- Mito Kōmon
Satomi Kōtarō on set in the role of Mitsuemon
Format Jidaigeki drama Country of origin Japan No. of episodes 1130 (as of 30 June 2008) Production Producer(s) C.A.L. Running time 54 min. Broadcast Original channel TBS
ABC (1969 - 1975)
MBS (1975 - present)
Picture format NTSC 625-line colour (1969–2003)
720x576 16:9 (2003 1000th special–)
Original run 4 August 1969 – present External links Website
Mito Kōmon (水戸黄門) is a Japanese jidaigeki or period drama that has been on prime-time television since 1969. The title character is the historic Tokugawa Mitsukuni, former vice-shogun and retired second daimyo of the Mito domain. In the guise of Mitsuemon, a retired crêpe merchant from Echigo, he roams the realm with two samurai retainers, fun-loving Sasaki Sukesaburō (Suke-san) and studious Atsumi Kakunoshin (Kaku-san). Episodes typically conclude with a brawl in which the unarmed, disguised protagonists better a crowd of samurai and gangsters, culminating with the presentation of the inrō that reveals the hero's identity.
Five actors have portrayed the lead character in the series. Eijirō Tōno created the part and appeared in 13 seasons. His successor was Kō Nishimura. Asao Sano followed, and Kōji Ishizaka took the role in two series, quitting for cancer treatments. Kōtarō Satomi, has played Mitsuemon since 2002.
The character normally sports a pointed white beard. He wears the lavish garb of a wealthy retiree, and carries a walking stick.
Singer-actor Ryōtarō Sugi was the series' first Suke-san, followed by Kōtarō Satomi (who many years later took the lead role). Teruhiko Aoi was next, then Yūji Kishimoto, and Ryūji Harada. Opposite them, Tadashi Yokouchi, Shin'ya Ōwada, Gorō Ibuki, Jundai Yamada, and Masashi Gōda have played Kaku-san.
In each of the show's 42 seasons, various other regular characters have joined the retinue. For many years it was the food-loving commoner Hachibei, the reformed thieves Kazaguruma no Yashichi and his wife Kasumi no Oshin, and the ninja Tsuge no Tobizaru and Kagerō Ogin. Portrayed by Kaoru Yumi, Ogin was the lead character in a light-hearted spinoff, Mito Kōmon Gaiden Kagerō Ninpō-chō. The same actress took on a new role, Oen, in which she continues as of 2007.
Many former regular actors appeared in the show's gala 1000th episode, which aired on December 15, 2003. A 1978 film distributed by Toei Company shared the cast, production crew, and title.
Since its inception, the program has been a mainstay of the Panasonic Drama Theater (formerly known as the National Theater), sponsored by Panasonic. The TBS network airs the show throughout Japan, and shows reruns on both its analog stations and its CS satellite channel. For nearly three decades, Mito Kōmon shared the time slot with Ōoka Echizen, and various actors and actresses appeared in both series.
An unusual feature of the series is that the credits list the maker of the inrō. The TBS website (see below) has announced that the show will end in December 2011.
- Schilling, Mark (1997). "Mito Komon". The Encyclopedia of Japanese Pop Culture. New York: Weatherhill. pp. 135–138. ISBN 0-834803-80-1.
Mito Kōmon is a title of other films:
Mito Kōmon is also a part of title of over 70 Japanese films.
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