Toto Nee-chan (2016)


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It is 1930 in the Totomi region of Shizuoka Prefecture. Inquisitive and energetic Kohashi Tsuneko is the eldest of three daughters and the family lives in harmony. It is customary for the whole family to go on an outing once a month. However, one day when Tsuneko is 11 years old, her father Takezo, a devoted family man who works at a dyeing factory, dies of tuberculosis all of a sudden and her life drastically changes. Taking her father’s teachings about the importance of ordinary life to heart, she becomes ‘Toto One-chan’, a paternal figure to her mother Kimiko and two younger sisters Mariko and Yoshiko. Tsuneko struggles to provide for the family as the head of the household. Watching how her mother, grandmother and classmates have not been able to live freely precisely because they are female before the war, makes Tsuneko want a job that allows her “to be there for women’s lives”. Right after the war, she launches a lifestyle magazine created for the sake of females together with Mariko and Yoshiko in a devastated Tokyo. It is called ‘Your Life’ and was full of practical articles for readers. With the help of the like-minded, genius editor Hanayama Isaji, the magazine grows to become essential to females living in the period of high economic growth.
Takahata Mitsuki as Kohashi Tsuneko
The eldest daughter of the Kohashis. Her father Takezo died of illness when she was 11 and she becomes a paternal figure to her mother Kimiko and two younger sisters Mariko and Yoshiko. She struggles all her life to provide for the family as the family head. She is reckless, athletic, inquisitive and fearless. Because of this personality, she gets along with anyone right away. She is a loving person who puts her family and other people before herself.
Nishijima Hidetoshi as Kohashi Takezo
The father of the Kohashi sisters. The sales manager of a dyeing factory in Hamamatsu. Although he is dedicated to his work, he has a deep love for his family and is a good father who cherishes the time with his family even if it reduces his hours of sleep. He has a quiet character and detests having disputes with other people. He is liked by his clients because of this. He dies of tuberculosis when his eldest daughter Tsuneko is 11 years old. Just before he passes away, he tells her to treasure the everyday and entrusts the family to her. Those words remain etched in Tsuneko’s memory all her life.
Kimura Tae as Kohashi Kimiko
The mother of the Kohashi sisters. She was born as the only daughter of a wholesale timber dealer in Tokyo’s Fukagawa district. She is gentle and easy-going, but also has a tempestuous side that she displayed when she had a confrontation with her own mother Takiko regarding her marriage with Takezo. She has been providing support to the family from behind the scenes and continues to be the emotional support for the family of four women. She keeps telling her daughters all through their lives about the importance of the life they take for granted.
Sagara Itsuki as Kohashi Mariko
Unlike her lively older sister Tsuneko, she has a serious nature. She is good at studies and dislikes sports. Close in age to Tsuneko, she keeps her in check and is also her confidant. She admires Hiratsuka Raicho during her girl’s school days and sets her sights on literature which has been her interest for some time. She subsequently helps out Tsuneko and works as the main staff for the first issue of the magazine, ‘Your Life’.
Sugisaki Hana as Kohashi Yoshiko
The third daughter of the Kohashi family, she is much younger than her two older sisters. While she keeps fighting with them, she is tactful and nimble-fingered. Because she is like a daughter to Tsuneko, they clash with each other. She loves being fashionable and is good at Western dressmaking. She takes charge of the area of clothes for the magazine later on.
Mukai Osamu as Kohashi Tetsuro
Kohashi Takezo’s younger brother and uncle to the three Kohashi sisters. He has lived with Takezo ever since their parents died when they were children. His character is the exact opposite of his older brother’s and he is extremely irresponsible. A drifter with no regular job, he travel the country seeking good get rich quick schemes. He is usually unreliable, but he will appear unexpectedly when Kimiko and her daughters are in a bind and rescue them over and over again. He continues supporting them even after the war.
Daichi Mao as Aoyagi Takiko
Kohashi Kimiko’s mother and grandmother of the Kohashi sisters. A big-hearted woman born and raised in Edo. The wife of the owner of Aoyagi Shoten, a well-established wholesale timber dealer in Fukagawa since the Edo Period. She takes pride in the timber work which supports their livelihood. Because protecting the business is the most important thing to her, she ended up falling out with a young Kimiko up to the present. Although she temporarily accepts Tsuneko and the family when they cannot make ends meet, she and Kimiko sever ties again because of differences in their way of thinking. This is the reason why Kimiko and her three daughters end up living at Moritaya, a nearby food caterer, temporarily. She treats her three granddaughters with love.
Sakaguchi Kentaro as Hoshino Takezo
A young man who supports Kohashi Tsuneko in her youth. A university student studying at the imperial university’s botany lab, he aims to be a botanist and is absorbed in looking for new species every day. When he talks about plants, he gets carried away. But he is lousy at (or rather oblivious to) romance because he is a blockhead. He can talk about irrelevant things with the similarly insensitive Tsuneko. He shoulders the expectations of his parents in his hometown.
Nishida Masafumi (Nobunaga Concerto, Jikken Keiji Totori)
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