Friday, February 19, 2016

Let's Learn Japanese: Takumirosu

The Japanese preschool TV world was rocked this week by Mitani Takumi's announcement that she would "graduate" (which is a flowery way of saying "quit") her role as Takumi-neesan on NHK's morning children's show Okaasan to Issho. The announcement prompted an online outpouring of grief from her fans.

Let me clarify "fans." I don't mean the kids who watch the show. I mean their dads.

With a soft, motherly manner and a competent soprano voice to match, Takumi-neesan is a weekday morning favorite among one crucial demographic: fathers of small children, whose wives can't sing. So dads across Japan heard the news and started flooding internet forums with the word Takumirosu (her first name plus rosu, from the English word "loss").

This isn't the first time the public has mourned the "loss" of a celebrity in such a manner, nor is it exclusively men who react in such a way. In September 2015, women across Japan reacted with Fukuyamarosu when rugged pop crooner Fukuyama Masaharu got married.

Mitani's decision to quit is likely a combination of factors. For example, at 29 years of age, she's probably caught in a tug of war between her deafening biological clock and the draconian contractural requirements imposed on her by NHK – you know, just standard rules like:
  • no boyfriends
  • no childbirth
  • no tattoos
  • no eating on the sidewalk
Takumi-neesan was already on Okaasan to Issho when I became a father, and has been since then until now, so I have known no other Uta no Oneesan ("Song Lady," her de facto title). Weekday mornings won't be the same without her.

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