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A performance that made the young Japanese pine tree ‘irrelevant’ in the 1980s

The younger generation frequently criticizes Japan’s entrenched elders because common gender discrimination, Excessive job expectations And unwilling to give up power.

But a surprisingly popular TV series has people talking about whether elders may have gotten some things right, especially for some in Japan — like their peers. their career in Japan. USA And Europe – questioning the high level of sensitivity associated with “sanity”.

The movie “Extremely Inappropriate!” A foul-mouthed, cunning gym teacher and his widowed father board a public bus in Japan in 1986 and find themselves transported to 2024.

He left behind an era where it was perfectly acceptable to beat students with baseball bats, smoke on public transportation, and treat women like second-class citizens. Fast forward to the present and he discovers a country transformed by cell phones, social media and a work environment where managers obsessively monitor employees for signs of harassment.

The series was one of the country’s most popular when 10 episodes aired at the beginning of the year on TBS, one of Japan’s main television networks. It’s also streaming online Netflixwhere it spent four weeks as the platform’s #1 show in Japan.

“Extremely inappropriate!” compare Showa era lasted from 1926 to 1989, Japan’s wartime period Emperor Hirohitountil the present era, called Reiwa and started in 2019, when it was now Emperor Naruhito ascended the throne.

Both the writers and executive producers are Generation of them occasionally participate in crazy musicals.

Not too subtly, the show also comments on the evolution towards more inclusive and welcoming offices, caricaturing them as places where work is left unfinished because of strict overtime rules and staff repeatedly apologized for violating “compliance rules.”

Such portrayals have caused a stir in Japan, where there have been complaints, often expressed on social media, about “political correctness” being used as a “club.” to limit expression or degrade television programs or movies. Part of what made fans feel refreshed about “Extremely Inappropriate!” is how the parts set in the Showa period are not restricted.

While critics have called the series retrograde, some young viewers say the show has made them question social norms they once took for granted — and wonder about what Has lost.

Writing for an entertainment-oriented Web publication, Rio Otozuki, 25, said that the series “must have made many viewers secretly think that the Showa era was more fun.”

She was initially shocked, she writes, by some of the 1980s behavior it depicted. In an interview, Ms. Otozuki said she was glad she did not grow up in an earlier era after witnessing sexual harassment and extreme disciplinary measures described as “back then too normal”.

But she also wonders whether people will then feel more empowered to make their own choices. She pointed to a television variety show depicted in the program, in which young women danced in skimpy outfits and fought to get their nipples out of their shirts, while a host show men crawling between their legs to make sexually suggestive comments.

At first, Ms. Otozuki backed down. Ultimately, however, she decided that if stars “realized that their bodies were their tools and wanted to use them for entertainment” then she could accept the variety show’s approach.

Kaori Shoji, an art critic who was a teenager in the 1980s, said she loved “Extremely Inappropriate!” She especially appreciated the way the series shed light on the chilling effects of tighter controls in today’s workplaces.

“Everyone is just playing a game to see who can be the least offensive person to ever exist on earth,” Ms. Shoji said. “People just exchange nonsense and nonsense because they are afraid to say anything. Surely that can’t be good for the workplace.”

The program pays homage to “Back to the future,” the classic film follows a 1980s teenager, played by Michael J. Fox, who travels back in time to the 1950s of his parents’ youth. In “Extremely Inappropriate!” The main point of view is that of the parent traveling to the future – Ichiro, played by Japanese actor Sadao Abe.

Several other characters, including a feminist sociologist and her teenage son, travel back in time, while Ichiro’s rebellious teenage daughter spends an episode in the future doing meets a television producer and single mother who is struggling to balance her work and personal life.

Both eras are often played for laughs, but the extremes are more evident in the contemporary context. A producer of a modern television network interrupts the talent’s broadcast every few seconds, considering his comments inappropriate. A chorus of young women instructs the time-traveling teacher that the punctuation in his message is considered offensive.

Aki Isoyama, 56, executive producer and longtime collaborator with series creator Kankuro Kudo, 53, said they wanted to create a show that reflected “a sense of discomfort with conformity and trends of the modern era”.

“Of course, overall we feel things are going in a better direction,” Ms. Isoyama added in an interview at TBS headquarters in Tokyo. “But we felt uncomfortable and we talked about it.”

Ms. Isoyama said she was surprised by the film’s popularity. “I want people to discuss,” she said. “And of course, I want the younger generation to ask their parents, ‘Was the Showa era really like this?'”

For Kumiko Nemoto, 53, a management professor at Senshu University in Tokyo, where she focuses on gender issues, the show is merely “going back and embracing 1980s Japan as if it were It’s the most wonderful time.”

She took issue with the depiction of modern young men as “very confused and too sensitive to harassment.” Its female characters, she added, seem stereotypical, with contemporary feminist sociologists described first “as a ‘feminist’” but ultimately as “a kind mother.”

In the end, the show delivers a message that can’t be found in the middle, and the grumpy old teacher ends up being the one who develops the most.

Ms. Shoji, the art critic, sees the series as a “fairy tale” that imagines what would happen if the gray-haired fathers of an earlier era “had a second chance” to become gentler. easier and more considerate of other people’s feelings.

Anna Akagi, 23, a freelance writer, said the show made her think that maybe times haven’t changed that much. Things that people once expressed publicly — and without shame — have now simply migrated to anonymous online posts, she said.

“The shape may have changed, but things that existed in Showa still exist in Reiwa in a different form,” she said.


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