Please view the main text area of the page by skipping the main menu.

Ex-SMAP member Shingo Katori to star in TV drama on cyberbullying, 1st since band split

Shingo Katori, former member of now-disbanded Japanese all-male band SMAP.

TOKYO -- TV Tokyo Corp. has disclosed that Shingo Katori, a former member of now-disbanded Japanese all-male band SMAP, will play a major role in a drama series early next year focusing on the problem of slanderous comments on social media, which has become a social issue in Japan.

    Katori, 43, currently plays a major role in the drama "Dareka ga Miteiru" (Someone is watching) streamed on Amazon Prime Video from September. The new drama, "Anonymous Keishicho Yubisatsujin Taisakushitsu" (Anonymous Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department finger murder division), is set to begin in January 2021. It will be the first time in five years for Katori to appear in a TV drama series since he starred in Tokyo Broadcasting System Television Inc.'s "Kazokuno Katachi" (The shape of family) in 2016, and his first such appearance since SMAP disbanded at the end of that year.

    The drama is an original project launched by TV Tokyo producer Koichi Hamatani, who worked on popular drama series "By Players" (The supporting actors). It is set within a newly established unit at the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department to tackle "yubisatsujin," or cyberbullying that leads to death. Protagonist Wataru Banjo, to be played by Katori, finds the anonymous suspect and solves the cases.

    Katori released a comment saying, "I would like to work hard to deliver my utmost to audiences in my current capacity, through a TV show with TV Tokyo and the sentiments of the staff members who needed me, at the beginning of 2021."

    Katori also touched on the issue of online slander, which is the theme of drama, and said, "Three years have passed since I started using social media. It helps me a lot. The words of those who support me always put a smile on my face. But I won't forget how scary it felt before I started using it. We now coexist with social media. I hope this drama will depict not only the dark side of social media, but also the hope that exists beyond that."

    Producer Hamatani commented, "There are many people who are suffering due to the problem of slanderous posts on social media. I've heard many say that the problem lies in the person who is being attacked, and that they should just avoid looking at such comments. And there are others who are driven by a sense of indignation to rectify misconduct and immorality in society based on their individual sense of justice. I wanted to depict the mixed feelings that I have every day in the drama."

    He added, "The concept here is, 'What would happen if a new office were set up to specifically investigate the issue of online slander?' There might not be one answer, but I would like to seek one, together with Wataru Banjo, to be played by Mr. Katori."

    (Japanese original by Hiroki Sasamoto, Cultural News Department)

    Also in The Mainichi

    The Mainichi on social media