It’s father’s month on our blog so in keeping with this spirit, we continue to celebrate Dads. In this post I will present some more typecasted, or potentially typecasted father actors. It does not seem to happen in Japan as much as in Korea and frankly with Japanese TV actors I can only select the candidates that would make sense to me as fathers.
One more addition to Korean potential “dad” actors:
Choi Min Soo – Played a father in short, special drama Father’s House and also in Sword and Flower. Due to his appeareance, he may come across as the scary, indomitable sort of of a father (though I don;t think that was the case in Father’s House). Personally, I’d be afraid to cast him in such a role but that may be a welcome thing on ocassion. He’s too overbearing on screen and I was admittedly a little intimidated in Sword and Flower.He was quite the looker in his youth, well he still is.
For Japanese dramas typecasting seems to occur less often or maybe I haven’t quite seen enough to be able to say who is bound to be typecasted. Let me just present who *I* would see as a Father in a Japanese drama. I limit myself to the current drama trends. I am sure there are a ton of great dads in older Japanese productions or classic films but I am not very familiar with them at this point. I would imagine someone like Matsumoto Koshiro IX to have had some great father roles, for instance. I know for sure he had a father role in an old historical drama called Oayko Daka, where he starred alongside his son, Ichikawa Somegoro, both being kabuki actors.
Eguchi Yosuke – seems to have had some “father-type” roles and due to the warm quality of his voice and overall pleasant disposition, he would be well seen in a fatherly role. He played a dad in Chase, a sort of business-investigation story where he plays a tax inspector investigating a certain precarious case that pits him against the brooding Arata. The fact that he is a dad in this drama is perhaps not of exceedingly major consequence for the main narrative but it does highlight his frame of mind and provides an important motivation. I think he also played a Dad in Papa no Namida de Ko wa Sodatsu and in Namida wo Fuite he takes care of his friend’s kids.
Kohinata Fumiyo – like the Korean Kang Shin Il, he evokes the likeable appeal and just like Kang Shin Il he remains very active. He did father roles, for instance in Konkatsu, a drama about protecting your home, in a sense. I really liked his relationship with the main protagonist, portrayed by Nakai Masahiro. Masahiro is a bit fool-hardy and unlikeable but grows to change a little bit in this slow-paced drama. Kohinata-san’s characters tend to be very understanding towards others and supportive, able to listen, at least that’s the impression I get from characters in dramas like Orange Days. He seems to fit these sort of characters very well.
Ikariya Chosuke – Kimutaku’s Dad from Good Luck, an aviation-themed drama about pursuing one’s dreams with great determination. Ikaryia-san struck me in that drama as the man to play fathers who do not pick their words and are brusque but who work hard and are honest. Much of his charm was a result of his comedic talent I think. He passed away in 2004.
Kodama Kyioshi – If I remember correctly, he played Sakamoto Ryoma’s father in Ryoma Den. For me, he remains Mr Tanaka from Dream Again, although incidentally I have no great love for this drama that copies western movies almost to a T. And Dream Again is a sort of a remake of Here Comes Mr Jordan and its later reincarnations: the main character, portrayed by Sorimachi Takashi dies/leaves his body before death and is given a new body for a limited time. Tanaka-san is the Angel that accompanies and guides him. Kodama-san emanates warm, fatherly feelings, his role as Tanaka was what principally made me watch Dream Again until the end. He’s something of a Japanese Lee Soon-Jae equivalent in my mind. He seems to have been a great and all-round media personality. Sadly, he passed away three years ago, in May.
Oda Yuji – As a friend told me, he was once so wildly popular that his name was dropped in dramas, much like it’s done with Jang Dong Gun in Korean dramas. I was kind of surprised to hear that, to be honest. I would peg him for a dad type due to his likeable appeal. His dad roles include most recently, Oh My Dad!!! (2013). I seem to recall he had some kids under his care also in Jodan ja nai but I may be wrong. That drama was principally about a very curious love triangle, where Oda-san married a woman 20 years younger than himself but who happens to be the daughter of a woman he courted 20 years earlier. Personally, I really loved him in Last Christmas, a simple and miraculous love story to celebrate the season, where again the character he played was wildly likeable.
Watanabe Tetsu – the memorable crying dad in Busu no Hitomi ni Koishiteru. His other fatherly roles include The Quiz Show and Ikeburo West Gate Park. In Dream again he played a likeable and supportive coach. He does evoke the “fatherly” though and I certainly have him pegged for the father type, though he tended to play other kinds of supportive roles.
Some others potential fathers include:
Takahashi Katsumi an actor I’ve met in Don Quixote, a Japanese-style soul switching drama which was both comedic and serious. I found him likeable after he “switched” souls with Matsuda Shota. He also played the protagonist’s father in the asadora drama Umechan Sensei.
Sano Shiro another incredibly active actor whose father roles include one in the movie My Way and Oh Father (released just this May), where he is cast alongside the young, rising starlet Okada Masaki and three other “dads”. He also appeared as a father in dramas like Bunshin.
Toykawa Etsushi, basing on what I saw of him in Beautiful Rain. I don’t think he had any other father roles but I enjoyed his performances in the movie Love Letter, the historical drama Gou and the movie Platina Data. I’ve seen this last one most recently and while I found it weak overall in terms of concept and plot, his detective was ultimately rather understanding towards the antagonist and they developed a sort of friendship/partnership that kept me watching until the end.