NHK TV drama "MASSAN"
Charlotte Kate Fox
Lead actress, Morning serial drama "MASSAN"
Senior Producer, NHK Osaka Station, Morning serial drama "MASSAN"
Wednesday, November 05, 2014, 11:00 - 12:00
In the space of just a few weeks, Charlotte Kate Fox has become a household name in Japan. Earlier this year, the 28-year-old American actor beat 500 other hopefuls to land the lead role in NHK's latest daytime TV drama, Massan.
In her role as Ellie, the Scottish wife of Japanese chemistry student Masataka Kameyama, Fox became the first foreign actor to play the lead in the hugely popular drama slot, which first aired in 1961.
Ellie and her husband, played by Tetsuji Tamayama, are based loosely on Rita Cowan and Masataka Taketsuru, who arrived in Japan from Scotland almost a century ago and set about building Japan's award-winning whisky industry.
Massan - Ellie's nickname for her husband - began airing in late September and runs over 150, 15-minute episodes through to 28 March next year.It deals with the personal trials the couple faces as they pursue their dream of opening a distillery in Hokkaido, along with wider issues such as attitudes towards foreigners - then a rarity in Japan - in the years leading to the outbreak of the Pacific War.
Fox delivers almost all of her lines in Japanese, while trying to do justice to the sprit of an ordinary middle-class woman who traveled to Japan at a time when international marriages attracted a mixture of curiosity and suspicion.
To prepare for the role, Fox devoured books about the couple and left for Japan two months before filming to begin intensive instruction in the language. For inspiration, she wore a locket containing a black-and-white photograph of Rita.
Fox will come to the FCCJ to discuss her challenging role and the real-life inspiration for Massan, and offer insights into life as an actor in the country's premier TV drama slot. She will be joined by the series'senior producer, Ken Sakurai.