The hot new Taiga (historical) drama on NHK is Tenchijin. It’s been on for nearly two months now, and I’m an enthusiastic viewer even though I really don’t understand a lot of it. Visually it’s stunning (as usual). It’s a far more active story than Atsuhime, the settings change from small village homes to castles and temples. The landscape perspectives send the viewer soaring over mountain and hilltops, then down into valleys that turn into patchwork yellow and green rice fields. It’s based on a novel by Masashi Hisaka who writes of a young samurai, Naoe Kanetsugu, growing up in the late 16th century just prior to the Tokugawa period. So, it’s a contrast to Atsuhime which told about the collapse of the Tokugawa shogunate.
I’m still watching the last few subtitled episodes of Atsuhime and actually, the subbed version of Tenchijin has just started. It does make things easier to understand. However, Japanese history is so complicated and then there are stories within stories, but that’s what makes a good tale. That isn’t usually what holds me though, it’s everything else. The different settings from the vassals to the houses of the lords, the patterning and color in the costumes and then again, it’s the language.