Japanese Historic Drama on Sundays and Toyama

On Sundays on NHK, they are doing historical drama yearly. This year “Taira no Kiyomori” in Heian era (lived 1118-1181). One of the first big two Samurai families. They were rivals and fought until one of them (Heishi=Heike, Kiyomori’s side)perished in 1185. Winning Genji took the power and made government at Kamakura in 1192.

Samurai (bushi) was at first guards of aristocrats. Then they became powerful, Heike flourished like aristocrats, in the bloom “If you are not Heike, you’re not human” one of the family member said.

This drama is complex and suffering of low rates, but in my Twitter timeline reputation is not bad. These days even NHK is using young actor/actress with short career to draw attention of younger generation, which discourages older generation. This time, hero KennchiKenichi Matsuyama (husband of Koyuki, who played in “Last Samurai”) and Hiroshi Tamaki (drama “Nodame Cantabile”) are doing well. Actors/Actresses of elder generations are far better.

I suppose low rates is because of complex plots and too many people appearance. I used to watch dramas like this as a pupil, but nowadays kids don’t. The language is old to understand for them.

New attempt is made, insider staff is tweeting the detail of the drama, and even one of the actors will tweet during the drama broadcast.

BTW, Heike is related with Toyama. Heike and Genji fought at Kurikara, between the border of Toyama and Ishikawa. I pass there by train once a month, it’s surrounded by not high mountains. There is the temple called Fudo-ji, according to their website their aim is pray  for  aborted fetus.

And more, after Heike was lost in the war, they’ve escaped and scattered everywhere in Japan. One of them was Toyama, called Gokayama, now UNESCO World heritage. Where my grandparents passed away 3 years ago were from.

The World Heritage- the Historic Village of Gokayama (Japanese and English, but in Japanese site you can see beautiful flash)

This is historical fork ballads called “Kokiriko”, there is men’s dance and women’s dance, and men dance with a sort of bamboo instrument called “sasara”. Their clothes are apparently not of farmers. It’s aristocrats’ one.

Here you can see the distinction of both dances. Among the lyrics, they are singing about discarding aristocrats’ hat and kimono, and becoming  farmers.

Still I regard here as my root, although it’s a bit difficult to visit for me, cause it’s hard to drive mountainside, and buses are a few. My aunt lives there running an inn , sometimes brings some souvenirs for us.

I ordered a name card like this, now waiting for arrival. If somebody personally know me but haven’t got name card reading this, maybe it’s the one coming to you…(the other side is in English).

(July 26th added: For foreign ppl, NHK is the paid channel. About 1 year ago, they made a payed archive only residents in Japan, and most of videos in the net were deleted. Maybe you’ll have to wait the DVD…)


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