Masanori Hamada’s reign in the entertainment industry continues, as evidenced by his famous performance in the drama “Ten Years of Love” 30 years ago.
This is a series of articles in which we analyze (after all this time) the last episode of a trendy drama. However, to be honest, I am not sure if TBS’s “Ten Years of Love” can be called a trendy drama or not. As I will discuss later, it seems to have been created as a reaction to a kind of trendy drama.
It was broadcast from October to December 1992. Fuji Television’s “Nijusai no Yakusoku” (Riho Makise, Goro Inagaki) and “Someone Else Loves Her” (Miho Nakayama, Koji Matoba) were broadcast in the same cool season.
I did not watch this “Ten Years of Love” in real time, but I got hooked on it when it was rerun. So I wanted to watch the last episode again this time to verify why I got hooked.
The casting included Misako Tanaka and Masanori Hamada, Chisato Oe, Kazuya Kimura, and Anju Suzuki (making her drama debut). It can be said that the casting was aggressive. Overall, there is a strong Kansai smell.
The following is a quote from the TBS Channel’s official website regarding the content of the drama.
–Aozora (Misako Tanaka), an office worker at a foreign-affiliated company, loves her friend’s lover, Masakazu (Chisato Oe), and wants to confess her love to him, but she cannot betray her friend and tries to compensate with a mistress who looks just like him. Then, by chance, Aozora meets Arashi (Masao Hamada) and empathizes with his honest way of life, and she begins to rethink her own way of life.
The point is that the story is a “moving romantic drama about 10 years of love and friendship between a man and a woman,” which is written in the continuation of the story, with each episode covering one year, for a total of 10 years (11 years from 1982 to 1992, to be exact). Therefore, there is a lot of information and the contents are very busy.
Incidentally, I watched it on “Paravi” this time. You can see how many incidents occurred in each of the 11 episodes by looking at this page. This may have been influenced by Fuji TV’s “Nobody Loves Me Anymore” (Eisaku Yoshida, Minako Tanaka), which became a hot topic as a “roller coaster drama” the previous year.
It was a departure from the energetic, upbeat, and somewhat easygoing trendy dramas of the previous year. In 1992, when the bubble economy was beginning to burst, it seems to have been created with the idea of attracting viewers with an overwhelming amount of information.
Chisato Oe more impressive than Masanori Hamada and Misako Tanaka
The biggest point in casting was the use of Downtown’s Masanori Hamada, who emerged as an actor in “Papa to Nacchan” (Masakazu Tamura, Kyoko Koizumi) and “AD Boogie” (Taishu Kasei, Hiroshi Matoba), both broadcast on TBS in 1991, and was selected to play the lead in this “Ten Years of Love”.
What amazes me when I see him now is that he delivers his lines in the ultra-real Kansai dialect, without using standard Japanese even for a moment. His natural acting ability is also quite good, showing the high “entertainment IQ” of Masanori Hamada.
His combination with Misako Tanaka is also in top form. To be honest, it is not on the level of Akashiya Sanma and Otake Shinobu, who were featured in the episode of “Summer Stories of Seven Men and Seven Women,” but the comic exchange between Hamada and Miho Nakayama that Masanori later performed in TBS’s “If My Wish Came True” (1994) was as good as that of Sanma and Shinobu.
If there is a difference between Akashiya Sanma and Masanori Hamada in the drama, it is the difference between Sanma’s flamboyant showbiz aura and Masanori Hamada’s ordinary yankee (delinquent) aura that one might find on a street corner in the Kansai region.
Masanori Hamada’s behavior injected the reality of the Kansai street corner into the world of crude, trendy dramas. I think this is what attracted me, an ordinary Kansai native at the time.
The script was written by Kazuhiko Yugawa. He also worked on “AD Boogie” and “If My Wish Came True,” in other words, he was a good person to mesh with Masanori Hamada. Later in 2011, Yuukawa, who would make a big hit with NTV’s “Mita, the Housekeeper” (Nanako Matsushima), would nurture “Hamada the Actor.
It was “Ten Years of Love,” however, it was actually Chisato Oe, not Masanori Hamada or Misako Tanaka, who has been talked about for this drama.
The scene at the end of the 6th episode in which “Masakazu Tamura” (read: Masakazu Tamura), the character he plays, is blown off a merry-go-round spinning at an abnormally high speed and dies, and the scene at the beginning of the 7th episode in which he is wearing bandages all over his face and a breathing apparatus, but for some reason he is wearing glasses (!). The scene at the beginning of the 7th episode, where he is wearing bandages all over his face and a respirator, but for some reason he is wearing glasses (!), is more powerful, and as a result many people may have forgotten the important story (I am one of them).
Masanori Hamada’s partner is behind his continued reign in the entertainment world.
What was the final episode of “Ten Years of Love” really like?
(This paragraph contains spoilers.) The final episode is set in 1992. Misako Tanaka and Masako Hamada are still married and working together at a pension. Keiko Saito gets back together, and Anju Suzuki decides to break up with Kazuya Kimura. Things take a sudden turn in the second half of the film; Tanaka is lost in the snow, and the pension is on fire. In the last scene, while looking at the burned down pension, Tanaka and Hamada decide to start a new life together, unmarried.
Regardless of the content, this drama is all about Masanori Hamada. He is only 29 years old, and his fresh charm fills the entire screen.
Now, a little over 30 years after “Ten Years of Love,” an interview with Downtown appeared in the February 2023 issue of “SWITCH” magazine. In it, he talks about why he entered the drama world at that time.
<–I didn’t want to do drama at all, but I wanted to go and breathe the air of a different scene. My partner was doing a lot of things in this world, so I just wanted to see what the atmosphere would be like in a different world. ＞I wanted to see what the atmosphere would be like when I went to a different world.
I guess “this world” means “the comedy world” in this context. If you read this statement carefully, you can see a strong awareness of and rivalry with his “partner” = Matsumoto Hitoshi.
NTV’s “Downtown no Gaki no Tsukai ya Aahende! (from 1989) and Fuji TV’s “Downtown no Gottsu-eki” (from 1991) have already begun. His partner has demonstrated his genius without regret in the world of comedy. It would be strange not to be aware of him.
As a result, I’m a drama, I’m a song, I’m a host. …… He used his extraordinary “entertainment IQ” to compete with his partner’s extraordinary “comedy IQ” – I think this is the main reason why Masanori Hamada has continued to reign in the entertainment world.
I feel a sense of relaxation in their relationship these days that transcends the tingling tension of those days. I also laughed a lot at the matured “legendary manzai” performed at the “Legendary Day” at NGK (Namba Grand Kagetsu) last April.
In the earlier “SWITCH,” Masanori Hamada said of his partner.
<When it comes to comedy, he is a hundred points. I can’t complain about his talent and imagination. In that sense, I have nothing to complain about him. You can’t complain about that. ＞I think it’s a good thing that he’s not a comedian.
At the ending of the last episode of “Ten Years of Love,” Misako Tanaka asks Masako Hamada, “What do you think will happen to us ten years from now?
The correct answer was surprising: “Masanori Hamada will continue to reign over the entertainment industry for about 30 years, not ten years, and this year, he and his esteemed partner will turn 60 years old.
Literature： Susie Suzuki
Music critic, born in Higashiosaka City, Osaka in 1966, currently appearing on bayfm's "9 no Oto Iki" Mondays. His books include "80's Ongaku Kaitai Shinsho" (80's Music Kaitai Shinsho) (Sairyusha), "Checkers' Music and Its Era" (Bookman-sha), "Intro's Law 80's" (Bungeishunju), "Southern All Stars 1978-1985" (Shincho Shinsho), "Koisuru Radio" (Bookman-sha). He is a regular contributor to Toyo Keizai Online, Tokyo Sports, Weekly Baseball, and other publications. His new books include "EPIC Sony and the Era" (Shueisha Shinsho) and "Keisuke Kuwata Theory" (Shincho Shinsho).
Photo： Sankei Visual