Chatterbox || J- or K-? Aspects of Dramas and Personal Preference

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Healer (2014) | My gateway drama for Ji Chang Wook. I love the OST so much, especially Michael Learns to Rock’s “Eternal Love”.

During times when I want to take a breath from anime and manga, or whenever there’s something interesting in a seasonal lineup, I watch Asian drama series. Though I was able to watch some Taiwanese, Chinese, and Thai dramas, my list is dominated by the Japanese and Korean dramas. Because of that, though, I can’t help but compare at times. And that’s got to be one of the most long running discussions in the whole of Asian drama community — the question of which is better, Japanese or Korean dramas?

I won’t try to answer that, but what I’ll be writing today are all my own thoughts and preference. I won’t try to convince anybody because I know that what one thinks all comes down to taste; trying to watch series from another country is influenced by one’s own motivation. Now, I’ll have a run-through of different aspects or points I take note of whenever watching.


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Chungking Express (1994) | Not a drama, but I love the cinematography, color grading, and everything about this film. Of course, including Kaneshiro Takeshi here.

Because I’m not an expert with technicalities and the likes, I’ll just drop a bit of lines about my opinions on them since I started to appreciate them some few years ago. First, regarding the cinematography. From all the series and movies I’ve seen, I think the Chinese ones have the best cinematography. A lot of them just take my breath away because of the intricate and/or beautiful visuals/locations/angles chosen. Comparing the Japanese and Korean ones, though, I prefer the camerawork done on the settings of most Korean dramas. However, I love the color grading and lighting effects on most Japanese dramas because I get… home-y feels with them.

With the music, there are a lot of songs from the OST of different Japanese and Korean dramas that get stuck in my head. But I love the instrumental music the most. At times, there are those forgettable tracks, too. I’m even more incompetent to speak about sound and music so I’ll just stop here.

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Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo (2016) | This is the last K-drama I watched and enjoyed so much.

In general, even if I like and love certain Korean dramas, I still feel detached from most of them. I rarely feel so close to the characters. I guess part of the reason is the technology. And I feel like all of the people on Korean dramas that I watched are rich even if their roles aren’t. Or maybe I chose dramas where the characters portrayed it all wrong. Nevertheless, there are still some which are worth spending the whole time watching all the scenes, not just speed-watching the episodes. Yes, I admit that, at times, I speed-watch Korean dramas because I feel like 16 (usually) one-and-a-half-hour episodes is too much for me.

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Orange Days (2004) | I just love watching this drama. Ahh, Tsumabuki Satoshi, Eita, and Narimiya Hiroki improved so much after this. Narimiya’s retired now, though.

 

On the other hand, I am easily attached to the characters on Japanese dramas. I find Japanese dramas stick more on the reality and as someone who adores the wonderful portrayal of real life in this medium, I naturally enjoy them more. A lot of them contains various philosophies in life which makes me think things through.

Of course, there are also quirky and ridiculous Japanese shows, but even they still manage to show loveable and, in a way, relatable characters. Moreover, there are a lot more perspectives on different topics that Japanese drama series touch. (I liked Last Friends because of this.) A lot of writers are not afraid to experiment with different odd characters or situations, so there’s more variety of shows to watch. For the last few years, a lot of manga and novels are being adapted to drama series, too. Some are well-done while others are disappointing.

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Juhan Shuttai! (2016) | Starring the ever-so-adorable Kuroki Haru plus Odagiri Joe and Sakaguchi Kentaro. YAAAAY!

What’s best for me is the fact that there are usually only 10-12 episodes for the regular seasonal dramas. This length is usually enough to tell the whole story without dragging it, all the while presenting characters which can easily be loved.


Just as with anime series, I usually wait till the season/drama ends before I start watching it. I usually look out for the dramas where the actors and actresses I like are in and then choose which story looks interesting. I binge-watch those which I like, no matter what length it is. This happened a lot of times already. I binge-watched Dae Jang Geum, Tenno no Ryoriban, Long Vacation, Dream High, and a lot more.

If I didn’t like the drama that much, I either speed-watch it or just leave it for me to pick up again when I think I have nothing else to do. This happened when I was watching Marriage, Not Dating, Love Rain, Personal Taste, and some more others.

In the end, though, which drama I watch ends up depending on my mood. If I feel like watching romantic comedies, I usually look for Korean ones. If slice of life, Japanese series. When all else fails to capture me at the moment, I go back to re-watching old dramas.

Nowadays, though, except from Code Blue S3, I haven’t watched any new dramas. Nor re-watched any old ones. All of this is because of the anime and manga series I’m following. Haaah… I should really spend some time outside, no?

9 thoughts on “Chatterbox || J- or K-? Aspects of Dramas and Personal Preference

  1. TPAB~ says:

    There’s an HBO Thai drama that I used to watch, and I mostly liked it because I know it’s a manga adaptation. I think most J-Drama are adaptations as well, so it doesn’t stray far off anime or manga.
    I tried to watch this K drama called “W”, just to impress a girl, and I didn’t finish it. XD I guess I’m just used to a different kind of pacing than K-drama. haha.

    Liked by 1 person

    • ameithyst says:

      Ohh… what’s the title? Oh, wait! Is it “Kiss Me”, ItaKiss’ adaptation? Yep, a lot of them are either novel, light novel, or manga adaptations.

      I watched that! I’m so sad that it failed to impress me till the end because the plot became so messed up. So, was the girl impressed by you trying it at least? 😀
      Yes, the pacing’s different. Even if the show’s a manga adaptation, they’re able to make it feel so different.

      Liked by 1 person

      • ameithyst says:

        Oh, so that’s a Taiwanese series. I saw that title in HBO lineup, but I wasn’t able to check it out. Do you recommend it? 😀

        Ohh… there are a lot of topics to talk about. I hope it goes well with you two! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • TPAB~ says:

        I’m not into asian drama, so I can’t really tell if its good or not. I like the main character, and I always respect Taiwan films so this one felt OK to me. But I think it’s mainly because I am familiar w/ the anime-like pace.

        we don’t talk anymore. haha.

        Liked by 1 person

      • ameithyst says:

        I guess I should just give it a try to see if I’ll like it. I guess I’ll be able to bear with it if it has an anime-like pace. 😀

        … well, that’s kinda awkward. I’m sorry about that.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Cat Nessa says:

    I think which is better is always subjective, but glad to see a topic about this 👌
    I feel like Japanese dramas are more serious, or tend to be more serious toned, from their atmosphere to their stories, while Korean tends to have more funny elements. But it could also be the ones I tried to watch. Especially so for their adaptations of Mangas. The only time this didn’t happen was Hana Kimi , it was hilarious in Japanese and more serious in Korean (to the beautiful you).
    I also feel like Japanese have more freedom, they even do adaptations of BL Mangas, which I doubt will ever happen in Korea because of how strict they’re 💦💦
    I haven’t been watching anything, I took an hiatus because of like a few months ago, and this month I took a break, but you’re making me want to watch dramas rn 😹

    Liked by 1 person

    • ameithyst says:

      True. That’s why it’s always stressing me out whenever someone tries to argue that such and such is better.

      Most Japanese dramas tend to incorporate some kind of life lesson/s but there are a lot of funny shows, too, though they don’t become as popular as others. I didn’t watch To the Beautiful You (because I’m not fond of the main actress), but I heard they changed a lot with the tone of the story.

      Yes. Though there also a lot of Thai shows (movies and series) about BL stories. I think Korea will take some time till they have some of them.

      Hahaha! I haven’t watched any drama for quite a while now, but your comment made me want to watch some. Thanks for dropping by!

      Like

      • Cat Nessa says:

        It’s the same debate everywhere. Like dub vs subs, etc. People aren’t happy with letting things just existing, I swear.
        Oh for sure there’s really funny Japanese shows, Hana Kimi killed me with laughter. I haven’t watched many, so I can’t really pronounce myself one way or another haha.

        Oh you don’t like…. Sunny? Suzy? I don’t remember her name rn, but yes they changed the tone of the story completely. I still enjoyed it as a more serious show, but I got a bit puzzled why they would adapt the one shoujo manga that’s hysterical, instead of another that was actually serious 😹

        Sadly, Korea has a lot to grow when it comes to LGBT+ narratives, and laws, and prejudices yeah :/
        I’m glad Thai has a more open mind 👀👀👌✨

        Aw, I’m glad I made you want to watch shows hehe, thanks for replying to me 💕

        Like

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