This guy’s got it all. “The man a woman would most want to be hugged by” - first place. “The man a woman would most want to marry” - first place. “The man most admired by other men” - first place again, and for the third year running! Does actor-singer Masaharu Fukuyama have his secret chagrins? No doubt he has, but on the surface at least his life is pretty enviable, if a true picture emerges from a survey by Spa! (Jan 14-21) of the likes, dislikes and impressions of 500 male company employees aged 30-49.
Is it his good looks? His talent? The roles he plays? Fukuyama’s best known role is that of Ryota, the conflicted father in the 2013 film “Like Father Like Son.” Ryota learns one day that his 6-year-old boy is in fact not his. Not his wife’s either. Belatedly, the hospital discovered its mistake. It had accidentally switched babies. What should the couple do? Keep the boy they have? Or start all over again with their biological son?
What most resonates with viewers is Fukuyama’s ability to come across as a true dad at a time when off-screen dads are less sure than ever of what kind of role fatherhood is or should be. He’s a role model, in short.
Show business dominates Spa!’s top-10 list of most admired men. Baseball great Ichiro places second, comedian Tamori fourth, Sakai Masato sixth – Sakai being the star of the hit TV series “Hanzawa Naoki,” about a young banker rooting out corruption and skullduggery in the buttoned-down world of business and finance. If it can’t be done in real life, let it at least be done on TV, is the prevailing sentiment.
So much for the men whom men like – handsome, talented, virtuous, triumphant. Who do men despise? In second place … the envelope, please … Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Now that’s odd, given his solid electoral victory only a year ago and current approval ratings that, though falling, are still, at close to 50%, very high by recent Japanese standards (his two predecessors, Yoshihiko Noda and Naoto Kan, left office with approval ratings close to 10%). On the other hand, maybe it’s only to be expected – the sitting prime minister, Spa! explains, always ranks low in this annual survey. Probably not many of them have been called “fascist,” however, as Abe is by at least one respondent.
Who is the one man in the country men dislike more than Abe? His name brings us back to showbiz: talk show host Mino Monta. No one appears on more TV shows than he does, and he has the Guinness Book of Records title to prove it. Provocative personality, unabashed populist, contemptuous scorner of foggy, insincere government rhetoric – such is his public image. It’s made him rich and popular. His downfall, sharp, swift and much gloated over by the weekly press, suggests the irresistible delight we derive from the ruin of eminent people, even the ones we liked. The higher they were and the lower they sink, the happier we are. Mino’s fall was not even his fault, it can be reasonably argued. He tripped over his adult son’s faux pas. The son was arrested on theft charges after allegedly robbing a man he found passed out on the street.
Spa!’s survey says as much about the hypothetical “man in the street” as it does about the rich, famous and powerful. Generally speaking he despises politicians and likes actors. One politician who doesn’t mind is independent lawmaker and anti-nuclear activist Taro Yamamoto – a former actor, as it happens. Last fall he presented the emperor a private letter setting out his views on nuclear power. The gesture was considered gauche and out of place, and Yamamoto’s popularity nosedived. He ranks third, just below Abe, among despised men. Fine, he tells a Spa! interviewer. “At least," he says, "it shows they’re taking an interest in politics.”© Japan Today