Gokusen This Season’s Most Popular Japanese Drama Criticized for Glorifying Bad Kids

May 25, 2008

Here’s the scoop on the drama, just in case you don’t actually have a tv under the rock in Japan where you live… but maybe that’s too extreme. I’m sure there are plenty of people in Japan who don’t know about Gokusen.

So here’s the ad for the show… if you’re even slightly interested, I recommend you check it out.

Yukie Nakama is very cute, a former idol. In this tv show she plays a young teacher who always seems to be assigned to the “furyo” or bad boys class. Well, it also just so happens that she is the daughter of the top yakuza in the country… a fact that she tries to hide so that no one will give her special treatment. Another thing about her is that she’s superhumanly strong… so when the boys in her class inevitably get into trouble, she can save them by first trying to talk the bad guys out of killing the kids, but if that doesn’t work, she can undo her pony tails and kick the crap out of 20 guys with steel poles and baseball bats.

The drama usually unfolds week by week to show us that these kids are not bad but just misunderstood. They are all precious little flowers as they say.

Recently, a well known writer and psychiatrist in Japan wrote an editorial referring to the drama and how the drama tends to show kids who are good in school or succeed in their studies tend to be worse than the bad kids in class 3D in the drama. Wada argues that if you look at crime statistics, its obvious that kids who do well in school are much safer than the kids who don’t.

Opponents to Wada’s criticism argue that the show always shows the good guys (usually the kids in the class and their teacher) winning in the end, and that portrayals of kids from affluent families and schools are not shown as “bad because of their affluence” but rather “just bad” kids who happen to be affluent.

My little take on all this would say that although I see no harm in the show. In fact, I personally watch it every week and enjoy it (although I find it a bit predictable). However I do see kids trying to act like they are the misunderstood bad kid… the problem is that they are not actually deeply misunderstood bad boys, they are actually just confused young people. Teenagers.

There is a problem here I’ve seen that kind of relates to this. The problem is that nobody seems to love a winner, especially if the winner comes with no sad backstory.