The 3.11 Disaster Represented in a Popular TV Drama, “Amachan”

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Some of  our Facebook page subscribers might remember the post about an extremely popular Japanese TV drama, “Amachan”.


I am a huge fan of this drama! Well…actually I’m more than a fan; I’m addicted to Amachan. It’s a short (15min) morning TV drama broadcast Monday through Saturday, and Sunday is kind of a sad day for me because I can’t watch Amachan. The charming main character, Aki Amano is supported by various supporting personalities.

First let me tell you the story very briefly: Aki Amano was an undistinguished hight school girl in Tokyo. But her life began to change significantly when she moved  to Sanriku in Tohoku and became an “ama” (female diver who collects sea urchins). The program tells her story as she interacts with various unique and lovable side characters.

Sounds a bit like a common story? No way! The scenario is outstanding. The tale is scripted by a famous writer, Kankuro Kudo (also known as Kudokan). He specializes in comedies and lays lots of witty comic snares in his scripts to give the audience little chuckles, and even bursts of laughter. And this of course holds true in Amachan as well. Sad stories are not suitable for the morning ;)

Amachan is not just amusing. A very serious subject, the Tohoku earthquake is also a background to the tale. I was very interested in how Kudokan would deal with such a difficult topic in a comedy drama. How would the ordeal of the tsunami be represented?

The episode dramatizing 3.11 was broadcast on September 2nd, disaster prevention day. No actual images or videos from the real day were used. The tsunami was amazingly expressed by using a diorama damaged by the quake. The diorama had appeared many times in previous episodes. Yes, that was an advance hint, a clever bit of foreshadowing. It was never like a panic/disaster movie. Everything in the scenes looked very calm and quiet to me, but it was enough to feel the fear and grief. Kudokan was just awesome in his treatment of the subject. (There also seems to be some public opinion urging him to address the Fukushima nuclear disaster, but I personally don’t agree with that.)

Splendid script, lovely heroine, versatile supporting actors. And one last thing that makes me crazy about Amachan is its cheerful and catchy opening theme song.



This up-tempo instrumental theme song is just perfect to happily start up my day! The Amachan song even attracts a cat’s attention ^_^



 This is JAPAN Style!