Posts Tagged ‘ Yoshitaka Yuriko ’

Contemporary J-Actors/Actresses: Separating the “Actors” From the “Idols”

A characteristic issue in Japanese cinema today is the massive popularity of “idols,” controlled by talent agencies.  Idols, to me, are defined as multi-talented, young, cute, cuddly, and pure (appearance-wise) media sensations.  They often go through expansive, quick, and tough training brought about by their talent agency so they are ready to be worked to the bone doing various publicity stunts such as appearing on variety shows, looking good in photoshoots, acting in TV dramas, and possibly joining boy or girl idol bands.  The main draw of idols is how they look, not how they act or how well they sing.  Most of them have a very short span of popularity and often fall from glory once they age a bit.  There are, however, exceptions to this; notably the most famous guys coming out of the talent agency Johnny’s Entertainment.  SMAP, consisting of 5 members who are currently some of the most famous people in Japan, debuted in 1991 and continue to be mega-popular.  Arashi, again from Johnny’s Entertainment, is set up to remain popular for a while as well. Continue reading


JDramas of ’09

*originally posted March 27, 2010*

I didn’t watch a whole lot of Japanese dramas last year, as I found most uninteresting. To me, 2009 was not a good year for Japanese TV. Here are three that I enjoyed.

Akai Ito (赤い糸)

Before starting this drama, I was a bit skeptical. I wondered if I could still enjoy content that dealt with junior high/high school drama. I have to say that I was immediately drawn by Akai Ito’s cinematography. This drama is beautifully filmed, which was surprising as I was constantly reminding myself that this is a drama, not a film (there is a film with the same cast and production crew!). The music is beautiful and the main theme is fitting and gives a feeling of nostalgia. Actually, the whole drama gave me the feeling of nostalgia throughout. Acting is sub-par at best, which was disappointing. Both of the main actors played their parts well, but most of the time they were flat. I guess their flatness could be attributed to the characters personalities themselves, but to me it was very noticeable that they are amateur actors.

The story of Akai Ito is very depressing, dealing with suicide, drug addiction, death, and general teen drama. The romance is sweet, but frustrating. These kids seem to have so many problems to deal with; you’re supposed to cry for them, but sometimes I was at the point where I thought to myself how ridiculous everything was…their lives suck! Side point: I’ve heard that the book is even more depressing, dealing with many more mature problems. But besides an ambiguous ending, I thought the drama was well done and had a certain draw to it. If you don’t want to watch the drama, but are interested, check out the movie. It is basically the drama condensed into movie size. Continue reading