11.26.2013

So NHK is looking for a white actress to star in a Japanese drama

According to Arama
It will be the first time the broadcaster will have a non-Japanese play the female lead in the legendary 15-minute time slot that starts at 8 a.m. Monday through Saturday, NHK spokeswoman Kaori Fujieda said in Osaka. The upcoming series will be titled “Massan,” and will be about a Scottish woman who married a Japanese trying to start a whiskey distillery during the Taisho Era early in the 20th century.

[...]

The story will be set in a time when whiskey was little known in Japan. The heroine will meet Massan, the son of a sake brewer, in Scotland, follow him to Japan and marry him at a time when international couples were a rarity. She learns the language and local manners, lives as a Japanese and supports her husband and his employees at the distillery he establishes in Hokkaido.
Spokeswoman Fujieda said NHK is asking domestic and overseas talent agencies to hunt for female candidates aged 25 to 40 who grew up in Western society. The network “basically” wants a Caucasian, but is open to a half-Japanese — or even three-quarters Japanese, if she is qualified, Fujieda said.
Experience won’t be a requirement, but someone confident in her singing is desirable, as Scottish folk songs sung by the couple will be a key element of the drama, Fujieda said.
I wonder when we'll see one with a Black actress, or if that has been done already. 
 
A while ago on tumblr there was a discussion on Black people in Japanese dramas, I mentioned the only Black person I've ever seen with some sort of speaking role was in this drama about a Japanese woman teaching English to foreign studies (I am too lazy to google the show now but it had the actress that was in Yankee-kun to Megane-chan). One of the students was a Black man, he seemed African but was trying to act African American, I'm not sure if that was from the people behind the drama or not (I've heard/read a lot about Africans pretending to be African American in Asian countries because they apparently get treated better when they do).

Anyway I'm going to imagine what it will be like when a Black woman stars in a Japanese drama  now.

19 comments:

  1. I must be having a case of déjà vu, or our minds are connected. Last week, my twitter friend & I were talking about how Asian dramas in general don't cast black men or black women as main leads. There has been black people casted in dramas, but only for minor roles. I want to see Lee Minho have a black woman as a love interest.
    http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=QWqbldngFow

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    1. I bet if that was the case ,along with a seriously good story line, it would probably do well. Rain Bi wasn't even able to romance Naomi Harris but Ninja Assassin did pretty good. I would love to see that.

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  2. Ok I'm so passing this.This is the reason why I say that Japan is Eurocentric.

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    1. Ok scratch that, their mainstream media is.

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  3. This has been done before. There was a movie about some woman, *her son was a famous artist who had relations with Frida Kahlo*, who moves to Japan and has to learn about the culture, yada yada yada.
    I personally know of a Black woman who got married to a Japanese man back in the 70s,moved to rural Japan with him, traveled the world together,and became a certified Sake specialist later on in her life *not to mention fluent in the language! But no...ofcourse her story isn't interesting to make into a drama....

    her name is Linda Noel Kawabata btw in case anyone was curious

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    1. Wasn't Japan was on the verge of social collapse in the 1970s?I doubt a story about a a sake specialist would garner much interest regardless of her ethnicity. Japan went through a major upheaval before it took over as the world's second largest economy (demoted today). Only a few detective dramas and period pieces from that time frame are even in syndication.

      Personally speaking, I am NOT looking forward to seeing Black women on Japanese television unless a Black female writer is hired. Given how crappy they write Japanese and other foreign women, I might stroke out seeing them trying to portray a Black woman. Hell to the No!

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  4. Meanwhile, Asians remain predominantly barred from mainstream American media...except when they're expendable villains in action flicks.

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  5. Caucasians can make it anywhere...everyone else get in line...you will always be second pr third best ia what this says to me.

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  6. Not really surprised about this unfortunately :/

    From what I noticed about Japanese dramas and movies, when it comes to casting actors/actresses that aren't full Japanese, the person casted is usually half white. Becky, Eiji Wentz, Anna Tsuchiya (I love her, but still...), there's a reason why they're so popular - they're all half *white* I mean, Crystal Kay is probably one of the most famous R&B singers in Japan, and curiously, she's never been invited to perform at Kohaku Uta Gassen. Something's wrong with that, I think.

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    1. I don't know that Crystal and Kohaku Uta Gassen is a racial issue. Only Exile and a few other MALE dominated groups are taken seriously in the extremely small R & B market. In addition, many talented people either fail to make this show because it is a popularity contest, not a talent contest, or they don't want to be associated with that crap in the first place. Those with the biggest and wealthiest fan clubs are usually invited. Fans=cash=popularity. Crystal is very talented and that has very little to do with popularity in Japan.

      People who like R & B music are fans of music. The others are fans of personalities and people they've been brainwashed into believing are good-looking.

      African-descended people are increasing on shows where intelligence is needed. Due to my work schedule, I seldom get to see the shows in full, but I have noticed an increase. I hate that I miss them because I want to know who these rocking brothas and sistas are.

      As for dramas, there are so many Korean dramas on TV that some people filed a lawsuit against a network for showing so many. Koreans are the ONLY non-Japanese people gaining ground on mainstream television in Japan. Koreans shows are so cheap, they are practically free for Japanese networks. They'd have it made if they didn't need to hire translators.

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  7. I read about this too and was intrigued. It will be the first time a white person will be cast as a lead in a drama. There was a movie called "My Darling is Foreigner" starring a white man with Inoue Mao about a female manga artist who's husband was white. While I do agree that Eurocentricity is quite common all around the world. you don't see white people in Japanese dramas that much. I watch many Japanese dramas. The few times I have seen white people is when they are in the background, like at parties or business meetings, as English teachers, or just as the random foreigner character. You rarely see white people in main roles. In fact, I'd say never. In this season I have seen a couple of foreigners. In Tokyo Bandwagon there was a white guy, and in Umi no Ue Shinryoujo there is a Brazilian Japanese guy (not white). Foreigners, mostly white men are just put in their as stereotypical token foreigners. I have seen some white women but their roles were minor. In one drama (Keibuho Yabe Kenzo) there was a story line involving a Russian women and the mafia. Yep.

    And yes, there are lots of "hafu" like the person above me says. I watch a lot of variety and they are all over the place. It's not uncommon to see variety shows with half-Japanese people (usually half white). There are lots of hafu talento like Becky, Joy, etc. Recently on VS. Arashi they had "Team International" as guests, and there was a half-black guy who pretty much looked completely black. Could be a result of the general Eurocenrtric attitude of the world in general. Ironically. one of the most famous talento in Japan at the moment is Rola, who is actually half Banglesh (not sure of the suffix to use), one fourth white and one fourth Japanese. She doesn't really look white but she dyes her hair blonde.

    As for black people in dramas, I mostly see them as bodyguards or just random background characters. In Proposal Daisakusen, there was some random African guy that they put in scattered scenes throughout the drama. In Buzzer Beat there was a black basketball player. Black women are non-existent. I have seen a couple literally for seconds and extras. On Arashi ni Shiyagare the funky girls were both black but they're not on the show anymore. :/

    But in general lead roles go to Japanese people....I don't think it's a "white people are taking over" thing, though there is a very Eurocentric bias in the media, unfortunately.

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    1. While I do agree that Eurocentricity is quite common all around the world. you don't see white people in Japanese dramas that much.

      And that's the precise reason I found this so interesting. You really don't see white people in Japanese dramas much, not that I expect to, so that begs the question of why this story and why now.

      I almost forgot the Black basketball player in Buzzer Beat, the guy had no speaking lines. And yeah the funky girls from Arashi ni Shiyagare, I remember when there was this "joke" going around that one of the dudes was dating one of them. I wanted to do a post about it here because I didn't get why that should be a joke at all.

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    2. And that's the precise reason I found this so interesting. You really don't see white people in Japanese dramas much, not that I expect to, so that begs the question of why this story and why now.

      Because the asadora (15 minute time-keeping drama) prior to the current one (starring Ken Watanabe's daughter Anne and a very tall HUNK) was set in Tohoku. Though Amachan garnered few live ratings than that of Miss Watanabe's, it had almost a cult following. Therefore, the powers that be, in all of their infinite wisdom decided to capitalize on yet another NORTHERN set ETHNIC drama.

      Hokkaido certainly couldn't have been all of that fascinating during the Taisho era; thus, the only person we need to pay that much attention to is the Ikemen (good-looking) actor they hope to cast as Massan.

      Furthermore, they chose a Scottish character because the two islands share some natural features, plus the Scots have a distinct language and culture. Why is this important? Because of this: "She learns the language and local manners, lives as a Japanese and supports her husband and his employees at the distillery he establishes in Hokkaido."

      The whole point of this series will be to turn this Scottish woman into a proper Japanese woman. It will be a lesson in assimilation, something I've consciously fought against for two decades. If you really think about it, this series will probably prove to be rather sinister in how it completely wipes away all that she was and replace her with what they think is proper.

      As for the Japan being Eurocentric, I think not. Not all European and European-descended people get royal treatment here. In fact, if you come from a country Japan does not deem a WINNER, then you might as well pack your bags and get the hell on. The Japanese powers that be, which aren't even remotely related to ordinary people, are only interested in those with power and status. This is part of the reason why African-descended people aren't given preference; however, if you prove your winning ways, then this country will be your oyster, too.

      In case you were wondering, Star Trek's Borg WERE based on Japanese society. They borrow whatever they need to maintain their position of being favored non-White in the world and use it to their advantage.

      There's no logical reason for them to cast a European-descended woman in a drama except to prove that they can overwrite all that she was. Don't let the Japanese in Japan fool you. Nothing is more important to them than being JAPANESE.

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    3. There's no logical reason for them to cast a European-descended woman in a drama except to prove that they can overwrite all that she was. Don't let the Japanese in Japan fool you. Nothing is more important to them than being JAPANESE

      This is really fascinating and reminds me of those Nigerian films with white actresses that centre on a man and his "white wife" coming to Nigeria where the European-descended woman learns how to be a proper Nigerian wife.

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    4. Hateya, I've suspected what you said for a long time and you just put words to it all.

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  8. Oh and sorry for the double comment but the drama you are referring to is "Nihonjin no Shiranai Nihongo" which starred Naka Risa.

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  9. I guess Japanese media are just catering to their people and what is acceptable in their culture. That may work there and other parts of Asia but it won't internationally. Just like Ankh said Asians are practically barred from American media unless they're being casted for stereotypical roles no matter how great they act . One thing about Hollywood, its very prejudiced against POC actor, but they seem to kick Asians..moreso the men.. under the bus more than, any group.

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  10. Just a quick announcement.

    It's been a while since we heard about Rain. Possibly people may already know about the current events surrounding him,but in case not, I read the Hollywood reporter has said that he will be in a movie called The Prince. Here is more info about this movie. The email address is so long that it's taxing to write it all but you can go into Hollywood reporter and look under Jessica lowndes inclusion of being in the movie .

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