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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

16 May 2018

My Dark Tourism

Have you heard of the term "Dark Tourism"? 

This is the tour to spots in which historically or even recently terrible incidents happened. It is not a travel to have fun. Rather it is for travelers to study the past and present for the better future.

I recently found I have done that many times for many years. Actually I've written about some of such trips on this blog. 

But here I present photos and name of sites, year I visited. 

Pearl Harbour, Hawaii, the site the Japanese military attacked on US Naval Force on 7 of December 1941

history

Nanjing China September 2004, the site of Rape of Nanjing in 1937, where the Japanese Imperial Army mass-murdered hundreds of thousands of Chinese including civilians. 

history

Auschwitz, Poland 2008, Holocaust Death Camp established by Nazi-Germany during the second world war

history

Hacksaw Ridge, in Okinawa, July 2017, A steep cliff, a big battle site between Japan and US during the second world war, where US forces climbed up to the Japanese Imperial Army Base  

This incident was adapted to the 2016 film "Hacksaw Ridge." I joined a guide tour of viewing the site where the battle took place.

history

The below photos are taken at The Former Navy Underground Headquarters, which I took in September 2013.

history, war, Okinawa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trace of suicidal bombing by a cheif commander inside the headquarter in the end of the battle.  

history, war, okinawa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This year's March, 

Execution site of 26 Christians in Nagasaki, late 16th century, 

history

Half blown Torii Gate by the Atomic Bomb dropped on 9 of August 1945

history

A-Bombing dome in Hiroshima, near Ground Zero of the atomic bomb dropped on 6 of August, 1945

There I met a survivor of the bomb and a German tourist and had local specialty food Okonomiyaki together at a restaurant nearby. I would like to write a mock-documentary script based on that experience. 

history

As for the recent matter, gate of Evacuation zone of Crippled Fukushima Nuclear Power Plants that was destroyed by the earthquake and Tsunami in March 2011. I visited there last year's March. Radiation Measure indicated twice higher level than normal. It is like another tour to Chernobyl. 

history

Some claim, visiting those places should not be regarded as Tourism. But I believe this is something we all have to do. Because we are living in a world such things can happen again anytime. 

Later I want to show another type of Tourism, which I call "Hot Tourism." Another Study Tour but what you see is currently happening and can join the incidents if you like. 

16 August 2017

Trump is the very American President

The world is shocked by white supremacists' march and subsequent terror attack to its counterprotestors in Charlottesville, Virginia, and President Trump's response to the incident.

To me, it was the same day I participated in a peace march protected by the police force and met with nationalist counterprotestors on the sidewalk. Prior to the march, the police blockaded the roads so no nationalist would not enter the march route. The peace activists protest the Yasukuni Shrine ideology (justifying Japan's invasion of Asian neighbors) and its enshrinement of the war dead in WW II. Just like General Lee Statue of the Confederate Army.

racism, history, okinawa, Trump,

racism, history, okinawa, Trump,What happened in Charlottesville is reverse. The marchers were nationalists.

 

Donald Trump has been criticized for his not naming white supremacists or Neo-Nazis as offenders, instead he blamed "many sides" or "both sides" for the incident.

He claimed that if they wanted to remove General Lee statue because of slavery related history, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson should be removed as well because they were slave owners.

Yes, he made points. America is founded on slavery, and massacre of Native Americans.

Liberals and mainstream media have harshly criticized Trump's statements, which seemed to condone white supremacists' action. More and more people join counterprotest to the rise of white nationalist movement. But it is the fact that some portion, not very small portion of the population supports white nationalist views. That is why he was elected.

America is in fact, European immigrants nation. Majority should be white. In coming decades, white will not be majority but fall into minority, less than half. Currently still more than 60%. Silent white majority now feels threatened because true American identity may be lost. Trump exposed true nature of America.

America, as melting pot, salad ball, mosaic is in fact, illusion. The reality is white dominated Christian base society. If other people want to join, they have to compromise to be second-class citizen. That is the same everywhere in the world. It is very, very difficult to change the society. Tradition and core demography cannot be changed easily whether it is good or evil. Obama, as Black president was exceptional. That is why such whitelash is happening.

To me as Japanese, if America is not white majority nation, it is not America I know. Most of Hollywood film actors are white. So it is the time we, Japanese and other people in the world to change the view of America.

America is no longer or has not traditionally, free and democratic and friendly nation that respects diversity and dignity of other people than whites. They were really good at advertising good images but the truth is not how they portrayed themselves to the world.

Good example is Guam in US Pacific territory and Okinawa, Japan.

Guam people have no rights to elect US President. Guam is small islands but one-third of the areas is occupied by US military bases. Locals have no rights to change the situation just like a colony.

In Okinawa, there has been anti-US military base movement led by Okinawa prefectural governor, Onaga. Majority of prefectural residents want US military, especially Marines out of their land. But the U.S. persists in stationing there in the name of defense of Japan, which in fact, they do not so.

racism, history, okinawa, Trump,

Good thing about Trump is he insists on removal of US forces from Japan because US no longer wants to defend foreign nations but prioritise domestic issues. Other US Presidents look politer but still want to keep hegemony of the world. Trump is destroying his nation's reputation so that US cannot lead the world any longer. More and more people stop treating America as the world leader or a role model of the democracy.

Trump looks crazy but may try to normalise his nation and the world. 

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