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Kawa Itsuka Umi e (A River Flowing
Back to the Ocean)

[Excerpt From Daily Yomiuri, December 18, 2003, Wm. Penn.]: The most widely publicized offering is Kawa Itsuka Umi e, (A River Flowing Back to the Ocean) an omnibus 6-part spectacular designed to commemorate 50 years of NHK. The first installment runs from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 21. From Monday, Dec. 22 through Friday, Dec. 26, it will be aired from 9 p.m. to 9:58 p.m.

The work of three very distinctively different screenwriters, the stories
will be linked by the travels of a large, round glass buoy, known as an
ukidama. It will be launched in episode one by Eri Fukatsu and Yusuke
Santamaria, who play a couple who are taking a trip to mark their divorce.
In episode five, the buoy and this pair will reappear one year later.

What may be more interesting than the stories themselves is the chance to
study the contrast in the styles of three of Japan's best known
screenwriters (So Kuramoto, Hisashi Nozawa and Koki Mitani), who each wrote
two episodes of the story. The men's resumes and comments, available on the
NHK Web site, reveal it was both a cooperative and competitive effort.
NHK already aired a special on the making of the drama on Dec. 14 that
chronicled the clash of egos and the ups and downs of the two-year
collaboration, which proved a challenge for writers used to working alone.
Veteran So Kuramoto, of Kita no Kuni kara fame and known for his powerful
" human" dramas, was ready to drop out at one point but stayed on to write
episodes three and six.

Nozawa, one of the most thoughtful and entrancing of the new generation of
screenwriters and a master of mysteries, contributes episodes one and five.
His 1997 Aoi Tori was recently rerun on the TBS satellite channel and proved
it had lost none of its power or attraction in the intervening years.

The third member of this trio, Mitani is a screenwriter who is active in
various fields from movies to musicals and specializes in comedy. None of
his work stands out in my mind so it will be interesting to see whether he
can win me over with this challenge. Evidently they drew straws to see who
would write episode one and Mitani won but gladly turned that task over to
Nozawa. Mitani is the most laid-back of the three. And why should he worry?
He will be employed all next year. Mitani has been tagged to write the 2004
taiga drama Shinsengumi starring Shingo Katori.

Featuring: Fukatsu Eri, Yusuke Santamaria
Station: NHK
DURATION: December 21-26, 2003 - 6 part special
Theme Song:


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