April 11, 2011
Quite coincidentally (it's been in pre-production for several months, and was scheduled to start three weeks ago), but perhaps quite appropriately, the current Asadora is a Showa drama. It follows the heroine from the 1930s to the 1950s.
Showa dramas typically depict Japan (symbolized by the protagonist) struggling through the ashes of WWII to reclaim her place in the world. They're romanticizations, to be sure--not that exaggerated--of an era when everybody put their shoulders to the wheel.
It's an ethos and state of mind summed up in the verb ganbaru: "to persist, to hang on, to stick it out." You now see the volitional form on banners everywhere: Ganbarou! Japan (がんばろう！日本). Such as at the spring national high school baseball tournament.