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1964 Tokyo Olympics the theme of new NHK drama in 2019

From left, Sadao Abe, Nakamura Kankuro and Kankuro Kudo are seen at the press conference announcing the 2019 NHK historical drama at the NHK Broadcasting Center in Tokyo's Shibuya Ward, on April 3, 2017. (Mainichi)

"Idaten: Tokyo orinpikku-banashi" (A tale of the Tokyo Olympics) was announced on April 3 as the title of public broadcaster NHK's new historical drama for 2019, hoping to set the stage for the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2020.

    NHK announced that the year-long show will paint a picture of Japan's history with the games and the 1964 Tokyo Olympics for viewers before the capital hosts the global event again the following year.

    The first half of the drama will tell the story of marathon runner Shiso Kanakuri, who became one of the first Japanese nationals to participate in the Olympics in Stockholm in 1912. The second half will feature Masaji Tabata, the coach who laid the foundations of Japanese swimming and helped bring the games to Tokyo for the first time in 1964.

    Kabuki actor Nakamura Kankuro, 35, will play Kanakuri, and actor Sadao Abe, 46, will take the role of Tabata. The screenplay for the drama was penned by Kankuro Kudo, who worked on popular dramas such as "Amachan."

    "I want to keep smiling while running with all I have," said Nakamura at the press conference announcing the new drama. "There is a lot of pressure on us," added Abe.

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