- take ... role
- Meiji Restoration
- let someone down
- inspire ～ to ...
- line of work
- 業種、職種（後出 line はせりふ）
- specialize in ～
- top ... test
- 英検１級のこと（ proficiency は熟達）
- exclusively ～
- pay off
- down the road
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]