NHK Drama Special 2010 ~ Saka no Ue no Kumo (Part 2)

SNUNK2

Official Website
www9.nhk.or.jp/sakanoue

Broadcast
Sundays, 7.30 – 9.00 p.m. from 5 December 2010

Station
NHK

Story
In July 1900, the Boxer Uprising breaks out. Japan forms a coalition with the great Western powers and brings Beijing under control. Akiyama Yoshifuru, who has become the commander of the cavalry, also departs for the front. In autumn, Akiyama Saneyuki is released from his foreign assignment and returns to Japan. After the end of the Boxer Uprising, Russia bolsters its troops and proceeds to invade Manchuria, building a large-scale fortification at Lushun. Saneyuki infiltrates Lushun as a staff officer in order to obtain information. Thinking that conflict with Russia is inevitable, Japan explores an alliance with the British and in 1902, the Anglo-Japanese Alliance is formed. Saneyuki is chosen to be the first instructor of the newly created military warfare course at the naval war college. Yoshifuru is appointed to be the commander of the headquarters of the Japanese China Garrison Army. He goes to Tianjin to take up his post and interacts with Yuan Shi Kai. Masaoka Shiki, who has his sights on literary innovation, continues to write ‘A Six-foot Sickbed’ for Shimbun Nihon while on his sickbed in an attempt to create a world of new haiku. Saneyuki visits Shiki and is moved by his friend’s pursuit of haiku compositions in spite of the horrific illness. However, Shiki soon dies at the age of 35, leaving behind a poem written in his final moments which is a presage of his death. In July 1903, Saneyuki marries Inou Sueko. Yoshifuru, who has returned to Japan from Manchuria, becomes the leader of the first cavalry brigade. He is invited to an exercise by the Russian army and sees the size and might of the Russian cavalry with his very own eyes. Japan continues to negotiate with Russia in order to avoid a war, but in January 1904, finally decides to go to battle. Saneyuki meets Togo Heihachiro, the admiral of the combined Japanese naval fleet and is appointed a staff officer. In February, Saneyuki joins the battleship ‘Mikasa’, and Hirose Tetsuo, his good friend since his days at the naval academy boards ‘Asahi’ to make a sortie at Sasebo port.

Characters
Motoki Masahiro as Akiyama Saneyuki
The fifth son of Akiyama Heigoro, a samurai of the underclass in Matsuyama domain. The younger brother of Akiyama Yoshifuru. He went to Tokyo University’s Preparatory School but decided to enter the navy and dropped out of school. Saneyuki graduated from the naval academy at the top of his class and became a navy man. After participating in the First Sino-Japanese War, he studied abroad in the US. Then he became an instructor at the naval college and taught strategy and the art of warfare. Under Togo Heihachiro, the admiral of the combined naval fleet, Saneyuki was in charge of planning the strategies of the combined fleet throughout the course of the Russo-Japanese naval war and guided the Japanese navy to a crushing victory over the enemy in the Battle of the Sea of Japan.

Abe Hiroshi as Akiyama Yoshifuru
The third son of Akiyama Hisataka and the older brother of Akiyama Saneyuki. He attended Osaka Normal School and the military academy before entering the military staff college. After his graduation, he went to France and studied the art of cavalry warfare at École Spéciale Militaire de Saint-Cyr. On his return to Japan, he held positions such as principal of the army’s horse riding school. Yoshifuru served in the First Sino-Japanese War and Russo-Japanese War. He distinguished himself by stopping the offensive of the Russian Cossack cavalry, particularly in the Battle of Sandepu, and guiding the Japanese army to a victory in a battle that was called “the greatest challenge of the Russo-Japanese War”. He was later called the father of Japan’s modern cavalry for these achievements.

Kagawa Teruyuki as Masaoka Shiki
The eldest son of Masaoka Tsunenao, a samurai from Matsuyama domain. Saneyuki’s childhood friend. His father died early but because his mother was the eldest daughter of the scholar, Ohara Kanzan, he had literary, artistic lineage. While he was a junior high school student, he was influenced by the democratic rights movement and aspired to be a politician but the countryside of Matsuyama did not satisfy him, so he dropped out of school and went up to Tokyo to study. He attended Tokyo University’s Preparatory School and went on to enter the Tokyo Imperial College. However, he developed tuberculosis while studying and had to quit school. During his recuperation, he switched paths to haiku and sought to revolutionise haiku and tanka. He joined Nippon Shimbun and devoted himself to writing. In the First Sino-Japanese War, he served as a correspondent. After returning to Japan, he came down with vertebral tuberculosis. He battled with his illness at Shikian while continuing with his creative activities. Shiki played an important role in Japan’s modern literature, but his illness worsened and he passed away at the age of 35.

Kanno Miho as Masaoka Ritsu
The daughter of a samurai from Matsuyama domain. Masaoka Shiki’s younger sister. She has been spirited since young and always tried to protect her timid older brother. She had a fleeting love for her childhood friend, Akiyama Saneyuki, but at the age of 15, she married a cousin who was an army soldier. They subsequently divorced and she married again. However, her second marriage did not go well. After her divorce, she went to Tokyo. She worked hard to nursed Shiki during his battle with illness and supported him in his literary revolution. After his death, she entered a vocational school and became a teacher at the school after her graduation but resigned to look after her sick mother. She later opened a needlework classroom at Shikian to make a living.

Matsu Takako as Akiyama Tami
Yoshifuru’s wife. The eldest daughter of the Sakuma family, a former vassal to the shogun. Yoshifuru lodged with the Sakuma family when he was a junior officer after he left the military academy. When she was 21, she met Yoshifuru again at a marriage meeting and married him. She bore seven children, and worked hard to look after the family.

Ishihara Satomi as Akiyama Sueko
Saneyuki’s wife. The third daughter of Inou Mafumi, a special adviser to the Emperor. She was educated to be a lady at a girls’ school for the nobility. When she was 21, she met Saneyuki at a marriage meeting, and married him. Then she stout-heartedly sent off her husband who had to take part in to Russo-Japanese War.

Watari Tetsuya as Togo Heihachiro
He served in the Anglo-Satsuma War and the Boshin War (war between the imperial and shogunate forces) as a warrior of the Satsuma domain. He was the captain of ‘Naniwa’ during the First Sino- Japanese War. In the Russo-Japanese War, he directed the overall campaign for the navy and defeated the Baltic fleet as the commander-in-chief of the first fleet and the combined Japanese naval fleet.

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About jadefrost

This blog contains information and musings on current and upcoming Japanese dramas but is not intended to be comprehensive.
This entry was posted in Fall 2010 Drama Specials, NHK. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to NHK Drama Special 2010 ~ Saka no Ue no Kumo (Part 2)

  1. Carlos R. Rivera says:

    Hello, I wondered if you had done part 1 for Saka no Ue no Kumo. I see you have (Part 2) and I was wanting to get details on Akiyama’s tour in the US from 1897-1899.

    Cheers

    CRRivera
    Ohio State University

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