A Japanese drama, which shot to infamy because of its alleged stereotype of life in foster care, will continue to air on TV as planned. The drama, chronicling the quest of children in foster care to find a permanent home, was criticized to be typecasting life in foster care as a negative thing. All the show’s sponsors have thus withdrawn their support.
Ashita Mama Ga Inai (“Mama Won’t Be Here Tomorrow”)’s pilot episode caused an outcry among viewers as it showed children in foster care being “controlled and coerced by violence and fear.” Some children’s rights groups likened the depiction of life in foster care with “animals in a pet shop.” One of the lead characters, played by Mana Ashida of sci-fi movie Pacific Rim fame, was named “Post.” The word is inspired by the Japanese word akachan posuto, or literally “baby hatch,” a place where unwanted children or babies are left. Rights groups fear that “the drama will reinforce stereotypes and discrimination against children’s homes.”
All corporate sponsors of the show have removed their commercials from the prime-time offering. Major sponsors Fuji Heavy Industries and Mitsubishi Estate have also withdrawn their backing on the show. The public uproar over the show is not typical with the Japanese audience, who are used to watching tried-and-tested plots for drama shows. Despite the protest, the broadcaster NTV said that showing will still continue as scheduled.