Last Monday, NHK’s latest six-month asa-dora (morning drama series) started. “Carnation” (NHK-G, Mon.-Sat., 8:45 a.m.) is a fictionalized version of the early life of Ayako Koshino, one of Japan’s first Western-style fashion designers, who emerged during the Taisho Era (1912-26) and gave birth to three other famous female fashion designers: Hiroko, Michiko and Junko Koshino.

The protagonist, Itoko (Machiko Ono), is the daughter of a prominent kimono seller in Osaka, though she is attracted to Western apparel. However, her main obsession is the sewing machine she spies in a business located not far from her family’s establishment. She decides that she will quit school and work for the company, just so she can learn how to use the device. Her father strongly disapproves, even though he knows in his heart that the kimono business is on its way out.

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