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Wataru Seken wa oni Bakari

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Wataru Seken wa oni Bakari
The five daughters, along with Daikichi, from Season 8. Top left to right: Honma Nagako, Munakata Yoko, Takahashi Fumiko. Bottom left to right: Kojima Satsuki, Okakura Daikichi, Noda Yajoi

Details

Synopsis

Wataru is based on the life of Okakura Daikichi, a father of five daughters. Daikichi owns Okakura, a 5-star Japanese restaurant most people can only dream of dining. The storylines are based on each of the five daughters' lives, ranging from bitchy mother-in-laws, the kids, their husbands, and so forth.

The second oldest daugther is Kojima Satsuki. She is married to Isamu, who's family runs Koraku, a typical Chinese ramen restaurant. Satsuki and Isamu have two kids, Ai and Shin. Isamu's mother, Kimi once lived with the Kojima family (their home is upstairs, in the same building as Koraku). Due to declining health, Kimi moved to the United States and is living with her daughter Hisako. As of the 8th season, Hisako moves back to Koraku, and attempts to earn back her birthright. Satsuki's biggest problem is having to deal with Hisako, as well as Seiko who is very loyal to Kimi and Hisako. Because Satsuki has to work all day at Koraku and tend to her immediate family, she has no time for herself, or even for her four other sisters and her father.

The other sisters include Noda Yajoi, Takahashi Fumiko, Munakata Yoko, and Honma Nagako. Yajoi is a retired nurse, and has to deal with her divorced daughter Akari and her grandson. Fumiko runs a travel agency; she too has a problem with her son, Nozomi, who chose to become a guitarist instead of attending college. Yoko is an interior decorator and was recently married. And Nagako is a housewife who married into the Honma family. The Honma family are all physicians, who run Honma Hospital. --groink

Review by groink

The formatting of Wataru is very much like an American daytime drama (called a "soap opera") in that 1) it is continuous and never-ending, and 2) there are about a dozen or so different storylines going on in just a single season. For the average Japanese drama fan who is used to today's idol rom-com renzoku dramas, he would probably be turned off by Wataru because of its length, its topics, and massive confusion with the different storylines. Despite the differences, most people who do give Wataru eventually become addicted.

In earlier seasons, the focus among the five daughters were about even. In later seasons (Season 3 and up), I'd say about 50-percent of Wataru is focused on the Kojima family. I find their situation, along with Nagako's, to be the most interesting.

If you like family dramas, and have patience to watch for one year, Wataru is a MUST watch. In Japan, Wataru is HEAVILY marketed via merchandise -- from plastic figurines to Koraku-brand instant ramen.

As of this writing, there are eight completed seasons. --groink

Season Information

  • Season 1: 1990-Oct-11 to 1991-Sep-26 (49 eps, avg=18.2)
  • Season 2: 1993-Apr-15 to 1994-Mar-31 (49 eps, avg=23.8)
  • Season 3: 1996-Apr-04 to 1997-Mar-27 (50 eps, avg=26.6)
  • Season 4: 1998-Oct-01 to 1999-Sep-30 (51 eps, avg=24.7)
  • Season 5: 2000-Oct-05 to 2001-Sep-27 (50 eps, avg=24.3)
  • Season 6: 2002-Apr-04 to 2003-Mar-27 (51 eps, avg=23.5)
  • Season 7: 2004-Apr-01 to 2005-Mar-31 (51 eps, avg=18.2)
  • Season 8: 2006-Apr-06 to 2007-Mar-29 (50 eps, avg=18.1)
  • Season 9: 2008-Apr-03 to 2009-Mar-26 (49 eps, avg=15.3)
  • Season 10: 2010-Oct-14 to

Specials

  • 1994-Sep-29
  • 1995-Dec-28
  • 1999-Dec-23 (23.0 rating)
  • 2000-Apr-06 (20.9 rating)
  • 2006-Dec-28

Cast

  • Research and translations by groink

Okakura Family
Utsui Ken 宇津井健 Okakura Daikichi 岡倉大吉 Husband of Setsuko (Season 8)
Fujioka Takuya 藤岡琢也 Okakura Daikichi 岡倉大吉 Husband of Setsuko (Season 1-7)
Yamaoka Hisano 山岡久乃 Okakura Setsuko 岡倉節子 Wife of Daikichi (deceased)
Mori Mitsuko 森光子 Moriyama Tamako 森山珠子 Daikichi's oldest sister
Nomura Akiko 野村昭子 Aoyama Taki 青山タキ Worker at Okakura
Yamada Masato 山田雅人 Miyabe Tsutomu 宮部勉 Worker at Okakura
Hasegawa Jun 長谷川純 Moriyama Sota 森山壮太 Shin's friend, now works at Okakura
Horiuchi Masami 堀内正美 Moriyama Shozo 森山正造 Sota's father
Niki Terumi 二木てるみ Hatakeyama Tomoko 畠山智子 Shozo's second wife
Misaki Chieko 三崎千恵子 Tsukada Sakie 塚田咲枝 "moonfaced-woman" owner
Hasegawa Tetsuo 長谷川哲夫 Tsukada Bunta 塚田文太 Son of Sakie
Yokota Susumu 横田進 Koide Bunpei 小出文平 Former worker of Okakura
Sakagami Shinobu 坂上忍 Namiki Muneharu 並木宗治 Tamako's legal advisor
Enoki Takaaki 榎木孝明 Aoyama Hisamitsu 青山久光 Yoko's former fiance, Taki's oldest son
Sugimura Haruko 杉村春子 Waka Rikka 立花ワカ Setsuko's aunt (1st season)
Noda Family
Nagayama Aiko 長山藍子 Noda Yayoi 野田弥生 Oldest daugther of Daikichi and Setsuko
Maeda Gin 前田吟 Noda Ryo 野田良 Yayoi's husband
Sugiyama Tokuko 杉山とく子 Noda Hana 野田ハナ Ryo's mother
Iwabuchi Ken 岩渕健 Noda Takeshi 野田武志 Yayoi and Ryo's oldest son
Mabuchi Erika 馬淵英里何 Noda Saeda 野田佐枝 Takeshi's wife
n/a n/a Noda Yoshitake 野田良武 Saeda's oldest son (never appeared)
Yamabe Yuuki 山辺有紀 Noda Akari 野田あかり Yayoi and Ryo's oldest daughter
Kurata Tetsuo 倉田てつを Akiba Kazuo 秋葉和夫 Ex-husband of Akari
Mizumachi Reiko 水町レイコ Kitagawa 北川 Kindergarten teacher
Hara Hisako 原ひさ子 Akiba Riki 秋葉リキ Kazuo's grandmother (deceased)
Kinomi Nana 木の実ナナ Akiba Mitsue 秋葉満枝 Mother of Kazuo and Tokieda (deceased)
Ishino Mako 石野真子 Akiba Tokie 秋葉時枝 Kazuo's oldest sister (5th season)
Mikami Naoya 三上直也 Kawata Souhei 川田草平 Old man living in Iwaki (3rd season)
Eto Jun 江藤潤 Murakami Tetsuya 村上哲也 President of service station where Takeshi worked (4th season)
Kojima Family
Izumi Pinko 泉ピン子 Kojima Satsuki 小島五月 Second daugther of Daikichi and Setsuko
Kadono Takuzo 角野卓造 Kojima Isamu 小島勇 Husband of Satsuki, Kimi's oldest son
Akagi Harue 赤木春恵 Kojima Kimi 小島キミ Mother to Isamu, Hisako and Kuniko
Yoshimura Ryo 吉村涼 Kojima Ai 小島愛 Daughter of Satsuki and Isamu
Kazuki Enari えなりかずき Kojima Shin 小島眞 Son of Satsuki and Isamu
Shibuya Asuka 渋谷飛鳥 Yoshino Kyoko 吉野杏子 Shin's girlfriend (Season 8)
Wakamatsu Toshihide 若松俊秀 Ishikawa Tamotsu 石川保 Ai's client
Sawada Masami 沢田雅美 Kojima Hisako 小島久子 Kimi's oldest daughter, Isamu's oldest sister
Kishida Satoshi 岸田敏志 Yamashita Kenji 山下健治 Once married to Hisako. Koraku chef
Okunuki Kaoru 奥貫薫 Yamashita Mitsuko 山下光子 Kenji's wife
Yonezawa Yuka 米沢由香 Kojima Kana 山下加奈 Daugther of Kenji and Hisako (1st and 2nd season)
Ueto Aya 上戸彩 Kojima Kana 山下加奈 Daugther of Kenji and Hisako (Seasons 6,8)
Owada Baku 大和田獏 Nonoshita Chota 野々下長太 Kuniko's husband
Isohata Hayato 五十畑迅人 Nonoshita Takashi 野々下隆 Oldest son of Kuniko and Kosuke (3rd season)
Tanaka Kyohei 田中恭平 Nonoshita Takashi 野々下隆 Oldest son of Kuniko and Kosuke (4th season)
Okonogi Mari 小此木麻里 Nonoshita Mika 野々下ミカ Oldest daughter of Kuniko and Kosuke
Uno Naomi 宇野なおみ Nonoshita Kazu 野々下加津 Daughter of Chota and Minori
Kumagai Mami 熊谷真実 Kikumura Minori 菊村みのり Ex-wife of Chota, Kazu's mom
Watanabe Misako 渡辺美佐子 Kikumura Sawa 菊村サワ Owner of Japanese sweets store
Nishikiori Kazukiyo 錦織一清 Kikumura Yasushi 菊村康史 Sawa's son
Toushin Yoshikazu 東新良和 Toda Tsukasa 戸田司 Best friend of Kazu, son of Yumiko and Hiroyuki
Tsurata Sayaka 鶴田さやか Toda Yumiko 戸田弓子 Mother of Tsukasa
Wakayama Kiichiro 若山騎一郎 Toda Hiroyuki 戸田弘行 Father of Tsukasa
Okamoto Nobuto 岡本信人 Tajima Shuhei 田島周平 Seiko's husband, worker at Koraku
Nakajima Shoko 中島唱子 Tajima Seiko 田島聖子 Shuhei's wife, worker at Koraku (maiden name Matsuda)
Enomoto Tatsuo 榎本たつお Matsumoto Tatsuo 松本達夫 Worker at Koraku
Kozu Chie 神津千恵 Kirino Sachi 桐野サチ Worker at Koraku
Ikeda Miki 池田幹 Sakamoto Koji 坂元浩次 Worker at Koraku
Isobe Tsutomu 磯部勉 Kitahara 北原 President of the water company where Takashi works
Sato Hideo 佐藤英夫 Kojima Kokichi 小島幸吉 Kimi's husband (deceased, 1st season)
Ito Atsushi 伊藤淳史 Kojima Noboru 小島登 Son of Hisako and Kenji (1st and 2nd season)
Beppu Yasuo 別府康男 Ogawa Kosuke 小川浩介 Kuniko's ex-husband (1st - 3rd season)
Hashizume Jun 橋爪淳 Tateishi Kazushige 立石一茂 Kuniko's extramarital affair partner, deceased - 3rd season)
Oki Naomi 沖直未 Tateishi Nobuko 立石伸子 Wife of Kazushige (3rd season)
Nishibe Rina 西部里菜 Yamagata Akiko 山形明子 Former worker of Koraku (3rd season)
Masaki Shinya 正木慎也 Saotome Keigo 早乙女圭吾 Akiko's boyfriend (3rd season)
Miyashita Yuji 宮下裕治 Shirodai Masanori 城代正則 Former boyfriend of Ai (5th - 7th season)
Kanda Masaki 神田正輝 Shirodai Tadanobu 城代忠信 Father of Masanori (5th season)
Owada Shinya 大和田伸也 Nakamura 中村編集長 Chief editor of Kazu's book (6th season)
Takahashi Family
Nakada Yoshiko 中田喜子 Takahashi Fumiko 高橋文子 Third daugther of Daikichi and Setsuko
Mitamura Kunihiko 三田村邦彦 Takahashi Toru 高橋亨 Fumiko's husband
Tomita Masayuki 冨田真之介 Takahashi Nozomi 高橋望 Oldest son of Fumiko and Nozomi
Kurasawa Momoko 倉沢桃子 Kaneda Eri 金田恵理 Best friend of Nozomi
Yamashita Yorie 山下容莉枝 Kaneda Toshiko 金田利子 Mother of Eri
Sato B-saku 佐藤B作 Kaneda Norikai 金田典介 Father of Eri
Kawauchi Momoko 河内桃子 Takahashi Toshiko 高橋年子 Mother of Toru (deceased, 1st - 3rd season)
Ichimaru Kazuyo 市丸和代 Nanae 七重 Natural food store manager, where Toru worked (3rd season)
Tsukayama Masane 津嘉山正種 Ota Kyouju 太田教授 Toshiko's family doctor (3rd season)
Munakata and Yamaguchi
Nomura Mami 野村真美 Munakata Yoko 宗方葉子 Fourth daugther of Daikichi and Setsuko
Inoue Jun 井上順 Munakata Naoyuki 宗方直之 Yoko's husband
Funakoshi Eiichiro 船越英一郎 Yamaguchi Taro 山口太郎 Yoko's ex-fiance
Kusabue Mitsuko 草笛光子 Yamaguchi Masako 山口政子 Yoko's best friend, Taro's mother
Ichiro Maki 一路真輝 Yamaguchi Michi 山口美智 Taro's wife
Karasawa Toshiaki 唐沢寿明 Takehara Hirotsugu 竹原洋次 Yoko's ex-husband (1st season)
Motoyama Kakuko 本山可久子 Takehara Tomeko 竹原留子 Mother of Hirotsugu (1st season)
Watanabe Kanji 渡辺寛二 Takehara Yoichi 竹原洋一 Oldest brother of Hirotsugu (1st season)
Honma Family
Fujita Tomoko 藤田朋子 Honma Nagako 本間長子 Youngest daugther of Daikichi and Setsuko
Uekusa Katsuhide 植草克秀 Honma Eisaku 本間英作 Husband of Nagako, son of Tsuneko
Tsuchie Mirei 土江海鈴 Honma Hinako 本間日向子 Daugther of Nagako and Eisaku (3rd season)
Takatsuka Mai 高塚麻衣 Honma Hinako 本間日向子 Daugther of Nagako and Eisaku (3rd season)
Hino Miki 日野美紀 Honma Hinako 本間日向子 Daugther of Nagako and Eisaku (4th season)
Otani Rena 大谷玲凪 Honma Hinako 本間日向子 Daugther of Nagako and Eisaku (Seasons 5-8)
Kyo Utako 京唄子 Kanbayashi Tsuneko 神林常子 Mother of Eisaku and Yuki
Aikawa Kinya 愛川欽也 Kanbayashi Kiyoaki 神林清明 Husband of Tsuneko
Yamaguchi Ryoichi 山口良一 Kanbayashi Morihiro 神林守弘 Oldest son of Kiyoaki
Kataoka Kyoko 片岡京子 Honma Yuki 本間由紀 Daughter of Tsuneko, sister of Eisaku (2nd season)
Kobayashi Ayako 小林綾子 Honma Yuki 本間由紀 Daughter of Tsuneko, sister of Eisaku (4th - 7th season)
Katsurayama Shingo 葛山信吾 Kasuga Nobuhiko 春日伸彦 Yuki's ex-husband
n/a n/a Honma Norihiko 本間紀彦 Oldest son of Yuki and Nobuhiko

Production Credits

Notes

  • KIKU-TV airs the series as Making It Through. The English title is not a translation of the Japanese title.
  • To the native Japanese speaker, the conversational style of Wataru is very un-natural, which may explain its unpopularity towards younger viewers. The characters tend to speak in long monologues - in some cases as long as two minutes non-stop for a character. Hashida Sugako explains the reason for the long monologues: "In this drama, the families are arguing throughout the year. But in our everyday lives, discussing things thoroughly happens so rarely. That's why having the couple or the parents and their kids come to an understanding by having long talks make the drama interesting." --- groink
  • Wataru is a highly recommended watch by teachers of the Japanese language, for beginning Japanese language students because the characters speak using keigo (polite use of kokugo, the national language of Japan.) --- groink
  • The title Wataru Seken wa oni Bakari is a take-off on the proverb "Wataru seken ni oni wa nai," which means that you will find many kind people in the world. The title of the drama apparently means the opposite. --- groink
  • Of all the prime-time Japanese dramas aired between 1984 and 2003, Wataru was the 5th highest rated drama (29.6 average, in 1997). Ironically, Wataru was also the highest rated drama NOT starring Kimura Takuya (beaten by 1. Hero (34.2), 2. Beautiful Life (32.3), 3. Good Luck!! (30.4), 4. Love Generation (30.1)) --- groink

Further Reading

  • Hashida Sugako: Wataru Seken wa oni Bakari. Shueisha 1996. ISBN 4-08-748509-9
  • Valaskivi, Katja: Wataru seken wa oni bakari. Mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law in a Japanese television drama. University of Jyväskylä 1995. ISBN 951-34-0644-X

Recognitions

External Links






Winter 1993 Season 2 Spring 1994
Kasai no Hito Thursday 21:00 Hotel 3









Autumn 2001 Season 6 Spring 2003
3 nen B gumi Kinpachi sensei 6 Thursday 21:00 HOTMAN



Winter 2004 Season 7 Spring 2005
Salaryman Kintaro 4 Thursday 21:00 Yume de Aimashou



Winter 2006 Season 8 Spring 2007
Byakuyako Thursday 21:00 Fufudo



Autumn 2007 Season 9 Spring 2009
3 nen B gumi Kinpachi sensei 8 Thursday 21:00 ---

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