It’s no secret that I love Japan as a country and it’s one of the most heavenly concrete jungles on Earth.
Now there’s one thing that I’d like to say about the Japanese entertainment industry: It’s like the European film and TV industry, only an Asian version. After watching German films, I think I would like to watch more of them because of their concept but they could actually intersect fiction and reality, together with the superficial. Same with the French film, Amelie. It’s very straight-to-the-point, but it has loads of superficiality in it.
Here’s the thing: As much as I would like to watch German films more (because it would be a waste if I would not polish my German proficiency properly), I like Japanese movies. I believe, this is one way for me to learn important Japanese phrases that could be beneficial when I go back to Japan (since I’m planning to take up my Master’s Degree there, either I take up IR or prolly Film Studies).
[Side Note: If you have not yet watched some of the films that I’m mentioning right here, kindly not click READ MORE unless you’re interested with this article. These might serve as spoilers… haha]
What I actually like about Japanese films and TV dramas is how the scriptwriters conceptualize intersecting fiction and reality at the same time. After watching Hanamizuki, Golden Slumber and finally, The Kirishima Thing, one thing that they have in common: Most of these films actually include elements based on reality itself–for instance, the film Hanamizuki actually showed that Jun (Osamu Mukai) actually died from a gunshot while in Iraq, which is actually similar to the assassination of Shosei Koda in Iraq after ex-PM Koizumi refused to let the Japanese troops (well, defense troops, not necessarily the offensive military) go back to Japan. The twist does not stop there. In fact, the fiction here is how Sae (Yui Aragaki) still had her “love” towards Kouhei (Toma Ikuta), despite having their own partners, Kouhei’s wife actually divorced him. This is one fiction that also exists in real life, but we really do not know if this is really happening nowadays.
Golden Slumber is a movie about Masaharu Aoyagi (Masato Sakai), a delivery man who is actually framed for assassinating the Prime Minister of Japan. There are some elements that come from reality–and that is the plot itself. The plot is actually a foreshadowing of the Boston Marathon Bombings because the film itself was released in 2010. What the Boston Bombings and Golden Slumber have in common is the conspiracy shown by the mass media–the elite class could actually manipulate the media and accuse someone who isn’t involved in a major crime at the first place. At the end of the movie, Aoyagi underwent plastic surgery in order to conceal himself from the harsh world of judgment.
Lastly, The Kirishima Thing, which is actually a mix of indie and mainstream storytelling. This is the best Japanese movie that I have ever seen–so far. Japan is known for being err… obsessed with the “Gakusei” theme, but this film talks about normal life at school and the clubs where students have to interact with one another and all that, and I think that my experience in the “Club” actually made me embrace Club Time more than regular class hours–which is shown in The Kirishima Thing. The reality of this series is actually similar to my fourth year high school years. One of my classmates who was expelled because of a controversy (you know my former second home loves to white-wash their sins and has this certain mentality of “hugas-kamay” if their policies are quite hypocritical and they do exploit [READ: EXPLOIT] their students, especially introverts for their personal gain; well, even though schools have the right to sanction students because they represent the school itself and nothing else follows) would represent as “Kirishima,” but this “Kirishima” person actually disappeared for no apparent reason. He’s actually the source of unity among clubs and students, as shown in the movie. His over-all “charisma” allowed Maeda (Ryunosuke Kamiki) and Hiroki (Masahiro Higashide) to meet one another in the end of the movie.
The Kirishima Thing is actually one of the things that show normal school life rather than the superficial (in contrast to Thai and Filipino entertainment)–there is no competition when it comes to face value and social status–it’s about competition on TALENT, ABILITIES and SKILLS, which other Asian entertainment failed to showcase. I would prefer watching and recommending this one over the overhyped A Crazy Little Thing Called Love that actually refers to discrimination against skin color which is a reality in Thailand–and over-glorifies people with “farang-ish” features and really fair skin, and of course, face value. The only reason why that film is famous because of Mario Maurer–period! The Love of Siam is a better film to watch (if you’re a fan of Mario Maurer, of course).
The Philippine entertainment industry should learn a thing or two from the Japanese entertainment industry. I’m not actually over-glorifying Japanese entertainment since I’m too choosy when watching Japanese drama–remember why I actually dropped Misaki Number One!! due to Karina’s exaggerated but over-saturated acting, and chose to watch Legal High instead. Also, when watching Japanese dramas, it’s quite comparable to US dramas–I will simply never be a fan of American shows, except for The Big Bang Theory and reality shows such as The Simple Life. Yeah, great graphics, resolution and whatnot; but acting-wise!? Gah, as what Roxyisferox said before, Hollywood isn’t that superior AT ALL. There are also lessons to be learned, but the thing is, only a few of these shows will show you good values; most of the US series actually shows the “values” that the US society is preaching–superficiality, and being over-materialistic at the same time. Admiration towards attention-whoring celebrities, derailed former child actors and err… whoever does not show a good example at all damages conservative societies in some way that this is “right” and that is “wrong.”
Rommel Reyes (from AsianWiki) said:
Japanese movies are way better compared to Hollywood.
I certainly agree with him. While I do like Hollywood movies such as the Rush Hour series, Norbit, Tomb Raider 1, and childhood movies, I simply cannot understand why the hell is Hollywood glorified? The “twang” now irritates me nowadays, and hearing English-speaking people with that American accent really bugs me so much, unless you’re a professor. I simply don’t get it why people with that “twang” are viewed as “intelligent” and “classy” even though the use of that “twang” becomes over-saturated.
I would rather see myself speaking Japanese fluently with the right accent rather than emulating the American twang in an over-acting manner.
Pancho D agrees with Rommel:
We Filipinos should learn more from the powerful storytelling and subtlety of the Japanese instead of following Hollywood around like a dog.
Japanese storytelling is as discreet as the Germans, but it can never be denied that their concept of storytelling is MUCH MORE superior compared to Hollywood. Why did I not like the LOTR fucking series if it’s only fucking good in graphics and err… screenplay? Why did I loathe the succeeding Twilight sequels? Why did I actually prefer The Hunger Games?
Hollywood actually tackles very sensitive topics that might offend introverts and at the same time glorify the know-it-all people and walking contradictions at the same time. Japanese movies and series cannot avoid this one, but they’re more careful as compared to US entertainment where they would actually tend to be superficial and at the same time glorifying whatever promotes materialism plus bling-bling at the same time.
What I also liked about the Japanese entertainment industry is how they make things NORMAL and NOT SUPERFICIAL. The Filipino entertainment industry always follows the superficial, which degrades people who do not belong to their “circle.” One more thing that I’d like to say about the Filipino entertainment industry is that, they’re only good in comedy films. When it comes to romcoms, only Got 2 Believe convinced me not because Rico Yan was my crush, but it’s because it is not as superficial compared to other romcoms, particularly Hollywood ones.
xtine of GIRLTalk said:
I never liked romantic comedy movies from Hollywood. I found them shallow and corny. I’d rather watch romantic movies from France. I would like my romantic movies to be realistic and not trying to be funny all the time.
I never watched any French romance film, but true enough, Hollywood romcoms are kinda shallow and again, superficial. TBH, it’s not Hollywood at all–The Ugly Truth starring Katherine Heigl disappointed me and made me sleep at the movie house! No offense to Hollywood romcom lovers, but your mentality and judgment are TOO SHALLOW if you think that romcoms from Hollywood are cheesy, funny and romantic. Ugh, Asian romcoms are better, and if I pass through a Japanese romcom starring Masato Sakai and Ryoko Hirosue, I would be very, very happy! I mean, they make a good on-screen couple, and I would prefer Ryoko over Aya Ueto for some reason–but sadly, I would not recommend Sakai-Gakky tandem because it’s too awkward (age gap-wise)!
Also, one thing about the Japanese film industry is how they embrace variety over a 1D concept. That’s right! As much as I do like Filipino comedy and romcoms, I just like how the Japanese entertainment industry experiment with different kinds of genre. See why they LOVE Lady GaGa and Bjork? See why WEIRD IS COOL for them?
They embrace weirdness because they EMBRACE individualism despite preserving and keeping their traditions intact. In other words, Japanese people balance everything, as mentioned in my previous article/s.
I’m not saying that other entertainment industries are inferior, over-estimating the Japanese entertainment industry, and same goes with the European entertainment industry. I do think that their concepts are much more to explore than whatever is one-dimensional.