J-drama couple Nanako Matsushima and Takashi Sorimachi to reunite on-screen after 22 years
TOKYO – This is probably the news many fans of J-drama Great Teacher Onizuka have been waiting for.
Japanese actress Nanako Matsushima, who starred in the live-action television adaptation GTO (1998) with actor Takashi Sorimachi, will act with him for the first time since their marriage in 2001.
GTO Revival will be launched by Fuji Television in the first half of 2024 in conjunction with the TV station’s 65th anniversary.
The series starred Sorimachi as Eikichi Onizuka, a biker gangster-turned-teacher, and Matsushima as Azusa Fuyutsuki, a fellow teacher who fell in love with him.
Adapted from the Japanese manga series of the same name, it achieved a high average viewership rating of 28 per cent, with a rating of 35.7 per cent for the final episode.
It boosted the popularity of several actors who played Onizuka’s students, such as Shun Oguri, now 40, Yosuke Kubozuka, now 44, and Hiroyuki Ikeuchi, now 46.
Poison, the series’ theme song performed by Sorimachi, was also a hit.
Romance blossomed off-screen and Sorimachi and Matsushima, both now 49, have two daughters aged 15 and 19.
The two stars have not worked together since marriage, as they did not want to be involved in each other’s acting career.
But Matsushima will reprise her role as Fuyutsuki in GTO Revival, and reportedly filmed for two days in mid-September, according to a source quoted by Josei Seven.
Sorimachi and Matsushima’s on-screen reunion in GTO Revivial was in part possible as both their daughters are studying overseas. The parents would usually adjust their work schedules, so that one of them would be at home to take care of the children.