Posted: Fri Feb 20, 2009 5:12 am Post subject: Smile
MatsuJun, Gakky pair up for "Smile"
Thu, February 12, 2009 (1:53am EST) - Tokyograph
Jun Matsumoto and Yui Aragaki will co-star in a new TBS drama series titled "Smile." Takayuki Takuma ("Hana Yori Dango") is handling the script, though he is using his real name rather than his usual pen name of Mikio Satake.
Matsumoto plays a half-Filipino whose father has died and mother has disappeared. Despite his misfortune and the issues he deals with, such as race, he lives his life positively with a constant smile.
Similarly, Aragaki plays a young woman living cheerfully despite losing her ability to speak due to an accident. Her character is said to be modeled after a real actress in the theatrical troupe that Takuma runs.
The supporting cast includes Kiichi Nakai as a lawyer who watches over Matsumoto and Aragaki.
"Smile" will air on Friday nights at 10:00pm, starting in April.
Besides the usual derogatory comments thrown at Matsujun, there are also those who are quite apprehensive with the way Filipinos will be depicted in the drama. Here are some interesting comments addressing a fan concern on the sensitive subject taken from here:
x817: When I heard that Jun's character was going to be half-Filipino, I cringed. Being a Fil-Am myself, I'm dreading this drama because it's not a secret that for the most part, Japanese people look down on Filipinos or even other Asians in general. It's a touchy subject and I hope they'll be sensitive in portraying our people. Somehow I think that they chose his character to be half-Filipino than another Asian ethnicity because they probably think that offending or stepping on Filipinos won't be as big a deal as say, offending the Koreans or Chinese especially since the East Asians patronize each other's entertainment. Sorry if I'm making generalizations but that's practically the truth without any sugarcoating.
reply by dj_erisu: But isn't the point of stressing his race to shed some light on the racism that goes on in Japan. I mean, I'm sure they're not doing it as some kind of mean joke. To make him half-filipino and then not show the hardships that any half-anything would go through in Japan seems kind of pointless. That is, afterall, probably the point of the drama.
Like in America, there are countless movies on black or gay rights and about how those people were and still are treated... but it's so people can see the error of it, not to make it a joke.
coffee_hanjan: Considering the fact that even half-Koreans are ostracized in Japan, I think it's going to show up in a story about a half-Filipino character.
But if it gets you down, try to think of it this way- wouldn't it be much more insulting if they didn't touch on the issue at all? By bringing up the race issue I think those making the drama are probably trying to point out that it's a societal problem that needs to be fixed, or at least dealt with.
I think that's a better way to look at it, instead of "they're making Filipinos out to be bad." But then again that's just my opinion.
hontowa: Filipino-Japanese mixed people are actually becoming a lot more common in Japan today. When I studied abroad in 2007, my host mother was half filipino. Unfortunately, racism is a huge issue in Japan. It can be very difficult to be a Filipino or a Filipino mix living there, partly because of some stereotypes. Filipinos in Japan are kind of like hispanics (particularly Mexicans) in the United States - many of them originally came over illegally and took low-wage jobs, like being maids, gardeners, trash collectors, etc. There was even a trend for a while where a lot of Japanese farm men would seek out Filipino wives because Japanese women were becoming more interested in moving to the city and not being housewives/farm labor. Filipino women, like many other Asian immigrant women in Japan, have had to resort to working in the sex industry to make money. So Filipinos unfortunately been stereotyped as low class. Filipinos also typically have darker skin, and the Japanese see light skin as much more beautiful. These could be the sort of issues they look at in the drama.
OR, judging by the writer, it could just be another cheesy love drama. I wouldn't be surprised at all if the whole half-Filipino thing is there so that Jun's character has an issue to deal with (i.e. racism) so he can identify with the mute girl he falls in love with - they're both outcasts in society and they overcome their problems together.
ha_na_bi: Here are some articles that could bring to light as to why his character had to be a half-Filipino and half-Japanese:
I think they are going to stress the issue of his citizenship with his mother gone missing and all which would mean he would only be receiving the citizenship of his dead father. It would make for a very interesting drama I have to say.
In my opinion, we'll just have to wait and see how wisely they will handle it. I just find these discussions fascinating.
Joined: 06 Apr 2004 Posts: 3225 Location: Malaysia
Posted: Fri Feb 20, 2009 2:26 pm Post subject:
I don't know about MatsuJun just yet, but I'm pretty sure that Aragaki Yui can't convince me. Heck, she has never been able to convince in everything she has done before. Even her performance in the overhyped Koizora is just that, overhyped and overrated (well, the whole thing about the movie was overrated, and this includes Miura Haruma).
I guess I'll just have to wait and see, but I will definitely try to check this one out. _________________
Kanjani8's 18th single, "365 Nichi Kazoku" out June 8th, 2011!
This sounds interesting so I'll check it out. I'm still yet to be impressed with Matsujun's acting more so with Gacky. Ohno and Nino seem to be better acters out the Arashi group imo.
I prefer Nino & Ohno acting too but Jun's exotic looks fits the role. He'll work hard at it (as always) to make up for his lack in acting talent. I find him very passionate about acting and it shows in some brilliant scenes but he do need to learn not to overact though.
I'm neutral with Gakki. I only saw her in MBMH, Dragon Zakura and in that really cute Pokki cm. Dunno what to expect from her but she's pleasant to look at.
The idea for this drama sounds like it can be made into an interesting movie.
Joined: 28 Sep 2007 Posts: 117 Location: United States, CA Country:
Posted: Fri Mar 27, 2009 11:04 am Post subject:
Just reading the synopsis makes me skeptical about how this drama will be portrayed however, just like the US, a minority group will be looked down upon by a majority. Nevertheless, I think when this drama starts airing, the audience should be open to the message that the writers and director are trying to send.
Hopefully everyone will give this drama a chance. It tends to be the though-provoking and "thinking outside of the box" dramas that get my attention.
Also, I hope the actors in this drama portray the Filipino culture accurately and tastefully. _________________
The plot synopsis really isn't interesting (well so was Bara no nai Hanaya),, Im gonna check this thing out only for the Shiina Ringo Theme song
And i'm gonna stop watching immediately if Jun Matsumoto tries to speak
tagalog (I just really find it awkward when foreign words are spoken in japanese dramas)
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