enpaku 早稲田大学演劇博物館

Purpose of the Exhibition(石井展)

Family Portraits: Ishii Fukuko’s TV Dramas

Purpose of the Exhibition

The numerous masterpieces of the Toshiba Sunday Theatre dramas , Kimottama Kasan (『肝っ玉母さん』; gutsy mum) , and Arigato (『ありがとう』; thank you), became widely watched beloved dramas across Japan, as well as Relentlessness Is Found Everywhere (『渡る世間は鬼ばかり』; wataru seken wa oni bakari), which aired for more than 20 years since 1990. The domestic dramas produced by Ishii have depicted various family portraits, where family members sometimes clash fiercely and sometimes understand each other after overcoming differences in values.

This exhibition looks back on Ishii’s work through various lenses, such as scripts, still images, and nostalgic drama footage. On the one hand, this displays the excellent track record of Ishii since the early days of television. On the other hand, they are also a valuable way of tracing the history of Japanese television. In particular, the core of the materials on display deals with Relentlessness Is Found Everywhere, which Ishii created together with her long-time friend Hashida Sugako. You can see Hashida’s handwritten script, garments, and props for the Japanese restaurant Okakura and the Chinese restaurant Koraku (幸楽), set designs, and other materials indispensable to drama production. We hope to convey the allure of this work that is so representative of Japanese domestic dramas.
Moreover, we show a long video interview with Ishii and interviews with Ishizaka Koji, the narrator for Relentlessness Is Found Everywhere, and Enari Kazuki, who acted in that production since childhood, touching on Ishii’s personality and her work ethic.

The family portraits depicted by Ishii have had a major impact on forming the Japanese family image. Revisiting these numerous portraits now means tracing the changing images of the Japanese family from the Showa period, through the Heisei period, and into the Reiwa period. Moreover, we hope that looking back on Ishii’s domestic dramas will allow us to ask ‘What is family?’ at this point where family structures are becoming more diverse. This exhibition will hopefully let you ponder that question while tracing the path of Ishii as she sought to continuously express her observations of the family through television.