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Massan
Japanese TV Serial 2014


When I started this drama over six months ago, I really couldn’t predict that I would still be watching it until the end. Having watched a lot of daily dramas, a 6 episodes a week, 15 minutes long drama didn’t seem very daunting; however, what became apparent by Week 5 was the length of the drama wasn’t the issue but the wait each week (or two) for the videos and English subs. Was the wait worthwhile? You’re damn skippy it was!!

Massan and Ellie


Stars
(cast is numerous so I won’t mention everyone)
Charlotte Kate Fox as Kameyama Ellie
Tamayama Tetsuji as Kameyama Massan

Massan Family
Izumi Pinko as Kameyama Sanae
Maeda Gin as Kameyama Masashi
Hayami Akari as Kameyama Sumire
Nishida Naomi as Okazaki Chikako
Takahashi Gentaro as Shima Ji

Massan Workplace in Osaka

Nishikawa Kiyoshi as Tanaka Daisaku
Aibu Saki as Tanaka Yuuko
Natsuki Yoko as Tanaka Kayo
Shirai Akira as Yaguchi
Eguchi Noriko as Yoshiko

Osaka neighborhood
Hamada Mari as Catherine Taneko
Oikawa Izo as Haru-san
Ishinichi Tsutsumi as Kamoi Kinjiro

Synopsis
Taisho era: The son and heir to a sake factory/liquor store with a passion for making whiskey travels alone to Scotland to learn more. The drama shows a unique way of viewing Japanese virtues, and cross-cultural hospitality, while gaining an understanding of the differences between Scotland and Japan. The drama offers a unique view of growing up “Japanophile” as well as multi-cultural/race marriage during the early 20s into the World War II era.

Final Thoughts
This drama has been a privilege to watch. From beginning to the end, you truly felt that you were involved with the lives of the Kameyama family. This drama is amazing because it covers almost 50 years of this family; a multicultural family during a period when marrying outside your race as well as culture just didn’t happen very often. You got to witness the bravery of Elle going to a foreign country with a passable understanding of the language and morphing herself into a full-fledge Japanese woman.

Charlotte Kate Fox did a FANTASTIC job! It is the first time that NHK’s Asadora (the producers of this series) has featured a non-Japanese actor in a lead role. An American playing a Scottish woman living in Japan! Impressive! I can already imagine how well she has been accepted in the entertainment community because she did such a wonderful job in portraying Elle. Tamayama Tetsuji was also sensational as a man driven to achieve his dreams of making Japanese Whiskey. The story itself makes you curious about the real people that this was based on (Massan is based on the lives of Masataka Taketsuru and his wife Jessie Roberta “Rita” Cowan, a Scotswoman Taketsuru met while studying abroad). Even the times through World War II were realistic and definitely made you wonder how this woman AND her family maintained their strength through that turbulent time. So, the question is do I recommend it? Yes. If you are a lover of history, a great story and a beautiful romance between two people who beat the odds and stayed together until death do them part. My first Japanese TV Serial and it will not be my last! It was a labor of love to make and also a labor of time (and love) to watch!

An added feature that I LOVED! At the end of each episode, they featured the picture of a multi-cultural/race family. It was wonderful seeing all of the diverse and loving families:

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