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Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2011
House used in 'Oshin' too decrepit to repair
YAMAGATA — The old house used in NHK's popular 1980s morning TV drama "Oshin" has nearly collapsed and is too expensive to repair, a group that has been working to preserve it says.
The house, more than 100 years old, is in the rural Nakayama area of Yamagata Prefecture. Its rare thatched roof was severely damaged by heavy snow last year.
"Oshin," which aired in 1983 and was written by Sugako Hashida, depicts the life of a tough woman who battles through various setbacks despite her poverty.
The drama aired in more than 60 countries and became very popular for its theme of perseverance, especially around Asia.
Surrounded by beautiful countryside, the house was selected as Oshin's childhood home. Given the show's popularity, local residents formed a group to preserve the house as a tourism asset and have been managing it ever since. In 2001, the group conducted a ¥10 million repair job using prize money received from a TV quiz show.
The house has been a popular tourist spot for fans of the TV series, but last year's snow damage has gone unmended, and the group has almost given up on saving the house because repairing it would be too costly. Making things worse is the house's remote location in Nakayama, which has been deserted since the 1970s.
Mitsuo Suzuki, 74, head of the conservation group, is one of the people who left the area.
"In its current state, the house, which has been almost destroyed, can't be a place to be viewed by tourists. We have no money to fix the house and we have no one to take over our activities to preserve the house."