J-Drama Review: Ohitorisama (おひとりさま)

Yes, I’m a drama addict and I’ve stated this fact several times before. So I’ve decided to start something new by reviewing J-Dramas right after I’ve finished them. This is my first time doing a thorough drama review, and I’m not too sure how to go about it. So hopefully this turns out decent 🙂 After the summary and review, I also decided to include what I learned about Japanese culture from watching the drama, which is really the purpose of watching it for me, aside from the entertainment factor. But on to the drama…

Genre: Rom-Com

Year: 2009

Starring: Mizuki Alisa as Akiyama Satomi, Koike Teppei as Kamisaka Shinichi

Frequently Used Vocabulary:

  1. Seito (生徒) – Student
  2. Sensei (先生) – Teacher
  3. Kouchou Sensei (校長先生) – Principal
  4. Dokushin (独身) – Single
  5. Hitori (一人) – One Person; Alone

Summary: This drama follows 33 year old high school teacher Akiyama Satomi who has earned the nickname “Ohitorisama” for being a highly successful and independent woman. However, this name also has a connotative meaning. By prioritizing her career, she is still lacking in the romance department. Kamisaka Shinichi is a young college graduate who has only worked part-time jobs and is clueless about what direction he’ll take in life. He begins working as a substitute teacher at Akiyama’s high school. Will these two opposites attract?

Review: I did not dislike this drama, but I didn’t love it. First, the good. As much as this drama is supposed to be focused on the romance between Akiyama and Kamisaka, I appreciate the storylines involving the students at the school. Not only is it helpful in learning about high school life in Japan, it is very touching to see how much Akiyama cares for her students. It is also a way to demonstrate Kamisaka’s growing confidence and passion for teaching as he even risks a few beat downs to save his students from some sketchy situations. I also love how in love Akiyama is with the single life. I’m still a bit young but somehow I feel that I could relate. She doesn’t deny that she feels lonely every once in awhile, but she truly values her “me” time. And now for the not so good. I was hooked for a few episodes, but by episode 5 I felt it was getting a bit repetitive and boring. I knew I wasn’t in for an action-packed drama, but I thought I’d be a bit more entertained by the blossoming romance. Kamisaka becomes irritating because he is always too nervous to state his opinions or assert himself. And don’t get me started on the second female lead! She throws herself on Kamisaka at every chance she can get, knowing that he is obviously not very interested. So all in all, this is a so-so drama. It’s cute, sweet and it’s helpful in learning about Japanese school culture. It does get repetitive and boring, but for those like me who watch dramas in order to pick up the language, it might be worth your time.

What I learned about Japanese Culture: I’ve had people tell me how involved teachers were in student’s lives, but I didn’t know to what extent. At one point in the drama there’s an incident where a pervy cameraman goes around taking pictures of the female students as they walk home. The teachers at the school all take time after hours to walk around the paths the students take and look out for anything suspicious. I also noticed the fact that when teachers saw the students outside of school they would ask what they were doing there and tell them to go home if it was a later hour. I know this is a school drama and of course the relationship between teacher and student will be a bit exaggerated, but I feel the examples I gave are probably true and it matches up what I’ve been told s0 far. Personally, I’ve never had a teacher that cared to that extent. If teachers like the ones in Ohitorisama existed where I live, there’d probably be complaints from parents. Teachers here aren’t even supposed to live within the same area of the school so that they can AVOID running into students after hours. I do like the fact that Japanese teachers have a close relationship with students, but it made me wonder… when do they get to have a life? Only on weekends? I understand why Akiyama believed she couldn’t juggle both career and marriage. The drama also focuses on the life of a single career woman, which I’m sure is a newer phenomenon in Japan than it is to us in here in the States. At one point in the drama, Akiyama goes on a date called an “omiai” (お見合い), which is like a match making date. These types of dates are less common in modern-day Japan, but it is pretty much unheard of in America, so it’s interesting to learn that it is still being practiced.

Rating: 6/10

Thanks for reading and I hope this was helpful to anyone who is deciding whether to watch it or not!


Bonus: I wanted to include my thoughts on the ending, but for those who haven’t watched the drama and would like to, please stay away!!

SPOILER ALERT!!! So, it’s not very difficult to make me cry. I get touched by almost anything in a drama and I will start shedding tears. But this was a first. I cried out of anger lol I don’t know, that’s the best way I can describe it. I mean… I’ve watched some pretty B.S. endings… esp in Korean dramas. But WHY would they separate these two RIGHT when we almost have a happy ending? I was totally with Kamisaka when he said he’d like to mature by making a name for himself without depending on Akiyama… but gone for years?? It was SOOO frustrating. Especially since I was thinking of Akiyama’s age. I know she didn’t want to rush into marriage… but years?? And RIGHT before Christmas?? I know he makes an appearance at the end… but still. I ended up being ok with this ending after seeing how content she was being alone, but she did look longingly at that fine guy that walked up to her at the Christmas party, so she wasn’t ALL that excited about spending another holiday by herself. Well… this ending was disappointing, but I’ve come to terms with it.


About L

Interested in Japanese language and culture, J-Pop, K-Pop and Asian Dramas.
This entry was posted in Dramas, Reviews and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to J-Drama Review: Ohitorisama (おひとりさま)

  1. sakuyahime89 says:

    In response to this review, I think you should review the first season of a drama named “Gokusen” and another drama named, “Kimi Wa Petto”.

    Gokusen has female teacher during her first job. What makes this more exciting: she is an ojou (I believe that is the term) of a Yakuza clan and puts up with little. There is also some comedy in terms of her interaction with others. But at the same time there is some emotional moments that are not extremely corny. It does feature an Omiai but from what I have heard from a good friend of mine (who has read the manga) she ends up with one of her students. Sounds icky but strangely it works.

    Kimi Wa Petto is a drama about a career woman who essentially needs some kind of companionship but would rather die in some aspects than to admit it. Then one day she meets a teen boy who was sleeping in a cardboard box and in her own way takes him in. She says that he is her pet, her dog, because she is lonely and reminded of a former pet. He eventually plays the role while he lives with her. Like Gokusen this began as a manga and from what I read of the manga the “pet” main guy ends up definitely falling for her. The sad bit is that she is actually dating someone (and sleeping with, mind you this isn’t mentioned in the drama of course) but still is, in her own way, in love with the “pet” main guy. There was a moment I was surprised to see, considering the “prudness” of J-dramas when you get the distinct impression that the two main characters sleep together. Sadly after that interesting development nothing comes from it. In fact they wish it never happened. I haven’t read the last 10 or 15 chapters but I don’t think that is how the manga ends.

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