NHK looking to cast non-Japanese woman in lead drama role
Japanese broadcaster NHK is casting its first non-Japanese actress for a new morning drama that depicts the true story of a Scottish woman named Rita Cowan who marries a Japanese man named Nikka Masataka and helps him found the Nikka Whisky dynasty in the early 20th century. NHK says they are looking for a white (or half-Japanese) female who "grew up in the west," has a strong singing voice, and is between ages 25 and 40.
The drama will be titled Massan, and will likely fill the 15 minute time slot at 8am Monday through Saturday with 150 episodes over 6 months.
During the time of the story, whiskey was mostly unknown in Japan, but when Rita meets Massan, who is the son of a sake brewer, she follows him to Japan where they found a distillery in Hokkaido. She marries Nikka at a time when international couples were rare, so she faces her own set of challenges in adapting to married life in Japan. Rita even learns the Japanese language and local customs so that she can live as a Japanese wife.