Behind the Hit…NHK’s Young Staff Gives a Punch in the Drama World | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Behind the Hit…NHK’s Young Staff Gives a Punch in the Drama World

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on LINE

Behind the scenes of “Ashi Girl” and “Asagaya Sisters’ Nohon Futari Kurashi”…the birth of unique works

NHK Drama produces many ambitious works. In the course of covering various NHK drama productions, I have sometimes heard a phrase that has been bothering me: “Old men don’t know what’s interesting at all. It is, “The old guys have no idea what’s interesting, but the younger staff members are pushing for it, so we decided to give it a try.

For example, the Saturday period drama “Ashi Girl” (2017) by Yuna Kuroshima and Kentaro Ito was born from a project by young staff in their first few years of drama production. The night drama “Asagaya Sisters’ Nohon Futari Kurashi” (2021) was planned by a young staff member, and the person who pushed it hard was a woman in her first year at the station at the time, etc. …… Such proactive use of young people is perhaps one of the strengths of NHK’s drama productions.

Therefore, we asked Yu Kashima of NHK Enterprises, who was the planner and director of “Ashi Girl,” Atsuko Tsuda of NHK (Creator Center), who was the planner and director of “Asagaya Sisters’ Life Together,” and Asako Nakanishi of NHK (Media Organization Center), who was the organizer who pushed the same work. (Creator Center), and Asako Nakanishi of NHK (Media Programming Center), who pushed for the production of the film.

The Asagaya Sisters’ Nohon Futari Kurashi (2021) “I think this is really good! (2021) “I think it’s great!” said Asako Nakanishi, in her first year at the bureau. To be honest, I was thinking, ‘I’ve done it… I wonder if …… will be okay’ (laughs).

Twice-a-year “Call for Proposals,” in which younger employees and employees of affiliated companies are equally eligible to apply

–Please tell us again how the “Ashi Girl” project came about.

Yu Kashima (Kashima): I am an employee of NHK Enterprises, and NHK holds a call for proposals twice a year, where not only NHK employees but also employees of affiliated companies, young people, veterans, and career people can all submit projects equally.

At the time, NHK was looking for proposals for period dramas that could be enjoyed by the younger generation, and the original author, Kozueko Morimoto, is a popular manga artist among young people who also wrote the “Gokusen” series.

My boss at the time was interested in the project, and he taught me one-on-one how to write a proposal as a supporter, and we brushed up on the proposal many times before it was finally accepted.

–Kashima: How many years had you been working on the drama production when you proposed “Ashi Girl”?

Kashima: I joined the drama production department in my fifth year with the company, and it was either that year or the following year. I was looking for a good original story that could be dramatized, and since it was also my personal favorite work, I wrote a proposal with specific figures such as what made it interesting, the author’s name recognition and the popularity and sales of the original story itself, and presented it in front of the Drama Department head and other adopters.

I was told, “Basically, proposals don’t get accepted, so don’t get discouraged and keep submitting them as hard as you can,” so I didn’t think they would be accepted myself (laughs). For about a year and a half after submitting my first proposal, I rewrote my proposal every time I had three consecutive opportunities to submit a proposal, and it was officially decided.

The “Asagaya Sisters…” were born after a strong push from the staff in my first year at the bureau.

–How did you come up with the idea for “The Asagaya Sisters’ No-Ho-Hon Futari-Shikatsu”?

Atsuko Tsuda (Tsuda): I also proposed the project in the biannual call for proposals. At the time, I had decided to transfer to the Nagoya bureau, so I proposed “Asagaya Sisters…” as I was thinking of a drama project to be produced at the Nagoya bureau.

2020 As we enter the COVID-19 crisis in 2020 and the number of people working at home increases, I thought, “It would be nice to have someone at home. At that time, I read this original book and was very attracted to the feeling that nothing happens, but there is a definite everyday life.

I always think it would be nice if I could see the invisible world when I am making a drama. I know that the two Asagaya sisters live together, but I have never seen the inside of their room, so I thought it would be fun to see that.

I thought it would surely be a comfortable drama, and the relationship between the two living together would be fresh, especially since the “Yoru Dora” slot has many challenging productions, so I thought it would be possible to make a new and different drama.

–And it was Ms. Nakanishi in charge of programming who pushed for this idea.

Asako Nakanishi (Nakanishi): I was assigned to the programming center in my first year at the station. Initially, I was in charge of radio programming, but later, as the policy changed to manage programs by genre, I was put in charge of the drama genre as well. I was also involved in adopting works to be produced from many proposals.

At that time, I pushed for the production of “Asa,” saying, “I think this is really good! I pushed for “Asagaya Sisters”. I had just joined the company in my first year, and I honestly thought, “I’ve done it. I wondered if …… would be okay” (laughs).

(Laughs.) Right around that time, a video of the Asagaya Sisters’ morning routine appeared on YouTube, and I was hooked on the mysterious addictiveness of it. Nothing major was happening, but I could see their relationship in their simple lives and felt comfortable with their keigo (polite speech). At that time, I received a proposal to dramatize the story, and even the cast was already proposed in the proposal stage.

The proposal was accompanied by a list of specific interesting episodes, which immediately brought the images to my mind’s eye and made me think, “This is definitely interesting, I want to see it! I thought, “This is definitely interesting, I want to see it!

Asigirl” (2017) “‘Why is it interesting?’ and so in the process of analyzing and brushing up to verbalize it, the essence of what makes the work interesting becomes clearer to me as well,” said Yu Kashima, the planner and director of the project.

What can be done because it is an NHK drama…

–Is there anything you can do because it is an NHK drama?

Kashima: In NHK’s regular call for proposals, the casting and scriptwriters are not yet decided, and the proposal is submitted by a newcomer to begin with, so the candidate scriptwriters and cast are written in the proposal as completely imaginary.

I think there is a soil where people can look at the project simply for the interest of the project itself, not because of who the cast or screenwriter is, but because of whose project it is.

Besides, when I consulted with the publisher of the original story about “Ashi-Girl,” they told me that they had not yet heard of any drama adaptation.

I think we were lucky that they had not gotten around to it, partly because it is difficult to realize since the historical drama part makes up a large part of the work.

NHK has a lot of experience with Taiga dramas, so we have a lot of contacts with historical archaeologists, and we have the advantage that many of our costumers and props people have basic knowledge of the subject. On the other hand, viewers are very demanding, so I feel that many of our staff take pride in the fact that they cannot make mistakes in period research, etc. because NHK does it.

Tsuda: What I think is “unique to NHK” is that since NHK is a nationwide organization, many of the drama directors have not been involved only in drama productions for a long time, but have also been transferred to regional stations and have extended their experience by making news reports by themselves. It is easy to propose projects that have a connection with society, such as things that are happening on a daily basis.

For example, the NHK special “Unsolved Cases,” which is a fusion of documentary and drama, has a news director and a drama director, and the drama director has experience in investigative reporting, so there is a culture of collaboration. There may be a culture that makes it easier to collaborate.

Nakanishi: Although I am not in charge of the drama genre at present, my supervisor frequently asks me, “Take a look at the drama proposals that come to the programming department on a regular basis,” and “What did you think? Nakanishi: I am not in charge of the drama genre at present, but my boss frequently asks me what I think of the drama proposals that regularly come to the programming department.

My boss says, “I don’t know how young people feel. He says, “I don’t understand young people’s senses, because they don’t believe in their own senses. I feel that there is an attitude, not only in the drama genre, but throughout the company, to scoop up suggestions from young people widely, solicit young people’s opinions about them, and actively share them with others.

Presentation techniques for middle-aged and older bosses who “don’t know what’s interesting…

–Do you have any presentation techniques for middle-aged and older bosses who “don’t know what’s interesting”?

Kashima: In my case, I try to analyze and verbalize the subjective part “why I think it is interesting” as well as objective figures such as how many people have read the original work, and write it down in my proposal.

Why is it interesting?” I am asked, so in the process of analyzing and brushing up my language to verbalize it, the essence of what makes the work interesting becomes clearer to me as well.

Tsuda: I guess I just try to speak in a fun way. I also try to convey how I want the audience to feel when they watch the drama.

I think that how the viewer feels and how he or she feels is the final outlet of the program, so I try to share that image as much as possible, as I am sure the people adopting the work would want to know that image as well.

Nakanishi:I guess I have to be frank and convey in my own words what I feel is attractive about the program. To be honest, I think that was all I could do for “Asagaya Sisters. However, in order to make it more persuasive, I think it would be ideal if I could back it up with data about the target audience and the content. I would like to acquire such knowledge in the future.

  • Interview and text by Wakako Takou

    Born in 1973. After working for a publishing company and an advertising production company, she became a freelance writer. She interviews actors for weekly and monthly magazines and writes drama columns for various media. His main publications include "All Important Things Are Taught by Morning Drama" (Ota Publishing), "KinKiKids: Owarinaki Michi" and "Hey!Say!JUMP: When 9 Tobira Open" (both from Earls Publishing).

Photo Gallery2 total

Photo Selection

Check out the best photos for you.

Related Articles