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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

TV Asahi to change the title of its Spring 2017 drama due to protest from Akita Prefecture

TV Asahi will be changing the title of its Spring 2017 drama due to multiple protests from the people of Akita Prefecture over the controversial nature and negative nuance of the title. The drama staring AKB48 member Watanabe Mayu is to begin its run from April 2017 with the title "Sayonara, Kiritanpo" (Goodbye, Kiritanpo) where the word kiritanpo brings to mind the pubic region of men due to the theme of the drama. However, the same word also stands for the signature pounded rice skewer from Akita Prefecture. In view of this, the prefecture raised its objection to the TV station which then decided to change the title as of 8 March but the new title has yet to be decided.

TV Asahi commented that even though the drama has yet to be aired, they are apologetic about hurting the feelings of the locals in Akita Prefecture and have made amendments to the drama's website accordingly. In response to this, a spokesman from Akita Prefecture's government said that the title was a deliberate attempt to draw a link between kiritanpo with a man's penis which would have affected the image of their signature food adversely so they couldn't remain quiet and let it slide.

The drama features Watanabe as the Heisei-era version of Abe Sada, a Japanese woman who is remembered for erotically asphyxiating her lover, Kichizo Ishida (石田 吉蔵 Ishida Kichizō?) on 18 May 1936 before cutting off his penis and testicles and carrying them around with her in her kimono. The drama's story is conceptualised by AKB48's producer Akimoto Yasushi and written by Kiyasu Kohei. Watanabe plays the lead character Kiriyama Saori who desires true love but keeps meeting bad men who defy her expectations in various ways e.g. a married man treating her as his mistress, behaving badly after getting drunk or has the habit of inflicting domestic violence. In order to get back at them, she subjects them to physical torture just like what Abe Sada did.

Watanabe commented that when she first heard about the offer, she was shocked especially since she had never played such a character before. As such, she hopes to be able to deliver a performance which will make Sunday nights exciting for the viewers. Watanabe had won the leading role for this drama after winning the leading actress battle in "AKB Love Night Koikoujou" held between April and September 2016.

After the TV broadcast, the drama will be shown via au's video-on-demand service "Video Pass" and TV Asahi's "TereAsa Douga".

Sources: Oricon 1 / Oricon 2 / Nikkansports / Sponichi

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