“Haru – The Woman of a General Trading Company ”

The Stelvio Pass in Italy

This is an original drama based on the actual experiences of Miwako Kurihara, a producer whom I worked with in the past on the drama, “Ren’ai Hensachi .” The story unfolds at a general trading company where I play the heroine, Haru Kaibara , a single mother who has returned from New York. It is a story about how she fearlessly crosses a dangerous bridge while embroiling others around her who fear innovation as they strive to avoid rocking the boat, sit on the fence without taking sides, and constantly butter up the administrators for their own social gains.

Haru was headhunted and invited to Japan to work for the elite Corporate Planning Department. The department is responsible for carrying out all kinds of operations, from reorganizing unprofitable divisions to executing business contractions, and proposing and executing new business plans. However, Haru finds herself assigned to work as an assistant director under her former husband, Wada, played by Naohito Fujiki, who is the director of the department. Being her former husband means he is also the father of her son, Ryo , played by Kokoro Terada. The drama offers interesting viewing seeing the way they draw the line between work and private communication at their workplace.

Haru’s subordinate, Aoyagi , played by Jin Shirasu, gradually rediscovers his latent passion for work as he is inspired by Haru’s directness with no beating around the bush, which is a breath of fresh air at a company that had become stifling. The vice-president and the director-general of the Corporate Planning Department, who often opposes the president and perpetuates the “don’t rock the boat” attitude, is played by Eiji Okuda.

All the regular characters of the Corporate Planning Department, and the many other guests who appear every time they become involved in a new situation, are very charming. The first episode features Hiromasa Taguchi and Yoji Tanaka who struggle to revive a ramen chain business that has been performing poorly.

Haru finds that the greater the obstacle, the more glory there is in overcoming it. If she had time for complaining, she would much rather spend that energy dealing with the issues right before her, and her lines even made me feel more positive about everything. I still love taking on challenges, but the drama has brought back fond memories of my younger days when I was even more courageous and had nothing to fear from having nothing to lose.

Of course, being like Haru, fearlessly asserting your opinions to a man in a higher position and rocking the boat intentionally by questioning tacit understanding to move forward, is something that only a few outstanding people, or reckless fools, are capable of doing. Many people differentiate between their public positions and private intentions, and keep their true feelings hidden as they strive to get through life by remaining loyal to their companies in order to protect their families and the security of their daily lives. There are also people who devote less time to their work in pursuit of more freedom and fulfilling lives instead of material wealth. The wonderful thing about this drama is that it doesn’t ignore such people, but also turns a warm eye to those who have no choice but to work as cogs in the wheel of society.

“Haru – The Woman of a General Trading Company” will be broadcast every Monday from 10:00 P.M. starting tomorrow, October 21, on TV Tokyo. I thoroughly recommend everyone to watch it.

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