Why Roppongi Class Viewer Ratings Exploded Despite the Appearance of Teruyuki Kagawa Who is Involve in Sexual Harassment? | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Why Roppongi Class Viewer Ratings Exploded Despite the Appearance of Teruyuki Kagawa Who is Involve in Sexual Harassment?

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Kagawa’s dominoes of program and commercial dropouts continue unabated. He also looks tired on the set.

Teruyuki Kagawa (56) has been under fire for his sex-related assaults. On the other hand, the drama series “Roppongi Class” (TV Asahi), in which Kagawa appears, is currently airing, is showing an ironic phenomenon: viewership ratings are exploding.

The drama is a Japanese remake of the Korean drama “Itaewon Class,” which gained explosive popularity when it was distributed on Netflix. The main character, a young man (Takeuchi Ryoma, 29), seeks revenge on the man who destroyed his life and sent his father to his death by making a business career out of him. The villain is played by none other than Teruyuki Kagawa.

The first half of “Roppongi Class” had been flying low, but due in part to the interesting story, the viewer ratings began to climb in the middle part of the film. It seemed as if the program would continue to gain momentum, but the growth rate slowed down after exceeding 9%, and after three consecutive weeks of “slight increase” of 0.1% each, the viewer rating suddenly broke the double-digit mark. The figure has now broken double digits. It has even overtaken the very popular Sunday drama “Old Rookie”.

In the case of serial dramas, it is not uncommon for the drama series to show a strong performance toward the end of the season, when the story is reaching its climax. However, “Roppongi Class” is scheduled to run for 13 episodes, longer than most Japanese dramas. The August 25 episode, which broke double digits in viewer ratings, was only the eighth episode, so there is a long way to go. Normally, a dramatic increase in viewer ratings would not occur at such an unusual time. So what in the world could have contributed to this boost? We asked people in the entertainment industry, and they said it was definitely the “Kagawa effect.”

The villain’s realism.

Kagawa (right) and Ichikawa Ennosuke on their way to a long-established eel restaurant in Asakusa, Tokyo. Photo taken in June 2020.

Kagawa’s story first broke on August 24. The seventh episode, which aired the following day, saw a nearly 1% increase in viewer ratings, so it is safe to say that the viewers were completely drawn to Kagawa. In fact, there were comments on the Internet such as, “Now that he is more realistic as a villain, the pleasure of exterminating demons seems to be increasing. I want to see the end of him because he was my favorite actor.”

“While many commercials and programs announced Kagawa’s departure, only TV Asahi announced that “Roppongi Class,” in which Kagawa appears, would continue to air. This is probably due to the fact that Kagawa has an important role that is difficult to replace, and that the remake of the film is also a matter of interest. TV Asahi has been inundated with criticism for this, but the ratings themselves are doing very well. It is quite ironic,” said a reporter in charge of entertainment for a weekly magazine.

The following analysis was also heard.

Roppongi Class” has a lot of fans now, partly because of its interesting story. Surprisingly, many of these fans have not seen the original “Itaewon Class.” So they are anxious to see how the story will develop in the future, but because of Kagawa, there was a danger that the broadcast would be canceled. But if the show is cancelled at such an interesting time, I would be very frustrated.

There are people on the Internet saying, “It would be terrible if the show is cancelled now! I definitely want to watch until the last episode! It’s getting more and more interesting. The main cast member Ichikawa Chuguruma (Kagawa’s kabuki actor’s name) is not to be blamed for the scandal, but the drama is blameless. Drama fans may be watching the drama on-time to prevent cancellation and boost the ratings,” said a TV station spokesperson.

It is said that viewer ratings are originally meant for commercial sponsors. This time, however, no matter how high the viewer ratings go, it will worsen their image and make it difficult for them to run commercials, saying, “Are they going to pay for a drama with Kagawa in it? It is no good if the ratings are bad, and it is no good even if the ratings are good. This is a clear example of the “pain or the itch” that should be included in textbooks.”

With NHK program staff (some images have been doctored)
  • Interview and text by Nanako

    Born in Ehime Prefecture. After working at a broadcasting station, she became a freelance writer. She specializes in interviews with celebrities and articles analyzing popular events, and is always on the lookout for serial dramas and popular Japanese movies. She is a well-known beautiful writer in the magazine industry.

  • Photography Ippei Hara, Yusuke Kondo

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