Shitamachi Rocket – Episode 5 Synopsis (final)


A united Tsukuda Industries demonstrates its technical capabilities and does well in the tests on its manufacturing environment, technology, financial affairs and business environment. However, an unexpected mixup occurs in the delivery of an engine valve to Teikoku Heavy Industries, and it fails the performance test because a disgrunted Mano had deliberately sent off a defective valve.

Notified by Tomiyama about the halt in the tests, Tsukuda and Ehara rush over to Teikoku Heavy Industries with the correct component and appeal to Tomiyama to allow them to make a substitution, but Tomiyama firmly refuses. “If that had been used in a real launch, what would have happened?” he demands to know. “A 10 billion yen space rocket would have gone to a watery grave.” Just as their hopes are being extinguished, Zaizen appears in front of them … … He says he will assume responsibility for the substitution and instructs Asagi to conduct a new test using the valve brought by Tsukuda and Ehara.


Back at Tsukuda Industries, Mano submits his resignation. While Mano should be made to take responsibility for tarnishing the company’s reputation, Tsukuda feels partly to blame for disregarding the feelings of the majority of his employees. Building a rocket engine has been his long-cherished dream, but he concedes that he cannot fulfill it without the support of everyone. With that, he tears up Mano’s resignation. For his part, Ehara conveys Tsukuda’s wishes to Mano and tells him to come back and apologise. But Mano cannot bring himself to face everyone after betraying them.

At that same moment, Zaizen and Tomiyama are updating Mizuhara on the status of the tests. Tomiyama disparages Tsukuda Industries’ control system as unreliable. When Mizuhara asks if the implication is that Teikoku Heavy Industries should cut off dialogue, Zaizen immediately expresses his fear that the engine valve technology may go overseas if their rejection of Tsukuda Industries causes Tsukuda’s attitude to change. He points out that Teikoku Heavy Industries is not the only company that wants this technology. Tomiyama starts to dismiss Tsukuda Industries as just another small and medium enterprise, but a beleaguered Mizuhara cuts him off. They are pressed for time because their president, Fujima Hideki, will not permit a delay in the Stardust Programme’s schedule. Mizuhara makes the decision to continue with the test and adds that he is entrusting the rest to Zaizen.


The engine valve clears the performance test. But at an experiment conducted on the engine’s combustion a week later, a warning signal goes off because of abnormal combustion pressure and a spike in the temperature of the combustion chamber. The experiment is aborted.

It is concluded that the engine valve was disabled by a drop in the pressure of the liquified hydrogen tank. Tsukuda says that his team did not find any damage to the material or flaw that could have caused the failure. Furthermore, all valves have been tested and they worked without problems. Nevertheless, Tomiyama is certain that the fault lies with the engine valve because it did not work. When Tsukuda asks to look at the other engine parts, Tomiyama accuses him of trying to make Teikoku Heavy Industries take the blame. He refuses the request since the parts have been inspected and were found to be normal. Zaizen is forced to intervene again. He points out that they cannot proceed if the cause is not identified, and Tomiyama can say nothing in protest.


Two days go by but Tsukuda Industries still cannot come up with anything. A frustrated Tomiyama presses Tsukuda for an answer and will only give them one more day. As Tsukuda agonises over the problem, Saya calls him with news of the hospitalisation of his mentor, Oba, for a stroke. It was Oba who had given Tsukuda his space rocket dream and Tsukuda feels thankful for that even though he had been forced to leave the Japan Space Science Development Agency after the failed launch of ‘Seiren’.

A visit to see Oba yields a hint that finally enables Tsukuda to locate the cause of the failure. “If the valve didn’t function, you have to examine the valve. Some traces would have been left behind … …” A second test reveals that some unexpected substance had gone into the engine valve during the combustion experiment. They find what looks like dust specks inside the engine’s pipes. It is identified to be silicon dioxide. Then, a filter is also found to have silicon dioxide. In other words, that it was probably present during the manufacturing process for the filter and became stuck on the surface.


The findings are presented to Tomiyama, but because the filter was made by Teikoku Heavy Industries, Tomiyama hedges and tells Zaizen that it may not be the sole factor. Zaizen orders an examination of the manufacturing process.

On the other hand, Mizuhara worries about convincing Fujima to approval the use of Tsukuda Industries’ engine valve. Zaizen offers to explain it to the him at the next board meeting. He is confident that Fujima will agree because like Tsukuda, he had once experienced a failed space rocket launch and would thus be able to understand the feelings with which Tsukuda had designed the engine valve system.

Fujima is displeased with the news that the engine valve for the space rocket’s engine cannot be developed inhouse, and irked even more that Teikoku Heavy Industries was bested by a small enterprise. But as Zaizen had anticipated, he gives his consent when he learns of Tsukuda’s background.


The next combustion experiment at Teikoku Heavy Industries’ Space Propulsion Technology Research Institute is a success and the engine valve is finally made an official part of the Stardust Programme to the joy and relief of Tsukuda and his employees.

The space rocket’s development goes smoothly and the launch is scheduled for autumn of the following year. In the midst of this, Tsukuda pays a surprised Zaizen and Fuyumi a visit at the hospital. He privately tells Zaizen that he has found another use for the valve system in artificial hearts and approached a research institute that develops medical equipment to explore this possibility. In the near future, there will be a new generation of artificial hearts that will benefit Fuyumi.


A year later, the men gather at the command centre of the Japan Space Science Development Agency for the launch of Japan’s first domestically-made space rocket. With the reminder of the failed rocket launch eight years ago still fresh in his mind, Tsukuda waits anxiously as the countdown begins. Then, the rocket lifts off and soars into the sky. Tears silently roll down his face as he watches his long-cherished dream come true … …

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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 Shitamachi Rocket, Summer 2011 Dramas, WOWOW and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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