Inochi/Life
NHK TV , 50 episodes (January - December, 1986)
Main Cast:
Yoshiko Mita: Miki Takahara/Iwata
Koji Yakusho: Naohiko Hamaura
Mako Ishino:Sachi Takahara/Nakagawa
Toru Watanabe: Kuniyuki Nakagawa
Shiro Osaka: Seikichi Kudo
Harue Akagi: Ine Kudo
Masakane Ibu:Gozo Iwata
Kin Sugai:Teru Iwata
Ken Utsui:Kazunari Sakaguchi
Yoko Nogiwa: Miyo Sakaguchi
Pinko Izumi: Haru Muranaka
Scenario: Sugako Hashida

Producer: Yasuo Shibuya

Music: Koichi Sakata

Video: Soushuhen/Outline version (4 volumes)
Miki and Naohiko at the University of
Washington.
From the left. Haru, Sachi, and
Miki in a freight train.to Aomori.
In an interview about 'Inochi' while shooting this TV drama in 1985, Koji
Yakusho mentioned his acting plan in portraying the role of Naohiko
Hamamura.

"One of the difficulties in portraying Naohiko is how to portray his air as
a professional naval officer during the wartime, not through his actions
but his manner.  I also feel like expressing the gloomy aspect of his
character. He is a man who decided to recommence his life after trying to
commit suicide in despair at Japan's defeat in the war.

Every time I perform a role, I feel as if I were such a character.  Last year
when I played the role of Miyamoto Musashi, I felt as if I had been
Musashi even during meal time!  Now I'm afraid that I must look like a
humorous man since lately I played the role of a very funny character on
TV ."
The drama,"Inochi" begins on August 18, 1945, three days after the end
of the Pacific war. We see a freight train completely jam-packed with
passengers heading for Aomori from devastated Tokyo. Among those
weary- looking passengers, we see the heroine of this drama: Miki
Takahara (20) and also her sister Sachi (16). Then we see another
important person coming into view at a certain railway station. When
there is apparently no more room for any extra passengers at the railway
station, Miki hears a woman shouting to the passengers to let her in
because her mother is dying. Miki impulsively extends her hand to help
the woman to get on board the train; the woman then introduces herself
to Miki and Sachi as Haru Muranaka (20).

Miki and Sachi are the daughters of a wealthy landlord living in a village
in the Tsugaru area in Aomori prefecture but they have been living in
Tokyo since before the war to attend school. A few days after Miki and
Sachi have safely come home, a young man wearing a naval officer's
uniform, suddenly visits the Takaharas' house with Haru late in the
evening.  He says that he rescued Haru when she threw herself into the
sea.  Miki finds, however, that Haru窶冱 real intention in coming to
Aomori was to see her wartime lover who had returned to his parents窶
�home in Aomori, in order to tell him that she is expecting his baby; but
Haru窶冱 lover had refused her, saying that there was no evidence that
the baby was actually his.

Sobbing, Haru confesses to Miki that she wanted to die in despair since
her parents and all her brothers and sisters were killed during the heavy
air raid on Tokyo on March 9-10, 1945.  A few days later Haru miscarries
the baby, but encouraged by Miki and Sachi, and by Takahara窶冱
faithful servants Seikich and Ine, she decides to recommence her life.
(From this time onwards, Haru shows great interest in business and
succeeds in the apples trade. Using her ingenuity, Haru rapidly climbs the
ladder of success to a millionaire as the story proceeds. The friendship
between Miki and Haru continues until Haru dies of cancer aged 59.)

Meanwhile, Miki visits the young man, named Naohiko Hamamura (22)
at his house to show appreciation for his courageous deed in rescuing
Haru the other night.  While talking with him, Miki is surprised to learn
that Naohiko was ,too, trying to commit suicide that night.

Naohiko tells Miki that he felt quite at a loss when the war ended, since
he had been a naval officer, but that by rescuing Haru's life that night, he
thought that he would like to recommence his life.  He has now started
thinking that he would rather devote the rest of his life to saving people窶
冱 lives as a doctor. Miki feels moved on learning of Naohiko' decision,
and in due course, when her mother Chie dies of stomach cancer,Miki,
too, determines to become a physician.  In Miki's home village there had
been no doctor, and Chie's illness had become worse because she was not
able to see a doctor.  Miki hopes to become a doctor to work for her
villagers, and starts preparing for the entrance examinations to enter a
medical school in Tokyo.

This is the brief synopsis of the first few of some 50 episodes.  The story
goes on focusing on Miki窶冱 roughly 40 years of career as a doctor,
showing how she struggles on to cope with the rapid changes in Japanese
society after the end of the war.
Sachi and Miki in an orchard of
apple trees.
Naohiko tells Miki that he wishes to
become a doctor.

Naohiko Hamamura
Miki and Naohiko happen to meet in Tokyo as students for medical
schools, and fall in love. They now can share the same dream of becoming
general practitioners for remote areas where there are no doctors.

However, when Naohiko goes to the University of Washington  in order to
learn more advanced medicine, he changes his mind thinking that he
would rather work as a specialist for a chest surgery in a big city university
hospital.

Naohiko tells Miki, who has joined him to become a student a year later,
about his change of mind and wishes her to become his wife. Miki declines
his proposal, saying that her ambition is still to become a general
practitioner in remote areas......
Created on September 9, 2004