July 4 - September 26, 1985
Yakusho Koji: Kusunoki Kumotaro
Tanaka Yoshiko:Kimura Junko
Hidaka Sumiko: Kusunoki Mitsuyo
Tanabe Yasuo: Kusunoki Masao
Takabe Tomoko: Kusunoki Misa
Shinoda Saburo: Murayama Manabu
Shimomoto Tsutomu: Kusunoki Ryuzo
Mabuchi Haruko: Kusunoki Tomiko
Tezuka Satomi: Kusunoki Nobuko
Satoh B-saku: Kusunoki Ko-ichi
Nakada Yoshiko: Kusunoki Yuriko
Yamaguchi Ryo-ichi: Hashimoto Ganji
Sakura Kinzo: Yonezaki Genta
Nezu Jimpachi: Yagami Shiro
Matsukane Yoneko: Nurse
Nagatsuka Kyozo: Kudo
Ishimaru Kenjiro: Nagai (Mitamura)
Playwright: Ichikawa Shin-ichi
Directed by Kawamura Yutaro
* Fuji Television
* Duration: 13 episodes
The story of the first episode
One fine spring day in 1985, all the Kusunoki families gathered at a church near Mt.Unzen close to
Isahaya city in Nagasaki prefecture. Their purpose was to attend the wedding of Nobuko, the eldest
daughter of one of the Kusunokis. Surprisingly, however, Nobuko's fiance did not show up; it duly
turned out that her fiance was a notorious marriage dissimulator. Amid a great tumult, Nobuko's father,
Ryuzo collapsed with a heart attack.
Meanwhile, in Tokyo, there lived a young man called Kumotaro Kusunoki (Koji Yakusho).
He was one of Nobuko's cousins and had the nickname, "Fuhkemon", meaning "Stupid man" in Isahaya
dialect. He had not been informed of Nobuko's wedding nor the latest news about her.
One day, a strange man, speaking a funny Isahaya dialect, came to see this Kumotaro, and they decided
to head for Isahaya in this man's car together.
And so the story continues...
This serial drama was filmed mainly in Isahaya city, Koji Yakusho's hometown from April to August,
1985. Yakusho commented about this drama in a magazine interview in 1985, saying,
"I was quite at a loss at first when the filming of this drama started. Since I previously had been
performing the role of a samurai with a solem look, I had actually no idea about what my facial
expressions should be. I might have looked more sloppy than required for the role. Or I would rather
say that I acted quite naturally.
I would say that "Shinseki-tachi" was very significant for the sake of Koji Yakusho's future career, since
the role of Kumotaro led to the role of the man in a white suit in "Tampopo" (1985)
As for the casting of "Tampopo", the Kinema Jumpo" (No.924, 1985) reported that the director Juzo
Itami had decided on Koji yakusho as the man in a white suit in "Tampopo", on seeing Yakusho in a
TV drama. The TV drama in question must be "Shinseki-tachi" because it started on July 4, 1985 and
ended on September 26, 1985; and in that drama Kumotaro does wear a white suit on some occasions.
Those who have seen "Shinseki-tachi" praise Koji Yakusho's acting, commenting that he portrayed the
amiable villain figure, Kumotaro very well and that the local Isahaya area dialect he spoke was most
attractive. No doubt about that! For Isahaya is, in fact, Koji' Yakusho's own hometown in Nagasaki
I have read the scenario by Shinichi Ichikawa, who is also from Isahaya and is one of Yakusho's closest
friends. That scenario depicts very well the lives of ordinary Kusunoki clan people and how their lives
are disturbed by Kumotaro's returning home. Actually, the latter's real purpose is to purchase the vast
piece of reclaimed land which belong to the Kusunokis, without announcing the true purpose, which is
that, after that land has been purchased, it will be made into a great amusement park, where Kumotaro
has been promised the position of chief manager. The fact is that Kumotaro was hired to fulfill this
purchasing mission by the owner of a large supermarket in Isahaya, named Yagami (Jimpachi Nezu),
who was the very man who went up to Tokyo in a van to collect Kumotaro.
Kumotaro and Nobuko
Kumotaro and Junko
Click the photo for enlargement.
Koji Yakusho as Kumotaro