Find the WASABI! –NORIKA’s Hunters–
Tokyo – Tokyo Broadcasting Systems (TBS) Television will be airing Find the WASABI! –NORIKA’s Hunters– from January 2015 (11 episodes). This series is the 2nd edition of the original Find the WASABI! series, which was a co-production with Singapore’s MediaCorp, and premiered on 7 January in Japan and on 18 February in Singapore. The current series is a co-production with Malaysia’s Primeworks Studios, with partner producers in Singapore (MediaCorp) and Thailand (GMM Channel).
Find the WASABI! –NORIKA’s Hunters– is an innovative, new-genre ‘reality-game travelogue’ series featuring three Asian celebrities who are on a special mission to find the “secret spice” of Japan, and live together in a share house in downtown Tokyo. In each episode, the Hunters are challenged by a powerful “Commander” to solve “mysteries” about Japan that puzzle people around the world: “Why are Japanese people always on time?” “Do NINJA really exist?” “Is Japan as high-tech as they say?” Is it true that Japanese people are nice?”
Throughout the series, symbol of Japanese beauty Norika Fujiwara wields her power as Wasabi Commander, issuing arduous mission orders to the three heart-throb, “knock-out” hunters, Adrian Tan (Malaysia), Golf Pichaya (Thailand) and Jeffrey Xu (Singapore).
Tan (Malaysia, 26), is an actor-singer, who just won the top spot as the most popular male artiste at the 2014 GOLDEN AWARDS, a nationwide local entertainment awards show.
Pichaya (Thailand, 27), also a popular actor-singer in Thailand, has fans in Japan from his single release with Tomohisa Yamashita which hit the top spot on Japan’s Oricon chart.
Xu (Singapore, 26), a popular actor and host of TV shows, is the 2013 Asian Television Award winner for Best Supporting Actor. He received his actor training in Shanghai, is an athlete, and excels at singing, dancing and guitar playing.
The three Hunters arrived in Japan on 6 November, heading straight from Narita International Airport to nearby Shin-shoji Temple, where they are met by their glamorous Commander Fujiwara, who immediately sets them on their first challenging mission. Filming of the series started from the moment of arrival of the Hunters to the airport, and though meeting for the first time, the camera captures their fast developing friendship. The camera will continue to follow them as they progress with their missions, and their camaraderie and rivalry will be a focal point of interest. Shooting will continue in Tokyo until 11 November, when the Hunters are sent on a mission to Kyushu, where they will experience the intensified flavor of Japan’s culture in the local prefectures of Fukuoka, Oita, Kumamoto and Miyazaki.
At the end of their missions, the Hunters will meet Commander Fujiwara again, whereupon the champion of the series will be announced. The stage of the announcement will be the world-famous symbol of Tokyo – the Tokyo Tower. Commander Fujiwara has announced she will use the Tokyo Tower to announce the winner.
Find the WASABI! is receiving support from Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC) and the Broadcast Programme Export Association of Japan (BEAJ), under a special government auspices to encourage model projects which promote the broadcast of Japanese TV programmes abroad. The series is also receiving support from the Kyushu Tourism Promotion Organisation. Broadcasts are scheduled to begin in Malaysia and Thailand during the same week as Japan in January 2015, followed by Singapore in April.
The word “WASABI” in the programme’s title was inspired by wasabi, the globally popular spicy condiment, and ‘wabi sabi’ culture – both indigenous to Japan and representing the mysterious nature of its culture and people.
Norika Fujiwara commented, “I am truly honored to be able to participate in the co-production of a series with talented artistes successful in the Asian entertainment scene. I have visited Malaysia and several other Asian countries for business before, and have fond memories of the hospitality and kindness of the people there. It makes me excited to think they will be watching Find the WASABI! in their countries.
Only hours after the arrival of the three Hunters to Japan, I had the opportunity to meet them and was struck by how friendly they’d become in such a short time. Each Hunter has a unique character of his own, and as their commander, look forward to watching their experiences through Find the WASABI! I hope they will unveil many mysteries about Japan through their missions, and make fascinating discoveries along the way. I am also curious and eager to hear their final report, at the culmination of their missions. In welcoming the Hunters to Japan, I chose to wear a kimono, the formal attire of my country. This particular kimono is one I ordered myself, and had dyed especially with the motif of the phoenix which is so popular in Asia. I hope I was able to communicate my warmest and sincerest feelings of “welcome” to my Hunters. Each costume I will be wearing throughout the series has been chosen by me personally, keeping in mind all the viewers throughout Asia who will watch our show.”