With the new year comes a new yearlong, weekly historical drama series from Japan’s public broadcaster, NHK. This year’s is “Seiten o Tsuke,” which is about Shibusawa Eiichi, often called the father of Japanese capitalism, one of the most important figures of the Meiji Era (1868-1912) and the man who founded the first bank in Japan based on joint stock ownership. Shibusawa’s face will grace the new ¥10,000 bills.
He is being played by Ryo Yoshizawa, who turns 27 on Feb. 1. Yoshizawa first gained popularity in 2011, when he was still a teenager, on the superhero TV show “Kamen Rider Fourze,” and became known to a wider audience with the 2018 theatrical film “River’s Edge,” for which he received the newcomer’s award from the judges of the Japan Academy Film Prize. Yoshizawa solidified his appeal on NHK’s daily half-year morning drama in 2019, “Natsuzora,” which may have had something to do with NHK’s casting him as the lead in “Seiten,” a decision announced in the fall of 2019.
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