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During 年末年始 (nenmatsu nenshi, the yearend and New Year’s period) it’s common for the TV networks to fill up some of their broadcast time with 時代劇 (jidaigeki, period dramas). Portraying legendary heroes in colorful costumes of yore, their antecedents date back to the earliest years of silent films, and the genre has been frequently compared with America’s TV Westerns, called 西部劇 (seibugeki).

While the period dramas’ 全盛期 (zenseiki, heyday) during the 1960s and ’70s is long past, such shows remain popular, particularly among older viewers. In an online survey appearing in the Asahi Shimbun last April, of 1,748 responses to the question, 時代劇が好きですか (Jidaigeki ga suki desu ka, Do you like period dramas?), 61 percent gave positive replies, versus 39 percent who responded in the negative.

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