Posted by: Andreas | February 28, 2009

TV Friday

Well, today I figured I should do some sort of update. I do apologise for the lack of recent updates, but truth be told I have had a slight dearth of ideas these last days. I really didn’t think it would happen after such a short time with the blog. I do intend to keep the writing up though, and of course it’ll be easier to have things to write about once I arrive in Japan. For now though, I’m thinking of introducing TV Friday, just as I had Book Tuesday. Somewhat un-original yes, I give you that, but at least it’ll give me the chance to introduce some Japanese television which was one of the ideas with the blog.

Today’s show will be a comedy called Oyaji (親父), also known as “Father” or “Oh, dad!” in English translations. It was broadcasted in 2000 by TBS and was quite well received by Japanese viewers. The show is about the 55-year-old physician Kanichi Kanzaki, father of three and married with the housewife Miyako. He is an obstinate, self-centred man who doesn’t hestitate to lecture not only his wife and children, but also anyone else he sees on the streets of Tokyo, be it from throwing away chocolate wrappings on the street to kissing in public.

oyaji21It gets worse when Kanichi screws up his oldest daughter’s pre-arranged marriage and then finds out that his youngest daughter Suzu (Ryoko Hirosue) intends on getting married instead, without his permission. Unforgivable! Meanwhile, his son who has tried to get into a pre-college for Medical school declares that he doesn’t want to take over the private clinic that Kanichi runs.

The whole world crumbles in front of his eyes and Kanichi doesn’t know what to do. In order to relax he visits the local hostess-club where he has been before but never really taken pleasure at the ladies, complaining that they are irresponsible girls for having such jobs. This time though, he meets with the new girl, Machiko, and falls head over heels in love with her. While dealing with his unruly family and his new “lover” whom he must keep a secret to everyone else, one last plot unravels as the viewer is invited to speculate about the wife Miyako’s possible adultery…!

To me, this show is one of the better comedies that have been produced. It opens up strongly with a great Episode 1 where most of the action takes place and the viewer is presented with the family, their strongpoints and weaknesses but most of all Oyaji’s stubborness that will lead to many a fun situation in the later episodes. In the middle of the show, a lot of time is spent on developing the plot and less time is given to Kanichi to make situations completely chaotic, but in the last few episodes he’s back again and one can enjoy a fabulous ending with lots of laughter and a good closing of the series.

Fun facts:

  • Kanichi Kanzaki the character is 55 in the series, but at the shooting of the series the actor Masakazu Tamura playing him was 57. Meanwhile, his wife Miyako Kanzaki is supposed to be 53 but the actress Hitomi Kuroki was actually only 40.
  • Masakazu Tamura also plays a father in the 2002 TV series Otousan (おとうさん) in which also Ryoko Hirosue (the youngest daughter) plays his daughter again. Make sure you don’t mix these two series up if you’re buying either of them since both are called “Father” in English.
  • Another series starring Masakazu Tamura as the father and Hitomi Kuroki again as the mother, is Fuufu (夫婦) from 2004, also from TBS.
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