Art installation on the scaffolding at Schillerplatz in Vienna by Katharina Cibulka

Filming for a new drama series begins today. It is an original drama series to be streamed on NETFLIX, which until now, I had only enjoyed as a viewer. The name of the drama is “Followers,” and it is directed by Mika Ninagawa who is a photographer and a film director. Should I say, it’s a drama about women, by women, for women. There are many new ways for women to live (watch the drama to find out more). It is no longer limited to the traditional way of becoming a housewife, having children and looking after the family, but women can pursue their careers, or choose to cherish both their careers and families, and there are even some who become withdrawn from society, showing no interest in having a career or a family. Yet others may choose same-sex marriages, or become asexual, or go even further to seek men for reasons that until now were unspeakable and frowned upon. Through the filming of this drama, I have come to realize the reality that times are not so much changing in a way that people are beginning to accept diversity, but it is more that they have no choice but to accept diversity in gender, taste, lifestyle, religion, etc., regardless of whether they are male or female.

I will be playing the part of the heroine and photographer, Rimi Nara, in this witty, multiple protagonist drama, which realistically portrays the lives of women, with a touch of venom, in the motley city of Tokyo. The women all had dreams in their younger days, and instead of ending them as nothing but dreams, they strive boldly in pursuit of realizing them with a sense of responsibility. And it is because of this great mental fortitude that the women also feel a tinge of anxiety and fragility, which they reveal throughout the drama. The drama is fictitious, but Rimi Nara is said to be modeled after Mika Ninagawa herself, and stories based on the real-life experiences of people around her have been scattered throughout the 10 episodes. I am truly looking forward to the days of working on the filming for this drama series, which will come shortly. It will be announced eventually, but I have been blessed with an attractive cast of actresses (and actors too, of course), which I think will allow me to open up my heart during filming.

Incidentally, the special feature article in The Nikkei last year described how NETFLIX does not publicize audience ratings. Instead, it relies on a system that displays recommended programs on the top page based on analyses of individual viewers, using an algorithm that only gathers data on their taste trends, regardless of their age or sex. As a result of their strategy, I too, have become hooked on NETFLIX, and I have been watching not only movies and dramas, but also a constant stream of documentaries.

“Followers” is planned for streaming at the start of 2020, and it will be simultaneously released in 190 countries around the world. I recommend everyone to check it out.

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