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.© Japan Today