Set in Tokyo and London, Giri/Haji (or Duty/Shame) features many actors who will be familiar to UK audiences – as well as big-name Japanese stars.
Here are the characters you’ll be meeting in the new BBC Two drama – and the actors who play them:
Takehiro Hira plays Kenzo Mori
Who is Kenzo Mori? A Tokyo detective, who is despatched to London by his superiors in the police department to search for his missing brother Yuto. Takehiro Hira says: “Kenzo is a determined man, who is willing to solve all his problems and fulfil his responsibilities, but I guess he’s really a lonely man. He has all these problems at work, and also filial obligations, but he doesn’t have anyone to talk to.”
What else has Takehiro Hira been in? The Japanese actor, who moved to America as a teenager, is an experienced stage and screen actor with credits including Fragile: Byôrii Kishi Keiichirô no Shoken, Killing for the Prosecution, Sanadamaru, and Ace Attorney.
Kelly Macdonald plays Sarah Weitzmann
Who is Sarah Weitzmann? A police officer in London, who meets Kenzo when he is sent there under the guise of attending a university course. Sarah is the lecturer.
Kelly Macdonald explains: “When we’re introduced to Sarah, we realise she is persona non grata in her work in her work environment and we don’t know why. But we discover she’s dobbed in one of her own.
“She’s a police officer, and everybody has taken against her and she’s getting edged out of her work environment and sent off to lecture most of the time, rather than work on actual crime-solving. So she’s not the happiest person. She’s pretty lonely, and then her life gets upended in a really dramatic and quite pleasing way when this Japanese crime story filters into London.”
What else has Kelly Macdonald been in? Emmy-winning and Golden Globe-nominated actress Kelly Macdonald starred as Margaret Thompson in Boardwalk Empire. She played Helena Ravenclaw in the Harry Potter movies, and recently portrayed bereaved mother Anna Dean in TV series The Victim. Other credits include The Child in Time, Goodbye Christopher Robin, Swallows and Amazons, T2 Trainspotting, No Country For Old Men, Brave, and Gosford Park.
Yōsuke Kubozuka plays Yuto
Who is Yuto? Kenzo’s estranged brother, who went down a criminal path. He is missing and was once presumed dead, but now he is believed to be alive and caught up in some serious Yakuza business. Kenzo has been despatched to London to search for Yuto.
What else has Yōsuke Kubozuka been in? The actor, model and reggae musician has previously appeared in Strawberry on the Shortcake, Helter Skelter, Martin Scorsese’s Silence, Ping Pong, and Go.
Aoi Okuyama plays Taki
Who is Taki? Kenzo Mori and his wife Rei’s teenage daughter, who has a rebellious streak. Aoi Okuyama describes her as “a very honest girl with a strong core.”
What else has Aoi Okuyama been in? This is her on-screen debut.
Will Sharpe plays Rodney
Who is Rodney? Kenzo meets Rodney by chance in London. Will Sharpe says: “Rodney is a sex worker, and an addict, and what drew me to him as a character is he has a self-destructive streak which he buries under humour. He uses his sense of humour as a defence mechanism.”
What else has Will Sharpe been in? The Japanese-English actor plays Will in legal comedy Defending The Guilty. Earlier in his career, he played Yuki Reid in Casualty, and he also created, wrote and starred in the TV series Flowers.
Masahiro Motoki plays Fukuhara
Who is Fukuhara? A Yakuza boss – i.e. the head of an organised crime syndicate.
Motoki says: “I suppose that traditionally, Yakuza bosses live according to the dictates of the Yakuza’s moral code and aesthetics, but Fukuhara is slightly removed from that. Beyond his status as the head of an organisation, you catch glimpses of his vulnerable, or wavering, human side. I think a Yakuza boss who doesn’t fit the stereotypical mould of a person in power is quite new.”
What else has Masahiro Motoki been in? Masahiro Motoki is best known internationally for playing Daigo Kobajashi in Oscar-winning Japanese movie Departures, a role which earned him six acting awards. His other credits include Sumo Do, Sumo Don’t, Clouds Over The Hill, The Long Excuse, and The Emperor in August – but he actually began his career in the ’80s boy band Shibugakitai.
John McCrea plays Tiff
Who is John McCrea? A lover (or ex-lover) of Rodney’s.
What else has Tiff been in? The young actor starred in Olivier-nominated West End musical Everybody’s Talking about Jamie, playing the lead role. He’s also made a number of on-screen appearances, popping up in God’s Own Country, New Tricks, and Bleak House.
Yûko Nakamura plays Rei
Who is Rei? Kenzo’s wife. She has been holding the fort at home while her husband is pulled away by his job – and that hasn’t been an easy task, with a rebellious teenage daughter to supervise and demanding in-laws to look after.
What else has Yûko Nakamura been in? The Japanese actress starred in 2001’s Hotaru (Firefly), winning the award for best actress at the Buenos Aires International Festival of Independent Cinema. Her other credits include Strawberry Shortcakes, All Is Fine, Fires on the Plain, Hokuto: Ar satsujinsha no kaishin, Ace Attorney, and voice work for 5 Centimetres Per Second.
Charlie Creed-Miles plays Abbott
Who is Abbott? Without giving too much away, the actor says: “I decided that, in a nutshell, he’s a principled psychopath. To flesh that out a bit, he’s a London gangland boss from a criminal family. He’s done very well for himself, thanks very much. He’s a very powerful individual and he oversees quite a large criminal operation.
“He’s a self-educated man of the world. Even though he’s a proper villain, he’s not a numpty. He’s a well-read, rather sophisticated guy in many ways. He’s a London gangster who’s really quite worldly and into his culture.”
What else has Charlie Creed-Miles been in? Charlie Creed-Miles played gangster Billy Kimber in the first series of Peaky Blinders. His other credits include The Frankenstein Chronicles, Ripper Street, and the movie Wild Bill.
Tony Pitts plays Angling
Who is Angling? Sarah’s boss in the Metropolitan Police. He has been freezing her out.
What else has Tony Pitts been in? He started off his career with a 10-year stint as Archie Brooks in the soap Emmerdale, but more recently he’s starred as Hargreaves in Line of Duty (pictured above). He also played Keith Metcalfe in Wild Bill, and Inspector Moss in Peaky Blinders. Viewers may also remember him from My Mad Fat Diary, MotherFatherSon, Jamestown, and Scott & Bailey.
Sophia Brown plays Donna
Who is Donna? A mysterious character whose identity has yet to be revealed!
What else has Sophia Brown been in? Recent roles have included Karen Merville in The Capture, Louise Taggart in Clique, and DC Leanne Hunter in Marcella (pictured above).
Justin Long plays Vickers
Who is Vickers? A “shadowy businessman”. Justin Long says: “He’s a guy who’s in way over his head. He’s so ill-equipped to be succeeding in this world that he finds himself in, having had it forced upon him by his father, whom he just wants to please. I think he’s a really weak, spineless person.”
What else has Justin Long been in? F is for Family (as the voice of Kevin Murphy), New Girl (as Paul Genzlinger), Live Free or Die Hard, Dodgeball, Jeepers Creepers, and The Lookalike.