On August 16th, it was announced that Tanihara Shosuke is going to star in a new mini drama called ‘Tsugunai‘ on NHK BS Premium this fall.
‘Tsugunai’ is a human drama and mystery about a former elite doctor who lost everything and became homeless. It’s not only Tanihara’s first role as a homeless person, but also his first ever starring role in a serial drama in his 20-year-long career.
The story, which is based on a best-selling novel by Yaguchi Atsuko, doesn’t focus on the protagonist’s fall from an elite brain surgeon into poverty, but on his recovery a couple of years later. When he was cared more about his job as a doctor than his own family, he lost his only son to an illness, while his wife committed suicide soon after that. Haunted by guilt, he completely loses his spirit and eventually ends up homeless.
While wandering around the suburbs, he happens to run into the same boy who he saved from a case of sexual abuse 12 years ago. He wants to help this boy, since he seems to be lost in even greater despair than himself, and finds a new reason to live again. However, at the same time a serial murderer begins to target people low on the social ladder and a detective asks him to help in the investigation. Soon he realizes that all clues lead to the boy…
Tanihara stated that he’s very happy to have finally landed his first starring role in a drama serial since his acting debut in 1992. In order to portray a homeless man as authentically as possible, he had to go through a strict diet, avoiding carbohydrates.
He commented, “The protagonist is a burned-out man, thus I had to become thinner in order to portray him properly. I’ve been fasting for 3 days and lost 3 to 5 kilos (9 to 11 pounds). I weighed around 77 kg (170 pounds), now I’m around 68 kg (150 pounds). In total I lost around 10 kilos (22 pounds).”
In order to make his transformation complete, he sports a wig with long messy hair, an unshaved face, dirty clothes and a cheap backpack with all of his belongings in the first still pictures that were released along with the announcement.
The filming began earlier this month, and he already had a fun story to share: “During a break, I went to convenience store, and the clerk looked at me with real disgust, which made me really happy (laughs).”
In the drama, Tanihara is playing a man whose job always took priority over his own family. He only realizes what’s really important once he loses everything. However, in real life he’s the father of five children.
He commented, “In this drama, the protagonist’s life is taking the most extreme turn for the worse, but I want all viewers to become aware that every one of us could become like this someday. While participating in a family drama, I myself have once again began to realize the happiness that comes with the most ordinary things.”
Also appearing in the drama are Kimura Tae as a psychiatrist he dated in the past, Ashina Sei in a double role as his wife and another woman who looks just as her, and child actor Imai Yuki as the boy living in despair. Two other characters will be played by Komoto Masahiro and Nakahara Takeo.
‘Tsugunai’ will be made up of a total of 3 episodes and is scheduled to air sometime in November.