A Japanese television film crew has been in Cambridge for the last three days filming for a drama series on the life of a man who was crucial to peace negotiations with the Americans at the end of the Second World War.

Clare College and St John’s College were used as locations to help tell the early story of Jiro Shirasu, who studied at Clare in the early 1920s.

Born into a wealthy Japanese family, Shirasu had a very privileged upbringing. While at the University he became close friends with the Seventh Earl of Strafford, Robert Cecil Byng, with whom he spent a lot of time and learned to act like an English gentleman.

Jiro Shirasu became famous back in his home country because of his untypical manner, his refusal to be overruled. Unlike his fellow Japanese he had no difficulty standing up to authority, and was key in the negotiations with US General MacArthur the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers, after Japan's defeat in WW2. He also worked on Japan's post war constitution .

Famously he was said to be the first Japanese man to wear denim jeans, and he drove a Porsche.

The 21-strong film crew working for national Japanese broadcaster NHK included well known young actor Yusuke Isseya playing Shirasu and rising British talent Ed Speleers (who starred in Eragon alongside Jeremy Irons, Robert Carlyle and John Malkovich) as the Earl of Strafford.

The series is due to be broadcast in Japan in early 2009.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Licence. If you use this content on your site please link back to this page.