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1月27日号 鈴木亮平さん、大河「西郷どん」主役を語る

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take ... role
初の主役を担う
star
主演する
broadcaster
放送局
air
放送される
influential
影響力のある
Meiji Restoration
明治維新
figure
人物
let someone down
~をがっかりさせる
keen
熱心な
rural
田舎の
inspire ~ to ...
~に…する気を起こさせる
line of work
業種、職種(後出 line はせりふ)
specialize in ~
~を専攻する
top ... test
英検1級のこと( proficiency は熟達)
dialect
方言
fall
(アクセントが)くる・つく
recall
思い起こす
exclusively ~
専ら~のみで
usage
使い方
drive
駆り立てる
betray
裏切る
pay off
成果を上げる
down the road
将来

Hard-working Hero   

Actor Suzuki Ryohei has taken on his first lead role in a major television drama, starring in public broadcaster NHK's yearlong "Taiga" production "Segodon," whose first episode aired on Jan. 7.

Suzuki plays the influential 19th-century samurai Saigo Takamori in the historical drama, which comes 150 years after the Meiji Restoration of 1868.

"I feel a serious responsibility," the 34-year-old says. "Saigo Takamori is a famous historical figure, so I feel the pressure of being unable to let people down."

Originally from Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture, Suzuki is a keen traveler, having visited over 30 countries. In his first year of high school, he studied in a rural farming village in the United States. There, he was shocked to find that not much was known about Japanese culture, and this inspired him to move into a line of work where he could share information about Japan and its culture with the world.

To make his dream come true, the movie-loving Suzuki set out to become an actor. He graduated from Tokyo University of Foreign Studies specializing in English, and has passed the top level of the Eiken English proficiency test.

In the Taiga drama, however, it was the unfamiliar Kagoshima dialect of Japanese that he had to master. He says that memorizing his lines took him 10 times longer than usual.

"I had to remember where each accent that differed from standard Japanese fell," he recalled. "If I didn't become familiar enough with the dialect so that it would come naturally even if I was asleep, then there was no way I could put emotions into the lines without mistakes." Suzuki revealed he spoke to NHK staff exclusively in the Kagoshima dialect to perfect his usage.

Suzuki is driven by his personal motto that "hard work never betrays you."

"Even a little hard work will build up over time, and it will pay off down the road," he explains. "Even if you don't reach your goal, you quite often see things work out in areas you never even imagined."

[本文 - 338 words]

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