Photo: Pakutaso
entertainment

It’s too hard to sell Japanese people on romance dramas nowadays, says broadcasting president

30 Comments
By Katy Kelly, SoraNews24

Sometimes, as The Beatles once sang, all you need is love. Stories about romance can lift us up, make our hearts pound, bring us joy or reduce us to emotional sobs. There is a hearty trove of powerful love stories out there in the world, and even for stories thoroughly bereft of romantic sub-plots, we can always rely on fanworks.

It sounds as though some of the people who think up these epic romances are finding it increasingly hard, however. Chihiro Kameyama, one-time president of the Fuji Television Network and current president of the BS Fuji broadcasting service, shared his thoughts about the current climate—and why it’s so much harder to peddle romance dramas to audiences than it used to be.

"I think romance dramas are challenging in this current era,” Kameyama said when questioned about the lack of recent Japanese-produced romantic dramas. “Romance has become considered something that happens to other people.”

He continued to explain his theories for what is essential when making a romantic drama, namely the idea of “barriers.” Barriers like class, economic stability, status, and long-distance relationships have all been mined rather thoroughly leading to audiences feeling bored with the genre. These barriers also vary from era to era, which leads to another problem: the world and its issues loom large in the current Japanese audience’s consciousness, especially in the aftermath of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake, Kameyama believes.

Kameyama also suggested that the way we consume TV shows in the present day may be a factor, as well. TV dramas used to air over a fixed period with set intervals, so fans were encouraged to deliberate over and anticipate upcoming plot developments. Nowadays, though, there’s more of a push to “binge-watch” series all in one sitting. Fans also take to the Internet to discuss episodes immediately as they drop, which impacts romance shows disproportionately compared to other genres.

▼ If you already know the hows and whys of a couple getting together, you may not tune in to enjoy the ride.

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Photo: Pakutaso

Other hurdles, from Kameyama’s observation, are that the current generation of 20-to-30-year-olds are incredibly serious about romance and are reluctant to get hurt or to hurt others, which causes problems when writing realistic dialogue. Realism itself, regardless of genre, is another issue, in Kameyama’s opinion. Previously, he feels, it was easier to get away with bigger storytelling conceits, such as incorporating dangerous situations or science fiction elements like time travel, into a story, as long as you kept the smaller details feeling like they were grounded in reality. Modern audiences can be much less forgiving when it comes to suspending their disbelief, though, which complicates the creative process.

That said, it’s not as though there have been no recent successes at all when it comes to the romance genre. Anime hit "your name." proved a healthy attitude for fantastic romances in 2016, and romantic sparks in reality show "Terrace House" drew droves of people to watch. The secret seems to be in finding a fresh twist that doesn’t alienate its audience and instead reminds them of why love is worth watching in the first place.

Source: Yahoo! Japan News/Withnews via Hachima Kiko

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- What makes a Japanese woman think she and a guy have become lovers? Survey investigates

-- Majority of surveyed Japanese workers have dated a coworker, over 20 percent their boss or senpai

-- Japanese drama set in New York is your next binge-watch series

© SoraNews24

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

30 Comments
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Young people are just too busy trying to survive and have little time for romance...

18 ( +20 / -2 )

Good point, pretty hard for young people to navigate the minefield of romance in the modern metoo era.

Woman are wondering why guys don’t approach them meanwhile guys are wondering how to avoid being labelled as “creepy” or “stalkers”

13 ( +21 / -8 )

jeez burning bush is a real negative Nancy. Plenty of ways to be sweet to the ladies without coming across as a stalker or a creep. Try being a gentleman helps. As for those fake romance dramas, good riddance. TV is dead anyways, youth don’t watch it. The Internet provides.

2 ( +13 / -11 )

“Romance has become considered something that happens to other people.” Considering that some of the other popular genres are superhero stories, science fiction, crime and action-adventure I think it is fair to say that being about stuff that happens to other people is not a barrier.

Meanwhile on Netflix, of the ten most popular shows in Japan SIX either have the word "love" in the title, or have the words "romantic", "swoonworthy" or "soapy" in the genre descriptions. Japanese TV stations may have forgotten how to make romantic stories, but the appetite for them seems to be there.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

Well if it's the typical Japanese drama, then no thanks. Absolutely pure drivel, everything predictable, every cliche thrown in, complete with tarento of the month. Just no, no and no.

19 ( +20 / -1 )

The major reason may be the fact, that all those dramas are following the same pattern and are bland. You always know how this episode ends, what happens next and what happens in the end.

Years ago, they tried to ride on the korean-drama boom and copied it completely. Years have passed, but the JP-romance-dramas are still the same, where KOR-romance-dramas moved on (somehow). The actors are too stiff, overacting...

14 ( +14 / -0 )

Is it so important to start off with the goal of making a romantic drama? How about making a drama that one wants to make, and then add romance as fitting. For instance, in Kurosawa's "Seven Samurai," the romance seems infused from beginning to end, but in a way that glues the whole together. Except for a pure documentary, I think it would be hard to make any movie, or series, without romance.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Japanese idea of romance is dating/introduction agencies and arranged marriages (for you doubters, they still frequently happen).

romance is not required because marriage is just to please parents/grandparents.

South Korean dramas are very popular with Japanese women because the men are sexy and romantic.

a friend of mine has a photo of Yung-Sama (SK middle-age women’s heart throb) beside her side of their bed, and her husband hasn’t even noticed it’s been there for about 10 years.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

While i didn't watch many Japanese dramas, i'd love to see more dramas like 2018's Unnatural deaths. Interesting takes on Romance like the Hit anime YourName is welcome too.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

South Korean dramas are very popular with Japanese women because the men are sexy and romantic.

well dude, my wife says that would prefer 60 year old man named tom cruise and another 60 year old man named brad pitt over any Japanese/korean actor. She said that robert de niro in the irishman looks sexier than any of the Japanese or korean actors and she's Japanese.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Japanese idea of romance is dating/introduction agencies and arranged marriages (for you doubters, they still frequently happen).

romance is not required because marriage is just to please parents/grandparents.

South Korean dramas are very popular with Japanese women because the men are sexy and romantic.

a friend of mine has a photo of Yung-Sama (SK middle-age women’s heart throb) beside her side of their bed, and her husband hasn’t even noticed it’s been there for about 10 years.

You would think with this new generation, Japanese would have advanced in many areas, including this, but I guess not. Some of my Japanese wife's friends have told her that their husbands (Japanese) are taking lessons in romantic texting. Well, live and let live.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The Japanese "doramas" just haven't evolved since the 90s and keep rehashing the same stuff.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

South Koreans are probably more muscular, but the plastic surgery giving them all the same face really disgusts me.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I don't think it's the romance. I think that people are just tired of the same old crap. The same cartoonish garbage. Get some variety in the shows, and I don't mean "variety" shows. I mean stuff that people can actually get hooked on and enjoy.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Perhaps Japan just needs to get better with producing romance dramas...

Plenty of Japanese women are watching and enjoying Korean dramas. Only have to look at how much of a smash hit 'Crash Landing On You' was in Japan recently!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

With this virus and 'social distancing', you can't touch anyone and you can't take a woman out on a date for something like this.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

jeez burning bush is a real negative Nancy.

Burning bush is right to be. Women only have to cry wolf and it's game over for the men. Even if it comes to light the woman was lying, they get a slap on the wrist (if at all); meanwhile the accused man's credibility is beyond repair over a woman's little white lie.

But sure, continue to brush off legitimate problems men face these days, and go about your business.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Serious question about Korean dramas. Why are all the men wearing pink lipstick? Also, what's with the fluffy, bowl-shaped haircuts on the men?

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Modern audiences can be much less forgiving when it comes to suspending their disbelief, though, which complicates the creative process.

The audience doesn't seem to mind suspending belief when supernatural elements such as time travel are always so popular.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Seems to work if they stop trying to suspend disbelief and just put it in manga form.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

And besides, Romance movies here are actually just melodramas.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Poor writing could be the reason. Regurgitated plot, actors, and endings are another possible reason. You can find a lot better from international streaming services. People have options and old people running the TV stations like routine, which is bad for the TV stations.

The only sports and Japanese anime/kids shows are keeping Japanese TV a float with some quality!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

It is interesting to read the comments. I agree that South Korea seems to dominate in the romance drama field these days, while I have no idea why. Japan has a great film making tradition, and I hope it continues.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Blaming the audience for crap Japanese drama? Does he ever wonder why Korean romance/dramas are a hit in Japan? Seriously?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

the rogue: "South Koreans are probably more muscular, but the plastic surgery giving them all the same face really disgusts me."

More Japanese than you think get plastic surgery -- in fact, they have tours (or did, before Covid) to South Korea for just that purpose. Strictly by number (not per capita) Taiwan leads that pack for plastic surgeries, with Japan second, and SK third, in the region. The Japanese just pretend they haven't had it, although it's getting harder for Hiromi Goh to stop parma-smiling from all his surgeries.

As for the movies, it's less about looks and more about actual romance. A lot of Japanese just have no clue, and heck, they can't even get dates says so many surveys and articles these days... and wasn't there JUST one that said 30% or more of university students don't even have any friends and can't get any? So, their movies reflect that inability to express romance, whereas in Korea there is more effort.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Make them raunchier. That'll cure your ratings and maybe work wonders for fertility rates, too.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@smithinjapan what? I thought actresses in Japan didn't even care to fix their teeth, let alone faces.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@smithinjapan okay, was just checking some charts based on your comment. South korea topped in having most number cosmetic surgery per capita, taiwan was in 7th place while Japan was nowhere in top 10. Interestingly tho, Japan topped as Top international destination of choice for plastic surgery.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Yeh, most reports have South Korea with the most cosmetic surgeries per capita in the entire world, let alone Asia. Japanese modifications also seem to be minor compared to SK stars.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

If we asked people to describe 'romance we would have so many different and diverse ideas. Difficult to produce a romantic film that would please many

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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