2017, for Tatsuya, marked both his 35th birthday and the celebration of his 20th year in the acting industry. Throughout 2017, Tatsuya spent a lot of his time working on some of the most notable works of his career to date.
Here is a look back at what Tatsuya did in 2017:
MORIBITO: GUARDIAN OF THE SPIRIT
Tatsuya reprised his role as the serious Emperor Mikado, who orders the assassination of his son, Prince Chagum in the second season of this epic NHK fantasy drama based on the books by Nahoko Uehashi. The third season has already begun airing, due to finish in January 2018.
PROOF OF THE MAN
In this drama set in 1974, based on the same-titled mystery novel by Morimura Seiichi, Tatsuya plays Detective Koichiro Munesue who investigates the case of a young black man who dies mysteriously in the lift of a hotel where famous beauty expert Yasugi Kyoko is hosting a party.
In what many have described the best drama of the year (it won two awards for being just that!), Tatsuya starred as Kazuhisa Fukase, a completely adorable and dorky character who leads an utterly boring life. His only strength is making delicious coffee. Whenever he makes coffee, he is reminded of his friend Yoshiki Hirosawa who died on a snowboarding trip 10 years ago.
Tatsuya said of this character – “Fukase is a type of man who I have not portrayed much so far… As someone who never went to college or experienced University life, it was fun to portray a character who did.” Tatsuya also won the best actor award for this role at the 93rd Television Drama Academy Awards.
MEMOIRS OF A MURDERER
Playing the iconic “Kuzu” (or baddie) character Tatsuya is best known for, this movie features Tatsuya as Masato Sonezaki, a man who, 22 years later, confesses to being the killer responsible for 5 unsolved serial murders in 1995. This was Tatsuya’s only movie of 2017, but is a thoroughly enjoyable insight into the mind of someone who would do such a thing, but also a social comment on the Japanese justice system.
Tatsuya performed again opposite Toru Nakamura (who also starred in Memoirs of a Murderer), but this time in Tatsuya’s first stage production of the year. This fairly short-term production was performed over three venues throughout August – September this year. Billed as a ghost story, ‘Player’ is set in a community theatre’s rehearsal room where the actors are visited by the ghosts of past performers.
TALES OF THE UNUSUAL
In a series of special episodes to commemorate Tezuka Osamu’s ‘Tales of the Unusual’, Tatsuya starred in the episode entitled ‘Voice of the Night’ 夜の声. Tatsuya plays Eiichi, the CEO of a major IT corporation who spends his weekends as a homeless person living in a cardboard house. In his disguise as a beggar, Eiichi falls in love with a young woman, whom he then tries to woo in his CEO persona, but tragedy results.
TIMON OF ATHENS
In the last production of the year (which is set to continue into 2018), Tatsuya plays Apemantus opposite Kotaro Yoshida’s Timon in this Shakespeare production. This stage holds a lot of meaning to the director and cast, who, by performing, are completing the final wishes of renowned director Yukio Ninagawa who died in 2016. Ninagawa left this, and other Shakespeare works in the hands of Ayanokuni Shakespeare company 彩の国 who plan to showcase all 37 works of Shakespeare, in Saitama. When Ninagawa passed away, the reins of the remaining 13 works were passed to director Kotaro Yoshida.
Other notable appearances…
Among all of his promotional appearances & press conferences for his various projects, Tatsuya also ended his long stint as the narrator of TBS World Heritage 世界遺産, and guest hosted as a special reporter on World Summer Resort 世界さまぁ〜リゾート this year. He also appeared on Tuesday Surprise 火曜サプライズ (an episode he recorded on his birthday) and Shabekuri 007 しゃべくり007 (the day after his birthday) and numerous times at Hakodate Racecourse for JRA-VAN. And of course let’s not forget the commercial he did for Dragon Quest XI.
Looking ahead at 2018, we can already look forward to Tatsuya performing again in Timon of Athens and Musashi. But, for now, we hope Tatsuya has some much needed rest and enjoys some time with his family!
What was your favourite performance from Tatsuya this year?