Guest Author - Jillian Michelle Williams
Like any good couch potato in the United States, the Japanese love their television programs. Japanese dramas, or dorama, are aired on all the major TV networks in Japan and range in genre from romance and comedies to horror and mysteries. While some dramas are broadcast as a one- or two-day special, most are known for running for an entire season.
In Japan, drama seasons last three months long and generally coincide with winter, spring, summer, and fall. Most series begin and end within a single season, airing weekly, during evenings, for a total of nine to twelve episodes. Morning and afternoon dramas, however, are generally broadcast everyday but will often air a single episode multiple times before moving on to something new.
The opening- and ending-credit theme songs are also an important part of Japanese dramas, as most of them are written especially for the television program. Likewise, most of the television networks work with music corporations to produce original soundtracks for their shows, and many fans are just as enthused about the music as they are the drama.
The Japanese dramas that are especially popular are often subtitled in both Mandarin and English and sold to other regions of the world. Even America has its own Japanese drama fan-base, often composed of individuals who are eager to watch any Japanese television show they can get their hands on. Oftentimes, when a drama is not readily available in English, fans will take it upon themselves to subtitle and distribute the program to other fans, stopping, out of respect, only when a licensed version becomes available.
Recommended Japanese Drama:
• Hana Yori Dango (Boys over Flowers) – A poor student at an all-rich high school is bullied by her peers and especially by the F4, the four leaders of the school, until one of the four falls in love with her
• Koi ga Shitai (I Want to Be in Love) – A story about love and loss concerning 7 strangers who connect in a Gyudon restaurant and are somehow changed by the experience
• Densya Otoko (Train Man) – An Otaku uses an internet chatroom for advice on how to win over an attractive girl