Koji Yakusho: Yusuke
Aiko Morishita: Kazumi
Sayaka Taniguchi: Kanako
Ken Mitsuishi:shop-clerk
Kenji Mizuhashi:shop- clerk
Tomio Aoki: customer
This tv drama is based on Kiyoshi Shigematsu's novel, entitled, "Vitamin F", which consists of six
episodes: " Secchan" is the first one of them.

These six episodes were on air from July 1(Mon) to July 5(Fri) in 2002 on NHK Satelite television 2.
Episodes five and six were released from 7:30 p.m. to 9.p.m on July 5.
"Vitamin 'F': Secchan"
July 1, 2002 (NHK TV, BS 2)
Scenario: Haruhiko Arai
director: Yoichiro Takahashi

Running time: 45 min.
Yusuke (Koji Yakusho) is the manager of a branch of a big chain store selling toys and games.  He
lives in a fine condominium in a suburban township of Tokyo, together with his wife, Kazumi, and
his young teenaged daughter, Kanako.

Apart from occasional interruptions when he must deal with customers, Yusuke's life seems to go
along quite smoothly.  We learn that he is relied upon both by colleagues and by customers.  We
see, too, that he is very proud of his only daughter Kanako: he often tells his colleagues that his
daughter always reports to her parents, on a daily basis whatever may have happened to her at
junior high school.

One evening at home, Yusuke and Kazumi listen to Kanako telling them about her new  friend, a
classmate named, "Secchan".  Her story about Secchan surprises them: it seems that Secchan is
bullied by her classmates.

Kanako's daily reports about how Secchan is bullied at school dismay Yusuke and Kazumi, but
the only advice they can give her is that Kanako should not join her classmates in bullying poor
Secchan.  From Kanako's reports, Yusuke and Kazumi learn that the incredibly cruel manner of
the classmates' bullying seems to be escalating day after day.  One proposed act is that those
classmates intend deliberately not to tell Secchan about a change in the group dancing motion for
the performance during the approaching UNDO-KAI or School Athletics Day so that Secchan will
be embarrassed at the time of dancing rehearsal.

Just before UNDO-KAI, Kanako tells her parents that they do not have to come to school that
day seeing that she can't join them at lunchtime due to her having have to do some work assigned
by her class teacher.  However, Yusuke suggests to his wife that they should go to the school
together anyway, in order to see Kanako dancing. Actually, Yusuke has already arranged to take
the day off and has asked one of his colleagues to stand in for him.

On the day of UNDO-KAI, dancing by Kanako's class starts on the school playground. Yusuke
and Kazumi recognize their daughter among the dancing girls, but they also try to find Secchan.  
In due course, Yusuke and Kazumi become stunned to realize that it is only their daughter,
herself, who cannot follow the altered dancing routine.  Kazumi later enquires at the school about
her daughter and learns that, all along Kanako's reports about school matters, including Secchan,
have been simply a string of falsehoods.

Trying to let Kanako confess her suffering at school, Yusuke asks Kanako to invite Secchan to her
home.  After pretending to phone Secchan, however, Kanako reports that Secchan will not be
coming to her place since they have had a quarrel while talking on the phone.  Yusuke then checks
the actual phone number Kanako has just dialed, and discovers that it is the automatic
speaking-time-clock number.

One Sunday morning, Yusuke and Kazumi ask Kanako to go out cycling together with them,
taking a packed luncheon.  When they come to the near-by river, Yusuke hands Kanako a small
NAGASHI-BINA (floating doll) which he has made for her previous night. As it happens Yusuke,
through one of his female colleagues, has recently learned of an old local tradition that
NAGASHI-BINA can help a girl to rid herself of any sort of ill-fortune or illness, provided that
she sets it afloat on the flowing water of some stream , after putting a slight cut on the doll's face
or body with a knife, ( i.e. on the same place where she has experienced physical or mental hurt.)

Asked by Kanako, "Where is "KOKORO" (seat of emotion)?", her father hesitantly murmurs,
"Well, it may be in one's chest or one's head." When handed a knife by Yusuke, however, Kanako
refuses to hurt the pretty NAGASHI-BNIA.  A little later, looking back at her parents while
walking in the shallow waters of a stream with the NAGASHI-BINA in her hand, Kanako declares
that Secchan has 'left school'.  By now, she is surely aware of her parents' affection and wordless
encouragement.  Smiling, she turns and speaks to them, saying, "In reality, bullying will not end
soon; life is not that simple!"  Then she stoops and sets the NAGASHI-BINA down gently and lets
it float away on the water of the stream.

The 'F' in "Vitamin F" stands for 'family' or 'friedship', which the author considers to be the
essential elements that strengthen each one of us in our lifelong struggles with adversity of one
kind or another.

Written by Pymmik on HINAMATSURI  (Japan's Doll Festival Day)
-- March 3, 2004.
Hinamatsuri= Doll's Festival Day