrusted with the task of persuading Okamoto Taro to be the producer of the exhibition theme.
Masana Bokuzo as Kurihara Tomoya
The manager of the world exposition’s theme. He was the babysitter and driver of Okamoto Taro, who became the producer. Taro’s recklessness frayed his nerves.
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