Tokyo Wankei – Jdrama and novel

14 Feb

Written back in 2007

‘Tokyo Wankei’ the Jdrama depicts the love story of Kimoto Mika, a third generation Korean living in Tokyo. As a zainichi Korean, she was brought up in Japan and had lived her entire life as a Japanese but legally, she is still treated as a foreigner. She struggles with her identity and this conflict extends to her love life when her father insists that she marries an enthic Korean. One day, Mika signs up on a cell phone dating site on a whim and meets Ryosuke, a poor warehouse worker, that’s hot and Japanese. And they, of course, fall in love.
Throw in a long-lost diary of Mika’s mother that revealed that she had had a tragic love story with a Japanese long ago and you have a melodrama where Fate is busy running everyone’s lives.

— My thoughts after 2 episodes —

It had an interesting theme to explore and it could have been realistic drama that reflects the difficulties and prejudices still faced by zainichi Koreans in Japan.

The first episode was actually pretty promising. I could feel Mika’s helplessness as she tried to make sense of who she really was and the few scenes where Mika and Ryosuke ‘found’ each other were romantic and awww worthy (albeit a little unrealistic).

Wada Toshihiro also makes for pleasent viewing as the hot and rugged Ryosuke. At first glance, I thought ‘they could really do with a better-looking male lead’ but about 10 seconds later, I took that back. I wouldn’t call him handsome but the whole package is definitely attractive. Bonus points for taking off his clothes in the public bath scene in epi 2. We actually do get to see his behind. XD

Now for the gripes. The drama tries to link the lives of mother and daughter through the diary and show how they experience the same kind of tragic interracial love but it’s extremely annoying and unrealistic to have the exact same events happening to both women. The men of their lives even spout the same cheesy lines. Please, there is a limit to how much unrealistic-ness I can take from a drama.

Korean melodrama elements are also woven into the plot (guy gets into an accident while running to meet his lover then loses his memory. sounds familiar?) and by episode 2, it’s starting to sound suspiciously like a Korean melodrama. They even have a love rival that was obviously modeled after Bae Yong Jun. Not all Koreans dress like that ok?

From the reviews I’ve read, it seems like there will be a ‘we may be siblings *gasps*’ shocker coming up. (Because Ryosuke’s father was Mika’s mother’s lover and he lost his memory from an accident. Surprise!) I don’t think I can stomch more Korean drama cliches.

It would have been fine if they had just stuck to a simple love story between Mika and Ryosuke and then deal with the interracial problem. Why bring in the whole IT’S FATE!! thing and ruin the story with all that drama and incredible coincidences?

— —
I read that the reason why ‘Tokyo Wankei’ turned out so sappy was because the scriptwriters took too much liberties with the original story. So when I chanced upon the novel that ‘Tokyo Wankei’ was based on, I decided to give it a shot.


原著里的他们,在爱情里是平凡庸俗的。他们不断地试探着彼此的心意,却又不肯相信会有心灵上契合的可能,所以满足于肉体上契合的交往关系。是一个简单的故事,没有曲折的际遇,阴险的第三者,复杂的多角关系。 亮介和美绪所要跨越的鸿沟并非种族或阶层,只是很简单的‘自己’。


5 Responses to “Tokyo Wankei – Jdrama and novel”

  1. Anonymous February 15, 2012 at 6:13 AM #

    The premise of the novel sounds like something i’d enjoy reading 🙂 But seems like the drama adaptation is far from the original.. sigh.. i will stick to the detective genre for now. And talking about that, i still haven’t managed to watch Sherlock Holmes 2!!! 😦


    • J February 15, 2012 at 6:39 AM #

      Oooh, you mean you’re watching BBC Sherlock too? Season 2 was an amazing follow up, you should watch it!
      I still haven’t caught up with Inborn Pair this week. D: I’ll probably wait for a couple more episodes to watch in one shot so I won’t feel so bad for my xiang xiang! 罗云感冒好了又要回来搞怪了是吗??

      • Anonymous February 15, 2012 at 4:54 PM #

        Oops nope, i meant the movie. My man crush is Jude Law since the holiday. Ooo, Is there a BBC version of it as well? Dang. I need to catch up on that. Am gonna start watching this genre after IP.

        Ya, you are right in waiting for a couple more episodes. Each episode just leaves me more and more befuddled, but then watching the next episode helps solve the befuddlement in some ways.

        Oh and yes! LY’s back and doing her job now.

        I have got a lot of questions for Ep 46, but Ep 47 will most probably solve those question marks 🙂

        And dang, DY’s stares are hot – Ep 46 hospital scene – make sure you check that out! 😛

      • J February 16, 2012 at 9:51 AM #

        Yes, BBC did 2 seasons of a modern day Sherlock Holmes, each consisting of three 90min episodes. The RDJ movies were fun but BBC’s is brilliance.
        Check out the promo:

        IP’s story is stretched over a many episodes and we only get a bit of that story each day so it does make understanding easier when a few episodes are watched in one shot. Trying to persevere and not spoil myself for this week’s episode! haha

      • Anonymous February 23, 2012 at 5:04 PM #

        Yay thank you! 🙂 Can’t wait for the next part. Hahaha, I can reveal who I am if you’re curious.

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