Renzoku Terebi Shōsetsu (連続テレビ小説, "serial TV novel"), also known as asadora (朝ドラ, "Morning Drama"), is a serialized Japanese television drama programs series broadcast in the mornings by Japanese public broadcaster NHK. The asadora started in 1961 with the black-and-white A Daughter and Me (娘と私 Musume to Watashi), starring Takeshi Kitazawa. Today, works in the first half of the year are produced by the NHK Tokyo Broadcasting station and works in the second half of the year are produced by the NHK Osaka Broadcasting station.
Asadora currently airs in Japan Monday through Saturday morning on NHK General TV from 8:00 to 8:15, with a rebroadcast the same day from 12:45 to 13:00. The asadora have become some of the most popular shows on Japanese television, with series such as Oshin, earning an overall 52.6-percent ratings for the series.
Virtually all of the storylines center on the life of a female heroine who faces challenges while working to achieve her dreams. The heroine is chosen by NHK through an audition that involves interviews with several thousand applicants. The winning actress not only stars in an asadora, but also becomes a spokeswoman for NHK, and is usually involved in NHK-sponsored events—including the annual Kōhaku Uta Gassen New Year's Eve event. Often, the asadora serves as a springboard for the actress to bigger and better opportunities within the Japanese entertainment industry.
The current series is Hanbun, Aoi (2018).
List of series
|1||Musume to Watashi (娘と私)||1961||1962||Starring Takeshi Kitazawa in a story of a father taking care of his step-daughter, born between his now-deceased wife and a Frenchman.|
|2||Ashita no kaze (あしたの風)||1962||1963||Starring Fumiko Watanabe in a drama of a poor family after the war. The first Asadora to be broadcast in 15-minute episodes Monday through Saturday.|
|3||Akatsuki (あかつき)||1963||1964||Starring Shin Saburi as a professor who quits the university to become a painter.|
|4||Uzushio (うず潮)||1964||1965||Starring Michiko Hayashi as a woman born in poverty who lives a brave life. Based on a novel by Fumiko Hayashi.|
|5||Tamayura (たまゆら)||1965||1966||Starring Chishū Ryū as an old man who begins to travel after he retires. From a story written for television by Yasunari Kawabata.|
|6||Ohanahan (おはなはん)||1966||1967||Starring Fumie Kashiyama as a woman, born in the Meiji era, who raises a family by herself.|
|7||Tabiji (旅路)||1967||1968||Starring Tadashi Yokouchi in a narrative about an employee of the national railroad living through 50 years of modern history with his wife.|
|8||Ashita koso (あしたこそ)||1968||1969||Starring Yumiko Fujita in a family drama. The first color Asadora.|
|9||Nobuko to obāchan (信子とおばあちゃん)||1969||1970||Starring Naoko Otani as a young woman living with her grandmother.|
|10||Niji (虹)||1970||1971||Starring Yōko Minamida as a woman who supported her family during and after World War II.|
|11||Mayuko hitori (繭子ひとり)||1971||1972||Starring Karin Yamaguchi. Second highest rated Asadora with an average rating of 47.4%.|
|12||Ai yori aoku (藍より青く)||1972||1973||Starring Hiroko Maki. Screenplay by Taiichi Yamada. Third highest rated Asadora at 47.3%.|
|13||Kita no kazoku (北の家族)||1973||1974||Starring Yōko Takahashi in a story about a brother and sister coming of age in Hakodate and Kanazawa.|
|14||Hatoko no umi (鳩子の海)||1974||1975||Starring Mihoko Fujita as a woman who lost her memory after experiencing the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.|
|15||Mizuiro no toki (水色の時)||1975||1975||Starring Shinobu Otake in a story about a young woman striving to become a doctor and her mother, who is a nurse. The first six-month Asadora. Average rating of 40.1%.|
|16||Ohayōsan (おはようさん)||1975||1976||Starring Yoko Akino in a contemporary story about a woman office worker.|
|17||Kumo no jūtan (雲のじゅうたん)||1976||1976||Starring Yōko Asaji as a woman who wants to become a pilot.|
|18||Hi no kuni ni (火の国に)||1976||1977||Starring Keiko Suzuka about a woman who strives to become a landscape gardener.|
|19||Ichibanboshi (いちばん星)||1977||1977||A dramatization of the life of the singer Chiyako Sato. Michiko Godai replaced Haruna Takase in the lead two months into the series when Takase became ill.|
|20||Kazamidori (風見鶏)||1977||1978||Starring Harumi Arai as a woman who marries a German and starts a bakery in Kobe.|
|21||Otei-chan (おていちゃん)||1978||1978||Starring Chikako Yuri in a dramatization of the life of Sadako Sawamura.|
|22||Watashi wa umi (わたしは海)||1978||1979||Starring Tomoko Aihara. About a woman raising war orphans.|
|23||Mā-nē-chan (マー姉ちゃん)||1979||1979||Based on autobiographical stories penned by manga artist Machiko Hasegawa and featuring her older sister. Starring Mami Kumagai and Yūko Tanaka.|
|24||Ayu no uta (鮎のうた)||1979||1980||Starring Senri Yamazaki as a woman who makes her life at a fishing port.|
|25||Natchan no shashinkan (なっちゃんの写真館)||1980||1980||Starring Tomoko Hoshino as a woman who strives to become a photographer.|
|26||Niji o oru (虹を織る)||1980||1981||Starring Misako Konno as a woman from Hagi, Yamaguchi, who joins the Takarazuka Revue.|
|27||Mansaku no hana (まんさくの花)||1981||1981||A rare Asadora that is wholly set in contemporary Japan.|
|28||Honjitsu mo seiten nari (本日も晴天なり)||1981||1982||Starring Hideko Hara as a woman who becomes a radio announcer and then a writer.|
|29||Haikara-san (ハイカラさん)||1982||1982||Starring Satomi Tezuka as a woman who starts a hotel in the Meiji era.|
|30||Yōi don (よーいドン)||1982||1983||Starring Kumiko Fujiyoshi as a woman who suffers family hardships before achieving success as a marathon runner.|
|31||Oshin (おしん)||1983||1984||Starring Ayako Kobayashi, Yūko Tanaka, and Nobuko Otowa – Oshin's perseverance pulls her through various challenges during her life. Episode on November 12, 1983 is the highest rated in Japanese television drama history, with 62.9 percent.|
|32||Romansu (ロマンス)||1984||1984||Starring Takaaki Enoki as a young man who becomes a film director. The first Asadora with a male lead since 1967.|
|33||Kokoru wa itsumo ramune-iro (心はいつもラムネ色)||1984||1985||Starring Eisaku Shindō as a man who loves manzai. Average rating of 40.2%.|
|34||Miotsukushi (澪つくし)||1985||1985||Starring Yasuko Sawaguchi. Average rating of 44.3%.|
|35||Ichiban-daiko (いちばん太鼓)||1985||1986||Starring Shin'ichirō Okano. About a man who enters the world of popular theatre.|
|36||Hanekonma (はね駒)||1986||1986||Starring Yuki Saito. Average rating of 41.7%.|
|37||Miyako no kaze (都の風)||1986||1987||Starring Miyuki Kanō. A woman from Kyoto moves to Nara and runs a ryokan and then enters the fashion industry.|
|38||Chotchan (チョッちゃん)||1987||1987||Starring Hiro Komura. Based on the autobiography of Tetsuko Kuroyanagi's mother.|
|39||Hassai Sensei (はっさい先生)||1987||1988||Starring Mayumi Wakamura. About a woman from Tokyo who goes to teach at an all-boys school.|
|40||Non-chan no yume (ノンちゃんの夢)||1988||1988||Starring Tomoko Fujita. About a woman who struggles to survive after World War II and starts a magazine. Average rating of 39.1%.|
|41||Jun-chan no ōenka (純ちゃんの応援歌)||1988||1989||Starring Tomoko Yamaguchi in her acting debut. Average rating of 38.6%.|
|42||Seishun kazoku (青春家族)||1989||1989||Stars Misa Shimizu and Ayumi Ishida. Average rating of 37.8%.|
|43||Wakko no kin medaru (和っこの金メダル)||1989||1990||About a female volleyball player who helps out the local community. Starring Azusa Watanabe.|
|44||Rinrin to (凛凛と)||1990||1990||About a man who developed an early television system. Starring Minoru Tanaka.|
|45||Kyō, futari (京、ふたり)||1990||1991||Set in an old Kyoto tsukemono store, this series depicted the conflicts between a woman, her daughter and her father-in-law.|
|46||Kimi no na wa (君の名は)||1991||1992||The first year-long series since Oshin. Starred Kyōka Suzuki, but ended up being the first Asadora with an average rating under 30%.|
|47||Onna wa dokyō (おんなは度胸)||1992||1992||Chronicles the conflicts between a woman and her step-daughter in a hot springs town. Starring Pinko Izumi and Sachiko Sakurai.|
|48||Hirari (ひらり)||1992||1993||Starring Hikari Ishida. Screenplay by Makiko Uchidate, who is a member of the Japan Sumo Association, and is involved in sumo matters, such as advancing rikishi to the rank of Yokozuna. The storyline evolves around sumo - as the heroine become a nutritionist and works within the sumo system. Average rating of 36.9%.|
|49||Ee Nyobo (ええにょぼ)||1993||1993||A woman works hard to become a good doctor even though she is separated from her husband. Starring Naho Toda.|
|50||Karin (かりん)||1993||1994||A young woman, whose family runs an old miso company in Nagano Prefecture, lives through the hardships of postwar Japan. Starring Naomi Hosokawa. Last Asadora to top 30% in ratings.|
|51||Piano (ぴあの)||1994||1994||About the youngest of four sisters, all raised solely by their father, who wants to write children's books. Starring Risa Junna.|
|52||Haru yo, koi (春よ、来い)||1994||1995||A successful screenwriter looks back on her life when she learns her husband has cancer. A year-long series, starring Narumi Yasuda.|
|53||Hashiran ka! (走らんか!)||1995||1996||Set in Hakata, the series is about a young man who wants to play rock music even though his father expects him to follow him in making Hakata ningyō. One of the few Asadora starring a male character.|
|54||Himawari (ひまわり)||1996||1996||About a woman, played by Nanako Matsushima, striving to become a lawyer.|
|55||Futarikko (ふたりっ子)||1996||1997||About a female professional shogi player and her twin sister. Starring Hiromi Iwasaki and Maiko Kikuchi, with Kana Mikura and Mana Mikura (ManaKana) playing them as children. Average rating of 29.0%|
|56||Aguri (あぐり)||1997||1997||Based on the life of the beauty stylist Aguri Yoshiyuki, who married the novelist Eisuke Yoshiyuki and became the mother of the novelist Junnosuke Yoshiyuki and the actress Kazuko Yoshiyuki. Starring Misato Tanaka and Mansai Nomura.|
|57||Amakarashan (甘辛しゃん)||1997||1998||About a young woman who hopes to become a sake brewer. Starring Yumiko Sato.|
|58||Ten Urara (天うらら)||1998||1998||About a young woman training to be a carpenter who, through her own family situation, learns about the need for a barrier-free world. Starring Risa Sudo.|
|59||Yanchakure (やんちゃくれ)||1998||1999||About a young woman in Osaka who helps resurrect a shipbuilding company. Starring Miho Konishi.|
|60||Suzuran (すずらん)||1999||1999||Follows the life of a woman, raised in a coal town in Hokkaido by a father who worked on the railroad, from the 1920s to the 1930s. Starring Nagiko Tōno and Chieko Baisho.|
|61||Asuka (あすか)||1999||2000||Asuka learns to become a wagashi maker, even though wagashi is a heavily male-dominated field. Starring Yūko Takeuchi.|
|62||Watashi no aozora (私の青空)||2000||2000||About a young woman whose fiancé leaves her, pregnant, at the altar. With her son, she leaves for Tsukiji to make it on her own. Starring Tomoko Tabata.|
|63||Ōdorī (Audrey オードリー)||2000||2001||About a young woman involved in the Japanese film industry in Kyoto. Starring Aya Okamoto.|
|64||Churasan (ちゅらさん)||2001||2001||The first Asadora set in Okinawa. Starring Ryōko Kuninaka.|
|65||Honmamon (ほんまもん)||2001||2002||About a young woman striving to become a chef in Wakayama Prefecture. Starring Chizuru Ikewaki.|
|66||Sakura (さくら)||2002||2002||Sakura Matsushita is a third-generation Japanese-American, living in Honolulu, Hawaii. Her dream is to become an ALT teacher in Japan, and moves there to achieve her dream.|
|67||Manten (まんてん)||2002||2003||Starring Mao Miyaji. About a woman who studies to be a meteorologist.|
|68||Kokoro (こころ)||2003||2003||Starring Noriko Nakagoshi. Set in Asakusa, Tokyo.|
|69||Teruteru Kazoku (てるてる家族)||2003||2004||Starring Satomi Ishihara and based on a novel by Rei Nakanishi. First Asadora to average under 20% in ratings.|
|70||Tenka (天花)||2004||2004||Starring Ema Fujisawa as a young woman from Sendai, Miyagi|
|71||Wakaba (わかば)||2004||2005||Starring Natsuki Harada as a young woman who becomes a landscaper|
|72||Fight (ファイト)||2005||2005||Yuika Motokariya stars as 15-year-old Kido Yū, living with her family in Takasaki, Gunma Prefecture. Yū faces tough times, and relies on the friendship of a horse to keep her spirits up.|
|73||Kaze no Haruka (風のハルカ)||2005||2006||Starring Eri Murakawa. Takes place in Yufuin, Ōita Prefecture. Haruka's goal is to become a travel agent, and moves to Osaka, leaving her father and sister behind, to achieve her dream.|
|74||Junjō Kirari (純情きらり)||2006||2006||Starring Aoi Miyazaki. Sakurako's dream is to become a jazz pianist. Events take place in Okazaki, Aichi Prefecture.|
|75||Imo Tako Nankin (芋たこなんきん)||2006||2007||Based on a true story, Naomi Fujiyama plays the heroine role of Machiko Hanaoka - a 37-year-old woman who dreams of becoming a novelist. She marries into an extended family. Events take place in the city of Osaka.|
|76||Dondo Hare (どんど晴れ)||2007||2007||Stars Manami Higa. Screenplay by Eriko Komatsu. Natsumi marries an heir of a high class ryokan, located in Morioka, Iwate Prefecture. She then becomes the ryokan's okami or manager.|
|77||Chiritotechin (ちりとてちん)||2007||2008||Starring Shihori Kanjiya. The storyline focuses on the art of rakugo. Kiyomi's dream is to become a rakugoka, despite rakugo being a male-dominated field.|
|78||Hitomi (瞳)||2008||2008||Starring Nana Eikura. Hitomi's dream is to become a dancer of modern music.|
|79||Dandan (だんだん)||2008||2009||Starring identical twins Mana and Kana Mikura (of Futarikko fame). Finding each other years after being separated as children, they work together to achieve their dreams as singers.|
|80||Tsubasa (つばさ)||2009||2009||Starring Mikako Tabe as Tsubasa who works at a local radio station, and eventually becomes a disc jockey.|
|81||Wel-kame (ウェルかめ)||2009||2010||About a girl from Minami-cho, Tokushima who, inspired by seeing a sea turtle when she was six, strives to become a magazine editor. Lowest rated Asadora at 13.5%.|
|82||Gegege no Nyobo (ゲゲゲの女房)||2010||2010||Starring Nao Matsushita. Fumie is the wife of manga artist Shigeru Mizuki. The screen play is based on her rags to riches biography.|
|83||Teppan (てっぱん)||2010||2011||Starring Miori Takimoto and Sumiko Fuji. Akari's natural mother is originally from Osaka. She moves to Osaka to live with her grandmother to learn more about her mother. She learns that her grandmother closed the okonomiyaki restaurant after Akari's teenage mother ran away. Akari then re-opens the restaurant.|
|84||Ohisama (おひさま)||2011||2011||Starring Mao Inoue. The title refers to the sun, and thus also relates to the heroine Yoko, whose name means "child of the sun". Yoko's dream is to become a school teacher, but she also experiences tough times during the Pacific War.|
|85||Carnation (カーネーション)||2011||2012||Starring Machiko Ono. Based on the life of fashion designer Ayako Koshino. Her three daughters would eventually all become fashion designers.|
|86||Umechan Sensei (梅ちゃん先生)||2012||2012||Starring Maki Horikita, who plays a young woman striving to become a physician in post-World War II Tokyo.|
|87||Jun to Ai (純と愛)||2012||2013||Starring Natsuna as a young woman who wants to start her ideal hotel. Set in Osaka and Miyakojima.|
|88||Amachan (あまちゃん)||2013||2013||Starring Rena Nōnen as a young woman who becomes an ama and then an idol before returning to Tohoku to help revive the area after the earthquake.|
|89||Gochisōsan (ごちそうさん)||2013||2014||Starring Anne Watanabe as a young woman trying to learn how to cook Japanese cuisine during the Taisho and Shōwa periods.|
|90||Hanako to Anne (花子とアン)||2014||2014||Starring Yuriko Yoshitaka as Hanako Muraoka, the woman who first translated Anne of Green Gables into Japanese.|
|91||Massan (マッサン)||2014||2015||Starring Charlotte Kate Fox as Ellie Kameyama, wife of Masaharu Kameyama, portrayed by Tetsuji Tamayama, a man who starts whisky brewing in Japan. It is based on the life of Rita Taketsuru, a Scotswoman who married the Japanese man Masataka Taketsuru, the father of Japan's whisky industry. The title comes from Rita's nickname for Masataka.|
|92||Mare (まれ)||2015||2015||Starring Tao Tsuchiya as a young woman from the Noto Peninsula who wants to become a pâtissière.|
|93||Asa ga Kita (あさが来た)||2015||2016||Starring Haru as Asa Imai. Based on the life of Asako Hirooka, a pioneering Japanese businesswoman.|
|94||Toto Neechan (とと姉ちゃん)||2016||2016||Starring Mitsuki Takahata as Tsuneko Kohashi, a woman who starts a successful consumer advice magazine.|
|95||Beppinsan (べっぴんさん)||2016||2017||Starring Kyoko Yoshine as Sumire.|
|96||Hiyokko (ひよっこ)||2017||2017||Starring Kasumi Arimura as Mineko Yatabe, a young woman who travels from rural Ibaraki Prefecture to Tokyo in the mid-1960s to find her lost father.|
|97||Warotenka (わろてんか)||2017||2018||Starring Wakana Aoi as Ten Fujioka. Based on the lives of the founders of Yoshimoto Kogyo.|
|98||Hanbun, Aoi. (半分、青い。)||2018||2018||Starring Mei Nagano as Suzume Nireno.|
|99||Manpuku (まんぷく)||2018||2019||Starring Sakura Ando as Fukuko Imai.|
|100||Natsuzora (なつぞら)||2019||2019||Starring Suzu Hirose as Natsu Okuhara.|
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