Stressed With Work? Here Are 3 J-Dramas That You Might Relate To

  • CULTURE
  • After studying and graduating, we go on to our working lives wherein we would remain so for a couple of decades (unless we happen to get lucky and retire early after accumulating enough fortune). There may be some issues that we might face in our work lives no matter which stage of life we are at: be it that we just started working, already married and have kids, or do not have kids but focus on our careers instead. If so, you may want to check out these 3 latest Japanese drama series which relate to the working world.

    1. HOPE: Kitai Zero no Shinnyu Shain (HOPE~期待ゼロの新入社員~)

    Air Date: 9:00 pm every Sunday, from July 17 to September 18, 2016

    Nakajima Yuto (中島裕翔) plays the role of the protagonist, Ichinose Ayumu (一ノ瀬歩), who has spent all of his life chasing his dream which is to be a professional Go (碁) player. Go is a 2-player abstract strategy board game which originated from China, and is said to be more complex than chess despite having simpler rules. Even though Ichinose Ayumu has put in a lot of his effort in Go, he always fails the test that is needed to be qualified as a pro. At the age of 22, it would be his final chance to pass the test as it has an age limit of below 23 years old. But it seems like Ayumu is not fated to become a professional Go player as his mother is admitted to the hospital a day before the test which Ayumu fails again.

    Seeing that he has failed to achieve his dreams, Ayumu has to venture into another pathway to earn a living and does part-time work. His heartbroken mother introduces him to take an employment test at a general trading company, so Ayumu decides to work as an intern there. As he has spent his whole life dedicated to Go, he has no college education nor any experience working in an office. As a result, he is known as the intern that is not capable of doing much, even easy tasks like making simple document copies. Therefore, he is seen as inferior compared to graduates from renowned universities. However, Ayumu is not one who gives up easily and he tries his best to improve himself to thrive in the corporate world.

    HOPE: Kitai Zero no Shinnyu Shain is a drama series directed by Keita Kono (河野圭太) which is based on a webcomic entitled Misaeng (ミセン-未生-) by Yoon Tae-Ho. In 2014, there was also a South Korean television series based on the webcomic of the same title. Many people will find this drama series relatable especially when they have just graduated and started working in the corporate world.

    You can watch this drama series online on this website here. *Japanese only

    2. Non Mama Hakusho (ノンママ白書)

    Air Date: 11:40 pm every Saturday, from August 13 to September 24, 2016

    In a world where women have the freedom to earn a living on their own and can choose not to follow the traditional route of having kids and settling down, Doi Reiko (土井玲子 – played by actress Suzuki Honami – 鈴木保奈美) is one of those women who chose career over having kids. As she approaches the age of 50, Reiko is a divorcee without kids who works as a manager in an advertising company in Tokyo (東京).

    Most women would give birth during their 20s to 30s which is considered the ideal age range to give birth as, after that, it would be difficult to conceive naturally. When Reiko was at that age range, she made the decision not to have a child as it would impact her career.

    Despite the fact that the situation in the modern world has changed and working mothers are not discriminated or seen as a bane by companies, there is still some stigma against women who, like Reiko, do not have children at such age. Because of this, she feels ashamed of herself. She faces problems in her workplace as her male colleagues view her as a burden. On the other hand, her female colleagues see her as an enemy. And that is not all, as she is also pressured by her juniors and superior. Faced with troubles from every direction, Reiko feels so worn out and lonely, but then she begins to fall in love again.

    Non Mama Hakusho is directed by Sato Yuichi (佐藤祐市) and Matsuki Tsukuru (松木創). The drama series resonates the problems that modern women have or might face in the future due to their decision of not having children.

    You can watch this drama series online on this website here. *Japanese only

    3. Eigyo Bucho Kira Natsuko (営業部長 吉良奈津子)

    Air Date: 10:00 pm every Thursday, from July 21 to September 22, 2016

    Matsushima Nanako (松嶋菜々子) plays the lead character, Kira Natsuko (吉良奈津子), in this drama series which is broadcasted by Fuji TV. Kira Natsuko is the archetypal career woman who has reached the heights of success in her career at an advertising agency named Toho Advertising (東邦広告) where she works as a creative director. After she got married just before she turned 40 years old, like many other women, she had to put her career on hold as she had a baby which became her priority. After 3 years, she returns to work with the expectation to be directing the creative department again. However, things have changed during the period she was gone so she was not assigned to the creative department, but to the sales department in which she was given the position of a director.

    Frustrated, Natsuko complains to her senior managing director Saito Ryoichi (斎藤良一 – played by Ishimaru Kanji – 石丸幹二), but that does not change anything. Her former assistant 3 years ago, Takagi Keisuke (高木啓介 – played by Matsuda Ryuhei – 松田龍平), is currently the creative director of the creative department. The sales department is a mess to handle due to its poor performance and the workers in that department do not trust Natsuko. Just as she emphasizes the need to be persistent with clients, her cell phone rings and she has to pick up her son at the nursery school. Natsuko has to be a superwoman to handle both her career and her family!

    Eigyo Bucho Kira Natsuko is directed by Kawake Shunsaku (河毛俊作). Changes in the workplace are common and are often not welcomed, especially when we have already gotten used to our tasks and are comfortable doing them. Moreover, it can be difficult when you are a mom with young kids whom you have to take care of as well!

    You can watch this drama series online on this website here. *Japanese only

    Those who are working may find these drama series relatable even if you are not close to experiencing the circumstances of the main characters. If you are feeling stressed from work, you should watch these drama series as you can feel that there are others who are in the same plight as you and that you are definitely not alone!

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