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.
NHK announced its 2022 morning drama (asadora) and it’s an Okinawan series called Chimudondon (ちむどんどん)! The 106th edition of the series follows 2001’s “Churasan (ちゅらさん)” (can you believe it’s 20 years ago?!) as the second asadora with an Okinawan theme. Chimudondon stars Okinawan-born actress Kuroshima Yuina (黒島結菜) and will tell the story of chef Higa Nobuko (比嘉暢子) with Okinawa of the 1960s and beyond as the backdrop. Other than Yuina and Jon Kabira (ジョン・カビラ) who is handling the narrating, the rest of the cast hasn’t been announced yet so there’s hope that we’ll see more actresses and actors from Okinawa. We’re also interested to find out who will be handling the theme song — perhaps Miura Daichi? Kuroshima Yuina will follow in the footsteps of asadora alumni from Okinawa Kuninaka Ryoko (2001’s Churasan) and Higa Manami (2007’s Dondo Hare) both who have gone on to have prosperous careers.
We look forward to hearing more news about Chimudondon and to watching it in 2022.
NHK World continues to bring stories from Okinawa and this time it features a story on Pamela Ann Matsunaga’s Greek-style cheese using Okinawan goat milk. The cheese and yogurt she makes looks so delicious and I love the fact that she doesn’t use any preservatives. Her shop’s name is also cute: Cheeseanista (located in the Plaza House Shopping Center).
I just started watching Cobra Kai (Netflix link) and am still on Season 1 so it’s great to see what develops in future episodes/seasons of the series. Cobra Kai takes place decades after the Karate Kid films (the ones starring Pat Morita as the sensei) so it’s nice to see that it calls back to the Okinawa background of the films: Karate Kid Part II took place in “Okinawa” (it was actually filmed on Oahu, Hawaii) and the Mr. Miyagi character (Pat Morita) is originally from Okinawa. One thing to note is that we’ll have to wait until Season 3 to see guest stars Tamlyn Tomita, Traci Toguchi, and Yuji Okumoto.
RBC aired a 1-hour special today called “Ryukyu Athlete MTG 2021” (琉球アスリートＭＴＧ２０２１). The TV special features several athletes from Okinawa that will be competing in Tokyo 2020 (now in summer 2021 as it was postponed last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic). The athletes (links to their Wikipedia page if available) featured in the special are Kiyuna Ryo (karate), Arashiro Yukiya (cycling road race), Miyamoto Masanori (weightlifting), Kina Tsubasa (wheelchair marathon), Ikehara Ayaka (handball), Tsuha Hibiki (long jump), and Tome Takanori (canoe).
Let’s give them our support!
Link to RBC’s article.
Although many of us were saddened of Kiku TV’s decision in not picking up the 71st NHK Kouhaku Uta-Gassen, they are showing two special dramas that have actresses from Okinawa featured in them.
The first airs tonight (Saturday, 1/2) and is called The Last Promise (Saigo no Yakusoku) which aired in Japan on January 9, 2010. This special drama stars Kuroki Meisa (2010 is during the height of her popularity and prior to her marriage to Akanishi Jin) as Niimi Yuriko (daughter of the president of Energy Bio Corporation).
The second airs on Wednesday 1/6 and is called Shitto (Jealousy) which aired in Japan on August 16, 2020. This special drama stars Kuninaka Ryoko (of Churasan fame and is married to popular actor Mukai Osamu) as Nagai Fumina.
Link to Kiku TV’s 2021 New Year’s Specials
Yes, it was a very different NHK Kouhaku Uta-Gassen (the 71st) with the ongoing pandemic performances were done without an audience. But for those that are fans of Okinawan pop culture, we can celebrate that popular actress Nikaido Fumi (Naha, Okinawa) was one of the announcers for the annual song battle. She currently starts in NHK’s asadora Yell.
I’m catching up on articles from the awesome website Tokyograph of mostly film and TV news. Click on the links to read the full articles on Tokyograph’s website.
The original show starred Ueto as rookie detective Sakuragi Izumi, who worked on difficult unsolved cases as part of a Special Investigations Office (based on an actual division established by Japan in 2009). This time takes place half a year later, after Sakuragi has been transferred to a different division that deals with current crimes.
“Ueto Aya returns in ‘Zettai Reido’ sequel”
The “Shinzanmono” drama series is getting a movie next year. Doi Nobuhiro is directing the film, which is tentatively titled “Kirin no Tsubasa: Gekijoban Shinzanmono.” Abe Hiroshi (46) will return in the starring role, along with Mizobata Junpei (21) and Kuroki Meisa (22).
“‘Shinzanmono’ movie announced for 2012”
“Zenkai Girl” is the first time that Aragaki is playing the main character in a television series, though she has previously had several roles as major secondary characters. In the series, she plays Wakaba, an ambitious international lawyer with dreams of rising to the top.
“Aragaki Yui stars in Fuji TV’s next ‘Getsu 9’ with Nishikido Ryo”
[…] Taira plays Iwami Saki, an office worker who hates conflict with other people, so she always ends up holding back her own opinions and ingratiating herself with others.
“Hamada Gaku, Taira Airi lead suspense drama ‘Piece Vote’”
Kuroki Meisa (23) and Tabe Mikako (22) are acting together for the first time, co-starring in a drama series this summer called “Jiu: Keishichou Tokushuhan Sousakei.” The two will play police detectives on the same special investigation team, though their differing personalities lead them to constantly clash with each other.
“Kuroki Meisa, Tabe Mikako co-star in suspense series ‘Jiu’“