Looking Back & Moving Forward: Spotlight on Taishi Nakagawa [Part 3 of 4 Parts]

PsychoDrama tagged him as future JDrama Prince, right after Yuki Furukawa. But it seems Taishi Nakagawa has exceeded even our expectations. We first featured Nakagawa 2 years ago while he’s making waves in Yakou Kanransha | 夜行観覧車 (NTV/ 2013). 

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While Yuki Furukawa looks like a 16-year-old young boy (but is actually 26 years old – as of our previous writing), Taishi Nakagawa is just 15 years old but already cast in 7 Japanese dramas since 2011. His roles in GTO (Great Teacher Onizuka) and Perfect Blue paved the way to a more important (and meatier role) in Yakou Kanransya (Ferris Wheel at Night) where he pit talents with the likes of Karen Miyazaki, Shota Yasuda, Hana Sugisaki and Riko Yoshida. As the tormented high school student Shinji Takahashi, accused of a crime he may or may not commit, Taishi was just perfect – he was sensitive and charming, vulnerable and rebellious, hopeful and pessimistic – such range of contradictory emotions he was able to show at ease. This kind of acting versatility he also showed when he played the young Minamoto no Yoritomo (later on played by Masaki Okada) in the historical drama Taira no Kiyomori. 

Playing supporting parts and also being tagged with the ‘second lead syndrome’ (he’s part of Your Lie in April, where Kento Yamazaki takes the lead), Nakagawa nonetheless had a banner year in 2015…

He secured the main role in Prison School as Kiyoshi Fujino and as the latest ‘lover of a tiny girl’ in Minami kun no Koibito ~ My Little Lover. The recent drama series is the third adaptation where Shinji Takeda and Ninomiya Kazunari previously portrayed in the 1994 and 2004 versions.

Speaking of Prison School, I thought Nakagawa was too young to play the lead role. It’s not an easy one, to say the least. In fact, if you’ve seen the anime version, you are aware of how much skin he has to show, not to mention the kind of torture he has to ‘endure’ from the hands of the girls who ruled the newly formed co-ed school. But after watching five episodes, he seems to have clicked as Fujino. His chemistry with Aoi Morikawa is on point, and their scenes together are not only entertaining and hilarious, but it also reminds so much of the anime. To think this is a live-action adaptation! 

While Nakagawa is ‘dreamy and handsome,’ he’s still skinny to play matured roles like the sort of bold characters played by Sosuke Ikematsu (Pale Moon, Vortex of Love, When I Sense The Sea). But taking on such a naughty character as Fujino in Prison School is like saying he can be fearless too in his choice of roles.

Still, his agency is maybe thinking Nakagawa can be a good candidate for rom-com roles, thus the part in Your Lie in April and the other drama series he’s on – My Little Lover.

Many have observed that Nakagawa looks a lot like Sota Fukushi, and there is more than just a striking resemblance between them. However, one big difference between Sota and the younger Nakagawa is the ability to act. From previous roles in GTO and Yakou Kanransha to Waterpolo Yankees and Hell Teacher Nube, Nakagawa has consistent acting. 

As mentioned, 2015 is a banner year for the actor, with such projects as:

Your Lie in April | Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso (2016) – Ryota Watari
Tsuugaku Series Tsuugaku Tochu (2015) – Kou
Tsuugaku Series Tsuugaku Densha (2015)
Blue Demon ver.2.0 | Ao Oni ver.2.0 (2015) – Hiroshi


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