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04 May 2020

Introducing Japan's gayest TV drama "Ossan's Love" aired on mainstream TV channel

While I locked down myself to prevent novel corona virus spread at home. I just happened to rent DVD drama programs "Ossan's Love" which was aired in 2018 on one of Japan's mainstream TV network channels, TV Asahi. The drama consists of 7 episodes. Each episode was about 40 minutes long.

lgbt, gay, homosexuality

What was shocking to me is the comedy drama featured male gay love affairs all the way although it was aired on the mainstream channel and then it became so popular that subsequent film version was released in nationwide theatres and another version of the TV drama was aired on the same time frame next year.

The story took place in a real estate agency in Tokyo. The protagonist is 33 year-old male worker named Haruta (Middle in the picture.) Although the story evolved around him, the most important character was his supervisor Kurosawa (right edge in the photo), 55 year-old man, which in Japan commonly referred to as “Ossan” meaning “Old guy” usually middle aged.

Kurosawa was head of sales department of the real estate agency, equivalent to vice president of the company and a rich man. One day Kurosawa told Haruta that he loved him and would divorce his wife (Second from right) to be with him. Haruta was shocked to know that because he did not share love romance with his supervisor although he respected and liked him as a good business man.

Kurosawa then asked his wife for a divorce and then Haruta got involved in Kurosawas divorce quarrel. But Haruta also got in love affair with another man, Maki (left edge in the photo) in the office. But Maki had another love affair with another male worker. Two gay love triangles crossed over in the drama. Finally Kurosawa proposed marriage to Haruta.

The drama was all about gay love and love romance between man and woman was sidelined in the story. The gay male characters were portrayed as normal and decent person, not like psychopath or deviant ones. This is the big difference from the past. Gay characters were very normal and positive in the mainstream TV drama. Gay love romance was treated just as equivalent to straight people’s love.

Not just broadcast nationally on mainstream media but the show became so popular that film version and another version in which similar gay love story took place in an airline company using the same main casts next year. In 2019 version Kurosawa was a captain pilot of the airplane and Haruta was a flight attendant. Airline company is really existing company meaning commercial airline company sponsored the program. 

Recently in Japan, more people have positive views on gay relationship and more people have become supportive of gay marriage. In national assembly there are two openly gay members, who call for legalization of the same sex marriage. Some municipal governments approved of the same sex partnership and provide certificates for the residents.

This show reflects this social change.

If you are interested, you can watch the English version of the show on Netflix.

15 September 2019

Film “East Side Sushi” Can Japanese accept the change?

A story of a Mexican American woman who worked in Japanese cuisine restaurant for the purpose of getting a stable job and later came to want to be a sushi chef. The story took place in California.

In Japan you can rarely meet a female sushi chef. It is said that women are unfit for the job because their body temperature is normally higher than men so they cannot grip rice and raw fish properly.

But such things are nonsense. The bottom line is it is just male chauvinism that prevented women from entering that industry.

In the film the owner of restaurant preferred Asian men standing and making sushi inside counter facing directly to customers. It was his intent to keep the image as a Japanese restaurant. She cooked in the inner kitchen. She could make better sushi and never smoke but Asian men who smoked were allowed to face customers. 

Why are we so stubborn?

The film seemed to question how Japanese should deal with new ideas and educates us how to live with diverse population. Meaning we have to give up conventional stereotypes of our own. 

There are many foreigners who do Japanese things lately. There are many foreign sumo wrestlers. There are many women who do what traditionally men do. 

A dark skin Mexican female sushi chef indeed looks odd to us but that doesn’t mean it is wrong. As long as they can make delicious ones, it is desirable. 

In the film protagonist knew importance of freshness even before she became a chef. That is very much related to sushi making. 

Japanese cultures are not just for Japanese to enjoy and preserve but all of the people in the world. 

Besides above, what you can learn from the film is sushi rice is made with vinegar, sugar, and salt. Japanese chef use carbon steel knives, sticking chopsticks on rice is very inappropriate act which resembles funerals. 

Great lessons for Japanese viewers. Most Japanese never knew. 

 

14:15 Posted in Culture, Film, Society | Permalink | Comments (0) | Tags: sushi, racism, feminism

31 July 2019

German TV drama “Deutchland 1983”, More interested in Germany than USA now

I just found a TV drama series “Deutchland 1983” on internet. That was a story in the Cold War Era in Germany, when the nation was divided into two separate states, East Germany, called DDR and West Germany. The protagonist was a young man assigned to spy West Germany military activity disguising a subordinate to the general. In order to get classified information he had to use every element of his life including sex. That was quite thrilling. The story also featured 1980’s culture and social matters such as Walkman, AIDS and Ronald Reagan and described how severe life in East Germany was.

It is scary that there was a spy who shared the same language, culture and ancestry but ideology and tried to knock you down inside your own country. It is just like current North and South Korea.

Germany has thrilling history such as Nazis and the division of the nation. It has more interesting topics than any other nations. My interest in foreign nation is shifted from USA to Germany recently. America isn’t a very attractive nation any more since Trump is elected as President. Just recently Trump said to his rivaling congresswomen to go back home although they are naturalized citizens. US President cannot tolerant different opinions of theirs. He does not represent a nation that respects freedom. US is becoming like Nazi-Germany and degrading their national image while German chanceller Merkel said she sided with the congresswomen.

I am learning so much about its language, culture, politics, society, history and etc. I think I have to study more. I will watch more German dramas and movies and am excited to do that.

Ich interessiere mich fur Deutchland. 

20 March 2019

Film "The Sound of Music" Not just about music

I bought a DVD of it last year. But I had seen the film many times before I bought that. 

The story of an Austrian woman who became a governess for seven children in von-Trappe family and was married to father of the children, Georg von-Trappe and the family became a singing group in 1938. But in the end, they decided to escape from Nazi-Occupied Austria. 

The story is based on the true family history. 

Songs in the film are all great and became famous. It seemed that is all about music. But the film described what happened in Austria during that time. Annexation of Austria by Nazi-Germany. Annexation was done peacefully and there were many local sympathisers like Rolfe, a boyfriend to the oldest daughter. 

Because recent movement in the world is becoming similar to that period, I watch this film from different angle. 

Why did people favor such authoritarian regime? What kind of atmosphere was that? 

Actually, people were less cautious than they should have been. 

That is what you can learn from the film. Good history lesson. 

22:01 Posted in Deutschland, Film, Music | Permalink | Comments (0) | Tags: history, nazis

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