TV drama "The Pleiades" hits China

2010-03-22 13:46 BJT


Japanese actress Yuko Tanaka is a household name in China for her performance in the popular Japanese TV series "Oshin" thirty years ago. Now the veteran is back in a Chinese/Japanese co-production of the TV drama "The Pleiades". After being a success in Japan, the series is now hitting China's small screen.

On today's "Spotlight", we take a closer look at the period drama back to Qing Dynasty, China's last feudal imperial regime.

Poster of TV drama "The Pleiades" 
Poster of TV drama "The Pleiades" 

A week before the drama hit Beijing Satellite TV (it was broadcast on March 14th), the leading cast and crew including Yuko Tanaka, Yu Shaoqun and Yin Tao began promoting the series.

"The Pleiades" is adapted from Japanese writer Asada Jiro's acclaimed historical novel of the same name. Set in the late Qing Dynasty, the story unfolds around a poor man, Chun'er who makes a living out of cleaning up dung on the streets. An astrologer tells him he was born under the Pleiades stars and prophesies that he is destined to bag all of China's treasure.

Seeing his elder brother die of starvation, Chun'er castrates himself so that he can enter the royal palace as a eunuch. He soon rises up the ranks and become the most favored servant to the Empress Dowager Cixi. Meanwhile, Chun'er's half-brother Wenxiu also joins the ranks of court officials through the national academic examination and vows to make sweeping changes to reform the country mired deep in turmoil. These two young men of humble origins, become involved in the up and downs of each others lives and the fate of the empire.

Yuko Tanaka takes the crucial role of Empress Dowager Cixi, which has been a controversial topic since it was announced. It surely is a challenging task for Yuko to interpret Cixi, one of China's most complicated and difficult historic figures to act, even for native Chinese actresses. The usually cold-blooded Cixi turns more tender and humane through the emphasis of the bond between Cixi and emperor Guangxu.

During promotions in Beijing, Yuko says "hello" in Chinese before expressing her pleasure of the participation and appreciation for the Chinese cast and crew.

Yuko Tanaka, actress, said, "I'm very glad to be here, on this stage, to meet all of you. The film, for me, it's a long and hard journey. The reason I made it is because of you, because you are there, always, caring for me and supporting me. Today, I'm very excited. I can feel your care and support, so I want to express my appreciation again. Standing here today, I'm very glad, very excited. Thank you all."

Starting his career as a traditional opera singer, Yu Shaoqun, winner of the prestigious Golden Horse Best New Performer Award for his film debut in "Forever Enthralled", leads the drama as Chun'er, the young eunuch. Directed by Wang Jun, the cast also includes Ozawa Yukiyoshi, Zhou Yiwei, Zhang Bo, and Yin Tao.

Yin Tao, actress, said, "At first, it was really hard, because the make up was quite inconvenient. It took a long time. The hair bun on my head is very heavy. Furthermore, it's hard to walk in the shoes that women wore during the Qing Dynasty's imperial court, the high heel is packed in the middle underneath the tread which is not even but shaped like a basin. The garment is very thick and hot. All these need time to adapt, and I got used to those things quickly."

NHK has been airing the drama on its HD channel since January 2nd. It has garnered a loyal following and high ratings in Japan. Beijing Satellite TV is now airing the 28 episode TV drama every night during prime time.

Editor: Liu Fang | Source: