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Encyclopedia > Japanese television drama

Japanese dramas (Japanese: ドラマ dorama; J-dramas; from English "drama") are a staple of Japanese television and are broadcast daily. All major TV networks in Japan produce a variety of dramas including romance, comedies, detective stories, horror and many others. // Television channels in Japan Tokyo (Analog Channel / Digital Channel [Digital Remote Button]) VHF1 / UHF27[1] - NHK General TV - public VHF3 / UHF26[2] - NHK Educational TV - public VHF4 / UHF25[4] - Nippon TV (Nittele) - commercial, NNN VHF6 / UHF22[6] - TBS TV - commercial, JNN VHF8 / UHF21[8] - Fuji TV - commercial, FNN VHF10 / UHF24...


Japanese dramas are broadcast in three-month long seasons, with new dramas airing each season. The majority of dramas are aired weekdays in the evenings around 9:00pm, 10:00pm, or even 11:00pm. Dramas shown in the morning or afternoon are generally broadcast on a daily basis, and episodes of the same drama can be aired every day for several months, such as NHK's asadora, or morning dramas. The evening dramas, however, air weekly, and are usually 9 to 12 episodes long, though sometimes there will be an epilogue special made after the final episode if the drama has been a huge success. NHK (日本放送協会, Nippon Hōsō Kyōkai), or the Japan Broadcasting Corporation, is Japans public broadcaster. ...


Japanese television seasons are: Winter (January-March), Spring (April-June), Summer (July-September), and Autumn or Fall (October-December).

Contents

What makes a good drama

Most people associate today's Japanese dramas with the modern style of screenwriting which has coined the term trendy dramas. The trendy formula for Japanese dramas was invented in the late 1980s when screenwriters decided to reach the television audience with themes that covered real-life Japan, at a time when the Japanese were experiencing a bubble economy. The trendy formula was improved in the early 1990s, when the story lines changed with the times of that period. By gambling on harder issues, including teenage violence, child abuse, and modern family life, the trendy drama formula is tweaked to fit the television viewers' changing taste. Even today, the success of Japanese dramas is a result of sticking with the trendy drama formula. Although some people consider Super Sentai and tokusatsu type shows as dramas, they are not covered when dramas are referred to using the trendy definition. Generally, most evening dramas aired nowadays are trendy dramas, and the term doesn't apply to other types of dramas such as asadora. The 1980s refers to the years of 1980 to 1989. ... An economic bubble occurs when speculation in a commodity causes the price to increase, thus producing more speculation. ... Germans dancing on the Berlin Wall in late 1989, the symbol of the cold war divide falls down as the world unites in the 1990s. ... Violence is any act of aggression and abuse which causes or intends to cause injury, in some cases criminal, or harm to persons, and (to a lesser extent) animals or property. ... Child abuse is the physical or psychological maltreatment of a child by an adult, often synonymous with the term child maltreatment or the term child abuse and neglect. ... The official logo of the Super Sentai Series introduced in 2000 during the run of Mirai Sentai Timeranger Super Sentai , Super Sentai Series) is the name given to the long running Japanese superhero team genre of shows produced by Toei Company Ltd. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Asadora drama (朝ドラ, where 朝 means morning, and ドラ means drama) is the name NHK gives to the morning serialized television series it broadcasts in Japan. ...


Difference in focus between networks

Dramas broadcast on Fuji Television (Fuji TV) and TBS are usually the most popular. NTV produces some popular drama, too. Fuji Television Network, Incorporated ) TYO: 4676 is a Japanese television network based in Odaiba, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan. ... TBS is an abbreviation that may refer to many different subjects: There are two television networks and one radio network commonly referred to as TBS. Tokyo Broadcasting System, a TV station in Tokyo, Japan TBS Radio & Communications, a radio station in Tokyo, Japan TBS (TV Network), US The rock/emo... The name NTV is used by several television broadcasters throughout the world: Nippon Television (Nittele) - Shiodome, Tokyo, Japan NTV (CJON-TV) - St. ...


Fuji TV is widely known as the inventor of the drama formula. It's generally believed that the 9:00pm dramas shown on Monday nights are the most popular. These usually involve a love story, a very popular genre. But the Gekku slot is losing its shine and most of the dramas recently are big critic flop and most don't cross the 20% mark anymore.


Other Japan television networks also have their own focuses. TV Asahi, for example, focus heavily on jidaigeki and crime-situated stories. NHK puts more effort into programming that reaches an older demographic, focusing mostly on epic period dramas of historical significance, often with all-star casts, called taiga dramas, as well as inspiring dramas that focus on a young, strong-willed hero or heroine. This article is about the television network in Japan. ... Jidaigeki (時代劇) is a genre of film and television in Japan. ... NHK (日本放送協会, Nippon Hōsō Kyōkai), or the Japan Broadcasting Corporation, is Japans public broadcaster. ... From the Greek , in mythology and folklore, a hero (male) or heroine (female) usually fulfills the definitions of what is considered good and noble in the originating culture. ... This article is about the type of character. ...


Theme music and background music

Theme music and background music sets the overall tone of the Japanese drama series. Most dramas will start off with one or two minutes of opening theme music during the opening credits. Other dramas will have at the very least a catchy melody in the beginning, displaying the drama's name that lasts a few seconds, and then one to two minutes of ending theme music during the closing credits. Background music is placed and used at strategic points of the episode in order to set the mood of that particular scene.


There is a sub-genre of Japanese drama fans that are also huge fans of the drama's original soundtrack. Most television networks work with music companies to produce original soundtracks. Most opening and closing theme music is written especially for the drama series, while other theme music is licensed from other sources that previously existed. Once the library is put together, the television network will release the original soundtrack compact disc, usually a few weeks after the start of the drama. Closing themes are often sung by a popular J-pop singer or band. A genre is any of the traditional divisions of art forms from a single field of activity into various kinds according to criteria particular to that form. ... J-pop (or Jpop) is an abbreviation of Japanese pop. ...


NHK produces its own theme music and is one of the only Japanese television networks that has its own orchestra. Most of the theme music heard in their taiga and asadora dramas were written and produced in-house. NHK (日本放送協会, Nippon Hōsō Kyōkai), or the Japan Broadcasting Corporation, is Japans public broadcaster. ...


In recent years, many theme songs have been licensed from sources outside of Japan. In some instances, theme songs have been licensed from some of the biggest names in the Western recording industry. This practice does have its disadvantages. When the Japanese drama is licensed outside of Japan, theme music licensing becomes very costly. For example, in the Fuji TV drama Densha Otoko, the opening song and some of the background music had to be replaced in the release that aired on the Nippon Golden Network because they couldn't get the rights to use the music. Fuji Television Network, Incorporated ) TYO: 4676 is a Japanese television network based in Odaiba, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan. ... Densha Otoko Train Man) is a Japanese movie, television series , manga, novel, and other media, all based on the the purportedly true story of a twenthsomething otaku (the Japanese equivalent of geek) who intervened when a drunk man was harassing several women on a train, and who himself ultimately begins...


Importance of ratings in Japanese drama

As in many other countries, Japanese television is arguably the most important media type. A survey completed in 2000 by NHK, Japan's public broadcasting network, showed that 95 percent of Japanese people watch television every day. 86 percent said they consider television an indispensable medium, and 68 percent said the same of newspapers. There are other forms of media that can be used to promote products and services, such as the Internet. However, a television executive at Nippon Television (NTV) believes that although the Internet is popular among drama fans, "We don't regard broadband as mainstream media. It will never happen. Broadband is a complementary medium."


Television ratings are calculated by several researching firms. Video Research Ltd. is one of the more reliable firms, and more television networks, advertisers and Japanese drama fans use the numbers from this firm than any other. The ratings focus on the Kanto (Tokyo) and the Kansai (Osaka) areas, which are believed to serve as a good representation of what most of Japan watches. The ratings become available for the general public every Wednesday.


Rating system

The rating system is very simple. All the major Japanese television networks make up the Japanese television market so, a research firm must determine the size of an average audience. The audience size is determined using two factors: the amount of content that is transmitted and the amount that is received, as market size varies from firm to firm. The actual viewer count of a given episode is calculated using a variety of polling methods. Ratings are calculated using a percentage or point system. This is based on the episode's viewership numbers divided by the market size. Finally, the numbers are published on the research firms web site. A hard copy is also produced.


There is no solid science on how to interpret these rating percentages. For drama fans, simply the drama with the highest percentage is the winner for the week. The fans use these numbers to decide which dramas they should watch during the remainder of the season. Despite this simple interpretation, there are one or more factors that may come into play that explain why some dramas receive higher percentage points than others. For example evening dramas draw better ratings than dramas that air in the mornings and afternoons. Although the transmission size is virtually the same in the mornings, afternoons and evenings, the evenings draw higher numbers because most evening viewers work during the day, and fewer people are at home watching television. There are, however, some exceptions to the rule. For example, the NHK Asadora Drama Oshin drew an average rating percentage of 52.6-percent, a number that would be extremely good for an evening drama, but even more extraordinary for a drama that airs in the mornings and six days a week.


Finally, rating percentage play a heavy role in the success of a drama artist. The numbers of an artist's previous work are used by TV producers to determine whether or not the artist is a marketing success. If the ratings drawn by the artist's previous work is good, the artist will receive offers to star in dramas that are better written, and produced


Formula for good ratings

In evening dramas, the cast members are carefully selected and tend to be famous actors that audiences are very fond of. The choice of cast members frequently affects the drama's audience rating and, pairing the right male and female artists is especially important in a renzoku ren'ai (romantic or love) drama. Cast members of morning and afternoon dramas are not as popular as those of evening dramas, as reflected by the ratings, but with time good actors gain popularity. Extra effort is put into dramas that air during the Winter Season, as viewers tend to stay at home more during the colder winter months.


Dramas' starting hour

Most Japanese dramas never start exactly on the hour or half-hour mark. Instead, some episodes start at 8:58pm, while others start at 9:05pm. Before television ratings started to matter, episodes actually started at exactly on the hour. Later, because of the aggressive TV ratings war, some stations decided to beat the competition by starting their shows a few minutes earlier. The theory behind this practice is that when a show ends a few minutes before the hour or half-hour, a viewer would start changing channels until they found one that wasn't showing any commercials. Similarly, if an episode runs a few minutes past the hour or half-hour, viewers are more likely to watch the next program because they missed the first few minutes of an episode on a different channel.


The exception to this trend is NHK, which continues to start their shows exactly on each hour or half-hour. More likely, the reason why NHK has never changed is because every other television station is now constantly changing start times. As a result, these odd start times no longer offer the same advantage they once did in the beginning. NHK (日本放送協会, Nippon Hōsō Kyōkai), or the Japan Broadcasting Corporation, is Japans public broadcaster. ...


See also

Korean drama (Korean: 한국드라마) refers to televised dramas, similar to Western miniseries, produced in the Korean language for Korean audiences. ... This is a list of Japanese television dramas often called doramas by fans. ... Radio drama is a form of audio storytelling broadcast on radio. ... Chinese Television Series are similiar to miniseries in North America, but are often longer in length, and portray a story too lengthy to be made into a movie. ...

Other Resources

  • JDorama.com - Large database of Japanese dramas, actor profiles and seasonal schedules.
  • WikiDrama - Wikimedia-based database of "Asian TV dramas, artists, singers, directors, script writers and anything else related to Asian TV drama series."
  • Video Research Ltd. - Considered the most reliable TV ratings firm in Japan.
  • Jonathan Clements and Motoko Tamamuro: THE DORAMA ENCYCLOPEDIA. Stone Bridge Press. ISBN 1-880656-81-7.

The Wikimedia Foundation Inc. ...

References


 
 

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