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Mito Kōmon (水戸黄門) is a Japanese jidaigeki or period drama that was on prime-time television from 1969 to 2011, making it the longest-running jidaigeki in Japanese television history. The title character is the historic Tokugawa Mitsukuni, former vice-shōgun and retired second daimyō of the Mito Domain. In the guise of Mitsuemon, a retired crepe merchant from Echigo, he roams Japan with two samurai retainers, fun-loving Sasaki Sukesaburō (Suke-san) and studious Atsumi Kakunoshin (Kaku-san). An episode typically starts with some injustice perpetrated by a corrupt official, a wealthy merchant or a gangster. The travelers arrive incognito, discover the injustice and quietly investigate it. The episode concludes with a brawl in which the unarmed, disguised protagonists defeat a crowd of samurai and gangsters, culminating in the presentation of the inrō that reveals the hero's identity. Afterwards, the hero passes judgement on the villains, sets things straight with comments and encouragement, and then continues with his journey.
|Country of origin||Japan|
|No. of episodes||1,227|
|Running time||54 min.|
ABC (1969 - 1975)
MBS (1975 - 2011)
|Picture format||NTSC 625-line colour (1969–2003)|
720x576 16:9 (2003 1000th special–)
|Original release||4 August 1969 –|
19 December 2011
The drama was adapted into a film in 1978.
History and charactersEdit
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 then Kōji Ishizaka took the role in two seasons, quitting for cancer treatments. Kōtarō Satomi played Mitsuemon from 2002 until the end of the series in 2011.
The character normally sports a pointed white beard. He wears the lavish garb of a wealthy retiree and carries a walking stick (a staff), which also serves as his defensive weapon in combat.
Singer-actor Ryōtarō Sugi was the series' first Suke-san, followed by Kōtarō Satomi, who many years later took over the lead role. Teruhiko Aoi was next, then Yūji Kishimoto, and Ryūji Harada. Opposite them, Tadashi Yokouchi, Shin'ya Ōwada, Goro Ibuki, Jundai Yamada, and Masashi Gōda have played Kaku-san. Ichiro Nakatani played Kazaguruma no Yashichi, a ninja who helped Mitsuemon. Evil characters who tried to kill Mitsuemon were played by such actors as Shigeru Tsuyuguchi (1st season) and Mikio Narita (3rd season).
In each of the show's 42 seasons, various other regular characters joined the retinue. For many years, they included the food-loving commoner Hachibei, the reformed thieves Kazaguruma no Yashichi (a former ninja whose main weapon is a shuriken with pinwheel, with a dagger as his sidearm) and his wife Kasumi no Oshin, the ninja Tsuge no Tobizaru, and kunoichi 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, Hayate no Oen.
Many former regular actors appeared in the show's gala 1000th special 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 aired the show throughout Japan, and showed reruns on both its analogue 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 last episode aired on December 19, 2011.
In the light novel Death March kara Hajimaru Isekai Kyousoukyoku, the main protagonist quotes Mito Komon frequently. He also made a firm by the name Echigoya.
- Eijirō Tōno as Mito Kōmon
- Kōtarō Satomi as Sukesaburō (Sukesan)
- Shinya Owada as Atsumi Kakunoshin (Kakusan)
- Gentaro Takahashi as Hachibei
- Ichirō Nakatani as Kazaguruma no Yahichi
- Kōji Wada as Genpachiro Tsurugi
- Komaki Kurihara as Yumi Okumura
- Toshiro Mifune as Sakuzaemon Okumura
- Hajime Hana as Rokubei
- Hitoshi Ueki as Sukehachi
- Yoshio Inaba as Sasaya
- Tatsuo Endō as Yadayu Kurobe
- Nobuo Kawai as Hankuro Kosaka
- Toru Abe as Mondo Murai