In Sunday night at 8pm. NHK (National channel, no commercial) will broadcasts its large scale historical Cledds Drama, it is called "Taiga Drama", it means "great river" as in the river of time. NHK's "taiga drama" is a cultural institution, a yearlong serial about an important figure in Japanese history. They have made them since 1963, so around 40 titles they have aired already. Since Japanese like Nobunaga Oda ( a sort of charismatic Shogun), and Hideyoshi Toyotomi ( he got to be Shogun from a poor farmer, big success story ). I suppose their stories were bound to be made into dramas sometimes. The good actors tend to play the main characters in Taiga, for example, Koji Yakusho of "Shall we dance" played Nobunaga Oda, Ken Watanabe played "Masamune Date" in 独眼竜正宗.(one eye Dragon, Masamune)
This year's Taiga is Shinsengumi. Shingo Katori of SMAP plays the leader of Shinsengumi-Isami Kondo. But since Taiga is a sort of a national drama for all Japanese, there was criticism "Why SMAP"? But I do not think this is a case of miscasting, actually both have a big mouth. (Isami Kondo is said to have been able to swallow his fist) Vice Leader of Shinsengumi Toshizo Hijikata was a handsome guy, so many women still visit his grave still now. Kouji Yamamoto acts as him. Hmm this is nice casting too.