The story is set during the last days of the Tokugawa Shogunate at the end of the Edo period. It is a time of great upheaval after the American Navy forces Japan to open itself to the outside world, and the Boshin civil war looms in the future. The historical epic follows the friendship between a young low-class samurai named Manjirō Ibuya (Ichihara) and a doctor named Ryōan Tezuka (Narimiya). The name is not a coincidence; manga pioneer Osamu Tezuka based the story on the life of his own great-grandfather.
Hayato Ichihara (Saru Lock, Rookies, Onmyoji II) and Hiroki Narimiya (Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, Gokusen, NANA) will star opposite each other for the first time in the live-action television adaptation of Osamu Tezuka’s samurai manga Hidamari no Ki (Tree in the Sun).
This will be Ichihara’s first starring role in a historical period work, so he is also taking on the challenge of sword-fighting. Ichihara said that as a Japanese person, he considers the opportunity to be a great honor. Production will run from January 19 to the middle of February.
The manga ran in Shogakukan’s Big Comic magazine from 1981 to 1986, and it already inspired a television series from the anime studio MADHOUSE in 2000, as well as several stage plays. The live-action television version will premiere in April on NHK’s BS Premium satellite/cable channel.