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Favorite J-Pop Singles: Oda Yuji / Over The Trouble

Back in the early days of J-drama online trading, (ah, those confusing times back before the advent of instant file-sharing!) one of the main reasons I began that venture was to get my hands on a copy of the 1994 drama OKANE GA NAI. This was primarily due to the fact that I was high on a mad crush for actress Naomi Zaizen at the time, and was dying to see her in this drama that I’d missed catching in its initial airing.
Starring Oda Yuji as Hagiwara Kentaro, a good-hearted but totally dirt-poor guy trying to eke out a life with his two younger brothers in a dilapidated shack on the docks, Okane Ga Nai tells the tale of his “Forrest Gump/Chauncey the Butler” rise from janitor of a huge law firm to the top as one of its directors.
Oda Yuji as Kentaro
with Zaizen Naomi and the Kids
With its emotional stories full of heart-felt lessons, this show was a winner from the get-go, a drama well worth starting up that j-drama trading site, I must say! And one of the best things about the drama was not only its absolutely wonderful theme song “Over The Trouble”(sung by Oda Yui himself), but the visuals accompanying the song made it one of the very best ending credits OF ALL TIME, in my opinion!

“Over The Trouble”Theme Song By Oda Yuji:


As the show is about a very poor Oda struggling from day to day, the credits offered up a fantasy “dream sequence” of sorts, showing the fantasy Oda dreams up of how it will be like once he “makes it” in the world! 

Beginning with Kentaro rolling into work via chauffeured limousine, he pulls up the front lobby and makes his way into the building, but not before stopping to pick up a penny! Among the greeters, it’s worth noting that one of the girls (in pink) is none other than Maiko Kikuchi, a young actress who would later go on the steal my heart as the high-maintenance sister Reiko in “Futarikko”!

Maiko Kikuchi in Okane Ga Nai

Going up the escalator, he makes his way to the top floor, and it’s here that I really love the visual: it’s one LONG, continuous shot from the moment he enters the office til he sits behind his executive desk, and every time I watch this, I marvel at how many times they must have shot this thing before they got it just right!

This clip comes at the end of the first episode, where Kentaro, as one of the firm’s janitors, has found an important document one of the junior clerks had accidentally thrown into the trash. Using this clout, he returns to the company duked out in a cleanly pressed suit, and offers to trade the documents for a chance to meet the guy’s higher ups! And then the song kicks in and we go into the credits…

Okane Ga Nai Ending Credits:


I love the little touches like the penny in the piggy bank and his stopping to show a maintenance woman a tip on how to clean the glass windows, all the things that remind us he’s still gonna be the humble, loveable guy he is. And when he finally gets to the main office and slings off his coat, the beatific smile on his face gestures to the camera as if to say “Wouldjya BELIEVE It? ME!! An Executive! HA!”

Definitely one of the best from what I consider the “golden era” of Japanese dramas. Oh, and Naomi Zaizen was great in it, too! Not that I had any doubt, but she was soooo cute and YOUNG looking in this one…I was much more used to seeing her as a harried older woman, in shows like IIHTO or OMIZU NO HANAMICHI!
Zaizen Naomi in Okane Ga Nai