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NHK’s hit comedy 'Ama-chan' to be aired in Taiwan, Thailand


NHK’s hugely popular morning drama "Ama-chan" will be aired in Taiwan from November and in Thailand from February, NHK said Wednesday.

"Ama-chan," set in northern Japan and part of NHK’s efforts to support areas stricken by the Great East Japan Earthquake, has been a huge domestic hit this year. It became a social phenomenon thanks in part to the characters’ “JE JE JE” catch phrase, used in northern dialects to show surprise. The drama achieved average domestic viewing figures of 20.6%, while the figures for the final week of the series stood at 23%, the highest for a morning serial drama in a decade.

Broadcast between April and September, the story is set in a small village in Iwate Prefecture. The show’s heroine, Aki, becomes a traditional “ama”, or woman diver, after experiencing many trials and tribulations. Written by playwright Kankuro Kudo, "Ama-chan" depicts traditional Japanese culture, the effects of the Great East Japan Earthquake and Japanese idol culture.

NHK Enterprises Inc, which distributes NHK programs overseas, concluded acquisition contracts with Videoland Television Network, the primary satellite television provider in Taiwan, and TrueVisions, cable satellite television operator in Thailand.

The broadcasts will be the first time that "Ama-chan" has been screened in Asia. The program has been available since June on a cable network television station in Hawaii, with English subtitles, and is targeted at local people of Japanese descent.

Many NHK morning serial dramas, including "Doctor Ume" and "Carnation," are particularly popular in Asia and have been broadcast throughout the region. NHK said it will continue to promote "Ama-chan" to other foreign markets and the corporation hopes the series can be enjoyed by more foreign viewers.

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Je je je

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Stage acting in front of TV cameras; always painful to watch.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Pass. And anyway, how much of the proceeds, if there are any, that are earned from broadcasting the show abroad will NHK be giving to the people it purports to be supporting? Not an accusation, just a question.

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

Only caught a few episodes but would like someone to dissect the (apparently obvious) plot devices: over-eager youthful female star attempting to "do right," stern elders, attractive "best friend" who aspires to be an "idol," etc. etc. Is it all tired stereotype? I only caught a few episodes. Perhaps it is part of mass brainwashing in the mores of "good old Japan."

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Kankuro Kudo is an excentric script writer and I have seen most of the stuff he wrote and directed. But I didn't watch Amachan because of the neverending Asadora format usually targeted at housewifes.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Caught some flashing scenes in which the main character girl looked either dumb or stilted. Also found the opening melody annoying, a signal for an immediate switch to another channel.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Question for those who have actually seen "Ama-chan": does NHK use subtitles of "hyoujungo" or standard Japanese to help those viewers who are not fluent in the Iwate dialect? I know they do that with drama shows based in northern Tohoku and the island of Kyushu.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

How could you not love the story of a precocious cute high school graduate who's dream is to perform in front of over 35 year old men in Tokyo while wearing short skirts on a high stage so those same men can hope to get a peak and the girl's wicked mother who disagrees but ultimately lets her daughter travel alone to Tokyo and to live in the idol producer's housing?

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

What have the people of SE Asia done to deserve this?

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Hey, JT? Can we decide what this is?

Headline: "hit comedy" 1st paragraph: "hugely popular morning drama"

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Nice. :)

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Despite what all the bitter expats here who haven't actually watched the show say, it's a charming little drama. Just when you think it's getting formulaic, it veers off to the left. Aki may be a little air-headed at times, but the strong-headedness of characters like her mother more than make up for it. And the much-lamented idol part also has quite a lot of criticism for the industry and its fans (the fakery involved is a major plot point).

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Pass. And anyway, how much of the proceeds, if there are any, that are earned from broadcasting the show abroad will NHK be giving to the people it purports to be supporting? Not an accusation, just a question.

You might want to look up the economic impact on the very coastal city where they filmed this at. (if you can, that is)

I do get tired (not just you) of people criticizing entities for their alleged poor effort for tsunami recovery progress when they themselves have done virtually nothing.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I'm with Greenlight on this. I personally like the show. I'm more than halfway done through the series and I can't wait to get home to watch more!

But one thing I don't get is why Akichan and Yuichan had to get the approval of the tourism association before they were allowed to leave the town. Wasn't it enough to just get the approval of the parents? Or is this a small town thing in Japan?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Love Amachan....the OST is just eargasm....

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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