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[Discussion] Tiger and Dragon

Posted: Apr 16th, '06, 23:42
by Prince of Moles
I looked but I didn't find a thread for this great series, so I decided to start one.

Anyway I believe that this show is one of the few shows in which analysis can really benefit people's enjoyment of the show.

The basic format of the show is to tell a Rakugo story (a funny story from the Edo period 1600-1868) and then overlay that with a modern day Tokyo version. (In the long term story that runs throughout the series, Tora the main character is trying to quit being a yakuza.)

So I want to start off with episode 1 (though I probably should start with the special).

The Rakugo story is Shibahama. There is a fishmonger who is a decent merchant. But he has one flaw, he drinks too much. Finally his wife can’t stand it anymore and sends him out early in the morning to go get some fish to sell. Luckily, the fishmonger finds a wallet with $50,000 (50 ryo, 1 ryo = 100,000yen = $1,000) and brings it back. He celebrates by drinking again and collapses in a stupor. At this point the wife hides the wallet. When he wakes up, she tells the fishmonger that it was all a dream. The fishmonger repents and stops drinking after this incident.

3 years later the household is doing well. And the wife brings out the wallet. The joyous fishmonger realizes that the current happiness comes from their hard work, and not from luck. He fully repents at this point: “I don’t want to drink, because if I drink, this happiness might become a dream too.”

The contemporary Tokyo story is about Lisa, a girl who wants a boyfriend, but her problem is that she drinks too much and becomes too clingy. Lisa, while drunk, returns a lost wallet. When she meets the owner of the wallet, it turns out that the owner was the man of her dreams, a good looking guy with money. At this point, her boss Ryu lies to her and tells her that it was a dream. She was so drunk that she dreamed it.

At the same time Gin, the guy who dropped the wallet, happened to be infatuated with a bus guide, Megumi. Gin in turn is also convinced by Tora, his mentor, that he should give up the bus guide and think that it was all a dream.

Lisa gets back to work and accepts that it was all a dream. But because she worked so hard, Ryu felt guilty and went to Gin, the guy who dropped the wallet. Finally Lisa and Gin meet again and this time the two get together. At the end of the show, when there is a chance to drink, Lisa decides not to drink: “I don’t want to drink, because I don’t want this to turn into a dream again.”

So in this retelling of the original story, some things remain the same, but other things change. What Tora feels to be the most important part, the part where the wife tricks the fishmonger for his sake is kept. So Ryu tricks Lisa for her sake. And Tora tricks Gin for his sake (to him get away from Megumi). Interestingly, in this version there needed to be 2 “dreams” because the route to happiness is now different. In the original story it was money and stability that brought happiness. In the contemporary story it is love that brings happiness.

Why is it different? Well, my take is that even if what people want, happiness, is the same, past or present. The conditions are different. A life of an Edo period merchant who can make a decent living through his trade skill does not translate well to contemporary Tokyo. Because today, many people are not employed for their particular trade skills moreover, they can be fired from their office jobs at any moment. Gaining happiness through a stable and successful job is becoming harder to attain and thus less realistic in contemporary Tokyo. (Also the fact that this lifestyle has been made fun of so often has robbed it of its true luster.) So for the story to have a larger appeal, Kudo Kankuro the writer, decided to use another route to happiness, namely love. A decidedly modern understanding, where Love brings happiness.

Why was love not used in the original story? In Edo, love was not necessarily seen as a great thing with a bright future. Most love stories in pre-modern Edo do take place in the pleasure quarters where it is assumed for the most part that the 2 lovers will not live happily together. Romantic love was dangerous back then. It was considered to be better to be with someone who might be ugly but good with the household finances.

Wow this got long. Let me end this here. Any comments are most welcome!

Posted: Apr 16th, '06, 23:46
by formula17
It's a great show but too bad there's no sub after the last 6 episodes =( I'm so saddened by that..

Posted: Apr 17th, '06, 00:03
by Mustiiien
I think Prince of Moles translated those episodes, but we're still waiting for a timer, and he translated the special, but that is still being timed.

Posted: Apr 17th, '06, 00:23
by Prince of Moles
Yup you can get the translatons here ... &start=255
and here ... &start=270

But I have no idea how to turn these into soft or hard subs so anyone who wants to do them is free to do so.

Posted: Apr 18th, '06, 05:14
by Crazy Penguin
I'm scratching my head at this part: "50 ryo, 1 ryo = 100,000yen = $1,000" That doesn't really work. 1 ryo in feudal Japan was 4 koku, 1 koku was the ammount of rice deemed necessary to feed 1 man for 1 year. So, with 1 ryo you could feed 4 men for 1 year. 50 Ryo is an amazing sum of money for those days, 50,000 USD these days isn't really that much. The conversion doesn't really work.

Posted: Apr 18th, '06, 10:28
by Prince of Moles
I agree with 1 koku = amount of rice necessary to feed 1 man for 1 year.

But I don't think it was 1 ryo = 4 koku.
I'm more inclined to go with 1 ryo = 1 koku.

Easiest place I can think of for more info is from the opening narratiion of episode 5 of Komyo ga tsuji.

Another place is here

all the "=" signs in this post and in my previous post means "around." Can't find the dang sign with the dots above and below the "="

Posted: Apr 18th, '06, 14:02
by mizune
Prince of Moles wrote: PS
all the "=" signs in this post and in my previous post means "around." Can't find the dang sign with the dots above and below the "="
For situations like that, I just use the tilda ( ~ ) :lol

Posted: Apr 27th, '06, 00:28
by Prince of Moles
Here goes episode 2: Manju kowai! This episode is one of my favorites since it has such a simple straightforward main story and a lot of side stories.

The rakugo story here is that of a man who pretends that he is afraid of manju (sweet buns) to sucker his friends to give him the buns for free. When they find out that he actually likes the buns, he tells them one last lie. "Right now, I'm afraid of a cup of tea."

In the modern day Tokyo version, Hyuga's wife pretends that she dislikes Donta. So to cause a "happening" at the wedding, Donta is asked to be a guest speaker. When it is revealed that she's actually a fan of Donta, she tells one last lie. "I'm afraid of a house with a yard, a German system kitchen, and a plasma TV."

So this very simple story, why do I like it? Well, because it's so simple it's very elegant. And it allows for a lot of side stories to be told, such as the triangular relationship between Tora, Ryu, and Megumi, or Donta's issues with performing rakugo. But for now I'll focus on the main story.

Let's start with the same question as last time: why manju and tea in the Rakugo version and a performer and a house(!) in the Tokyo version? One obvious answer is that in the Rakugo version, the story takes place among the commoners and no one is obviously wealthy. Whereas in the Tokyo story, one of the main characters is a yakuza boss. As a mobster, we would expect that he would have money.

So are buns and tea versus a permance, kitchen, house, and plasma TV really comparable? It turns out that sweet things in the Edo period were rare and expensive. In fact sugar was so expensive that it was sold in drug stores in the Edo period. When one reflects about this, yes they are getting him mere buns, but they were buns! Not something dirt cheap. Expensive enough to anger his friends when they found out that they were tricked. Who knows, the friends might have planned to eat the buns while watching Matsu being scared of the said buns.

The reaction of the yakuza boss on the other hand, while being an Osaka-man, was classic Edokko. When he hears the other things she is "afraid" of, he replies. "Ok, I'll buy them for you." Thus robbing this Tokyo version of the same punchline as the Rakugo version. And in fact this makes the yakuza boss the hero of the story, instead of the wife and her friends who tricked him. Tora thus had to add another punchline to end it. Whether this was Tora's invention or not is not clear, but: "And I want a cute baby." "That you'll have to work on your own!"

Ok, so this one is getting long again so I'll end this here.

If anyone can read Japanese, here is a site where 3 men and then 4 women are discussing the show.