Why japanese dramas are so...

Talk about the culture and entertainment from Nihon.
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SkyZero
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Why japanese dramas are so...

Post by SkyZero » Jan 10th, '09, 07:46

interesting to watch? I've been wondering this for the past few weeks now. My brother got us into 1 Litre of Tears and we just fniished HYD 1 & 2 (admittedly awesome shows)

I've been comparing these shows to shows we would normally watch here (Lost, Heroes, Bones, etc.) and now they seem pretty lame in comparison. You get really attached to these characters and they're pretty emotional.

It seems in thse jdoramas, something really big happens in almost every episode and I'm wondering how a long a standard japanese season runs? Is it shorter than in states and that's why they pack a lot into each episode?

Also, I was wondering what would happen if you took something like 1 Litre of Tears or HYD and did an american/english version, would it be as good or do we give it allowances knowing that these shows are from a different culture and so give a little leeway to them?

Interested to hear your thoughts on this! :)

P.S.

Also wanted to greet everyone and introduce myself, seeing as this is my first post here. ;)

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Post by TofuQueen » Jan 10th, '09, 08:21

Japanese dramas are usually around 9-12 episodes; some have a second season but a lot don't which means that they (generally) fit a complete story into just those episodes - very different from US tv shows, which are usually stretched out as long as they're making money and then often canceled without really *finishing* the storyline or tying up loose ends.

For me part of the appeal of J-dorama is that there is a lot about US culture that I really don't like & don't want to spend time watching it on tv, while Japanese culture is different & much less familiar to me so it's more interesting to watch (please note that I'm not saying "Japanese culture is better than US culture", just that it's more interesting to me to watch on tv).

My personal opinion is that any J-dorama remade as a US series would lose most (if not all) of what makes it so enjoyable. The process would completely Americanize everything, which would turn the dorama into something very different than it was, and not very different at all than what's on tv now - and it would also probably get stretched out, or added onto, as long as it was making money, even if it meant killing the story. :x

SkyZero
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Post by SkyZero » Jan 10th, '09, 08:48

Yea, I find that I prefer shows with a definite ending as opposed to the never-ending stories we're given in the states. I really dig the 9-12 episode approach and having complete stories makes it all the better. Not too much or two little with great chances for character development.

As for remaking a series in the US, I see what you mean about something going through the hollywood machine and much being lost in translation. I wonder though, if you made a 1-to-1 copy. Take the first season of HYD as an example. If you took the fansubs and used that as the lines for the show, keep the same exact story, would it still play as well as it does as a japanese show? If nothing was lost, maybe except japanese cultural customs, would it still work? Just food for thought.

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Post by lovenyc52 » Jan 10th, '09, 09:09

If you took the fansubs and used that as the lines for the show, keep the same exact story, would it still play as well as it does as a japanese show? If nothing was lost, maybe except japanese cultural customs, would it still work? Just food for thought.
I think that it probably wouldn't work because a lot of the drama and appeal of j-doramas comes from the cultural customs. Being a much more conservative society than the U.S., a lot of scenarios that are 'scandalous' in the j-dorama would be considered tame here. Also, the relationship between males and females are vastly different as well. If you remember in HYD or the majority of asian dramas in general, a kiss or even holding hands is monumental and practically automatically denotes a relationship... and I feel that does not translate in the U.S.

Just my two cents :P

I really love the j-dorama format more than taiwanese or korean format though (not that I don't watch all three equally :mrgreen: ). It's amazing how much storyline they can squeeze into 12 episodes. I never feel like I'm not going to finish it because it's dragged out more than necessary.

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Post by tunix_2008 » Jan 10th, '09, 10:03

Entertaining.

I agree with the previous posts about the series only having 9 to 12 episodes help in the story development. Story telling becomes more compact and concise. There are no useless story lines (gratuity shots), stunt casting (putting in big stars even if they don't fit the story) and mindless back-pedaling on revelations (like Clark Kent and Superman are one and the same in Lois and Clark in the 90s).

Take into consideration the soaps Hollywood churns -- they run daily for like 40 years. It takes a character six months to make a cup of coffee or finish a flute of champagne. And their tangled lives! Everyone and his mother are sleeping around with everyone else. You could literally be your own grandpa! It's a wonder how the characters are pretty and "smart" when the chances of their parents being related are almost a certainty.

That's why there's an American tv-spurred idiomatic expression called 'jumping the shark'. This means that at some point the series became lame, cheesy and no longer entertaining. The biggest 'jumping the shark' incident was when Maddie and David of Moonlighting slept together. The chemistry fizzled out and it was all downhill from there.

In contrast, jdramas have a limited number of shows, so each episode doesn't just have one major story line going, it has other sideshows going on in the background. Issues are resolved quickly and secrets that are out are out.

It also helps that the jdrama actors don't act "cute" like "look at me I'm funny" tongue-in-cheek performances like in Hollywood comedies. I guess maybe this is because "idols" are differentiated from "actors" in Japan.

As regards to culture, Asian cultures are much more conservative and therefore restrictive which make for better story telling. Only Asian dramas can pull off arranged marriages, matchmaking-for-marriage dates, non-related men and women living together taboo, women-only or men-only workplaces, etc. Also in jdramas, a kiss is not just a kiss -- it is a big deal, since mouth-to-mouth kissing did not really exist in Japan until the 19th century. So the restraint and subtlety of romantic moments make it more thrilling.

As for remaking something like HYD in the US, the story wouldn't fly as four rich boys bullying a poor, intelligent girl. The girl would have a sooner have a transformation-montagé into Elle Woods, shining-star-leader-of-all, than fall for Domyoji and be his live-in maid.

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Post by patient_senses » Jan 12th, '09, 01:43

Yeah I have to agree. I definitely enjoy jdramas more than American television shows. I mean, some shows just drag on and on, losing their original theme along the way, but as long as it's making money, they'll keep it going. The few American series that I have liked were cancelled after the first or second season, leaving the series completely unended. At least jdramas manage to finish the storyline completely, regardless of the ratings. That's a custom that the United States should take after.

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Post by mokudekiru » Jan 14th, '09, 08:52

What makes jdramas so good is something I've thought a lot about, since I also really can't tolerate American TV at all...

I think a lot of it has to do with both the 11-episode, complete format, and the subtlety you guys have mentioned. Hana Yori Dango is actually kind of ridiculous and I think *could* fly here (maybe with some cultural changes). But consider a drama like Kekkon Dekinai Otoko. You have a guy who's starting to hit middle age. He's quirky and kind of neurotic, but not crazy. You watch him interact with his doctor, coworkers, neighbor, and neighbor's dog. The show is very well written and funny, but there isn't even a big plot behind it. You're missing some key elements of American TV here such as:
-sex
-drugs
-violence
-money/other scandals

and yet it's a totally engrossing, high quality show. This is the kind of show that I can't see floating anywhere else and yet totally represents the genre.

Also, interesting that it seems so much of a cultural jump between western TV shows and jdramas, when anime is so ridiculously popular (unless I explain what a jdrama is everyone just assumes I'm an anime fan... >.< )

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Post by TofuQueen » Jan 14th, '09, 09:44

mokudekiru wrote:Also, interesting that it seems so much of a cultural jump between western TV shows and jdramas, when anime is so ridiculously popular (unless I explain what a jdrama is everyone just assumes I'm an anime fan... >.< )
I agree with the rest of what you said, but wanted to comment specifically on this part. :-)

I think anime (in general) has a different appeal than (most) j-dorama - it's got science fiction, alternate worlds, ninjas of many varieties, magical girls, and many other elements that are difficult if not impossible to do well with live action. A lot of people get into anime through something exciting, action-packed, and not at all realistic (Ranma 1/2, Naruto, Sailor Moon, etc.), and often when they're younger. (Which is not to say that anime is "bad" or "childish" or anything of the sort; some is & some isn't. I enjoy anime too, just not as much as j-dorama, but that's my personal preference.) Once they get into it, it's fairly easy to find more anime to watch. Even if you don't count the internet there are several places in my smallish town that rent and sell anime & both local libraries have some to be checked out.

I've never seen j-dorama for sale or rent anywhere but the internet - I know some k-dramas have been licensed for sale in the US, but I don't know of *any* j-doramas that have been (there could be some, but I don't know of any). It's just not as available, so people don't have the opportunity to watch it. I would *guess* that since j-doramas are more expensive to produce than anime is, the licensing rights might also be more expensive, which prevents them from being licensed and thus keeps them from being easily available.

A lot of people in the manga community are more hesitant to watch the j-dorama versions of manga than the anime versions. Maybe the jump from drawn characters to real people seems too big. I was very hesitant as well, it took me a LONG time to actually watch a j-dorama but once I did I was hooked. :D

I've also seen it suggested that US audiences just aren't interested in watching shows full of Asian people, which seems silly to me but I suppose may have some truth to it. I honestly don't even think about it any more. I forget which j-dorama I was watching, but it took me a while to realize that the character whose Japanese sounded kind of funny was actually a white guy. :whistling:

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Post by ramz7887 » Jan 14th, '09, 10:17

A lot of people in the manga community are more hesitant to watch the j-dorama versions of manga than the anime versions. Maybe the jump from drawn characters to real people seems too big. I was very hesitant as well, it took me a LONG time to actually watch a j-dorama but once I did I was hooked. :D
It is kind of weird in the fact I think that the animation kind of sets you up, since its world allows the characters to do anything that the writer imagines. When you make the jump to real life it can sometimes make it seem kinda funny looking. Though I think a good example was "Death Note" it started as an Anime but as a movie I thought it was interesting and could of made a good series. But then again it was a little more realistic ( using the term loosely) then a lot of anime out there.

I also agree with the problems of converting Japanese shows for an American audience they sometimes lack the conflicts that American shows have. I've been watching a lot of Japanese comedy shows such as Gaki no tsukai and haneru no tobira. Because even though I'm not very good at translating them I can figure them out and still find them entertaining. I have had trouble with dramas keeping up my interest. Though the last one I watched was "Triangle" and I can't wait for the 2nd episode to come out.

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Post by mokudekiru » Jan 14th, '09, 16:13

TofuQueen wrote: I've never seen j-dorama for sale or rent anywhere but the internet - I know some k-dramas have been licensed for sale in the US, but I don't know of *any* j-doramas that have been (there could be some, but I don't know of any). It's just not as available, so people don't have the opportunity to watch it.
I think you're right, that this is pretty key. If it were already a well-known, well-established genre then I think we'd see more people getting into jdramas. But right now I think it'd be pretty rare that someone get into jdramas without any particular link to Japan, whereas you can get into manga or anime by seeing it on tv or going to the bookstore.
TofuQueen wrote:I've also seen it suggested that US audiences just aren't interested in watching shows full of Asian people, which seems silly to me but I suppose may have some truth to it.
I've wondered about this as well. It always surprises me when people come into my room, see my posters of japanese actors, and definitely have no idea if all the posters are of the same person or whether it's 5 different people. Moreover, what gender are they?? :blink I have tried watching some jdramas with people who've never seen them before and don't know Japanese, and have never run into this problem, but I suppose it's possible it could be a barrier to general audiences.

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Post by tkah » Jan 14th, '09, 16:28

I think if you look in the right place you will be able to buy them in stores. There is an Asian Mall (Pacific Mall - Markham Ontario Canada) near me that sells them. I started watching Jdramas based on a co-worker in a different country and I have been hooked ever since.

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Post by infundibuliform » Jan 15th, '09, 00:17

I don't watch that much TV, but if I lived in Japan I'd be a couch potato. I watch a looooot of movies, though. :]

I like Japanese dramas because they have a wide range of emotions. They can be hysterically funny, painfully said, and kinda creepy. There's so much diversity that you can watch 1 Litre of Tears and then Hana Kimi. The shows are unpredictable since they are all so different from each other. Of course, they are still dramas, so some cliches are inevitable, but overall the J-dramas have the least, as opposed to Korean or Taiwanese dramas. Korean dramas do not have the best cinematography. I am a big movie fan and even considered becoming a movie editor, so that is a huuuuge turn off for me. Plus, most of the story lines are the same (poor, kind, innocent girl meets a mean, sexy, arrogant guy. Sometimes I wonder if Korean men are always mean and angry). Taiwanese ones are.... Well. The acting sucks.

Also, Japanese dramas don't have a million episodes. So I don't have to sit in front of a computer for days on end. If I'm really lazy, I can watch an entire show over the weekend. And if I'm really lazy, i can watch it all in one day!

The guys are also hotter, the language sounds really pretty, and the culture is fascinating. But I get hungry a lot, and I can't it pixelated food. :cry:

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Post by makuii » Jan 15th, '09, 08:09

infundibuliform wrote: The guys are also hotter, the language sounds really pretty, and the culture is fascinating. But I get hungry a lot, and I can't it pixelated food. :cry:
LOL agree with you on that...

For me, I prefer Japanese doramas over Korean or Taiwan because:
- Short and Sweet (I find the Korean standard of 15-25 okayish but the Taiwan standard of 25-30 too draggy...)
- The overall cinematography- even if it's too unrealistic...for example: hanadan's brilliant silhouette shots, hanakimi's blue blue sky and the way the classroom is painted with grafitti in gokusen.
- Music- who doesn't love J-Pop?
- The lead actors have the chemisty needed to boost a series (one exception: Aibu Saki and Hayami Mokomichi in the live action Zettai Kareshi- but (IMHO) nothing compared to the weird paring of Yoon Eun Hye and Joo Ji Hoon in Goong)
AND of course, the guys are hotter...
:lol

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Anime and Manga's that can be translated to Jdorama...

Post by nankasento » Jan 18th, '09, 22:25

There's plenty of manga and anime that can be translated to Jdorama perfectly or at least a movie about it, Honey & Clover, anyone?

Another one would be Kimi ga Nozomu Eien aka KimiNoZu, but because it's based on a ren'ai / hentai-sim game even a lot of anime fans are reluctant to view it (not that anything hentai happens).

Lately more and more series I've come across in anime can be perfectly translated to Jdorama and would work very well, examples are Lucky Star, Minami-ke, Toradora! and I think even The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya could work if you look at Teru Teru Ashita.

That's because a lot of them are from the slice-of-life / comedy genre, there's also a lot of genre you hardly see translated, I haven't come across a political based manga translated into English and there are quite a lot of those but the target audience for that are above 40 so I doubt we'll see some scanlations of those any time soon.

As for translation to US / hollywood series, it's fail all the way, just look at the upcoming DBZ Evolution, I get a headache just watching the trailer.

I'm dreading the horribleness of what they are going to do to MONSTER which is based on a manga & anime, thriller of genre, yet I'm still curious and hoping they'll be able to pull of the very first top notch translation of an anime to hollywood movie, this series does deserve at least that and Hollywood can create reasonable thrillers.

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Post by Niji-Rach » Jan 30th, '09, 13:25

I personally think that J-Drama's have more charm then American ones. Though, I truly enjoy watching CSI as much as I did with Maou (just picking two random examples).

I think it helps too, that Japanese people are a lot more sensitive then Westen people. Thats a fact, they do interact with eachother more, bring feelings on different ways. While in my opinion, American, or even Dutch series, are way colder and harsher, Japanese drama's seem to tent to give better emotions too the people. Not only the sensive ones, but also anger and hate.
Didn't meant to offent any Western actor or actrice, its just that Asion countries are 'feeling' countries. o.o ...

Thats why, I also think that J-Drama's shouldn't be re-done in any other Western country. I'm already thiking of the dissasters it'll bring with the Death Note and DBZ movies.

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Post by hideko » Feb 1st, '09, 00:45

Y'know, it's interesting: this topic was almost my senior thesis. <_< Changed it at the last minute...

Anyway - yeah, it is a very interesting thing to look at. I have a lot of friends and acquaintances that are professionals and academics in the anime industry (and not a lot of them have seen much drama), but it's really fun to talk to them about and show them jdrama to see their reactions and analysis. I've gotten at least one of my professors hooked on dramas... to the point where she wants to have a jdrama club at the school. haha.

The first thing that I would say about jdrama and its structure is that is usually very much an eastern story-telling style, rather than the western story-telling method that we're used to in America. Personally, I think that is why anime and jdrama appeal to some and not to others. But that leads to the bigger question of why are those people more drawn to eastern story-telling than the others. Hm. That'll take some interesting research.

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Post by melonyhappy » Feb 1st, '09, 00:58

The appeal to me is that it's short and sweet (usually). American shows tend do drag on forever until the series dies off... and sometimes there isn't even a series finale!

I love story arcs, where episodes are related to each other. I think before filming, they have a general direction where they want the story to be headed. I tend to find US dramas more episodic; however shows like "Heroes" keep me excited. I hate watching new shows because the shows I like are usually cancelled :glare:

I've watched some really cheesy Japanese dramas. Some I can't stand. But at least it only lasts 11 episodes so even If I hate one season, there's always something in the next.

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Post by s0ysauce » Feb 2nd, '09, 03:06

One thing I don't like about American t.v shows are how almost every leading role is supersmart, or mysterious, super good looking-- just in some way everybody is always paying attention to. That's not to say every show is bad (I find House and Bones very entertaining) but the majority of the shows are so annoying. :/

Oh, has anyone seen the commercial for the new Fox series "Doll House" ? Reminds me alot about many animes I've seen in the past.

I think it's a pretty good example of American media adapting Japanese ideas.

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Post by TLab3000 » Feb 2nd, '09, 13:34

I'd like to add that Japanese dramas are usually more realistic.
We probably watch TV shows to relax and to escape reality for a bit.
I enjoy watching US and Japanese (and British, btw) series. I was a huge Buffy fan and nowadays watch e.g. House and Heroes. I liked Reaper, Firefly and others a lot and think it's sad they got canceled.

Heroes picks up the dream of every small boy. Wouldn't it be great to be able to fly like Superman? Or to be able to travel through time and space? As nice as it is to imagine or watch, it's never gonna happen. Neither are we gonna become vampire hunters, brilliant doctors with only exciting cases, cowboy-ish ex-army fighting for justice robber rebellions in space, et cetera.

On the other hand, it's not entirely unlikely to safe a woman from a drunkard. It might even lead to romance. (Densha Otoka) It's completely impossible for me to become the only girl at an all boys school (Hana Kimi), however, back then I got accepted at an all girls school because only they had the intensive course (major) I've applied for.
Sekai no Chuushin de, Ai wo Sakebu was very hard for me to watch, because it's very close to my story when I was about that age.

We may never encounter the adventures being shown in Japanese dramas. But subconsciously we know that those things are more likely to happen than what's being shown in the US shows - the chance is certainly a lot bigger than hitting the lottery jackpot, and still we buy tickets. Maybe that makes Japanese dramas more exciting for some of us.

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Post by yukino2002 » Feb 2nd, '09, 22:10

I'd agree with TLab that j doramas allow for more realistic scenarios than the American Shows. There are more series that the average person like you or me can relate with in real life whereas in American shows, shows always focus on the extraordinary and not the ordinary. It's because in American culture, we are encouraged to be individualistic, to stand out, and to be the best. In Japanese culture, it's more of a focus on harmony.

In both cultures, there are shows that I like (Lost, Bones, House or Love Generation, Trick) and also ones that I cannot stand.

The j doramas' short format allows for story lines to almost be like a long movie. You know there's an end. The American format is more character based and creates storylines often around a popular character.

The Japanese doramas may also seem more interesting or realistic because we (well at least I'm) not Japanese. We don't have the real life perspective to compare to Japanese TV. Maybe Japanese TV viewers have similar opinions about their shows that we have about ours.

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Post by hikkichan » Feb 8th, '09, 05:12

I'm going to go against the grain and say that my interest in J-dramas have dwindled over the years.

I mean, I've been watching them for over 15 years... and things have just kind of been the same. Sure, there are a few dramas out there that just define generations and will always be classics, but there really hasn't been anything like that in the past 5 or 6 years.

With dramas, many of them seem to be out there to promote a certain タレント as opposed to telling a wonderful, rich story. It's like "Oh... this person is hot right now... let's pick up an easy script, and throw it out there since people will tune in to catch this popular person".

The budgets for these shows haven't changed in ages, either. Only lately, it seems like they've been spending a little money on setting up sets, etc.

The majority of acting in dramas is horrid... and the true actors seem to stick to film (and sometimes theatre) rather than be caught doing dramas.

Also, I really disagree about these dramas being "realistic"... I've been in Japan for over half a decade, and I really don't see people acting the way they do in dramas... relationships don't occur like that, and often times, a simple call to the police would end many of the dramas out there (and yes, people do call their problems to the police here).

It's also hard to find an original drama; something that isn't based off of a movie, comic, or existing book. Too many of the dramas now are just about school kids doing outlandish things or being in random situations... way too many of those out there.

I used to talk this way about US shows 10-15yrs ago... because I didn't really feel as though there were too many compelling shows out there. I really can't say that now; I find a bunch of US shows I'd rather watch; writing, story telling, and cinematography has increased by leaps and bound since then. Dramas here in Japan are pretty much exactly the same as they were 15 years ago (sans great storytelling).

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Post by lollercopter » Feb 13th, '09, 12:40

lovenyc52 wrote:Also, the relationship between males and females are vastly different as well. If you remember in HYD or the majority of asian dramas in general, a kiss or even holding hands is monumental and practically automatically denotes a relationship... and I feel that does not translate in the U.S.
Although I like the way Japanese dramas and movies depict romance, it has little if anything to do with reality.
tunix_2008 wrote:Take into consideration the soaps Hollywood churns -- they run daily for like 40 years... ...that's why there's an American tv-spurred idiomatic expression called 'jumping the shark'.
Soaps are entirely different from regular shows. The whole reason why people watch soaps is because they're full of absurd plot twists and cliffhangers (personally, I'd rather open my wrists than watch a single episode of any soap).
It also helps that the jdrama actors don't act "cute" like "look at me I'm funny" tongue-in-cheek performances like in Hollywood comedies. I guess maybe this is because "idols" are differentiated from "actors" in Japan.
Really? Japanese dramas are full of "wacky" or excessively lively characters. Shows like Nodame Cantabile and Yasuko to Kenji are so far out there that you won't find anything similiar in US television, and even comedy movies tend to be restrained by comparison. However, you can find similiar stuff in Japanese cinema, such as Maiko Haaaan!!! and Memories of Matsuko.

As for the difference between idols and actors, I don't see it. I guess you can make a distinction between idols and "serious" actors, but an idol actor is still an actor. In the US there is no such thing as an idol, so saying that Japanese dramas are different because they differentiate between actors and idols doesn't make sense.
infundibuliform wrote:Korean dramas do not have the best cinematography. I am a big movie fan and even considered becoming a movie editor, so that is a huuuuge turn off for me. Plus, most of the story lines are the same (poor, kind, innocent girl meets a mean, sexy, arrogant guy. Sometimes I wonder if Korean men are always mean and angry).
In terms of cinematography, production values, writing and acting, Dae Jang Geum is easily better than anything I've seen from Japan. But I guess it isn't a very typical example of a Korean drama. The other Korean drama I've seen is Kim Sam-soon, which is terrible.
TLab3000 wrote:I'd like to add that Japanese dramas are usually more realistic... ...We may never encounter the adventures being shown in Japanese dramas. But subconsciously we know that those things are more likely to happen than what's being shown in the US shows.
Well of course your average Japanese drama is much more realistic than Heroes, but you're comparing apples to oranges. Plenty of realistic and semi-realistic shows are done in the US. The Wire, for instance, is always praised for its realism.

But realism isn't the word I'd use to describe Japanese dramas. Look at some realistic Japanese movies like Still Walking and observe the enormous difference. Japanese dramas are usually very "exaggerated," and in some ways even a show like Lost is more realistic in comparison. Presentation can make something seem more (or less) realistic than it really is. Consider the movie After Life for example; although it's about a place in the afterlife where the recently departed choose their favorite memory and then re-live it forever, it's portrayed in a very realistic, documentary-like manner.

Japanese dramas offer something different than US television, which is why I watch them (or at least some of them, since I'm very selective), but I wish they were more varied and adventurous. Whether it's a detective story or a zany comedy, it's still clearly a dorama.

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Post by WeDwellNForever » Feb 13th, '09, 22:24

First off, I haven't been watching asian dramas all that long, maybe 2 or 3 years at the most. The dramas I like most seem to be the silly teen shows including the romantic comedies. They're silly, but they always seem to have a moral and the characters always learn and grow throughout the series. Even if those morals and lessons are rarely seen in real life it's still something everybody watching can think about and learn from. Most asian dramas, except for police and hospital dramas, seem to be majorly positive and that's what I think is missing in the U.S. I mean the romances are pretty messed up sometimes, but no one's off on a bender sleeping with someone else's husband or something. The dramas here seem all about violence and promiscuity. I'd much rather have teens learning to be better, stronger people from shows like Gokusen and Rookies than how to sleep around and backstab all their friends from Gossip Girls and 90210.

Sayumi
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Post by Sayumi » Feb 13th, '09, 22:39

I'd just say this: you can't compare them, because they are from totally different cultures
You like it or you don't
I personally think that most recent Jdramas are getting too commercialized: e.g. Hanakimi, it was all about good looking men and NOTHING else (yeah sure the 'friendship' and 'love' etc.) but it just seemed like too much 'the friendship and love of those ikemen'. And they want to get high rates with it bcz of the fact that it's got 'ikemen'. And it's not just hanakimi, most recent dramas all seem to be based on one single recipe: take a bit of this and that, and a little 'sauce' and voila there it is. And putting good looking men in it is one of the ingredients.
Oh and it's not that I'm a big fan of american series like lost or 24 or csi or so, because there's just too much unnecessary violence in it I think.
The only current dramas I liked were Nanase Futatabi, Shibatora, Zeni Geba and perhaps also Kiina. Especially Zeni Geba: cuz it deals with a society problem in a very severe way, but the severe way makes it so realistic and makes you think about the problem and about getting fired and the difference between poor and rich in a 'common' society more seriously.
Plus it doesn't seem to be based on a written story, for a change.

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sumire_chan
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Post by sumire_chan » Feb 14th, '09, 02:49

hikkichan wrote:I'm going to go against the grain and say that my interest in J-dramas have dwindled over the years.

I mean, I've been watching them for over 15 years... and things have just kind of been the same. Sure, there are a few dramas out there that just define generations and will always be classics, but there really hasn't been anything like that in the past 5 or 6 years.

With dramas, many of them seem to be out there to promote a certain タレント as opposed to telling a wonderful, rich story. It's like "Oh... this person is hot right now... let's pick up an easy script, and throw it out there since people will tune in to catch this popular person".

The budgets for these shows haven't changed in ages, either. Only lately, it seems like they've been spending a little money on setting up sets, etc.

The majority of acting in dramas is horrid... and the true actors seem to stick to film (and sometimes theatre) rather than be caught doing dramas.

Also, I really disagree about these dramas being "realistic"... I've been in Japan for over half a decade, and I really don't see people acting the way they do in dramas... relationships don't occur like that, and often times, a simple call to the police would end many of the dramas out there (and yes, people do call their problems to the police here).

It's also hard to find an original drama; something that isn't based off of a movie, comic, or existing book. Too many of the dramas now are just about school kids doing outlandish things or being in random situations... way too many of those out there.

I used to talk this way about US shows 10-15yrs ago... because I didn't really feel as though there were too many compelling shows out there. I really can't say that now; I find a bunch of US shows I'd rather watch; writing, story telling, and cinematography has increased by leaps and bound since then. Dramas here in Japan are pretty much exactly the same as they were 15 years ago (sans great storytelling).
^^Quoted for truth.

I feel like when you first start watching dramas, they are such a novelty that you love them no matter what and forgive a lot of mistakes--i.e., Gokusen was my first drama and I loved it. Now I look back on it and think it's one of the stupidest things I've ever watched. I haven't been watching dramas for as long as hikkichan, but I have watched A LOT of dramas in two year's time. Like wayy too many. I don't hate them yet, but I'm likely to be a lot more critical now, and it's harder to find something I really like. Whenever I've talked to a Japanese person about dramas, they've expressed that they thought I was kind of silly for liking them so much. Dramas are NOT realistic, far from it, and they are very commercialized. I can't help thinking that I'm forgiving a lot of things in Japanese dramas that I wouldn't in American or British television, just because it's Japanese and it's "different." It's not THAT different. It's still the same commercial and entertainment machine, cranking out things to earn money. And our stories do express some of the same feelings--I've always felt that Hana Yori Dango reminded me a bit of Pride and Prejudice, albeit much crazier : ) Also, my ability to understand Japanese has improved a lot lately (my speaking still sucks though, sigh...) and so I find that watching dramas is a different experience now. Rather than just absorbing what's going on without much critical faculty, I find myself thinking, wow, that line was really stupid, or re-watching one of my favorite dramas and realizing that the acting is TERRIBLE and I just never realized it before. I don't mean that Jdramas don't have their merits--most of the time, the cinematography is gorgeous, the music is often really good/addictive, and I think to a certain degree some kinds of unrealistic, crazy acting when done right (like in Nodame Cantabile and Yasuko to Kenji) can be really fun and just part of an acknowledgement that it's fiction, it's just TV, it's not real, so why not be a little bit crazy.

A lot of Japanese people I've talked to here in the States like American shows a lot better than Japanese dramas. A lot of the Japanese people I met when I was in Japan seemed to like some dramas, but they didn't think they were that great. It's just the same old ordinary, familiar stuff to them. I think we each just get tired of our own culture and find something that peaks our interest in a culture that is "different." But when it comes down to it, it's kind of a lot of the same stuff expressed in different ways.

Also, what is up with the bashing of Korean and Taiwanese dramas in this thread! They each have their good and bad points, just like Jdramas, American shows, British shows etc...

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mokyulpwns
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Post by mokyulpwns » Feb 14th, '09, 20:02

WeDwellNForever wrote:I'd much rather have teens learning to be better, stronger people from shows like Gokusen and Rookies than how to sleep around and backstab all their friends from Gossip Girls and 90210.
Did you watch LIFE ? Because it's totally fit in the "sleep around" and "backstab your friends" part. I'm saying that but I didn't watch Gossip girls nor 90210..so I can't really judge. :-(


Why jdramas are interesting ? They are short and different. But that doesn't mean they are the best in the world. There is plenty of REALLY awesome jdramas out there, but you can find the opposite too.

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Kakijun
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Post by Kakijun » Feb 14th, '09, 20:22

It's because Jdramas are more like long movies. Not dragged out to make money

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WeDwellNForever
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Post by WeDwellNForever » Feb 14th, '09, 21:37

mokyulpwns wrote:
WeDwellNForever wrote:I'd much rather have teens learning to be better, stronger people from shows like Gokusen and Rookies than how to sleep around and backstab all their friends from Gossip Girls and 90210.
Did you watch LIFE ? Because it's totally fit in the "sleep around" and "backstab your friends" part. I'm saying that but I didn't watch Gossip girls nor 90210..so I can't really judge. :-(


Why jdramas are interesting ? They are short and different. But that doesn't mean they are the best in the world. There is plenty of REALLY awesome jdramas out there, but you can find the opposite too.
I have not seen LIFE. How old is it? What's it about?

Right now jdramas are pretty high up there on my awesome list, but maybe in a few more years I'll be like some of the more jaded watchers on here and have to find something else to watch. As of now though, they're still pretty new to me and exciting. I like the one season storyline like a lot of other people. I give up on shows around their third or fourth season because I'm just tired of never getting a resolution.

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mokyulpwns
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Post by mokyulpwns » Feb 14th, '09, 22:55

WeDwellNForever wrote:I have not seen LIFE. How old is it? What's it about?.
The dramawiki page http://wiki.d-addicts.com/LIFE



Sorry for cutting your posts :cry:

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Post by Shinigami777 » Feb 15th, '09, 19:53

I often find that the television programs from other countries and other cultures, specifically what comes from Japan, Korea, or even things from the United Kingdom offer an interesting glimpse into just how different and unique the storytelling process is compared to here in the United States.

Very often I become very disillusioned with the way American television can be, because sometimes a truly unique and original concept will never live past a few episodes, while inane, shallow and trite garbage somehow manages to thrive in an equally shallow and inane television landscape.

Or sometimes television programs that you once absolutely loved and couldn't wait to see, over time you just grow bored with it. That often happens in the states, rather than realize something has reached its expiration date, they'll milk it for all its worth, usually injecting freshness into it by bringing in new cast members after all the original cast members have already left for greener pastures (I'm looking at you ER and Law & Order).

I think the appeal of shows that come from overseas is that many of them exist as mini-serials, by which they have a specific and concise story that the creators wish to tell, and know how to tell it within that precise frame of time. there are a few exceptions of course, but its often the exception rather than the rule. And sometimes even when a show continues past a freshman season, what made it original and unique soon becomes quaint and boring.

I've become a great admirer of Asian dramas, comedies, and also of Tokusatsu programs, mainly because they never try to force a story past its natural lifespan. also, in many cases, these dramas will have a series ending special that wraps things up very nicely, which is something you don't often see here in the states unless that sort of thing is dictated by the networks or the fans who demand some kind of satisfactory resolution to a story that was cut off before its time.

In addition, the types of concepts and programming you find overseas are ideas and concepts you would never even think of seeing on American television.

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Post by ~kani~ » Feb 15th, '09, 21:10

I have watched too many J-dramas and some Korean drama series... And some American movies + tv-series (Sex and the City, Gossip girl, Heroes). I'm from Europe, so both cultures are different from my daily life and therefore interesting just being something from far away.

I used to watch anime, but soon I got interested in J-drama by watching Orange Days and GTO.
I have studied Japanese a little, and learned much vocabulary from doramas.

As many people have already said, Japanese dramas are interesting because they are different and short enough. And japanese guys are hotter than western ones - just compare Arashi members or "Rihito-sama" to Gossip Girl's actors :S well, this is my personal opinion.
Someone claimed that Japanese actresses don't try to act cute - I don't agree. Just watch innocent love and see horikita maki's shy smiles =S "shivers". She IS cute though.

Among japanese dramas there are some that are crazy in the right way, that kind of dramas that you wouldn't expect to be made in the USA or in Europe. For example Nodame Cantabile (I love it, even though it's stupid and unrealistic. in some ways actually very realistic?) or IWGP, akihabara@DEEP, HYD...
I like those
OL dramas that aren't about sleeping around. BTW, Is japanese society still so old-fashioned when it comes to working (single) women?
Watching japanese dramas also gives you a good feeling that you are not completely waisting your time - as for me they are a tool to study Japanese and English (from subtitles) and usually the main character grows up and learns something so you can pretend you learned something too and are a better person now xP
It's kind of funny that when anime and manga are full of hentai and ecchi, in doramas there isn't that much sex. Sex related jokes - yes.

To my mind (not having visited Japan) Dramas aren't always telling the truth about a culture.
Like Gossip girl's characters don't represent all the USA. But there are of course things that the japanese may not even notice but that are something totally new to an European: like eating with chopsticks or bowing or that so many women wear skirts and men suits and the GANBATTE attitude + to blend in is good. Etc.
Same kind of notifications on American culture from my point of view(I have been to the USA but I try to think the impression the movies and dramas have left on me):
cars cars cars, eating habits, girls tend to have long (blond) hair. Hairy, chubby guys can get girls. (zack and miri make a p*rno or Sex Drive). Americans are always busy and they have big homes and cheating husbands.

Music is great in both places. <3

(Excuse my English, studied german the whole day.)

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