Thus Spoke Kishibe Rohan (岸辺露伴は動かない,Kishibe Rohan wa Ugokanai) is a live-action mini-series based on the manga series of the same name by Hirohiko Araki. It was produced by and aired on Japan's national broadcaster NHK from December 28 to December 30, 2020 and December 27 to December 29, 2021.
Rohan Kishibe is a famous, arrogant, and eccentric mangaka whose main series "Pink Dark Boy" is enjoying a great success. Unbeknownst to all, Rohan possesses a gift he names "Heaven's Door", which allows him to turn people into books and read into their lives. At the beginning of the series, Rohan meets his new editor, a perky but strong-headed woman named Kyoka Izumi. Together, and to acquire material for Rohan's work, they seek and stumble upon some of the secrets of this world, from yokai to miracles to more esoteric phenomenon.
On April 11th, 2022, the distribution company Digital Media Rights announced it will stream the first three episodes of the series with English subtitles on its streaming service RetroCrush.
On August 14, 2021, NHK announced that a second season consisting of three additional episodes were in production and would be broadcasted in December of the same year. Issey Takahashi and Marie Iitoyo reprised their roles as Rohan Kishibe and Kyoka Izumi. Three additional actors made special appearances in each of the three new episodes: Show Kasamatsu in Episode 4, Ennosuke Ichikawa in Episode 5, and Rio Uchida in Episode 6.
Rohan Kishibe's new editor Kyoka Izumi tells him about a secluded mountain village where all of the residents are millionaires and all became millionaires shortly after moving there in their twenties. Ms. Izumi wishes to fill a recent vacancy and move in, believing it will lead to her becoming a millionaire as well, and she has convinced Rohan to accompany her for research into a new manga story. After being taken to their interview with the landlords by the childlike Ikkyu, the two soon discover that they are being tested on their etiquette by unseen forces, and for each infraction, the test taker loses something dear and important to them...
Rohan Kishibe meets with fellow manga artist Jugo Shishi who has come to ask him about a word "kushagara" that his own editor has forbidden him from using unless he can discover its meaning, but he cannot find the word in any dictionary. Rohan can see that Jugo's curiosity about the word is causing him physical and mental anguish, so when he uses Heaven's Door to take a look inside Jugo's mind, he finds something crawling inside the pages of Jugo's "book"...
Kyoka approaches Rohan for help in recovering the memories of her new boyfriend Taro Hirai, a former world renowned photographer who has developed amnesia after surviving a traumatic car accident six years ago. As Rohan is introduced to Taro, Mai Katahira passes by the group with her daughter Mao in a stroller, who pulls on Taro's shirt causing him to fall down. Rohan takes a look at little Mao who is hidden in the shade of the stroller, and sees that something is strange with her eyes...
Rohan meets a young man named Yoma Hashimoto at a members-only gym. Yoma is a fledgling model who starts going to the gym after his office president orders him to “build up his body”. However, after this day, Yoma becomes obsessed with running, and his obsession with “running” gradually goes beyond the norm. Yoma shows up in front of Rohan one day for the first time after a while, appearing much more confident. He then proposes to Rohan that they have a running contest on treadmills.
A man named Masazo Kinoto, who works in the sales department of a company that undertakes resort development, comes to Rohan’s house. When he invites him in, the man comes crawling in with his back against the wall. When he took off his shoes, sat down on a chair, and drank tea, he smiled affectionately, but never showed his back to Rohan. This strange behavior aroused Rohan’s curiosity, and he forced himself to look at the man’s back. Suddenly, something abnormal attacks Kinoto since his back was seen, and then moves on to affect Rohan.
Rohan goes bankrupt after purchasing a forest on Mutsu-kabezaka Village for the sole purpose of reporting on the legend of a yokai lurking there. Rohan visits the village with Kyoka in pursuit of the mystery of the legend, but finds no clues. Just then, Rohan is confronted by the heiress of the most prominent family in the village, Naoko Osato. Naoko tries to find out the reason why Rohan visited the village, but it seems that she herself is hiding something. After reading Naoko’s memories with Heaven’s Door, Rohan learns the shocking truth about Naoko and Mutsu-kabe Hill.
In Kushagara, the red book that Jugo Shishi grabs in his office is a volume from the Soseki Collection (漱石全集,Sōseki Zenshū), a collection of Japanese novelist Natsume Sōseki's works, published by Iwanami Shoten. The cafe where Rohan meets Jugo Shishi is the real-life cafe Yamata Jubankan situated in Yokohama. The sloped path in which Rohan tells Kyoka about "kushagara" is situated in a road in Yamanouchi. The place where Kyoka meets Taro is the Harbor View Park Observatory in Yokohama. The bookstore in which Rohan meets Jugo Shishi again is the real-life Tenpodokaribe Book Store in Yokohama. The isolated alley in which Rohan confronts Jugo about his obsession is situated in a path in Tama Ward, Kawasaki, in the Kanagawa Prefecture. Jugo Shishi's office was filmed in a building in Kawasaki. The "university building" used in the introduction of the episode is in reality an annex of the Yamanashi Prefectural Office, in Yamanashi Prefecture. The shots of the Kushagara creatures in Jugo Shishi's throat were filmed using an upscaled model of Mirai Moriyama's throat with the creatures being manipulated like puppets by several production members.
In DNA, the park used as the production set for the episode is the Sagamihara Park. Mai and Mao Katahira's house is the Megurohonchou studio. The sloped path in which Rohan meets Mai and Mao Katahira is the Motomachi Park's Hitaizaka, in Yokohama. The hospital in which Taro is brought is actually the NHK's broadcasting center in Shibuya, Tokyo.
In The Run, scenes of Yoma running were shot in Shibaura Island, Tokyo. The gym is the gym of the NAS Wellness & Spa CLUB. The scene where Yoma kicks a bicycle is situated near the following address: 1-4-29 Miyamaedaira, Miyamae-ku, Kawasaki, Kanagawa prefecture. The tunnel Yoma runs through is a tunnel is the second Kakinokidai tunnel situated in Ichihara, Chiba prefecture. For the production of the episode, Show Kasamatsu, Yoma Hashimoto's actor, had to follow a strict diet followed by a personal trainer. Kasamatsu also never practiced bouldering and thus his trainer took him on a two-hour practice session before the shooting. Afterwards, Kasamatsu was able to boulder inside of the apartment for the shooting. Kasamatsu reports that he almost cried when the director Watanabe thanked him afterwards.
The alley serving as a boundary to the other world in From Behind is actually an alley adjacent to the Chiyoda Kajicho Post Office in Tokyo.
The village in Mutsu-kabe Hill is the Japanese village of Akasawa, with part of the episode being filmed near Akasawa's Osakaya inn. Kyoka Izumi's cakes are cakes from the Nicolas & Herbs brand. The Osato House is the Kiunkaku, a historical hot spring hotel situated in Atami, Shizuoka.
If closed-caption is turned on, its text is formatted similarly to the original manga as well as JoJo's Bizarre Adventure in general. For instance, Rohan and Kyoka often end their sentences with lowercase katakana.
When Rohan turns someone into books, the type of pages differ depending on the victim. Kyoka's pages looks like a fashion magazine, while Ikkyu's pages look like refined book pages, Jugo Shishi's pages are a notebook full of scribbles.
The word "Stand" is never uttered, and is replaced with the more generic term "gift".
Kyoka takes more importance in the drama and becomes a recurring character, appearing in stories in which she was originally absent.
The publisher of Pink Dark Boy is formatted as "Shumeisha" (集明社), rather than matching the real-life Shueisha (集英社).
I never thought the day would come when I would be able to play "Rohan-chan", a character that I've loved since I was in high school, so I was deeply moved. During the filming, I was conscious of how much I could physically express something like the continuity of movement between the panels of the original manga. This is something that I have never done before in my acting career, so it was a very enjoyable time for me as an actor. It was a real blessing to be able to discuss the design and details of Rohan's costumes with the staff over and over again.
I really enjoyed filming this time because it was a drama adaptation of Thus Spoke Kishibe Rohan, which is derived from the popular manga JoJo's Bizarre Adventure. Each line of Rohan Kishibe, played by Issey Takahashi, is stylish and literary, and I hope you will enjoy his long conversations with Kyoka Izumi, his female editor and accomplice. I am truly grateful for the opportunity to participate in this work.
My character, Ikkyu, is a boy with strict manners, so before the filming, I learned how to behave in the story from the guidance of an instructor who teaches manners. It was difficult to make proper movements while saying the lines, and I was especially nervous during the scene where I had to carry the teacup. Ikkyu is a character with no flaws, but he takes unexpected actions when he meets Rohan-san, so I hope you can look forward to it. I also love the costumes and make-up, which were designed by a stylist and make-up artist who were very particular about the measurements and styling, so I hope you will pay attention to that as well.
I accepted the role because it was the first time in a long time that I could act with Issey Takahashi. There are many hurdles to overcome when adapting a manga into a live-action film, but the Kushagara episode that I acted in was only published as a novel which follows Hirohiko Araki-san's detailed and absurd story and character models, so I was able to freely envision how to play my role. I hope you enjoy it.
I was overwhelmed by the world and atmosphere depicted in the original story, but I think that this live-action drama has a great deal of respect and common understanding of the original story, and the same attention to detail in the visuals. The hair, make-up, and fashion look like they are straight out of the manga. For my episode, the director, Mr. Watanabe, put a lot of emphasis on the reality of the story, so he made sure that the drama was carefully crafted to maintain the world of the original story, while also providing original parts that can only be seen in the drama. I think the highlight of the drama is the visuals and acting of Issey Takahashi, who plays the role of Rohan Kishibe. It was beautiful to see. Also, Marie Iitoyo, who plays Kyoka Izumi, has a cute and elegant appearance. Please check it out!
The staff's love for JoJo and respect for the original work was incredible, so I was confident that if they cared so much about it, this live-action adaptation would be wonderful. I played the role of Hirai with the aim of creating a mysterious, flickering, shimmering presence. Please look forward to it.
During the filming last year, I was thinking about if a sequel was possible and what we could do next. The sequel hadn’t been decided yet at that point. Director Mr. Kazutaka, producer Mr. Tsuchihashi, character design supervisor Mr. Tsuge, cinematographer Mr. Yamamoto, and the lighting, costume, makeup, and production departments often talked on set about if there would be something after. Then at the end of last year, “Thus Spoke Kishibe Rohan” was completed after we put everything we could do at the time into it.
I think that many people who watched it were also looking forward to see what would come next. Following episodes 1, 2, and 3, we now have episodes 4, 5, and 6. As one of the actors, I felt the happiness of being able to play one role for a long time, while simultaneously enjoying my next project and giving it my all. Let’s have an adventure together in this increasingly sophisticated and bizarre world.
At the end of last year, Kazutaka Watanabe, the director, told me, “Please keep your schedule open for the next fall”, so I was already looking forward to the sequel. My role originally only appeared in Millionaire Village, but I’m so excited to be able to be in charge of collecting data for Rohan-sensei as Kyoka Izumi once again.
As Mr. Issey said, it’s rare to have the opportunity of feeling happiness of being able to play one role for a long time, or the chance to work with the same staff. I want to cherish that feeling. I also participated wholeheartedly. Oh, and please look forward to Izumi-chan’s new costume! Well, then, I look forward to seeing you at the end of the year in episodes 4, 5, and 6 of “Thus Spoke Kishibe Rohan“!
I was honored to work in a wonderful environment full of love for the original work. For the first time in my life, I had to restrict my diet and worked very hard. I felt like I was going to break many times, but I think I was able to surpass that because I was Yoma Hashimoto. To the viewers, please be gentle with me.
Icchan (Issey) is now one of the most famous actors in Japan, and I was happy to accept the offer to act with him again. I was a little nervous since we hadn’t acted together on screen since the “Taiga” drama, but thanks to the director and the rest of the team, the shooting went very well. I heard that episode 5 is an original story in a sense, inspired by “JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure“, but I was able to freely play the role of Masazo Kinoto. Please take a look, and I hope you enjoy it.
I’m really honored to be involved in the drama of my beloved JoJo and Thus Spoke Kishibe Rohan series. Creating a work full of love with such professional staff was exciting and made me happy both as a fan of the original work and as an actor. I personally love Rohan-sensei so much that it was very difficult for me to control my heart rate so as not to bring it into the scene. It’s three days at the end of the year. I’m going to wait in front of the TV with excitement too!
Season 1's promotion was rather modest, mainly consisting of a trailer and an interview with Issey Takahashi in Ultra Jump about the TV Drama, as well as several online interviews.
Season's 2 promotion was more ambitious, with not only several teaser trailers, but also unique events and interviews.
One of the promotional events for Thus Spoke Kishibe Rohan was “My Rohan Kishibe Talk” (私の岸辺露伴語り,Watashi no kishibe rohan katari), a talk show which aired on December 18, 2021 at 11:10 – 11:39 PM JST and was rebroadcasted on December 27, 2021 at 12:53 AM JST. In this program, Issey Takahashi, Rio Uchida, Yasuko Kobayashi (the screenwriter for both the TV Drama and the anime), and culture critic Sayawaka talk about the unique worldview and appeal of the original work, the anime, and the drama while analyzing the secret of its popularity.
The NHK TV Channel also promoted the series via its "Tensai TV kun hello" special program, in which TV "warrior" Chan Kawai (of the "W ENGINE" comedy duo) and guest presenter "Kazuhiro Ozawa" (of the "Speed Wagon" comedy duo) talked about JoJo's Bizarre Adventure and Thus Spoke Kishibe Rohan's themes of "celebrating humanity" and "philosophy of life". The program also featured cameos of Issey Takahashi and Marie Iitoyo.
Finally, a special exhibition about the TV Drama was held in Sendai from December 14, 2021 to January 10, 2022 at Sendai's NHK Sendai Broadcasting Station. The exhibition displayed the costumes of the series' characters as well as original design drawings by Isao Tsugo, the face books that form when Heaven's Door is activated, and various props and accessories used in the series.
Thus Spoke Kishibe Rohan won the monthly Galaxy Award for the TV show category in January 2021. It was chosen because the drama beautifully recreated the bizarre world of the original work, and was steeped with a unique aesthetic sense with meticulous art and direction. Yasuko Kobayashi's script accurately depicted the essence of the original work and the actors all played their parts well. In particular, Mirai Moriyama made the most of his physical abilities and excellently portrayed a sense of discomfort with his character, Jugo Shishi.