Unpopularity of O-oku Kills Period Dramas on Non-NHK Channels | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Unpopularity of O-oku Kills Period Dramas on Non-NHK Channels

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From April 2023, appearing in continuous four seasons of drama series, Fuka Koshiba. From January next year, she is also set to appear in the taiga drama ‘Belabo – Tsutaje Eika no Yume Banashi’ (November 22, 2019 issue).

The viewer ratings for the Fuji TV series “Ooku,” starring actress Fuka Koshiba (26), are struggling.


At the same network, the drama “Ooku,” starring Miho Kanno (46), was broadcast in 2003, followed by serialized versions in 2004 and 2005. These series recorded high viewer ratings in the range of 14% to 17%. The serialized version starring Kobushi, which marks the first in 19 years, portrays the era of the 10th shogun, Tokugawa Ieharu, with the story revolving around the imperial princess Toshiko, who marries Ieharu for political reasons and survives in the tumultuous Ooku filled with love and hate among women.

While the initial episode started with a rating of 6.7% (according to Video Research, Kanto region), subsequent episodes until the seventh episode aired on February 29th have remained in the 4% range, except for the third episode, which recorded 5.0%. Alongside the low ratings, there are also harsh criticisms circulating on the internet.

“Each episode of this ‘Ooku’ is just bullying, it’s really boring.”

“Everything is cheap and terrible. The way they talk seems modern, and the level of bullying is too low, it’s exhausting.”

“Even though Toshiko-sama is a noble princess, why does she talk like that?”

“The current series also receives full backing from Toei and is the first in the Fuji ‘Ooku’ series to be entirely filmed in Kyoto, so the production side has put in a lot of effort. However, when compared to the two seasons of ‘Ooku’ broadcasted in January and October last year on NHK, it inevitably falls short.

NHK’s ‘Ooku’ is an adaptation of Yoshinaga Fumi’s original manga, depicting a parallel world where gender roles are reversed due to a decrease in male population caused by a plague, and it’s completely different from Fuji’s ‘Ooku.’ The excellent performances of the luxurious cast, including Hotta Mayu (25), Riisa Naka (34), and Tominaga Ai (41), who portrayed the successive Tokugawa shoguns, as well as Anne Suzuki (36) as Hiraga Gennai, garnered attention.

Especially since the reputation of the NHK taiga drama ‘What Should I Do, Ieyasu’ was not so great, some even said, ‘This one feels more like a taiga drama.’ Considering such a series aired just before, it might be just unfortunate timing.” (Broadcasting reporter)

Fuji TV’s “Ooku” was conceived and realized by a producer from the network’s programming department who fervently desired its revival. Such was the overflow of “Ooku love” that they even enlisted actress Asano Yūko (63), who played the role of Takiyama in the 2003 “Ooku” series and subsequently displayed an overwhelming presence in the special drama versions produced by the same network, as the narrator. However, it seems that even that enthusiasm did not translate into positive evaluations of the work.

“Currently, there are no proposals for period dramas with commercial sponsors on terrestrial television except for ‘Ooku.’ Amidst reluctance from networks to produce period dramas due to the time and cost involved, ‘Ooku’ was the only one that got approval for its plan because it could expect viewership ratings,” said a television network insider.

Commercial sponsors primarily use viewership ratings as a benchmark for advertising. If a program is approved based on expected ratings but fails to achieve them, then the situation changes.


“The failure of this series is a huge blow to Fuji. It’s unlikely that any new proposals for ‘Ooku’ will be accepted until the heat dies down, and it seems that period drama series, other than specials, will disappear from commercial key networks other than NHK. It’s nostalgic to think back to the days when each network competed to produce popular period drama series during prime time,” commented a veteran entertainment journalist.

Will the terrestrial TV serial period dramas, once enjoyed nationwide support like “Mito Kōmon” and “Abarenbō Shōgun,” truly vanish?

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In the July 2023 season, she played the role of a rookie career advisor in “Tenshoku no Maō-sama” (Fuji TV). (June 30, 2023 issue)
During the location shoot for “Kanojo wa Kirei Datta” (Fuji TV), she portrayed the heroine with a uniquely styled hairstyle, which seemed to occasionally bother her as she repeatedly brushed her hair aside, perhaps due to it coming into contact with her face. (June 25, 2021 issue)
In “Kanojo wa Kirei Datta,” she also had love scenes with Sexy Zone’s Nakajima Kento. (September 3, 2021 issue)
During the location shoot for “Parallel Tokyo” (NHK), it appeared to be the wrap-up day. On this day, Kobushi was seen holding a bouquet and giving a speech with a deeply moved expression. (November 22, 2019 issue)
  • PHOTO. Yusuke Kondo (1st~3rd, 5th), Sota Shima (4th)

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