What is "Leave it to the Nurses"?
The hit TV mini-series "Leave it to the Nurses" first aired in 1996 to viewer ratings of 17.2%. Its immense popularity prompted a sequel, called "Part 2", in 1997, which proceeded to outperform the original with average ratings of 19.2%. Then, from April to September of 2000, "Part 3" was aired, this time as a 6-month series (as opposed to the standard 3-months for a mini-series). Once again, it garnered an average 19.2% share of the television audience. The series' popularity cut across several age groups, including the so-called F1 and F2 categories (women between 20 and 49 years of age) as well as the "under 20 bracket", proving itself first-rate entertainment with a broad base of support.
The secret to the program's success
A nurse's station is a closely-knit, predominantly female work place where interpersonal relationships, sense of professional duty, desire to balance work and private lives, as well as age-old issues of love, marriage and parenting all mix and clash. Many of the issues these nurses face are no different than those encountered by a lot of working women today. And although "I am a Nurse" is intended to be a fun-packed, romantic comedy, the themes and issues it deals with are real, and are treated with sincerity. The nurses in this story, beginning with Izumi Asakura (played by Alisa Mizuki), are no strangers to pain and suffering, but their ability to confront challenges with cheer and optimism is perhaps what has endeared them and the series to so many Japanese women.
Another typically madcap day at Wakabakai General Hospital.
First, there isĀ@the hospital's most fumbling but endearing nurse, Izumi Asakura (Alisa Mizuki), whose thoughts are occupied with the upcoming annual singing contest between hospital wards. First prize is an all-expenses-paid trip to a South Sea island and Izumi is dead set on winning it. Decked out in lavish costume and practicing her dance routine, Izumi dreams of finally taking that honeymoon she and her husband, rookie surgeon Kentaro Takasugi (Naohito Fujiki), never had. But Kentaro's got other things on his mind. He's looking to win the respect and recognition of his colleagues as a promising surgeon. His reaction, "Look, I simply don't have time to go on any honeymoon," doesn't sit well with his pleading wife. A livid Izumi screams: "This marriage was all a mistake. I want a divorce!"
Problems lurk behind every corner at Wakabakai General Hospital. This time, they rain down on head nurse, Shoko Ozaki (Yuki Matsushita). Battling loneliness as her husband, chief surgeon Dr. Sawada, travels across America with his beloved daughter Maria, she soon finds herself at odds with the newly-appointed Chief Nurse, Toshiko Yaguchi (Toshie Negishi). Not one to mince words, Yaguchi bluntly condemns Shoko's way of doing things: "Now that I'm in charge, a lot of things are going to change around here." Shoko's woes compounded, she turns to her biggest ally for help, Chief Executive Nurse Nemoto (Kazuko Yoshiyuki).
Meanwhile, Dr. Yuichi Hamano (Yoshizumi Ishihara) and his wife, nurse Saeko Oshima (Kazue Ito), are awaiting the birth of their second child, and just can't seem to concentrate on much else. The same can be said for the scheming nurse Madoka Akagi (Uno Kanda), who has fallen for a handsome and gentle-natured patient, Soichiro Okita (Ryuji Harada), and spends all her time tending to him. But Soichiro's a bit too nervous about his upcoming organ transplant to pay her much attention.
At Wakabakai General Hospital, normalcy is a rare commodity. But no one could have anticipated the magnitude of the crisis that would soon befall them.
The nurse station is hijacked!
And "Leave it to the Nurses" must face its biggest challenge ever!
Tsuyoshi Saruwatari is a former patient who has just been released from the hospital. No sooner is he out, however, when he begins longing for those blissful days under the tender loving care of head nurse, Shoko Ozaki. He tries desperately to get himself readmitted. But his hopes are dashed when Chief Nurse Yaguchi finally has him ejected from the building. Determined to get his way, he resorts to brandishing a machine gun and storming the place. When word gets out that a madman has occupied the nurse's station, the police and media converge on Wakabakai General Hospital. Detective Kumano (Keizo Kanie) arrives to take command of the police response effort but fails to get Saruwatari's to abandon his stubborn demand to be readmitted. With the situation beginning to spin out of control, it's only a matter of time that something goes terribly amiss?
How will Izumi and her fellow nurses overcome through this crisis?
Alisa Mizuki (Izumi Asakura)
The world’s most fumbling nurse. Had rosy dreams of her marriage to Dr. Takasugi.
Yuki Matsushita (Shoko Ozaki)
Head nurse and Izumi’s direct superior. Was a prime candidate for Chief Nurse.
Uno Kanda (Madoka Akagi)
Together with her overseer, Izumi, always seems to be getting into trouble.
Naohito Fujiki (Kentaro Takasugi)
Izumi’s husband and aspiring young surgeon just back from serving an internship in the United States.
Yoshizumi Ishihara (Yuichi Hamano)
Husband of Saeko Oshima (below) and filling in as top surgeon in charge of the medical staff while Chief Surgeon Sawada is away in America.
Sachiko Kokubu (Mayumi Uehara)
Mid-level nurse who joined the hospital with Izumi. Desperately seeks a boyfriend.
Kohki Okada (Ryutaro Mizushima)
Izumi’s former beau. Talented surgeon on the organ transplant team.
Kazue Ito (Saeko Oshima)
Veteran nurse vying with Shoko for the position of Chief Nurse. Nine months pregnant, too.
Kazuko Yoshiyuki (Masako Nemoto)
Former Chief Nurse who now teaches at a nursing academy.
Udo Suzuki (Tsuyoshi Saruwatari)
Former patient who seizes control of the nurse’s station with a machine gun.
Toshie Negishi (Toshiko Yaguchi)
Newly-appointed Chief Nurse who continually clashes with Shoko (above).
Ryuji Harada (Soichiro Okita)
A handsome and good-natured patient about to have an organ transplant.
Keizo Kanie (Detective Kumano)
A cop facing retirement who is sent in to handle the hostage situation.
Director, Screenplay and Producer: Kazuyuki Morosawa
A graduate of Meiji University, Morosawa entered Nikkatsu Studios where he served as assistant director in over 30 films before eventually directing and producing hit TV dramas such as "Leave it to the Nurses" and "Tales of the Unusual." Morosawa also exhibited is writing skills with the TV dramas, "Flat Broke" and "Aji Ichimonme." He then consolidated his diverse talents by writing, directing and producing the movie "Keep on Rockin'", and has continued in that same capacity with the much anticipated, "Leave it to the Nurses"
Executive producer: Akifumi Takuma
Producers: Fumiko Oga, Kazuyuki Morosawa, Minako Mita, Hiroyuki Tanahashi
Written and directed by Kazuyuki Morosawa
Director of Photography: Yoshihiro Kitayama
Lighting: Junichi Akatsu
Recording: Toshihiro Watanabe
Production design: Atsuhiko Arakawa
Music: Ryo Kamomiya
Produced by Fuji Television Network / Pony Canyon