- Buddhist deity Idaten
- contribute to ～
- ～に貢献する（後出 (be) instrumental in ～ も同意）
- span ～
- (be) eliminated
- gear up
- New National Stadium
The Buddhist deity "Idaten" is often used to describe people running with great speed.
This year's NHK "Taiga" historical drama bearing this god's name, "Idaten: Tokyo Olympic banashi," is coming to TV screens on Jan. 6, telling the story of two men's passion for the games. Kabuki actor Nakamura Kankuro, 37, who will take on one of the leading roles, commented, "I would like viewers to feel that if you passionately work toward something, then you will definitely accomplish something or gain a large reward."
Nakamura will take on the role of Kanakuri Shiso, one of the first Japanese athletes to take part in the Olympic Games. Actor and singer Abe Sadawo, 48, will play the other lead character, newspaper reporter Tabata Masaji, who contributed to the development of Japanese swimming. He was also instrumental in bringing the Olympics to Japan for the first time. The tale of the turbulent 52 years between the 1912 Stockholm Games and the 1964 Tokyo Games, spanning two world wars, will feature Kanakuri in its first half and Tabata in the second.
Kanakuri lost consciousness from sunstroke at the 26.7-km mark during his first Olympic marathon in Stockholm and was eliminated. Still, the failure pushed him to develop the marathon as a sport in Japan, and he established the Hakone Ekiden race in 1920.
"It was a time when the word 'sports' wasn't even commonly known in Japan," explained Nakamura. "I want to tell the story of how we came from then to the athletes of today."
Tabata, on the other hand, pointed to the game's attractiveness as a "peace festival." After over 30 years of campaigning, he was part of bringing the 1964 Olympics to Tokyo. "I think Tabata wanted others to believe in Japan after its loss in the war," Abe reflected.
The drama depicts Tokyo's transformation not only from the Meiji to Showa era, but also from postwar loss to recovery. As Tokyo gears up for the 2020 Games, Abe said, "I think viewers will be able to relate to the excitement of watching the New National Stadium be built." (Continued on page 2)
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