Mother Game ~ Onnatachi no Kaikyuu


Official Website

Tuesdays, 10.00 – 10.54 p.m. from 14 April 2015


Kanbara Kiko, a divorced single mother, has moved to her grandfather Tetsuji’s house with her 5-year-old son, Haruto, in order to set a lunch-box shop and has been busy making preparations for the opening next month. If she cannot leave Haruto at a kindergarten, she will not be able to work. One day at the local ward office, she negotiates with the staff in charge of the waiting list for kindergartens, but is told that her son will not be able to enroll immediately. Kiko doggedly persists, but is paid no attention at the ward office. Then someone taps her on the shoulder and offers a helping hand. Naraoka Fumi, the principal of a kindergarten, accepts Haruto’s enrollment. But on the first day of school one month later, Kiko realises that it is a prestigious kindergarten for rich families when she brings Haruto over on her bicycle. There is a congestion of high-end cars in front of the kindergarten’s front gate. Mothers swagger on high heels within the compound and carry luxury brand bags. Kiko is shocked by the reality of this kindergarten where she is out of her element and feels a touch of uncertainty about the atmosphere. However, she discovers an old junior high school classmate, Kamiya Yuki, among the mothers. Kiko calls out to her, but is curtly given the cut. This prestigious kindergarten is not for ordinary people like her to come. The other mothers who have put their children in the kindergarten include the wife of a doctor, Yano Satoko; career woman Goto Midori; and the undisputed leader of the mothers, Onodera Marie. They may appear gorgeous and rich, but they too have problems that they cannot tell anyone. Kiko, the commoner, expresses her feelings directly to the mothers who regard her as an enemy. With her vivacity and compassion, she starts to change the thinking and establish new bonds with these rigid women living in a completely different world and generation.

Kimura Fumino as Kanbara Kiko
She was born in Tokyo’s old working class neighborhood. Her parents died when she was young and she was raised by her grandparents. After graduating from a culinary college, she trained in French cuisine at a hotel for four years, but left the hotel because of pregnancy and childbirth. When her son Haruto turned three, she became a single mother. She stays with her grandfather Tetsuji because she is opening a deli kitchen in March this year. Just when she is having trouble enrolling Haruto at a kindergarten, the principal of Shizuku Kindergarten, Naraoka Fumi, lets her enroll him with Shizuku Kindergarten,. However, there are many families this kindergarten and a single mother like her is a rare sight. She is the lively type who gets along with everyone and would immediately say what she thinks. Even in the kindergarten, she treats the wealthy mothers with a firm attitude and begins to stand up to adversity.

Hasegawa Kyoko as Yano Satoko
A wealthy full-time housewife whose husband is a local doctor in private practice. She used to be a nurse at Yano Clinic. But her husband, who was the son of a hospital director, fell in a love with her at first sight and they got married. Glamourous and beautiful, she has the appearance of a model and viewed with awe by the people around her. A veteran mother who has put all three of her children in Shizuku Kindergarten. She is the de-facto leader in the kindergarten’s events. Although she seems perfect, she is actually bullied by her mother-in-law who is not pleased with her background and family’s social standing, and leads an oppressive life.

Kanjiya Shihori, as Kamiya Yuki
Kanbara Kiko’s childhood friend since elementary school. They were the pitcher and catcher in the softball club during high school. After high school graduation, she married her husband, Kyoji, whom she met at the temporary workplace she was sent to. She became a full-time housewife and had her daughter, Sakurako. Because her life has been governed by her parents, academic qualifications and money, she earnestly hopes that Sakurako will not experience what she did. In order to protect Sakurako and herself, she forces herself to act wealthy and they always have to scrape along. After Kiko’s son, Haruto, enrolls at the kindergarten, she would give Kiko information on how to conduct herself and what she should be careful of at the kindergarten.

Adachi Yumi as Goto Midori
A lone wolf who does not hang out much with the other mothers. She wears fashionable black pant suits and stands out among the mothers, many of whom are conservatively dressed. She lives in a medium-rise apartment in the same building as Onodera Marie. She is bad at all housework, especially cooking and needlework. She met her husband, Shuhei at her company, and they got married. She returned to work after a break, but has become a full-time housewife because of the elementary school entrance exams of their daughter, Rika. She used to be a career-minded woman with the top sales performance. Despite discarding this life and settling down, she has for some reason been feeling nothing but misery every day.

Dan Rei as Onodera Marie
She grew up in the lap of luxury as the daughter of the president of Onodera Group, which is mainly in the property and hotel businesses. She now lives on the highest floor of Tower Mansion. She has impeccable qualities – beauty, status and money. Everyone regards her as the leader of the mothers, but she personally has no interest in this caste system. She keeps watch of Kanbara Kiko, whom everyone views as a misfit, from a distance.

Toyohara Kosuke as Mysterious man
A customer of the deli kitchen ‘Gohanya’. A mysterious man who would appear from and criticise Kanbara Kiko’s management.

Muroi Shigeru as Naraoka Fumi
The principal of Shizuku Kindergarten. After children enrolled in Shizuku Kindergarten successively qualified for kindergartens affiliated with prestigious universities, the image started to take hold, and it gradually became a kindergarten with an entrance examination. She by no means thinks that taking exams are bad, but is concerned about the possibility that children’s lives will be constrained by this. She lets Haruto enroll because she believes that may catalyse Shizuku Kindergarten. She is like a serene, maternal figure to all the kindergarten’s children. After her divorce, she raised Shinnosuke single-handedly.

Seto Koji as Naraoka Shinnosuke
Naraoka Fumi’s son. He grew up in the kindergarten, attendeded public school and qualified for Sei University’s Faculty of Education. Strongly influenced by his mother’s passion for early childhood education, he works at her kindergarten after graduation. However, there is a big difference between his ideal education and the situation on the ground. Lately, he has been thinking about the management of the kindergarten more than the education of the children. He intends to take over Shizuku Kindergarten in the future. He has misgivings about the educational policy of his mother who enrolled Kanbara Haruto, a non-conformist to Shizuku Kindergarten.

Ryu Raita as Kanbara Tetsuji
Kanbara Kiko’s grandfather. He lives with Kiko while assisting in taking care of her son, Haruto, and helping out at the deli kitchen. After retirement, he lives on his pension but would head over and perform a physical examination of trees when requested by his neighbours and friends. He is a self-styled tree doctor. He has a kind and easygoing personality. His wife and daughter passed away earlier then him, and because Kiko and Haruto are all that he has left now, he dotes on them a great deal.

Arai Shuko (Dark Suit, Shima no Sensei)
Takeda Yuki (Last Doctor, Kakushou)

Click here for photos from the press conference.

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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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