Yamada Ryosuke's drive into dramatic roles continues with The Miracles of the Namiya General Store (Namiya Zakkaten no Kiseki), where he plays one of the three youth who gives advice to a young girl from another time.
I'm glad that Japanese producers are not only looking for a manga to turn into movies but best-selling novels as well. Miracles is written by Higashino Keigo, described as Japan's mega-bestselling author of crime thrillers and mysteries.
Ryuichi Hiroki will direct the film. The director is pretty much an credible filmmaker who previously helmed The Egoists, The Lightning Tree, Yellow Elephant and Wolf Girl and Black Prince. Saito Hiroshi was tasked with the script. He previously wrote for the films Kiseki: Sobito of the Day, April Bride, and The Glorious Team Batista, among others.
Books from Japan has a comprehensive description of the novel:
Three youths fresh from a burglary head for an abandoned house they’ve had their eye on to lie low for a while. Standing on the outskirts of town where there is little foot traffic, it is actually a combined residence and storefront, with a large sign above the front shutter identifying it as the Namiya General Store; but the place has obviously been out of business for a long time, and there are no indications of any recent habitation. As the three hide out there biding their time, something strange happens: in the dead of night, a letter drops through the slot in the front shutter. Unsigned, it’s from a female athlete preparing for “next year’s Olympics,” seeking advice as to whether she should continue training for her lifelong dream or withdraw from competition to nurse her boyfriend, who has been told he has only a short time to live. After discussing how best to advise her, the three youths write an answer?actually a request for more information?and place it in the box intended for milk deliveries in the back of the building. Almost right away, another letter drops through the slot and proves to be the woman’s response to their answer. As the exchange continues, it becomes clear that the Olympics the woman has her sights set on are the 1980 Moscow games, and that they are corresponding with her across a gap of 33 years. They also realize that while her world of 1979 is moving forward in time at a rapid pace, a time within the general store remains at a virtual standstill as long as they keep the back door closed. [ source ]
Joining Ryosuke are Murakami Nijiro and Hayashi Kento as the two other youth. The Hey!Say!JUMP actor was quoted as saying:
“Miracles of Namiya General Store” depicts a surreal story where they send letters across time and space, but the story is very truthful, and it will be difficult to depict the emotions of the character in a live-action adaptation, so at the same time, I feel very challenged [to take on this project]. Especially having the chance to co-star with Nishida Toshiyuki, he is a senior actor that I admire, so it is an honor for me to be able to co-star with him. Since I will be the one in the front line, while doing my best no to pull my legs, I will do my best to absorb as many lessons from him. I think that this work will be a movie that expresses emotions such as trouble, suffering, joy, and so on, so I would like everyone in the audience to be swayed by the story by all means. [ source ]
The plot of the book is quite fascinating. I tried to look for some reviews, and most of its readers highly recommend it, additional insights follow:
Reading Around the Globe:
Miracles of the Namiya General Store was written during the rapid economic growth of Japan in the late 1970s until the stagnation economic life of the 1990s. Through time and space, the general store’s residents provide free consultation to people’s various serious troubles. The strange thing about this novel is that the three youths live in the present time, and they communicate with the people who live in the past time. The story starts with the three thieves, who are on the run, and discover an old abandoned general store as a hideout. [ read more ]
A Chinese live action is also in the works, which may include a TV series.