Sundays, 9.00 p.m. – 9.54 p.m. from 7 July 2013
Hanzawa Naoki, the head of the Loans Division of Tokyo Chuo Banking Corporation’s Osaka Nishi branch, joined the bank late in the heady bubble era. 20 years later, he has now become the generation which plays a central role in the running of the bank. On the other hand, his wife Hana complains but supports him with her bright, guileless personality. One day, Hanzawa is suddenly ordered by the branch manager Asano Tadasu to secure a 500 million yen loan agreement from Nishi Osaka Steel. Furthermore, the condition is an unsecured loan although it is a new borrower. Hanzawa is uneasy about the loan, but he does not go against Asano, and persuades the person in charge at the head office to execute the loan. The Osaka Nishi branch achieves its sales targets because of this loan, and becomes the first winner of the prestigious Best Branch Award. However, the seemingly healthy Nishi Osaka Steel has an enormous debt. It is discovered that the accounts were rigged in order to hide this. A mere three months after the loan, Nishi Osaka Steel ends up going bankrupt and the loan cannot be collected. As a result, Tokyo Chuo Banking Corporation is tricked of 500 million yen. Obsessed with advancing his career, Asano schemes to pin all the blame on Hanzawa. He even lays the groundwork as far as Managing Director Owada. Tokyo Chuo Banking Corporation is the result of the merger of commercial banks plagued by massive bad debts of the bubble era. Even after the merger, those from the former Tokyo Daiichi Bank and Sangyou Chuo Bank are divided into two factions, and bruising power struggles persist. Hanzawa, who is summoned to the head office and attends an internal probe regarding his responsibility for the financing fiasco, squarely rejects this and vows to recover the 500 million yen. As the tax bureau launches an investigation into Nishi Osaka Steel, Hanzawa arrives at the unexpected truth hidden in this rigged bankruptcy. Believing in tit for tat, he starts his fight for survival as a banker.
Sakai Masato as Hanzawa Naoki
Loans Division Manager of Tokyo Chuo Banking Corporation’s Osaka Nishi branch. After graduating from Keio University, he joined Sangyou Chuo Bank before the merger. He says that he wanted to work for Sangyou Chuo Bank because it was the bank which helped the small factory which his family runs when it was cash-strapped. However, he hates dishonesty. He has great regard for the theory that human nature is fundamentally good, but a tit for a tat if he is done for. The 500 million yen financing agreement he was forced by his branch manager to carry through becomes irrecoverable, and all the blame is shifted to him. Because he does not pay attention to the opinions of his superiors and plunges ahead with what he believes is right, he makes enemies of his branch manager and headquarters. However, he also has the trust of his subordinates and the ability to take action. With assistance from the people around him, he runs about to recover the 500 million yen. But once he goes home, he is a good husband who has no chance against the “verbal attacks” of his wife Hana.
Ueto Aya as Hanzawa Hana
Hanzawa Naoki’s wife. Because she is the type who speaks her mind, the persuasive and eloquent Hanzawa is no match for her. She had a job doing flower arrangement, but quit after marriage to become a full-time housewife. Following Hanzawa’s transfer to the Osaka Nishi branch, she lives in company housing and participates in the wives club too in addition to socialising. She is sensible and compassionate, but also vocal regarding her thoughts about her husband’s position within the bank. However, this cheerfulness also becomes Hanzawa’s salvation.
Oikawa Mitsuhiro as Tomari Shinobu
A Tokyo Chuo Banking Corporation employee who works at the Loans Division in the Tokyo headquarters. He graduated in economics from Keio University, entered in the same year as Hanzawa Naoki and is his good friend. He has been aware of Hanzawa’s presence since the time of the interview. He has had a large circle of acquaintances since he was a student, and even at the bank, he is well-informed about all personnel affairs. When he joined, he aspired to do project finance because it was his dream to work on large projects involving large loans after he entered bank but … … Although he supports Hanzawa who holds his ground with their superiors, he worries about his position within the bank.
Kataoka Ainosuke as Kurosaki Shunichi
Director-General of Osaka Tax Bureau. An elite from the Financial Services Agency. He latches on like a snake, and does not let his quarry get away. He is very proud and temperamental. The effeminate tone of his voice, induces a sense of dread among the bureau staff. The tax bureau’s targets are not disclosed, but materials on Nishi Osaka Steel are also included within Tokyo Chuo Banking Corporation’s Osaka Nishi branch’s review documents? During interactions on an audit, Hanzawa’s actions hamper that of the bureau’s, and he comes to see him as an enemy.
Kitaoji Kinya as Nakanowatari Ken
Tokyo Chuo Banking Corporation’s President. He was from the former Tokyo Daiichi Bank. He has a warm personality and places most importance on “people”. Even after the merger, he tries to bring together the opposing cliques from Tokyo Daiichi Bank and Sangyou Chuo Bank.
Kagawa Teruyuki as Owada
Tokyo Chuo Banking Corporation’s Managing Director. He was from the former Sangyou Chuo Bank, and is youngest person to be selected for the position of managing director. He tends to associate with a select group of people, and is good at bargaining and winning people’s hearts. But he is always composed and would even discard subordinates he has cared about without mercy. He hears of the problem of the bad loan at Osaka Nishi branch where Ando Tadasu works, and develops an interest in Hanzawa Naoki.
Ishimaru Kanji as Ando Tadasu
The manager of Tokyo Chuo Banking Corporation’s Osaka Nishi branch. He used to be in the Human Resources Department. Part of the Owada faction in the bank, he is high-handed with Hanzawa Naoki and other subordinates, but is always humble around Managing Director Owada. He is on the fast track, but needs field experience in order to join the board. Leaving his family behind, he takes up the post of Osaka Nishi branch manager. He discusses a 500 million yen financing agreement with Nishi Osaka Steel, which the bank has never had any dealings with, for the sake of hitting the target of 10 billion yen in loans for the best branch, but … …
Ukaji Takashi as Higashida Mitsuru
The president of Nishi Osaka Steel. He has previously had dealings with Kansai City Bank, but now considers a 500 million yen financing agreement because of a meeting with Ando Tadasu, Tokyo Chuo Banking Corporation’s Osaka Nishi branch manager. However, he assumes an overbearing attitude with Hanzawa Naoki who proceeds to talk specifics, and drives him away through intimidation. He eventually accepts an unsecured loan but Nishi Osaka Steel goes bankrupt right after that, and he absconds without repayment.
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Hi jadefrost – I’ve watched the first five episodes over the last few days and I must say that I never expected a ‘bank’ drama to be this enthralling. The ratings have been excellent.
But I must say that I thought that nearly everyone in the series was over-the-top with regard to acting. Sure Hanzawa was determined, and Kurosaki the tax guy, as well as the Branch Manager, were so cartoonishly evil as written, I thought they could have played with a bit more subtlety. Even Ueto went over the top as the good wife.