Fall 2007 Drama Preview!

The leaves are turning, which means one thing: a new television season in Japan. This fall contains more for fans of seasoned actors rather than young idols. Among the big names are Takashi Sorimachi, Yukie Nakama, Katsunori Takahashi, Miho Kanno, Tetsuya Takeda, and Norika Fujiwara. There’s still plenty from the newer generation, though, with stars like Jin Akanishi, Aya Ueto, Masami Nagasawa, and Keiko Kitagawa gracing the screen. Let’s take a look at the complete lineup:

ChocoMimi (チョコミミ)
TV Tokyo, Monday 5:30pm, premieres October 1

“ChocoMimi” is based on a fashion manga by Konami Sonoda about two schoolmate friends, Choco Sakurai and Mimi Nekota, and their daily lives. Choco and Mimi are played by teen fashion model Yukika Teramoto and AKB48’s Kayano Masuyama, respectively.

Asakusa Fukumaru Ryokan 2 (浅草ふくまる旅館)
TBS, Monday 8:00pm, premieres October 8

This is the second season of the heartwarming “Asakusa Fukumaru Ryokan” series that aired during the winter. Toshiyuki Nishida returns as Daikichi Fukumaru, the third-generation owner of a ryokan in Asakusa, Tokyo. The show focuses on his interactions with various guests and neighbors, leading to episodes full of both tears and laughter.

Other Cast: Yuma Ishigaki, Tomoka Kurokawa, Chieko Kuroda, Hana Kino

Official Site: {{XLink http://www.tbs.co.jp/fukumaru/ http://www.tbs.co.jp/fukumaru/}}
Galileo (ガリレオ)
Fuji TV, Monday 9:00pm, premieres October 15

“Galileo” is an adaptation of the “Tantei Galileo” novel series by Naoki Prize-winning author Keigo Higashino. With the starring role, the ever-popular Masaharu Fukuyama makes his return to the small screen – his last drama was the 2003 “Bijo ka Yajuu” with Nanako Matsushima. Here, Fukuyama plays the mystery-solving physics professor Manabu Yukawa (also known as “Galileo”), whose intelligence and good looks are offset by his eccentric character. He is contrasted by his partner, the rookie detective Kaoru Utsumi (Kou Shibasaki), a character who only appears later in the original novels.

Other Cast: Kazuki Kitamura, Hiroshi Shinagawa, Ikkei Watanabe, Miki Maya

Official Site: {{XLink http://www.fujitv.co.jp/galileo/ http://www.fujitv.co.jp/galileo/}}
Biyo Shonen Celebrity (美容少年★セレブリティ)
TV Tokyo, Tuesday 5:30pm, premieres October 2

Also known by its English title “Beauty Boys Celebrity,” this series revolves around a salon called “Celebrity,” whose mission is to grant women their once-in-a-lifetime wish of becoming super beautiful. The main characters are the five men working there, played by Akihiro Mayama, Masataka Nakagauchi, Yoshikazu Kotani, Hiroya Matsumoto, and Masahiro Kato.

Official Site: {{XLink http://www.tv-tokyo.co.jp/bbc/ http://www.tv-tokyo.co.jp/bbc/}}
Abarenbo Mama (暴れん坊ママ)
Fuji TV, Tuesday 9:00pm, premieres October 16

Aya Ueto and Yo Oizumi co-star in this family comedy about a mismatched couple. Oizumi plays a once-divorced man with a 5-year-old son, while Ueto plays the strong-minded young woman, Ayu, that he ends up getting remarried to. Ayu’s “wild” personality, however, leads to conflicts with her husband at home and with the other mothers at her stepson’s kindergarten.

Other Cast: Rie Tomosaka, Nana Katase, Sayaka Yamaguchi, Mikihisa Azuma, Shinya Owada, Kumiko Okae

Official Site: {{XLink http://www.fujitv.co.jp/abarenbou-mama/ http://www.fujitv.co.jp/abarenbou-mama/}}
Swan no Baka! (スワンの馬鹿!〜こづかい3万円の恋〜)
Fuji TV, Tuesday 10:00pm, premieres October 16

This comedy stars Takaya Kamikawa as the 40-year-old Daisuke Suwano, a salaryman struggling to preserve his dignity as a man – his wife (Misako Tanaka) controls the money at home, and due to their daughter (Karen Miyama) taking exams, his allowance has been cut to only 30,000 yen a month.

Other Cast: Hiroki Narimiya, Hitori Gekidan, Zen Kajihara, Sei Ashina, Yoko Moriguchi

Official Site: {{XLink http://www.ktv.co.jp/swan/ http://www.ktv.co.jp/swan/}}
Yukan Club (有閑倶楽部)
NTV, Tuesday 10:00pm, premieres October 16

Yukan Club” is the first manga by Yukari Ichijo to be adapted as a live-action series. It tells the comical story of six student council members at a prominent high school known for its elite clientele. In their spare time, they are members of their own “leisure club,” which generally involves unexpected adventures. KAT-TUN’s Jin Akanishi plays the lead.

Other Cast: Junnosuke Taguchi, Yu Yokoyama, Yu Kashii, Minami, Emi Suzuki

Official Site: {{XLink http://www.ntv.co.jp/yukan/ http://www.ntv.co.jp/yukan/}}
Cutie Honey: THE LIVE (キューティーハニー THE LIVE)
TV Tokyo, Tuesday late-night 1:00am, premieres October 2

Bishoujo Club 31 member Mikie Hara stars in this adaptation of Go Nagai’s manga “Cutie Honey.” In addition to multiple anime versions and a second manga series, it was previously turned into a live-action movie directed by Hideaki Anno and starring Eriko Sato. The story revolves around the young Honey Kisaragi (Hara), who is actually an android created by father. Using her ability to transform into different identities, she fights against the evil Panther Claw organization.

Other Cast: Shoma Yamamoto, Ayame Misaki, Makoto Takeda, Megumi Komatsu, Kenichi Nagira

Official Site: {{XLink http://www.tv-tokyo.co.jp/anime/honey-thelive/ http://www.tv-tokyo.co.jp/anime/honey-thelive/}}
Aibou 6 (相棒)
TV Asahi, Wednesday 9:00pm, premieres October 24

This is the sixth series of the long-running detective drama “Aibou,” which stars Yutaka Mizutani and Yasufumi Terawaki. The show will also see a movie version in the spring, shortly after the new season wraps up in March.

Other Cast: Sawa Suzuki, Saya Takagi, Ittoku Kishibe

Official Site: {{XLink http://www.tv-asahi.co.jp/aibou/ http://www.tv-asahi.co.jp/aibou/}}
Hataraki Man (働きマン)
NTV, Wednesday 10:00pm, premieres October 10

Miho Kanno stars in this adaptation of the “Hataraki Man” manga series by Moyoco Anno. Kanno plays Hiroko Matsukata, a hard-working editor of Weekly JIDAI magazine. Her devoted attitude towards her work has led her colleagues to give her the nickname of “hataraki man” (“working man”).

Other Cast: Mocomichi Hayami, Aya Hirayama, Mayumi Sada, Yoshiyoshi Arakawa, Michiko Kichise, Hisashi Yoshizawa, Kanji Tsuda, Masato Ibu, Ikki Sawamura

Official Site: {{XLink http://www.ntv.co.jp/hatarakiman/ http://www.ntv.co.jp/hatarakiman/}}
Mahou Sensei Negima! (魔法先生ネギま!)
TV Tokyo, Wednesday late-night 1:50am, premieres October 3

This is an adaptation of Ken Akamatsu’s “Negima!” manga series about a young male wizard (played by actress Yukina Kashiwa) from Wales who is assigned as a teacher at the “normal” Mahora Academy in Japan. The story focuses mainly on his interaction with his 31 female students.

Other Cast: Sara Wakatsuki, Mai Nishida, Shizuka Hasegawa, Nao Oikawa, Hiroshi

Official Site: {{XLink http://www.starchild.co.jp/special/negima-drama/ http://www.starchild.co.jp/special/negima-drama/}}
Kyoto Chiken no Onna 4 (京都地検の女)
TV Asahi, Thursday 8:00pm, premieres October 25

Yuko Natori returns for a fourth series as Aya, a prosecutor who uses her “housewife’s intuition” to solve her cases.

Kaze no Hate (風の果て)
NHK, Thursday 8:00pm, premieres October 18

This jidaigeki drama is based on Shuhei Fujisawa’s novel of the same name, but continues beyond the original ending. The story is set around the turn of the 19th century. Koichi Sato plays the role of Kuwayama Matazaemon, a man who has spent his life climbing the ranks of his clan but begins to consider retirement.

3 Nen B Gumi Kinpachi Sensei 8 (3年B組金八先生)
TBS, Thursday 9:00pm, premieres October 11

Tetsuya Takeda reprises his role as the iconic Kinpachi-sensei, once again addressing issues in education and society. As always, his students include members of Johnny's Jr. Among them is Yuta Uekusa, the son of Shonentai member Katsuhide Uekusa, in his television drama debut.

Oishii Gohan: Kamakura Kasugai Kometen (おいしいごはん 鎌倉・春日井米店)
TV Asahi, Thursday 9:00pm, premieres October 25

In this home drama, Tetsuya Watari stars as the manager of a old rice shop in Kamakura, Kanagawa. His eldest son (Satoshi Tokushige) is an elite editor of a publishing firm, but after an incident loses him his job, he is forced to work in his father’s shop. Unfortunately, the two don’t get along well. Norika Fujiwara plays the role of the son’s wife.

Other Cast: Michiko Hada, Asami Mizukawa, Kimiko Yo, Takeshi Muga

Official Site: {{XLink http://www.tv-asahi.co.jp/drama-gohan/ http://www.tv-asahi.co.jp/drama-gohan/}}
Iryu 2 (医龍2)
Fuji TV, Thursday 10:00pm, premieres October 11

This is the sequel to the medical drama “Iryu,” which topped Oricon’s satisfaction survey for the spring 2006 season. The show is originally based on a manga by Taro Nogizaka and Akira Nagai. Kenji Sakaguchi returns with most of the main cast – the biggest change is that Izumi Inamori’s character is gone, while Yuki Uchida joins the show as a medical journalist.

Other Cast: Teppei Koike, Kazuki Kitamura, Asami Mizukawa, Sadao Abe, Kuranosuke Sasaki, Tetsuhiro Ikeda, Mari Natsuki, Ittoku Kishibe

Official Site: {{XLink http://www.fujitv.co.jp/iryu2/ http://www.fujitv.co.jp/iryu2/}}
Joshi Deka! (ジョシデカ!-女子刑事-)
TBS, Thursday 10:00pm, premieres October 18

Yukie Nakama and Pinko Izumi co-star as an unlikely pair of cops who work together to solve crimes. Nakama plays a rookie whose only strengths are her shooting skills and her enthusiasm, while Izumi plays a veteran officer with the #1 arrest rate. One of the series’ highlights is Korean actor Ryu Si-won as part of the regular cast, portraying the son of Izumi’s former lover.

Other Cast: Toru Masuoka, Nagisa Katahira, Yoshihiko Hakamada

Official Site: {{XLink http://www.tbs.co.jp/joshi-deka/ http://www.tbs.co.jp/joshi-deka/}}
Oedo Yoshiwara Jikencho (お江戸吉原事件帖)
TV Tokyo, Friday 8:00pm, premieres October 26

This period drama is set in the Yoshiwara red-light district of Edo. Chizuru Azuma, Megumi Yokoyama, Emi Kobayashi, and Hisako Manda play four women of various occupations. Due to their pride in the district, they take it upon themselves to punish any men who mistreat the area’s prostitutes.

Otoko no Kosodate (オトコの子育て)
TV Asahi, Friday 9:00pm, premieres October 26

Katsunori Takahashi stars in this home comedy from the same producer, director, and writer that worked on his earlier series, “Tokumei Kakarichou Tadano Hitoshi.” Unlike his cool character from that show, here he plays an irresponsible, third-rate magazine writer. When his wife unexpectedly dies, he’s forced to take on a difficult new challenge: raising his three kids. Ryoko Kuninaka co-stars as a friend of his wife who gradually takes a liking to him, while Kotaro Koizumi plays his daughter’s homeroom teacher.

Other Cast: Toshinori Omi, Sawa Suzuki, Cha Kato

Official Site: {{XLink http://otokoso.asahi.co.jp/ http://otokoso.asahi.co.jp/}}
Utahime (歌姫)
TBS, Friday 10:00pm, premieres October 12

“Utahime” is based on a play performed by Tokyo Seleccion Deluxe, the theater troupe of actor Takayuki Takuma (also known as screenwriter Mikio Satake). Tomoya Nagase plays two roles: the present-day son of a woman known as the “songstress of the Showa era” (a guest role played by Judy Ong), and the father of the woman in the past. Most of the action takes place around 1960, where Taro Shimanto (Nagase) is a movie theater screen operator who lost his memory ten years earlier. Saki Aibu plays his love interest Rei Kishida, the daughter of the theater’s owner.

Other Cast: Tadayoshi Okura, Ryuta Sato, Nanako Ohkouchi

Official Site: {{XLink http://www.tbs.co.jp/uta-hime/ http://www.tbs.co.jp/uta-hime/}}
Mop Girl (モップガール)
TV Asahi, Friday 11:15pm, premieres October

In her first starring drama role, Keiko Kitagawa plays a slow but hardworking employee at a funeral services company. She possesses a strange power: Whenever she comes across the corpse of someone who has left strong feelings behind, she can travel back in time to save that person from his or her fate. The story, described as a comedy, is adapted from a serial novel by Miaki Kato.

Other Cast: Shosuke Tanihara, Sousuke Takaoka, Reina Asami

Official Site: {{XLink http://www.tv-asahi.co.jp/mopgirl/ http://www.tv-asahi.co.jp/mopgirl/}}
Shigeshoshi (死化粧師)
TV Tokyo, Friday late-night 12:12am, premieres October 5

Based on a manga by Mitsukazu Mihara, this human drama tells the story of a young man (Masato Wada) who comes to understand the meaning of life and death through his job as an embalmer.

Other Cast: Mai Shinohara, Shugo Oshinari, Sayuri Kokusho, Shunji Igarashi

Official Site: {{XLink http://www.tv-tokyo.co.jp/shigeshoshi/ http://www.tv-tokyo.co.jp/shigeshoshi/}}
Dream Again (ドリーム☆アゲイン)
NTV, Saturday 9:00pm, premieres October 13

This original series stars Takashi Sorimachi as the pro baseball player Shunsuke Ogi, who is forced to retire after a shoulder injury. He continues to train in hope of returning to the game, but a sudden accident leads to his death. God decides to give him a second chance, placing his soul into the body of another man – a wealthy fund company manager – but adjusting to his new life isn’t easy…

Other Cast: Ai Kato, Mirai Shida, Kiyoshi Kodama

Official Site: {{XLink http://www.ntv.co.jp/200710-sat/ http://www.ntv.co.jp/200710-sat/}}
SP (SP)
Fuji TV, Saturday 11:10pm, premieres November 3

“SP” (or “Security Police”) is the first television drama written by author Kazuki Kaneshiro, who won the Naoki Prize in 2000 for the novel “GO.” Junichi Okada stars as Kaoru Inoue, a member of a police division that bodyguards political VIPs. With his heightened senses, photographic memory, and other skills, Inoue plays a special role in fighting potential terrorists.

Other Cast: Shinichi Tsutsumi, Yoko Maki

Official Site: {{XLink http://www.fujitv.co.jp/sp/ http://www.fujitv.co.jp/sp/}}
Hari-kei (ハリ系)
NTV, Saturday late-night 12:50am (first episode at 1:05am), premieres October 13

This unusual series stars Tomoya Nakamura as a man referred to as “hari-kei” – while normal humans have evolved from apelike ancestors, Harihiko Mimita is part of a family evolved from hedgehogs (“harinezumi” in Japanese, where “hari” refers to the needles). The story focuses on the challenges he faces in trying to lead a normal life, including a romance with a normal human (Eri Murakawa).

Other Cast: Masako Motai

Official Site: {{XLink http://www.ntv.co.jp/hari/ http://www.ntv.co.jp/hari/}}
Fuurinkazan (風林火山)
NHK, Sunday 8:00pm, continuing

The 46th NHK Taiga Drama “Fuurinkazan” continues its run, which began in January. The series is based on Yasushi Inoue’s novel about Yamamoto Kansuke (Masaaki Uchino), one of Takeda Shingen’s “Twenty-Four Generals.”

Other Cast: Kamejiro Ichikawa, Gackt, Yuki Shibamoto

Official Site: {{XLink http://www3.nhk.or.jp/taiga/ http://www3.nhk.or.jp/taiga/}}
Hatachi no Koibito (ハタチの恋人)
TBS, Sunday 9:00pm, premieres October 14

Partly described as a romantic comedy, “Hatachi no Koibito” tells the story of Keisuke Inoue (Sanma Akashiya), a married salaryman. At the age of 50, he begins thinking about his purpose in life. By chance, he encounters Yuri Sawada (Masami Nagasawa), a 20-year-old graphic design student full of hopes and dreams for the future. Because of her resemblance to his girlfriend from long ago, he finds his heart unexpectedly beating faster…

Other Cast: Takashi Tsukamoto, Aiko Morishita, Kyoko Koizumi, Masachika Ichimura

Official Site: {{XLink http://www.tbs.co.jp/20koibito/ http://www.tbs.co.jp/20koibito/}}
Chiritotechin (ちりとてちん)
NHK, Monday-Saturday 8:15am, premieres October 1

NHK’s 77th Asadora is “Chiritotechin,” the story of an insecure young woman named Kiyomi Wada (Shihori Kanjiya) who leaves home for Osaka after graduating from high school. There, she discovers the world of rakugo, a traditional form of storytelling. As a result, she makes up her mind to become a rakugo artist.

Other Cast: Emi Wakui, Yutaka Matsushige, Kyoko Enami, Masakane Yonekura, Tsunehiko Watase

Official Site: {{XLink http://www3.nhk.or.jp/asadora/chiritotechin/ http://www3.nhk.or.jp/asadora/chiritotechin/}}
Ai no Meikyu (愛の迷宮)
Fuji TV, Weekdays 1:30pm, premieres October 1

Maki Miyamoto plays Ayaka, the daughter of a distinguished family who winds up in a loveless marriage with Mitsuo (Naoki Hosaka), the heir of a business concern. After she discovers that he’s having an affair with his brother’s widow Kanako (Kaori Takahashi), she ends up falling for the servant Kota (Sakaki), who is also married. The complex web of love even extends to the characters’ eventual children, who appear in the latter half of the series.

Other Cast: Mei Kurokawa, Shinnosuke Abe, Ryunosuke Kawai

Official Site: {{XLink http://www.tokai-tv.com/meikyu/ http://www.tokai-tv.com/meikyu/}}
Ai no Uta! (愛のうた!)
TBS, Weekdays 1:00pm, premieres October 29

Akiko Hinagata stars as Aki Kurokawa, about to marry a man (Kohki Okada) who has three children from a previous marriage. But before they are able to tie the knot, the man dies in a sudden car accident. As a result, Aki begins living with the three children to take care of them.

Nekketsu Nise Kazoku (熱血ニセ家族)
TBS, Weekdays 1:30pm, premieres October 29

This “family” drama stars Atsuko Sudo as Yoko Hiyama, a young woman left with no other relatives after her grandmother passes away. One day, she meets someone who resembles her grandmother. From that point on, she somehow ends up living with eight complete strangers as a fake family.

Other Cast: Haruko Mabuchi

Official Site: {{XLink http://hicbc.com/tv/drama30/nisekazoku/ http://hicbc.com/tv/drama30/nisekazoku/}}

So far, one series is known for NHK’s “Dodra” (Saturday 9:00pm) time slot:

Judge ~Ritou no Hanjiho Funsenki~ (ジャッジ~離島の判事補奮戦記~)
NHK, Saturday 9:00pm, premieres October 6

Hidetoshi Nishijima stars as a judge who gets assigned to a remote island, where there are no other judges. The series focuses on his personal growth as he deals with the inhabitants and their problems.

Other Cast: Naho Toda, Koji Matoba

Here are some of the tanpatsu dramas on the air before and during the fall season:

Marathon (マラソン)
TBS, broadcasts September 20 @ 9:00pm

Kazunari Ninomiya of Arashi stars in this remake of the popular 2005 Korean movie, “Marathon.” The film is based on the true story of a young man with autism who trains to become a marathon runner.

Other Cast: Misako Tanaka, Masahiro Matsuoka, Takashi Naito

Official Site: {{XLink http://www.tbs.co.jp/drama-marathon/ http://www.tbs.co.jp/drama-marathon/}}
Kuroi Taiyou SP (黒い太陽’07スペシャル)
TV Asahi, broadcasts September 21 @ 11:15pm

Kuroi Taiyou” is a drama series that aired last summer, set amidst the nightlife of the Kabukicho district. This special continues the story one year later, when the main character (Masaru Nagai) opens a new club.

Other Cast: Tsuyoshi Ihara, Yoko Mitsuya, Haruna Yabuki

Official Site: {{XLink http://www.tv-asahi.co.jp/kuro-tai/ http://www.tv-asahi.co.jp/kuro-tai/}}
Deru Toko Demasho! (出るトコ出ましょ!)
Fuji TV, broadcasts September 22 @ 9:00pm

“Deru Toko Demasho!” is based on a manga by Shinji Inamitsu. The story centers on Shizuka Kamei (Maki Horikita), a somewhat unconventional high school student who gets a part-time job as an assistant to the lawyer Hiromu Nonaka (Shosuke Tanihara). Nonaka has a principle of only accepting cases that will bring in a lot of money, but it conflicts with Kamei’s own beliefs.

Other Cast: Eiko Koike, Yoichi Nukumizu, Masaomi Kondo

Official Site: {{XLink http://www.fujitv.co.jp/ichioshi07/070922derutoko/ http://www.fujitv.co.jp/ichioshi07/070922derutoko/}}
Mirai Yuenchi (未来遊園地~幽霊少女と観覧車)
TV Asahi, broadcasts September 28 @ 11:15pm

Naoki Tanaka of Cocorico plays a salaryman who inherits a small amusement park from his mother. He starts out with a cold personality and no interest in running the park, but after meeting the ghost of a young girl, he begins to change.

Other Cast: Nana Katase, Elena Natsumi, Chisun

Official Site: {{XLink http://www.tv-asahi.co.jp/mirai/ http://www.tv-asahi.co.jp/mirai/}}
Yo ni mo Kimyo na Monogatari Fall 2007 (世にも奇妙な物語’07秋の特別編)
Fuji TV, broadcasts October 2 @ 9:00pm

Yo ni mo Kimyo na Monogatari” is a semi-annual series, with each edition containing five unusual stories. Tamori has been selected to serve as the storyteller. Not many details about the individual segments are known yet, but Sadao Abe will star in one, titled “Countdown.”

Official Site: {{XLink http://www.fujitv.co.jp/b_hp/kimyo/ http://www.fujitv.co.jp/b_hp/kimyo/}}
Dai Gout Temps Nouveau (大グータンヌーボ)
Fuji TV, broadcasts October 3 @ 9:00pm

This is a drama special based on the popular talk show, “Gout Temps Nouveau,” which focuses on women’s lives. Makiko Esumi, Yuka, and announcer Kyoko Uchida will play characters similar to their own personalities as seen on the talk show, and the story will incorporate previous discussions.

Other Cast: Ryoko Shinohara
Ganges Gawa de Butterfly (ガンジス河でバタフライ)
TV Asahi, broadcasts October 5/6 @ 11:15pm/11:00pm

This drama, based on an essay by author Teruko Takano, is written by popular screenwriter Kankuro Kudo. Teruko (Masami Nagasawa) is a timid and insecure 3rd-year university student, who dreams of traveling the world like her older brother. She finally gathers the courage to embark on her own journey, flying alone to India. There, she encounters a backpacker named Shingo (Takashi Tsukamoto)…

Other Cast: Miki Nakatani, Renji Ishibashi, Keiko Takeshita

Official Site: {{XLink http://www.nagoyatv.com/ganges/ http://www.nagoyatv.com/ganges/}}
Glass no Kiba (ガラスの牙)
TBS, broadcasts October 6 @ 2:00pm

“Glass no Kiba” is based on a true story of a probation officer dealing with reforming youngsters. Atsuko Takahata stars as the housewife Akiko, who serves as a DJ on a monthly radio program, “Water of Life,” for a local station. She also has another job as a probation officer. One of the youths she deals with is the neglected 15-year-old Rieko (Misako Renbutsu), who tries to find some semblance of love by doing enjo kosai.

Other Cast: Yoji Tanaka, Michiko Kawai, Sei Hiraizumi

Official Site: {{XLink http://hicbc.com/tv/glass_kiba/ http://hicbc.com/tv/glass_kiba/}}
Kodoku no Utagoe (孤独の歌声)
WOWOW, broadcasts November 11 @ 10:00pm

Rina Uchiyama stars in this suspense drama, based on Arata Tendo’s novel of the same name. Uchiyama plays a female detective seeking a serial killer committing a string of bizarre murders. At the same time, she has to confront her own traumatic past.

Other Cast: Seiji Fukushi, Taro Yamamoto

Official Site: {{XLink http://www.wowow.co.jp/dramaw/kodoku/ http://www.wowow.co.jp/dramaw/kodoku/}}
Kekkon Sagishi (結婚詐欺師)
WOWOW, broadcasts November 18 @ 10:00pm

“Kekkon Sagishi” was originally a novel by author Asa Nonami. The story follows a detective (Teruyoshi Uchimura) trying to catch a marriage swindler (Masaya Kato), who has already deceived several women. Now, he is hoping to prevent the swindler from getting to Miwako (Mayu Tsuruta), his former girlfriend whom he proposed to once before.

Other Cast: Chizuru Azuma, Mari Hoshino, Ranran Suzuki

Official Site: {{XLink http://www.wowow.co.jp/dramaw/sagishi/ http://www.wowow.co.jp/dramaw/sagishi/}}
Aoi Hitomi to Nuage (蒼い瞳とニュアージュ)
WOWOW, broadcasts November 25 @ 10:00pm

This suspense drama is based on a novel by Keisuke Matsuoka. Kyoko Fukada plays Erika Ichinose, a skilled clinical psychologist. When a bomb terrorist threatens the safety of the nation, she gets recruited by the National Police Agency to try to stop the criminal.

Official Site: {{XLink http://www.wowow.co.jp/dramaw/aoihitomi/ http://www.wowow.co.jp/dramaw/aoihitomi/}}

These last few specials are scheduled to broadcast sometime during the new season, but no exact broadcast date has been announced yet.

Hanaikusa (花いくさ~京都祇園伝説の芸妓・岩崎峰子~)
Fuji TV

“Hanaikusa” is loosely based on the autobiography of the famous retired geisha Mineko Iwasaki (who was one of the sources for Arthur Golden’s “Memoirs of a Geisha”). Young actress Mao Inoue plays the role of Mineko, a young maiko (apprentice geisha) in the Gion district of Kyoto.

Ten to Sen (点と線)
TV Asahi

This is the first television drama for Takeshi Kitano in five years. Based on Seicho Matsumoto’s classic mystery novel, “Ten to Sen” (published in English as “Points and Lines”), the drama focuses on a senior detective (Kitano) who is determined to find the truth behind an apparent double suicide. The special will air on two consecutive nights.

Other Cast: Katsunori Takahashi, Rina Uchiyama, Toshiro Yanagiba, Yui Natsukawa

Official Site: {{XLink http://www.tv-asahi.co.jp/tentosen/ http://www.tv-asahi.co.jp/tentosen/}}
Shabake (しゃばけ)
Fuji TV

Yuya Tegoshi (of NEWS) stars in this fantasy jidaigeki drama. The story is adapted from Megumi Hatakenaka’s novel of the same name, which won a Japan Fantasy Novel Award in 2001. Tegoshi plays Ichitaro, a young man with weak health who has the power to see ghosts. Since the age of five, he has become friends with them, and works with them to solve mysterious incidents.

Other Cast: Shosuke Tanihara, Ko Takasugi, Miki Maya, Ittoku Kishibe, Yoshinori Okada

Official Site: {{XLink http://wwwz.fujitv.co.jp/shabake/index.html http://wwwz.fujitv.co.jp/shabake/index.html}}
Kaikyo (海峡)
NHK

This 3-night mini-series is an international love story, penned by screenwriter James Miki. Kyoko Hasegawa stars as a Japanese woman in Busan at the end of World War II. There, see falls in love with a Korean man, but circumstances force them to live in their respective countries. Though separated by distance, they choose not to give up on their love.

Hanochi (半落ち)
TV Asahi

Kippei Shiina stars in this adaptation of Hideo Yokoyama’s best-selling novel, “Hanochi,” which was previously turned into a film in 2004 by director Kiyoshi Sasabe. The story revolves around a former detective (Tsunehiko Watase) who turns himself into the police and confesses to the murder of his wife. However, his admission is incomplete – he won’t say what happened during the 48 hours between the murder and his confession. While the former detective is the protagonist in the novel and the film, the drama version is told from the perspective of Shiki (Shiina), the cop interrogating the man.

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