Tokugawa Ieyasu
      (NHK: January-December,1983)
Main Cast

Sakae Takita: Tokugawa Ieyasu
Tetsuya Takeda: Toyotomi Hideyoshi
Koji Yakusho: Oda Nobunaga
Masako Natsume: Yodogimi (Chacha)
Mariko Fuji: Nouhime
Shinobu Otake: Odai-no-kata
Kimiko Ikegami: Tsukiyama-dono(Sena)
Koji Ishizaka: Takenouchi Namitaro
Takeshi Kaga: Ishida Mitsunari
Kei Sato: Takeda Shingen
Based on a novel by Sohachi Yamaoka
Screenplay: Mieko Osanai

Oda Nobunaga whom Koji Yakusho played in NHK's one-year TV serial drama, "Tokugawa Ieyasu",  broadcast in 1983, was the first major role that he had ever played, despite having appeared in various TV dramas since becoming an actor in 1978 at Tatsuya Nakadai's "Mumeijuku" training studio.  When he appeared in the drama as young Nobunaga, viewers had a tremendous  impact from this unknown young actor's superb performance and became enhanced with his irresistible charm.    

In an interview published in the NHK introductory booklet of "Tokugawa Ieyasu (1983), Yakusho talked about his own view of Nobunaga, and his underlying aims in portraying this vigorous feudal lord.
"I regard Nobunaga as a person with an intense personality, who, as it were, ran through his 49 years life without any real let-up at all.

I find the degree of his intense emotion and swift changes of mood quite astonishing.  His fanatical genius and cruelty are generally known, but after I read the novel, "Tokugawa Ieyasu", I felt that he was also a man capable of great affection.  I, therefore, prefer to stress Nobunaga's more human aspects such as amiability.

When I talk to young Ieyasu in the drama, I'll try to stress Nobunaga's friendliness toward him, and as for [Toyotomi] Hideyoshi, I'll try to emphasize some underlying humor in each situation, while trying to probe Hideyoshi's true intention.

And as for Nobunaga's relationship with his wife, No-hime, I'll try to express a relationship beyond love between man and woman.

Nobunaga is generally regarded as an energetic and active man, but I'd rather emphasize the peaceful and quiet aspects of his nature so as to accentuate his vigorous characteristics.

What I found most enchanting among the numerous episodes about Nobunaga in the novel was that Nobunaga really became fascinated with the world globe showing countries of the world presented to him by a westerner.  When I imagine Nobunaga mesmerized in looking at the globe just like a child, I find him very cute!"

(August 27, 2003)                       (Translated by Pymmik)    
Oda Nobunaga (Koji Yakusho)
Historical Background
Every Japanese schoolchild learns this simple verse that sums up the lives of the men who unified Japan:

Oda Nobunaga pounded the rice,
Hideyoshi baked the cake,
And Tokugawa Ieyasu ate it.

The first leader, Oda Nobunaga, began unifying Japan in the 1560s.  A ruthless warrior, he massacred over fifty thousand people and dominated half of Japan before he was killed by a disloyal commander.

The second great unifier, Hideyoshi, was a brilliant peasant who became Nobunaga's top general.  With a little force and lots of diplomacy, he completed Japan's unification in 1590.

The third man, Tokugawa Ieyasu, outlived his two contemporaries.  He became shogun in 1603, and his descendants ruled Japan for almost three centuries -- until 1868.

When Oda Nobunaga (1534-1582) was born, Japan had lost the unity it had enjoyed in previous centuries.  Following a terrible civil war in the 1460s and 1470s, Japan had split into sixty-six separate provinces, each governed by a regional lord called a
daimyo.  These daimyos were still at war, and during their battles countless farms and villages went up in flames.
Based on "Giants of Japan" by Mark Weston (Kodansha International Ltd. 2002)
Wikipedia: Tokugawa Ieyasu
Wikipedia: Oda Nobunaga
You Tube: Tokugawa Ieyasu