So, I’ve deduced that my Asian-drama addiction has lately breached the simple scope of merely ‘watching’. Aside from my growing collection of drama OST’s, I unconsciously spent about two hours today merely READING about dramas on DramaWiki. And that brought me plenty of fufillment, let me tell you.
It’s hard to resist the urge to watch strictly Korean dramas. They are FAR better than anything Japanese I have seen, but I have yet to explore the Taiwanese drama industry. I read about plenty of Taiwanese and Japanese dramas today (to the extent that I began recognizing actors and actresses in the cast list) and tried my best to be as interested in them as I was in the few-but incredible- Korean dramas I’ve heard of.
I think of it like this: Korean dramas are the ‘Hollywood’ (bear with me) of the Asian drama kingdom. They are high quality, glamorous and beautiful, with superb acting, regardless of how seemingly ridiculous the plotline. Japanese dramas, however, are completely NOT Hollywood, and resemble moreso an Indie film- enjoyable, but almost in the sense that you’re forcing yourself to like it simply because it seems so cute and low budget.
I know that sounds terrible, but I’ve only finished two of the Japanese dramas I ever started, and one wasn’t even that great. Like J-pop, I force myself to “enjoy” it merely because I love Japan so much, but UGH. I’ve never once walked out on a Korean drama, and K-pop is a constant element to my life.
I decided that the major difference between Korean dramas and their Japanese neighbor lies in the culture of the countries themselves. Koreans are more conservative when it comes to comedy and romance, where as the Japanese are much more liberal (for example, sexuality, and even homosexuality, are not nearly as big of a deal). Japanese entertainment in general is based so heavily on anime and manga that it seems that when Japanese use REAL people, rather than anime characters, the actors still retain that traditional “anime” behavior, and it simply doesn’t work.
Don’t get me wrong though, Japanese dramas are not bad, I am simply a drama snob; too accustomed to Korean dramas and good anime to wrap my mind around them. I do admit, however, that Japanese have a talent in humor. I do believe I laughed more watching Hana Kimi (my favorite Japanese drama) than I probably ever did with Korean dramas. Also, Japanese dramas feel less “fake” than Korean dramas, as characters are less celebrity and polished.
If you like the fun, crazy exaggerated acting of anime characters, you will surely love Japanese dramas (most are based off manga) and if you ever need a good recommendation, check out Hana Kimi (a crazy fun cross-dressing comedy) or Orange Days (an emotional drama about a deaf girl). Or possibly the heartwarming Proposal Daisakusen. I plan to give Japanese dramas more of a fighting chance over Korean dramas, and I hope others notice their indie charm as well 😉