Have you readers seen this beautiful woman? She is Charlotte Kate Fox, an American actress who has brought a fresh, dazzling appeal to Japanese television since 2014. Charlotte first played the heroine in the 150-episode NHK Asadora 'Massan', that ran from September 2014 till March 2015. She became the first ever foreign actress to portray the leading lady of an NHK drama series. Naturally, Charlotte had stood out quickly from everybody else. While I have never watched Massan in its entirety, I did watch a small part of her interview with Kuroyanagi Tetsuko, in which she talked about the challenges of leaving home to work abroad in an environment where everything had to be learnt from scratch.
For half a year, Charlotte breathed life into the dutiful wife of Massan, Ellie Kameyama. The difficulty of adapting to a foreign land was just the beginning, as there were plenty of bigger, glaring challenges awaiting. Yet, Ellie had constantly proved to be much sacrificing, loving, hardworking and determined, amid times of uncertainty and turmoil. On top of that, her story span a little over 40 years. I'm not sure just how many readers here appreciate NHK Asadora, but I shall simply say that from the little scattered clips which I had caught, I was impressed by the transformation and versatility of Charlotte in the drama.
A couple of days after the finale of Massan, Charlotte made an appearance in BISTRO SMAP. She was very happy and a little nervous to be the special guest. When Nakai Masahiro asked Charlotte what she would like to have, she answered shyly that she wanted to eat a Japanese-style breakfast. The entire episode was light-hearted, hilarious and reminiscent of Charlotte's experiences in Japan for six months. She also mentioned something about a music album later in the year.
Her debut single was released on April 29th 2015, titled Gondora no Uta. The titular song was first made popular in 1915, and has been covered by many artistes ever since. The prose talks of the bittersweet, short-lived love between a maiden and her man. Such words would resonate with lives that were once embroiled in hardships, and maybe even today such lives are still feeling the stings of the past. Charlotte's version feels like a soothing lullaby though once knowing just what she is singing about, there is a plunge of sadness in place. Readers may wish to check out her music video of the song. There is sort of an irony embedded in-between the contrast.
Fast-forward to this year, Charlotte has another meaty role in a Japanese drama series. She plays Alice Shepard in Fuji TV's 'Our House'. Alice is the new stepmother to four children, only six months after they have lost their mother to sickness. The children's father had made no mention about remarrying, and then all of a sudden he simply returns to Japan with an American woman as his second wife. Naturally, the entire family is appalled. In particular the eldest daughter Sakurako, who would do almost anything to drive Alice out of the household. I have watched a little of the first episode, and I have to say that it is definitely refreshing to see Charlotte in a modern-day story complete with her character's American mannerisms and such!
It is not all the time that we have a foreign personality gracing the Japanese screens. Charlotte's appearance on Japanese television has indeed set a new wave of opportunities which might just see more Caucasian actors and actresses taking up various roles in Japanese drama series and movies.
Written by J.Fluffysheep ♪