If Shakespeare Wrote Japanese TV

As an exercise, imagine a familiar storyline, after 15 minutes with a Japanese TV script editor:

Romeo Tanaka is a young business executive at Montague, a prominent Tokyo trading house. He sneaks into the latest product-launch by rival company Capulet Inc, only to fall in love with Juliet Nakamoto, a pretty marketing executive. After an initial set of misunderstandings, the two begin a clandestine affair, aided by Romeo’s comedy sidekick Mercutio, who is secretly in love with Juliet’s personnel manager Nurse. Meanwhile, sneaky Capulet manager Tybalt has taken an undercover job at Montague. Things appear to settle down, until Romeo’s ex-girlfriend Rosalind reappears and tries to lure him back.

Juliet wrongly believes that Romeo loves Rosalind, and gives in to her father, the chairman of Capulet, who wants her to go on a date with Hong Kong business associate Paris Wong. Meanwhile, scheming Capulet manager Tybalt plots to get Romeo thrown out of the company.

Discredited at head office, Romeo is offered a foreign business placement, but turns it down, not realising that Juliet has taken a similar post in order to be with him. Romeo’s friend Mercutio finds Tybalt doctoring company documents, and is injured in a fall when he tries to stop him. Reunited at Mercutio’s bedside at Apothecary Hospital, the cast realise that Romeo is innocent. Romeo is exonerated of all accusations, but Juliet slips away, to prepare to fly abroad for her posting in Taiwan. Romeo rushes to the airport, where he stops her just before she gets on her plane.

In a surprise twist, Rosalind meets Mercutio as he is discharged from hospital, and confesses that she has fallen in love with him. At the double-wedding that follows, Juliet and Rosalind both throw their bouquets, which are caught by Nurse and Doctor Apothecary, who smile shyly at each other.

(Originally printed in the Dorama Encyclopedia: A Guide to Japanese TV Drama Since 1953, by Jonathan Clements and Motoko Tamamuro, 2003).

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