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Baruto Kaito and his role in "My Brother's Husband".

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The manga "My Brother's Husband" crossed my radar sometime earlier year, due to an article in the UK Guardian. Thanks to my TV habit, I found out this had been made into a three-part mini-series. The setting is modern Japan, where a young father is raising his daughter after a divorce. He is grieving the loss of his twin brother, who went to live in Canada in search of a life not available to a gay man in Japan. This man met and married a Canadian by the name of Mike Flanagan - who is now a widow(er) due to an accident.

Not having actually read the manga (Loving and Heroic Spouse is busily procuring volumes), I could only go on my memory of the Guardian article. That said, it looked at least on the first (and second) viewings as faithful to the comic, and I was delighted to see something like this topic get airplay. As soon as fan subs are available, I'll be recommending it to friends who are not as Japano-phile as I am. (They might resist, because they know I've been looking for "partners in crime" for many, many years now - they still appreciate what I get out of my love of Japan, mind, but they're wary at my attempts to drag them into it with me.)

Of course, as soon as I could manage, I was plugging terms into search engines. I learned that the actor playing Mike Flanagan was Baruto Kaito, from Estonia.

I'm still pretty insanely jealous of any Westerner whose command of Japanese is good, and of course, with a past like Baruto's, his Japanese would have gotten very good from his years in sumo. I was delighted by his presence on the screen, at least until he spoke in English - then I was busy learning how to forgive him for not sounding either very North American nor very Irish - although he had me guessing for a couple of lines, because the range of regional Irish accents is pretty wide. (I've lived in Ireland for a number of years, and manage to keep contacts there after more than ten years away.) I felt somewhat petty, given the quality of the rest of the production.

I loved getting to spend so much time, with the involved families, inside a normal Japanese house. (For values of normal that include living rather far away from a megalopolis, that is.) I didn't catch all the spoken dialogue, but I loved how sometimes I could get the drift, particularly during an awkward interview between the main Japanese character and a teacher at his daughter's school.

It was fun for me to watch, and got me wondering about other sumo who have made a sojourn into the world of film/television acting after their years in the heya.

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