NHK Morning Drama Serials and Viewers

How “Asadora” Has Been Perceived in Recent Years

Published: January 2020

With the ratings of TV dramas remaining on a declining trend over the long term, NHK’s morning drama serials commonly known as Asadora maintain high popularity. The ratings can be called a V-shaped recovery, which started with Gegege no Nyobo (2010). Amachan (2013) created a buzz called “Amachan fever” and became viral on social media, Asa ga kita (2015) marked the highest ratings of the century, and most of the subsequent titles had more than 20% ratings, which shows Asadora’s presence have been enhanced in recent years. In order to explore “what is supporting Asadora’s popularity,” authors conducted web questionnaire surveys and focused group interviews on eight titles from Mare (2015) to Manpuku (2018), of which the survey results on six titles were reported on our research journal The NHK Monthly Report on Broadcast Research. Furthermore, another web survey was carried out with wider respondents including non–Asadora viewers in autumn of 2018, the results of which was discussed at the NHK BUNKEN FORUM 2019 Presentations of Research Reports held in spring this year. The main purpose of this paper is to summarize the above studies on Asadora.

The chapter on “History” reviews the transition of Asadora based on materials with utmost accurate data, taking the occasion of the drama serial reaching the 100th title with Natsuzora (2019). The following chapter “General Remarks” presents the reality of Asadora viewing obtained from the web surveys. The survey revealed 65% of the respondents have ever viewed Asadora while those who have contributed to recent Asadora’s popularity since Gegege no Nyobo account for 44%. Then, the paper reports the responses to questionnaire items common to the eight titles and the image of Asadora. The chapter “Particulars” looks into the series by theme such as “habitual viewing” and “diversity of Asadora” First, analyzing the ratings of Gegege no Nyobo—the starting point of recovery, the authors point out that invigorated habitual viewing has been a factor contributing to the high ratings. Habitual behavior can lead to mannerism, but it is presumed that the diversity of Asadora content and viewers have prevented it. The diversity of the content is discussed through comparison of the titles. Then, the chapter explores the reality of habitual viewing as well as successive viewing from one title to another. Meanwhile, it is found that the viewers watch Asadora in diverse ways. The authors analyze their viewing behaviors from “long-term” and “short-term perspectives, based on which “those in the middle” are examined in detail. Those who have talked or read about Asadora on social media account for 14%, who are revealed to be keen Asadora watchers. Finally, the authors present the results of the surveys on Hanbun Aoi (2018) and Manpuku, which have not been reported on The NHK Monthly Report on Broadcast Research. The final chapter “Symposium” carries an excerpt of the report on the NHK BUNKEN FORUM 2019 Presentations of Research Reports.

The NHK Monthly Report on Broadcast Research

Wataru Nihei / Kensaku Saito / Kunio Yoshikawa / Tomoko Kamemura

in Japanese