Asa ga Kita: Weeks 7-12

I’m back on the asadora trail! I am determined to finish Asa ga Kita, if only to do justice to Tamaki Hiroshi’s first asadora outing in years – and a successful one, I might add, as the drama did well in the ratings game. It wasn’t difficult getting back into the groove as each episode and week ended on a mini cliffhanger that just whetted the appetite. Also, it was nice hearing the upbeat theme song again. Continue reading

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Where do people go when they die?

Ishikawa Ango (Oguri Shun) is an intelligent, ambitious detective with keen powers of observation. One day, a former police officer is killed and when Ishikawa goes to the scene of the crime, he unwittingly runs into the killer and is shot in the head. He survives with the bullet lodged in his brain, but realises that as a result, he can now communicate with dead people… Continue reading

Asa ga Kita: Weeks 4-6

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Here’s another round of Asa ga Kita to end off the year. Although I’ve been very slow with this asadora, it’s really quite enjoyable and easy to watch. The theme song is also fun to sing along to, since it’s so upbeat and very apt for Asa’s character. So far things are progressing well and both Asa and Hatsu are learning how to protect their respective families in their own ways. Dad’s words have a profound effect on them and it’s this principle that guides the sisters as they navigate the changing times and family fortunes. Continue reading

Asa ga Kita: Weeks 1-3

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I’ve been meaning to write about Asa ga Kita for a while, but real life got in the way and my computer has gone wonky, so this is terribly delayed and I don’t know if I’ll keep writing on it. However, the experience of watching my first asadora has been pretty good so far, and at 15 minutes (on the dot!) for each episode, it’s very easy to breeze through a week of episodes (six in total).

Imai Asa (Haru) is the second daughter of a wealthy Kyoto merchant. A tomboy with a love of sumo wrestling and accounting, and penchant for asking questions, Asa is very different from her elder sister Hatsu (Miyazaki Aoi), who is the epitome of feminine grace. Asa and Hatsu have been betrothed from young to sons of two distinguished moneylending families in Osaka. Despite initial resistance from Asa, she soon falls in love with her fiancé Shirooka Shinjiro (Tamaki Hiroshi). After their marriage, Shinjiro has no interest in the family business and only devotes his time to the shamisen and other pleasurable activities. As difficult times beckon at the cusp of the Meji era and as the Shirooka family finds itself in financial straits, Asa steps up to take charge… Continue reading

Tamaki Hiroshi back in an asadora

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From left: Miyazaki Aoi, Haru, Tamaki Hiroshi

It’s a new project for Tamaki Hiroshi! This time, he’ll be part of the NHK asadora called Asa ga kita, which is set at the end of the Edo/early Meiji Restoration periods and depicts the life of businesswoman Hirooka Asako (1849-1919), based on the novel Shosetsu Tosaborigawa Josei Jitsugyoka Hirooka Asako no Shogai by Furukawa Chieko. Young actress Haru will be the female lead Imai Asa, who was born as the second daughter of a wealthy merchant in Kyoto. Asa then went to Osaka and entered various business fields like coal mines, banks and life insurance. She also founded the first female university in Japan. Sounds like a woman ahead of her times!

Tamaki will play Asa’s husband Shiraoka Shinjiro, the second son of a money-exchange family in Osaka. His character is described as bright and cheerful, with an interest in shamisen and tea ceremony (and possibly a dubious relationship with his shamisen teacher). After marriage, Asa’s entrepreneurial talents came to the fore as she made efforts to run a bank, colliery company and so on on behalf of her prodigal husband. This doesn’t sound particularly promising for Tamaki’s character, haha. Other notable cast members include Miyazaki Aoi as Asa’s elder sister Hatsu, Masu Takeshi and Terajima Shinobu as Asa’s parents, and Kondo Masaomi and Fubuki Jun as Shinjiro’s parents.

I haven’t seen Haru in anything, so I have no idea if she can act. She’s only 23, but already has quite a number of works under her belt, so I’m hopeful that she’s got some acting chops if she’s gonna be leading an asadora. Apparently she had auditioned for previous NHK dramas and had not been selected, but her perseverance paid off on the fourth time – gotta give her props for not giving up! She’s 11 years younger than Tamaki, so I just hope they look compatible onscreen. It’d have been nice if it were Miyazaki playing Asa, since it’d be a reunion for her and Tamaki after they last starred in Tada, Kimi wo Aishiteru nine years ago. No matter what, I’m just glad Tamaki will be back in a drama, although it will be a while yet – filming will start next month and the asadora won’t premiere until September. It’s been 12 years since Tamaki was in an asadora (2003’s Kokoro), while it will be Miyazaki’s second asadora (she was the lead in 2006’s Junjo Kirari). And I’m happy they’re gonna film in Kansai, that’s a pretty awesome region.

Asa ga kita will be NHK’s 93rd asadora and will run from Sept 28 to April 2. It is scheduled for 156 episodes and will air Mondays to Saturdays at 8am.

junny@11.01pm