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OHAYO Bom dia

Chapter 7: Men Who Actually Love Dramas

“Boys don’t cry.” That’s the mantra for how boys are raised in Brazil. And when they become adults, they’re told “Housework is a woman’s job” and “Only women watch TV dramas,” putting even more pressure on men to shun household chores and dramas.

However, that old stereotype has been changing recently, thanks to a certain program. The show is called, Winter Sonata (Fuyu no Sonata). With that as a catalyst, many things have been happening within the Japanese-Brazilian community. While the show caused a similar boom in Japan, among the Japanese-Brazilians, it’s more like a “revolution.”

The other day, I gave a DVD of “Winter Sonata” to the father of a friend of mine. On the same day the DVD arrived, his daughter and her husband, who live in Sao Paulo, happened to be there and they watched it together. They both loved it, but didn’t have time to watch it all the way through to the last episode. After returning to Sao Paulo, my daughter’s husband immediately went to the rental shop to get the DVD, and began introducing it to his fellow Japanese-Brazilian friends and neighbors.

Among those, one housewife was quite emotional and had these words of thanks: “Because of ‘Winter Sonata’, my husband has changed. He never said much, and after retiring, he was always in a bad mood and didn’t talk with me. So I was bored every day. But his attitude changed after watching ‘Winter Sonata’. He started talking with the family and being nicer to me. Almost unbelievably so…It’s a little embarrassing! Now he rents other DVDs and has everyone watch them and even share their opinions. I’m really grateful.” 

Starting with ‘Winter Sonata’, other Korean dramas are now getting passed around from person to person like a ball.

Today, Korean dramas are “seeds of conversation” among friends and family. Because they want to understand the stories at least a little, some people are even learning Japanese. To their great enjoyment, grandmas and grandpas translate for their grandchildren.

I started thinking a lot about these Korean dramas generating such positive stimulation. Why are Korean dramas gaining such acceptance?

Bottom line, it’s because Brazilian dramas aren’t the right “fit” for Japanese-Brazilians. The characters are all Westerners, and their gestures and motions are exaggerated.

On the other hand, Japanese productions are “too subdued.” It’s hard to recognize their expressions of emotion. “Does she like him? Does she not like him?” It’s not clear.

However, Korean dramas are right in between the two. And Japanese-Brazilians are the same – right in the middle between Brazil and Japan. Perhaps that’s why they’re a perfect fit.

Even if that’s true, there’s something shocking about Korean dramas! They have the power to pull at the heart strings of men raised in a macho society. That’s not something to sneeze at!

And at last, the Korean boom has finally come to New York!

© 2011 Laura Honda-Hasegawa

Brazil Japan korean drama

About this series

My grandfather immigrated to Brazil from Japan about 100 years ago, and I was born in Brazil. That is why I strive to become a ‘bridge’ between Brazil and Japan. I treasure the ‘Japan’ rooted deep in my heart, and I want to keep that part of me protected in my homeland of Brazil. This series was composed with those feelings in mind. (“Bom Dia” is “Good morning” in Portuguese)