NHK Drama Special 2011 ~ Saka no Ue no Kumo (Part 3)


Official Website

Sundays, 7.30 – 9.00 p.m. from 4 December 2011


In 1904, the Russo-Japanese War breaks out. After the Japanese Navy sinks the Lushun fleet that Russia had sent to the Far East, it devises a strategy to ambush the Baltic fleet. But the blockade of Lushun Port by the combined Japanese naval fleet fails and the war reaches a stalemate. Oyama Iwao, the commander of the army’s Manchu troops, and Kodama Gentaro, the chief of staff, go to the ‘Mikasa’ which is the flagship of the combined fleet led by Togo Heihachiro. A joint council of war is held by the leaders of the army and navy. Saneyuki advocates opening fire on the Russian fleet from 203 Highland in northwest Lushun. However, the army stresses the importance of Lushun as a stroghold and the Third Army led by Nogi Maresuke begins an all-out offensive. On the other hand, Yoshifuru’s calvary presses on in its reconnoitering and reports that Russia has gathered a great army in Liaoyang. In October, the Baltic fleet finally sets sail from Russia. Nogi, who had twice suffered heroic defeat in his offensives, is finally headed for the top of the 203 Highlands on his third assault but is defeated. Kodama temporarily takes command and at the end of the deadly combat, the 203 Highlands falls. On 20 February 1905, the combined fleet which had returned home to prepare for the decisive battle with the Baltic fleet, leaves Sasebo once again. That same day, all military commanders are convened at the general headquarters of the Japanese Manchurian Army to prepare for the big climatic battle with a Russian army led by Aleksei Nikolaevich Kuropatkin.

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 personnel. 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 masterminded the Japanese navy’s strategy against the Baltic fleet 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.

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.

Yonekura Masakane as Oyama Iwao
A cousin of the Satsuma warrior, Saigo Takamori. He visited France twice after the Meiji Restoration, and was engaged in building Japan’s army. He was the commander of the Second Army in the First Sino-Japanese War, and contributed to Japan’s victory in the Russo-Japanese War by serving as the army’s commander of the Manchu troops.

Takahashi Hideki as Kodama Gentaro
He devoted himself to establishing the military academy and served as its first head. After that, he held posts such as the Minister of the Army, Interior Minister and Governor of Taiwan, but he volunteered to be the vice chief of staff in the Russo-Japanese War in an unusual step down in rank. He also served as the chief of staff of the newly organised Manchu troops.

Emoto Akira as Nogi Maresuke
He captured Lushun as the commander of the Second Infantry’s First Brigade in the First Sino-Japanese War. In the Russo-Japanese War, he led the all-out offensive on Lushun as the commander of the Third Army. However, they could do nothing against Russia’s modern, impregnable fortress and his two sons were among the many casualties. After the fall of 203 Highlands, the Third Army was summoned to the battle of Mukden (Fengtian).

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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.
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