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NHK's Japanese historical drama series 'Kirin ga Kuru' scores strong debut ratings

Japanese actor Hiroki Hasegawa, who is playing feudal warlord Akechi Mitsuhide, is seen during a press conference on Jan. 16, 2020. (Mainichi/Hisanori Yashiro)

TOKYO -- Public broadcaster NHK's new historical drama series "Kirin ga Kuru" centering on feudal warlord Akechi Mitsuhide, known for his rebellion against his lord Oda Nobunaga in the 1582 "Honnoji Incident," got off to a strong start after its season premiere on Jan. 19.

It garnered an average viewership of 19.1% in the Kanto region in eastern Japan and 19.3% in the Kansai region in western Japan, a research company said on Jan. 20.

NHK broadcasts a year-long historical drama series each year, and this latest one is the first to attain an average viewership of 19% for its premiere since "Sanada Maru" aired in 2016, which recorded 19.9% for its first episode. In the Kanto region, the new series posted results 3.6% higher than 2019 series "Idaten," a story about the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.

In "Kirin ga Kuru," Japanese actor Hiroki Hasegawa plays the main character Akechi. The broadcaster was forced to delay the show's premiere from its originally scheduled date of Jan. 5 after actress Erika Sawajiri, who had already shot some of her scenes for the program, was arrested and indicted for violation of the Narcotics and Psychotropics Control Act in late 2019. NHK reshot Sawajiri's scenes with another actress.

(Japanese original by Yoshiaki Kobayashi, Cultural News Department)

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