Medeta ga no yohoi

For the last several months NHK has been airing one of its very popular “asadora” telenovelas, called Massan. The drama is set in Japan’s Taisho period (1912 – 1926), a time when Japan was adjusting to a newly opened society, and increased contact with foreigners. The story chronicles the efforts of a young man to begin whiskey production in Japan, accompanied by his Scottish wife, who learns to adjust to life in Japan as her husband struggles to endure obstacles to his dream.

One scene in particular caught my attention for its power in communicating the Japanese “soul,” to the extent such a thing actually exists. Explaining Japan to those without life experience in the culture is next to impossible, but we’re fortunate that art provides an occasional entry through its emotive potential. The following clip features a team of sake craftsmen ‘preparing the bran’ as they sing together. The scene transitions into a beautiful exchange between Massan’s wife Rita and the sake house’s chamberlain, who explains the ritual singing and the process of sake-making going on on the premises.

I think it’s a beautiful two minutes…


About mikeplugh

Media Ecology General Semantics Baseball Japan Fordham University
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