23 June 2014

ファースト クラス First Class

Title: ファースト クラス Fāsuto Kurasu (First Class)
English Title: First Class
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Year: 2014
Episode: 10
  • 沢尻エリカ Sawajiri Erika
  • 平山浩行 Hirayama Hiroyuki
  • 中丸雄一 Nakamaru Yuichi
  • 佐々木希 Sasaki Nozomi
  • 板谷由夏 Itaya Yuka
  • 三浦理恵子 Mimura Rieko
  • 遊井亮子 Yui Ryoko
  • 菜々緒 Nanao
  • 田畑智子 Tabata Tomoko
  • 石田ニコル Ishida Nicole
  • 岩佐真悠子 Iwasa Mayuko

Yoshinari Chinami works at a fabric shop that is soon closing down. Her co-workers are concerned with her future plans and when they find out that her dream job is to work in fashion, one of her close friends at work recommends Chinami to her daughter who works at a fashion magazine.

Osawa Rumi is the editor in chief of First Class, one of the most popular fashion magazines in the country. Rumi is suspicious that Chinami purposely approached her mother with ulterior motives, but she reluctantly offers Chinami a part-time intern position.

On Chinami's first day at work at First Class, she meets the rest of the editorial department staff: assistant editor in chief Konatsu Yamaki, senior editor Kawashima Remie, and editor Kimura Shirayuki.

She also meets her other colleagues at the magazine, including stylist and fashion director Isogai Takumi, photographer Matsuda Shizuka, top model Mīna, model Erena, and camera assistant Nishihara Itsuki.

First Class is an interesting drama about the fashion industry, particularly the fashion magazine industry. I think it's a must-watch drama for people who aspire to work in fashion. In a nutshell, it's like the movie The Devil Wears Prada, except the heroine Yoshinari Chinami considers working in a fashion magazine her dream job.

I love how the drama uses voice overs so that we can hear what the characters are actually thinking and feeling in a given situation. The discrepancy between the actual thoughts behind the polite words is funny to see, particularly because I think everyone does it to a certain extent.

I don't like how the drama portrays women as calculating at best, and vicious at worst. It's like women can't have a successful career if they are not selfish and cruel, and that's just a sad way of looking at the world.

First Class talks about how women evaluate other women at work in terms of relationships, career, money, assets, etc. The drama also talks about how women constantly compare themselves to other women, and how they are willing to do whatever it takes to at least measure up  to other women's level, but preferably to rank higher than them on an arbitrary baseless scale whenever possible.

Narrator: Mounting is the ranking of people relative to oneself in terms of relationships, career, money, assets , etc. People rank other people on a baseless arbitrary scale, and consider other people as either ‘above me’ or ‘below me’. It is unclear what you need to win and be on top, but that’s also part of mounting.

I think the fact that I'm resigned about such a phenomenon is very telling, because my reaction validates its relevance in my experience. I wonder though if such a phenomenon occurs only between women, because surely even men are at least conscious of their social standing compared to their peers?!

Anyway, perhaps I'm being terribly naive but even though I acknowledge that it's somewhat normal for people to compare themselves to other people, I don't think it's necessary to bring other people down in order to succeed.

I mean, even though you are vying with your colleagues for a certain project or for a higher position, it's not necessary to compete in an underhanded way. It would be great if you get what you aimed for but if you didn't, it's possible that bigger and better things await you somewhere else.

However, the drama poses a very interesting question: if everyone who plays the game is cheating, do you try to work as honorably as you could or do you also cheat your way to level the playing field?

ファースト クラス2 First Class 2

ファースト クラス First Class