This is an overview of Nihon Chinbotsu: Kibo no Hito (Japan Sinks: People of Hope), available on American Netflix.
This drama has origins based on a novel released in 1973 by 小松 左京, Komatsu Sakyo (for more on the author here is the wiki link). The basic idea of the novel is that the tectonic plates are shifting, and one plate slips under another one pulling Japan under the ocean with it. There was a movie released the same year as the book, titled Submersion of Japan.
It is the first of three dramas released in the collaboration between TBS and Netflix. The other two are The Future Diary and Let’s Get Divorced which will come out in 2023.
This story poses the question how the government would handle such news. Would they believe the results? Would they tell the public? How would they handle emigration of the entire population of Japan? Would people rather die with their homeland than move to another country? The first half of the drama is very political with seemingly no movement of the story, very symbolic of government inner workings. Jockeying for a better position and knowing the right people, we get a glimpse of the families around the main characters. Finally, when it is almost too late, does the government do its job for its people.
Oguri Shun as Amami Keishi, a straightforward, for the people, fledgling politician. I felt his frustration and fear through the acting, almost tears in his eyes in most of the scenes trying to get the other politicians to just help the people. His ideas are out of the box but keep things moving. His influence is his father, a person who fought for his fellow villagers in a small town against some wrongdoings.
Matsuyama Kenichi as Tokiwa Koichi, a man groomed in politics as his father is the CEO of a large medical group in Japan. He knows what to say and what not to say. He moves in circles Amami could not get into otherwise since they were best buds in university.
Watanabe Anne as Shiina Minori, a reporter that got busted down to the gossip magazine because she tried to reveal something the politicians wanted to cover up. She is covering Tadokoro Yusuke’s story about the Kanto region sinking, which everyone is dismissing as the ravings of a mad man. She becomes a main character through her connections and wanting to inform the people of the upcoming disaster.
Kagawa Teruyuki as Tadokoro Yusuke, the scientist who sees the impending doom. He is very quirky but his love for his country and geology is second to none.
Kunimura Jun as Sera Toru, The lead geologist in the government cabinet. He has a redemption arc that I cannot reveal as it would be a major spoiler.
These 5 characters are what the story weaves around, there are others, but these 5 are the movers and shakers and the ones to watch.
This is a slow paced drama that does not pick up with action until the end of the series. I recommend it for the acting and cast. There is an undercurrent of climate change warnings throughout.
The theme song is Last Scene by Suda Masaki, his first time singing for a TBS drama.
Are you watching it? Is it on your PTW? Show me some love and heart this article.
Sources: The drama pictures are from Netflix, the TBS trailer and here.
Edited by: SumiTheCat (1st editor), devitto (2nd editor)