Saturday, February 5, 2011

From Oregon with Bad Japanese Acting

In the days before cable, Hulu, or youtube, the was finding foreign television broadcast locally was an unusual sight. This was especially true in Oregon, where to this day we find one of the most homogenous populations in the country. That said, there was a strange show that seemed to break the cultural barrier during this time in the early 80s and I watched it every weekend with my folks.

From Oregon With Love was  Japanese drama subtitled into English that played on one of the local channels. If I recall, it was on KOIN, but my memory could be off given this was twenty years ago. The story was simple, an orphaned boy is sent from his home in Tokyo to live with his aunt and uncle who have immigrated to the US and live as farmers in Central Oregon. We watch as he struggles to a new culture, new family, new life, blah blah blah.

I remember that the show aired for a few years. Azumano Travel, one of the local, prolific, Japanese-American businesses in the city of Portland, was the primary sponsor for the show airing commercials during the station breaks. However, I have to wonder how many people outside of the Japanese community watched the show? Ninety percent was in Japanese with English subtitles. Did this soap opera really appeal to the masses of this city? Apparently it made enough of an impact that I remember watching the the young child actor, his name lost to obscurity,  driven in a convertible through downtown Portland during the Starlight Parade as he waved to his handful of local fans.

And even though the show first aired in the early 80s, it was also popular enough to have a sequel show, also filmed in Oregon, set a few years later in 1992. Here is a clip.

1 comment:

  1. I remember this drama clearly as well since it was shown in the San Francisco Bay Area and had specials going through the mid-90s.

    If you look around on internet, english subs are in process of being created on top of the old videos.