Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Japanese TV Drama on for 38 Years Comes to an End?

Well, a milestone has been passed and another chapter in people's lives comes to a close. One of the longest running TV dramas in television history comes to a close here in Japan. 

San-nen B Gumi Kinpachi Sensei (3rd Grade, B Group, Mr. Kinpachi's class) that has been on for 38 years in Japan is coming to an end. 

Kyodo News announces:

The TV drama series "Sannen B-gumi Kimpachi Sensei," which deals with timely social issues through the lives of a public junior high school teacher and his students, will conclude this spring after airing intermittently for 32 years.

In the final episode, expected to be aired in late March, the main character, Kimpachi Sakamoto, will leaveSakura Junior High School as he reaches the mandatory retirement age of 60.

"I feel sadness and a sense of relief of taking a load off my mind at the same time," said Tetsuya Takeda,the 61-year-old actor who plays the role of Kimpachi.

The Tokyo Broadcasting System Television Inc. drama series started in October 1979, featuring then up-and-coming teen idols Masahiko Kondo, Toshihiko Tahara, and other young actors and actresses.

The stories based on scripts written by Mieko Osanai have sparked debate in Japanese society, raising issues such as teenage pregnancy, school violence, bullying and gender identity disorder among others.

The final episode of the first series aired in March 1980 secured an audience rating of 39.9 percent in theKanto region including Tokyo, but the long-running series has also been criticized for having fallen into a rut.


The final episode in March is expected to focus on the last several months of Kimpachi's career and the school life of his students who are nervous ahead of taking high school entrance exams

Actually, I think that this might be the longest running TV drama in television history that starred the same main actorTetsuya Takeda, for all the entire 38 years of its running. If anyone knows of a longer one please add it to the comments section.

The influence this program has had on Japanese society cannot be overstated. When my wife found out about the cancellation, she grew melancholy, and started reminiscing about how she watched that show with her family and how even one of her classmates appeared in one episode.

The show also was a launching pad for the careers of many famous Japanese stars.

Heck, I never watched the show, but I blogged once about a bunch of the funniest Japanese TV commercials that  I had ever seen. Watch those here. They are hilarious. Those were influenced and a parody of San-nen B Gumi Kinpachi Sensei. How many TV dramas have you heard of that were so popular that they spawned TV commercials parodies?

I can't think of any others.

While it has been announced that San-nen B Gumi Kinpachi Sensei is finished after all these years... And many people are sad about it. Do not fret too much. After all, whenever people graduate - especially  in Japan, they always have class reunions.

I'll bet you a half a bento that we will be seeing a class reunion of San-nen B Gumi Kinpachi Sensei within the next 5 to 10 years.... If TBS can survive that long

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