The TV drama series, /”Amachan,/” (NHK) has become something of a social phenomenon. A research company has estimated the economic effects of /”Amachan/” on Iwate Prefecture, where the drama is set, to be 3.3 billion yen this year alone.
Not only has the number of tourists visiting the location increased, but soundtrack CDs and related books are topping the charts, while the term /”Je, je!/”? a dialect phrase said when one is surprised ? looks set to become the buzzword of the year.
/”Amachan/” is NHK’s 88th Renzoku TV Shosetsu (serial TV novel), a 15-minute program that is broadcast in the mornings, six days a week, for six months.
The storylines are traditionally coming-of-age tales of heroines, and there have been mega-hits in the past such as /”Oshin/” (1983) that marked a staggering 62.9 percent audience rating.
While the ratings for /”Amachan/” have been good compared to recent productions, it is the ripple effects that are unprecedented. Twitter hashtags of /”Amachan/” drawings have proliferated, with contributors including professional manga artists.
NHK announced that it intends to launch GMT 48, a group of local idols representing the 47 prefectures (two will represent Tokyo). It is a case of reality imitating fiction.
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