Tokyo Vice shines a light on the rise of stories from Japan through Indian streaming -Opinion News, Firstpost
Predating the Korean phenomenon, recent Japanese movies and TV shows offer an intriguing side to lesser-known aspects of the nation.
Ansel Elgort, Ken Watanabe in a photo from Tokyo Vice
Deputy Tokyo, a new series on Lionsgate Play, brings back the charm of dark drama topped with classic journalism. JT Rogers created this series with Jake Adelstein, the American (foreign) reporter for Japan’s largest newspaper, Yomiuri Shimbun. According to his memoirs, Tokyo Vice – An American Reporter on the Beat of the Police in Japan, the series effectively captures its non-inclusive culture and nuanced social code of conduct. Adelstein interacted with Yakuza, the secretive but entrenched mafia and worked closely with reliable police officers. He has a third view of how Japanese crime and policing works that few others have had access to. With top American and Japanese-born directors stepping in to direct episodes, this drama offers a rare insight into how crime works in the Land of the Rising Sun. It has a white person’s worldview, but, highlighting the fact that being Gaijin (outsider) can be a stumbling block while operating in Japan, the series increases its resonance and appeal.
Deputy Tokyo is part of a unique lineup of stories that offer facets of Japanese life and culture in recent years. A relatively small nation, among the most developed and expensive places in the world, Japan exerts an unusual influence on cultural, fashion and food trends around the world. Before the Korean phenomenon, Japan has always occupied an independent and intriguing space in the finer aspects of life. This explains the growing interest in films and television set in Japan, revealing lesser-known facets of this nation.
There are Giri/Haji, a series about a policeman, at a crossroads when his brother joins Yukuza. It expands its scope when the protagonist moves to London for a short time. Here he joins a British police investigator. The contrasts in Western culture and in the interactions between foreigners and Japanese guide the choices of the key characters in this series.
The experience of foreigners in Japan contributed to a range of films in the West. lost in translation, starring Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson is the best example of Tokyo serving as a backdrop for self-discovery for two people from a very different and more open culture. Both find a little love, life and make memories. In the same way, Tokyo project, a short film starring Elisabeth Moss and Ebon Moss-Bachrach works on the model of love and letting go, of momentary pleasure, with Tokyo as the breathtaking backdrop of its story. And there is The last Samourai by Edward Zwick, a poignant and visually arresting drama set in early modern times. Tom Cruise and Ken Watanabe lead a fine cast of performers in this beautifully told story of an American’s admiration and affection for the complex, perfection-oriented culture of Japan and the samurai. This film echoes a grudging respect that Japan has historically imposed on Western peoples.
Japan-based dramas go beyond crime. drive my car, winner of this year’s Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, tells the touching story of loving the memory of someone who has died. Ryusuke Hamaguchi relied on an unnamed relationship that a playwright and director establishes with a woman driver. The film sets the bar high for visual storytelling, production value, and believable characters. drive my car represents the voice of new age cinema in Japan, one that transcends languages with its sophisticated storytelling.
The Naked Director, a Netflix-backed series, is another never-before-seen facet of Japanese life. The porn industry here has been active and branched out into anime porn forms like manga and hentai. A provocative filmmaker who wanted to revise the perception of porn, Toru Muranishi presents himself as an extraordinary protagonist, in this series with an acquired taste but which tells an important story. Comedic and filled with explicit scenes, this series has harrowing stories about characters who work in pornography; and is based on human stories. It takes an evolved approach to attempt a seasonal drama about the making and remaking of a specific form of pornography. If one can look beyond the basic content, the naked director has a relevant and touching story about the rise and certain fall of a self-obsessed creative man.
Marriages and disappointments form the heart of Fishbowl Wives, a Japanese drama adapted from a Manga series. While some found the blending of multiple characters in a tightly written episode somewhat confusing, Fishbowl Wives effectively captures the conflict and disillusionment of marriages. Here, brides yearn to make more livable choices and deal with preconceptions of marriage in their own way. The story is structured around the care of a goldfish, which provides an interesting premise for the lives of different characters to integrate.
Japan has a painful and recent past linked to war crimes, atrocities in Southeast Asia and the unimaginable and crushing cost of losing a world war after facing nuclear bombs. What followed as the historic Tokyo Trials, where Japanese military leaders and bureaucrats were sentenced to death or life imprisonment, first established Victor’s term of justice. Tokyo Trials, a forgiving yet well-written limited series on Netflix focuses on the discussions and conversations a panel of esteemed judges from around the world held before delivering their verdict. Starring Tim Ahern, William Hope, Paul Freeman and the late Irrfan Khan among others, the series is directed by two directors known for independent cinema (Peter Vierhoff and Rob W King). Their approach to this complex and difficult historical moment is patient and open-minded, which is reflected in the execution of the series.
Drawing for the myths and legends of Japan is also The Terror: Infamy, a series about a ghost who crosses the shores of North America from the old world of Japan. While this series plays gallery with its horror trope, the series captures the ancient beliefs and practices that have a hold on Japanese life to this day.
Japan is unique in terms of sounds, sights, stories, food and scent. It attracts filmmakers and storytellers to its unusual ways of life. With OTT bringing together movies and shows from everywhere on common platforms, more stories with roots in Japan will find their way to our screens.
Archita Kashyap is an experienced film, music and pop culture journalist and writer. She managed entertainment content for broadcast news and digital platforms for 15 years.