In 2001, Kitano Takeshi published an autobiographical account of his Tokyo childhood, ?Kikujiro to Saki? (Kikujiro and Saki). The same year, Asahi dramatised the book into a two hour TV-special (130 minutes total), Kikujiro to Saki, starring Jinnai Takanori, Ohsugi Ren, Duncan and Nakamura Syunsuke. The TV-special was aired New Years Day 2001 and was a huge success, recieving a 18,9% rating. Kitano made a special appearence on the special as the host, introducing the film.

Following the success of the TV-Special, Asahi decided to adapt the book into a mini-series. The first of the ten episodes of Kikujiro to Saki, each running 54 minutes, was aired Thursday, July 3, 2003, at 9pm, as part of their ?Thursday Drama? programming, starring Jinnai Takanori as Kikujiro and Muroi Sigeru as Saki. Further cast was Kahshu Toshiki, Nishijima Shunsuke and Kyono Kotomi. Last episode was aired Thursday, September 11, 2003.

Asahi descriped the story as, " Kikujiro, the father of the Kitano family, is a strict, short tempered, yet daringly comical old-fashioned type of person. Saki, the mother, is a positive, cheerful, and clever lady who always quarrels with her husband, but eventually support him at the end in whatever hardship there may be. This drama provides an opportunity for people to look back and remind how strong and rich family relationship was in those days when Japan was less affluent than now."

In the opening episode, eldest son Shigekazu (Kashu Toshiki) wants to bring his new girlfriend home, but doesn't want his father to be there when he does. Saki tells him to do it while Kikujiro is at work, but the girlfriend insists on meeting the man of the house. [Review: Japan Times]

Each week would bring another episode, telling a little story from the childhood of Kitano about family relations.

The book was published by Shinchosha in November 2001. Language is Japanese, no translations available at the moment. Available on Amazon Japan.

The TV-Special was released on VHS in Japan June 21, 2001, and is available on CD Japan. The price is pretty high, Yen 8800, and there are no subtitles. Language is Japanese.

Two of the songs from the mini-series are available on CD on CD Japan: You Are by Ruppina and Hallo by Sing like Talking.

Souces: Asahi and JDorama

By Henrik Sylow (February 2005). All rights are reserved by Henrik Sylow, Japan Times, Asahi, JDorama and Kitanotakeshi.com.