J-Drama Review: We Married as a Job

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So this drama was recommended to me by one of my Japanese tutors after I told her I enjoyed romcoms like Hotaru no Hikari and Last Cinderella. She said it was really popular and another friend in Japan confirmed that this drama was everywhere. This made me extremely curious and I devoured it in less than a week, which is quick for me as I don’t usually marathon shows. It was fun, had a charming cast, and I could totally see why Japan was in love.

Genre: Romantic Comedy

Year: 2016

Starring: Aragaki Yui as Moriyama Mikuri and Hoshino Gen as Tsuzaki Hiramasa

Frequently Used Vocabulary:

  1. Kekkon Suru (結婚する) – To marry
  2. Shufu (主婦) – Housewife

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Synopsis: Moriyama Mikuri graduated with a degree in Psychology from a prestigious University but still can’t find a job. Her dad finds her a part-time housekeeping job with an acquaintance so she can make some money in the meantime. The acquaintance is Tsuzaki Hiramasa, a 35 year old single man living alone who appreciates a meticulously cleaned home. Unforeseen circumstances force Mikuri to make a tough choice and she proposes a contract marriage  to benefit both parties.

Review: As a cynical adult, I feel like you have to have some awareness of Japanese culture and where they’re at right now in terms of social progress and gender equality to truly appreciate this drama. Yes, this drama has tons of your standard bubbly romantic cuteness, but I think that alone would not have been enough for it to capture the hearts of Japanese viewers. Not only are there tons of great pop culture references and scenarios (K-drama fans: think Hong sisters), but they present characters from different walks of life and their struggles with love.

The contract marriage trope is standard fare in Asian romcom, but it really did a lot to push this relationship along in a way it never would have had the characters met in a more conventional way. The leads had a business like approach to every aspect of their contract marriage, including things like physical affection, which made for hilarious set-ups. At times their progress was painfully slow, but this is just something I’ve come to expect from some Japanese dramas (Hotaru no Hikari, I’m looking at you.) The male lead, Hiramasa, was indeed an extreme character, but a lot of the comedic relief came through some of his relatable, but exaggerated characteristics. The female lead was adorable, and although at first she gave off the overly perfect J-drama girlfriend vibe, the drama dealt with her character flaws and growth very nicely I think. Both characters could be frustrating, but ultimately endearing.

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The plot moved in a satisfying direction for me, both for the leads and side characters. While the focus was on the main pair, there were great moments from a supporting cast that was diverse in both age and marital status. I found myself inevitably sighing somewhere midway about how unrealistic some of it was, but by the end I appreciated the drama for what it was. This was a world where characters with extreme personalities were put in extraordinary situations and the aftermath was an entertaining drama with some identifiable aspects. I read some comments from younger viewers lamenting the fact that towards the end of the drama it went in a more realistic direction. Personally, found that even more fun as the leads tried to apply their crazy business solutions to an average lifestyle. Although I feel like this drama would appeal more to married couples, I still really enjoyed it. I would have appreciated the pop culture references even more if I was Japanese and had watched the shows they parodied, but those were still fun regardless as well.

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What I learned about Japanese culture: That apparently herbivore men are an actual thing.

If you’ve watched this one, let me know what you think!

L

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About L

Interested in Japanese language and culture, J-Pop, K-Pop and Asian Dramas.
This entry was posted in Dramas, Reviews. Bookmark the permalink.

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