Japanese "fish out of water" comedies?

J.sharp j.sharp at hpo.net
Sun Feb 13 06:19:35 EST 2005

Not quite as exemplary to this genre as Shall We Dance?, Masayuki Suo's
earlier films Fancy Dance and Sumo Do, Sumo Don't featured very similar
set-ups - that is, groups of men all thrust together out of their element.
The former was set in a Buddhist monastary, where the men, let by Motoki
Motohiro, a singer in a ska band, have for various reasons submitted
themselves (or been submitted) in order to escape from the temptations of
the outside world, while the latter was basically Shall We Dance, with
skinny men thrown inro the world of fat ment. Sadly, there's been no english
language releases of any of these films, bar a long out of print Hong Kong
VCD of Sumo Do, Sumo Don't.
There are plenty of other examples of this comic staple, I am sure, but
being rather early on a sunday morning, none readily spring to mind.

Hope this helps,


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--------- Original Message --------
From: KineJapan at lists.acs.ohio-state.edu
To: KineJapan at lists.acs.ohio-state.edu <KineJapan at lists.acs.ohio-state.edu>
Subject: Japanese "fish out of water" comedies?
Date: 12/02/05 08:11

> I was really taken by Anthony Leong's KOREAN CINEMA
> and his idea of the &quot;fish out of water&quot; comedy
> exemplified by movies like HI DHARMA, FOUL KING, and
> MY WIFE IS A GANGSTER in which an Asian male is
> transplanted out of his world of hierarchy and
> familiarity and forced to negotiate a new set of
> behaviors governed by codes he does not understand.
> This genre seems to exploit a universal (while at the
> same time distinctively Asian) set of masculine
> anxieties in a time of social and economic change.
> SHALL WE DANCE seems to use this template in the
> figure of the unhappy salaryman who tries to master
> ballroom dancing.
> I'm wondering if any of you can think of other
> Japanese comedies which use this formula.  In this age
> of pan-Asian film distribution, international
> coproductions, and fertile crosspolinization of film
> genres, it would be interesting to know if the
> Japanese have contributed to this production trend or
> if there is a separate, uniquely Japanese stream
> feeding into movies like SHALL WE DANCE.
> Thanks in advance, everybody!
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