Sundays, 9.00 p.m. – 9.54 p.m. from 16 October 2011
In the late 1950s, 10 years after World War II, people worked furiously to revive the economy in order to restore Japan’s lost confidence. However, the country was stuck with the labels “imitator”, “loser”. At that moment, many countries around the world were becoming active in earth observation. An International Geophysical Year Special Committee centred around the victors such as the US and Soviet Union was set up, and an exploration of the large, unchartered continent of Antarctica. Japan, the only one among the Asian countries to declare its participation, was scorned by the world which wondered what the defeated nation could do. The exploration area that Japan was assigned to, was “inaccessible”. Because it was the worst place with temperatures 50 degrees celcius below 50, buffeted by blizzards at speeds of 100 metres per second. Japan had no expectations at all. The time had come for Japan, which had thus far been shown the backs of foreign countries, to stand on equal footing with the world. Geological science researcher, Kuramochi Takeshi, whose wife had died in the war, strives to make the exploration of the Antarctic a reality more than anyone else has. Takeshi faces this risky challenge despite his vulnerability. His sister-in-law, Takaoka Miyuki, worries about him, but tries to be helpful. She does not let her emotions for Takeshi show … … Meanwhile, Takeshi and like-minded men, who have been working hard for their big dream of a Antarctic expedition team, encounter head wind. Their country and local companies react negatively to sponsoring the expedition, causing their quest to run into rough waters. However, an overwhelmed Takeshi finds his spirits boosted by children, who have big dreams and hopes for Japan’s future. Contributions are collected from the pocket money of chldren across the country. As a result, the Antarctic exploration becomes a big project for Japan’s rehabilitation in the global community, and also one of the country’s first after the war. Partly for that reason, the Antarctic exploration gets officially recognised as a national project at the Diet. Plans for the expedition are formally pushed through, but Japan has no icebreaker to break the ice of the South Pole. At that moment, a proposal is tabled to retrofit the ‘Soya’, which has been called the “miracle ship” for having survived the numerous occasions it was sent into enemy territory during the war. The designers of the battleship ‘Yamato’ were asked to retrofit it, but there were just 10 months to their departure for Antarctica. It did not seem like the work on the ‘Soya’ would be on time. Amidst these difficulties, the selection of the members of the Antarctic exploration team went ahead. But an even more unexpected event occurs … …
Kimura Takuya as Kuramochi Takeshi
A member of the first Antarctic exploration team and deputy of the first wintering party. In charge of the dog sleds and geological observation. His wife died in the war. An assistant professor at Tokyo University’s faculty of science and a geophysicist. He has an inquiring mind and is a person of action. Although he yearns to scale the mountains overseas for academic research, a defeated Japan placed restrictions on overseas travel for such purposes and he has to live in agony without fulfilling his wish. But one day, he is invited by Professor Shirosaki Suguru to accompany him on an Antarctic exploration, and his childhood dream to go to Antarctica is resurrected … …
Ayase Haruka as Takaoka Miyuki
Kuramochi Takeshi’s sister-in-law. The younger sister of his late wife, Yukari. An elementary school teacher. She is a traditional Japanese woman who is gentle and has inner strength. She devotedly supports her brother-in-law’s Antarctic quest, and is secretly in love with him.
Sakai Masato as Himuro Haruhiko
A member of the first Antarctic exploration team and first wintering party. In charge of audit and weather observation. A proud pragmatist who is an office aide at the Ministry of Finance. He graduated from Tokyo University’s faculty of science and belonged to the same mountaineering club as Kuramochi Takeshi. The two of them considered each other friends during their student days, but an accident while mountain climbing led to estrangement. After that, he followed the wishes of his politician father and joined the Ministry of Finance. At that moment, he is reunited with Kuramochi who is trying to fulfill his big Antarctic exploration dream … …
Yamamoto Yusuke as Inuzuka Natsuo
A member of the first Antarctic exploration team and first wintering party. The youngest in the team. In charge of the dog sleds and aurora observation. A postgraduate student at Kyoto University who has been agonising about his life because he cannot find the job he wants. He has been studying auroras through geophysics. He grew up on an orange farm run by his parents, and led a relatively comfortable life. However, whatever he does is by half measure and he does not get along well with his father. At that moment, he learns about the national Antarctic exploration project and aspires to join the expedition.
Shibata Kyohei as Shirosaki Suguru
The leader of the first Antarctic exploration. Overall in charge of the expedition. He is Kuramochi Takeshi’s former teacher. A famous professor at Tokyo University’s faculty of science. Intelligent and hardworking, he is a geophysicist with a great love of science and learning. While there were restrictions on overseas travel for academic research, he was invited to the Antarctic Conference by the International Geophysical Year Special Committee led by the US and Russia. This led him to devote the rest of his life to the exploration of Antarctica.
Kagawa Teruyuki as Hoshino Eitaro
The deputy of the first Antarctic exploration team and leader of the first wintering party. A professor at Kyoto University’s faculty of science and a married man. Although he has a doctorate, he does not care for status or fame, preferring to be elusive and take things at his own pace. A man with a mysterious charm, his quiet dialect and friendly smile somehow draw the people around him in. On the other hand, he also has an inquiring mind. When interested, he gets immersed in research to the extent that he cannot hear those around him, but he is more an engineer than a researcher. He gives Kuramochi Takeshi good advice.
Ogata Naoto as Utsumi Noriaki
A member of the first Antarctic exploration team and first wintering party. In charge of the press and general affairs. The deputy chief of Teito News who joined the newspaper after the end of the war and worked as a journalist. He identifies with Kuramochi Takeshi’s Antarctic exploration plan and tailors a campgain to raise money. He was Kuramochi’s senior in university and is a good person to talk to.
Okada Yoshinori as Funaki Ikuzo
A member of the first Antarctic exploration team and first wintering party. In charge of setting up camp. He works at the Japan Coast Guard. He has good patience.
Watase Tsunehiko as Kuramochi Takeshi’s father
Kuramochi Takeshi’s father. He was a sailor in his youth and became a member of the crew of the Shirase expedition who were the first Japanese to reach the Antarctic. In 1910, a crew of 30 men led by Shirase Nobu set off for the unknown continent of Antartica, but they could not land because of glaciers, and had to return to Japan feeling mortified. He told his young son stories about auroras, nights under the midnight sun, glaciers, Emperor penguins, seals and whales in what must have seemed like a dreamland to a child. In particular, he talked about his desire to climb the mountain Botnnuten which had not been conquered by man yet. Takeshi’s extraordinary interest in Antarctica is a result of his influence. The Kuramochis were a family of three, however Takeshi’s parents were killed in an air raid during the war.
Yamamoto Manabu as Furutachi Tomohiro
A professor at Hokkaido University and the first person to study the Sakhalin huskies. He takes care of Kuramochi Takeshi and Inuzka Natsuo who are searching for Sakhalin huskies for dog sleds.
Kimura Tae as Furutachi Ayako
Furutachi Tomohiro’s daughter. Her husband died of an illness a few years ago and she has been raising her son and daughter while working at her father’s farm. They have a Sakhalin husky called Riki at how because her father is a researcher of the dogs.
Ashida Mana as Furutachi Haruka
Furutachi Ayako’s daughter. Her father died of illness and she lives on a farm with her older brother, Ryo. To Haruka and Ryo, Riki is like their late father.
This drama looks awesome
Thank you so much 🙂