How do you like Kankuro Kudo?

Rob Buscher robbuscher at
Mon Mar 8 20:49:52 EST 2010

I can't say that I'm too familiar with his other work, but Ikebukuro West Gate Park has become one of my favorite dramas. I was first introduced to this drama in 2008, while living in a Sakura house in Tokyo. Amongst the American and European students who lived there it became quite popular. I would imagine the reason that this drama was more appealing amongst this Western audience (limited as it might be) is because the story telling technique is much more similar to the types of HBO and Showtime dramas that have been released in the past decade in the States, as compared to some of the slower-paced rom-com dramas spawned from the yon-sama craze.
Has anyone else on the list noticed similarities between Ikebukuro West Gate Park and FX Network's Sons of Anarchy? I found slightly similar story telling devices and even similarities between certain threads in the plots. Maybe I'm reading too deeply into this, but I was curious if Kurt Sutter might have been familiar with IWGP when he started writing his show. 
<<the subtitles were fantastic (who did them?)>>
Once again I'm not sure about his other work, but the version of IWGP that I watched was subbed by sars-fansubs. Their subtitles include cultural notes for certain bits that Western audiences might not pick up on, so its hard to say how much is actually lost in translation. I think its also difficult to quantify how popular dramas like IWGP are in the West, since most of them are only available through online streaming sites or download sites. Also worth mentioning, a Western reading of a drama intended for Japanese audiences might be entirely different (and in most cases I would assume this to be true) unless the Western viewer has a deep understanding of Japanese culture. Unless these dramas were to start being aired on major Western television networks, I think this study would be more applicable to dorama-fan subculture, as it would be very difficult to extrapolate any meaning onto a wider (and less culturally informed) audience.
Hope this gives you more to think about Amy.-Rob Buscher
Date: Sun, 7 Mar 2010 09:30:49 -0800
From: oyabaka at
To: KineJapan at
Subject: Re: How do you like Kankuro Kudo?

Hi Amy,
I've used two of his films in teaching courses to undergraduates in Japanese/Asian culture classes at UCLA -- GO and MAIKO HAAAAN!!! (I've also taught MAIKO HAAAAN!!! at UC Riverside and Cal State University Long Beach). 
Students, as a whole, tend to love violent films like GO, throw in a love story and some interethnic strife, and you have a hit with that audience. 
MAIKO HAAAAN!!! was also a huge success, though some of them found it a bit long and repetitive. Others became raving fans, especially at Riverside, as the class was mostly comprised of Japanese Studies majors. At Long Beach, where almost no one was a Japanese/Asian studies major, there was a lot of confusion, and a lot of people surprised at how amazingly creative it was. 
In terms of your other question about cultural difference, some things didn't make it through the translation, but the subtitles were fantastic (who did them?) and a lot of the humor is visual/physical, so it translates pretty easily. Of course, Americans still can't believe that geisha aren't prostitutes... c'est la vie, eh?
Jordan Smith  
On Today 7:11 AM, amyloart at wrote: 

Hello everyone,

I am a Chinese fan of Kankuro Kudo( ), and wondering how do people from various culture backgrounds besides Japan and China like of his works. 
I would say in China, his works are highly praised among young people but could his works be  understood and accepted  by western audience regarding the differences in culture and society?

 Kankuro Kudo's Best to me:
  Kisarazu Cat's Eye 
Ikebukuro West Gate Park 
  Tiger & Dragon 

And yours favorite?


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