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NHK spies its next 8K drama

Wife of a Spy is set in Kobe before Japan entered the Second World War

Japanese broadcaster NHK has lined up a fourth drama for its dedicated 8K channel, a feature-length production from celebrated filmmaker Kiyoshi Kurosawa (Before We Vanish).

Wife of a Spy (1×114’) is set in the Japanese city of Kobe in 1940, just before Japan entered the Second World War, when a woman learns her husband’s secrets and takes an astonishing course of action. The lead characters are played by Aoi Yu and Takahashi Issei.

Filming began last October and was finished by the time productions across Japan were halted by the coronavirus pandemic. Post-production continued under strict safety conditions.

Kurosawa’s movie credits also include Tokyo Sonata (2008) and Journey to the Shore (2014), which both won prizes at the Cannes Film Festival.

He said: “Figuring out how to combine the abstractness of a past era with the real physical presence of people in front of the camera was a huge initial challenge, but the results were great. The two leading actors poured themselves into their roles and gave a very realistic sense of the era.

“Everyone on the production team did a great job of supporting the cast, and the 8K images are rich and almost magical. They instantly transport viewers back to Japan in the 1940s. Everything came together in the best possible way. I’ve had a long career, but I’ve never had this kind of good fortune.”

Channel controller Jun Ochiai said: “The experience we’ve gained by exploring the possibilities of 8K dramas together with one of the world’s top creators is tremendously valuable. We hope to keep collaborating with the movie community as much as possible.

“These are challenging times for the creative industry and for our viewers. High-quality entertainment is more necessary than ever. For a public service media organisation, providing it is an important part of our core mission.”

The 8K channel’s other dramas are The Sniffer (2018), An Artist of the Floating World (2019) and A Stranger in Shanghai (2019).

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