Japanese TV series, Tokyo Bandwagon

April 14, 2015 Juju Kurihara Entertainment, Music Tags: , , , 2 Comments

I hadn´t seen for a while, a TV drama that I felt in so much that I wished it didn´t end. Maybe because it´s about an old second hand bookshop. Or maybe it´s about a big family of four generations. Or it could be wonderful songs that one of the main characters sings.



Tokyo Bandwagon is a Japanese TV series, which became on-air in 2013 in Japan. Tokyo Bandwagon is the name of the second hand bookshop running the business in the shitamachi (downtown) of Tokyo since Meiji 18 (1885).  

Since I love the smell of old books, when I saw the setting is a second hand bookshop, it was enough for me to watch this but the story was more than I expected.



family tree

This is the Hotta family of four generations. 

The top is the grandparents, Kan-ichi the third owner of Tokyo Bandwagon  and Sachi, his wife. But the grandma, Sachi passed away a year ago. We see the whole story about the Hotta family through her eyes. 

Then father, Ganato is an ex rock´ n´ roll singer with blond hair. His favourite phrase is "Love dane (that´s love)". For him, everything seems to be either love or not love. 

He has three children. Aiko is a painter, also she takes care of the café of Tokyo Bandwagon. One day she suddenly came back to the family with a baby, Kayo and since then she lives as a single mother but never talked about the father of the baby. Kon was a part time university teacher but is currently helping out the bookshop. He is also writing a book. Kon is married to Ami who also help with the café and they have a humorous son, Kento. 

Ao is the youngest son of Ganato but not from his wife Akimi who died seven years ago. When Aiko and Kon were still small, Ganato brought baby Ao to the house. "Look, he is pretty, isn´t he? He is my baby." That was how Ganato introduced Ao to the family. No one knows who Ao´s mother is.



There are many troubles happen to the Hotta family but they seem to solve most of them with love, as Ganato always says.

Ao went through hard time when he became a teenager. He stopped reading books, which he loved and became a chinpira (ちんぴら/ street gang). One day he had a fight with other chinpira and was cuahgt by police. 

When he was in the police station, suddenly a massive lorry stopped in front of the building. It said, LOVE TIMER. Ganato who got to know that Ao was in the police came to rescue him with all his band members. Suddenly a guerrilla live started at the police station. Ganato was arrested on the moment but good thing was, Ao stopped living as a chinpira since then. In Tokyo Bandwagon, the music does save people´s life. 



At the beginning of the series, Ganato and Ao often fight physically. Ganato seems to be a chilling out ex rock star who doesn´t take any part in the bookshop. But he´s never isolated in the family rather, he is a big part of it. 

Ganato is always there for his friends and family. Despite of the fights, Ao loves his father. How could you hate your father who brings entire rock band to pick you up from the police station or who always give you a warm hug under any circumstances. I wish Ganato were my father.

Oh, by the way, this is the Hotta family´s another favourite place to gather, Izakaya Haru (居酒屋はる). The owner Manami played by Katagiri Hairi (片桐はいり). She is very unique and unforgettable. You may remember from the film, Kamome Shokudo (かもめ食堂) if you have seen it. If not, that is another film I can recommend.



It´s not only me who was attracted to this warm and lively family, Suzumi, who first got close to the family by pretending that she would be Ao´s wife in order to find out her father´s secret also fell in love with the Hotta family at the end. 

As well as Suzumi, I come from a very small family. The noise and the dramas the family creates every day could be quite shocking but it´s some how what I was always looking for. I´m sure it was the same to Suzumi.     



Hotta family always eat together at this big table. Every good news and bad news is announced here. When everyone sits, then they start eating with "itadakimasu (thank you for the meal)". 

The birth rate in Japan is declining. I only have one friend who live four generations all together. I would see my cousins twice a year. But Kento and Kayo live together and play together although both of them are only child. It´d be wonderful as a kid. 

Another thing is the family always eat breakfast and dinner together. OK, it´s super chaotic but it´s much more fun than eating alone in front of the TV or at a konbini after juku (塾/ cram school). I think this is a healthy way of living. As Kan-ichi tells Sachi in front of the altar, "My life is so interesting recently that I want to stay here for a while. Please wait for me". 

Family can be annoying and brings a lot of problems but it sad to hear the news about elder people died alone or kids without receiving the parents´ love because we are becoming smaller family and isolated from others. Tokyo Bandwagon teaches us the beauty of the family and the importance of the local community. Love dane!! 


You can watch Tokyo Bandwagon from HERE.




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  1. Mauro 8 years Reply

    I sew this drama and i liked it very much. The ralationship between the character and the story is really nice.

    • juju.kurihara 8 years

      Thank you for the comment, Mauro.
      I grew up in a very small family and this family is a family I´d always imagined how the big family would be. I´m glad you liked the drama. What is your favourite drama?

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