Taiga drama

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Taiga drama (Japanese: 大河ドラマ, Hepburn: Taiga dorama, "Big River Drama") is the name NHK gives to the annual, year-long historical drama television series it broadcasts in Japan. Beginning in 1963 with the black-and-white Hana no Shōgai, starring kabuki actor Onoe Shoroku II and Awashima Chikage, the network regularly hires different writers, directors, and other creative staff for each taiga drama. The 45-minute show airs on the NHK General TV network every Sunday at 20:00, with rebroadcasts on Saturdays at 13:05. NHK BS Premium and NHK World Premium broadcasts are also available.

Taiga dramas are very costly to produce.[1] The usual procedure of a taiga drama production would have one-third of the total number of scripts finished before shooting begins. Afterwards, audience reception is taken into account as the rest of the series is written.[2] Many times, the dramas are adapted from a novel (e.g. Fūrin Kazan is based on The Samurai Banner of Furin Kazan). Though taiga dramas have been regarded by Japanese viewers as the most prestigious among dramas in Japan, viewership ratings have considerably declined in recent years.[1]

Current series[edit]

Upcoming series[edit]

List of series[edit]

# Romanised Name Kanji (or Kana) Name English title Start End Starring[3] Supporting cast Additional Notes (Time period) Average Rating[4]
1 Hana no Shōgai 花の生涯 Life of a Flower[5] 7 April 1963 29 December 1963 Onoe Shoroku II Chikage Awashima
Kaoru Yachigusa
Kyōko Kagawa
Keiji Sada
Black and white 20.2%
2 Akō Rōshi 赤穂浪士 1 January 1964 27 December 1964 Kazuo Hasegawa Isuzu Yamada
Osamu Takizawa
Chikage Awashima
Onoe Baikō VII
Black and white. Also the most viewed taiga drama in its history. 31.9%
3 Taikōki 太閤記 3 January 1965 26 December 1965 Ken Ogata Shiho Fujimura
Yoshiko Mita
Sessue Hayakawa
Kōji Takahashi
Black and white 31.2%
4 Minamoto no Yoshitsune 源義経 2 January 1966 25 December 1966 Onoe Kikunosuke VII Ken Ogata
Junko Fuji
Osamu Takizawa
Isuzu Yamada
Black and white 23.5%
5 San Shimai 三姉妹 1 January 1967 24 December 1967 Mariko Okada
Shiho Fujimura
Komaki Kurihara
Tsutomu Yamazaki
Shinsuke Ashida
Kō Nishimura
Osamu Takizawa
Black and white 19.1%
6 Ryōma ga Yuku 竜馬がゆく 7 January 1968 29 December 1968 Kin'ya Kitaōji Ruriko Asaoka
Yoshie Mizutani
Hideki Takahashi
Keiju Kobayashi
Black and white 14.5%
7 Ten to Chi to 天と地と 5 January 1969 28 December 1969 Kōji Ishizaka Fumie Kashiyama
Ineko Arima
Osamu Takizawa
Kōji Takahashi
Colour. Future broadcasts are in colour. 25.0%
8 Momi no Ki wa Nokotta 樅の木は残った 4 January 1970 27 December 1970 Mikijirō Hira Sayuri Yoshinaga
Komaki Kurihara
Kinuyo Tanaka
Kin'ya Kitaōji
21.0%
9 Haru no Sakamichi 春の坂道 3 January 1971 26 December 1971 Nakamura Kinnosuke Yoshio Harada
Yoko Tsukasa
Ichikawa Ebizō X
So Yamamura
21.7%
10 Shin Heike Monogatari 新・平家物語 2 January 1972 24 December 1972 Tatsuya Nakadai Tamao Nakamura
Tsutomu Yamazaki
Masakazu Tamura
Osamu Takizawa
21.4%
11 Kunitori Monogatari 国盗り物語 7 January 1973 30 December 1973 Mikijirō Hira
Hideki Takahashi
Keiko Matsuzaka
Shōhei Hino
Shigeru Tsuyuguchi
Masaomi Kondō
22.4%
12 Katsu Kaishū 勝海舟 6 January 1974 29 December 1974 Tetsuya WatariHiroki Matsukata[6] Reiko Ohara
Yoshiko Kuga
Keiju Kobayashi
Onoe Shoroku II
24.2%
13 Genroku Taiheiki 元禄太平記 6 January 1975 29 December 1975 Kōji Ishizaka Tōru Emori
Muga Takewaki
Shinsuke Ashida
Hisaya Morishige
24.7%
14 Kaze to Kumo to Niji to 風と雲と虹と 4 January 1976 26 December 1976 Go Kato Sayuri Yoshinaga
Masao Kusakari
Shigeru Tsuyuguchi
Ken Ogata
24.0%
15 Kashin 花神 2 January 1977 25 December 1977 Nakamura Umenosuke IV Masatoshi Nakamura
Jukichi Uno
Ruriko Asaoka
Hideki Takahashi
19.0%
16 Ōgon no Hibi 黄金の日日 8 January 1978 24 December 1978 Ichikawa Somegorō VI Komaki Kurihara
Jinpachi Nezu
Tetsurō Tamba
Matsumoto Kōshirō VIII
25.9%
17 Kusa Moeru 草燃える 7 January 1979 23 December 1979 Kōji Ishizaka
Shima Iwashita
Ken Matsudaira
Hiromi Go
Keiko Matsuzaka
Onoe Shoroku II
26.3%
18 Shishi no Jidai 獅子の時代 6 January 1980 21 December 1980 Bunta Sugawara
Go Kato
Reiko Ohara
Shinobu Otake
Minoru Chiaki
Kōji Tsuruta
21.0%
19 Onna Taikōki おんな太閤記 11 January 1981 20 December 1981 Yoshiko Sakuma Masatoshi Nakamura
Pinko Izumi
Harue Akagi
Toshiyuki Nishida
Based on the novel Taikōki (which formed the basis of the 3rd Taiga Drama of the same title), with the story told from a woman's perspective. 31.8%
20 Tōge no Gunzō 峠の群像 10 January 1982 19 December 1982 Ken Ogata Ken Matsudaira
Juzo Itami
Nakamura Umenosuke IV
Jukichi Uno
23.7%
21 Tokugawa Ieyasu 徳川家康 9 January 1983 18 December 1983 Sakae Takita Shinobu Otake
Tetsuya Takeda
Masako Natsume
Kōji Ishizaka
31.2%
22 Sanga Moyu 山河燃ゆ Burning Mountains and Rivers[5] 8 January 1984 23 December 1984 Matsumoto Kōshirō IX
Toshiyuki Nishida
Reiko Ohara
Keiko Tsushima
Kiyoshi Kodama
Toshiro Mifune
First (and so far only) Taiga drama set in the Shōwa period of World War II 21.1%
23 Haru no Hatō 春の波涛 6 January 1985 15 December 1985 Keiko Matsuzaka Masatoshi Nakamura
Morio Kazama
Chikage Awashima
Keiju Kobayashi
18.2%
24 Inochi いのち Inochi: Life[5] 5 January 1986 14 December 1986 Yoshiko Mita Tetsurō Tamba
Mako Ishino
Kōji Yakusho
Ken Utsui
First taiga drama set in postwar Japan. First taiga drama to be officially broadcast with English subtitles. 29.3%
25 Dokuganryū Masamune 独眼竜政宗 Masamune the One-Eyed Dragon[5] 4 January 1987 13 December 1987 Ken Watanabe Tomokazu Miura
Teruhiko Saigō
Shima Iwashita
Shintaro Katsu
39.7%
26 Takeda Shingen 武田信玄 Shingen Takeda[5] 10 January 1988 18 December 1988 Kiichi Nakai Kyōhei Shibata
Misako Konno
Toshiyuki Nishida
Ryōtarō Sugi
Last taiga drama to air during the Shōwa period. 39.2%
27 Kasuga no Tsubone 春日局 Kasuga the Court Lady[5] 1 January 1989 17 December 1989 Reiko Ōhara Aiko Nagayama
Shinji Yamashita
Tetsurō Tamba
Yoshiko Sakuma
Earliest premiere for a Taiga drama; first Taiga drama to be shown during the Heisei period. 32.4%
28 Tobu ga Gotoku 翔ぶが如く As If in Flight[5] 7 January 1990 9 December 1990 Toshiyuki Nishida
Takeshi Kaga
Yūko Tanaka
Sumiko Fuji
Hideki Takahashi
Yūzō Kayama
23.2%
29 Taiheiki 太平記 6 January 1991 25 December 1991 Hiroyuki Sanada Yasuko Sawaguchi
Tetsuya Takeda
Frankie Sakai
Kataoka Takao
26.0%
30 Nobunaga 信長 KING OF ZIPANGU 5 January 1992 13 December 1992 Naoto Ogata Momoko Kikuchi
Keiko Takahashi
Ken Utsui
Mikijirō Hira
24.6%
31 Ryūkyū no Kaze 琉球の風 DRAGON SPIRIT Wind of the Ryūkyū Islands[5] 10 January 1993 13 June 1993 Noriyuki Higashiyama Atsuro Watabe
Tomoyo Harada
Rumiko Koyanagi
Kenichi Hagiwara
First part of a 3-part series. 17.7%
32 Homura Tatsu 炎立つ 4 July 1993 13 March 1994 Ken Watanabe
Hiroaki Murakami
Yūko Kotegawa
Kei Satō
Tsunehiko Watase
Kōtarō Satomi
Second part of a 3-part series. Also had the latest premiere for a Taiga drama. 17.3%
33 Hana no Ran 花の乱 3 April 1994 25 December 1994 Yoshiko Mita Ichikawa Danjūrō XII
Mansai Nomura
Yorozuya Kinnosuke
Machiko Kyō
Conclusion of the 3-part series. 14.1%
34 Hachidai Shōgun Yoshimune 八代将軍吉宗 Yoshimune[5] 8 January 1995 10 December 1995 Toshiyuki Nishida Hideji Ōtaki
Nenji Kobayashi
Nakamura Baijaku II
Masahiko Tsugawa
About the Shogun Tokugawa Yoshimune. 26.4%
35 Hideyoshi 秀吉 7 January 1996 22 December 1996 Naoto Takenaka Yasuko Sawaguchi
Hiroaki Murakami
Etsuko Ichihara
Tetsuya Watari
49 episodes about the life of Hideyoshi. 30.5%
36 Mōri Motonari 毛利元就 5 January 1997 14 December 1997 Nakamura Hashinosuke III Yasuko Tomita
Takaya Kamikawa
Keiko Matsuzaka
Ken Ogata
23.4%
37 Tokugawa Yoshinobu 徳川慶喜 4 January 1998 13 December 1998 Masahiro Motoki Bunta Sugawara
Ayako Wakao
Hikari Ishida
Reiko Ohara
21.1%
38 Genroku Ryōran 元禄繚乱 Chūshingura[5] 1 January 1999 12 December 1999 Nakamura Kankurō V Shinobu Otake
Noriyuki Higashiyama
Honami Suzuki
Kenichi Hagiwara
20.2%
39 Aoi Tokugawa Sandai 葵 徳川三代 Aoi[5] 9 January 2000 17 December 2000 Masahiko Tsugawa
Toshiyuki Nishida
Onoe Tatsunosuke II
Tōru Emori
Nakamura Baijaku II
Mayumi Ogawa
Shima Iwashita
First series to be fully filmed in high definition (HD).[7] Future series are also broadcast in HD. 18.5%
40 Hōjō Tokimune 北条時宗 Hōjō Tokimune[5] 7 January 2001 9 December 2001 Motoya Izumi Atsuro Watabe
Ken Watanabe
Sumiko Fuji
Kin'ya Kitaōji
18.5%
41 Toshiie to Matsu 利家とまつ~加賀百万石物語~ Toshiie and Matsu[5] 6 January 2002 15 December 2002 Toshiaki Karasawa
Nanako Matsushima
Takashi Sorimachi
Teruyuki Kagawa
Ken Matsudaira
Bunta Sugawara
22.1%
42 Musashi 武蔵 MUSASHI 5 January 2003 7 December 2003 Ichikawa Shinnosuke VII Ryoko Yonekura
Shinichi Tsutsumi
Tsunehiko Watase
Makoto Fujita
16.7%
43 Shinsengumi! 新撰組! 11 January 2004 12 December 2004 Shingo Katori Tatsuya Fujiwara
Koji Yamamoto
Masato Sakai
Kōji Ishizaka
17.4%
44 Yoshitsune 義経 9 January 2005 11 December 2005 Hideaki Takizawa Ken Matsudaira
Mikijirō Hira
Kiichi Nakai
Tetsuya Watari
19.5%
45 Kōmyō ga Tsuji 功名が辻 8 January 2006 10 December 2006 Yukie Nakama
Takaya Kamikawa
Tetsuya Takeda
Gin Maeda
Akira Emoto
Hiroshi Tachi
20.9%
46 Fūrin Kazan 風林火山 7 January 2007 9 December 2007 Masaaki Uchino Ichikawa Kamejirō II
Gackt
Sonny Chiba
Tatsuya Nakadai
18.7%
47 Atsuhime 篤姫 6 January 2008 21 December 2008 Aoi Miyazaki Eita
Masato Sakai
Hideki Takahashi
Kin'ya Kitaōji
24.5%
48 Tenchijin 天地人 4 January 2009 22 November 2009 Satoshi Tsumabuki Kazuki Kitamura
Takako Tokiwa
Hiroshi Abe
Hiroki Matsukata
21.2%
49 Ryōmaden 龍馬伝 3 January 2010 28 November 2010 Masaharu Fukuyama Teruyuki Kagawa
Nao Ōmori
Kiyoshi Kodama
Kōtarō Satomi
18.7%
50 江〜姫たちの戦国〜 9 January 2011 27 November 2011 Juri Ueno Rie Miyazawa
Asami Mizukawa
Gorō Kishitani
Kin'ya Kitaōji
17.7%
51 Taira no Kiyomori 平清盛 8 January 2012 23 December 2012 Kenichi Matsuyama Hiroshi Tamaki
Masaki Okada
Shota Matsuda
Kiichi Nakai
12.0%
52 Yae no Sakura 八重の桜 Yae's Sakura[8] 6 January 2013 15 December 2013 Haruka Ayase Hidetoshi Nishijima
Hiroki Hasegawa
Nakamura Shidō II
Toshiyuki Nishida
14.6%
53 Gunshi Kanbei 軍師官兵衛 5 January 2014 21 December 2014 Junichi Okada Miki Nakatani
Tori Matsuzaka
Naoto Takenaka
Kyōhei Shibata
15.8%
54 Hana Moyu 花燃ゆ Hana Moyu 4 January 2015 13 December 2015 Mao Inoue Takao Osawa
Yūsuke Iseya
Kengo Kora
Yoshiko Mita
12.0%
55 Sanada Maru 真田丸 Sanada Maru 10 January 2016 18 December 2016 Masato Sakai Yo Oizumi
Masami Nagasawa
Seiyō Uchino
Masao Kusakari
16.6%
56 Onna Jōshu Naotora おんな城主 直虎 Naotora: The Lady Warlord[9] 8 January 2017 17 December 2017 Ko Shibasaki Haruma Miura
Issey Takahashi
Masaki Suda
Kaoru Kobayashi
12.8%
57 Segodon 西郷どん Segodon 7 January 2018 16 December 2018 Ryohei Suzuki Eita
Keiko Kitagawa
Shota Matsuda
Ken Watanabe
Last taiga drama to air in its entirety during the Heisei period. 12.7%
58 Idaten いだてん~東京オリムピック噺~ Idaten 6 January 2019 15 December 2019 Nakamura Kankurō VI
Sadao Abe
Haruka Ayase
Takeshi Kitano
Mirai Moriyama
Kōji Yakusho
Last taiga drama to premiere during the Heisei period and the first Taiga drama to be shown during the Reiwa period.
59 Kirin ga Kuru 麒麟がくる 19 January 2020 2020 Hiroki Hasegawa Fumino Kimura
Shōta Sometani
Kuranosuke Sasaki
Masahiro Motoki
First Taiga drama to premiere in the Reiwa period.
60 Seiten wo Tsuke 青天を衝け 2021 2021 Ryo Yoshizawa TBA

NHK Special Drama[edit]

Saka no Ue no Kumo was originally set for a 2006 broadcast as "21st Century Taiga Drama". However, the scriptwriter of the series committed suicide, causing a delay in production. The series was aired as "NHK Special Drama" in three parts, each part airing from late November to late December of each year.

Title season Episodes Start End Starring Supporting cast
Saka no Ue no Kumo 1 5 eps 29 November 2009 27 December 2009 Masahiro Motoki
Hiroshi Abe
Teruyuki Kagawa
Miho Kanno
Go Kato
Hideki Takahashi
Tetsuya Watari
2 4 eps 5 December 2010 26 December 2010
3 4 eps 4 December 2011 25 December 2011

Fantasy taiga drama[edit]

Title season Episodes Start End Starring Supporting cast
Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit 1 4 eps 26 March 2016 9 April 2016 Haruka Ayase Masahiro Higashide
Mizuki Itagaki
Mikijirō Hira
Tatsuya Fujiwara
2 9 eps 21 January 2017 25 March 2017
3 9 eps 25 November 2017 27 January 2018

New Big Jidaigeki[edit]

# Romanised Name Kanji Name Episodes Start End Starring Supporting cast
1 Miyamoto Musashi 宮本武蔵 45 4 April 1984 13 March 1985 Kōji Yakusho Yūko Kotegawa
Eiji Okuda
Kōji Naka
Tetsurō Tamba
2 Sanada Taiheiki 真田太平記 45 3 April 1985 19 March 1986 Tsunehiko Watase Masao Kusakari
Kurara Haruka
Misako Konno
Tetsurō Tamba
3 Musashibō Benkei 武蔵坊弁慶 34 9 April 1986 12 December 1986 Nakamura Kichiemon II Tarō Kawano
Keiko Oginome
Bunta Sugawara
Yorozuya Kinnosuke

Series overviews[edit]

The set of Ryūkyū no Kaze (1993) is now a park in Okinawa.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Mainichi Japan (8 May 2019). "NHK historical drama series 'Idaten' posts record low ratings". The Mainichi. Tokyo: The Mainichi Newspapers. Retrieved 11 August 2019.
  2. ^ Shinozuka, Jun, ed. (January 2011). "Feature 1: JQR Interview – Yoshiko Nishimura". Japan Quality Review Vol. 0-1. Retrieved 7 August 2019.
  3. ^ "大河ドラマ一覧". NHK.
  4. ^ "過去の視聴率データ NHK大河ドラマ". Video Research Ltd.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Clements, Jonathan; Tamamuro, Motoko (November 2003). The Dorama Encyclopedia: A Guide to Japanese TV Drama Since 1953. Berkeley, California: Stone Bridge Press. ISBN 1-880656-81-7. Retrieved 14 October 2019.
  6. ^ (main role actor changed as of 10th story
  7. ^ "大河ドラマ 葵 徳川三代". NHK名作選 (in Japanese). NHK. Retrieved 12 November 2019. 全編ハイビジョンで撮影された最初の「大河ドラマ」
  8. ^ "Yae's Sakura". International Emmy Awards. International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Retrieved 12 October 2019.
  9. ^ Hawaii Herald (23 February 2017). "TV Guide Revision". The Hawai'i Herald. Retrieved 12 October 2019.

External links[edit]