Actress Higa Manami has a starring role in Fuji TV’s new drama “My Fair Prince (Oshi no Oojisama)”. The drama also stars Watanabe Keisuke, Dean Fujioka, and Shiraishi Sei. There was an Uchinanchu connection with the first episode as voice actor Nakamura Shugo had a guest appearance.
Although the 6-episode web drama “Ghosts Can’t Dance (Yūrei wa Odorenai)” was uploaded to YouTube back in March, I finally finished watching it recently and it’s so good (lots of feels)! Anyone with an interest in Ryukyu culture (both pop and traditional) shouldn’t miss this. The web drama is produced by the Kariyushi Geinou Kouen (Traditional Okinawan Performing Arts) and features the original theme song “Don’t forget” by upcoming singer-songwriter Kina Kanon.
YouTube link to the first episode of “Ghosts Can’t Dance”.
Okay, so it wasn’t the news of who will be singing the drama’s theme song that we’re waiting for but the announcement of the logo designed by Kosugi Koichi. At this rate, we’ll probably see a new Twitter account for the drama before the theme song is announced. 😂
And, yes! We have two additional Uchinanchu that were announced as cast members for the upcoming NHK asadora “Chimudondon”. You probably noticed that we mention Gori a lot and now we get to mention his Garage Sale partner Kawata Hiroki! You may recall him from “Churasan” so it’s great to see him on this new asadora too (it would be funny if the characters are somehow related but I don’t think that’ll be happening 😂). In “Chimudondon”, Kawata will be playing the role of the master at Sunset Burger so it sounds more of a supporting role.
The other Uchinanchu cast member is radio personality and free-announcer Kyan Hitomi who will be playing the obaa role for the Aragaki family.
So all that remains is the theme song and artist. We’re hoping that it’ll be Anly (from Iejima).
So a funny thing happened. While we were excited to hear about an upcoming NHK Asadora that takes place in Okinawa called “Chimumdondon“, we were also holding our breath to see how the rest of the cast would play out. NHK is slowly rolling out the names of the drama’s cast and when they started off with Nakama Yukie (playing the role of the heroine’s mother Higa Youko) we all breathed a sigh of relief — until the rest of the names (only Yukie is Uchinanchu) was announced 😂. As the cast announced is only of the Higa (heroine’s) family and the theme song’s singer hasn’t been determined yet, we can only hope that we’ll see more Uchinanchu represented in a drama that’s. Set. In. Okinawa.
But, yeah, we know. Ryukyu no Kaze. Churasan. Should we just be happy that there’s a large production (from NHK) that’s filmed in Okinawa and features a few Uchinanchu in its cast and crew?
You may have heard a rumor that KIKU will stop airing Japanese and Filipino programming soon.
Unfortunately, the rumor is true.
Starting Monday, June 28, 2021, KIKU and other stations owned by RNN National, LLC will air ShopHQ 24/7.via the station’s FB page
Definitely sad news to hear that KIKU-TV will no longer show Asian programming. The station brought us NHK’s Red & White Song Festival every year (well, up to 2019’s edition of the show) as well as NHK’s Taiga drama (probably how many saw Ryukyu no Kaze — yes, in spite of how Japanese it was). There was a time when they also broadcasted Okinawa’s folk music red & white song festival (Shinshun Minyou Kouhaku Uta-gassen). The channel will definitely be missed.
In the category of “I really want to watch this!” comes the RBC Ryukyu historical drama Shō En Ou (the king of the second Shō dynasty) which aired in February 2020 and is being streamed on Japan’s Paravi service and sold as a DVD (sadly, no English subtitles for both editions).
The cast is led by ParanaiSaranai’s Chinen Shingo (he’s also the first Kanai/Ryujin Mabuyer!) as King Shō En and features actors and actresses from Okinawa. I found the DVD for sale on Amazon Japan but it’s region code 2 (not playable on US players) so I may have to go the Paravi route which is at least offering 2 weeks for free.
To commemorate the 65th anniversary of the All-Island Eisaa Festival (canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic), a drama special was shown on OTV on February 13th of this year. It looks like a must-watch drama and I love the part in the above trailer when it shows one of the drama’s themes: “We will protect our (eisaa) tradition” (伝統は俺たちが守ります). So the bad news is that the drama isn’t available to be streamed nor is there a physical copy on sale (a few of the YouTube comments are pleading for a DVD). OTV and Zentou Eisaa, please release the drama on YouTube!
Aragaki Yui “Gakky” will appear in NHK’s 2022 Taiga Drama Kamakura 13. She will play the role of Yae, who is the main character’s first crush. In her 20+ years as an actress, this marks her first appearance in a Taiga Drama.
Speaking of Taiga dramas, there was one called Ryūkyū no Kaze from 1993 that wasn’t directed by, starred by, or had music composed by anyone from Okinawa. The first actor/actress to appear (in this case star) in a Taiga Drama was Nakama Yukie in 2006’s Kōmyō ga Tsuji, followed by Gackt in 2007’s Fūrin Kazan, and Nikaidō Fumi making an appearance in 2018’s Segodon.