EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW

Exclusive Interview #24

  • from "Painless – The Eyes for Signs–."
  • Hidetoshi Nishijima

Since his debut in 1992, Hidetoshi Nishijima has honed his acting skills in a broad range of genres, performing on television dramas, films and stages. This time, Nishijima stars as the main lead as Dr. Eisuke Tameyori in the medical-suspense drama "Painless – The Eyes for Signs–." In this interview, he shares with us about his approach in developing his character, his experience of working with his co-stars, as well as his insight into the over-arching theme of the drama.

Q

What was your first impression when you were offered this role, and also after you've read the script?

A

As I read the script for the first episode, I had a very good feeling that this was going to be a fascinating drama series. It's interesting how each of the character has their own charm and uniquely complex relationships with each other. Although they may be rivals, they still show sympathy for each other.

Q

How is it working with the Chief Director Yuichi Sato?

A

He told me that he liked the character of Kikuta which I played in the "Strawberry Night" series. He and I have worked together both in the dramas as well as the film versions of the series. Also more recently, he helped develop a character that was quite different from what I'm used to play in the film "Poison Berry in My Brain." This time in "Painless," he wants me show more of my usual self, like laughing out loud and being cheerful. I think he's going to guide me a lot in bringing forth a whole new type of character that could be my new signature role.

Q

What is your view on your character Dr. Eisuke Tameyori?

A

Eisuke is a good-natured man with a big, genuine heart. As a doctor, he always tries to sympathize with the feelings that his patients are experiencing. While having that in his nature, he happens to be gifted with the ability to identify illness from one look at the patient and what is the underlying cause of their illness, and his ability also allow him to tell when someone is about to commit a crime. Because of such rare, special ability, Eisuke suffers emotional stress and pain, which makes him appear more human, compassionate, and authentic.

Q

How do you intend to play your character of Dr. Eisuke Tameyori?

A

Since he is equipped with the special ability to diagnose patient’s illness just by looking their appearance, I assume he walks around with his head down, trying not to make eye contact with people. But when he does happen to see the illness, he probably can't help but say something to them to help them. But then, people would look at him like he's crazy, right? So my approach to the character of Eisuke is to play him as someone who tries to live quietly, hiding away from the world in order to not let anyone notice his ability.

Q

What is the most challenging thing about shooting this drama?

A

It's a medical drama, so whenever I come across any names of illness or symptom in the script, I have to look them up to understand exactly what they are. On top of that, it's also a crime-suspense story, so memorizing my lines is quite hard. But I guess it's something that comes with my job. *laughs* Another difficult thing is that since Eisuke is sort of this enigmatic character who conceals many facets of his personality, sometimes his questions seem a bit off-point to others. But there are always reasons for him to raise such questions, so I believe it's important to take the time to analyze the script thoroughly.

Q

How has it been working with other cast members?

A

As for Atsushi Ito who plays the role of Detective Hayase, I've worked with him in another drama previously and we work together so well, so it's been so much fun playing the roles as crime investigation partners with him again. Also, Atsushi has worked together with Hideaki Ito in "Brave Hearts," so I can't help but think that there's some kind of a fateful connection between us. It's actually my first time working with Hideaki, so I'm really excited about co-starring with him and also us playing the characters that possess the same special ability yet stand against each other.

Q

Lastly, could you tell us the highlights of "Painless – The Eyes for Signs– "?

A

I personally don't mind feeling pain and I can tolerate it. *laugh* But for most people, pain is a negative thing, so the "painless" is probably good for many reasons. This drama raises questions such as "what happens if this world becomes completely pain-free? What happens to humans if they don't feel any pain whatsoever? Does that lead people to become unable to feel other people's pain? Would that cause more problems and creating more disadvantage than advantages?" I believe there are many things that we learn from actually experiencing pain, so I think that's what the drama's title implies. This drama explores the theme of "what does being painless mean for humans"? It may sounds like a complex, heavy subject, but the story is depicted in an entertaining manner and is easy to follow, so I hope the viewers will just sit back, relax, and enjoy it.