Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Ikuta Toma
Starring in Japan's first Lay Judge System Drama

It was revealed on the 10th that Ikuta Toma (24) will play the lead role in Fuji TV's Majo Saiban (Witch Trial) which starts on 25th April (Saturdays at 11:10). This is his first lead role in a drama. The drama's theme centers around the lay judge system which will take effect in May. Ikuta said enthusiastically,"This production will get people interested in the system."

With the introduction of a new justice system where ordinary citizens participate in trials as lay judges in May, ikemen actor Ikuta Toma who has been showing remarkable progress, is playing the role of a lay judge.

Ikuta has been a part of the Johnny's agency for more than 10 years. In 2007, he had his break in Fuji TV's Hanazakari no Kimitachi e Ikemen Paradise. Last summer, he played one of the two lead roles in TBS's Maou with Arashi's Ohno Satoshi.

Currently, he is a regular in Fuji TV's Voice. Commenting on his first lead role in a drama, he said,"Honestly I'm surprised, while at the same time I feel a sense of responsibility. I feel many emotions jumbled together."

He plays the role of a job-hopping part-timer who has little interest in social matters, just an ordinary young man. The setting of the drama revolves around him being chosen by chance to be a lay judge.

For his role, he attended trials. "I felt, time and again, the austerity of the place. From May onwards, this isn't just going to be somebody else's problem, you feel its complexity. There is going to be a big social response to the drama and I feel the pressure," he said, looking to filming, shouldering the responsibility.

The trial involves a murder and inheritance of a large sum of money in the prosecution of a woman referred to as a 'witch'. But the lay judges who are going to judge her innocent or guilty are being secretly bribed and maneuvered by a mysterious group. Baffling incidents starts to surround the young man in this suspense drama. This drama anticipates of the problems that might arise once the new legal system is enforced.

Producer Seki Takuya said,"When the lay judge system becomes a part of life, how would our lives and our way of thinking change? Look forward to the drama, and I hope it makes people think." The new system will be enforced from 21st May and in the summer, lay judges will start participating in courts. Naturally then, this is the drama that cannot be said to be of other people's problems!

Similarly chosen, Kato Ai (26) plays a housewife who has her happy family life threatened by the mysterious group. This is her first time playing a housewife role. Higa Manami (22), who is currently in NHK's Tenchijin, plays the role of Ikuta's newspaper reporter girlfriend. The defendant, who is being called the 'witch' is played by Ishida Yuriko (39). It will be noted how Ishida, who leaves a strong impression of being neat tackles the role of the 'witch'.


Read more about the new lay judge system in Japan here and here.












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