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"Churasan" Reflects Growing Up Okinawan

Ryoko Kuninaka wanted to show the charm of Okinawa, the setting of the TV drama "Churasan" which means 'beautiful' in the Okinawan dialect. Ryoko was chosen from 2,084 women who auditioned for the lead female role of Eri Kohagura (the real-life maiden name of her mother, although the story is not based on her motherís life) for national broadcaster NHK.

"Churasan" is set in Okinawa and Tokyo, and follows Eri's growth, emphasizing the important relationship of life and familial love. Location shooting took place on Kohama Island and throughout Okinawa. The series covers the period from the 1972 Okinawa Reversion through 2001, showing the maturation of the heroine as she becomes a nurse, wife and mother; and also reflects the signs of the times.

"Churasan," the first NHK TV novel in the 21st century, is also the first with a lead role about an Okinawan heroine. The mother of the story writer, popular dramatist Yoshikazu Okada, was born in Naha City. Okinawan culture and nature was also incorporated into "Churasan," with Ms. Kuninaka's performance of Ryubu, Okinawan traditional dancing.

The next drama Ryoko Kuninaka worked on after "Churasan" was "Yume No California" (California Dreamin') as Keiko Asou. The show debuted on April 12, 2002. The official website is in Japanese and uses Flash, but there is also an HTML version.

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