Kimono Flea Market ICHIROYA's News Letter No.516



NHK, (Japan's national broadcasting organization) has serial drama of 15 minutes program each morning of weekdays, from 8:00 A.M. As far as I remember, serial drama was always around, I remember my grandmother and my mother stopped house chores for the 15 minutes drama, and talked about the characters in the drama, it must have been the very common moments for many people.

One drama continues for 6 months-- this time the drama was called `Ama chan' . The story is about a young girl (Aki Amano) and people around her. The drama took place in Kitasanriku, Iwate prefecture. Yesterday, the drama ended and it turned out to be the biggest hit drama of recent serial dramas. They even had a big gathering to see this final episode.

Usually, those serial drama of NHK is about a growth of a girl, and the viewers become to idetify with the character.

This time, Aki who moved from Tokyo with her mother Haruko becomes a diver in that local city of Iwate affected by her grandmother. Haruko ran away from home when she was a high school girl, she used to be a `double' of a famous Idol singer. 


It is surprising, there is a wiki article about this drama!


Many people were glued to TV while this drama was going, because the script by Kankuro Kudo was full of fun. He is one of the most popular script writer, whose drama becomes a hit almost always. His drama always have small stuff, to amuse the viewers. This time, the heroine' s mother was a `double' of a popular singer from 1980's, so the backstage stories and also the hit medley from the era made the drama exceptionally interesting. The conflict between a mother and a daughter, generation gap of young manager and the boss, the life of a former big star..... the drama was filled with charming characters. The highlight of the drama was the reopen of Sanriku railway. Because of the disaster hit the northeast area on March 11th of 2011, the local railway was closed but the reopen of the railway became a symbol of the people's dream and hope.


Ama, literally means `sea person' or `sea woman' and it is one of the oldest occupation-the first record of Ama was already in Gishiwajinden, which has been written in 3rd century. Ama are divers to collect sea shells, with skin diving (with no air bottle). At present time,  those traditionasl diving is held only in Japan and Korea.

The number of ama are decreasing but with this drama, the occupation is now having a lot of attention. However, this unique occupation has historical problem. Their fishery right carries on in the family, so if an ama gets married and leaves home, she loses the right. 

They work from spring to September-dives a couple of hours a day for abalone, turban shells and so on and earn quite a lot of money. However the work is so hard, they say they lose a lot of pounds during the diving season.

Ama from Mie prefecture also is famous-some people might have visited Ise to see Mikimoto Pearl:



In the drama, Aki's grandmother Natsu was a stubborn Ama. She was proud of her job and could not accept her daughter, Haruko's way of life. Haruko eventually ran away from home but came back with her daugher, Aki.

Because of the drama, more people are interested in this unique occupation and feel it should not be eradicated.