20 June 2013

家族ゲーム Kazoku Game

Title: 家族ゲーム Kazoku Gēmu (Game)
English Title: The Family Game
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Year: 2013
Episode: 09
  • 櫻井翔 Sakurai Shō
  • 神木隆之介 Kamiki Ryunosuke
  • 忽那汐里 Kutsuna Shiori
  • 浦上晟周 Uragami Seishū
  • 板尾創路 Itao Itsuji
  • 鈴木保奈美 Suzuki Honami

嵐 Arashi - Endless Game
Yoshimoto Koya works as a home tutor. He is a graduate of Tokyo University, the most prestigious university in Japan. He declared in his business website that he guarantees that all of his students will get into Tokyo University.

Numata Shigeyuki is the problem child of the Numata family and his parents hired Koya to be his home tutor. Shigeyuki refuses to go to school because of bullying.

Shigeyuki's older brother Numata Shinichi is an honor student and a champion athlete. When the family met Koya for the first time, the tutor made a strange comment that he thought Shinichi was the one who needs his help.

Kazoku Game is an interesting drama but it was difficult for me to watch through all the episodes. The drama is about bullying and I just find it really hard to accept that even kids in elementary school can be extremely vicious and dangerously aggressive.

To cope with the disturbing scenes of young kids severely beating one of their classmates, I try to tell myself that I'm watching a fictional drama but then I can't look at it strictly like that because such scenarios do happen in real life. There are a lot of news reports of severe bullying and of several victims committing suicide because of their hopeless situation.

The plot of the drama is very complicated, and it's hard to discuss it without revealing the spoilers. It is actually based on a novel and there's a movie adaptation in 1983 but if you haven't read the novel or if you didn't watch the movie and you don't want any spoilers whatsoever, it may be necessary for you to stop reading.

The Numata family hired who they think is Yoshimoto Koya but is actually another person called Tago Yūdai. Yūdai was an ordinary teacher who found out that a popular and influential colleague named Yoshimoto Koya was bullying one of his students. Yūdai initially stood up for his student and confronted his colleague but Koya threatened him and blackmailed him so he backed down. Koya was in an accident which resulted in a comatose condition, and Yūdai impersonated him since then to tutor bullied victims and make them stronger so they can face the cruel world on their own.

Tago Yūdai (as Yoshimoto Koya): In this world, there is certainly a thing called hope. But reality is definitely crueler than you think. That's why you have to be stronger.

I certainly do not agree with Yūdai's methods but I agree with him that it is important to teach young people how to be strong; strong enough to defend himself against bullies, strong enough to go against the temptation of bullying other people, and maybe even strong enough to defend the weak and helpless.

According to Yūdai, the Numata family is a special case because he has two students in the family: Numata Shigeyuki who he has to teach to become stronger, and Numata Shinichi who he has to stop becoming like another Yoshimoto Koya.

家族ゲーム Kazoku Game (1983)

家族ゲーム Kazoku Game