Takashi Murakami's slice-of-life manga Paji will receive a live-action television special starring 75-year-old actor Shirou Itou. The original manga's story centers on a 71-year-old grandfather's struggle to raise his 5-year-old granddaughter after her parents pass away. The television special will air this spring.
Itou will play the title grandfather while 8-year-old actress Seiran Kobayashi will play the granddaughter Momo. The other castmembers include Kazuko Yoshiyuki, Masatô Ibu, and Yūji Miyake as neighbors, as well as Mimura as Momo's late mother.
The manga launched in Shueisha's Weekly Young Jump magazine in 1999 and ran for six years. Murakami's other manga include Stargazing Dog and Namakemono ga Miteta, which received an original video anime adaptation in 1988.
NBM Publishing released Stargazing Dog in one volume in North America in 2011. The American Library Association's Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) division chose the manga for its top 10 list of graphic novels for teens in 2013. The manga was nominated last year for an Eisner award for the Best U.S. Edition of International Material—Asia category.
Itou, known for trademark comedic gags and work on projects such as NHK's 2012 drama series Taira no Kiyomori, played Torazo Shinada in Kochira Katsushika-ku Kamearikouen-mae Hashutsujo: The Movie and Monk Rau in the Brave Story anime. The actor's live-action roles have also included the Lupin III: Strange Psycho-Kinetic Strategy film's Professor Zenigata and the You're Under Arrest: The Drama television series' Chief Inose.