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It is the start of the Showa era in Kobe. Bando Sumire was born to the wealthy Bando family as the second of two sisters. She loves embroidery and handicrafts which her mother Hana had taught her, and lives in comfort with her father Isoya who runs a textile company and her lively elder sister Yuri. One day, Sumire makes her first attempt at embroidery with the intention of giving it to her mother who is hospitalised. However, it does not turn out well and she is unable to do so. Sumire visits the shoemaker Asada Shigeo who frequents her home and sees his devotion to making shoes. His words about the importance of putting thought into making something even though she may not be good at it, is etched in her memory. After that, she goes to visit Hana and passes her the embroidery that she had redone countless times. Her mother is overjoyed to see this and calls the embroidery her life’s treasure. Eight years go by. Sumire is now 17 and has been attending a girls school. She sets up a handicraft club with two classmates Tada Ryoko and Tasaka Kimie. But everything changes with the outbreak of the Pacific War. At 19, Sumire had married Tanaka Norio and conceived a daughter shortly after. Norio goes to war, the house she grew up in is burnt down and their assets are seized at the end of the war. Sumire is at a loss. Then people who had seen the item that she made for her young daughter with her dressmaking skills, suggest that she sell it and this is how she begins making children’s clothing for a living. Gathering her former classmates from her girl’s school days, Sumire rents a shoe shop’s show window. None of them know what to do having never worked before, but by the time they realise it, they have set up a company and become absorbed in making children’s clothing. One day, Norio is sent home from the battlefield. At first, he is vehemently opposed to Sumire working. He cannot get over the idea that it is the man who works and the woman who stays at home nor can he understand why his wife and her friends want to create better pieces for children and mothers rather than earn money. However, he is eventually won over and chooses to support them from behind-the-scenes and becomes the “best partner”. Sumire and her friends focus on craftsmanship and the specialty clothing shop that she started turns into a big hit that is beyond anyone’s imagination. They are eventually recognised as a purveyor to the Imperial Household Agency. In her later years, Sumire opens the store of her dreams together with her grown-up daughters – the country’s first children’s clothing store that has everything.

Yoshine Kyoko as Bando Sumire
The second daughter of the wealthy Bando family. Because she loves embroidery and sewing, once she gets started, she will be so focused that she loses sight of her surroundings. She frequently looks like she is gazing vacantly to a casual onlooker as images fill her mind, but when she decides on something, she will stand firm and accomplish it no matter what happens. She weds during the Pacific War and gets pregnant. However, her husband Tanaka Norio soon goes to war. She gives birth to their daughter while he is absent. To make matters worse, an air raid is launched on Kobe just before the end of the war and she loses both the house she grew up in and wealth. While waiting for Norio’s return from the battle front and nursing their child, she is led by her encounters with people to begin to make children’s clothing with her dressmaking skills.

Namase Katsuhisa as Bando Isoya
The father of Bando Sumire and Yuri. The second son of an Omi merchant who traded in cloth. He received a part of the business from his father because of his business acumen and quickly made a big profit after he started. However, he had to regretfully turn his clients over to his elder brother in order to save the family. Upon marrying his childhood friend Hana, the couple sold Omi cloth wholesale in Osaka and set up a textile company called Bando Sales. They achieved success and built a fortune in one generation. He is a pragmatist and loves new things. He is rather over protective of his two daughters, Sumire and Yuri. His business philosophy of having good partners and carrying out one’s intentions rubs off on them.

Kanno Miho as Bando Hana
The mother of Bando Sumire and Yuri. Despite her poor health, she is a cheerful woman with a strong mind. She married Bando Isoya and when her husband started his business in Osaka, she sent the goods from Omi and built the foundation of their textile company. Her husband laments that this period of hardship probably put a great strain on her. She is cheerful and always brightens up the family. She understands the personalities of her daughters more than the girls themselves. She is skillful with her hands and good at embroidery. She passes away when Sumire is 9 years old.

Renbutsu Misako as Bando Yuri
Bando Sumire’s elder sister who is three years her senior. She has outstanding academic results, is good at both the piano and sports and strong enough to clearly voice her thoughts. She has been thinking about her future as the successor of the family business since she was a child. Although she has great self-confidence, she ends up considering the implications of life as a female when the war breaks out and she is no longer able to do what she wants. She feels impatient at the big transformation in Sumire whom she thought was helpless, but becomes a big support to her younger sister whose maternal instincts are awakened through childbirth and parenting and has difficulty juggling work and family.

Kora Kengo as Nogami Kiyoshi
The only son of Nogami Shozo, the director of Bando Isoya’s textile company, and Bando Sumire’s childhood friend who later marries her sister Yuri. He has been like a big-hearted, dependable big brother to Sumire since she was young. He is not only strong but also kind and can empathise with people. He is willing to make personal sacrifices for the sake of other people and has a charisma that charms many people. After the war, he uses every possible method and runs around to rebuild Bando with his father and Bando Isoya. He continues to support Sumire throughout his life.

Ichimura Masachika as Asada Shigeo
The owner of the shoe shop ‘Asaya’ in Kobe and a shoemaker who goes in and out of the Bando household. A skillful, honest man, he has the trust of his customers. He is usually smiling and friendly, but when he gets down to work, he becomes serious. He got a young Sumire greatly interested in spirit of creating things and improving processes. He is a true artisan who is sincere and never compromises. He is like a teacher to Sumire. After the war, he rents Sumire and her friends a corner of a showcase in Asaya and encourages them to take the first step into business.

Momota Kanako as Tada Ryoko
Bando Sumire’s classmate in girls school and a member of the handicraft club. She is skillful with her hands and good at making Western-style clothes and accessories from paper patterns. The life of the class, she is cheerful and gets carried away rather easily. She loves girls magazines and is interested in romance. She also has a precocious side. After graduation, she immediately had an arranged marriage and had a child. Her husband then goes to war and she does not know if he is alive or dead. While she is worrying about her future, she meets Sumire again and is invited to join the business and becomes a founding member of the company despite her hesitation.

Tsuchimura Kaho as Tasaka Kimie
Bando Sumire’s classmate in girls school. She has a serious and fastidious personality. During school days, she was called the “militarist girl”. She forms the handicraft club with Sumire and Tada Ryoko and passes her youth. She is good at design and illustration. Because she has been rather sickly since childhood, she did not think of her future because neither she nor the people around her thought that she would live long. After getting married and having a child, she was often sick in bed, but she is reunited with Sumire after the war and becomes a founding member of the company because of her desire to change herself.

Nagayama Kento as Tanaka Norio
Bando Sumire’s childhood friend. He later marries Sumire and joins the textile company. He is quiet and there are times when it is hard to tell what he is thinking. But he is kind young man and cares deeply about Sumire and his family.

Taki Yukari as Takanishi Etsuko
Bando Sumire’s classmate in girl’s school. Called Etsuko-sama by the classmates around her, she was special in class. However, she was conscious of the three-member handicraft club for some reason.

Watanabe Chiho (Gonin no Junko, Tatakau! Shoten Girl)

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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