Actor Nishida awarded by home prefecture of Fukushima

31 July 2018

The Fukushima prefectural government announced on July 30 the presentation of the prefectural people’s honor award to Toshiyuki Nishida, a 70-year-old native of Koriyama city long active as an actor and singer. An award ceremony open to the public will be held in Koriyama on Sept. 17 to honor him for his showbiz activities lasting for half a century and for his contributions to his home prefecture. Nishida will be the fourth to receive such an award from the prefecture.

Nishida graduated from Koharada Junior High School in Koriyama and Nakano Senior High School in Tokyo attached to Meiji University, and then dropped out of the university. He joined Seinenza Theater Company in 1970. Representative works featuring him include the TV drama series “Ikenaka Genta 80kg” and the movie series “Tsuribaka Nisshi” (Fishing Maniac’s Diary). He also played the lead role in the period drama “Hachidai (8th) Shogun Yoshimune,” one of the productions in public broadcaster NHK’s historical drama series, while he played the role of Saigo Tanomo, chief retainer of the Aizu clan in Fukushima, in another NHK historical drama “Yae no Sakura” (Yae’s Cherry Blossom) set in the closing days of the Tokugawa shogunate.

As a singer, his tune “Moshimo Piano ga Hiketanara” (If I Could Play the Piano) became a huge hit, enabling him to perform at NHK’s annual year-end “Kouhaku Uta Gassen” song festival on a total of four occasions. Nishida is also active in a broad range of other fields, including as talk show emcee and CM appearances. He received the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette, in the latest conferment of decorations this spring.

Nishida has long been serving as “shakunage (alpine rose) ambassador,” supporting Fukushima’s reconstruction from the Great East Japan Earthquake and ensuing nuclear accident at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Daiichi plant by appearing in the prefecture’s publicity video “MIRAI (future) 2061” and cooperating in allaying concerns about local agricultural products since the disaster, among other activities.

He performed at the “LIVE Fukushima, Wind and Rock SUPER Nomaoi” festival held in Koriyama in 2011, which was sponsored by Fukushima-Minpo Co., publisher of the namesake local daily. In 2012, he contributed a letter of recommendation to a collection of notes written by prefectural police officers and other people concerned who worked in response to the 2011 quake and nuclear accident. Fukushima-Minpo cooperated in editing the collection, titled “Living in Fukushima, Protecting Fukushima -- Notes by Police Officers & Their Families.”

“Nishida-san has appeared in a lot of films and dramas for many years, and inspired prefectural people in various ways, including helping sales of local farm produce and appearing in our video,” Fukushima Gov. Masao Uchibori said at a regular press conference as he spoke of the reasons for honoring him. “We would like him to help us implement measures and in other aspects in the future as well.”

Photo: Nishida set to receive the prefectural people’s honor award (courtesy of his management office)

(Translated by Kyodo News)