Appearing before the Dramacourt: Boku Unmei no Hito desu Ep 6
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- Whether Yamapi God’s suggestion for Makoto to be like 亭主関白 is right
- Whether it is reasonable for Haruko to a while to accept Makoto
- Nope. Feels antiquated.
- Yes. (This issue was brought up before but given that we know Haruko’s full story about her painful past, I thought it’d be best to look at the issue further.)
Jubiemon J: As much as I really like this drama and I still enjoyed this episode, there were a few parts that didn’t make that much sense to me. I don’t agree with Yamapi God’s suggestion for Makoto to aim to be like this: 亭主関白（ていしゅかんぱく). This phrase means that the wife would have to listen to the husband and the husband is the one ruling the household. Feel free to read my side note for more explanation. I’ll explain further in the issue as to why I don’t think that’s right.
To achieve that goal, Yamapi God suggests that Makoto must only reply to Haruko in 4 words or less. I, like Makoto, hated that challenge, but Makoto still listens.
Later Yamapi God says if Makoto wanted to change a challenge, he could. Then Makoto ends up doing a wooden carving of two words: Osho.
Though watching him struggle to complete the challenges is hilarious, at the end of the day, I didn’t really see the point of it unlike in previous episodes where I felt the challenges led to something ingenious. In this case . . . it falls flat and the deeper message within this challenge doesn’t seem to exist unless the drama is advocating that a traditional household where the male dominates the family is ideal. I honestly hope not! (Sure I’ve heard in Japan from Japanese friends that there’s still power imbalances between males and females that exist, but to propose that there should be more power given to males . . . No.)
I guess the whole idea of Yamapi God suggesting 亭主関白 bugs me because he is supposed to be a modern type of God. Look at the way he dresses, how he acts around Makoto, and how he has made seemingly silly suggestions that end up being important to Makoto. Even if he wants to push Makoto to be more assertive in an extreme way, I still don’t like this. He could have used some sort of other way of portraying this like keep the Osho as being a winner for all of them and not relate it to 亭主関白.
I still really find it hard to believe that the writer would make him suggest this outdated form of a family situation. Heck, when I googled that phrase, other words that followed were divorce, psychology, dislike, etc. There’s even some association for this which is completely mind-boggling.
What I do like is Makoto’s response to Yamapi God’s suggestion about 亭主関白. Although Makoto did promise to be that way, we see that he isn’t comfortable being like that. He’s not that controlling, aggressive type that doesn’t think about Haruko’s thoughts. He has always treated Haruko as someone equal to him and admires her. He confesses that he doesn’t feel comfortable saying words in a harsher tone which Yamapi God suggests to do. He also gives up on the 4 word limit too because he just doesn’t like acting that way. We see him roll on the ground saying it’s impossible. Plus, if he keeps giving Haruko the cold shoulder, she’d probably end up disliking him. It’s not to say that Makoto is weak; he still shows his bravery when he confesses that he likes her in this episode and is super adamant towards proving that he isn’t living with a girl in his apartment. I’ve never seen him this determined before. I think it’s just Makoto is the peaceful, gentle type, but when he does see a need to stand his ground, he will.
What I also enjoy in this episode is the emphasis on fate. During one of the dinner parties between the two companies, we see fate being played out as other co-workers find out that they have similar interests or one even follows another’s cooking blog. Contrast that with the female boss who thinks that there’s fate because the male boss and she keep having many coincidences (ie eating lunch at the same place and ordering the same dish, meeting at the elevators often, etc). Then we learn that the male boss actually has a wife and a daughter. What a surprise! In the previous episodes we were led to believe that there could be something going on between them due to fate and then this episode that whole premise is demolished! It’s a twist to fate, I think. Sometimes you have fated moments, but it doesn’t mean that you’re fated to be with that someone. The timing might be off etc.
Overall, I have a lot of mixed feelings about this episode. I love the comedic scenes and the two parts I mentioned. I like how Mitsukuni and Makoto really have become friends and have no hard feelings between each other. I still enjoy the banter between Makoto and Yamapi God even though how this drama advances is getting a bit predictable in the grand scheme of things (ie. Makoto has to complete a mission, we think something will happen but it doesn’t and something else happens, we realize the whole point of his mission, and then the cycle starts again.)
I also really like how the drama continues to slip in symbols throughout the drama like the blue t-shirt’s idiom and the rice that starts spilling. Throwing rice at a wedding is a tradition. This action symbolizes giving fertility (Read more here.) It’s cute how Makoto is all dreamy and sees how this is a sign for them to be fated together while Haruko is super practical and just wants to stop the rice spillage.
However, the message behind the 亭主関白 mission still bugs me. Sigh. Not going to repeat myself here…
(Side note: I’ve been on the hunt for the meaning of this Japanese phrase because I felt the translations of the episode I saw gave the wrong meaning. The translator translated that phrase to mean “to be a man of his word”. However, as I watched the drama, I just felt like . . . that wasn’t what that phrase meant. I decided to do some searching myself and came across several different translations.
This website translates the phrase as the “husband who rules the roost/domineering husband”. This one also gave a similar answer: “he rules his wife”. The translator also explained how it’s hard to translate a Japanese idiom (4 words) into an English equivalent without providing a longer explanation. English tends to be wordier. This other website translated the Japanese phrase into a Chinese one and said that it was male chauvinism. This meant that a woman must listen to the man; the man’s words are final. I actually looked into more websites, but they all came up with the exact translation/similar phrases. When you break the Japanese idiom into two parts, 亭主 and 関白 and examine their meanings, the meaning from the three translations are equivalent to what the two parts represent. 亭主 has a few meanings but here it means husband. 関白 is the chief advisor/senior regent to the Emperor and sometimes even wielded more actual power than the Emperor. A family that was famous for being kampaku was the Fujiwara clan. Now you put the two together and everything sort of falls into place: husband and chief advisor to the Emperor. The husband rules the household.
Then I skimmed some Japanese articles explaining the signs of a man who exhibits 亭主関白 and some included “being the eldest son in the family”, “refusing to do household work”, “calling the girl by ‘omae’ ie you”, “controlling guy”, “believing that women should look after the children instead of working” etc. I’ve only linked one article because other ones I’ve found list similar signs.
All of these prove to me that this phrase is all about the traditional household we’ve seen in the past where the male dominates the household and the female stays at home to work. The male makes all the decisions and the woman just listens to him.)
Issue 1: Whether Yamapi God’s suggestion for Makoto to be like 亭主関白 is right
Jubiemon J: No! Absolutely not. I don’t think Makoto should aim to be the man of the household to get Haruko to go to his place. I’m not even sure if inviting a girl over . . . is really necessary? They haven’t even had a few nice dates so potentially sleeping over at a guy’s place might not be the best…
Although I agree with Yamapi God that Makoto sometimes lacks the initiative to ask a girl out and needs to be less shy about it, I disagree with the approach that Yamapi God advocates. I watched the scene where Yamapi God proposes to Makoto to aim to be like a 亭主関白 guy in order to get Haruko to go to his apartment. Yamapi God first says to look at Mitsukuni who got Mitsue to his apartment; the two didn’t sleep with each other and Mitsukuni brought her over because she got really drunk at the bar and was sleeping. Mitsukuni didn’t want to wake her up so he decided it’d be best for her to sleep over at his place. Yamapi God then says that what Makoto seriously lacks is the manly attitude to keep forcing her to go forward and therefore if Makoto aims to be a 亭主関白 guy then he’ll be able to advance their relationship. Yamapi God also adds that instead of using long words, it’s better to use shorter, direct words to win a girl’s heart; this advice is fine and I agree with it.
I just don’t think advocating to aim to be a 亭主関白 guy is right. That’s backwards thinking which I’ve mentioned before. I don’t think that sends out the right message to society–males should dominate females. No. I think we’re at the stage where we are still striving for gender equality. Let’s not go back to the early days. Sure, Makoto is more passive when it comes to dating and does need a push, but there’s no need for him to be forceful as Yamapi God suggests. Yamapi God says a 亭主関白 guy only uses two words to command what he wants from the girl and in this case, all Makoto needs to say is: “Come here. My place.” I admit that the way the dialogue is delivered in the drama is funny, but after learning more about what it means to really be a 亭主関白 guy, I really dislike Yamapi God’s approach in this case.
I also don’t see 亭主関白 working out for Makoto and Haruko as a couple. Makoto has a gentle, honest personality that’s quite innocent and dreamlike. Haruko is more practical and grounded. She is also honest; we see her telling him how upset she was when her ex boyfriend told her he was married. She is more cautious because she has been hurt in the past and she just seems like the type that would not take a lot of risks. She admitted before that she can’t see herself being with Mitsukuni who we all know is someone that is more self-centered and aggressive compared to Makoto. I just can’t picture Haruko being okay with 亭主関白 and Makoto being comfortable with that either.
Though I’m glad that the four-word replies stopped, I don’t like how Makoto still carved out the words 王将 (ōshō/winner/king general) if it’s supposed to be a replacement for how to embody 亭主関白. Oshō is the winner of a shogi tournament and also the piece that’s called king general. It feels like Makoto wants to be the King of the household, meaning the highest rank out of the other pieces. That implies that Haruko is below him if they place it in their future household which Makoto says he would do. Ugh.
However, I do see how the ōshō part also works to signify that Haruko is a winner in life. This interpretation is something that I prefer. When Haruko tells Makoto about the day where she learned that her ex-boyfriend had a wife and that he dumped her. On that day, there was also a soccer tournament (Japan vs some country). Makoto and his co-workers went out drinking to watch the game and they were interviewed by a reporter after the game ended. Japan had lost this game.
Haruko felt like the world went crashing on her on that day and it just so happened that the drunk Makoto came up to her and mistook her as a fan that was depressed that Japan lost. Makoto told her not to be upset and to keep her head high to move on. Haruko felt offended that he mistook her as a sports fan just because she was wearing blue and white that day.
She also was kind of annoyed at his t-shirt’s text which said “When it rains, it pours.”
The English idiom has the same meaning as the Japanese one. 弱り目に祟り目 ( yowari-me ni tatari-me; よわりめにたたりめ) means misfortunes never come singly. Another Japanese equivalent idiom would be 泣き面に蜂 = Nakitsura ni hachi. She felt like the text was mocking her situation which she found kind of pitifully hilarious and sad too. She even used that phrase as her new email address.
At the end of her story, she asks Makoto: “Will I win?” That’s a hint for Makoto to confirm that their relationship will be fine. Her asking that shows that she wants to be able to get out the negative impact that her past relationship left her with and wants to succeed in love. Of course, Makoto confirms that she’ll win. It’s fitting then for the wooden carving to have the winner phrase if that’s implying that the two will have a successful relationship and that Haruko will win. Unfortunately, if it really is the case that this is what the script writer meant, I think that message is lost due to the emphasis on 亭主関白. I wished that Makoto had more adamantly voiced that he didn’t like 亭主関白 and not perhaps shown through his personality/actions that 亭主関白 is not what’s ideal for him and Haruko. I think he only said it once or twice that he didn’t want to continue being 亭主関白, yet he still goes through with the missions.
(Side note: In case you’re wondering what the song Yamapi was talking about, it’s this one 王将 – 村田英雄 (“ōshō” by Murata Hideo).)
Issue 2: Whether it is reasonable for Haruko to a while to accept Makoto
Jubiemon J: After hearing Haruko’s in-depth story and seeing how upset she was about her ex-boyfriend dumping her and saying that he was already married, I think it is reasonable for Haruko to take a while to accept Makoto. Plus, Makoto said that he thinks they’re going at a good speed; only a month and a half has passed before she decided to date him! Unfortunately, this is a drama where we need some conflict to speed things up, so Yamapi God states that Makoto only has one more month left to marry Haruko before the world will die.
We also are starting to know Haruko more as the episodes progress. She started off as a seemingly cold, nonchalant, and unfriendly female character, but slowly, we see that that’s an armour she has built up over the years due to failed relationships. We’ve seen her fan girl over a sumo wrestler, meaning that she also has a childish, cute side to her. (I think everyone has their cute moments of course. Hehe.) We’ve seen her reveal more emotions to Makoto as the episodes progress as well. In this episode, she smiles a lot more at Makoto during the dinners that involve Makoto and she also seems more curious about what Makoto’s interests. She even asks him what type of fish he wants or why he got interested in working out with Mitsukuni. Now in this episode, we see her break down in front of Makoto and explain why she has been so scared of getting into a relationship again.
I think overall Kimura Fumino has done a good job with portraying Haruko. However, she and the drama production team didn’t really deliver the emotional crying scene that well. Sure, I know the scene was there to make us understand Haruko more, but the way Fumino was reading her lines almost felt robotic. I understand that Haruko is more of a practical, analytical, logical type, but even with really emotional scenes, these types of people arguably would break down even more. They’re generally so used to bottling up their feelings or putting up a front to act like they’re okay because they know that they should move on. As a result, when they do end up crying, they’d probably feel confused, ashamed, silly, and perhaps foolish. They’d choke up much more and maybe even ask why they’re still crying over something that’s probably trivial in other people’s eyes. (Look at the screenshots below. She’s not even trying to wipe away her tears out of embarrassment or hide her face. I think this would have been a wonderful opportunity for her character to have kept having an overflow of tears while trying her best to restrain them. Then she’d give up and they’d all keep flowing down and down. Nope. She only lowers her head slightly and like two tears roll down…)
Even the script for that scene was too straightforward. She was narrating her story without a huge climax where she’d break down and choke on her words. Moreover, when she was saying how rude Makoto was when she met him that night, I really couldn’t feel her anger or frustration. The lines that she read to explain why she felt he had been rude wasn’t very convincing as well. The premise of him being rude that night was understandable–a drunk guy came up to her, mistook her as a soccer fan, and started lecturing at her to stop crying and to move on because the team will win next time. Yes, having a random drunk guy come up to you is freaky and annoying. I just think the script writer missed the chance to write that part in a more convincing manner and Fumino didn’t seem to voice Haruko’s frustrations that well. Haruko ended up with the line: “Will I win?” I understand that that’s supposed to tie with the soccer tournament that was going on and likely the osho wooden carving. However, that line just seemed so so . . . forced.
I think what also made this crying scene less emotional was that we also had an explanation from Mitsue before about Haruko being lied to by her boyfriend who was actually married. Therefore, this scene wasn’t so…touching and felt kind of repetitive. I honestly felt like I was actually more touched by Kame’s crying even though as Makoto, he has cried like N times in this drama. Makoto was crying in one of the previous episodes when the sumo wrestler was talking about his mother. I felt teary at that time too. Even when he cried this time after Haruko accepted him, I was convinced with that emotional scene. We’ve seen how hard he has tried to get Haruko to give him a shot like the scene before they got to his apartment. He was saying how he has to prove his innocence by showing his apartment to her. We’ve always seen Makoto as a sincere, honest guy, so seeing him cry out of happiness matches his character. (See below to take a look at Kame’s crying scenes. Kame goes from being surprised about her saying that she likes him too to being overwhelmed with happiness in the end. That’s convincing.)
Conclusion: Appeal Allowed.
Rating: 3 = MM. Okay. Fine. (I still like this drama of course, but the flaws in this episode bother me.)