Actor Takeda Tetsuya, who is well known in Japan for his titular role as Sakamoto Kinpachi in "Kinpachi Sensei", will be ending his portrayal of the character this March.
Takeda has played the part of Sakamoto since the series began in 1979, and as a result, the drama has enjoyed immense popularity for 32 years. The finale of "Kinpachi Sensei" is titled, "Kinpachi-Sensei of Class 3-B Finale: Delivering the Final Words - 4 Hour Special", and it will be his final "great form".
In the midst of recording the final episode, Takeda said, "For me, I think these 32 years were pretty good. This show created my look once I passed 60 years old. Even though it's going away, I don't feel very lonely. I think we achieved exactly what we aimed for."
Takeda's described his current feelings as well, "Right now, our filming is only about halfway done. Speaking as if this were a marathon, this would be the turning point. Now we have at least four more mountains to climb. Only then will we reach our goal, and for us, that ultimate goal will be to be enjoyed by parents and their children for a long time. Without caring about order or time, I want to stay the course, and develop deep enthusiasm even after filming is complete."
Since "Kinpachi Sensei" debuted in Japan in October 1979, the series has tackled many social issues, including examination competition, deliquency, bullying, school violence, hikikomori (acute social withdrawal), and class discipline problems, and has even influenced the Japanese language by bringing terms such as "15-year-old mom" and "rotten mikan" into the general consciousness.
Is this really the end though? When asked, producer Yanai Michiru laughed and said, "Maybe someday I'll say 'Again!' to the television stations. In my heart, even though Kinpachi is leaving the school, he's still Sensei until the day I die. I personally believe this as a former student and not as a former school attendee. If it ends up not ending, I may include the name "Kinpachi" in other television programs. It all depends on if I get approval of the role from Takeda himself."
In response to this, Takeda said, "I can't imagine that (now that it's ending). Don't be preoccupied by thoughts of the end. The 'expiration dates' of the characters aren't for them to decide. I think the long lives of the characters are being given a heroic death of sorts."
Source: Mainichi Shimbun Digital