From 9.00 p.m., Sundays, 17 July 2016
Ichinose Ayumu encountered shogi in his childhood and dreamt of becoming a professional shogi player. He eventually became an apprentice of the Japan Go Association and devoted his entire youth to shogi. However, his father passed away when he was a high school student. After graduating from high school, he did not go on to university. He worked part-time in order to support the household while pursuing his dream. However, he kept failing the test to be a professional shogi player. There is an age limit of under 23 for the tests, so this is the last chance for Ayumu who is now 22. He even quits his part-time job to concentrate on shogi with unwavering resolve. But on the night before the test, his mother collapses from overwork and is hospitalised. A shaken Ayumu fails the test again and spends all his time despondently on his part-time job. Worried about him, his mother asks an acquaintance to arrange for her son to take the final stage of a recruitment exam at the general trading company, Yoichi & Co. It is a one-month internship. His performance as an intern will be taken into consideration to determine whether he will be employed. Appreciating his mother’s thoughts, Ayumu goes to work at Yoichi & Co’s Third Sales Division even though he doubts that he will make the cut. Division manager Oda Isahito is outside for work and only senior staff Aki Kosuke is in. Ayumu is asked by Aki to photocopy documents, but he does not even know the meaning of toner and gets the help of a fellow intern, Kiriake Shinji. Furthermore, despite being ordered by Aki not to answer phone calls, Ayumu unwittingly picks up a phone that will not stop ringing. He cannot answer in English and an intern Kazuki Akane has to take over. At lunch time, Ayumu is introduced to the other interns by Akane. Everyone cannot hide their surprise that he is a high school graduate. One of the interns, Hitomi Shogo, hears from a senior at work that Ayumu got in through his connections with senior managing director Takano Yoshiro. Meanwhile, Oda comes back and takes Ayumu out for a planning meeting. Ayumu is also unable to do anything down there and just remains seated. Oda declares that he does not have to come the next day. Ayumu realises that he has no choice but to compete. If he runs away from this, he will truly become a person with nothing.
Nakajima Yuto as Ichinose Ayumu
His childhood dream to be a professional shogi player is shattered and he ends up working at the sales division of a general trading company. Because he devoted everything to shogi, his academic qualifications are not satisfactory and he also lacks social exposure. He is like the ugly duckling that no one has any hopes of. However, he does not run away from difficulties and tries to become a member of the organisation with his memory, perceptiveness, which were honed by shogi, and hard work that is second to none. “I’ve nothing but inadequacies, so I’ve to work harder than the rest.” Every time he grasps something at work, he slowly influences the people around him.
Yamamoto Mizuki as Kazuki Akane
The only female intern in Ichinose Ayumu’s batch. She is so outstanding that even Kiriake Shinji admires her, thoughtful, does not put on airs about her beauty and treats everyone fairly. After she is recruited, she is assigned to the Second Resources Division where her excellence and lack of flattery comes under fire from the male employees and subjected to sexual and power harassment. Her work is odd jobs such as serving tea and while she is in a situation like Cinderella ill-treated by her step-mother and sisters, she desperately tries to find a way to fight back in the male-dominated world.
Endo Kenichi as Oda Isahito
The head of the Third Sales Division where Ichinose Ayumu works. A workaholic who cares for his subordinates. Although he looks fierce, he is the ideal boss who is like the sun to them. On the other hand, he is outstanding and plays it fair in work, does not flatter his superiors and is indifferent about office politics. Because of this, his career advancement is overdue. He meets Ayumu and even initially harshly judges that he is a person with no merits. After watching Ayumu’s conscientiousness, he gradually accepts him as an important member of the team.
Seto Koji as Kiriake Shinji
An intern Ichinose Ayumu’s batch. He has been amazingly outstanding since the recruitment exam. His academic qualifications are also the complete opposite of Ichinose Ayumu’s. He is very proud and ambitious. His father is a top executive of a major general trading company but he wants to advance in his career through his own abilities and without relying on his parents. After he is recruited, he is assigned to the Second Steel Division. But he is given only monotonous and simple duties, and he agonises that this is not the work that he needs to do. “High school grad” Ayumu, whom he turned a blind eye to, moves like a tortoise but has slowly started to play an active role. He feels that all the hard work until he joined the company has been denied by Ayumu.
Kiriyama Akito as Hitomi Shogo
An intern Ichinose Ayumu’s batch. He is affable, gets carried away easily and is the life of the bunch. Because he gets along with people easily, he is one of the best-informed insiders. After he is recruited, he is assigned to the First Fibre Division as he wished. But he has to work under a terrible boss who is lazy, makes him do his own work, steals credit and blames him for failure. He gets angrier as he works hard every day for the sake of this shrewd boss.
Yamauchi Takaya as Aki Kosuke
Oda Isahito’s subordinate and Ichinose Ayumu’s senior in the Third Sales Division. He is a good-natured person and understands Ayumu well. At the time he joined the company, he was bullied by his senior and when he considered resigning, he was saved by Oda. He has Oda to thank for his own corporate life and even tackles unreasonable matters。But because he is the subordinate of Oda, who is the company troublemaker, his performance is not appreciated by the company and this distresses Oda too.
Kazama Morio as Takano Yoshiro
Yoichi & Co’s senior managing director. The most powerful man in the company, he covets the position of the next company president and is watching for an opportunity. He is extremely brilliant and astute, he has made all sorts of important issues a success. Growing the company is everything to him. He will make use of all that he can for that purpose and believes that sentiment is unnecessary in work. Oda Isahito opposes this approach and because there is some past incident between them, there is discord that cannot be buried.
Asaka Mayumi as Ichinose Yuki
Ichinose Ayumu’s mother. She has supported her son who has been absorbed in shogi since childhood. Although she believes that a person should go the whole way and do what he likes, she regrets that she has ended up making her son suffer in his adult life as a result of allowing him to only do shogi. After her husband passed away, they scrapped by with income from part-time work. But she worried about Ayumu who spent all his time doing part-time work after failing to become a professional shogi player. Wanting to do something for him in somehow or other, she uses connections to get in touch with the managing director of Yoichi & Co and arranged for him to join the recruitment exam halfway.
Tokunaga Yuichi (Specialist, Umi ni Furu, Tantei no Tantei)
Misaeng by Yoon Tae Ho (webtoon) and Jung Yoon Jung (drama)
Click here for photos from the press conference.
All text copyright © jdramas.wordpress.com.